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Penguin Class News

Innovated Story of The Secret of Black Rock

Year 1 has just finished our book 'The Secret of Black Rock', and the children were challenged to innovate the story by changing what the secret of Black Rock is. We are so impressed with their imaginative ideas and enthusiasm to write this piece that we had to share a few great examples with you. 

This week we have been looking at money. We have investigated all the different coins to try and identify them, we have used 1ps to buy items and then progressed onto buying items using larger denomination of coins and trying to find the most effiencent way of paying for things. We have been adding coins to find the total and challenged with a problem solving question to investigate what money combinations it could be. 

In maths, we have been counting in 10s and looking at the multiplication symbol. The children have been on a hunt around the room looking for items that are grouped in 10s e.g. fingers, toes, base 10 and numicon. They were challenged to make connections with the 10 times table by asking specific questions, e.g. what is 4 groups of 10. We also looked at how counting in 10s can be more efficient than counting in ones. They used concrete materials to make groups of 10s to help them count how many altogether. They then used this knowledge to make specific multiplications by matching the correct groups of 10s to the number calculation.

In maths, we have been counting in 2s and looking at the multiplication symbol. The children have been on a hunt around the room looking for pairs of items and counting in 2s to see how many there are altogether. They were challenged to make connections with the 2 times table by asking specific questions, e.g. what is 4 groups of 2. We also looked at how counting in 2s can be more efficient than counting in ones. They used concrete materials to make groups of 2s to help them count how many altogether. They then used this knowledge to make specific multiplications by matching the correct groups of 2s to the number calculation.

30.3.23 - Library Visit

We all had a brilliant day at Cotswold Wildlife Park! It may have been a bit wet but seeing all the animals definitely made up for it! We learnt about African animals from an expert at the zoo who gave us cool facts about lions, giraffes, rhinos and zebras. We saw reptiles, monkeys, farm animals, and so much more! Have a look at the pictures to see what you can spot :) 

22.3.23 Big Science Event

Our Big Science Event investigation is around the senses. As a year group, we decided to investigate ‘Do 6-year olds have better sense of taste than 5-year olds?’. We discussed how we could test this and decided to do a blind taste test of crisps to see how many children of each age can guess the flavour correctly. We had to hold our nose to make sure it was a fair test and we weren't using any other sense. We began with a prediction, then the test, recording our results and drawing conclusions from this. Groups then made a poster for the Big Science Event where they presented their findings and evaluated the investigation. We used tally charts and histograms to present out data.

Computing - Giving Directions

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Today we have been pretending to be robots and we can only follow instructions given by the teacher or our partner. We followed simple instructions then followed directions to move around the room and to get to specific destinations.

Computing - Programming Robots

In RE, we have been learning about the Easter Story. Each day we have looked at a different part/day of this Holy Week for Christians. We have watched a cartoon clip of the story, then reenacted it using drama/role play before writing about it in our own booklets. The drama we have used so far is; role play for the arrival of Jesus on Palm Sunday; role play the last supper and washing the disciples feet; and Freeze Framing for the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was arrested and Judas betrayed him. 

This week we have completed our DT unit, we are Drink Designers. We started by reviewing existing products and talked about why smoothies exist. We learnt about the nutritional value of fruit and why they are good for us. We then taste tested a range of fruit to decide which fruit we would like to include in our smoothie, and designed our smoothie. We learnt how to prepare fruit safely by washing our hands and the surface we are working on, and then learnt how to chop up bananas safely using a knife. Our last step was to make our smoothies. Here are some photos of the children with their smoothies. We loved it! 


We also had some great smoothie posters, where children were creating adverts for their smoothies! We made up a name, logo, slogan and bottle design to help promote our smoothies! 

21.02.23 - Art week session 2 - Dance

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In this session we explored the jungle and the animals that we might find there. We started by thinking of the different animals we might find and used music to help think about how they would move and built up the energy of the animal as we moved. After this we decided to use an elephant as the inspiration for our dance. We thought about and discussed the different body parts we could represent before learning the moves and performing them to a song.

Art Week Session 1 - Abstract Art - Painting without a paint brush

The focus during today’s Art session is to ‘paint without a paintbrush’. The children learnt that we don’t have to just use paintbrushes to create a painting. We can use all different kinds of objects - things we have around the house, things we find in nature, and our own hands.

Using this technique, the children learnt about Abstract Art. Abstract art is a non-lifelike portrayal of real-world objects, people and scenes that are usually difficult for other people to recognise. It portrays what an artist feels and thinks, rather than what he or she sees, and often expresses emotions and ideas. Just as we do not know other people’s thoughts, we do not always know what abstract art portrays but if you ask the artist, he or she can explain the painting to you.

We explored what actions were used in a variety of paintings, eg. tapping, dripping, scraping, dabbing, flicking, swiping, and spraying, and created a collaborative abstract painting as a class.

We have been exploring traditional African jewellery in Art. Following our Art sequence, we explored traditional jewellery and discussed what we could see including the colours and patterns. After, the children practised this skill by creating and designing patterns, before designing their own necklace. Today they replicated their design and created their necklace. They loved wearing them for the day before taking them home! 

6.2.23 - English writing

Year One have been reading the African tale, Mama Panya's Pancakes. We have been learning how to write the story from another character's perspective. The children chose to write about Mzee Odolo, a local fisherman, who is one of the many people invited to Adika's pancake party. To achieve this writing outcome, the children explored and learnt a model text of Mzee Odolo's day and were taught several SPAG skills to support, and extend their writing. This included the suffix -ed to write verbs in the past tense, question marks and how to record a conversation between characters.The conversation between the characters is a key part and is repeated throughout the story. 

The children loved this story, and really enjoyed retelling it. We are really proud of the children's writing. 

To end our unit in PSHE unit, Dreams and Goals, we have been thinking and discussing how to embrace challenges. During our lesson, we talked about how to be a stretchy learner, just like how the flower and leaves stretches towards the sun, to reach our goals we must try hard and keep believing in ourselves. With this in mind, the children were set a challenging task with a set of instructions to follow independently. Whilst the children completed the task, we talked about how they might face challenges, how this feels, and how being challenged is a good thing as it stretches our learning. 

The children really enjoyed designing, creating and constructing their stretchy flowers. We are very proud of the children's independent determination displayed by this task. 

2.2.23 RE - Snowballing

In RE, we are learning about how Jesus showed friendship. We have watched 3 bible stories; Zaccaeus, Mary and Martha and Calming the Storm. The children then had an activity to rank these 3 stories into which they thought was the easiest for Jesus to show friendship to the people to the hardest. It is called a 'snowballing' activity because first the children started with their own thoughts, building a small snowball, then they discussed it with their partner and had to share their thoughts, listen to new ideas and maybe try to convince their partner to change their mind - their snowball of ideas are getting bigger. Finally, the partners joined together to make a group decision sharing more ideas and trying to convince more people - a bigger snowball! The children enjoyed sharing their ideas and challenging others by justifying why their reason may be better. 

2.2.23 Adding on a number line

We have been adding by using number lines to 20. We picked number cards and found the bigger number on the number line and using the smaller number to count on the jumps. Children wrote number sentences to go with what they found. They worked well with their partners to ensure we are using our number lines in the most efficient way.

1.2.23 Counting on with counters

We continued to explore counting on with numbers to 20. The children choose 2 number cards and used tens frames and double-sided counters to help them count on. We discussed that starting from the bigger numbers help to make our adding quicker and more efficient and it is ok to swap the numbers around because the answer will be the same. Later, we reasoned that, we only needed to make the smaller number with counters to help us count on from the bigger number.

30.1.23 - Counting on

Today we were exploring counting on with numbers to 20. The children choose a number card then rolled a dice and used the dots of the dice to help count on. We understood that we can start from the number card and know what comes next. This became more challenging as we used dice without the dots and had to use another strategy to count on, either counting on in their heads and on fingers, using number tracks or counters.

26.1.23 Adding suffix -ed

Today the children learnt that a suffix is a letter or group of letters that goes on the end of a word and changes the word's meaning. They explored how to add ‘-ed’ to root words, and discussed how it changes the word’s meaning into the past tense. We also discussed how there are different pronunciations of the word endings, and sorted them into their -ed (t) , -ed (d), -ed (id) groups. After we had applied the suffix to the words, the children verbalised sentences using the words.

25.1.23 Questions

The children learnt about questions. They learnt that a question is a type of sentence we ask or write to find something out. They identified question words in sentences, learning that a question word is a word that begins a question, e.g. who, what, where, when and how, and then practised this verbally and in our writing.

25.1.23 Character puppets

The children focussed on a conversation between characters. The conversation is a key part of the story, and Mzee Odolo’s day, so we identified what the characters said, and the order they said it. We practised this first using puppets, before filling out speech bubbles. Some of us got onto recording the character’s speech using inverted commas. We will use this in our writing we write the story of Mama Panya’s Pancakes from Mzee Odolo’s perspective.

25.1.23 Ordering Numbers

Today we have been ordering randomly chosen numbers from 0-20. We used vocabulary from previous lessons of greater than, less than and proved this on a number line. We then chose 3 numbers and made them with multilink cubes to prove they are in the correct order

24.1.23 - Drumming

23.1.23 Speech Marks

The children learnt about inverted commas. They learnt that inverted commas surround the spoken words a character says. This is important for our writing in Mama Panya’s Pancakes unit because there is repeated speech in the story, when Adika invites several people to his party, is therefore a key part of the story and the type of narrative we are writing. 

Today we explored what inverted commas look like and where we should put them. Tomorrow we will be learning how to punctuate the speech from the story and link it to our model text, so we can include it in our writing.


23.1.23 Estimate on a number line

The children have been estimating on a number line. We discussed that an estimate is a clever guess that we can work out the answer roughly. Firstly, we looked at number lines 0-10 as we are familiar with these and finding 5 which is halfway between 0 and 10. We then used this knowledge to help us with number lines 10-20. We drew our own number lines and practised estimating where numbers would go.

18.1.23 Model Text

17.1.23 Allotments

12.1.23 Continents

Today the children started their Geography unit. They explored the world using different media, including an atlas, a globe, google maps and a floor map. They learnt that a continent is a large solid area of land, made up of a group of countries, and that the world is split into seven of them. We listened and learnt a song to support us in learning about this, and then put together a large floor world map, before playing memory games to learn where the continents are, and the order of their size.

Seven Continents Geography Song

A song to help kids learn the 7 continents in order from largest to smallest.

This week we have been learning all about numbers to 20. We will be exploring these numbers using different representations - tens frames, part whole models, base 10, bead strings, Rekenreks and numicon. 


We begun by looking at the place value, and counting to 20 on a number line, we identified numbers, one more, one less, counted forwards and backwards. In our first lesson, we used tens frames and base 10 to see what numbers beyond 10 are ten and a bit. We understood that when creating a number above 10, there was one full tens frame and a few more on the next. 


After, we explored another representation of ten, and how it could be applied to numbers above 10 too. We used towers of 10, base 10 rod and base 10 ones. We used subitising and our bonds to 10 to help us be quick and efficient - We don't need to count from the beginning. 


We then used a brand new resource called a Rekenrek. We explore numbers 11, 12 and 13. We learnt how to use a sweeping motion to move groups of beads along, again remembering that we do not always need to always count from the beginning. 


After, we used part-whole models, a resource we have used lots before, to make and represent numbers 14, 15 and 16. We are getting very confident with our understanding of tens and ones, remembering it is one lot of ten and .... ones. 

Penguin New Year Party

Today the children had a very exciting hook lesson for our new unit of work in English, invitation writing. After lunch, they found an invitation to Mrs Heason’s New Year party. As a class, we explored the invitation to make sure we know the key details, for example, where it is, when it is, what time it is. After the party, we talked about why we use invitations, if anyone had ever written an invitation, and why invitations need those key details on them. In the next few lessons, the children will explore a range of invitations, judging their effectiveness, before creating their own.

Guess the 3D Shape

Today, the children were describing a hidden 3D shape to their partner for them to guess. We are using our knowledge of 3D shape properties that we learnt yesterday to give clues and specific vocabulary to describe. For example, the children we saying how many faces it has, if it has curved or flat faces, how many vertices etc.

Today, we saw and read our new book 'Mama Panya's Pancakes'. We listened to the story and discussed what was happening. This helps us to learn more about our new topic of Africa. 

Christmas Dinner

Giving instructions to make a Jam Sandwich

3D Shape Hunt

Following instructions to make a Christmas Cookie House

We have added dinosaur silhouettes to our colour gradient backgrounds! 

Dinosaur Art Project - Creating a colour gradient background for our Dinosaur scene

Today the children built upon their blending practise to create the background of their dinosaur scene. They experimented with adding white to their base colour to create lighter shades of it and in turn, made a colour gradient background. As well as this, the children learnt how to hold and use a paint brush effectively, experimented with how much paint they should use on their paint brush, and practised how to use the sweeping technique with their brush to create long strokes.

After exploring a range of paintings using different colour gradients, the children had creative freedom to create a picture displaying different colour gradients. They learnt how to use blending techniques to mix different colours. They were amazed with the different colours they could create and have created amazing pictures to showcase this.

Subtraction by taking away

We have been learning a different technique to help us subtract by taking away objects. We used tens frame to help us solve subtraction questions by getting the whole number and then moving the part away and counting how many are left.

Shoe Boxes for Ukraine

Santa will find it hard to get to Ukraine this year because of the war, so we are helping to spread Christmas joy to as many children as possible with the help of Shipton Hub by making treat boxes for them. The children enjoyed looking at the items that were brought in to send to Ukraine and helped us to pack some boxes. Thank you to everyone who donated. It has been lovely to see the children show care and compassion for others as they shared their toys and wrote lovely letters to send. 

English - Using 'And'

We have been learning how to use 'and' to join two sentences together.

Maths - Missing Part

We have been finding the missing part in a number sentence by using part whole models and counters to help us. We take one of the parts from the whole and the number that is left is the missing part. We challenged ourselves to think of connections between previous learnt facts and how we can use fact families in different orders.

We have been making christmas cards with one of the parts that moves. We have been learning about the Christmas Story and the Nativity scene, so children were given a design brief of making an engaging christmas card with the nativity scene with one moving part. Some chose to use lolly pop sticks and split pins to make their part move. We have been developing our drawing and cutting skills to help us make our cards too. 

Adding together

We have been learning different ways to add together. We might use manipulatives like counters and tens frames, our fingers, or known facts to help us add together. We picked two number cards, and choose our method to add the numbers together. We wrote this as a number sentence on our whiteboards. 

Science Oxford - Crafty Rafts

12.10 - Jigsaw Outdoors

Today we had our first Jigsaw outside lesson of the year. We looked around us and discussed the season Autumn. The children shared their thoughts on what they see and notice, from the leaves from deciduous trees that change colour and fall, to the opposite, evergreen trees which have green leaves all year round.

We learnt that nature is always growing and changing throughout the four seasons, and it is important that we use materials that are fallen, rather than picking or taking from nature. We can choose to be respectful towards our outdoor space. When we are outside exploring, we can enjoy nature by using it in our play. We can look closely when exploring. It is ok to touch and/or explore nature but doing this respectfully is important.

We respectfully foraged natural items to create Wild Crowns. See pictures of us creating out crowns above. 

The Museum of Natural History, Oxford

The children had a brilliant time at the museum yesterday! We had a workshop with Chris who told us lots of facts about dinosaurs for example, they can calculate the height of a dinosaur using its footprint and 4 footprints high is how tall up to the leg. We were able to touch real fossils (some found in Stonesfield and Cumnor) from dinosaur tails, teeth and even poo! We could also explore the museum and saw lots of dinosaur skeletons such as the T Rex, Iguanodon, and a Compsognathus.

Number Lines

Ordering Numbers

The children explored ordering numbers practically today, they put themselves in order and explained how they know using our key vocabulary (greater, more, fewer). We practised this from smallest to greatest and then greatest to smallest. The children used number tracks to support them. They also worked with their partner to put dominoes in order from smallest to greatest and then had a go in their books.

Penguin Library Visit

Penguin Class were able to visit our local library! They had a great time looking at the books available and they were able to borrow one book each to take home to share with their parents. They had a small activity too, where they voted for their favourite type of book. We look forward to our next visit.

Greater than, Less than or Equal to <, > or =

The children have been introduced to the greater than >, less than < and = equal symbols. They have used this vocabulary to compare numbers and began to make the symbols to compare them too. We used cubes to show which are greater and how it effects the way the symbol will go.

Fewer, Most or Same

The children have been using the vocabulary fewer, most or same. They know that fewer means the smaller amount. They played a game using cubes and dice to see who gets the most. We then practised this in books.

28.09 - Art

Today we studied the colour wheel. We identified the primary colours so then we could predict the outcome of combining two colours .We mixed all primary colours to create the secondary colours - orange, green and purple. Then we painted a picture of a dinosaur using primary and secondary colours effectively. 

26.09 - We are learning about nouns

Today the children learnt what a noun is and how to identify them around us. We went on a ‘noun hunt’ around school to identify the different types of nouns (a person, a place or a thing). After our noun hunt, we looked for the nouns in our model wanted poster and circled them with a coloured pencil.

A noun is a naming word. It names a person a place or a thing.

Science - Everyday Materials

We have carried on learning about materials in science. We sorted objects into the materials they are made from and can explain the difference. We have also been describing their properties e.g. metal is hard and shiny. 

Dinosaur Hunt

This week we had a surprise visit from some dinosaurs! The dinosaurs were caught walking around the school on Wednesday by Mrs Bayliss. The children used clues to find the dinosaurs around the school but unfortunately they escaped! 


The Year 1 children are going to learn how to write descriptive sentences about dinosaurs so that we can create wanted posters to put up around the school and village to keep everyone safe. 


If you see the T-Rex wandering around Eynsham please contact us!


Maths - Counting back

The children have been practicing their counting backwards using number tracks to help them. We ‘blasted off’ when we got to zero. The children then ordered their set of Numicon to go backwards, starting at 10. They challenged their partner to say what comes before a given number. We practiced counting back from a given number and discussed if we would say certain numbers and explained how we know.

The children explored the outside and the marsh to find natural objects to make a creation. We discussed how it feels to create something and how we would want it to be treated. We talked about if someone did something to destroy their creation, they would feel sad or angry. This is how Christians believe God feels when we don’t treat his creation – the world – with respect.

The children had a brilliant day exploring different dinosaur related activities. We had archaeologists discovery bones, making and creating the species of dinosaurs in different ways, learning facts and drawing environments a dinosaur could live. Thank you and well done for the effort in the costumes, it was great to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment the children had today. 

Maths - representing objects with counters.

The children used tens frames and counters to represent how many there are of real-life objects or pictures. This allows children to understand that manipulatives can help us with maths problems by using concrete equipment to represent pictures. The children then matched their counters with the numeral.

History - Naming Dinosaurs

Today the children shared all their previous knowledge about dinosaurs. For many of us, this was naming dinosaurs and describing their movements and size. E.g. A Pterodactyl could fly. A T-Rex was the biggest dinosaur. Some of us began to describe what different dinosaurs ate too. After we played a game, we practised identifying them quickly and learnt how to say the tricky names correctly. We learnt a song to help us with this.

English - Story Map

Penguin class recieved a message from Drip and we want to learn it by heart so we can write a message back. To help us remember, we have created a class story map. Each picture represents one sentence of the message. We are learning to chant when looking at the picture and beginning to put actions to these too. 

Maths - how many left?

The children have been working with their partner to develop their counting skills and understanding of totals. They counted 10 cubes, and their partner gave them a number to make and then count how many were left. The children would take that many away to see what was left. Some children were noticing the pattern between this and subtraction.

Today, the children were learning about their emotions. We use Zones of Regulation at Eynsham to help children identify how they are feeling by describing it in colours. The green zone means go - they are ready to learn. The blue zone means they may feel sad or tired. The yellow zone means they feel silly or are starting to loose concentration. The red zone means they feel angry. The children drew pictures to represent how they feel or experiences they have had being in that colour zone. We discussed ways to help us get back to the green zone such as taking deep breaths, movement and brain breaks, talking to someone about it. 

Today we started our new book Tyrannosaurus Drip. We received a special message from the main character in the story, saying that he’d left messages for us in the Marsh asking for help. We went to the Marsh and looked for the messages so we could work out how we could help him. We used the clues in the message to predict what we thought the story was about, who the character was and how he was feeling, and why he was feeling that way.

Counting Objects

The children have been counting objects by using one-to-one correspondence where they assign one number person object to ensure they don’t miscount. To improve accuracy, children were encouraged to line the objects neatly and touch the object they count. They counted a variety of objects and matched these with its number.

The children were challenged to find objects around the room made from certain materials. They found objects made from plastic, wood, glass, fabric and metal. 

The children have used practical equipment to sort objects by colour, size, shape or type of object. They verbalised how they sorted their objects and reasoned their decision by what is the same and what is different about them. Children were challenged to decide their own way of sorting the objects.