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Acorn

 
Welcome to Acorn!
 
 
2023 - 2024
 
Mrs Smith/Miss Wise - Class Teachers

Mrs Hooper/Mrs Sullivan/Mrs Amvrosiadis - Teaching Assistants

 
Summer 2
 
Mad About Minibeasts
Reception had the most amazing day out with the animals at Ash End House Children's Farm.  We got to stroke a snake, a bearded dragon, sheep, chicks and ducklings to name but a few.  The most fun we had was feeding the cheeky goats.  
 
Summer 1
 
The Sights and Sounds of Africa
The children in Reception have been eager to enjoy the great weather we have been blessed with. So, we have taken learning outside a lot recently. Children have engaged in science investigation work with shadows which led to many interesting and excited conversations about light and shapes. In Maths we have been consolidating learning on subtraction and went on a number sentence hunt. As you can see the children were very engaged and very successful!
We have been revisiting our maths learning this week, and it's all been centered around halving. It's a hard concept to understand without lots of practise and practice is exactly what we have been doing. We have been sharing equally between two groups to ensure we have equal amounts.
 
Our Learning inside the classroom was brilliant but we thought we would go outside to challenge overselves even more. We found numbers hidden all around and with talk partners and counters, we discussed whether the number could be shared equally between 2 and if it couldn't what that meant.
 
'I can share 8 equally between two people and each person gets 4, I can do this because it's an even number. 7 is an odd number so that one cannot be shared equally,' Harley.
 
'Odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 Cant be shared by two because they won't have equal amounts. That's odd numbers for you!' Elliot.
Acorn class sadly missed a session last half term so they made up for it this week! It was a cold, wet and windy Tuesday afternoon but it did not dampen the joy of being out in nature and exploring the world around us. If anything it provided us with extra challenges, having to ensure we didn't slip and fall. 
 
Our task was to help the Little People to rebuild their homes after all the awful weather. Acorn Class got fully immersed in this and created some amazing homes. Just see the wonders they created and the fun had by all.

This week Acorn and Chestnut classes have come back to school and set off on a trip of a lifetime! This trip was taken with their imagination on a plane. The children secured their imaginary seatbelts and flew across the world to the continent of Africa!  On the way they stopped at different amazing landmarks to see the wonders of the Savanna, Cape Town and even go on safari to see the big 5. Once back inside the classroom we looked at the large world map, exploring how big Africa is and how the landscape changes. It has been so exciting to see the learning and adventures that lie ahead of us this half term we really cannot wait to find out more.

Over the Spring term the reception outside area was spruced up with new resources and areas for the children to investigate, play and learn in. It has proved to be a great investment as the children are interacting even more enthusiastically. We are observing some really powerful interactions and learning links.
 
Look at the wonderful experiences they now have, building, imagination, exploration and performing! The opportunities are endless.
On Tuesday 9th April, the children in Reception were very excited to discover there had been a special delivery of eggs.  They soon found out what type of eggs they were, when to their delight, two of the eggs hatched and out popped two noisy and inquisitive chicks!  The following day three more eggs hatched.  The children have had the most enjoyable time watching the chicks grow and learning how to care for them.  They especially enjoyed having a few cuddles before the chicks were returned to their home.
 
Spring 2
 
Dinosaur Stomp
 
On Wednesday 6th March the children in Reception were tasked with the job of creating a Dinoscape for their dinosaurs. This included exploring the different habitats dinosaurs lived in and then deciding the best methods they knew to join materials together.  After an exciting discussion, we decided to get to work building our Dinoscape! It included attaching junk modelling to our cardboard base with masking tape, building up the structures with rolled up newspaper and to finish ... making our own papier mache with flour and water to make the Dinoscape sturdy.
 
As you can see in the photos this was lots of messy fun. We cannot wait to keep adding to our structure and then paint it next week!
This week in Acorn's Forest School session we heard all about the awful time the Little People were having. The Little People live in our Woodland area and were in need of same special protection. Acorn Class jumped into action to create a whole class set of friendly Boggarts. These were moulded from clay and decorated with all the treasures they could find in the outside area.
 
The children were so impressed they decided to take them home to spread protection within the community.
 
This week we reiterated the safety rules of the Forest area, listened to stories and created woodland art using our Dough Disco skills. Just look at the incredible results! Well done Acorn Class!

On Monday 26th February, Reception children were told they were needed for a very special job. Mr Jackson had done his usual morning check of the school grounds and found some very peculiar objects within the Forest School Area.

He asked Reception children to investigate and to let him know what we thought they were. To our amazement we encountered two very large, very different circular objects. We soon discovered they were eggs! These eggs are far bigger and far more interesting than the ones we find on our breakfast table, so we discussed at length where they had come from and who had left them. After further investigation we found foot prints, huge footprints! These footprints have not been made by anything we have ever seen before in Birchwood School so we think an animal or beast which is extremely big has made them.

We must advise you, the following photos show children in deep thought, deep conversation and having amazing fun learning. Our final decision is we have now got dinosaurs on the premises! Please let Mr Jackson know if you see any on the loose as we are keeping its eggs warm and safe.

What a busy week we've had learning about the Chinese New Year.  We read the story of 'The Great Race' in which the Jade Emperor named a year in the zodiac after each animal that took part in the race. This year is the year of the dragon.  We have been making lots of representations of dragons in our different areas of learning.  We have also enjoyed listening to other stories, finding out facts, getting ready for Chinese New Year in the role play area, re-enacting the story of The Great Race, writing Chinese words and numbers, using chopsticks, watching lion and dragon dances and trying some Chinese food.  That was the best activity!  We used our senses to come up with lots of fantastic adjectives to describe the prawn crackers, noodles and spring rolls we tried, using words like "sticky", "spicy", "crunchy", "wiggly", "interesting" and "yummy".  Some of us liked the food and some of us didn't, but the prawn crackers were our favourite!
 
Spring 1
 
Winter Wonderland
 
We loved exploring water and ice as part of our Winter Wonderland theme and especially enjoyed using what we learned to make ice lollies. We knew the water wouldn't freeze straight away, but it was worth the wait as the lollies were delicious!
We welcomed the children back to school after the Christmas break to find them all very excited over the words that related to the ice such as: 

Ice 

Freeze 

Frozen 

Water 

Melt 

Warm 

Cold 

We discussed what we thought each one meant and then investigated some ice blocks. Observing and touching to see if we were correct in our thoughts. Over the course of the afternoon we continued to observe the ice to see what happened. 

We are quite certain that this half term we are going to learn a lot and experiment.

 
Autumn 2
 
Why Do Squirrels Hide Their Nuts?
 
This week we were so fortunate to go on our very first school trip. What a trip it was! Conkers Winter Wonderland. We started off travelling on a double decker bus and then we were greeted by the most adorable elves. Once there, we were taken to watch an interactive 4D film where it snowed on us! We took the Santa Express over to the Elf Village and decorated Christmas decorations and got given sweets or gingerbread men biscuits. After lunch, we followed the elves through the enchanted forest, where we saw singing reindeers, a tunnel of lights and even got to sit in Santa's sleigh. If all of that wasn't enough fun, we were led to a wooden cabin, decorated with Christmas wreaths and met SANTA! He was in his log cabin and spoke to us all about the joy of Christmas and trying our very hardest to be good little girls and boys. Santa was so impressed he gave each one of our children a gift to put under the tree for Christmas morning. Have a look at the photo's to see our magical day, the best day yet, a day Reception will never forget.
On Thursday 7th December, we welcomed Reverend Liz Bickley into Acorn and Chestnut Class to retell the story of the Nativity.  We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story and seeing the props Reverend Liz had brought in, and she was delighted to hear some of the songs we sang in our Nativity.
On Tuesday 28th November Acorn class went on quite an adventure during their Forest School session. Exploring areas of the school they had never been to previously. They spoke about directions and how to move in different ways with commands - forward, backwards and side to side and played a trust game with their peers to demonstrate these movements. One child was tasked with closing their eyes and their partner gave a command direction just like they rehearsed.
 
After this they looked at how they would move around a map or maze as per the Computing curriculum. They gathered different autumn treasures to help them develop a code to make instructions with their partners. Acorn class remembered that an algorithm is a specific set of instructions and helped each other around the area.
 
We  finished the session with a physical game of pirates and treasure, and just look at the lovely fun and learning that took place.
Today the children in Acorn class used a Part Whole model to help them combine 2 different amounts. They worked with their talk partners and experimented in many ways. 
 
Pippa, 'Three and Three make six altogether.'
 
Calum explained to his partner, 'If one part is 5 and the other is one, it's six altogether.'
 
Children were praised for their conversations and use of star words.
Acorn Class enjoyed their Forest School session on Tuesday 14th November. They were introduced to the areas within our woodland such as the castle, mud kitchen, bug hotel and fairy land. They also practised safe movement around the Forest School site learning about the need for walking, looking and listening. After that they completed a special job for the 'Little People' who reside in the woodlands.  The activity required them to look for natural patterns within the area on trees, leave and objects. They then collected a range of natural materials to create their own patterns for crowns. Children were using their pattern finding skills to notice the sequences of repetition and accurately used prediction to what may come next in the pattern. They were challenged to correct any mistakes in their patterns by discussing the repetition with their class mates.  Just look at the wonderful time they had and the hard work they produced.
As part of Maths week, Acorn Class learned about the mathematician and scientist Sir Isaac Newton.  They had great fun investigating gravity, before applying what they had learned to help them understand what happens when we use weighing scales to find out which objects are heavier or lighter than others.
 
We started the week investigating gravity and whether balls stay in the air when thrown or bounced. This was to check the theory of gravity at work.
 
Frankie exclaimed, 'Gravity makes the balls stay on the ground and not float in the air.'
 
Cooper said, 'There is no gravity on the moon so it makes you float, good job we aren't testing the balls there we would lose them!'
 
Later in the week children worked with a partner to select classroom objects to weigh.  They used their star maths words to say whether their object was heavier or lighter than their partners.
 
Elijah predicted, 'I predict it will go down as mine is heavier.' And just look at that smile when he was correct!
 
The last part of the week, the children went on to predict which of three identical sized pots, filled with different materials / objects, would be heavier than the others.
 
Ava-Everleigh said, 'I think the sand is heavier.  It feels it.'
 
As a class we then had a democratic vote to test gravity with two of the same sized pots. They were dropped at the same time. But before this was done the children had to predict whether the heavier pot would drop first. Children chose different sides of the room to stand and wait to see if their prediction was correct. 3 children predicted correctly and then we all spoke about it and had a go.
 
What a lovely week Maths week has been.
Acorn class really enjoyed their first Forest School session on Tuesday 7th November.  We were set a challenge by Mr Jackson, the school Caretaker. He sent us a letter to tell us all about the problems he was having with things making a big mess on the school playground. We went on a walk to investigate. To our amazement we found the things he wrote about were the signs of Autumn. This prompted us to start collecting what we could see, discussing colours, shapes and the scents. We mixed them together to make a truly amazing Autumn potion.
 
Autumn 1
 
We All Belong Here
Acorn class have been on a square hunt! With talk partners they explored the classroom looking high and low to match their square with the squares in the room. Active maths and lots of giggles. We used all our star words such as sides, vertices and equal lengths while exploring.

On Wednesday 10th October Reception classes had a surprise visit from Polesworth Fire Service. Firefighter Mark, John and even Firefighter Sam. They drove down in their truck and explained all of their emergency equipment and how they use it to save lives and help people in need. It was so exciting and informative; we got to ask questions and even had a go on the special firehose! 

This week we began our new Key Text Goldilocks and the Three Bears. To showcase this, children were introduced to Now Press Play, an interactive storytelling device with headphones. They had to listen and respond to the instructions and as you can see, they all fully enjoyed this immersive experience! Can you see in the photos when we had to become scary bears or eat up all the porridge as Goldilocks did!
On Thursday 28th September we had a visit from Road Safety Officer Alice and her friend Warwick the Bear.  Through story, song and interactive activities we were taught key road safety messages. We were introduced to the safe behaviours of holding hands with a trusted adult, stopping before the kerb and looking and listening for traffic.  
This week we experienced the interactive resource Now Press Play within the classroom. All children were given headphones and listened to a set of instructions and a story. They then used their imaginations to act out the movements. This was a brilliant and interesting imagination provoking experience. It helped them to secure understanding of the story of the Three Little Pigs and recap the value of 3 from our maths learning.
We have begun our maths learning in such a fun and informative way. Each day we get involved in a maths session learning to subitise, count, chant, recognise numerals and extend our mathematical vocabulary. This half term we are looking at Early maths experiences and numbers to 6. Look at some of the wonderful mathematical learning we have participated in, inside and outside the classroom environment and outside.

Starting school can be really exciting but also quite nerve-racking for not just the children but for their grown-ups at home. We hope you enjoy looking at some photos of the children’s first few days and weeks at Birchwood. They have been learning new routines and school rules, meeting important people in school, making friends and getting to know our school. The children have been exploring all the areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage and teachers have been getting to know their unique characteristics of learning. What a lot of fun we have all had trying new things and making new memories that we hope will last a lifetime.