Year 2 w/b 3rd January
Date: 9th Jan 2022 @ 5:29pm
Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to a new term in Year 2! I hope you have had a healthy and happy festive break. It has been a pleasure to welcome the children back to school this week; I was so pleased to see everybody. Our week began with an exciting and intriguing discovery; during our Forest School, we discovered a number of jigsaw pieces. We worked together to find and collect the hidden pieces before completing the jigsaw. This revealed the front cover of our new text, Jack and the Baked Beanstalk. As part of a whole class discussion, we each predicted what would happen in this story and how it may differ from the original traditional tale. We then worked in groups to act out our predicted plots within the Forest School area. This helped us with our English lesson on Thursday, where we focused on writing predictions based on the front cover of the book and our prior knowledge of traditional tales. We can’t wait to see if any of our predictions are correct! On Friday, the first page of the book was revealed as we found out about the fast-food van owned by Jack and his mum. Our learning objective for this lesson was to practise alliteration in the form of persuasion so we created adverts for Jack’s Fast Food van to persuade people it is the best place to go and eat. Within our advertisements, we thought especially about alliteration, commas in a list and exciting adjective choices. E.g. “Come to Jack’s Fast Food van! We’ve got brilliant burgers, sensational sausages, mouth-watering milkshakes, friendly faces and welcoming waiters.”
In maths, we have been finishing our work with money. This involved: using different combinations of coins and notes to make the same amount of money; comparing amounts of money using the correct vocabulary and the signs <, > and =; finding the total cost of given items, adding pounds and pence but not crossing the 100 boundary. In Year Two, when working with pounds and pence, we do not write this amount as a decimal, as we are not yet familiar with decimals. E.g. We would write £7 and 3p instead of £7.03.
This week has been ‘computing week’ for Year Two, so each afternoon has been dedicated to a computing lesson, as will two afternoons next week. Our unit focuses on programming, specifically algorithms and debugging. This combination of unplugged and plugged-in activities help to develop an understanding of; what algorithms are, how to program them and how they can be developed to be more efficient, including the introduction of loops. On Wednesday, we looked at the website ‘Scratch’ as a class, focusing on a dinosaur game. We completed a ‘decomposition task’ to identify what happens when a certain button is pressed, before focusing on the skill of writing programs by suggesting new commands for the dinosaur. Finally, we enjoyed acting out these commands to play an interactive, unplugged version of the game. On Thursday, we were learning that computers can use algorithms, which are instructions, to make informed and calculated predictions (machine learning) and help teach a computer program how to interpret different drawings. To look at this in context, we played Google – Quick, draw!, which uses algorithms to guess the images that you draw. We explored the images collected for the different objects it has asked people to draw, a large collection of data that is then used by the computer, and identified incorrect images in order to teach the program what the drawings should and should not look like. Next, in pairs, we built a small model using Lego and wrote a set of instructions (algorithm) so that another pair would be able to recreate the model. When we swapped over, only one pair in the class was able to recreate a model with total accuracy. This helped us to recognise that algorithms must be very detailed and very clear. On Friday, the children focused on planning algorithms that will solve problems. To begin, they had 3 minutes to build a maze from Lego/blocks and write an algorithm to explain how to navigate through it. The children were able to draw on Thursday’s learning to ensure that the algorithms were very clear and very detailed, and they therefore had much more success when swapping with a partner. Next, Mr Cotton introduced the idea of ‘loops’ to make the algorithms more efficient i.e. instead of: ‘move forward’, ‘move forward’, ‘move forward’, you could instead have: ‘repeat three times: move forward’. Finally, the children played ‘Google – Coding for carrots’ game to program a bunny character to navigate around a map. What an enjoyable week!
As you will have seen in our school newsletter from last half term, our school has started following the No Outsiders curriculum and we will be completing a series of lessons across the year to support our learning. Each lesson is centred around a key text and for Year Two this half term this was: Blown Away. This session began with a whole class game to promote cooperation. We then read and discussed ‘Blown Away’ by Rob Biddulph, answering the questions: How do the characters know one another? Are they the same animals or are they different? Why don’t any of the characters ever say ‘No, I’m not helping you!’? We then enjoyed role playing the story as we joined in one at a time to hold onto the imaginary kite. The discussion around this story helped us to conclude that it is not true that different animals can’t be friends because they are different from each other. People are all different but we can all get along and help one another. There are no outsiders in our school.
In HeartSmart we started our next topic ‘Too Much Selfie isn’t Healthy’ and have been thinking about whether it is better to give or to get from others. The ‘giving’ we are thinking of can take many forms; it could be a gift, help, attention, time, etc. Being HeartSmart means knowing that just as we are important, other people are important too. As we become aware of the people around us and consider their needs as well as our own, our hearts and theirs are strengthened. We have been looking for opportunities throughout the day to show love for their classmates.
This half term, we will particularly focus on improving our spelling, handwriting and presentation and our English homework focus will therefore have a handwriting/spelling focus.
I look forward to another busy and exciting term!