Binley Woods Primary School
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Binley Woods Primary School
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Year 1

Class Letters

Summer term

Why can't penguins live by the equator?



Our main driver this half term is Geography, with the enquiry ‘Why can’t penguins live near the equator?’. During this enquiry, the children will recap their knowledge about the towns/cities that make up the United Kingdom. They will move on to learn about the seven continents and the five oceans of the world. They will learn all about the North and South Pole including geographical features such as climate, weather conditions, mountains, rivers and terrain by using various resources including a globe and an atlas. They will also explore which animals live in different continents and why.

Moving on, we will remind ourselves of the holiday discussions had in Reception and use our understanding of the effects of different climate conditions to explore why people choose to holiday in hotter countries and what the positives and negatives of this are. 


We will study two famous explorers who visited the polar regions, Matthew Henson, who visited the North Pole in 1909 and Felicity Ashton who more recently travelled solo to the South Pole on foot in 2020.


Finally we will use what we’ve learnt about the effects of climate to think about our own lifestyles and the lifestyles of those in an opposite climate. We will explain why we wear different clothing at different times of the year, reinforcing the children’s understanding gained through exploration of seasons in Reception and the current science unit 

We should then be able to understand and explain our enquiry into penguins and the equator.  

The children have told me what they already know about all of the above and what they would like to learn after Easter.




The children will spend their art lessons learning all about the famous artist David Hockney. The children will investigate Hockney’s techniques and become familiar with his work and how he uses line strokes to represent water. The children will have the opportunity to practise these techniques before creating their very own Hockney masterpiece based on the Binley Woods pond. The children will then move onto to discovering the style of pointillism and will look at some works from Gerges Seurat and Paul Signac. They will look at the use of lines by these artists and make their own comparisons.



In Design and Technology the children will be introduced to different structures. They will consider how structures vary in size, material, shape, joins etc…by taking part in their own learning walks around the village and school grounds. The children will then move onto looking at shelters, specifically looking at the strength and stability of the shelter before considering their own design and build for a penguin shelter using the knowledge they have gained.

The children will also write their very own non-chronological report about penguins using formal vocabulary and key features linked to this genre, such as main headings, paragraphs, sub-headings, illustrations and captions.


Core Skills

In Core Skills this half term, the whole school will focus on ‘Thinking Skills’. Year 1 will be focussing on using alphabetical systems to retrieve information, including the use of dictionaries. They will then move onto ‘Speaking and Listening Skills’, focussing on taking turns when speaking in a larger group or with the whole class, as well as demonstrating listening to the speaker using eye contact, nodding, body position, etc.



Our English lessons after Easter will be link to our next theme ‘Why can’t penguins live near the Equator?’ The children will begin this term by looking at ‘Poles Apart’ a lovely story written by Jeanne Willis & Jarvis. This will be followed by a selection of other stories linked to this theme such as ‘365 Penguins’ by Jean-Luc Fromental & Joelle Jolivet. We will use these stories, among others, to support their ideas for writing. They will write their own character descriptions, write rules on how to plan for a successful picnic and will also write their own adventure story and water poetry. They will recap various literary devices including adjectives, story language and sentence construction, but will also learn new devices such as imperative verbs, onomatopoeia and similes to name a few.

We will also look at a non-fiction book ‘Life in a Freezer’  by Alastair Fothergill Sir David Attenborough, this will support the children in their own formal writing about penguins.


Phonics and Spelling

During Phonics and Spelling sessions this term, we will focus on the alternative pronunciations of graphemes and the alternative spellings of phonemes. This is sometimes referred to as 'sound families'. For example, the 'oa family' includes the graphemes oa, ow, oe, o_e, and o and during this term the children will learn how to begin selecting the correct grapheme in their independent writing. We will also continue to investigate the number of syllables in words and practise breaking longer words into syllables to read and spell them. Finally, will continually revise our Phase 2-5 tricky words and try to spell them correctly in our independent writing. Across both our Phonics and Spelling and English Lessons we will be exploring plurals, the prefix '-un' and the suffixes '-ing, -ed, -er and -est'. We will learn the spelling rules and apply our understanding in our independent writing.



In Maths this half term the children will practise skills across five main areas. We will start off by looking at ‘numbers to 50 and beyond’ and during this unit we will be identifying 2 digit numbers by counting groups of ten then counting on in ones, representing these numbers using dienes cubes and number bonds, recognising one more and one fewer and ten more and ten fewer than these numbers and comparing and ordering the numbers using a number line and a place value chart. They will then move onto ‘addition and subtraction’. The children will explore 2- digit numbers, represent and explain addition and subtraction with regrouping and investigate number bonds within 20. We will then move on to ‘money. The children will name coins and notes and understand their value, represent the same value using different coins and find change. After this unit we move onto ‘multiplication and division’ where they will learn to share equally into groups, they will learn to double  numbers, link halving to fractions, they will add equal groups and explore arrays. Finally they will focus on ‘capacity and volume’. They will compare capacities, volumes and lengths, explore litres  and apply understanding of fractions to capacity.



Our units this term are called ‘Looking at Animals’ and ‘Our Changing World-Sensing Seasons’. Throughout our Science lessons the children will identify who’s who in the animal world recognising which groups animals belong to. They will look at a variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish and discover what they look like and whether they are herbivores, carnivores or omnivores.



They will then move on to exploring how seasonal changes affect our world, they will observe and describe the seasonal changes and also identify the affect these changes have on trees, plants and animals.



PE this half term will be on Fridays. Children should come to school dressed in their PE kit, which consists of – black jogging bottoms (not leggings), a plain white polo top or a plain white round neck t-shirt, a green school jumper or cardigan and trainers.


Forest School

Forest School will be on Thursdays. Children should come to school dressed in their Forest School kit, which consists of – black jogging bottoms (not leggings), a plain white polo top or a plain white round neck t-shirt, a green school jumper or cardigan and trainers. Children need to wear a hooded, waterproof/warm coat and may also like to wear a hat/sunhat/scarf/gloves (weather depending) as they will be going out in all weathers. Wellies need to be sent to school in a named plastic bag and are to be left at school please. Every item of uniform and kit needs to be named please and all children should have the necessary kit in school on these days to ensure they do not miss out on important learning.



Reading folders need to be brought to school every Monday please. Reading books will be changed then and children will bring 2 books home at a time. Our expectation is that children read at least 3 times a week with an adult. They should use the reading questions and reading activity grid to develop their comprehension skills and extend their reading experiences. There are copies of these at the top of the class page and also in your child's reading folder. 

Reading records will be checked on Mondays and those children who have read 3 times that week will receive a special Class Dojo point for reading. Please do jot down any reading at all that children are doing into their reading records so that we can reward their fantastic efforts.



Weekly letters and any materials needed for home learning will be put onto the class page/Dojo on a Friday. The weekly letter will outline learning for the week ahead, suggest ways to help at home and also give you any messages for that week so please do go online and read it.



At least 3 times a week with adult discussion using the question bookmark. An optional extra is the completion of a chosen activity from the reading activities grid. Where children are struggling with certain sounds or certain tricky words then please practise these using the sound mat and tricky word mat. The question bookmark, reading activities grid, sound mat and tricky word mat are all available at the top of the class page and in your child’s reading folder.



It is an expectation that children can not only read but also spell the tricky words and common exception words by the end of Year 1. A list of these words can be found at the top of the class page under ‘Resources for homework’. We will continually work on these as a class in school but as children are all at different levels of confidence with this, please practise spelling the particular words that your child is not yet secure with. We would recommend tackling 3 new words each week but then going back over words from previous week’s to ensure children don’t forget what they’ve learnt. There are lots of ideas of different ways to do this in the ‘Multi-sensory ways to learn spellings’ booklet which is also at the top of the class page and in your child’s reading folder.



Maths with Parents’ tasks set online on a Friday. The tasks will run over 2 weeks each. This learning will be matched with what we have been doing in our Maths lessons in school and children who complete their Maths homework will receive a special certificate to reward their efforts.


Show and Tell

Show and Tell will be on Monday afternoons and the children will take it in turns each week. We will write which group’s turn it is on the weekly letter every week and we ask that you please keep an eye out for this so that your child does not miss the opportunity to have their turn. Please only send a photo in if it is your child’s turn as we simply do not have enough time in the timetable to squeeze everyone in every week and we are trying to make it as fair as possible. Due to Covid times, we cannot allow children to bring things in from home but we would welcome a photo sent via message on Class Dojo. We will then display the photo on the screen for the class to see and for your child to tell us about. Please could we remind everyone that Show and Tell is a speaking and listening exercise and if children choose to share something with us then it needs to be linked to an area of our learning and they should be ready to talk about their item and answer one or two questions about it too. Achievements from outside of school, such as dancing, football, gymnastics awards are always welcome too.

Resources for homework



Websites to practise key skills at home:


Maths Links:

Use the following links to practise these key Year 1 number skills:

- Counting in 2s, 5s and 10s up to 100

- Recognising odd and even numbers

- Finding 1 more and 1 less than a given number

- Partitioning 2 digit numbers into tens and ones

- Number bonds and facts to 10 and 20

- Finding doubles up to 10 and finding halves from 20



English Links:

Use the following links to practise these key Year 1 reading and writing skills:

- Segmenting and blending all sounds

- Breaking longer words into syllables to read them

- Reading contracted words (I'm, don't, can't etc)

- Reading and spelling tricky words and common exception words

- Forming capital and lowercase letters correctly

- Writing sentences with capital letters, finger spaces and full stops

- Extending sentences using 'and' and other conjunctions (but, so, because, then, with)

- Developing sentences by adding adjectives and using different sentence openers




Other Learning Links:

Use the following links to practise knowledge and skills from other areas of the curriculum:







Activities to practise key skills at home:


                     Representing Numbers                 Maths                        Quick Maths



                                              Phonics              Common Exception Words               SPaG



                     Daily Online Activities         Maths and English Ideas          Practical Ideas



                                   KS1 Maths Games                     Year 1 Number Games



Resources from SEND Supported:


We work with a company called SEND Supported at school and they are releasing newsletters each week offering support and guidance to parents of children who many have additional needs in school. Please find below a link to these newsletters:



There are also lots of other resources and information available on their website. The 'Things to do Issue 2 - Resources' file has some lovely activities for all children regardless of whether they have additional needs or not. There are lots of great visual puzzles and games for children to play so please have a look if you can. There are also resources available now to support with developing children's memory skills in 'Thing to do Issue 3 - Resources.'


Resources for explaining and discussing Covid-19:

Growing Every Child
  • Binley Woods Primary School,
  • Coombe Drive, Binley Woods, Coventry,
  • Warwickshire, CV3 2QU
  • | Tel: 0247 6543 754
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