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Margaret Wix Primary School

Hummingbirds (Year 1)

Welcome to Year 1


Our class is called Hummingbirds.  We are taught by Mrs Watkins (Mon-Weds), Mrs Arnott (Thurs-Fri) and supported by Mrs Jeffries.


PE Days

Hummingbirds will have PE on a Tuesday and a Thursday.  Children will need to wear their PE kit to school on this day and will remain in them all day. They will not need uniform to change into.  Please ensure your child has the correct PE kit so they can participate successfully. 


Library Slot

Your child will get an opportunity to visit the school library on Wednesday mornings. Here they will have the chance to borrow a book that they are interested in: a book they will read for pleasure.  If they wish to take a book home, this will need to be returned on a Wednesday ready to change.


Home Learning

Every week each child will bring home their home learning book containing a couple of questions about what the children learnt last week and some new learning from this week. This will be handed out every Friday and should be returned the following Wednesday. Please note, home learning should not take more than 30 minutes. If your child is struggling with this, please make a note for us in their home learning book.



Give Me Ten - Children are expected to read for at least ten minutes every day and should record this in their reading record. Children should bring their reading record to school every day. We hope to see lots of children becoming Reading Champions this year! 


Maths Magicians - There are a number of key mathematical facts that children should know and remember. These are, of course, taught in school but it is essential that children practise them at home too. You can find out which facts your child is currently working on by checking their maths record book. This is also where you should record their daily practice. Children's maths record books should be brought to school every day. Children will be quizzed on their maths facts every Friday. As they progress through the different stages of facts, children have the opportunity to earn rewards and work towards becoming Maths Magicians!


Numbots - Number bonds and times tables are a vital part of mathematical knowledge and understanding. It is crucial that your child practises these skills when they can at home by logging onto the Numbots website.


Handwriting - Using, your child can practise their handwriting at home. There are desktop and tablet login details that can be found by clicking on the phonics, spelling and writing star at the top of the page.



Our super learning in spring 2!

Hummingbirds have had an amazing half term! We are so proud of each and every one of them and the progress they have made.


In English, we have been reading the wonderful book ‘Dear Earth’ by Isabel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi. We explored and discussed some of the wonders of our world, including different sea creatures found in the ocean and rainforests, animals from the savannah and the spectacular landscapes of the Sahara and Antarctica. We wrote some fantastic letters to mother earth describing all places we would like to go to and the sights we would like to see. We created posters to persuade people to look after our wonderful planet and we practised our oracy skills by presenting our ideas to the rest of the class.


In art, we have been exploring seaside landscapes through paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir and Sorolla. We created our own seaside landscapes and practised mixing colours to create different shades for the sky, sea and sand. We also explored different textures in paintings and created our own seaside collages, using different materials, such as coloured cellophane, tissue paper, lentils and cardboard.


In DT, we have been designing, creating and testing our own windmills.  We made a base, body, roof and turbine and then attached the turbine to the body using a plastic straw. We were very pleased with the end result!


In maths, we started the half-term by using the ‘think 10’ strategy when adding.  We recapped our number bonds to 10 and used ‘think 10’ to work out how many more we needed to make 10.  We consolidated our learning using number sentences to represent this.  Then we moved onto bigger numbers up to 20, using our number bonds to help us regroup and make 10, before adding on more.  We learnt how to subtract 1 digit numbers from 20 using a tens frame and then a number line, which the children were really confident in doing. Using numbers up to 20 we reminded ourselves how we can make values in different ways, using lots of different objects and maths equipment.  We thought about different ways of making the same value, eg: 8 + 2 = 10 and 4 +6 = 10 and used the balance scales to show this. 

The children have all been working so hard with their Maths magicians that we complete every week.  We have seen a huge improvement this term, so thank you for taking the time to help support your child at home and well done Hummingbirds!!


In geography, we have been investigating the weather in the UK and in different areas around the world. We used a rain gauge, anemometer and thermometer to record the weather in the key stage 1 garden. We investigated how the weather changes as the seasons change and used the atlas to locate different deserts around the world, including the Sahara and Antarctica.


In PSHE, we have been considering about how to stay clean, safe and healthy in our topic ‘Healthy Me’. We have discussed the importance of healthy eating, exercise, road safety and medicine safety. We have also celebrated International Women’s Day, discussing the achievements of some truly inspirational women, such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, as well as talking about how inspirational some of our own female relatives are!


In RE, we have been finding out about how Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem was celebrated on Palm Sunday. We thought about people in the current day who might receive this kind of welcome. We read the Easter story and discussed how Christians might celebrate Easter.


In science, we concluded learning about plants!  We had a fantastic, if a bit wet and soggy, trip out to Batchwood woods and the children loved discovering different plants, leaves and new signs of spring.  We used ID cards to help us identify the leaves and plants in the woods and drew and labelled them when we returned to class.  Mrs Arnott brought in some pansies for us to observe and draw, identifying the main parts of the plant (leaves, stem, roots, flower).  On a leaf hunt in the school grounds, we continued our learning about evergreen and deciduous trees and sorted the leaves we found.  Finally, we conducted an experiment with paper towels acting as different types of leaves and made a prediction as to which leaf would fall off our washing line first.  The children came up with some great reasons as to why the leaves would fall first. 


In computing, the children have been learning about data handling.  We have thought about how we count objects and how it is easier to group them into the same type of objects, giving them an appropriate label.  The children then found their own objects in the class and sorted them by different ‘properties.’  Building on this, we thought about how we can group objects in more than one way.  Concluding this topic, the children sorted objects on a computer and used appropriate vocabulary to describe them (more than, less than, most, least etc.) and then we created our own questions to ask each other about them. 


Over the holidays, please continue to read with your child daily. Please use the packs given out on parents’ evening to practise reading real and alien words in preparation for the phonics screening check in June and to practise some of the mathematical concepts we have been learning this term.


Have a lovely, long Easter break and we look forward to seeing you all when we come back!

Mrs Arnott, Mrs Watkins and Mrs Jeffries


Look at what we have been up to in Spring 1!

Spring 1 class update


We are so proud of every member of Hummingbirds; they have all shown so much enthusiasm and such a positive attitude to learning this half term. Well done!

It has been a busy half term. In English, we started the term with reading ‘Voices in the Park’ by Anthony Brown and thought about the story from different character’s viewpoints.  We considered our own routine in the morning and what we do to get ready for school, which  helped us to sequence the story and re-write it in our own words.

We really enjoyed the text ‘Here comes Mr Postmouse’ by Marianne Dubac, a wonderful book about a mouse who delivers letters and parcels to all his friends. We wrote our own thank you letters and party invitations and described the different places the animals lived in the book, focusing on using suitable adjectives.

Our poetry unit this half-term, focussed on Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Nut Tree,’ which linked in nicely with our Science topic on Plants.  The children loved ‘becoming’ little nuts and growing into trees.  We practised this poem in small groups and retold it with actions.  We also read ‘What do you do on a nature walk?’ by Kate Williams, which led us on a nature walk of the school grounds.  We used what we found as the foundations for our list poems, and the children thought of some inventive and appropriate adjectives to describe these objects. 

In maths, we have been learning how to double and halve numbers up to 20 using numicon, cuisenaire rods and tens frames. We investigated odd and even numbers and linked this with halving and sharing. We also enjoyed exploring the properties of 2D and 3D shapes and discussing their similarities and differences.

In history, we have been investigating the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 and finding out about life in Pompeii at the time. We have been discussing the difference between primary and secondary evidence and looking at artefacts from this period, discussing their purpose.

In RE, we have been reading, acting out and recounting different Bible stories, such as the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus stilling the storm, in which Jesus shows friendship to others. We have been considering whether Jesus found is difficult to be a good friend to others all the time. We have been thinking about how we could be a good, kind friend to other children.

In art, we have been exploring what is means to be an artist and learning various craft techniques. We have learnt to plait and weave with both string and paper, trying to make a repeated pattern. In DT, we have been investigating wheels and axles. We designed, made, decorated and evaluated our own vehicles out of shoe boxes. We were very proud of our creations!

In PSHE, we have been celebrating our achievements in our topic ‘Dreams and Goals’. We have used circle time with Jigsaw Jack to consider how we feel when we face obstacles but also how we can overcome them. We have thought about the skills needed to work with a partner and designed our own pair of wellies together, trying to make our designs identical.

In science, we continued our Seasons topic, thinking about how Winter feels and we all had a great time making our own snow out of baking powder and hair conditioner! 

We started our new ‘Plants’ topic, by reading the ‘Tiny seed’ by Eric Carle and learning about where we can find seeds.  We explored lots of different fruit and vegetables and learnt about where they are grown in the world.  Then we planted our own seeds in transparent pots, so we can observe their growth over time.  We are keeping a bean diary and hopefully the children will be able to take them home when they have grown into young plants.  We will be taking our learning outside after half-term, to Batchwood woods to identify plants, trees and leaves.

In computing, the children have learnt some early programming concepts by using floor robots.  We explored the functions of each of the buttons and learnt about how a move was different to a turn.  Once the children were confident with all four directions, they created their own programs which they tested on the robots.  Where needed, they debugged the program until the robot ended up in the right place.  We concluded this unit by learning that there can be more than one way to solve a problem.

We hope you all have a lovely half-term and that the children have a really good rest J 




Autumn 2 Class update


We can’t believe it is nearly Christmas and we are coming to the end of our first term in year 1!  Hummingbirds have had a fantastic term and we are very proud of how hard they have worked and how far they have come.  


In English, we began the term by reading Christina Rossetti’s wonderful poem, ‘What is pink?’ and using it as inspiration for our own colour poems. We wrote, illustrated and performed our poems trying hard to vary our tone and project our voices.


We then read ‘Gruffalo Crumble’, a recipe book based on the story by Julia Donaldson. We identified the different features of an instruction text, including bossy verbs. We made our own meals for the gruffalo with natural objects, such as pine cones and leaves. We also followed a recipe from the book and enjoyed making ‘terrible tusks’ (fruit kebabs). We finished the unit by writing our own instructions for making a jam sandwich for the gruffalo, trying hard to include a title, list of ingredients, bossy verbs and sequencing words.


We finished the term by studying the poem ‘Five Little Senses’ We learnt and performed it, trying hard to project our voices. We then used some fantastic adjectives to describe the smell, sight, touch and taste of an orange in preparation for writing our own senses poem.


In Maths, we have been using the part whole model to explore the relationship between addition and subtraction.  We have used this model to solve problems, where information is missing and identifying whether we need to add or subtract.


The children have worked hard to count carefully and compare two groups of objects to find the difference.  We have had a number of lessons using the balance scales to show that the = symbol actually means ‘the same as’ or ‘balanced,’ rather than ‘the answer.’  The children have really impressed us with finding lots of different ways to find ‘the same as’ for a given number.


We have also worked on what the children learnt in Reception, about building numbers to 20, and how numbers ten to nineteen are made up by ten and some more.  The children have played lots of matching games, matching digits, dienes and numbers in words to help develop their understanding.  And of course, we have also been practising counting in 2s, 5s and 10s which the children are getting really good at!


In geography, we have been finding out about our local area. We explored a map of the United Kingdom, naming the different countries and the location of St Albans. We studied our school and the surrounding area on digimap and created our own simple map of the school grounds. We explored our local area on foot, noticing the street signs, road names, different types of housing, shops, church and the woods in New Greens and identifying which were human and physical features.


In art, we have been exploring primary and secondary colours and colour mixing. We have been using different tools to apply paint, producing some very creative pieces of art, including a beautiful picture of an autumn tree. In DT, we have been considering where different foods come from, discussing a balanced diet and how fruits and vegetables are healthy. Inspired by winter and the festive season, we decorated some Christmas biscuits.


In PSHE, we have used circle time with Jigsaw Jack to consider our similarities and differences. We have also discussed bullying and the importance of talking to a trusted adult if we feel upset or unsafe. We have written kindness pledges and created friendship tokens to encourage us all to be good friends to others at school.


In RE, we have been considering how it feels to both give and receive a gift. We have discussed the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men and their significance. We have thought about which gifts we would give to Jesus if he were born today.


In Science, we continued our learning about Materials with some fantastic experiments.  We learnt about floating and sinking, by experimenting with a satsuma!  Then the children made predictions as to whether a collection of objects would float or sink.  They had great fun testing out their predictions!  We finished our unit by making our own boats out of a choice of materials and seeing if it could support a counting bear.  Hummingbirds are great scientists! 


In our Seasons unit, we learnt about Autumn with a fantastic investigation into what colours hide in our leaves at this time of year.  We will learn about the other seasons as the year progresses. 


In Computing, the children have loved using computers to recreate lots of different paintings by some famous artists such as Matisse, Mondrian and Kandinsky.  We explored the different tools that offers and thought about which tool to use for each style of painting.  The children have become really confident in using this application and they can explain which tool they used and why.  At the end of the unit we created our very own digital masterpieces using a style called Pointillism and then recreated it with cotton buds and paint.  The children all voted for which effect they liked best and why.

We hope you have a fantastic Christmas holiday and a well-deserved rest. We look forward to seeing you back at school on Thursday 4th January.


Mrs Watkins, Mrs Arnott and Miss Cattermole


Autumn 1 Class update


Hummingbirds have made such a fantastic start to the year and we have been so impressed by their enthusiasm and thirst for learning.  Here’s a little bit about what we have been up to already in this action-packed half-term.


In English, we really enjoyed reading the story, ‘Plenty of Love to Go Round’ by Julia Donaldson, about a dog who is not very keen on a cat joining his family home! We used our phonics to label a picture of the dog called Plum and we wrote a list of all the things we might need if we were to get a new pet cat.


We have also enjoyed reading ‘Stanley’s Stick’, a beautifully illustrated book about a boy who imagines using his favourite stick for many different things, such as catching fish or stirring his tea. We found our own sticks outside and imagined that they were swords, fishing rods or even wands to cast magic spells!


We then explored some non-fiction texts and learnt all about the Hummingbird Hawk Moth, which is the name of our class.  The children enjoyed finding out what it eats, where it lives and the predators that like to eat it!  They used what they learnt to write beautiful sentences and produce a factual poster about this beautiful moth.  Ask your child what they can remember.


We ended this half-term with reading ‘Coming to England’ by Floella Benjamin.  The children learnt all about what life was like in Trindad and really started to think about how hard it must have been for Floella and her family arriving in England for the first time.  We wrote thought bubbles about how she must have felt and also wrote about our own experiences.  We will continue work on this text after half-term.


In maths, we have been counting up to 20 and back and working on our number formation. We have been using objects from around the classroom to practise our counting and subitising skills and matching a given number of objects with a numeral card. We have been ordering numbers and finding out one more and one less.  We have been learning about basic addition and subtraction using concrete objects and a number line and considering how this might be written using mathematical symbols.

We have also learnt about ordinal numbers (first, second, third) and using left and right, to describe the position of objects. 


In our history topic, ‘What does it take to be a great explorer? ’, we have been investigating the qualities you need to possess in order to explore Antarctica or fly solo from England to Australia! We have been finding out all about the amazing lives of great explorers, such as Ranulph Fiennes, Bessie Coleman, Amy Johnson and Neil Armstrong. We really enjoyed our workshop in which we used drama and team games to find out and remember different facts about famous explorers.


During Black History Month, we have also been discussing the huge achievements of women, such as Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Beyonce. We have been reading ‘Coming to England’ by Floella Benjamin which tells of Floella’s journey from Trinidad to England and her experiences when she arrived here as a child.  


In art, we have been focusing on landscapes and cityscapes painted by Monet. Using different drawing tools, we have created our own drawings of Monet’s beautiful garden in Giverny and the Houses of Parliament in London at sunset.  We have also created self- portraits, looking very carefully at our different features.


In PSHE, we have been using circle time with Jigsaw Jack to discuss how our behaviour affects others and how we can help others in our class to learn. We have also been thinking about how we know we are safe at school.


In RE, we have been finding out about the creation story and thinking about different ways in which we can conserve our wonderful planet. We went on a scavenger hunt to find some of the beautiful natural objects we have in our school grounds. We made posters informing others how they can help to save our planet.


In Science, we started our Materials unit by exploring the classroom and identifying what the furniture was made from.  The children were challenged to find as many objects in the room made from: metal, plastic, rubber, wood and glass.  They found so many!

Next we looked at the different properties of the materials and identified objects that were bumpy, flat, rough, smooth, sharp and blunt.  We conducted some experiments and talked about how to make the test fair.  First, we tested a selection of materials to see which held the most water and which was the most absorbent.  Then we tested another group of materials to see which were opaque and transparent.  Lastly, we tested a range of materials to see which could stretch the most.  Hummingbirds were great scientists and could explain what they found out using our new science vocabulary.  Ask your child what the words in bold mean and see if they can remember.


In Computing, we started our ‘Technology around us’ unit by thinking about what the word technology means.  The children went on a hunt in the classroom and found lots of examples of technology and could explain what the objects were used for.  The children have learnt the names of the different parts of a desktop or laptop computer and why they are important.


They used their mouse skills to ‘drag and drop’ in a fun puzzle task and they developed their skills further using the programme to draw a picture of themselves.  The children then practised using their typing skills to create a text box and write their name.  We saved our work so we could come back and add to it later on.  The children are doing really well at developing their mouse skills, but lots of them found it quite tricky!  If you have a computer at home, please encourage them to practice using the free web-based programme. 


We ended the unit by thinking about how to stay safe online, using the school rules and by thinking about what information is safe to share online. 


We hope you all have a lovely half-term and these glorious, sunny, Autumnal days continue!  Make sure the children have a well-deserved rest and we will see you back in school on Monday 30th  October.


Mrs Watkins, Mrs Arnott and Miss Cattermole smiley