Birch Class Blog Term 1, 2023-2024

What a fantastic start! This term we learned all about ourselves and made new friends. We took advantage of the nice end of summer and autumn weather to spend as much time as possible outside and in the forest.


In our Year 1 Birch class, we’ve embarked on an exciting journey through the world of Mathematics this term. We’ve been focusing on foundational concepts such as Place Value, Addition, and Subtraction.

We understand that the value of numbers is crucial, and this term, we’ve delved into the concept of Place Value. We’ve been working diligently to grasp the significance of each digit within a number, helping us develop a strong numerical understanding.

Year 1 is all about building a strong mathematical foundation. We, in the Birch class, have been dedicated to enhancing our skills in Addition and Subtraction, using a combination of hands-on activities and engaging exercises to solidify our grasp of these fundamental operations.


What a busy start to the year our class has had! Year 1 is a big leap from kindergarten so consistency and continuity are key factors in making sure that our students feel less daunted when starting this important stage in laying down the groundwork of literacy success for our young learners.

Phonics: In terms of continuity we will be keeping with Jolly Phonics (introduced to your children in Maple class last year) which is a multi-sensory method to learning the 42 letters sounds (alphabet sounds: 1 sound = 1 letter & digraphs: 1 sound = two letters). It is a fun and very much child centered approach to teaching phonics with actions for each of the letter sounds & songs to learn. We begin the class with a new letter sound : we sing the song (do the actions) then we follow the adventures of Inky the Mouse and his friends with a story per letter sound to then sit down and individually concentrate on our Jolly Phonics pupil book.

Handwriting: is also a key element in our class this year which the students work on every day in Literacy. It is fundamental in helping our students develop their fine motor skills which began in Maple class (holding pencil properly/using right amount of pressure on their pencil) yet it is a complex skill that develops over time and demands a lot of concentration and effort but which is very rewarding too as it helps children to develop their spelling and reading skills.

Reading & writing: We have read the book The Tiger Who Came to Tea, an absolute gem of a book which was actually my favourite as a child too! We read this book numerous times and the children have done a variety of writing/reading/sequencing activities and they even acted out the parts of this very cheeky tiger with their tiger masks.

French with Marie

Cette première période a été riche en activités et apprentissages. En effet, nous avons principalement lu 6 albums de jeunesse (en lien avec la rentrée des classes, l’école en générale et la saison de l’automne) :

De ces ouvrages, ont découlé différentes activités qui ont permis l’exploitation de ces histoires. Nous avons donné du sens à l’apprentissage des voyelles et des consonnes. Une façon plus ludique et une approche plus concrète d’étudier la langue française.

A chaque début de semaine, vos enfants ont appris et chanté une nouvelle chanson (6 semaines = 6 chansons) :

C’est la rentrée, Chanson de l’alphabet, Colchiques dans les prés, Si tu as d’la joie au coeur, Ani couni, La maison citrouille.

 Les objectifs de cette période ont été de :

– se familiariser avec la langue française

– construire des phrases simples mais correctes

– oser s’exprimer en petit groupe

– compréhension d’histoires lues

– connaître les voyelles et les consonnes (a, é, e, i, o, u, l) ainsi que le principe du code alphabétique

– associer le nom de la voyelle au geste et surtout au son qu’elle produit, qui est complètement différent de celui en anglais (confusion entre « e » en anglais et le « i » en français/ entre « i » en anglais et le « a » en français…)

– réciter une poésie “L’écureuil”

– chanter collectivement une chanson


This term has been all about exploring the fascinating topic of Everyday Materials. We’ve delved into the world of materials we encounter in our daily lives and the properties that make them unique.

We’ve embarked on a journey of discovery, learning about the materials that surround us – from glass and plastic to wood and metal. Understanding the properties of these materials has been an exciting adventure, and we’ve had hands-on experiences to learn more about them.

To bring science to life, we’ve engaged in hands-on experiments. We’ve tested materials for their hardness, flexibility, transparency, and other properties. It’s been a fantastic way to explore the world of materials and understand why certain materials are used for specific purposes.

Design and Technology

Collaborative project : Eco-Logs Press

The children continued to develop their carpentry skills while constructing ‘Eco Logs Press. We soaked our shredded paper and saw dust to create a magical mix that we used for creating our eco-logs. The children worked on solving real life problems while weighing the raw materials mix and then compared it with the weight of the compressed and dry log. Our small step to reduce the carbon footprint and look after our planet. We are ready to heat our homes or will simply use these logs on the 5th of November.

Woodworking projects are extremely important for developing children’s creative and critical thinking skills. Through these projects, not only do children get to handle and smell the wood but also learn how to use the different carpentry tools. They develop their mathematical thinking, broaden their scientific knowledge and, most importantly, acquire a ‘can do’ mindset.

Water wheels/ Water Pump” Project

Water – Oil Timer” Project

“Survival Kit – Water Filtering” Project

“Recycled Materials/ Boat construction” Project

Forest and PE

In our Forest Exploration sessions, we’ve been on a thrilling adventure of climbing, jumping, and exploring the great outdoors. We have ventured through the woods, honing our skills in orienteering and developing a deep appreciation for nature. It’s been a fantastic journey of discovery and physical activity.

In our PE classes, we’ve been dedicated to improving our motor skills. Through a variety of fun and challenging activities, we have enhanced our coordination, balance, and overall physical fitness. It’s been an opportunity for us to grow physically and develop a lifelong love for staying active.

We’ve also made significant strides in improving our swimming skills. The pool has been our playground for honing water confidence and essential swimming techniques. We have taken to the water with enthusiasm and have made great progress in our swimming abilities.


French Topic:

The theme for this period was “Houses Around the World.” We explored and studied the various styles of houses across the planet, as well as the materials used in their construction. The children learned the difference between a house and a building and they also learned the vocabulary associated with a house, including its rooms and the objects or furniture that make up a home. We’ve read these books:

They played the house-themed bingo.

They learned two songs: “Ma maisonnette” and “Ma maison monde” d’Aldebert.

Finally, they constructed an African hut and a house.

La semaine du goût / The Taste Week:

Every year in France, one week in October is dedicated to taste. Through the Kim game, children have the opportunity to discover various flavours (salty, sweet, sour, bitter). The game involves tasting various foods with your eyes closed and guessing what it is by describing the texture and the flavour it provides.

The children then baked a yogurt cake with pieces of apple.


With Marie:

During this initial period, the children explored various music styles, ranging from classical music to French and English pop, jazz, pop, rap, and more.

Then, they discovered the various families of musical instruments through the musical tale Piccolo, Saxo & Cie.

They played miming musical instruments, a sound and noise quiz, as well as a musical instrument bingo.

With Lucia:

During our Music lessons, we’ve been on an exciting journey to grasp the distinctions between long and short sounds. Through hands-on exploration with a variety of instruments, we have been able to truly feel and hear how different durations create rhythm and melody in music. It’s been a fun and engaging way for us to discover the world of sound.


With Marie:

During this period, we studied the painter Kandinsky. After several observations of his paintings and the way he painted, the children had to recreate a “work” in the style of Kandinsky.

With Lucia:

In Art this term, we’ve brought our dream homes to life and ventured into treehouse designs. Exploring lines, colours, and the enchanting world of watercolours has added depth and charm to our artistic creations.


Wednesday Projects have been a whirlwind of artistic exploration. In our recent sessions, we’ve delved into the enchanting world of Impressionist painters, specifically Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh. It’s been an educational journey where we’ve not only learned about these iconic artists but also applied their techniques to create our own masterpieces.

Our students have been captivated by the works of Monet’s water lilies, Picasso’s abstract genius, and Van Gogh’s vibrant sunflowers. We’ve delved deep into their unique styles and brushwork, which has inspired our own artistic endeavours.

Using different techniques and materials, we’ve created art pieces that reflect the spirit of these Impressionist masters. It’s been a hands-on experience, allowing us to truly understand and appreciate the artists’ techniques.

What makes our Wednesday Projects even more exciting is that we’ve had the chance to collaborate with Walnut, Maple, and Chestnut classes. Working together has not only expanded our horizons but also fostered creativity and teamwork.

In a separate project, we delved into the theme of ‘Water.’ Our students had a fantastic time creating art using soap bubbles and paint, delving into the enchanting world of colours and patterns. Furthermore, we crafted a variety of clay containers designed to hold water, aligning with our ongoing exploration of materials in Science.

Felting Project

Coding and Programming Workshop

This term Birch class was introduced to ScratchJr. The term was divided into three blocks: 

  1. Drive across the city – Students learned how to pick a background and a character, resize it. Use a motion block to make a car drive across the city. 
  2. Run a race – Use the speed block to speed up or slow down a character. 
  3. Sunset – Learn how to make a character disappear. 


In a cooking class with Emily, we learned how to make deviled eggs. With her guidance, we discovered how to create a simple piping bag to fill the egg whites with a delicious mixture of mayonnaise, mustard, egg yolks, pickles, onion, paprika, and more. It was a practical experience that allowed us to appreciate the precision and creativity involved in cooking.