Autumn 2 2023

Welcome back Year 1! We hope you have had a lovely half term, spent with your family and friends.

This half term our topic is “Home and Away”. We have lots of exciting learning planned, based around our book “Dear Polar Bear”. Take a look at our class newsletter for details of our topic.

We still spend time in Rainbow Challenges. This time is ideal for us to build relationships, work in pairs and small groups as well as develop our own ideas through play. As the children become more sophisticated in our play, we are seeing more thought and detail being put into Rainbow Challenge time. Playing in Rainbow Challenges is also ideal for the children’s wellbeing, being able to self-regulate and further develop their skills to be excellent learners such as patience, resilience and team work. Here are some of our houses for Polar Bear…


Collective Worship

Week 1
This week our virtue for Collective Worship has been “Prayer”. During collective worship each day we have reflected on why we pray, who we pray to and what we say when we pray. We have joined together in prayer and collective worship to observe the Holy Day of Obligation on November 1st, All Saints Day. We reflected on and spent some time thinking about how we can honour the Saints.

Week 2
This week we have focused on remembrance. Throughout the week we have been thinking of those who have fought for our country and continue to do so today. We have given thanks to God for looking after those people and their families. On Friday at 11am we took part in a 2min silence to remember those who have lost their lives.


This week we have began advent. We have explored the ways in which we count down and look forward to Jesus’s birth. The children talked about their chocolate advent calendars and how many sleeps it was until Christmas day. We then explored another way of counting down through the advent wreath. We learnt what each coloured candle represents and the order in which they are lite on each Sunday of December and then on Christmas day.




This half term our topic is “Mary our Mother”.

We have started our learning journey by reflecting on what we already know about Mary from our work on “God’s Family” in FS2. The children recalled that Mary was Jesus’s Mother and that God was Jesus’s Daddy. They also understood Joseph’s role as Jesus’s earth daddy.

The children also knew that Mary was visited by an angel to tell her that she had been chosen by God. They also remembered that Mary was there when Jesus died on the cross. From this we revisited Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and consider how she may have felt after his visit. To support us with this we did some hot seating that helped us to understand Mary’s perspective. Here are how we thought Mary might have felt!

This week we read Luke 1: 39-45 and learnt about Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. In small groups the children acted out the story and performed to the class. The children listened carefully and we discussed what a promise was. The children then answered questions about the Bible story in order to further their understanding. This learning included making their own promises to God. It was fantastic to hear so many children make promises linked to looking after God’s world and those within it.


Linking with this we have had Blackout for Creation day and we have all made promises about how we can look after God’s World.


Today we turned our focus to the Christmas Nativity story from the Bible and Mary’s crucial role in it. The children have been working hard on their nativity performance “Baarmy Bethlehem” and have used this to help develop their understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. The children have enjoyed sequencing the story and re-telling it in groups along with writing about each section, identifying the important people and their roles.


Reading for Pleasure

We are encouraging the children to develop a love of reading and encouraging them to explore a range of different authors and poets. This half term, our key author is Michael Bond, who wrote the Paddington stories. The children are enjoying the quiet space and enjoying reading stories in our Author Corner!

We are learning some facts about Michael Bond and the children were impressed with the fact that he wrote every day from 9 o’clock even on Christmas day!



Our key poet this half term is A.A. Milne and we are practising reciting the poem Now we are Six.

Our English Learning Journey

We have started our English learning by really getting to know our book – Dear Polar Bear. We have listened to the story and made predictions about what might happen next. This also linked to our Geography learning about the Artic and Antarctica. Using our Word Aware approach, we explored new vocabulary and decided on our worthy words. We have also explored the characters in the books and the key events, through drawing, role play and hotseating!

The children are making us so proud with their attitude towards their learning and applying all the skills that they have been taught. We are aiming for writing in the past tense as well as the present tense, so we have been had some active Burn to Learn sessions understanding how to turn regular verbs into the past tense by adding an -ed suffix and the present by adding ing. The children have shown a lot of resilience to try to understand this tricky SPAG concept! We practised matching verbs to their past tense version.

We have also had a lot of fun and active Burn 2 Learn sessions to embed using -ed as a past tense ending on regular verbs including speaking in the present tense and the past tense outside on the playground.

In preparation for writing their diary entries the children have also been exploring adjectives to add detail to their writing. We listened to Michael Rosen explain what adjectives are and why they are important! We have played B2L games where the children have had to sort nouns and adjectives and then use them to write silly sentences. The children have then begun to apply this in their own writing.



This half term we are focusing on addition and subtraction. We are starting our learning by focusing on number bonds to 10. This week we focused on knowing all number bonds for all numbers between 1 and 10. We did this practically before recording it in part, part whole models. Once we are confident with this fluency aspect of our learning we will move on to varied fluency, exploring how number bonds can be represented in different ways.

This week we have been furthering our understanding of number bonds, solving problems with number bonds for numbers 0-20. This has required perseverance and resilience to take on new challenges and succeed. We have also been learning about the relationship between addition and subtraction and extending our learning using fact families. 


We have been applying our knowledge and practising our fluency of doubling by playing doubling games and singing doubling songs! We also practised working in teams and listening to each others’ explanations. We had lots of fun!






Carrying on our learning about Everyday Materials and their Properties from last half term, we performed a simple test, to test whether our predictions were correct. We worked scientfically to ensure it was fair and we placed each object into the water to see if each object floated or sunk. Prior to doing this, we linked to our previous learning about what each material was made from.

Linking with Reading, we have been using the topic books from Leeds Schools Library to find out about materials. We have been reading books and sharing facts about materials.

Significant Scientist: Charles Macintosh

Our final test of the half term, linked with our learning about Charles Macintosh. We learned that Charles Macintosh invented waterproof coats, called a Macintosh! Charles painted liquid rubber onto fabric and found out that it was waterproof. We discussed the meaning of “waterproof” and “absorbent” and then performed a test. We predicted whether we thought the object was going to be absorbent or waterproof, performed the test, recorded our results and wrote our conclusions. 



This half term we are focusing on the work of Henri Matisse, a French artist who is famous for both is paintings and collages.

This week we had an introduction to Henri Matisse’s life and work. We made connections to our French learning that the children began last half term. I was very impressed with how confidently the children have picked up key French phrases as part of this learning and facts that they already knew about Paris where Matisee was born. The children then looked at Matisee’s work, commenting on the colours and shapes. They then gave their opinions on his works, stating what they preferred and why.

Today we focused on collage, Henri Mattisse is famous for his collages that he started later in life after initially preferring paintings. The children learnt how to collage using ripped up pieces of paper or cutting them up and arranging them together to create an image before sticking them down. To practice this skill the children created collage poppies linked to remembrance day.


We have continued to practice our collaging skills using different materials. Last week we focused on natural materials, thinking carefully about the materials we used and how we can manipulate them by cutting and ripping before arranging and sticking them to make our collage.

This week we applied the skills that we have learnt about collage to make our own arctic winter collage.



This half term we are continuing to focus on staying safe when using technology.

Today we focused on exploring the following two questions:
Who does technology belong to?
Who owns the internet?

We explored different types of technology and found as many examples of technology around school that we could. We then debated who owned each piece of technology and what this meant in terms of sharing technology.

We then focused on the internet, what it is and how we can use it. The children thought of lots of examples from playing games to watching videos. We then considered how we would stay safe when accessing the internet for these things and remembered our STOP BLOCK TELL.



To begin our Geography learning this half term, we have been exploring photographs of Wetherby, Leeds and the Yorkshire Dales. Our learning is focusing on exploring places and looking at the similarities and differences between the places. Here’s some photographs of us finding and describing the different photographs before sorting our pictures and enjoying sharing our own experiences with our friends. We were active in our learning and discussed the photographs with lots of enthusiasm! Once the photos had been sorted the children filled in the gaps in their sticky knowledge sentences based on their learning from the day.

Our learning journey has continued and we have been using the geographical enquiry skill of interpreting maps and globes. We were very excited to find the Artic circle and Antarctica on a light up globe and we couldn’t believe how small the UK was! We then located the equator and discussed how the countries near the equator have hotter climates than the Artic and Antarctica. We then drew on a map the hot, warm and cold areas of the Earth based on how close they were to the equator and developed a better understanding of why the Arctic and Antarctic are so cold!

Today we recapped our learning on “Home and Away” by playing “Shoot the Sherriff” with facts on Wetherby, Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK, Arctic, Antarctic and the equator. We then explored the main features of home and away by drawing and writing about each place in groups. We then compared them, concluding that there are lots of differences that are largely down to climate and the countries positions in regard to the equator. Where we live the climate is warm so people and animals can live here, that effects our environment. The Arctic and Antarctic is very cold so less people and animals live there.


This week we have started our new topic focusing on toys in the past. We made links back to our learning about the 1920’s seaside in Autumn 1 by focusing on this period again but when learning about toys and how they have changed. The children watch clips and looked at videos of toys from the past before asking questions that we can investigate throughout the topic.

This week we explored toys from the past through first hand experiences. We used all the toys donated by parents and grandparents to make our history toy box. Together we explored each toy listening to family stories and exploring how they worked. We then sorted the toys into four categories, toys we play with now, toys our parents played with, toys our grandparents played with and toys from 1920s. The children were fascinated to see how toys have changed. We finished the lesson by putting the toys onto a timeline.

Today we continued our toy topic by comparing toys from the past and their main similarities and differences. As part of this learning the children were given some of the differences on cards and in small groups have to act them out to their friends who guessed what the differences were.


In Music this half term, we have truly perfected singing in an ensemble for our Christmas Nativity Plays! We were amazing!


In MFL, we have consolidated our learning of greetings and have been practising answering the register in French too!

Following on from our greetings song where we heard the numbers 0-5 in French last half term, we have been focusing on learning all numbers 0-10. First we practiced saying them individually before applying them into a song. We then continued to develop our confidence saying numbers 0-10 in order. We counted both forwards and backwards and had a go at naming the numbers in French out of number order.

Click on the button to practise singing the song at home!

French Numbers Song

To build on our learning of numbers 1-10 in order, today we tried to say them out of sequence and we were amazing! We began by  opening pretend advent calendar flaps, and recapping the greeting that was under the flap. After that, we worked in pairs and small groups to cut our number baubles out, which linked with DT and was good practise for our fine motor skills. We had to say each number in French and place them on a Christmas tree. We then brought our trees to the carpet and sang along to our French numbers song, pointing at the numbers on the baubles on our Christmas trees! We all showed knowledge!


Anti Bullying Week. Odds Socks Day!

We have been celebrating differences this week and thinking about how we are all unique. We started the week by all wearing odd socks to show how we are all the same but all different. We learned about bullying and revisited our message of STOP (several times on purpose/start telling other people) The children were able to talk about what to do if they thought they were being bullied.


Protected Characteristics: Disability and British Value: Individual Liberty

The children have been learning about the Protected Characteristic of Disability and we have been celebrating that even if someone has a disability, they are entitled to be treated equally. We have also been learning about the British Value of Individual Liberty. We learned that we make lots of choices such as what we have for breakfast and what hobbies we have. We also thought about how Individual liberty is the belief that we should have the right to express ourselves and live our life as we choose.

Road Safety and Water Safety

This half term, we have enjoyed learning about Road Safety and Water Safety. The children all took part in a workshop provided by Leeds City Council, where we learned how to safely cross a road with lots of fun and practical activities. We also learned about Water Safety with a session provided by Yorkshire Water. These topics are particularly important for us to learn about due to our context; there are lots of busy roads in Wetherby as well as a very busy motorway nearby and there is a River that runs right through Wetherby, including a section where you can walk straight into the river so we feel it is very important for the children to learn about Road and Water Safety.






In PE, have been focusing on throwing and catching. We started by ensuring the children know how to position their bodies when playing different sports. The children have worked on improving their balance and hand-eye coordination when using equipment. We also always warm up our bodies by playing warm up games like Infinity Tig.

We have then moved on to improving our accuracy and technique when throwing, including chest pushes, two handed throws, one handed underarm and overarm throws. The children have been thinking about how they can position their hands for catching.

The children have also taken part in the Playmaker sessions, run by the Year 5s. The children have enjoyed learning games that can be played at playtime with no equipment. Lots of team work required!