West Malling CE Primary School

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West Malling CE Primary School

– and The McGinty Speech and Language Centre

"Let your light shine”, Matthew 5. 16

Content Slideshow

Poppy Class

Mrs B’s Summer holiday news: 
On the day you all came to our Poppy picnic in our School garden, something exciting was happening with the duck eggs I put into our incubator!! Three eggs hatched 🐣! Look at these ducklings🐥 !!! 
So sorry we weren’t in Class to hatch them together in Term 6. The eggs arrived very late and we weren’t altogether, but you can see the photo & I promise we’ll hatch chicks before Easter next Spring. 

Learners of term 6

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Monday 20th July


End of Term 6 Size & Measure: Sunflower height challenge: Mrs B measured how tall her Sunflower plant has now grown (Friday 17th July) and it is now another 8 cms taller than on Sunday! It has grown 8 cms in 5 days! That means it is growing more than 1cm talker every day.

Can you find out what 1cm looks like ?

Now her plant is 1m 67cms high, which is the same height as Mrs B herself!

If Mrs Mac’s plant is 90 cms (not quite 1m tall, as 100 cms=1 metre), whose sunflower is the tallest?

Can a grown up in your family help you calculate how much taller the tallest one is than the shorter one?

Have any of you grown a sunflower to beat how tall Mrs B’s plant is?

If so, send us a photo and claim your prize!!

Welcome to Crumpet, our McGinty pet hamster, who will join us in September. She is very friendly and doesn’t nibble fingers!

Wednesday 15th July


I have to sit near my four cats when they’re eating their dinner, or Rudi, the fox, is very rude and eats it instead! He sunbathes on my lawn, but was camera shy today!

I also see a badger in the garden some nights - I catch him with his nose in the compost heap, snuffling for worms, but, even though he’s very thick set, he lumbers off through the back garden fence too quickly for me to ever take a photo (and it’s in the dark!) This news is leading up to telling you that the mammal I really wish for, a HEDGEHOG, isn’t anywhere to be found in my garden, sadly. It would help my telling you the last chapter of our Term 6 book, “The Hodgeheg!” Our Poppy class hedgehog puppet will have to do! Hope you enjoy Chapter 9!

Chapter 9

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Monday 13th July


Good morning Poppy! We hope you had a lovely weekend.


Below is chapter 8 of Hodgeheg. What a way to start your week. We hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 8.MP4

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Mrs B’s Sunflower plant is now much taller than the spade (twice as tall as the spade) and taller than the broom, too!

Measuring how tall with cups was tricky and I think that Mrs Mac and Mrs B have different sized cups, different spades and our brooms are not the same height.

So Mrs B  thought about the problem of how to prove her sunflower is the tallest. She suddenly had an idea! What about measuring in metres?!

Mrs Mac’s metre must be exactly the same as Mrs B’s because a metre is a “ standard measure”.

Mrs B’s sunflower measured more than 1 metre tall!

It measures 1 1/2 metres! That is 1 metre and 58 centimetres.

It is nearly as tall as Mrs B!!

Mrs B’s sunflower reaches up to her mouth.

I wonder how many metres tall Mrs Mac’s has grown? Is Mrs Mac’s nearly as tall as her head?

It is nearly the end of Term 6!! Who will win the “ Tallest Sunflower Competition”?

If you are growing a tall Sunflower, please measure it and send us your photos!! Your plant could be the winner!

Learner of the week

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Friday 10th July


Back in Feb 20, Springtime, we brought frogspawn into class from the school pond! Then tadpoles hatched out! When we had to learn from home in March, Mrs B brought some tadpoles home in a tank. She looked after them and at last, they have front legs as well as back legs. They have changed shape and colour! They are froglets now! See their tales. Do you think the tails drop off or get sucked into their bodies? Can you look online to find out? Please talk with your family too and tell us what you think!


The few Peacock caterpillars I was looking after, first turned into Chrysalids about 10 days ago, and are now hatching out as Peacock butterflies! Here is one with her front legs and head cracking open her chrysalis, but with her wings still folded up inside! Amazing!!


Look at how one of the butterflies looked once it's wings had opened fully. It's stunning and it flew away so beautifully. I wish you could have let them all go. Next Summer!!



Wednesday 8th July




Hodgeheg, Chapter 7

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Here is a birthday celebration Miss Skelly did for her daughter's 10th birthday. Can you write about a celebration you have had or are going to have, what type of celebration is it? Maybe you could draw a picture or show us a photo. We look forward to seeing your lovely work.


Cinnabar moth caterpillar!


Size & measure:

The photo makes the caterpillar look huge!

Really, it is not as long as Mrs B's little finger.

Mrs B can not measure how long this is with her spade, broom or even cups - it's too short and small!

How could Mrs B measure how long this caterpillar is? What could she use?

Please send us your ideas (before it pupates in to a chrysalis inside a cocoon!)


We went for a walk in Knowle Park last night and watched this stunning stag. His antlers are very long and a beautiful shape.

Erin will recognise the deer - she told us her news about visiting the same park recently!

Can you tell us some of your news?

Maybe you can come to our Teams meeting at 1:15 this Friday afternoon and tell us?

We would so love to see you! Please come and see your friends in the McGinty Bubble there on screen too!


Hodgeheg, Chapter 6

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The moment you have all been waiting for - the next installment!

Poor Hodgeheg, crossing the road, he looks so small on the stripes. Do you see the big orange ball on the top of the pole, just like in the story?

Do you all remember when we went to Broadstairs and ate fish & chips in the park with the bandstand?

I wonder if this is like the park that the Hodgeheg lives opposite. Is this like your park?

Monday 6th July


We hope you had a lovely weekend.


Mrs B's Sunflower is now taller than the broom!

But is it taller than Mrs Mac's Sunflower?

If Mrs Mac measures her plant with her broom and her broom is a different size to Mrs B/s broom, will the measures be fair?


Is there a better way to compare Mrs Mac's and Mrs B's Sunflower plants heights?

How about hand spans?

Tomorrow, we shall measure how tall our sunflowers have grown using hand spans!

Can you measure how tall one of your plants or animals are in hand spans?

Tell us about this please!


McGinty News:


Our McGinty Duck eggs finally arrived today!

Mrs B has put ten eggs into our incubator. The incubator will keep the eggs warm (37.6 degrees c). The cradle which the incubator sits in, gently rocks the eggs, which  means that the growing chick and yolk ( the chick's food) won't stick to the inside of the egg shell.

Normally, the mother duck rolls each egg every day, with her beak, to turn them and stop sticking inside!

Can you find out how many days duck eggs take to grow ducklings inside before they hatch?

Learner of the week

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Friday 3rd July


Where has this week gone?!? It's gone so quickly.


Parents of children in the home learning bubble should have received an email from Mrs Snell yesterday. If you didn't receive this please let us know.


Below are some fun maths games you might like to play


Wishing you all a lovely weekend! smiley

Wednesday 1st July


Morning Poppy. I can't believe it's July already!

This week is flying and it is already time for the next installment of Hodgeheg. This time read by the lovely Mrs Colley.


We also have some Maths for you. This is a great interactive longest/shortest game.

Hodgheg Chapter5.MP4

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Monday 29th June 


Good morning Poppy! Did you get blown away this weekend? It was very windy! We hope you had a lovely time, whatever you got up to.


Miss Skelly has recorded the next installment of Hodgeheg for you to enjoy below.


Size & Measure: Mrs B's sunflower is lots taller than the spade now. It is nearly as tall as the broom!

Mrs B has an Artichoke plant that is much taller and wider than her Sunflower. See how much taller than the broom it has grown! It is a lot taller than Mrs B.

Hodgeheg Chapter4 part1.MP4

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Hodgeheg Chapter4 part2.MP4

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Hodgeheg Chapter4 part3.MP4

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Learner of the week

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Friday 26th June


How are you all? We hope you managed to try and keep cool yesterday. It was SO hot!


Miss Skelly went out walking earlier this week and came across this strange sight.

These are Ermine moths. They start off as caterpillars and when they are ready they come together to form a communal web in order to protect themselves and their food while they pupate. Have you seen anything like this before?

Thursday 25th June


Look what surprised Miss Skelly in her garden! She says a BIG hello to you all.

Creative Education - Free online courses


You may find some of these useful during these unprecedented times



There is also a group called "Contact": a charity for families with children with Send - Helpline 0808 808 3555


Lastly, Educational Psychology Family Helpline, which was started during lock down, for families referred by school team. Please contact Babs Bartholomew or Gay Adam if you would like to discuss this. 

Wednesday 24th June


We hope you're having a good week. Below is the next installment of our story.


Hodgeheg Chapter 3.MP4

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Hodgeheg chapter 3 English (3).mov

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Mrs B’s news!

I have been given these by my niece’s children (my relatives)- they are Peacock butterfly caterpillars which Evie & Lawrie found when out cycling! There are two sizes and I shall look after them for you all. I bet I get stung collecting Nettle plants! It’s worth it, because they are my favourite butterflies and every Summer, I try to have some in Poppy. Maybe they can travel in the McGinty Bubble before the end of term?! 

Tuesday 23rd June


Today would have been Sports day if we had been in school. So we don't miss out our friends at Pass and the Youth Sport Trust have sent some activities which you might like to try out. If you do please send some pictures to and we can upload them to our gallery. We'd love to see what you get up to!

Hodgeheg Chapter2 part 1.MP4

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Hodgeheg Chapter2 part 2.MP4

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Monday 22nd June :

Hi everyone!
Mrs Mac and Mrs Snell are in the middle of putting up two more read chapters of our Hedgehog story, and some English challenges which are fun-filled and interactive about this book, for you (but the video needs cutting into bits, as it’s too long as it is!)


Maths: Here’s another photo of Mrs B’s sunflower plant, which has really liked the sunshine and rain over the weekend, and has grown quite a bit taller!  It is taller than one spade now!
But I measured it with a broom and it is not yet one whole broom high! Mrs Mac’s sunflower is two cups tall, so is mine still shorter than hers, I wonder? What do you think? Please let me know.

I decided to measure my plant with cups, too, and then it was 11 cups  tall! That is a larger number than 2 (Mrs Mac’s cups) , so is my plant taller than hers, after all?

I feel a bit confused!

Can any of you mathematicians help me sort this measuring muddle out for me, Mrs B, please?!


Size and Measure Talking Maths

I (Mrs B) tried measuring snakes, but can you put these caterpillars in order of their length (just pictures, but you could colour or decorate them with shapes) maybe from the “shortest” , to “longest”, talking about “longer than” . Then you can sort them into the sets in the resource?
Of course, I will try measuring real caterpillars I am so excited to have found some Peacock butterfly caterpillars that are eating and growing very quickly indeed!


I have updated some of your Bug Club books, so please do keep reading these, trying the quizzes, and also visiting Mathletics. You’re doing brilliantly there!

If you want more challenges, please do look at Chestnut, Lime and Cherry class pages of this website, as there are so many activities suggested, for you to maybe try one or two from!


Look out for more on Wednesday!!

And do really enjoy Mr Huggins and Mrs Manson’s artistic pieces , made especially just for you!

What have Poppy class been up to?

Leaner of the week

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Friday 19th June



The Poppy adults are going to read you two or more chapters each week of the book by the author Dick King Smith, which was planned for Term 6, if we had all been back in Poppy Class.

Here is chapter 1!

If you listen carefully, you will hear about some animals that Hedgehogs, those spiky mammals that we are sometimes lucky enough to see after dark in our gardens (but that sadly we most often see squashed flat in the road by cars and busy traffic), eat. One of these is Grass Snakes and on our Poppy web page, you can see a Grass Snake that Mrs B found in her big garden.

The story starts with a sad shock! I’m afraid that “Aunt Bessie’s copped it” means that Aunt Bessie was an older hedgehog that got run over flat in the road by a car and died. We know that this might make you feel sad and blue. It is what does happen to a lot of hedgehogs, because they don’t understand about cars and how fast they move, and only have short legs to run with. Although hedgehogs can roll into a very spiky ball, with hundreds of sharp spikes sticking out, to stop foxes from eating them, cars don’t’ stop because of prickles on small mammals, of course. But please keep listening and give yourself a big, strong hug, to move from blue to green, calm and happy again.

The story does get much happier after that, with the main character trying to solve the big problem and help his neighbours!

Next week, when one of us reads the next chapter of this book to you, we will also post some ideas of home fun activities you might do around this story, so please look out for that!

Hodgeheg Chapter 1, part 1.MP4

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Hodgeheg Chapter1, part 2.MP4

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Talking Maths: Size & Measure:

Please do have a think about my Snakes “How long? Longest? Longer than…” challenges, too!

And Mrs Mac has challenged YOU to beat Mrs B in the “Tallest Sunflower plant” competition that Mrs B is beating Mrs Mac in at the moment!!


Tallest Sunflower plant challenge:

Mrs B's plant is not even 1 spade tall and Mrs Mac's sunflower is two cups tall. Mrs Mac thinks her sunflower plant is taller because two (cups) is more than not even one (spade).

DO you think Mrs Mac is right? Why? Why not? Which sunflower so you guess is taller? How could we find out? Does Mrs B need to measure her plant with cups? Does Mrs Mac need to measure her plant with spades?

Who do you think is winning the Sunflower competition? Are you growing Sweet Peas or Sunflowers that you think are taller than Mrs Mac's & Mrs B's? Please send a photo or tell us at!


Wednesday 17th June


Sunflower growing competition - Mrs Mac's update!

Not even close to Mrs B's sunflower but I will keep trying and keep the slugs away if possible.


First I planted them from seed in small pots and put them in the greenhouse.

Then I planted them in the ground, I am hoping that some will grow!

I water them every day but my sunflowers are only 2 cups tall at the moment. I will let you know how they progress.

I think Mrs B is in with a good chance of winning the sunflower competition! UNLESS - Have any of you grown any yet? Please help me challenge Mrs B if you have and send your photos in.


Monday 15th June


Yesterday, Mrs B looked under her stones and in her woodpile, and found lots of snakes! Most of them escaped , before I could pick them up, but I managed to line up three slowworms. I tried to catch the Grass snake I’d been tracking, but it squirted some horribly smelly stuff on my hands. Later, I managed to creep up on it with my gardening gloves on!

Please do tell us some of your weekend news, too! We’d like to put more of your photos in our Poppy art gallery.

Size & Measure:
I thought you might like to see and talk to your parents about which snake is the most long, the longest?

Which ones is the Grass Snake longer than?

If it is tricky to see in the photos, I can tell you that the shortest slowworm was the same length (as long as) as my first finger (Peter Pointer finger), the biggest slowworm was as long as my whole hand and the Grass Snake was as long as my whole arm!

I liked measuring them, but I don’t think they liked as much as I did.

Here are some fun interactive games to reinforce comparing and measurement skills.


We hope that you enjoy them and the links are attached.



BBC bitesize have a  good video that explains how we use words like, long, short, longest, shortest. Its only 5 minutes but worth an opportunity for a quick sit down!​ It also has an activity worksheet which you can work through and put your answers in your work book or print off.  Click on the name of the worksheet to open it. You can compare the words to those on your measurement key words sheet that was sent to you and see how many you can find.

Our friends at PASS, together with Kelly Jarvis, PE teacher at Aylesford School and Well Being Coach, are offering a free five-week Mindfulness, Yoga and Wellbeing Club to all primary-aged children.


The sessions will be run on Zoom every Wednesday afternoon from 17th June to 15th July. If there is enough interest in the course then a second one will run over the summer. Please see the attached document below for more information.

Learners of the week

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Friday 12th June


We hope you have all had a lovely week and are looking forward to some sunshine this weekend.


Mrs Mac is challenging me (Mrs B) on who can grow the tallest sunflower! This is mine (it planted itself from dropped bird seed!) I have put the peg and pigeon feather in to give you an idea of how high it is.

I (Mrs B) have a new upcycled pagoda for my Wisteria plant. Do you think it is the same height (high) as my Sunflower, do you think it is higher/taller (more tall) or shorter (more short/less tall) than my Sunflower plant?

Can you find two things in your home or garden to compare the heights of? How do you know which is more tall or less tall? Can you explain? Are the two thing taller or shorter than you? How can you fairly measure that?


Wednesday 10th June


Hi Poppy Home Bubble Learners (thinking of naming you "Bubblers"! Do you like this name or not? Try saying it out loud, and let me know if you are happy to be a "Poppy Home Bubbler" or not, please!


I've found some more story books about " Bubbles" which you can hear read aloud online or your Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandad, brother or sister might read to you!

These are all free on YouTube:

"Peep and the Big Wide World",

"The Trouble with Bubbles" ,

"The Bubble Factory",

"Big Bad Bubble- Read Aloud books with Miss B", 

"Bubble, Bubbles and More Bubbles- Fancy Nancy Read Aloud", 

"Alfi blows bubbles"

and a non-fiction book:

"Fun with Bubbles!"  which will give you lots of exploratory play and Science investigation ideas!

Sorry not to have given the Authors' names, but I think they can be easily found. 

There's also a read aloud book on Youtube called "Coming back to School in a Bubble" by Kezia Matthews​, which I think is very helpful for Poppy returners, and which we'll also send to those families by email.



For some families who have expressed an interest in support for  their children's anxiety (whether returning to school now or later, or because of change and maybe easing lock down routines at home), we have recommended the following free (for a week at a time, as they arrive), online, short and really accessible courses: 

Creative education courses run by Pooky Kingsmith ,internationally renowned author & specialist (psychologist/teacher?) :


Highly recommended (although they're all fantastic) : 

> Soothe & Calm techniques 

> "Understand Anxiety: 10 things you need to know"

> "How to be the adult your child needs in lock down" re the SWAN techniques

> "Promoting emotional regulation in the the child with autism" (NOT necessarily only  beneficial for students with ASD or Social Communication needs, or even SEND, but for ALL children, and indeed, adults, too!)

>" Breaking the cycle of emotionally based school attendance issues" (not just for non attenders, but very good for children who will have been out of School for a long time, possibly 6 months by September)


Wishing you a happy Wednesday! 

Monday 8th June


Hi Poppy!  


We hope you all had a great weekend, even though there it was wet at times.

Very well done to Erin for being the Learner of the Week last Friday for her great speech targets work and achievements, as well as Mathletics and Bugclub learning online!


Today, some friends have gone back to School into a McGinty Bubble. Other friends are starting their second week in their big class bubbles, and a few McGinty Ash and Chestnut children go into those bubbles today, too. Yet other friends are still learning at home. So we're all learning in different bubbles!


We hope you enjoyed the story of "The Bubble Mystery" Mrs B read & signed last week! 

Have you had a chance to start the speaking and listening challenges for that, suggested in the "Bubbles Home learning Ideas" chart? If so, please do send us some photos of any answers to the questions you may talk about with adults at home.

There are some other stories about bubbles that we would suggest - they are all available free on YouTube, some of them being read aloud or even signed if you search there ("Big Bad Bubble- Read Aloud books with Miss B", "Bubble, Bubbles and More Bubbles- Fancy Nancy Read Aloud", "Alfi blows bubbles", "Bubble Trouble" and of course "The Bubble Mystery" read by other adults).


Mrs Mac has provided some  PowerMaths Size and Measure learning activities suggestions that we hope your parents may find helpful, here on this page.

She has also allocated you some size and measure power maths activities available through your BugClub log in- same user name and password! Thanks so much, Mrs Mac.


Please do go to the C & I subpage to see Mrs B's shapecoded weekend news and photos, too.


For extra castle points this week, we would love you to take this news recording challenge! Please say for a parent to scribe (write for you or type) or write yourself with the help of your Letters and Sounds mat (or type) a sentence or two of your weekend news, and send a photo to us. Mrs B will then shapecode it and display it on the Poppy page - with a photo if you wish to send that too. Remember, there are extra castle points for saying and writing/typing your weekend news to share with us!


Have fun with Bugclub reading, quizzes and Mathletics again this week please. 

Who will be the Poppy Learner of the Week this Friday? 

Happy, happy week!

McGinty Bubble

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For children starting in the McGinty bubble on Monday, here is a little video from Mrs B showing you what to expect.

Learner of the week

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Friday 5th June


We hope you have all had a good week. Below is a treat for the weekend from Mrs B on you new topic 'Bubbles'.

Have a lovely weekend!

Bubbles Story

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Wednesday 3rd June


Here's a Balloons Size ordering early Maths activity which would involve lots of talk of key vocabulary (e.g. more exciting words for "big": "large, enormous, huge, massive, giant, gigantic" & those words we KS1 teachers love to make up : "Ginormous" etc., as well as "small, smaller than, smallest, middle-sized " etc). I'm afraid I couldn't find a "Bubbles" activity, so went for balloons as somewhat related?! 

Of course, you could video bubbles you all blow and talk about the clip when watching it back: who blew the "biggest", "one bigger than my fist", "smallest bubble" etc.

Term 6 Poppy Talking Maths SIze & Measure symbolled keywords:


Blue: Year R Chestnut/Poppy children's vocab learning & elder children's review

Yellow: Year 1 Lime/Poppy children's vocab learning & Year 2s review

Green: Year 2 Cherry/Poppy children's vocab & concepts learning.

Tuesday 2nd June


Term 6 Poppy Talking Maths (Shapes & Measures) : "Size and Measure":

In class we would have been working in 3 groups to develop concept and vocabulary understanding of size and measure this term. 

There is a symbolled key word sheet here to help you talk about the main concepts, starting with those with a blue background for YRs, yellow for Y1 & green for Y2s as an approximate guide (it may help to ensure your child understands and correctly says & signs the earlier words first and for review, before starting with the higher level concept vocabulary! 

Once we are sure that children are secure with their group's target concepts language understanding and use we start talking about how long, how wide, how high/tall things are by direct comparison of two, then more, objects. This will be review for most children, but maybe new for a few. Then with YR and Year 1 children, we begin to explore measuring items using a non-standard unit of measure eg lego bricks. We first see how long/wide/tall items are by the number of that unit (eg how many bricks long?") and then start comparing different objects' lengths (or width or height) by comparing number of bricks (eg. "The lorry is 7 bricks long and the car is only 3 bricks long. I think the lorry is longer!"). After which , we might start to explore how much longer the lorry is than the car and how much shorter the car is than the lorry (quite tricky concepts, particularly as  the outcomes are changeable, dependent on the car, lorry or bricks used!)

Later, we reflect on why comparing the length of two different tables, for example, measured with different units of measure (one might be 20 rubbers long, and another 12 shoes long) is not helpful and why using a constant unit of measure (which still may be non-standard, eg handspans) is more useful. ​ We usually teach Year 1 children how to measure accurately in handspans and compare lengths, widths and heights by the number of handspans.

With Year 2 children, we review all of the above, and then think about how my adult handspan is going to give a very different set of measurements to each child's as our handspans are not all the same size, and discuss how we use standard units to be able to talk to each other meaningfully here . We then teach accurate measuring in metres, starting with for eg. " This ... is about 1 metre tall"; "That one is more than 1 m tall; this one is less than 1 m tall" etc.

Some children may be ready to start measuring in centimetres in Year 2, but it's much better not to confuse measuring in metres skills, than to rush this.


Having explained the sequence of children's most effective learning, we'll be posting some resources and ideas for measuring activities at home.

Attached is a PowerMaths set of activities to get you started with the non-standard measuring, but do please remember that the vocabulary and concept understanding of the keywords also on this page, come first!!

Any queries, please don't hesitate to come back to any of the Poppy Team. 

Happy measuring!!

Monday 1st June 


Hi all of you Poppy class special ones!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday week- wasn't the sunshine amazing in Kent, England? 

But not in America, where I read that there have been storms and floods, hailstones as big as a man's hand and lots of lightning! 

I sat for ages looking at the starry sky on Wednesday night, but the rocket planning to go to the International Space Station (ISS) couldn't blast off because the weather was too dangerous. I looked again on Saturday night, and saw on the News that the rocket did take off then, but I must have been looking in the wrong direction- I missed it!! I tried to find North West in my garden, but maybe I made a mistake!

Did anyone in your family see, do you know? I wonder if any Poppy grown ups saw it?

You might like to ask an adult in your family where North, South, East and West are in your home and garden? These are what we call the 4 main "Compass points" or directions. 

The sun comes up in the East early in the morning at dawn and goes down at sunset in the evening in the West - this might help you.


Welcome to Term 6 and June-"pinch, punch, first day of the month!"

We will read you chapters from a book we Poppy adults all love, this term. We'll keep the book a secret for now, but look out for it coming soon!!

It has an animal as its main character, and I have been looking out for animals to share photos of with you in my holiday week.

Here's one and there are some more with my news writing (shapecoded) on the C & I (Communication & Interaction) sub page - just click on the link. I hope you find them interesting!


I (Mrs B) love animals, even beetles in the bathroom, but what I love even more is seeing your home learning and hearing your holiday news! I can't wait to hear and see some of the fun you've been having!!

Please do send any more "Home Sweet Home!" learning you have finished to the Poppy Teacher page and we'll share it on this page.



Some friends are going back to school today in smaller groups than our normal classes, to make sure everyone stays safe. Not everyone will be there, but the friends and adults who are starting back now are learning in small groups called "bubbles". Some Chestnut friends will be back at School in the Chestnut bubble and there are two bubbles for some of your Lime friends (as well as two Ash class bubbles  for Year 6 and a bubble for children whose parents are Key Workers helping us all stay as healthy as we can).

Those of you staying at home at the moment are in your "home bubble", but you are also part of our Poppy home learning bubble (and also Lime or Cherry classes home bubbles), too, so please do keep joining your Poppy friends by looking at the photos in our gallery on this Poppy class page, as well as sending us these photos!

So, back to bubbles: our Key Stage 1 (Lime, Cherry and Poppy classes) Term 6 learning topic is "Bubbles!" We can learn a lot from bubbles, whether we are in school or learning at home- please see the home learning suggestions page about "Bubbles" here on Wednesday!


Children in Poppy/Chestnut would have been joining in our English, as well as Maths, in Poppy this term if we had all been learning in school as usually, but under the circumstances, we would recommend Year R Poppy children continue taking part in the Chestnut activities- please continue to see the Chestnut website class page for some wonderful ideas.


I (Mrs B) will be calling your parents to check on how you are and how you are doing with your targets very soon this week.  We miss you very much and are so looking forward to hearing about you all. 


Friday 22nd May 2020


Hello Poppy class! 

Can you believe that today is the last day of Term 5? 

I can't because not being actually in Poppy class and West Malling School is very odd, and I can get confused about the day, the week and time going by so quickly!

I write the date every day and say it to myself out loud - this helps me focus before I start my work. Have you been using a Days of the Week chart, or a calendar or diary, to help you, too?

SO this is the end of the week when we normally share and celebrate your Home Learning. At the moment, now, it's all home learning for you and me!

Thank you so much for all the learning you've been sharing photos of, and for all your Bugclub and Mathletics, as well as other Provision Plan targets work - you are all so amazing! 

Miss Bannister tells us how well you keep doing with your speech and language targets, too- well done! This is so very important for you  and we are very proud of your persevering (and your parents' perseverance, too!!)

It is never too late to send us any other "Home Sweet Home" learning you have been doing (and Chestnut learning, too, of course) so we can give you even more castle points and celebrate online together!


Mr Clark and Rev Green have a special End of Term 5 Worship for us all! I know you will love seeing and hearing them, and their message. 



We hope you enjoyed Mrs Mac's "Beetle in the Bathroom " story earlier this week! I loved it and all her bugs with the nail cutters, the deodorant, the comb and slidy bath side - it made me laugh out loud! I haven't found that many different mini beasts in my bathroom yet, happily.

How many have you found? Any spiders in the bath? There are some great story books about that!!


But I do have some exciting news to share with you about minibeasts!

Please click on the Communication and Interaction (C&I) sub page for more information and my news writing , with shapecoding.

I hope that the butterflies that come out of the chrysalids at the end of our holiday week, will mate and the females (Mums) will lay eggs. Then we can watch the life cycle of the butterfly go round in its circle again!


Mrs Head has put up a song which you can join in with, using all your farm animal signs!

Enjoy this over the holiday next week and do please tell Mrs Head (on the Poppyteacher email address) how many and what farm animals you see, when going for a walk or a drive in the holidays. 

Maybe Bobby could share some more photos of his lambs and sheep on his farm - he's been a shepherd boy and very busy caring for the lambs earlier in the Spring!


Wishing you all a healthy, safe and very happy May Holiday next week!

We all miss you all so very deeply, and your sharing helps us all stay as a secure team so invaluably - THANK YOU!

Learner of the week.MP4

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Old MacDonald.MP4

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Wednesday 20th May


Good morning Poppy!


Today is going to be another beautiful day and below we have added a midweek story treat from the lovely Mrs Mac!


When you have listened to the story maybe you could go and explore and see if you can find any of the animals from the story either in your garden or on a walk (hopefully not in your bathroom! laugh)


For parents we have attached below a link to a course which you may find helpful during this time:

Mrs Mac Story.MP4

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Tuesday 19th May


Some reflections by a Poppy/Cherry parent on how to make a Year 2 Cherry writing challenge manageable for her son, by breaking it down into chunks, so lessening the demands at each focused sitting and achieving real success. 

I think it's much more helpful to read this from another parent than from the staff team!!

I hope it helps you, either now, or at some point when supporting learning at home in the future; remember that you can break down a writing challenge into 5 parts/short sessions over 5 days (we do in Poppy class learning!) to make it even more achievable if your children's attention control or processing ability is at a very early stage still (especially at home, with so many other distractions and more fun things to do, food to find, pets to love etc):


"I have found breaking it (the writing task) up in stages really helps. 

For example, with this week choosing to write about animal life cycles, yesterday we spent the morning just looking at videos and pictures of the animals T chose. Then, because I have found T is very keen to use my laptop, he has been typing what he wants to say. This is with my help on sentences, of course, but I get him to type independently all the words he knows how to spell himself ("the, then, and" etc) which we then print out. 

Then the next morning, T used his print out from yesterday to copy and put into handwriting on the lined paper. From doing it this way I noticed his writing is improving a lot as he is just focusing on the writing itself and not the content (as already done).  

Then when finished we read over what he has written, to check it (and make any improvements we agree)".


Thank you so much, to T's Mum, for this absolutely spot-on insight as to how to manage more significant challenges for Poppy children, to extend and stretch them, and apply their growing phonological , speaking, handwriting, typing, writing, reading, comprehension and editing skills for a fascinating purpose (e.g. research on animal life cycles) with an outcome/product which can be shared with peers and staff, celebrated and so develops self-esteem. Positive emotions around the process, which took perseverance, energy, focus and repeated revisiting (both bu child and parent!) then promotes a readiness to engage in the whole process again , and the cycle hopefully continues to perpetuate, so that progress is evident to everyone!

Health warning: it isn't always a smooth, upwardly spiraling cycle for "our children", and even for you amazing, heroic parents, there will be good moments and less smooth ones,great days and days you'd rather forget! Lots of the cycles will be bumpy, have halts, may even see backward slides and then jerky , tiny steps forwards...

                                                    Be kind to yourselves, please.

What T's Mum records in querying if this is a helpful way to support his learning (IT IS!!!) is a culmination of nearly three years of T being at School and no longer requiring direct & intensive SaLT - towards the end of his Key Stage 1 "Poppy" English journey, supported by Chestnut, Lime & Cherry staff, too, over this time.

Not all Poppy children will be at this stage yet; but give them time, and they will be, in partnership with you wonderfully inspiring families. 

Stay strong and please let us know how and when we can be of any help to you.

Monday 18th May


We hope you all had a wonderful weekend, especially outside in your gardens again, now there is more sunshine!


It was National Nurses day last week, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

This is a link to a Twinkl free resource. If you want to find lots more ideas and resources, please do visit the Twinkl website.

This is another clip from BBC Bitesize


We have put up some new resources on the Cognition and Learning sub page for phonics/reading and maths number skills, including some with Numicon visuals. 

We hope these will be of some help for anyone looking for more, but this is by no means expected.

Speech and Language targets continue, as always to be the first priority, alongside  emotional well-being.

The Poppy Learners of the Week are......

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A Story from Mrs Bartholomew

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Wednesday 13th May


Hello Poppy class!

We are so happy that lots of you have sent photos of all of your wonderful VE day garden tea parties and the amazing bunting, flags, “Thank You!” posters and more, that you made.

That’s wonderful Clever Fingers skills, as well as a lot of fun, and we can see that so many of you are playing and learning so well with brothers and sisters, taking turns and sharing. You are also helping your parents with all sorts of jobs that need doing around your home and garden, like hanging out the washing, cleaning your bikes and scooters, planting seed and flowers, watering the garden! That patience, staying calm and all that kindness, makes all of us Poppy adults very proud of you.  You are doing so many of your “Home Sweet Home” topic challenges, at the same time!

There is also such great Bugclub and Mathletics learning going on and it was lovely to email your parents individually to give you our comments and castle points.

Not to mention writing and typing and Maths. But most especially, we are so proud of all the Speech and Language you are practising - Miss Bannister told us how marvellous it was to work with you yesterday on Skype - we know it is much harder to keep focus with a computer or iPad or on a mobile, than when we’re actually together in School, but you’re all trying so beautifully and getting better and better at this. Well done!

We’re putting some more exercise ideas on the Sensory-Physical-Motor sub-page, but not too much more at the moment, as there is plenty to choose from altogether, we think!

But if you want to try some more plants (Science) ideas, please take a look at Chestnut Class web page for today! I’m sure Mrs Penfold and Miss Penighetti will be very happy for you to try their plant art and craft challenge! There are lots of different ideas in photos to choose from!

You can also visit your big class if you want a change, or Lime Class Power of Reading book ideas which Mrs Woodhouse has put up. You don’t need a book, as the illustrations and text are there for you. Some of you have been sending news photos of walking in nearby woods and one Poppy friend lives near a real forest - the story is about a fox living in a forest. You could always pretend part of your bedroom or garden was a forest, maybe balancing a mop, broom, poles, clothes dryer (with Mum’s permission and keeping safe, of course!), perhaps drawing or cutting out leaves to stick on for trees?

Miss Skelly’s story for the week, further down the page, shows some of the animals you may find in a wood or forest, as well as another fox, to help you imagine being in a forest. Then maybe you could do some of the drama activities Lime Class adults are suggesting? You don’t have to write, as your speaking and listening is so important, or an adult might find a little time to help you type or scribe (write your ideas) for you!

Thanks again for sharing your news and learning with us - it helps us a lot, when we are all missing you and West Malling school so very much.

Take care and look out for the Poppy Learner/s of the week on Friday- it could be YOU!!



Tuesday 12th May


Below are some free book resources which we think you may find valuable:



What Poppy have been up to....

A message from Miss Skelly

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The Gruffalo.MP4

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Monday 11th May


Morning Poppy!


We hope you had a lovely long weekend. Did you do anything for VE day? We would love to hear about it.


Here are some resources to support Poppy Talking Maths Sets & Sorting, Tallying for Year 1 and 2 children, this week.

Naturally, you can create a more personally themed tally chart following one of these examples, matching your children's specific interests/toys.

Or to survey extended family members over the phone/Skype etc - "What is your favourite colour, Grandma? Grandad? Auntie?" etc.

We hope they prove fun & helpful.


The Poppy Team

Poppy Class Learner of the Week.....

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Thursday 7th May


Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, we hope that you can somehow celebrate it on your lockdown bank holiday!
There are some VE day resources on the Lime Class page as well as the ones from Monday on our Poppy  webpage, which are Clever Fingers skills related (cutting, colouring, threading and folding).

For 3pm on Friday 8th May, could you help make a cup of tea for your Mum or Dad with another adult to help you, and then all say the " toast": " To those who gave so much, we thank you!" ? 

You could also try learning a very famous World War 2 song, " We'll meet again" (by Vera Lynn)- there are words and the song online to help you.
Have a wonderful long weekend, full of sunshine and fun.
Can't wait to see your weekend news on Monday! 

The Poppy Activity Gallery

Wednesday 6th May


Here are some great tally charts that you could print off and use or draw the table in your learning journal and complete the tally chart.

There are two mini beast charts to choose from depending on how many mini beasties you have in your garden now that the weather is getting warmer again! Perhaps you could add some of your own.

From now on, for those of you wishing for more ideas and learning at home suggestions, we shall upload some further activities and links to resources on a sub-page to the Poppy main website page.

There is absolutely no expectation or any obligation for you to undertake these with your children, as everybody’s circumstances are different, but we wanted to put up some more activity ideas linked to the “Home Sweet Home” topic for those who might be looking for this.

As Poppy families have their children’s Provision Plan targets as their priority, we also hoped that it would be useful to put up some ideas under the four Provision Plan Outcomes headings : Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Social Emotional & Mental Health and Physical- Sensory –Motor. We plan to update these from time to time.

Please do keep looking at your children’s inclusion class website page, too, as their teachers are putting up lovely suggestions and content which may be helpful to you- this could include looking at a class below your own child’s, for review, practice and more.

Mrs Penfold has started including a video story reading every Friday, which I think all Poppy children, not just our Year Rs, would really enjoy seeing and hearing, for example!

Thank you so much for all the recent photos of your children’s wonderful learning.

We miss them all so deeply, but this sharing of activities and learning provides some ongoing contact, which is so much appreciated.

Monday 4th May


With this coming Friday 8th May's "bank holiday" approaching (holiday days have lost some of their meaning just now, of course!), let's think about why the day has changed and focus on VE day! Here are some resources to help  your children think about the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day.

We hope that they are of some interest.

We thought this Maths Trail would be fun and active outside in the garden, as the sun is set to shine on us all again!

A tally chart could be made for the number of different items found during another look and review of trail discoveries, if wished. 

Friday 1st May


Happy Friday Poppy!

We're keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will start to get a bit brighter for the weekend. What kinds of things would you have had to wear if you were going out over the last couple of days?

If you happen to go out over the weekend for a walk or go into your garden, maybe you could see if you can spot any of the things on the sheet below. Maybe you could count how many times you see each one.


The Poppy Team

The Poppy class learner of the week is...

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Tuesday 28th April


Plants (Science suggestions form"Home Sweet Home" topic learning):


Good morning Poppy. How the weather has changed today!

Here are some Twinkl resources (free) which we would suggest would help your children's concept development about plants (symbolled keywords added yesterday) and a Poppy challenge about how seeds travel to explore in your own gardens or on a walk through a local park, if you're doing that. 

There's an ebook about Sam's seeds and maybe you could role play your own version of "Jack and the Beanstalk", perhaps planting your own seeds for Summer flowers? 

Monday 27th April - You have been doing some fantastic learning at home!


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Monday 27th April


Good morning Poppy class!


I hope you all had a lovely weekend enjoying some of the sunshine before the weather changes this week.


Below are some key words which you will find useful for your learning on the weather and plants.


Keep an eye on our class page later today as we have some photos to upload of the fantastic things you have been getting up to recently!



The Poppy class learner of the week is....

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Wednesday 22nd April


Further Home-Schooling Opportunities



The main home-schooling that we would like your Poppy children to be undertaking continues to be:


  • daily “short & sweet” speech & language targets practice activities
  • daily reading
  • fun/play activities to practise other key Provision Plan objectives over the week (we continue to work to the February ’20 Provision Plan until these are reviewed and updated in May ’20, as usual)
  • reading on Bug Club and enjoying some of the challenges sometimes
  • activities, if wished & positive for your children, from the Termly Home Learning suggestions: “Home Sweet Home” grid this term
  • Maths and other activities suggested as ideas with a few samples of resources on the Poppy sub page
  • Mathletics online learning


This learning is set, managed and monitored by myself in liaison with the Poppy team and Hannah Robertson and Jill Bassett, SLT practitioners.


However, for those seeking extra opportunities for learning, there are several websites that have gone ‘live’ this week that parents and children may wish to investigate.

The BBC has expanded content on its education service, BBC Bitesize, and through the BBC red button, to provide regular daily lessons in English, maths and other subjects. It includes:

  • Bitesize Daily - six different 20-minute shows, each targeted at specific age groups from 5 to 14, covering maths, science and English, as well as subjects including history and geography
  • more than 150 new lessons added every week to the Bitesize website and app
  • advice for parents on home-schooling, and guides for pupils with special educational needs.

The government is also backing a new national online school, called Oak National Academy, to provide 180 hours of free lessons a week. It will offer content based on the curriculum from Reception to Year 10.

Mrs Barrett, who teaches PE in school on a Monday afternoon, is a member of the PASS organisation. Check out their website and YouTube channel for daily activity sessions and challenges, PE lessons that pupils can do at home and lots of work outs and party dances!

This would be especially helpful towards Physical-Sensory-Outcomes (Provision Plan), alongside Joe Wicks’ daily workouts, if your child usually attends BEAM, Motor Skills and Sensory Circuits interventions in school.


We are all acutely aware that the majority of parents are currently being cast in the role of being responsible for their children’s education. For many, working from home and supporting your children’s school work is not easy. Please do not let this increase the levels of stress within the household at this difficult time. Remember that your class teachers and class teams are always here to help out at the end of an email if you need any support or advice. Or to enable you to let off steam.

We are very sensitive to the fact that children with neuro diverse and communication needs face their own ramped up challenges when routines changes and the very structured, predictable timetable and secure learning environment in school is inaccessible. We recognise that your children’s high level of frustration as an outcome of communication difficulties and associated barriers to learning, will impact very significantly on how they respond to you as parent and family members when learning and teaching, not necessarily your main role, of course. Children with attentional, hyperactivity, sensory and other self-regulation needs (which covers every child in Poppy in some way) are going to be presented with, and so present you with, many extra difficulties which our in- Centre timetabling, adult: child ratio and resources can normally support. The last thing we want is to negatively affect your special parent-child relationship and your joint wellbeing.

SO please do be kind to yourselves, and don’t hesitate to support each other through the McGinty Family Whatsapp contacts, by contacting Harri, Poppy Family Support coordinator and/or myself and Hannah or Jill.


You are doing an amazing job!  Thank you.


Tuesday 21st April


"Home Sweet Home" Materials keywords:

Here are some symbolled key words for your children's vocabulary review, and perhaps, for some words, new learning.  We would like your children to learn to understand the words first (receptive language)and be able to find parts of your home made of "wood", "metal", "glass" etc.,  when you say those words. Your children could also find smaller household items safely with your supervision and sort them by what they are made from, their "materials".

We would then be looking for your children to say these words as accurately as possible (speech production); remember that clapping the syllables (e.g. "plastic" = 2 claps/2 syllables) helps your child speak words closer to the target, as does signing the first consonants of the word your child is practicing (eg "plastic" : sign the /p/ and the /t/ as you say the whole word; "plastic" is the hardest word of them all to produce accurately in speech, actually, as it has 2 sets of double consonants (consonant clusters): /pl/ & /st/,and 5 different consonants in all!) Another target is for appropriate use of each material word, so naming things correctly, of course (expressive language).

There are some activities available on Twinkl which would involve this vocabulary learning , so do particularly emphasise these words, please , and show your children the symbols, or if you have printer availability, you could print, cut up and use some of these as labels for the sorting and sets.

You might have your children take photos of things made form various materials to send to us at the  website page?

Once most of this vocabulary is being consistently understood and used by your children, you could give them some challenges to talk about why certain parts of the house are made with specific materials (e.g. why are the windows glass and not brick, wood or card? Why are the floorboards wooden?) You would then be talking about the properties of materials and using "green cloud" adjectives (e.g. "see through to let light in/see out of ";"glass to stop the rain coming through: glass is waterproof""; "hard and strong so they don't break when you jump up and down/to hold up the brick walls" etc.) You might like to test how strong steps made of bricks, wood and card are, or how well paper, card and plastic hold water, or stop water going through if you use them as a hood/umbrella for a toy and spray water on them in the garden with the hose? Can your children think of science "tests" to explore how well housing materials stand up to various conditions of weather? Maybe retell and discuss the "Three Little Pigs" traditional fairy tale and try blowing a wall of straw/grass, a wall of sticks and a brick with a hairdryer? Which material would you choose to build your house of, thinking about wither a huffing, puffing wolf, or windy nights in Autumn and Winter?

Monday 20th April


Our term 5 topic has had to change from our earlier planned focus, for obvious reasons.

As ever, Poppy Year 1 and 2 pupils are learning alongside Lime and Cherry peers, so a look at the Lime and Cherry website pages will show you the "Home Sweet Home" themed learning suggestions for this term.

However, this is the slightly amended version for Poppy Year One and Two children, with the Sets & Sorting Maths included and the English differentiated to have less of a writing and more of a speaking emphasis.

Twinkl has a great set of resources which you can access at no charge on Houses and Homes, from themed playdough mats for modelling, through dot to dots, colouring & paper houses models packs, good for fine motor skills, to Powerpoints about different types of homes with geography vocabulary and a quiz, and display posters of homes through history , for comparing and contrasting now and in the past. There's a Guess the Home headbands game, differentiated house labelling, some Number and key words reading and Letters and Sounds phases 2-5 house themed resources.  

I particularly like the songs ("In our Houses", "Lots of Rooms" & "Build a Shape House" ), as singing songs with the rhythm and rhyme involved enormously supports new vocabulary learning and retention of those words in working memory, so do please have a look!

If you fancy an acrostic poem , there's one there called MY GARDEN, and there's a poem, maybe for Year 2s, "The House with Nobody in it".

If printing is a problem, some of these resources are great to give some ideas and we're certainly not expecting you to produce completed printed work outcomes- these resources are just to help if they appeal to you and your individual child's learning style.

The CiP symbolled keywords below will hopefully be of help to support both understanding and, with practice, speech production of the related houses vocabulary.

Keywords relating to Materials (review of Science earlier in the year in class) will be added this week.

Visually supported keywords for the weather and plants current Science suggestions will be posted next week, for clarity.

Hoping that your children enjoy "Home Sweet Home", with all the fun and family elements of actually being together at home.

Missing you all enormously.

Welcome back! It's Term 5, even if it doesn't feel like it much!

We miss you so, and wish we could learn altogether, but for now we're really excited to hear about your Easter holiday news and any home learning you have been doing, by email.

Please do send us some photos of pictures, sticking and handwriting you have done, or of you reading to your Ralf bear somewhere in your home or garden, and of other home or outdoor learning you are doing safely! We can't wait to see this. 

Remember, the email address is: 

We Poppy teachers also look at the home learning you are sending to Lime or Cherry class, too, of course, and to Chestnut and if you are in Chestnut class, on Tapestry. All of this is wonderful to see.

Mrs B is also checking Bugclub and Mathletics so she can celebrate your reading and Maths fun there with you. 


This term, our Poppy Talking Maths topic is Sorting and Sets .

We challenge you to sort out a drawer of cotton reels, or shapes, pegs or different pasta types, a pile of toy vehicles , animals or Lego, into tidy sets!

Then tell someone in your family how you have sorted them [e.g. "I sorted the pegs by colour: three sets: red, blue , yellow!"; "I sorted the cars by type: this sets has cars, this set's got lorries, that one is all emergency vehicles and that set has tractors"; "I know! I'm going to sort by what they are made from (materials): wood, plastic, metal. Oh, the scissors got metal and plastic- what set? Ah, I can put the scissors in both sets- overlap (intersect)!" etc.]

If you have hoops, or string or ribbon loops, you can show the sets with the different sorts very visually and move things about very clearly. 

You could ask an adult to help you write labels (eg. "red" and "not red"- then all other colour pegs or cars, yellow, blue, white, green etc. go into the "not red" set). 

Ask an adult to help you work out how to overlap two hoops/loops so you can put things with blue and red into both the sets (if you make a red set and a blue set) in the overlapping part.

You could make a label "no colour" for the outside of both your colour sets, perhaps for wooden non-coloured pegs when the red and all other coloured plastic pegs are in one of the two sets "red" & "not red".

Ask an adult to shut their eyes and you muddle up some of the sorting and sets, then see if they can sort out the mixed up sets and sort them correctly, reading the labels you've made to check the sorting is right. Then swap over- they mix up and you re-sort! 

Then you could move the labels while the other person has their eyes shut and see if they can move the sets or the labels to make the sorting correct again. 

If you sorted a group of things by colour first, can you then sort out the same things in a different way e.g. by shape?


When we put the Term 5 Newsletter & Home Learning ideas for the Term 5 topic here on Monday, you will know what learning about the past we have planned for you- then you could maybe find some pictures and sort them by how long ago (sorting by age/when : "very long time ago, when your grandparents were little, now").


Here are the most important words, the key wow words, for you to hear and start using in your sorting and sets challenges fun- see how many of this new vocabulary you can understand and say correctly by the end of term (depending on what year group you are in; Year Rs will not be expected to talk about surveys, tallying and block graphs, but Year 2s could maybe!)

Please remember that your parents can email and ask for more ideas or for Mrs B to explain more clearly and help more here.

Mrs B will also put up links to more sorting and sets activities each week, so please look out for these!

Tuesday 31st March


You can now contact the Poppy team with the children's news and home learning for them to see & repsond by emailing:

“Anna Hibiscus”, African fruits and Our Five Senses!

After some discussion and a little research into fruits generally (reviewing the food group and plant key features here), in careful study of the fruit Anna Hibiscus (Term 4 Power of Reading book) is picking on the front cover of our book, we sampled a variety of African fruits.

Most of these were loved by most of us, with some pleasant surprises along the way, with the texture of Pomegranates, the smell of Pawpaws, the colour and size of Figs, and the overall favourites coming out in our informal survey as Golden Plums, Peaches and Mangoes. We used all our senses, even hearing other people licking and chewing (we weren’t social distancing then) and hearing our own jaws and teeth biting various textures!

Some children asked me to inform their Mums of their preferences for shopping trips and snacks at home, so this was very positive in terms of healthy eating and developing more diverse tastes!

We both described the sounds, sights, smells, feels and tastes, and then made observational drawings of fruits in different media, for our Story Wall.

We voted and the consensus was that Anna is picking Mangoes in the front cover illustration.

Anna Hibiscus Poppy Story Wall creation:

In relation to our Science topic of our bodies, we focused on developing our representational drawing skills, adding in body, arms, legs, toes, fingers and more facial features (also linked with our five senses) than individual children used to do. Much discussion went on about Anna’s body, her skin tone, and also her mother’s, a Canadian (“Anna laid her soft brown cheek on her mother’s white arm”) with some other book illustrations referred to here. We also walked through some other story books based in Africa, as well as our new class books, “A is for Africa” and “Letters to Africa”- both are well worth a read at home as they contain wonderful photos and the latter is a celebration of a letter writing exchange between UK and African schools, with the involvement of the author of Anna Hibiscus.

We employed colour mixing of chalks and pastels, using smudging techniques, to try to match to our own individual skin colours, and decided we were not all the same, but beautifully different in terms of skin, eyes, hair and other features.

The progress in drawing people was very clear to see in our Art Gallery work, below!  

Anna’s family compared to our own families: describing phrases:

We practised signing and saying the multisyllabic word: “Family”, and talked about the similarities and differences comparing our own families with Anna’s large extended African family, most of whom all live in the same house and even share bedrooms and beds in a way very different to how we do in England now.

We labelled Anna’s family members and drew our own, talking about why each person is so special to us.

We enjoyed Decision Alley drama in role as either Mum or paternal Grandma, and chose whether we’d say being on our own in a bedroom at night and spending time in a quiet home, or sharing a bedroom and being in the midst of a large, very noisy family, was our individual preference.

Book Week: 3rd - 6th March

Amongst other fun activities and meeting our visiting author, we much enjoyed a visit to West Malling Library in book week, with our classes. Naturally, we thought children would be able to visit this and their other local libraries where Mc Ginty pupils travel in from, at weekends, and over the Easter holiday.

When we do go back when all is safe again, we can be even more excited about free and wonderful book loans, as we won’t be taking this service for granted any more, maybe!

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon: Poppy’s Term 3 English story book:

We have started creating our new Role Play Area to support exciting ways of learning through this term’s Power of Reading book! Our role play and hot seating of the model’s magical transformation under the moon, into a living dragon with superpowers, have been a lot of fun this week, with mysterious music and even shimmering fairy dust falling from the skies.

McGinty Pets

We regularly invite pupils’ suggestions and wishes, listening to what they consider would improve our shared learning and teaching (pupil voice), and last Summer introduced two Guinea Pig brothers, Pablo and Picasso, following requests for some pets. Pablo was very adventurous and far the most confident, but sadly his curiosity and agility meant that he escaped from a locked run door in my garden during a holiday, and he has been pursuing a life of liberty ever since (with the foxes!!) We are still searching for a female rescue guinea pig to join Picasso, as Guinea Pigs are social rodents (another male and he would now fight territorially).

This term, again by popular demand, we have added another pet to our menagerie, a rescue female hamster, called Chunky (apparently, dark furred hamsters are less preferred by pet shop customers, as not so photogenic in owners’ selfies ): )

Poppy children are loving reading to their pets and have learnt to respect their feelings (as well as their own fingers) and resist the temptation to put their fingers into her bed until she’s woken up and emerged herself. The children’s awareness of life processes and needs of animals is definitely enhanced by caring for living things in class themselves.

Pattan’s Pumpkin: Poppy’s Term 2 English story book:

We really enjoyed exploring this story together, through a great deal of first hand experience of Pumpkins (even if we didn’t actually make it to the Pumpkin Farm in the end) and virtual visits to Kerala in Southern India. The children showed deepening understanding and empathy for the main characters, whose crops and animals were hit by flooding alongside them, and particularly loved the whispering advice technique and leaving  suggestion notes for Kanni and Pattan. The Class’ ability to really become absorbed in role, and engage more fully in drama techniques such as thought tracking, freeze framing, mobile conversations and role on the wall, was very pleasing to watch. They loved role play area creativity, too and made this fabulous papier mache pumpkin!

The Lonely Beast