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Year 1- Michelle Obama Class

Class 1 Curriculum Autumn 2


Welcome to Class 1 at de Vere primary school, our class is taught by Miss Tsoi and supported by Mrs Swanwick and Mrs Thurbon. 

We will also be joined by Mrs Austin this year who will be completing her teacher training in Obama Class. She will spend some of her week in school and the rest of the week studying for her course. 

Our PE day will be on a Wednesday led my Mr Mooney and our woods day will be a Thursday afternoon also led my Mr Mooney. 

Please come into school in ‘woods clothes’ on a Thursday. 

Year 1 is the beginning of our pupils’ journey into the National Curriculum. We ensure there is a smooth transition for our children as they move on from the Reception year into Key Stage 1. During the autumn term we continue to learn through purposeful play and carefully transition into a more structured learning style when the children are ready.

In Year 1 at de Vere, we encompass the schools vision to promote a love of learning to continue throughout the children’s lives. We view each child as individuals and aim to enable them to be skilled communicators, creative and active learners who know and remember more.

Our Learning

At de Vere primary school, we follow a wide-ranging curriculum but most of all, we have lots of fun! We take great pride in providing children with rich learning experiences to compliment our curriculum and will often plan exciting and enriching trips. Learning is carefully considered within our Year 1 classroom and is delivered through; purposeful play, group work and whole class teaching sessions.

Our half-termly topics are:

Autumn 1 – Toys

Autumn 2 – Hedingham Castle

Spring 1 – Enchanted woodland

Spring 2 – The world is our playground

Summer 1 – Decades of Design

Summer 2 – Let’s go on a journey


1st December 2023

In our first unit into geometry, our young learners have been learning to name and sort 3D and 2D shapes. They have explored 3D shapes; spheres, cubes, cylinders, pyramids, cuboids, and cones. From recognising 3D models to discovering everyday objects with these shapes, our learners have been on a three-dimensional adventure, expanding their mathematical skills. “Guess my rule” has been a popular game for sorting. Where we have been sorting shapes by properties and guessing what the rule is for each group. Key questions have been “What is similar” and “What is different?”. Such groups included “shapes that roll” and “shapes that do not roll”.

In PSHE, our class have been learning about different emotions and how these are presented in our facial expressions and bodies. We played ‘Emotions charades’ where the children acted out different feelings for our friends to guess.

We have also had lots of fun decorating our classroom as part of our celebration of Christmas. The children have been creating their own pictures that are proudly displayed on our washing line!

16th November 2023

Obama Class have had such fun learning about castles this half term. The children learnt about people who lived in and around castles and what their roles were. There were some important people such as lords and lady’s and other people who lived to serve them. We held a very exciting medieval banquet in the hall where the children took on different roles to enjoy a feast! The children then reflected on their experience and thought about which role they preferred. Surprisingly many of the children enjoyed being a servant as they liked being busy!

Following our banquet, our class recently went on an adventure to Hedingham Castle. Led by one of our lovely Governors, Mr Smith, who gave us a grand tour inside and outside of the castle. The children admired at the towering castle walls, explored historic objects inside, and even tried their hand at being medieval knights. Mr Smith gave us very insightful information and helped us to learn about the castle's fascinating past. We even saw a medieval toilet! Thank you Mr Smith! Obama Class have thoroughly enjoyed their history learning this half term and we are excited to start our new topic in Geography – all about our village.

3rd November 2023

Our young historians in Year 1 have embarked on an exciting adventure through time as they started their new topic on Castles. In our history lessons so far, our learners have been discovering the intricate details of castles; battlements, turrets, drawbridges and moats are just some of the features. We are not just learning about the parts of a castle; we're also understanding their historical importance. The children are finding out how these strongholds served as symbols of power and protection. Stay tuned for more castle-themed adventures!

It only seems fitting that our music topic matched our history theme; Medieval Music has been the focus of our music lessons. Our learners have explored the rhythms, melodies, and instruments of this era, while also learning the intricate steps and courtly moves of medieval dancing.

13th October 2023

The children have had an excellent two weeks in Obama Class!

In maths, our learners have been exploring how numbers can be broken down into smaller parts and combined to form a whole. The children have been taking part in ‘practical maths’ where they’ve been using double-sided counters to represent parts and calculate totals. We have been using a part-whole model to help us, setting a strong foundation for our unit on addition and subtraction. Next week we will be revisiting our learning on number bonds to 10!

Our young learners are taking their first steps into the digital world! For the past few weeks, the children have learned to click and drag, double-click, use a program and type using a keyboard. This week the children have been typing short sentences using a text-box on a program called ‘Paintz.app’. We are looking forward to our next unit after half term – digital painting!

29th September 2023

The children in Obama Class have spent the last 3 weeks learning all about the history of toys. It has been wonderful to hear the children recall information about old and new toys, naming Victorian and Early 20th Century toys and creating their own time lines. This week we rounded off our topic by inviting Grandparents into school because who better to ask about toys in the past?

The children were so excited to have their grandparents in school and we would like to express our gratitude to all the grandparents who joined us for this special afternoon. Your stories and presence added a unique layer of learning to our classroom experience. Also, thank you ever so much for bringing in your very special toys to share.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our history topic and we are looking forward to starting our DT project next week where we will be designing and making our own puppets.

15th September 2023

The new Obama Class have settled brilliantly into their new routine and classroom, we have started lessons for many subjects. Our class has been busy exploring the world of mathematics. This week, we've delved into sorting, and it's been an adventure of shapes, sizes, colours, and types! Our Year 1 mathematicians have been playing ‘guess my rule’ where partner one sorts the objects and partner two has to guess their rule!

In history, our young explorers have been started their journey into the world of toys. We've been unravelling the mysteries of how they work, what they're made of, and whether they're old or new! This knowledge of toys in todays era will help the children to make comparisons to toys in the past and discover how and why some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. Thank you all for bringing in toys this week for the children to share.

We have an upcoming event, our exciting ‘Grandparents Afternoon’ where we will be inviting grandparents to come into school to spend some time playing with their grandchildren and finding out more about what toys they played with when they were little. This will take place on Wednesday 27th September at 2:30pm. Please return the letter to let us know who can come. Thank you in advance. 

2022-2023 Class Blog

20th July 2023

In an exciting adventure beyond the school gates, Obama class embarked on an exciting journey to Chelmsford city. Our trip started with a short ride on our local community buses who dropped us off at Braintree station. It was the first time travelling by train for some children which was very exciting! The children were led through the heart of the city and the children completed a ‘city hunt’ checklist to spot different services that a city has to offer. We ventured to Central Park for a delicious picnic lunch and much anticipated play in the park. It was soon time to head back to Chelmsford train station and get back to school. The children behaved impeccably and we are so glad they managed to experience their first school trip in year one. A very special thank you to Mrs Wallis and Mrs Savage for volunteering to help us. What a fantastic way to end our year together.

16th June 2023

The Year 1 children are turning into little Picassos! They picked up their pencils and took on the fun task of drawing self-portraits. In the pictures you can see the children creating mini-masterpieces that showcase their one-of-a-kind selves. From wild hair to bright, sparkly eyes, these self-portraits are bursting with creativity and individuality.

Get ready to munch and crunch because Year 1 have dived into Healthy Eating Week! The children have been on a mission to create healthy, delicious snacks, eat all of their fruits and vegetables at lunch time and design a healthy lunch box for a competition for Mrs Mills to judge. The children carefully chopped carrots and cucumbers to top their base and add their chosen dip! Yum – what a treat! Through this, our class have learned about the importance of a balanced diet and how best to nourish our bodies.

25th May 2023

This week, Obama Class have combined mathematics and computing to learn all about positional language. One of the fundamental concepts explored during this year is understanding directions, particularly left and right. What better way to distinguish between left and right than to dance to the Cha Cha slide! The children impressed me with their dancing!

Obama Class were introduced to the fascinating world of algorithms through the use of Beebots, our educational robots (kindly donated to us by Friends of de Vere). These little robots provide a hands-on experience that sparks curiosity and nurtures early computational thinking skills. The Beebots provide a tangible platform for exploring algorithms, enabling the children to see the direct results of their instructions in the physical movement of the beebots. 

12th May 2023

Step into the world of William Morris, the famous designer and artist! In this exciting project, Year 1 have started to explore the colourful and intricate patterns that Morris is known for. From floral motifs to geometric shapes, we’ve learnt how Morris created beautiful designs that were inspired by nature and the world around him. The children have explored printing with soft and hard materials and delved deeper into Morris designs. The children will have the opportunity to create their own Morris-inspired wallpaper. Join us on a journey through the world of design and discover the magic of William Morris!

In Year 1, kindness is key! Our classroom is a place where we value and encourage helping one another. Through myHappymind, we teach our students to be kind, compassionate, and supportive members of our community. From sharing materials to offering a helping hand, children learn the importance of being there for one another. It has been wonderful to see the children showing their character strengths of kindness and teamwork during their art lesson this week.

28th April 2023

Welcome back Obama Class! This week in maths has been all about arrays. The children have been learning to identify rows and columns and say how many in each of these. We then moved onto writing repeated addition number sentences and finding two ways to describe the arrays. These small steps will help us to learn times tables and division for next year and it has been great to see the children show an interest in the multiplication symbol.

In our history topic, we have been learning about homes in the past. We started by exploring what our homes look like today and then we went on the compare the features of different houses. This week we learnt about Queen’s Victoria’s reign and how the time in which she ruled was called the Victorian era. The children explored items found in a Victorian home and how people lived in that time.

 31st March 2023

It has been a busy two weeks in Obama Class! In PSHE the children completed their unit on Financial Capability where they learnt about real life situations. The children learnt about the different things families need to pay for and how much things cost. The children have wowed me with their understanding of money and can tell you the difference between a debit card and credit card. We finished our unit with a lesson on budgeting. Everyone had 50p to spend at our classroom fayre and once they run out of money it was gone! We had brilliant stall leaders who made sure it ran smoothly too. 

In maths, the children have been learning about capacity and volume. We explored how many cups full would fill a jug and then calculated how many cups would be needed for 2 jugs and 3 jugs. There was so much maths talk happening which is putting us in good stead for our next unit on multiplication and division.

Enjoy your Easter break!

17th March 2023

Obama Class have had a busy two weeks in school with lots of different activities happening. The children enjoyed our trip to the park and it was lovely to see the children playing together and showing positive social and team work skills. Next week we will be writing recounts of our time there, where the children will learn to sequence events, use time adverbials and spell past tense verbs using ‘ed’.

In music we have learnt to play notes D, E, C and F on the glockenspiels. First the children learnt about pitch and how sounds range from low to high. Then the children improvised by making their own scores of music and played them on the glockenspiels!

3rd March 2023

Obama have had a great first two weeks back at school after the half term break. We have been learning and following the ‘de Vere way’ for children to show appreciation and manners, listening, walking and lining up. Our class have been brilliant and we hope to keep it up!

In maths we have moved onto a new unit ‘Place Value to 50’. We started this week by practising to count forwards and backward to 50. The children then explored practical resources to make numbers 20, 30, 40 and 50 and they have been identifying how many tens and ones are in these numbers. The children then progressed onto representing these numbers through drawing and writing.

10th February 2023

Obama Class have had a busy past two weeks! The children started an art unit called ‘colour chaos’. They could remember lots from their learning last year and named primary and secondary colours as well as naming some colour combinations. In one lesson, the children learnt about Jackson Pollock, an American artist who used drip painting. The children learnt that he placed his canvases on the floor to feel close to his work – so we decided to do the same!

In English, we have been learning about non-fiction texts and will be writing our own information texts. As part of this unit, the children have learnt to be researchers and find key information about four woodland animals. Miss Tsoi hid 4 posters around the school and the children were excited to find each one and collect information! We will be planning and writing our information texts by the end of the week.

Obama Class have had a great half term learning about the ‘enchanted woodland’, in Spring 2 our new topic will be ‘the world is our playground’.

27th January 2023

Obama Class have had a busy two weeks! The children finished their DT project ‘moving pictures’ and we are so pleased with their end results! The children worked through the whole process of investigating, skills task, designing, making and evaluating to make their moving pictures. The children chose a part of the Little Red Riding Hood story and which mechanism to use. Some children chose to use a slider to move their character through the forest. Other children used a wheel to make the wolf look like he’s getting closer. There were also some levers used to move characters and objects within their story settings. The children took a lot of time and care making their pictures and they look brilliant.

13th January 2023

Obama Class have settled back into school life after the Christmas break with their new topic ‘enchanted woodland’. In DT, the children have started their unit on moving pictures. We started this unit by exploring different mechanisms and talking about how different every day objects move. The children have learnt three mechanisms: wheels, sliders and levers. The children were then faced with the task of making these mechanisms using card, scissors and split pins. It was a fiddly task that the children thought would be very tricky! The children spoke about the difficulties they faced and how they overcame them. It has been brilliant to see the children using a NED mindset and persevering when faced with such challenge. Next the children will design and make their own moving picture for the story ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. 

9th December 2022

The children in Obama Class have been learning lots in their RE lessons this half term. We have explored the question: How does a celebration bring a community together? The children first identified different celebrations then we dived deeper into Christian and Islam faiths. We looked at how people celebrate Christmas and Eid and came together as a class to do some traditional activities. Here the children are decorating their glass lights for Eid and they also made Christingles for Christmas. The children have also been decorating gingerbread men and making Christmas themed pictures to decorate our classroom.

25th November 2022

Wow what a busy two weeks we have had! This half term we have started our ‘digital art’ unit in computing. This week the children have been recreating Henri Matisse’s artwork ‘the snail’. The children are learning to name and use the correct tools to create their digital art, so far they know; line and shape tools, spray effect and paint fill.

In maths, the children have been learning to subtract in a variety of ways. We have been using objects, drawing by crossing out and on a number line.

In English, we have been learning the story of ‘Prince Cinders’. In this lesson, you will see the children acting out different scenes in the story

11th November 2022

Obama class have had a great start to our new topic ‘Castle Hedingham’. In history, the children have been learning all about castles, naming different parts of a castle and who may have lived in and around castles in the medieval era. We have learnt new vocabulary: battlement, portcullis, arrow slits, drawbridge, moat and turrets and know how and why these were used. The children took part in a royal banquet where they role played being ‘royals’ and ‘servants and thought about the pros and cons of being in the different roles. We ended our topic with a trip to Hedingham Castle!

7th October 2022

This week in Obama class, we have been continuing our work on comparing numbers within 10 using symbols; < (less than), > (greater than) and = (equal to).  The children have impressed me with their knowledge of these symbols and how they are using them independently in their work! Obama class have used practical resources to help but can also write their own comparison sentences!

In science, Obama class are learning all about materials. So far we have learnt their different names and properties such as bendy, stiff, rough, smooth, transparent and opaque. This week we investigated to see which materials would float and which would sink. There were some lovely ideas and explanations as we considered air pockets, shape and weight of the different objects. The children made their predictions and recorded their results in their books.

23rd September 2022

Obama Class have started off the year with a history topic - ‘History of Toys’. The children have been learning about toys from the past all the way back to the Victorian era up until today. It has been interesting to learn that some toys were made long ago but are still played with now. We investigated the making of ‘crayola crayons’ and identified many similarities between then and now. We wondered who best to ask about toys from the past and of course the perfect people were our grandparents! The children loved our grandparents afternoon, where they shared their learning and asked their most important research questions. Thank you to all those who came along and shared their most special toys with us!


Phonics is a significant part of our learning in key stage 1 and largely supports children’s reading and writing skills with increasing independence and confidence. In Year 1 we follow our impressive phonics scheme ‘Phonics Shed’ and is taught daily for 30 minutes.

In June, the children will sit a statutory Phonics Screening assessment. This is aimed to give teachers and parents information on how children are progressing with their blending skills.



“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss

Reading with young children regularly is a powerful thing and has many benefits for children; comfort and reassurance, confidence and security, relaxation, happiness and fun. Giving a child time and full attention when reading them a story builds self-esteem, vocabulary, feeds imagination and even improves their sleeping patterns.

As a school, we are keen to promote a love of reading and share a range of different stories together. Your child will take home a phonics book for them to read and apply their phonic knowledge and a sharing book for you to read together. Children can change their reading books after it has been read at least twice or when they wish to.

Reading is a great habit. Like all habits, it needs repetition and regularity to establish itself. Because it needs quiet time, and our lives today are very short of this, parents need to create it for their children. This means consciously making time and we ask that you read with your children at home at least 4 times a week (or more!). Parents are asked to log their reading in reading logs.

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