Foundation Home Learning Statements

Term Four

Writing

We have been very busy learning all about the Narrative genre in term three. Children have been using their own experiences to write their own narratives, learning about how narratives have a beginning, middle and end.

 

In term four we are publishing our narratives. Children are learning more about features of a narrative, adding a blurb, title and about the author to their published narratives.

 

We will also explore the genre of Procedural Texts. Using a wide range of examples including recipes and simple instructions for games, origami or craft, we will be learning about how procedural texts tell us how to make or do something.

 

Now that we have introduced different genres of writing, classes are having on-going discussions about all the different ways we can communicate our ideas through writing.

 

The Foundation teachers are amazed with the growth in independence with writing. Students are taking a greater role in developing and working toward simple writing and editing goals with their teachers. They are working towards stretching out sounds, matching sounds with letters, finding words on the word wall, starting their sentences with a capital letter and finishing with a full stop.

 

How can you help at home?

  • Share stories with your family and encourage your child to share stories with you. These can be imagined or real life. Prompt them to elaborate and add details by asking questions, like what happened next? or why did they do that?
  • Talk to your child about the procedural texts you encounter at home. Cooking, playing a game or even packing a bag requires a procedure. Talk to them about what you need and what to do first, then and next. Bring your favourite (simple) procedural text example to share in the classroom!
  • Ask your child about their writing goal.
  • Encourage your child to write in all kinds of real-life contexts. They can stretch out the sounds for the shopping lists, write letters to relatives or friends, writing stories, writing cards, making Christmas lists, keeping a journal, etc.
  • When writing with your child, celebrate plausible attempts at spelling e.g. PK or PRK for PARK

 

Mathematics

In term three we explored the concept of addition, joining two groups of objects together and noticing that the outcome is bigger than its parts. This term we are learning about subtraction.

 

Beginning with concrete examples, we introduce subtraction using stories: I had 8 oranges in the bowl, I used 3 to make a cake, how many do I have left?

 

To solve these stories, children first use the make all, take all, count all strategy, where they gather 8 counters to represent the oranges, move 3 away to represent the ones used in the cake and then count the counters that are left to solve the problem. When talking about the subtraction sentence, we use the language ‘8 take away 3 is 5’.

 

This is an important step for all children, even those who can use mental strategies to solve subtraction problems, as it helps them to model the problem and visualise the difference between addition and subtraction. We learn that in subtraction, the product is smaller than the initial amount.

 

Congratulations to all the Foundation children for working so hard on their counting forwards skills this year, you have shown tremendous growth! This term we are learning to count backwards.

 

When counting, we begin with numbers children are familiar with to boost confidence in this tricky concept. Foundation children are beginning with 12, then 13, then 14 and so on to support a gradual development of this skill, to ensure children experience success and maintain a positive attitude towards counting. We use number lines to support children’s counting – using this visual aide is a valid skill. Counting backwards from 20 independently is an important Foundation skill that will support future learning.

 

To support your child at home with this learning you can:

  • Use the same language as we have – the concepts of ‘minus’ and ‘equals’ are not introduced just yet.
  • Model subtraction stories in your home in everyday contexts – using money, ingredients, objects, etc.
  • Use concrete materials rather than the recording of ‘sums’ – although many children like these and see them as maths, being able to show how 8 take away 6 is 14 is the important idea.
  • Encourage your child to count backwards from the number they are comfortable with. Look out for the counting backwards rocket in your child’s reading folder as this is a visual support for their counting

 

Term Three

Writing

In term three we are exploring the narrative genre in writing. One of the great things about narratives is that they can be as complex or as simple as the children are ready for and it provides an opportunity for them to freely extend their skills.

 

Students begin by telling stories to each other, developing oral language skills by sharing both imagined and real-life experiences.

 

Students will be developing their understanding of the structure of narratives, paying particular attention to the introduction, problems and solutions that make stories interesting.

 

As students become more independent with writing, this process builds on the skills and understandings learned in semester one. Students are working towards stretching out sounds, matching sounds with letters, finding words on the word wall, starting their sentences with a capital letter and finishing with a full stop. They are taking a greater role in developing and working towards simple writing and editing goals with their teachers.

 

How can you help at home?

  • Share stories with your family and encourage your child to share stories with you. These can be imagined or real life. Prompt them to elaborate and add details by asking questions, like What happened next? or Why did they do that?
  • Ask your child about their writing goal.
  • Encourage your child to write in all kinds of real-life contexts. They can stretch out the sounds for the shopping lists, write letters to relatives or friends, writing stories, keeping a journal, etc.
  • When writing with your child, celebrate plausible attempts at spelling eg. PK or PRK for PARK

 

Mathematics

In term three students are consolidating their understanding of teen numbers. This important concept of place value takes some students a long time to fully grasp. At school we play a lot of games that help students to see teen numbers as a ten and some ones e.g. 14 is one ten and four ones. This helps to underpin the realisation that the numeral 1 in 14 represents one ten – a big idea! We work with these numbers in a variety of ways over the whole of semester two.

 

This term we will also introduce the concept of addition, using stories and concrete materials. We concentrate on the understanding that addition is the joining of 2 groups of objects, with the result being that the number becomes bigger. For example:

‘I had 3 bananas in the fruit bowl at home, I bought 4 more at the fruit shop. Now I have 7 bananas altogether. 3 and 4 makes 7.’ Children would gather 3 counters, then 4 more counters, then mix them altogether and count the total number.

Moving on from that idea, we will then introduce the concept of counting on; with mathematical discussions such as: ‘we know that this is 3 counters, so we can say 3, then count the second group…4, 5, 6, 7.’

Once students are at the ‘count on from the bigger number’ stage, they determine which is the bigger of the two numbers, and choose that one to count on from. In the above example a child would say 4 is the bigger number, so I can say 4, then count the other group … 5, 6, 7.’ Not so much of a difference in this story, but if you are adding 3 and 9…

 

To support your child at home with this learning you can:

  • Count forwards to and backwards from 20.
  • Incorporate maths into your daily life – shopping trips, cooking, etc.
  • Ask your child’s teacher for some teen number games.
  • When talking about addition, using the same language as we have – the concepts of ‘plus’ and ‘equals’ are not introduced just yet. We use ‘and’ instead of ‘plus’ to reinforce the concept of two groups being combined.
  • Use concrete materials rather than the recording of ‘sums’ – although many children like these and see them as maths, being able to show how 8 and 6 makes 14 is the important idea.
  • Remember that the objects that you tell stories about can vary e.g. ‘ I had 3 bananas and 4 apples, now I have 7 pieces of fruit’.
  • Encourage your child to count on from the bigger number where possible.
  • Grab a deck of cards and ask your child to teach you how to play a game of ‘Addition War’ or ‘Addition Bingo’

 

Term Two

Writing

Most Foundation students have begun to apply early writing concepts to their written expressions. They are practising the authorial aspects of writing by drawing a detailed picture of an event or idea, verbalising and finally recording a sentence to communicate their thoughts.

 

The range of skills at this stage is enormous, with some children recording strings of letters and others recording the first sound of each word in their sentence. There are some children who can record several sounds for each word, and others who are able to write all of the words they need using regular spelling patterns.

 

All students continue to practise the secretarial aspects of writing at this level: forming upper and lower case letters correctly, writing left to right and top to bottom of the page, and using a capital letter at the start of a sentence with a full stop at the end.

 

A big understanding that happens in the Foundation year is that writing records a person’s ideas at that time for ever – that it is a permanent record of what we do and think, so the more detail we can add, and the clearer the text is, the better the ideas can be communicated.

 

How to support your child’s writing at home:

  • Encourage your child to draw and write as often as possible. Giving children a ‘real’ use for their written expression (writing in a card, helping with a shopping list) helps them to understand the purpose of writing and the benefits of being able to read back what has been recorded.
  • Help your child to write their message by sounding out words, and assisting them to record the sounds that they can hear. Using an alphabet sheet is helpful, as is language like ‘you can hear the sound /t/, which letter makes that sound?’
  • Help them to find the letters on the alphabet sheet and encourage the correct formation of letters.
  • Lots of other exposure to writing surfaces such as blackboards and whiteboards, playing with play dough, threading and cutting activities are all beneficial to your child’s development in this area.

 

Mathematics

In term two we continue our learning about counting patterns. Using a number line or 120 chart to track our counting, we practise the sequences forward and backward to 10, 20 and then beyond consolidating the pattern of 0-9 that continues.

 

We have also begun exploring different counting patterns including counting by tens.

 

This term students will also be learning about place value beginning with 2-digit numbers. This is a very big and abstract concept to understand, and we spend a lot of time on it specifically so that children can begin to grasp its meaning.

 

We offer lots of experiences where children are recognising and naming two-digit numbers, as well as writing and ordering them. They also work on making groups of objects that match these numbers, using a variety of concrete materials. This helps them to come to the complex understanding that underpins place value: that ‘ten ones makes one ten’, therefore we can use a single object, such as a bundle of icy pole sticks, to indicate that ten. This understanding eventually extends to knowing that a single digit can reflect the same information i.e. the ‘1’ in 16 tells us that there is 1 ten.

To support your child at home:

  • A number chart can spark a lot of curiosity about numbers and counting. We use a 0-120 chart to encourage children to look beyond 100. Use the chart to count forward and backward by ones and then using different counting patterns.
  • Play counting games that take your child to at least 21, going slowly over 13, 14, 15, 16 as it is easy to run them together and miss one altogether.
  • At this stage, confusing the endings (‘ty’ and ‘teen’) of the counting patterns is common for example counting eleven, twelve, thirty, forty, etc. Ask your child, “Do you mean thirty or thirteen?” when counting at home.
  • Play the games and puzzles that come home with your child – ‘scrambled eggs’ and ‘number thief’ are some of the children’s favourite games to play and can be easily adapted to different counting patterns.
  • YouTube has many great counting videos that children can count along with. Jack Hartmann, Scratch Garden and the Singing Walrus are our favourites.

 

Term One

Reading
Learning to become an ‘independent reader’ is high on the children’s list of goals at school and is something that brings them much joy. To help work towards this goal, children learn about three key concepts to help decode simple texts: decoding strategies, phonics and high frequency words.

 

All Foundation children have been introduced to the first decoding strategies: Looking at the pictures to help us understand the words, and Pointing to each word as you read. Beginning readers use these strategies to follow the patterns in simple books and to notice the changes that occur.

 

Children have also been focussing on phonics: learning about letters and their corresponding sounds. As children develop their letter sound knowledge, they begin to notice that words are made up of recognisable letters and sounds and make attempts at decoding those. This is where we encourage children to use the strategy of Get your mouth ready for the starting sound.

 

While many words are able to be decoded, to improve children’s fluency, we have been learning words that we can easily recognise without needing to ‘sound them out’.

 

At school, all of these are introduced through the context of big books, writing or stories, to enable children to understand the purpose of their learning. The children are explicitly taught skills and allowed to explore their understandings and share their knowledge with friends.

 

To support your child’s learning at home:

  • Listen to your child read each day, making sure the experience is without too many distractions, and when your child is not too tired.
  • Before reading a text, look through with your child, looking at the pictures, thinking about what the text might be about, and talking about the ideas, words or characters that might be included.
  • Again, before your child starts to read the whole text, spot the high frequency words that your child knows, pointing to them and saying them together.
  • Remember that the books children read at home should be ‘too easy’ or ‘just right’: reading a text that is too difficult does not teach a child to read.
  • Check the ‘Reading strategies’ list sent home with your child for the language that you can use to support and encourage your child’s reading.
  • Look out for high frequency words that come home in your child’s reading folder. Games that you can play include Bang! However you can also play Rainbow Writing, Shopping, Cooking, Memory and Snap. Instructions for these games will be sent home in your child’s reading folder.
  • Playing I Spy with the sounds of objects rather than the letter can help develop your child’s phonemic awareness, i.e. “I spy something that begins with a b- sound”.
  • Alphablocks is a phonics series that explores the letters and sounds and how they make up words, these are available on YouTube. Please supervise your child while watching these videos to encourage cyber safety and to explore the relationship between letters and sounds together.
  • The school has subscribed to Reading Eggs and a letter will be sent home with unique login and information describing this program. This is not a substitute for reading at home, but can support the skills that are taught in the classroom.

Ultimately the goal for every child is that they have a love of reading, and can understand what they read and listen to.

 

Mathematics
Children are learning to count forward and backward, recognise and form the numerals, identify the bigger and smaller collections and sequencing numbers.

 

Counting is taught explicitly and children are provided with opportunities to explore counting and challenge themselves, sharing their understandings with their peers. We have begun to explore the counting strategies we have and learn new ones. The aim is for each child to choose an appropriate strategy to count a collection of objects using one-to-one correspondence and for them to address why their strategy helps them. For example, we have learned to pick up and move the objects like a crane and line them up and touch them.

 

To support your child’s learning at home:

  • Counting in real life! Counting the steps to the car, counting the rocks you throw in the creek, counting the trees at the park, counting the letter boxes you pass on the way to school, counting the red cars you pass on a car trip, counting the apples you buy at the shops. These are all valuable contextual counting experiences.
  • When counting, ask your child ‘more or less’ questions: ‘Are there more red or blue cars in the street?’ and so on.
  • Playing Snap, War! or memory with a deck of cards: cards are a great resource as they represent both a numeral and value, so if your child can’t recognise the numeral, they can count the diamonds on the card.
  • Look out for the ‘verbal pathways’ sheet in your child’s reading folder. These rhymes assist children to remember the correct numeral formation assuring that they can clearly communicate the numbers.
  • At school we use an iPad app called Quick Maths Jnr that supports children to numeracy learning. Please supervise your child while watching these videos to encourage cyber safety.