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Message from Mrs McIntosh

‘Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.’  

Albert Einstein 

Maths must surely be one of the most emotive subjects that we teach in schools. People have such different responses to and feelings about it.  

  • ‘I hate Maths!’ 
  • ‘I loved Maths lessons because there was one right answer.’ 
  • ‘I was no good at Maths at school.’ 
  • ‘I never understood what we were doing or why.’ 
  • ‘Maths is so easy, I don’t understand why people don’t get it!.’ 

These are all phrases I have heard from parents over the years at Parent Consultations or when they have come to ask for advice about how to help their child.  

Teachers have been on a mission for about 10 years (more in some cases!) to change the way that pupils feel about Maths and by association the way we teach it.  

Here at Beechwood, we follow a scheme called White Rose Maths. Their strap line is…  Everyone can do Maths. Everyone can! 

What is it?

‘White Rose Maths brings together a team of highly experienced and passionate maths teaching experts to train, guide, help and support all those who want to make change happen.’ 

They have created a clear and comprehensive scheme of work, a clear, time-linked plan for learning which is broken up into blocks of learning.  

The scheme is based on a mastery approach to learning.  

What does that mean?

Mark McCourt in his book ‘Teaching for Mastery’ defines it as:  

‘A teaching and learning approach that aims for pupils to develop deep understanding of maths rather than being able to memorise key procedures or resort to rote learning’. 

So, in essence that means that children will really get to grips with numbers and operations rather than just following a method.  

For more on this why not watch this short video about how Maths has changed.

There is also a strong emphasis on a three-stage approach known as CPA  

Concrete       Pictorial      Abstract 

In the Junior Department we use a wide range of manipulatives (concrete materials) such as Numicon, ten frames, counters, pebbles, dienes blocks and others. 

Why do pupils need these?

The concrete manipulatives allow them to visualise and understand the maths which helps them make sense of what is actually happening. They will fully understand why and how the operation works. They also help the pupils make connections to what they have already learnt but perhaps most importantly for our younger children it makes the topics more engaging and fun! 

In supporting your child at home, you can use items you have around the house: toy cars, pasta, buttons etc. There is also a really useful website which has interactive versions of the manipulatives we use at school, I have included a link here

I have created a short video about it as well (it says for your sons as I recorded it whilst working at a boys’ school but it is for girls too, of course!). You can watch it here

I will continue my mini-series on Maths at Beechwood next week, so look out for that, but more importantly I would encourage you to look at the parents’ section on White Rose’s website as there is a wealth of information and help available. 

Advance Notice

Please be aware that next Friday, 27 January, Beechwood is hosting a cross-country event for over 400 competitors and their parents. This means that there will be A LOT of extra cars on site and finding a space to park to collect your child might be challenging. Do leave extra time on this day so that you can pick up at 1515 or 1600 calmly and promptly. With thanks in advance for your patience and understanding. 

Have a lovely weekend. 

Mrs McIntosh

Head of Junior Department

This week in Reception

In Reception we have been showing off our improving handwriting in lots of different ways. Our daily handwriting since September has really paid off. This week the children have really enjoyed looking back at their handwriting in September and seeing how far they have come.

Reception have had a big focus on handwriting at the start of this term. At Beechwood we follow the Letterjoin programme, beginning in EYFS and continuing through Key Stage 1 and beyond; we start off with flicks out of letters which help to prepare us for joining letters later on. We look carefully at how letters are formed and find groups of letters that start in the same way. Have you ever considered that many letters start like a c? Reception know that they do! We have been trying to remember to hold pencils properly (snappy fingers), use good posture and concentrate to help us make the neatest, best formed letters that we can! We are all at different stages, from getting the correct formation, to remembering to sit letters on the line, to decreasing the size of letters, to making our letters consistent in size and beautiful to look at! Handwriting is a journey, more bumpy for some than others, but most definitely helped by regular practice at school and home!

Reception Handwriting 20 Jan 2023
The Reception Team

This Week in Year 1

We have had a ‘ROARSOME’ week in Year One!

Our ‘Dinosaur‘ topic is in full swing and the children have shared a wealth of knowledge.

In Literacy this week, we have focused on poetry. To begin the learning journey, we read a range of dinosaur poems independently and as a whole class. We then teamed up and performed our favourite poems in from of the class, which included brilliant expression and even actions. The children also investigated different styles of poetry and found rhyming couplets. To conclude the poetry learning journey, they chose to write either a dinosaur themed acrostic poem or shape poem. As always, we were extremely impressed!

Take a look at their work below.

Yr 2 - Dinosaurs

Have a lovely weekend!

Mr Outson

Year 1 Teacher

Music in Year 1

Hello from Miss Mac!
I am hopeful that if your child is in 1O or 1J that they may have told you about their new Music teacher Miss Mac. Although I am not new to the School, I am aware that you may not know who I am. I am the Director of Co-Curricular at Beechwood and I spend the majority of my time in the Middle and Senior Department. Day to day, I teach Maths to Y4, Geography to Y6, Sport to Y4&5 and now Music to Y1.  I oversee all the co-curricular subjects (Art, DT, Sport, Dance and Drama, Music and Forest School) as well as coordinating the School’s Trips and Visits, After School Activity Programme, run the School Calendar and I work closely with the BPSPA. In summary, I lead on all the fun things!
Music has always been a big part of my life, I am a singer and play the clarinet, as well as dabbling on some other instruments. I have always sung in choirs and played in Orchestras from the age of 6. Music was a huge part of my school experience and I am a big believer in the power of Music and the Arts in general.
This term we are learning about Pitch – ask your children what this means and if they can remember the name of the 5 lines that the musical notes sit on.
Miss Mac

This Week in Year 2

As part of our topic on ‘Hot and Cold’ Year 2 have been exploring the weather in different climates

  • Markyate, England
  • Tromso, Norway
  • Mexico City, Mexico.

As part of this, the children have used the BBC weather website twice weekly to find and interpret the different weather and plot these on our giant ‘Weather Watch’ graph. We have been thrilled to see the different temperatures and so far Mexico City seems to be the most popular destination choice due to the consistent high temperatures and sun. The graph has helped us to use our maths skills to find the difference between different temperatures and understand how temperature is measured in degrees Celsius. It has been our first foray into negative numbers and we were really excited this week when some of us saw these on the dashboard on our cars. 

Year 2 - Weather

Have a lovely weekend

The Year 2 Team

From the Junior Library

The Girl who Noticed Everything by Jane Porter

The Girl who Noticed Everything is a heart-warming book, perfect for sharing.

It follows Stella and her Dad as they take a simple walk through the park. Stella is an observant girl and notices everything. She’s constantly pointing things out and constantly commenting. Her Dad explains that sometimes it’s not the best thing to do, however she soon turns her curiosity into useful detective work.

The Library Team