Nightingales Class

22nd October 2020

An Autumnal Photography Challenge

We're planning a little competition here at Docking primary. As the days are getting shorter and the leaves are beginning to carpet the ground, Autumn is sneaking up on us. It's a beautiful time of year, as long as you don't mind being a little bit colder and wetter than usual. Can you capture that beauty and sense of change in a photograph?

We're looking for exciting and interesting autumn photographs to display in the corridors at school. Log on to Google and mail them to me, or print them yourself and bring them in after half term. Winners will be put on display and will receive a certificate on the first Friday back after half term.

21st October 2020


A Mathematical Challenge

A set of cards, with two different sized-glasses, filled with different amounts of two different flavours of squash. A set of clues describing where they should go. The challenge: to place the glasses in the correct order.

Not only did Reggie work hard during the lesson to put them all in the correct order, during wet play he took on the challenge of an extra-hard set of clues, and with patient thought and careful reading managed to correctly order all the glasses. Brilliant work, Reggie, and great logical thinking: that last set of cards really was a challenge!

13th October 2020

The Park: Descriptive Writing from The Hodgeheg

What a beautiful display, Nightingales! We worked really hard on our descriptive writing, and they look great. I know your grown-ups won't be able to see our wonderful display in person, so be sure to show them our class blog.

25th September 2020

A Great Idea from Henry

I sent home some times tables cards with you on Friday, and Henry has already emailed me to say "I made a piece of paper so I can do my times tables on my own and put them in the correct answer box or the wrong answer box and I cover the answer with my finger." Isn't that a great idea?

How to Use Your Cards

  • Shuffle the cards

  • Ask: What '5 x 3' or '3 x 5'?

  • Allow three seconds to answer and keep the card.

  • Not sure? Show the answer, put it to the back of the pack and keep playing.

Want to do even better?

  • Shuffle the cards

  • Ask: '15 ÷ 3' or 'How many lots of 3 make 15'?

  • Three seconds to answer and keep the card!

  • Not sure? Show the answer, put it to the back and keep going.

Quick Answers about School: Updated 25th September, 2020

Assemblies: We won't be having assemblies at the moment, but we are still collecting team points and giving out class certificates. I'll also be emailing you certificates so you can show off at home, and you'll get team points for spellings, mental maths, tables and class certificates, as well as the usual things like kindness, hard work, thoughtfulness and all the other lovely things you do many times each day.

End of the Day: We will line up just inside the school gates and keep an eye out for socially-distanced adults appearing at the top of the drive. It's really helpful if you keep an eye out, as you're more likely to recognise your nan when she's wrapped up in three anoraks, a woolly scarf and a facemask, so don't be afraid to say if you see Uncle Jim appear at the top of the drive. It all helps!

Hand sanitiser and hand-washing: Everything needed is in the classroom. We will be washing our hands regularly as a preference to hand sanitiser, but we might do either, depending on the situation. You do not need to bring your own hand sanitiser, because we want to keep home things and school things separate. If, like Mr. Speck, you prefer handwashing over the hand sanitiser, that'll be fine; we have a sink in the classroom and all the equipment necessary.

Lunch: We are eating in the hall. There are some changes about where we queue and sit, but nothing to worry about. We will go into the hall at 12:00, spaced out after the Inca-Jays, and will go out to play on our own playground area.

Pencil cases: You don't need these, so please don't bring them. Everything you need is at school already.

PE - This is on Tuesdays and Fridays, although Friday is a slightly-shorter session. We change in two separate groups in the hall and the classroom, but some people are more comfortable simply coming to school in their PE Kit on those days; there is no problem with that. We use outdoors as much as possible for Tuesday PE sessions, and Fridays is an aerobic-style keep fit session, so you are spaced apart in the hall.

Playtimes: We are separate from the rest of the school. Our playground is at the top of the school, where the minibus would normally be parked. No-one else will be using that playground. After a class discussion we have arranged for the minibus to be moved so there is as much space as possible, and we've repurposed some of the barriers to make separate areas for those who want to run and play, and those who prefer to wind down with a little peace and quiet. After half-term we are planning to swap playgrounds with the Golden Eagles and take a turn on the MUGA.

Reading books: Like pencil cases, we want to keep home things at home and school things at school. To start with, we will be reading all together, but don't worry—I won't be making you read out loud to everyone. You will have a library book that only you have touched which will stay in your tray at school. You may have one to take home, but that'll be a little different, because when it comes back to school it will have to go in a special place for 72 hours. You may read to adults, but will sit side-by-side with a little distance between you, and this won't be happening as often.

Seats: You are sitting in rows, so you are not facing each other, and it's important that you resist the temptation to turn around to speak to the people behind you. We are not working in groups at the moment, but you are able to work in a pair, though again it's best to try not to face each other whilst talking. Lessons are spent sitting down, and there isn't as much chance to move about.

Snacks: Bring your snacks as normal. We will eat them on our own special area of the playground. There is no change to the rules about snacks, and I will be enjoying my usual diet of apples and way too many carrots! Mrs. Essex, I think, favours the low-calorie cereal bars from B&M Home Bargains.

Taking books home: Some people will be given a selection of book-banded books to take home, although not everyone. You will have a library book to read in school, but you may also take a library book home if your home book collection is running a bit short or you just fancy something different. Let me know you've chosen a book (Only touching the one you're taking home, please!) and when it comes back to school it will have to go in the tray in the cloakroom for 72 hours. We will not be taking home a reading record because of the 72 hour waiting period, but you can log on at home and use your school email to tell me about your reading, or write in your reading record at school.

Team points: We're collecting these just like normal. The only difference is that there won't be an assembly on a Friday, but the scores will still be displayed in the hall so you can check them during PE or lunchtimes. We are still doing three class certificates each week, but they'll be given out in class and also emailed to you rather than handed out in a celebration assembly. There will be team points for certificates (as well as team points certificates!) and things like tables scores, spellings and so on.

Toilets: We will be using the toilets next to the office. They are now unisex, and no-one else will be using them.

Wet Play: I will provide activities that you can do during wet play, but sadly the COVID restrictions mean there's a long list of things you simply can't do. You may colour, play Top Trumps with your partner, talk to other people or read your library book, and we may also have a film of some kind playing. You can't move around, swap places, play with toys or touch other people's things, and you should try not to face people as you speak to them.

21st September 2020

Tables and Certificates

We're definitely back into the routine now, busy learning our times tables and our spellings. You've been busy practising our tables every morning, and also using Times Tables Rockstars to help out. I'm very keen for you to get your studio games done, because that gives me a clear idea of how well you're improving. If you have chance at home, do log on to TTRockstars and play some studio games.

We're not having our certificate assemblies at the moment, but I'm still on the lookout for hard work and great behaviour. I gave out certificates this week to Barney, Jessica and Jacob for hard work in Writing, Maths and History, and I also gave out an amazing 15 certificates for hard workers in Times Tables. You'll have an email in your Google account if you received a certificate, and five extra team points on your chart!

11th September 2020

Our First Week Back

I hope you've enjoyed your first week back at school, Nightingales. It's been a little bit different, and those important things like handwashing and not sharing our equipment have made it tricky to get on with things, but as the week has progressed we've got quicker and settled into something of a routine. Next week we'll have spellings and tables to get on with, and we'll start our first Literacy topic, which is going to be some reading and writing work based on The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith. No sneaky reading ahead over the weekend—I want us to enjoy the book together!

We also got started with our Science work on Forces and Magnets, and produced some lovely artwork after looking at the strange and surreal pictures of René Magritte. I'm going to get those up on the wall and then I'll pop a picture on here so you can show people at home.

Going home is getting better as well: I think our system of standing well back in a line, waiting for the next grown-up to appear at the top of the path is working rather well!

7th September 2020

Welcome back!

Welcome back to school, Nightingales!

What's going to happen on Monday?

I expect that's the question that's on your mind. I am so looking forward to welcoming you on Monday, but I realise you might be worried. That's fine: it's okay to be worried, and I sometimes get nervous about coming back to school after the summer holidays, as well. I do know, from many years of experience, that's it's never as bad as I thought it would be! If you have any particular questions, there are some quick answers further down the page [These were updated on the 25th of September and are now near back up at the top of the page]. I will be here to help you, I will look after you, and we will all do our best to keep safe and keep learning.


Yes, there will be changes, and that can be hard. But even so, most things will be just like normal. You won't be expected to do anything that isn't safe! We will have time to talk through any worries on Monday, and I'm sure you'll find that any fears you have can be tackled.

You'll be arriving a little bit earlier than normal, and I'm aiming to see you on the top playground at 8:40, just outside the Nursery door. It's where the minibus is normally parked, but that's now going to be our special playground. You can meet your friends again, and have a bit of a socially-distanced chat, and then we'll head inside.

We'll wash hands, find our cloakroom pegs and places, then there's an activity all ready for you to get on with. We'll have some settling in time, then we can have a good chat about how everything's going to work.

You do not need to bring anything on Monday other than yourself, your coat and your lunch, water bottle and snacks. Everything else you need will be here in school, including pencils.

See you on Monday!

Autumn Half Term

What will we be learning?

Literacy and Maths

We have some exciting work coming up for Literacy, where we'll be using a 'FANTASTIC' new system to improve our writing. The 'FANTASTIC' is a bit of a clue there, but don't worry, I'll be telling you all about it.

Reading is going to be a little tricky, as we're not going to be able to do guided reading in small groups. Instead, I'm planning to read Dick King-Smith's The Hodgeheg as a whole class, so we'll still be able to practise our reading and comprehension skills. I don't mean that you'll have to read out loud to the whole class, so please don't worry—I'm sure that would be a little bit too much for some of you, and I don't want to put you off! We're likely to read to ourselves, perhaps to a partner, or just follow along whilst I read to you.

I'd like to find out where you are with both Maths and Literacy, so whilst we'll be carrying on with place value and calculations, there will be a little bit of checking up to start with. We need to get going with our times tables, too!

Topic: Vehicles

Our overall topic is Vehicles, which includes lots of opportunity for Science work. In fact, Science will be looking at forces, including gravity, friction and magnetism. We'll also look at how vehicles have changed over the years, and what the vehicles of the future might be like.


There are lots of lovely new Chromebooks, so I'm really looking forward to teaching you about the Google Classroom tools. We'll also use some online tools to practise coding and giving instructions. There's a lot to cover here, but I think you'll enjoy it.


I'm really pleased that we're going to be able to learn the ukulele again this year, and there's also a little extra coming up for Year 4. More news to come!

PE and Games

Mrs. Bower will be taking you for PE on Tuesday afternoons, and our other session will be on Friday. I'm planning to start with some aerobic-style keep fit activities, so we can keep relatively distanced whilst we're doing our PE.


Our RE covers why Christians worship Jesus Christ. The Bible has lots of stories about Jesus' life, and by reading these we can find out what it is that makes Jesus so special to Christians.

Other things…

As ever, there are lots of other bits and pieces to cover. Mrs. Essex will be helping you greet people in French, and practising some counting. We're not focusing on Geography this half term, but we will make sure to cover a little bit: we don't want to forget the continents, countries of Europe, or the names of the capital cities of the UK!