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Denby Free CE VA Primary School

Imagine. Believe. Achieve. Shine.

“Let your light shine” Matthew ch 5 v16

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What Sparrows have been learning?

26.05.23—Wow what a wonderful end to the term. This week we have been making and testing our rockets, singing superhero theme tunes, riding the balance bikes, writing and reading our own books, enjoyed a Superhero party on the moon, had the best fun on the Tough Runner, danced away at the disco and then celebrated Pentecost. Phew, we are all ready for a rest.



19.05.23—Another busy week. We have been scientists and found the best material to make an astronauts MAG (nappy) from and we have found out about Judaism, about mezuzahs and celebrated a shabbat meal. This is alongside the portraits they have been painting, the hair salon they have been enjoying, the character speech bubbles they have been writing and much more.

We have all been finding out about odd and even numbers and the Year 1’s have been finding quarters of numbers and shapes.

12.05.23—After the Coronation celebrations on Friday and the long weekend we have still managed to fit in lots this week. We have been writing to and receiving letters from Bob, the man on the moon. The children have been flying in box rockets, walking on moon boot stilts, making words in the moon dust and lots more.

In maths we have all been learning about the number 17 and halving and have made food to cut in half along with playdough pizza and cupcakes. In phonics Reception have been recapping some Phase 3 sounds and Year 1’s the ‘wh’ sound. We have all been learning about the materials that objects are made along of with their properties.


05.05.23 - We have had a super week learning about King Charles and the coronation alongside lots more flying things including planes and helicopters. The children have been serving tea from the water tray, coronation food in the mud kitchen, they have made crowns and written about what they would decree if they were the king or queen. We have also been making and flying planes and helicopters.

In maths we have been increasing our knowledge of teen numbers and tens and ones and the Year 1's have been learning about arrays and have been practising doubling and how this is the same as multiplying by two. In phonics the Year 1's have been learning the 'oe' and 'ow' sounds and Reception the 'ure' and 'er' sound (spellings are on Spellingshed). We have travelled by plane all the way to Mexico and the village of Tocuaro to compare our lives to theirs.

28.04.23—More aliens this week. We have made aliens from bottles, toilet tubes and paper plates, we have picked eyes out of the alien slime and predicted what would happen next in the story ‘The way back home’. We have also been learning about the constellations in the night sky, copying these with marshmallows and cocktail sticks, by sewing and by treading beads onto pipe cleaners.

In maths we have all been learning about the number 15 and the Year 1’s have been counting in 5’s and making equal groups. Year 1’s have been practising their reading skills and sequenced this week’s story. In phonics Reception have been learning the ‘ear’ and ‘air’ sounds and the Year 1’s the ‘aw’ and ‘au’ sound. We have found out about different animal diets and done lots of drawing of birds and King Charles III. We had a wonderful Wednesday walk where we saw the spectacular Bluebell Wood in full bloom.



21.04.23—It’s great to be back and the children have had a  wonderful week. We have started our new topic of Up, up and Away and this week we have based our learning on aliens and the book ‘Aliens love underpants’. They have made shape aliens, playdough aliens, ordered underpants, flew in the spaceship role play and lots more.

All of the children have been designing their own alien and writing about it. We have all been revisiting the number pairs that make 10, counting in twos and tens. We have learnt how to stay safe online and about the planets in our solar system. Reception have been learning the ‘ow’ and ‘oi’ sounds and Year 1’s the ‘y’ making the ‘ee’ sound and spellings for these sounds are on Spelling Shed.


We really enjoyed our Easter walk and reflecting on the story.

31.03.23—We have had a fab filled Easter week. We have counted eggs, guessed what is inside them, weighed them and watched as they have cracked open and the chicks have hatched. The children have loved having the chicks and we will be sad to see them return to their mum. Many thanks to everyone that was able to make it to our Easter walk and service, we hope you enjoyed it.

All the children have been finding out about all the parts of the Easter story, we have retold it, acted it out, written about it, and sang about it. We have made hot cross buns and chocolate nests. Eloise’s Grandad kindly and cleverly made all the children the most wonderful egg cup which they have decorated and Eloise’s mum popped in the eggs—many, many thanks for your kindness.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter.


24.03.23—We have been learning all about cars, trucks and tractors this week and the children loved their look around Harry’s Dad’s tractor. We have been washing and fixing cars and trucks outside, tallying the number of cars that drive past, the children have made some fantastic moving vehicles after finding out about axels and wheels and constructing vehicles using Lego and Mobilo.

The Year 1’s have been writing their stories based on Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car and in maths they have been measuring. In phonics Reception have been learning the ‘ar’ and ‘or’ sounds and Year 1’s the ‘ue’ sound. We have all been counting objects and comparing the amounts.


17.03.23—We have had a jam packed week learning about trains and boats using ‘The Train Ride’ story to help and of course our wonderful visit to Belper and Matlock Bath on the bus and train. We have enjoyed catching our pretend train outside and sailing in our boats, building train tracks inside and drawing one on top of the tables.

All of the children have continued building their confidence in telling the time to the hour and some to half past the hour. Year 1’s have been writing a recount of ‘The Train Ride’ journey and Reception drawing and writing about what they saw from the train to Matlock Bath. Reception have been learning the ‘oo’ sounds and Year 1’s the ‘ir’ sound.


10.03.23 - We have 'walked' through another week. We have based our learning on walking, road safety and the book 'Rosie's Walk' this week. The children have been completing obstacle courses and timing themselves as they go under, through, over and around like Rosie the hen. We have been practising crossing the road safely using our own pelican crossing and zebra crossing. We also loved our Wednesday walk to the pond at the back of Dumbles Lane. We have been drawing maps of Rosie's walk, our journeys to school and to treasure. The children have been identifying physical and human features on our walks and our maps.

The Year 1's have been writing instructions to get Rosie safely back to her coop. We have all been learning to tell the time to the hour and timing ourselves doing different activities. 

03.03.23—We’ve all really enjoyed Book Week. We celebrated by decorating our classroom as a jungle, river, desert and ocean so that we could perform ‘Walking through the jungle’. We have shared books with our church partner, had whole school story time and rescued crocodiles from the slime. 

We have continued phonics with Reception learning the ‘ai’ and ‘ee’ sounds and Year 1’s ‘ch’ making the c and sh sounds. In maths we have been measuring using rulers, number lines and cubes and Year 1’s have been doing lots of adding and subtracting.

Next week we will begin our ‘Are we there yet?’ transport based topic. We are learning about road safety and basing our learning around the book Rosie’s Walk. 


17.02.23 - Wow how time flies when you are having fun! We have had a fun filled week with lots of snow and ice based activities. We have made aquafaba snow to mark make in, cloud dough to mould, we have built igloos with our ice disks, broke the arctic animals free from the ice, we have made pompom snowballs, paper and magnetic snowflakes and estimated how many snowballs the children can see. We have been doing lots of adding with our indoor and outdoor adding machines using snowballs, guttering and stickers. 

Wishing you all a wonderful break and see you on Tuesday 28th February.

10.02.23—It’s been a funny week in Sparrows, learning about storms and lighthouses but also how to be calm as part of Mental Health week. The children have been making working lighthouses, ordering the brick lighthouses and finding out about Grace Darling. We have been practising different breathing techniques, dancing lots and getting out in nature on our Wednesday walk.

We have all been enjoying making up and telling our own stories. The Year 1’s and some Reception children are writing up their adventure stories.

03.02.23 - We have based our week around wind and the weather has matched the theme well. We have made kites, windmills, threaded the correct number of ribbons onto our kites, we have completed shape obstacle courses, hung washing out in order to dry, blown ping pong balls around mazes and much more.

We have all been comparing the weather in Denby to that along Toby's travels, to Rossi in Thailand and even Rosalie's Mum and Dad's weather in New York. The Year 1's have been comparing the weather and writing about this. Some of Reception have been writing about what the wind blew after we read the story 'The wind blew' by Pat Hutchins. We have all been learning about shape and the number 14. 

Also this week we enjoyed our 'Walking Wednesday' into the Gruffalo forest and meeting the dwarf goats. We have been watching the NSPCC 'PANTS' song and learning about keeping our privates, private. The children know the real name of their body parts and have been sharing what they like to do when they are feeling sad and how to ask if they can hug someone rather than assume everyone likes a hug and how to say no.

27.01.23—Our learning has been based around Noah’s Ark and other rain stories this week. We have made arks both inside and out, we have made rainbows in the mud kitchen, written letters in the shaving foam clouds, connected raindrops onto clouds and painted animals for the ark.

The Year 1’s and some of Reception have made rain sticks and written  instructions to make them. Year 1’s have completed the unit of place value work with lots of one more and one less games. We have all been scientists learning about the water cycle and rainbows. We have also met Toby who is going to tell us about the weather all around Europe. Reception have been learning the ‘y’, ‘z’ and ‘zz’ sounds and Year 1’s the split digraph a-e and i-e sounds. Spellings are available on Spelling Shed.

Next week we will be looking at windy weather.


20.01.23 - We have based our learning on the book 'Foggy, foggy forest' this week and celebrated the Chinese New Year and the year of the rabbit. The children have been learning about and experimenting with shadows, we have made and used our own shadow puppets and had fun with our shadows outside. We have been rhyming and writing our own versions of the 'Foggy, foggy forest', painting foggy paintings and playing I spy through our foggy binoculars. We have had water beads in our water tray, noodles in the mud kitchen and egg boxes to support our learning of the number 12. We loved spotting signs of winter on our walk to the Bluebell Woods and playing out in the little flurry of snow we got.

13.01.23—Happy New Year! It has been lovely to have the children back in school and this week we have been focusing on seasons and in particular winter and also on the Creation story. We have been retelling the Creation story through song, art and by making a mobile. We have made stickmen, seasonal trees, enjoyed making music including listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, loom band dot to dots and lots more.

We have been learning about the number 11. Reception have been learning the ‘j’ and ‘v’ sounds and Year 1’s the ‘a-e’ sounds and spellings are available for these sounds on Spelling Shed to support the children’s learning. We have all be learning about tempo and dynamics in music by using the instruments to represent different animals and adding a soundtrack to a story.


22.12.22—We have reached the end of a very busy term. This week has been filled with nativities, films, parties, advent assemblies, dinners and Christingles. Thank you for your support with all of these and we hope you enjoyed any of the events you came along to.

We are so proud of all the Sparrows and the progress they have made since September. Please can we ask you to enjoy the Christmas break and continue to read to your child and listen to them read.

When we return we will begin our ‘Whatever the Weather’ topic and the topic maps can be seen on the Sparrows webpage.

Please can I take this opportunity to thank you all for your amazing support, it is gratefully appreciated and to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2023.


16.12.22 - We have had a wonderful Christmas themed week. We have been learning about all the different parts of the nativity story, making cards, decorations, building snowmen, throwing snowballs, matching presents to Numicon baubles, making playdough wreaths, decorating snowmen and much, much more.

We are hoping to wow you with our Nativity next week, then we have the film morning, parties, the Christingle service, Christmas dinner and lots more planned.

09.12.22 - We have loved exploring Santa's workshop this week, wrapping presents, making cards and dressing up. The children have been decorating the Christmas trees, making playdough and clay Christmas trees, counting baubles, measuring tinsel, making repeating pattern wrapping paper and much, much more. Year 1's have been writing their own version of 'Dear Santa' and working on recalling the doubles. We have all been practising for the nativity across at Church. Reception have been learning the 'b', 'f' and 'ff' sounds and Year 1's the 'ie' sound.

02.12.22—We have been basing our learning on the stories of ‘Cops and Robbers’ and ‘Burglar Bill’ this week and done lots of police activities. We have been word detectives, using our phonics skills to read words, we have had a prison cell in our police role play area, counted our fingerprints, made flashing lights on the police cars, we have checked the speed of the scooters and given out speeding tickets and much more.

We have all been practising for the nativity, learning about 2d and 3d shapes and the number pairs that make 10. Reception have been   learning the ‘r’ and ‘h’ sounds and the Year 1’s the ‘oy’ sound.

Christmas will begin in Sparrows next week including continuing the nativity practise. We look forward to seeing you all next Friday at the Christmas Fayre straight after school.


25.11.22—Another wonderfully busy week with the highlight being our visit to Heanor Fire Station. Hopefully the children have told you all about it and you have seen the video clips and photos on Seesaw. We even watched as our own Pudding Lane was destroyed by fire and then extinguished by the firefighters. Many thanks to the parent helpers who made this visit possible.

Also, this week we have been busy in our hospital roleplay, counting and measuring bones in the sand, cleaning teeth, testing eyes and making x-rays among other things. Year 1’s have been labelling bodies and have begun Phase 5 phonics with the ‘ay’ sound. Reception have been learning the ‘e’ and ‘u’ sounds. We have all been learning about the number 10.

We have also welcomed Mrs Learner this week, our new teaching assistant for the mornings, she has been helping the children with their sounds and numbers.

Next week we will be learning about the police force and begin our nativity practise along with our Advent celebrations.

18.11.22 - We have had a great week 'Reaching Out' for anti-bullying week. We have listened to the story of The Rainbow Fish, Paper Dolls and Elmer which help us understand how we can show kindness and also how we can celebrate our differences. We have also been very lucky in receiving a visit from Sarah and Elliott who are paramedics. We had a great time learning about their job and looking around the ambulance ready for next week when we will have our own hospital and dentist.

11.11.22 - Another week has flown by. Reading Club was a great success last Friday, thank you to everyone who came along. We have been learning all about the Great Fire of London and even made bread using a recipe from 1666 and compared it to some bread we made using a more recent recipe. We have our own fire engine outside and fire station indoors. We have been rescuing numbers from the fire, making fire engines and fire fighters. We have also been learning about the importance of Remembrance Day and the significance of the poppy. Mrs Miller shared some of Captain Miller's medals and photos or their family who fought in World War I and II. The children have all made a poppy and some of these are displayed in the bus shelter and some will be placed at the memorial today as a mark of respect and thanks.

04.11.22 - It’s great to be back. The children have enjoyed learning about autumn and bonfire night. We have been making firework poems, paintings, and letter and number formation in our firework glitter and singing firework songs. Alongside this we have begun to find out about fire fighters.

Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic!

21.10.22 - We have reached the end of the half term and it seems like the Reception children have been with us for years. This week we have been preparing for the teddy bears picnic by writing invitations, setting up picnics in the role play, baking and lots more. Reception have been learning the 'n' and 'i' sounds and have been painting nails in the nail bar and made nests. We have all been learning about the number 6 by playing dotty six, playdough beetle drive and lots of dice games and learning about hexagons. The Year 1's have been showing off their recall of number pairs for 10.

On Friday we enjoyed all the p's - we went to the park and had pancakes. At the park we looked for the signs of autumn, we compared leaf sizes, colours and counted them before hunting for conkers and then enjoying some time on the park. 

14.10.22 - It's been another jam-packed week. We have been retelling the story of Goldilocks with music, we have made porridge playdough and the Year 1's have been writing their own version of the story.

We have all been learning about the number 5 with songs including 5 little ducks, 5 little monkeys and 5 speckled frogs and learning about rectangles. The Year 1's have been finding and recording number pairs for numbers up to 10. Reception have been learning the 't' and 'p' sounds which included eating tttttttoast and ppppp pancakes and the Year 1's have begun recapping Phase 4 phonics.

Next week we will be basing our learning around the Teddy Bear's Picnic.

07.10.22 - Wow the week has flown by! We loved our adventure to Derby Cathedral to see the Earth, although the soaking on the way home wasn't so lovely. The children have been basing their learning around the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and have been using a story map to retell it including changing their voices for the different voices. They have been comparing the sizes of different objects and making porridge in the mud kitchen. We even had a visit from Goldilocks after she spotted the Year 1 'wanted' posters. Reception have learnt their first sounds 's' and 'a' and we have all been learning about the number 4 and squares.

30.09.22 - We've had a harvest filled week with a sunflower theme. We have made, drawn and painted sunflowers, picked seeds out of the sunflower heads, sang songs about them, measured them and much more. Year 1's have been writing instructions to grow sunflowers and making guardian angels to protect them. Our favourite part was making and eating apple crumble made from the apples that have fallen from the trees on the school field.

We have all been learning about the number 3 and triangles. Year 1's have been ordering numbers. Reception have been learning the Oxford Reading Tree character names, we have been sharing stories about them and they have received their first books.

Next week we have our trip to see the Earth and we will be basing our learning on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

23.09.22—A shorter week this week but we have packed it full of Bear Hunt fun. We have really enjoyed learning to retell this story with actions, made binoculars for bear hunting, cut the swishy, swashy spaghetti grass, mark make in the snow, counted bears into caves, moved over, under and through our obstacle course and lots more.

The Year 1’s have been making maps for the Bear Hunt and for their own hunt story creations. They have been going over the phase 3 phonic sounds. We have all been learning about the parables that Jesus told and the important messages these give us.

16.09.22 - It's been a great second week in school with the children seeming like they have always been here. Thank you to everyone who came along to the meetings this week. We have been celebrating all things Paddington this week which seems fitting with the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The Year 1's have been writing postcards and building on their number knowledge. We have among other things been making paper bag and model Paddington's, making tea parties for him and The Queen and looking after the teddies (and one another) in the hospital

09.09.22 - The Sparrows new and old have settled in wonderfully. We have been learning about our emotions using the book 'Colour Monster' and learning the story of 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear'. The children have loved exploring their surroundings and seemed to have enjoyed themselves. We had a very sad end to the week with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II leaving us and so we have spent some time thinking about this as the bells rang out at church and by making some crafts to display.