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Year 3 - Elephants and Giraffes

Meet the Year 3 Team!

Spring Term 2022

W/C 14 February 2022


Happy half-term holiday, everyone!  It’s been an extremely frantic end to the half-term, even without Storm Eunice to hurry us on our way, and the children are all well in need of some rest and recuperation.  We look forward to seeing you all back, fully recharged and raring to go, on Monday 28th February!


We’ll start our discussion of the week right at the end of it, when we got to show off all of the wonderful creations that the children had been producing as part of their independent research into the Romans.  Have a look at the gallery on the class page of the website – the results speak for themselves (see below)!  Thank you to all of the parents who gave up valuable time, resources and patience in supporting your child’s learning during this task – all of the Year 3 teachers are parents, too, and know exactly how hard you will have worked as well!  We’ve deliberately not set additional homework for the holidays, but will be looking to do a similar research project in the next half-term so that the children have the chance to get creative again.  In the meantime, if you are wanting to get some extra learning in, please do practice those times tables (we have two Times Table Rock Stars tournaments set up, including one which is going on RIGHT NOW!!), handwriting letter formation, and reading via either Bug Club or Oxford Owl.


We have been completing a big batch of assessments this week; as well as our usual weekly tests, we have also been carrying out termly testing in maths and reading comprehension, French and science assessments and looking at handwriting, too.  This has been quite intense, but the children have coped very well and we are already seeing how the adjustments we have made to the delivery of lessons this term is starting to pay dividends.  We’ll be continuing to deliver our maths and literacy lessons in groups when we come back next half-term, although we may be fine-tuning some of the groups based on this weeks’ assessments.  We’ll keep you posted on developments…


Aside from that, in our maths work we have continued looking at fractions, this time focusing on finding different fractions of groups, shapes and numbers, recognising equivalence (why is ½ the same as 2/4s) and working out how to order fractions with the same denominators (bottom number) or numerator (top number).  When we get back we’ll be looking at how to add and subtract fractions, and starting to study decimals, prior to moving on to money.  In our literacy we looked at another type of persuasive writing, this time speech writing, building up to us having our own debates on a range of topics on Friday, where the children put their carefully-honed arguments across like real professionals!  We also wrapped up our study of the Romans with a look at Roman coinage, and what it could tell us about the history of the Empire, and creating our own coinage, including some tremendous self-portraits in profile!


Have a super break, everyone, and we’ll see you soon!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner, Mrs Tomlinson and Mrs Wilkes

The Great Year 3 Roman Research project - have a look at some of the wonderful creations!

Week commencing 7 February 2022


Evening everyone!  It’s been another action-packed week in Year 3, with lots going on and lots more to come next week.  We’ve got one more week to get through until half-term, so recharge the batteries and brace yourselves for one more week of mayhem before we all get a lie down.


As you know, we’ve had a major overhaul of the timetable this week.  We’ve split the year into three groups for our maths and literacy lessons to make sure that all the children get supported as needed and also get pushed to make sure they continue making accelerated progress to catch up after lockdown.  We’re still in our normal classes for all the rest of our lessons, but there’s a lot of coming and going between classes in the mornings at the moment.  We’ll have a look at how the groups are working over half-term, to see if we need to fine-tune the groupings at all, but the early impressions are very good.  We’ll keep you posted on progress.  Apologies again for the off – on – off – on changes about PE days; we’re confident that we’ll be sticking with the current arrangement (both classes on Monday, Giraffes on Wednesday and Elephants on Thursday) from now until the end of the year, but we’ll obviously let you know if anything does change again…

In our literacy work, we’ve been finishing off our persuasive writing based on tourist brochures.  The children have been looking, in particular, at being able to create coherent sentences and paragraphs, checking and editing their work (a real focus in the curriculum in lower Key Stage 2), and then presenting it to best effect using cursive handwriting, and thinking about how layout and additional pictures and headings enhance a piece of writing.


In maths, we have moved on from division to start looking at the closely-related area of fractions.  This week has largely been practical – looking at how to find given fractions of a group of objects, or a shape, but we have started introducing technical vocabulary and explanations to give the children a proper theoretical grounding from the outset.  We’ll be looking at fractions for the next few weeks, to make sure that the learning is really embedded – the children will be tangling with fractions on and off for the next eight years, so we want to get it right from the outset!


In our foundation lessons, we’ve been continuing our study of Ancient Rome, looking at the Roman settlement of Britain and the construction of Hadrian’s Wall.  Thank you to everyone who’s worked so hard on our Rome research projects – we’ve had some lovely work in from lots of children, and we’ll make sure that we set up a photo gallery so you can have a look at all the wonderful work next week.  We’ve also continued our study of rocks, this week focusing on how fossils are formed in sedimentary rock.  This did get a bit messy: apologies for the salt dough smudges, and, if it’s any consolation, it took quite a while to get the classrooms clean again afterwards, too!  Check out the results in our photo gallery:


Photo gallery | Batchley First and Nursery School (


Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you bright and early on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle. Mrs Tomlinson, Mrs Turner AND Mrs Wilkes!



W/C 31 January 2022


It's been a hectic week in Year 3 as we have been finishing learning sequences, starting new ones, assessing progress with some tricky tests, and reorganising the year group into new groupings for literacy and maths.  Phew!


In our literacy lessons, we have started creating a piece of persuasive writing, based on our investigations of Ancient Rome - we're writing a tourist brochure to attract visitors to the eternal city!  We began by seeing what the children could already do with a cold-write assessment, then started looking at layout and language features of persuasive writing to create a toolkit.  We then carried out our own research about different attractions in Ancient Rome, taking coherent and focused notes as we did, before grouping and classifying our facts and planning out some cohesive paragraphs, together with suitable vocabulary to sell it to the unwary visitor!


In maths we spent a week learning how to use compact "bus stop" division. This is the first formal method of division calculation the children have ever learned, and so we took it slowly, but the kids have really taken to it and it has been great to see their confidence growing as they learned how to tackle bigger numbers, carry remainders and calculate number fact families.  We finished the week with a "hot task" of our multiplication and division learning, going back to the cold task we'd completed before Christmas.  It was great to see how much significant progress the children had made in such a short space of time!  Next week we'll be moving on to fractions - with a cold task first up on Monday morning!  Don't worry, we'll be fraction masters in no time...


Our foundation lessons have been very varied this week!  We've researched and created a biographical fact file all about Julius Caesar, have looked at how and why the Romans built such great roads and what they tell us about the Empire, listened to Gustav Holst's "The Planets" suite, inspired by the Roman Gods and Goddesses that the planets are named after, and finally looked at how soil is formed - part of our wider study of rocks, but also a precursor to our focus on plants which will be starting after half term.


Finally, we will be working on a new timetable with effect from Monday.  This is to maximise the learning time the children spend each day, so we can really start to push them on and catch up from all the disruption over the last two years.  This shouldn't have any major impact on you, but there are two things to be aware of from the start:


  1. Formal lessons will be starting straight after register at 9.00 AM - We'll be fetching the children in off the playground at around 8.45 so we've time to get settled before lessons begin, but it will be a prompt start as we're going to have to get three formal lessons in each morning rather than two!
  2. PE is going to be on two days a week again!  Apologies, we know that we've done this before and then changed back, but this time it should be for keeps.  Giraffes are going to be doing PE on MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY, and Elephants on MONDAY AND THURSDAY.   As before, please come in full dress code-compliant PE kit for those days.


Thanks everyone, have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 24th January 2022


Evening everyone - another busy week done in Year 3, and some super work has been done by the pupils.


In our literacy we have stuck with our work on volcanoes, but this time looking at poetry rather than diary entries!  We began by looking at the poem "Six ways to look at the Moon" by Pie Corbett.  This is another list poem, but this time made up of some very abstract metaphors.  We had to work out what these meant, and then spent the rest of the week learning how to create our own and coming up with our own variation of the poem, based on "Six ways to look at a volcano".  The children came up with some very creative imagery!


In our maths work, we have moved on from looking at multiplication to division, starting off with informal methods - arrays and number lines.  Next week, we'll be looking at formal division, using the compact ("bus stop") method that a lot of you might remember from school!  We'll be finishing the week with a "hot task". going back to have another go at the test we did before Christmas, so we can see how much progress we've made in the last few weeks.  It would definitely be handy to have a practice through on times tables and think about what other methods we have used to multiply and divide - the Daily 10 site, that we use for our morning starters, is a good place to start if you want your child to keep up to speed over the weekend:


We have continued our exploration of Roman civilisation this week, looking at what made the Roman army so formidable.  We've also been continuing to study volcanoes, the rock cycle, and the classification of different types of rocks and stones.  Today we also joined in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, conducting a survey of all the different birds we could spot around the grounds at the school.  Full details on the link below, and you might want to look at some of the photos of the survey in action on the photo gallery on our website!


Thank you for those of you who've already been helping out with the independent research challenge.  If you need support, please let us know and we'll do what we can to help.  We're looking forward to seeing what the children come up with!


Have a super weekend, everyone and we'll see you all on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle., Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson


W/C 17 January 2022

It's been a busy week again in Year 3. We're back to full speed now, with our weekly spelling and times table tests in full swing and the pace of work picking up as we start to get more in-depth in our sequences of learning.

In literacy, we finished off our super diary entries about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius this week. We devoted Wednesday and Thursday to checking, editing, and finally presenting our work in our best handwriting - we'll try to get some of the work up on display and onto the class page on the website so you can see how far the children have come along over the next few days.  Next week, we'll be sticking with Vesuvius for a bit longer, but this time looking at it through poetry...

In our maths we have looked at another formal method of calculation for multiplying large numbers, this time using column multiplication (the one all us grown-ups remember from school).  This was a challenge at first, but the children have stuck with it really well and have made some super progress this week. We'll be moving on to division next week. In the meantime, please do all have a go on Times Table Rock Stars if you get the chance this weekend - we really want to beat the Y4 classes in the tournament!

In the meantime, as you know, at present our literacy lessons and afternoon foundation subjects are all based around exploring the amazing history of Ancient Rome. We have put together a brief overview of what we will be looking at so you have a guide to the history.

As part of our work, we would like the children to complete their own independent research about an aspect of Roman history, which they can present however they like - a drawing, map, poster, information text, PowerPoint - whatever they feel like!

You can pick any aspect of Roman history or culture, but if you are stuck for inspiration, you might want to have a look at:

  • Famous Romans: Julius Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, Scipio Africanus, Camillus, Romulus, Claudius, Constantine the Great, Marius, Sulla, Pompey...
  • Famous Landmarks:  The Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Hadrian's Wall, Diocletian's Palace, The Pantheon, Ostia, The Pont Du Gard, Trajan's Column, the Baths of Caracalla, the Forum..
  • Daily life: Food and Drink, Clothes and fashion, Art and Sculpture, Roman literature, the bath houses, Roman games and sports, a typical house and all its mod cons, life in the city, life in the country...
  • Life in the Empire: Different provinces, Gods and Goddesses, Roads and Aqueducts, Roman money, ships and transport, senators, freemen and slaves...
  • Famous events: The founding of Rome, banishing the kings, the wars with Carthage, the Civil War, the Great Fire of Rome, the coming of Christianity, the Sack of Rome...
  • Life in the army: a typical soldier and his legion, a Roman camp, forts and fortifications, military campaigns
  • The Romans in Britain: Britain before the Romans, Julius Caesar, Druids, the invasion of Claudius, the rebellion of Boudicca, Agricola as Governor, Roman bath, Roman London, Hadrian's Wall, Romans and Britons becoming one people, The Saxon Shore, life after the Romans departed...

We hope this is enough to get your imagination fired up! If you need any resources, guidance or any other help, please let us know. We hope that we can put on an exhibition of everyone's work at the end of half-term,Covid permitting, but at the very least we'll be awarding prizes for the best entries and putting photos up on the class website so everyone can enjoy them.

Happy researching, everyone!

Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

W/C 10 January 2022


Afternoon everyone - sorry for the late update, but it's been a busy few days!


We're properly back into the swing of things now, and the pace of work is starting to pick up again.  We're now getting properly into our latest topic, which is all based around the amazing history of the Roman Empire.  


Our literacy work is based about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, with the children creating a narrative recount of the eruption in the form of a diary.  We started by looking at the features of diary writing and creating a toolkit, before looking at the house of the eruption with the benefit of an hour-by-hour recreation:


The children used the video as a hook to start a recount of the first half of the eruption.  We'll be finishing this off next week.


Our topic work has been based around the history of Rome and the science of volcanoes.  In our history lessons we have created a timeline of the history of the Roman Empire and then looked at the layout of the original city of Rome, thinking about what made it a good site and how it developed, and linking this to the legend of Romulus and Remus, which tells us a lot about how the Roman people thought of themselves (even if it's not likely to be very accurate!). Meanwhile, in Geography we have learned about plate tectonics and mapped out where the planet's plate boundaries lie and how they move around, as a preparatory step to learning more about different types of plate boundary and different types of volcano which we might find there.  In our linked science lesson, we looked at different rocks, noticing similarities and differences, and thought about how we could use these characteristics to classify them.  We'll be looking at formal classifications later on this term.


In maths, we have moved into formal methods of calculating multiplication, starting this week with the grid method.  We'll be moving on to formal column multiplication next week, before looking at methods of division.  As we've mentioned before, this section of the curriculum depends heavily on your child being able to recall and use their knowledge of times tables to unpick different methods, in particular the 2x, 5x and 10x tables (Year 2 requirements) and 3x, 4x and 8x tables (Year 3 requirements).  The more practice the children put in, the easier this will be, so if you do get the chance to practice with them this week, that would be great.  If you need any tips or resources to help with practicing, please let us know!


Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone, and we'll see you all tomorrow.  Remember, it's PE day, and also our day for changing books in the library.  See you soon!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Tomlinson and Mrs Turner

W/C 5 January 2022


Evening everyone!  It's good to be back, even if it's a bit chilly at the moment with all the windows open!  Once we'd got the cobwebs blasted off on Wednesday we settled back into things quickly, and we're all set now to have a super Spring term.  Thank you for your patience with the ParentPay bookings for tuck and meals this week - things should get a lot slicker once things have settled down....


In our maths, we've begun by having a recap on some of our learning to date, focusing on formal methods of calculation - column addition, column subtraction, and using arrays to multiply and divide.  We'll be sticking with multiplication and division a bit longer yet starting with grid multiplication next week.  If you're wanting to familiarise yourselves with what this involves, please have a check on our guide to multiplication and division on the class page:


In our literacy lessons we have started looking at how to create an effective narrative to recount an event, starting off with looking at a volcanic eruption.  The children produced their own cold write before creating a detailed labelled diagram of a volcano cross-section to help their understanding.  We'll be moving on to how to create an effective narrative next week.  


In our foundation lessons, we've continued our French and RE studies and have also begun looking at a new topic - focusing on the fascinating history of the Roman empire.  The children have  looked at some examples of Roman buildings and created timelines which we will use to build a detailed chronology of Roman civilisation throughout this half term.  This will be linking in with our literacy lessons next week...


Finally, Mrs Timbrell has asked us to make you aware of a new after-school club which will be running this term.  We have been able to secure some professional cricket coaching sessions, which are free and will be taking plae after school on Fridays, starting next week.  If you are interested, please book a spot on Parent Pay - they don't cost anything, but you still need to book online!


Have a super weekend, everyone - and see you all on Monday...


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Autumn Term 2021


Our half-term overview!

Week Commencing 13 December 2021


A day early on the update, but we thought everyone would probably want to unplug for a couple of weeks!


Firstly, a bit of housekeeping: can all children bring back library books tomorrow so that we can collect these in for the holidays.  It might be handy to bring in a spare bag if you've got one, too, so we can make sure that everything goes home rather than getting cleaned out during the break!  


There won't be any spellings set over the holidays, so you don't have to worry about that, but we would like the children to have a go at our Christmas Reading Challenge:


If you are stuck for something to read, let us know and we'll see what we can sort...


We have been getting work done this week, too, right up to the last minute.  In our literacy lessons, we have been finishing off our writing sequence inspired by Leon and The Place Between by creating and describing our own master of magic - the children have had great fun drawing their own witches and wizards, generating descriptive phrases, and stringing these together into a coherent character description.  In our maths lessons we have focused on getting secure with our informal methods of multiplying and dividing, and applying these to tackle word problems.  Finally, we had great fun in our science lessons, looking at how the force of friction can affect how an object travels - we set up a super fair test looking at the impact of friction on a toy car speeding down a slope, with the children making and justifying some excellent predictions about which surface would slow the car down most, and why.


Have a super Christmas holiday, everyone.  We're sorry that some children have missed the end of term, but we hope you have a great break and look forward to seeing you all back, rested and raring to go, on Wednesday 5th January, when we'll be getting stuck into some very exciting new sequences of learning.  No spoilers, but let's just say that it'll certainly start with a bang!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 6 December 2021


Evening all - last weekly update before we break up, and it's been a long old week!  We've been catching up with some assessment this week, and it's great to see how much progress the children have made with their maths and literacy during the course of the autumn term.  If we can keep up the same effort and application throughout the rest of the year then we should see some excellent progress across the board by the summer!  


It's not just been assessment, though.  In our maths lessons, we've been looking at informal methods of multiplication and division, using arrays to calculate problems and associated facts in number families.  We'll be building on this next week so that we're ready to get started on some formal methods of multiplication and division straight after the holidays.  In our literacy work, we've been continuing our work based around Leon and the Place Between, this time creating a setting description by studying examples from other texts, creating a toolkit, then choosing effective vocabulary, incorporating it into complex sentences using place prepositions, and finally composing, editing and polishing up some super settings.  In our foundation lessons, meanwhile, we've continued our trip through Europe by creating maps of Poland and then studying how farming in the country is affected by the climate and landscape, in contrast with Greece last week.  The children particularly enjoyed trying some typical Polish food - thank you ever so much for the kind donations!  We've added some more photos to the archive on the Class Page, so please have a look when you get the chance!


See you all on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

W/C 29 November 2021


Evening everybody! 


It's getting closer to the end of term now, and decorations have started going up around the school.  It's not all glitter and carols yet, though, and we've had another busy week in Year 3, with some super demanding learning going on.  Please do let the kids have a bit of a rest over the weekend, as there were some tired bodies and tired tempers by the end of this week, and we want to end the term on a good note.


In our literacy we spent the week learning how to put together an effective suspense paragraph, looking at examples, creating a toolkit, and then planning out and writing up our paragraph.  At the end of the week we started looking ahead to next week's work by producing a map of our new fantasy world.


In maths, we have started looking at multiplication and division, looking at how these two operations are linked and exploring some of the informal methods we can use to calculate.  Times tables practice is very important for this, so any time spent on Times Table Rock Stars will be well-spent.  At the same time, if you're wanting to get any extra practice in please have a look at our homework guide to multiplication and division, which explains how we teach these operations at Batchley and how the children's learning develops:


Have a super weekend, everyone, and see you all on Monday morning!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week Commencing 22 November 2021


Blimey, that was a busy week!  As the dust starts to settle, it’s time for a recap…


Firstly, thank you to all the children for being on best behaviour while our “special guests” were in school on Tuesday and Wednesday.  While we made every effort to keep things as normal as possible, inevitably there were some disconcerting changes and staff changes which the children coped with really well and kept up the effort in their studies.  Apologies again, too, to all parents we’d booked appointments with on Wednesday evening; thank you for being so understanding, and we’re looking forward to having our delayed parent consultations next Wednesday.  It was great to speak to so many of you on Thursday, and we hope the meetings were useful to you in understanding your child’s progress to date.


In our literacy work, the whole-school writing project has now ended, and we have begun to look at another book: Leon and the Place Between, by Angela McAllister, with (lovely) illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith.  We began this week by story-mapping out the first part of the book so that we would be able to recall the details.  We then started creating a toolkit for effective suspense writing, for us to use for the first part of our own version of the story, before boxing up the original book and creating our own innovated version of the build-up.  Next week we will turn this into a polished suspense paragraph before starting to plan out the imaginary world we find ourselves in…


In maths, we rounded off our study of addition and subtraction with a grueling series of lessons based around problem solving.  We looked at how to apply formal methods of calculation for addition and subtraction to simple word problems before moving on to how to choose which operation to use to tackle more complicated tasks.  Finally, we completed a hot-task today, looking back over all the work we had done on addition and subtraction.  The children’s scores show a great improvement on the cold task we completed only a few weeks’ ago, showing how much progress they have made in a short space of time.  Well done everyone!


In our foundation lessons, we have continued our Eurovision geography tour of Europe by creating a detailed physical map of France, focusing on mountains and rivers and the links between the two.  We then created a detailed diagram of the different parts of a river system from source to river mouth, describing what each was like and how the features were formed.  We have also been continuing our French lessons and furthering our understanding of the Bible story of Noah’s Ark by considering what we would save, and why. 


Have a super weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you all on Monday – hopefully we’ll all have had the chance of a rest by then!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

W/C 15 November 2021


Evening all!  


It's been an extremely busy week, with the children working very hard through a whole heap of challenging tasks, ending with our visit to Trinity High for this afternoon's Invasion Games festival. As we near the mid-point of this half-term, please make sure you get a rest and recharge at the weekend so we're ready to hit the ground running on Monday - because the pace isn't going to be slowing!


In our literacy work, we've come to the end of our whole-school writing project.  We wrapped up the last work on our information texts before creating a list poem out of similes, using Robert Hull's text "As, As, As" for inspiration.  The children looked at how to create effective similes before putting them together into rhyming couplets, and then ordered them to create their own list poems before performing them out loud and then writing them up into a finished form.  We'll be adding photographs of the poems soon, and sending the finished drafts home, too.  In the meantime, we're adding photographs of the finished work onto the class page on the school website:


Photo gallery!


We'll be moving on to something completely different next week, which we're all looking forward to - we're sure the children will love it, too!


In maths, we've been tackling the tricky area of column subtraction.  The children have made huge progress in the space of a week, but this is an area where practice really does make perfect, especially when "carrying" (exchanging) numbers from one column into another.  It would be hugely beneficial for the children to keep the practice going, so please do keep on challenging them with sums.  If you're stuck for inspiration, have a look at some of the resources we've added on the class website.


In our foundation studies, we've begun a new theme, called "Eurovision" - based on a tour around Europe looking at different countries as case studies of different Geographical features.  We started with a launch day where we shared what we already knew about Europe and started exploring, gathering as many key facts as we could to steer our future learning.  


It was great to end the day with a trip to Trinity high school for the invasion games festival - the first time for two years that we've been able to do this!  The children were a great credit to the school and had a super time enjoying the different sports.  Hopefully this will be the first trip of many!  Thank you for all of your help in making sure the children were all turned out looking their best, and for your patience in waiting for us - we did get back as quick as we could!


Have a super weekend, everyone, and see you on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

W/C 8 November 2021


We've had another busy old week in Year 3!  


We've been continuing our whole-school writing project in our literacy lessons, using our research from last week to produce some super cohesive paragraphs.  Our focus was upon grouping and sequencing facts in a logical order, then putting together effective sentences to best show off what we had learned.  The second half of the week focused upon presenting these paragraphs effectively by checking them through, editing to improve the content, and finally turning them into polished pieces of writing, showing off our best handwriting.  We'll be putting photographs of the final work on the website next week so you can all see how hard the children have been working and the progress they have made.


In maths, we have continued our work on formal methods of calculation.  We stuck with column addition until the children were confident in using either an expanded or compact method to add three-digit numbers.  We have now started exploring column subtraction; again, we will be taking this slow as it is a vital skill to master.  If you do get the chance to practice both of these operations with your children over the next few weeks, that would be helpful - the more practice they get, the more their confidence and fluency will build.  In particular, exchanging ("carrying") numbers in both addition and subtraction often goes wrong if the children don't get the practice.  If you are stuck for resources, have a look at the different worksheets on the class page of the school website!


Have a super weekend, everyone!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

W/C 1 November 2021


Happy Friday everyone!


It's been a very busy start to the new half-term in Year 3 - so much so that it feels like it's been a very long week.  Make sure batteries get recharged because the pace isn't going to be dropping any time soon...

As we mentioned at the start of the week, Batchley have started another whole-school writing project, this time using Chris Malinchak's video for "So Good To Me" as a hook for our writing.  You can refresh your memory about the video here:


We started the week by making predictions and drawing inferences from the video, trying to unpick what was happening and why, and how the girl was feeling at each stage from the clues on screen.  We've now moved onto looking at non-fiction information texts; we started by answering questions and identifying features of such texts from a modelled example, all about elephants, and have now begun researching facts and planning our own reports about giraffes!  We'll be drafting these up, writing them out in neat and decorating them with some cool original artwork next week.


In maths, we've started work on formal methods of calculation, beginning with one of the most important, column addition.  This is a really important skill for the children to master - we teachers still use it ourselves on a regular basis - so the more practice they can get in, the better.  It would be great if you could encourage your children to have a go at practicing this over the next few days, either by using a worksheet, setting your own problems, or trying an online game - there are loads out there, including on Oxford Owl and Times Table Rock Stars!
(online addition practice)
(free resources we've put together on the class page)


Have a super weekend, everyone, and we hope your November 5th goes with a bang!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Evening everybody!


In advance of tomorrow's weekly update, we thought it might be helpful to let you have an overview of what we will be covering this half-term.  As always, if there is anything you don't understand or you want more information about, please let us know and we'll do our best to help - we want to create a proper partnership between work and home so the children can make as much progress as possible!


Best wishes


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 18 October 2021


Phew!  Everybody’s in need of a few days’ rest after a frantic end to the half term, even if the teachers are back in school tomorrow!  We’ve crammed a lot of hard work in to the four days of this week, and the children have done themselves proud keeping up with the pace.


We’ve been carrying out a series of assessments this week, looking at how the children are doing in meeting age-related expectations in reading and mathematics, on top of our usual spelling tests and a “hot task”

assessment of the progress we’ve made to date with understanding poetry.  If this all sounds like a lot of serious hard work, it certainly was!  The positive side of this, though, is that it gives us a clearer picture of any remaining gaps from the last couple of disjointed years, ensuring that we can plan and resource our lessons to take into account each pupil’s particular strengths and needs.  Well done to all the children for getting through this first round, and let’s hope we can show some real progress across the board when we get to the next round!


As well as the assessments, we’ve been busy in our maths and literacy work, too.  In maths, we’ve been building on our knowledge of addition and subtraction and looking at how we can use number lines to support our adding and subtracting.  We’ll be moving onto column addition and subtraction after half term.  In our literacy work, we’ve continued with poetry, this time creating our own poems to warm readers all about the horrible features of the Big Bad Pig – a great way to sign off our fairy-tale themes!  On top of this, we’ve been busy with our RE lessons, securing our understanding of the story of Genesis, have been learning all about the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and trying out some great new drawing techniques in our brand new sketchbooks!


Amongst other tasks tomorrow, we’ll be setting some online work for over the holidays.  In particular, we would like all the children to do some research and produce some sort of report about a children’s author of their choice – it could be a poster, a list of the books they’ve written, a review of your favourite book, a biography of the writer or a picture of a scene from the book.  We’ll be adding more details tomorrow, including links to spellings, Times Table Rock Stars tournaments and so forth.  In addition, although we’ve collected in school library books for the holidays, we’ll be assigning some banded online reading books through the Oxford Owl website.  This will allow the children to read online, or enjoy stories as audiobooks too -  a great resource!  You’ll be able to get on the site by just googling “Oxford Owl”, and the children should all have logins - if you can’t find them, or need any other assistance, please let us know!


If you haven't done so yet, can you also please contact the school office to set up Parent Pay arrangements, as we're moving away from taking cash.   If you're not sure whether you've got an account set up or not, please let us know and we'll confirm either way!


Have a super holiday, and we’ll see you all in November…!

Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 11 October 2021


Evening everybody!  One more week to go for this half-term, and it’s not a full week either (for the children, at least), so we’ll be keeping the pace up right to the end.  As always, make sure the children are getting plenty of rest, because they’re certainly going to need it next week!  We’ll have our first significant batch of assessment tests to see how they have bedded in and where the (inevitable) gaps in learning from the past two years still are, so we’ll be wanting them on top of their games!


In our literacy this week, we have stuck with our jumbled fairy tales but are now looking at poetry.  Using the hook of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (always a popular choice!) and thinking back to our earlier work this term, the children identified common features of a range of different poems to create a poetry toolkit – something we’ll be using throughout the year – before looking at how to put together a straightforward list poem, using rhyming couplets.  We then adapted a modelled example to create our very own poems, and to learn the skills we will use throughout the year to write more substantial and sophisticated pieces of work.


In maths we have continued our joint exploration of addition and subtraction, looking at some informal methods of calculation for both operations and how the two are closely linked.  There has been a lot of concentration on partitioning of numbers into hundreds, tens and units, exchanging of units into tens (to add) or tens into units (to subtract) and completing number families using commutativity and inverse operations.  We’re hoping to wrap up the informal methods next week so that, by the time we get back after half-term, we’ll be ready to go with formal calculation…


A reminder (in case anyone had forgotten) that Monday is “Everything Day”, so please remember tuck money, PE kits, books and reading records etc!  In the meantime, don’t forget to have a look through our photo galleries and at the range of different resources below.


We’ll have parents’ consultations coming up soon after we get back, so if you get the chance it might be a good time to start having a chat with children to see how they think they’re doing and identify any worries or concerns they may have – we want to make sure we make best use of the time we get on the consultations to deal with the things which are most important for you all!


Have a super weekend, everyone.


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 4th October 2021


We’re into October and we’re starting to ratchet up the work now, as the children adjust to life in Key Stage 2.  It will take time to adjust to this, particularly given how much time they have all missed out of regular school over the last couple of years, so don’t be surprised if they’re a bit tired and grumpy at the moment - we’re building up the stamina, and (fingers crossed) will really benefit from having an uninterrupted year.  It’s tough on the grown-ups too - big thank-yous to Mrs Walton for helping out in Giraffes this week, and to Mrs Smith for working in Elephants on Thursday and Friday. 


Our work this week has centred on newspapers; using the hook of the Three Little Pigs advert, we have created a toolkit of the features common to newspaper writing, looked at the style of writing to adopt when composing a report, and then created our own newspaper accounts of the Pigs’ arrest and trial.  We’ll be doing some more newspaper work in the near future, so it was very useful to get the children accustomed to this at an early point in the year.


In our maths work, we have left place value behind for now, and started exploring addition and subtraction. We’ll be looking at these interlinked mathematical operations alongside each other for much of the next few weeks, as the links between them are obvious and important.  We will start off with informal methods of calculation, concentrating on building up the children’s confidence and fluency, before moving on to more formal methods like column addition and subtraction.  As always, the more you can practice with your children, the more confident they will be and the more progress they will make; if you want to see how we teach addition and subtraction through the school, please have a look at the homework guidance on addition and subtraction, as well as the key vocabulary documents - in case you want to be able to tell the difference between a sum and a calculation!


We have also added a lot of extra resources to help your child practice on the class page on the school website:


Have a super weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you all again on Monday morning.  Remember to bring PE kit and library books for changing, as well as tuck money, and make sure you practice those spellings in time for Monday so that everyone gets the best score possible!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 27 September 2021 


Another really busy week chalked off, and the pace is starting to pick up now as the children adjust to he greater demands of life in Key Stage 2.  We are setting high expectations for learning and behaviour, which means that mistakes are going to be made in both, but the important thing is that the children are learning from these mistakes and coming back stronger.  The work is going to be challenging next week again, so make sure that everyone gets a good rest over the weekend to recharge the batteries!


In our literacy this week we have finished off our scrambled version of the Three Little Pigs by looking at how to bring a story to an effective conclusion.  The children have worked very hard on this story, which has been split over a large number of lessons, looking at every stage of planning and writing so that they can produce more effective work in the future.  Having finished this part of our learning, we have now started preparing for another significant piece of writing by looking at facts and opinions as preparation for writing a newspaper report, based on the sensational trial of the Three Little Pigs.  You can watch the video we have been using as a hook here!




In our maths work we have been continuing our study of place value and the number system by looking at number sequences, counting in 2s, 3s and 5 and then looking at how we can scale these up to count in 20s, 30s and 50s.  We then started to prepare for the next step of learning, looking at addition and subtraction, by exploring the links between these two operations, in particular commutative operations (you can add in any order, so 2 + 3 is the same as 3 + 2) and inverse operations (where you reverse what you have done – if 2 + 3 =5, then 5 – 2 = 3) to work out number families for calculations.  This will underpin a lot of our work for the rest of the term, so it is well worth practicing with your children if you get the chance: if you know that 12 + 6 = 18, what three other number sentences can you write with the same three numbers?  Let us know how you get on!


Have a super weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you bright and early on Monday morning!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 20 September 2021


Three weeks in, and the pace is picking up in Year 3!  It’s been a manic week and we’ve got a lot of ground covered.  There’s not going to be any let-up next week, though, so please make sure the children get a proper rest over the weekend – there were some tired bodies in class today!


Firstly, please remember that Monday is EVERYTHING day – spelling tests, new spellings sent home, library books changed, PE kits worn, Super Reader prizes awarded etc etc.  Thank you everyone who has been helping their children out already with the spelling practice and daily reading – it really does make a huge difference, but there aren’t any quick fixes so it does take a lot of repetitive skill-building  Every time the children are practicing, they will be getting better, even if it’s a battle at the time, so please do keep it up!


In literacy this week we have been continuing our work on The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.  This week we used the text to give us a structure to innovate a jumbled fairy tale of our own.  We started off with a story map of the basic story and wrote straight over the top of it, using colour-coded graffiti to change characters, settings and plot points (eat your heart out, Banksy!) We then boxed up our new story, setting it out alongside the original so we could see when and how the changes took effect.  Finally we started writing up our revised story, taking it one chunk at a time and focusing on quality rather than quantity.  This is a tricky exercise that we will be repeating throughout the year, but we have had some very promising first attempts!


In maths, we have continued our work on place value, looking at how we can compare and order numbers, use basic root calculations to “scale up” to bigger numbers, and tackling some tricky place value problems.  We finished the week by completing a “hot task” of the original test we completed at the start of Week 1, so we can chart how much improvement the children have made over the last couple of weeks.  Final results are still to be tabulated, but the early indications are that we should be seeing a significant improvement – just what we wanted!


In our foundation work, we have continued our exploration of magnetism, this time making predictions and then conducting tests to see which materials were magnetic and which were not, before exploring the science behind this and seeing why some objects weren’t magnetic, even though they were metal (it’s got to contain iron or nickel!) In RE we have studied the story of Genesis and looked at Adam, Eve and the story of the Fall, whilst in French we have continued to learn and practice our colours.  


Have a great weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you on Monday!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Week commencing 13 September 2021


We’re two weeks into the term and the pace is starting to pick up now!  This week it’s been a very busy workload for all the children, so please do make sure they get a good rest to recharge batteries over the weekend – there were definitely a few tired bodies and minds by close of business today!


In our literacy, we have continued using The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig as a hook for our writing, this time to create  a detailed character description of our very own Big Bad Pig.  The children started off by drawing their own characters, getting creative with interesting details which would be fun to write about.  We then looked at how we could upscale our vocabulary by generating ideas and then finding more exciting synonyms using a thesaurus, before putting the ideas together into a final piece of writing this morning – with some great results!  If the children want to have an explore of how to use a thesaurus, please do encourage them to have a look at and find some more exciting synonyms for common words (walk, said, big, happy etc) – we’d love them to bring some more exciting words into their vocabulary for the next piece of writing!


In our maths work we have continued to look at place value in our number system, this time focusing on number lines, and finding 1, 10 or 100 more or less than a number.  Getting an understanding of this partitioning of numbers is crucial before we begin getting into formal methods of calculation later in the year, so for the time being we are taking things slowly.  For the second half of the week, we started looking at problem solving, using the RUCSAC method.  This is an acronym, standing for Read, Understand, Choose, Solve, Answer and Check.  It helps the children to apply basic arithmetic – which they are usually pretty confident with – to more complex situations and looking at things in a different way.  You can see some examples on the PDF document below!


In our foundation subjects, we have made a start on our French lessons, learning some useful phrases for in the classroom (ecoutez et repetez, s’il-vous plait!) and practicing the spellings and pronunciations of French colours.  We have created our own maps of the United Kingdom, identifying countries, capital cities and seas, and discussing how we can use keys and symbols to make them easier to understand.  We started our scientific exploration of forces by looking at how magnets can attract or repel each other, depending on their polarity, and have started exploring which materials are magnetic – more of this to come next week!  We have also been exploring the Bible further, thinking about the purpose of holy books as a source of instruction, inspiration or consolation.


Please remember that Monday is “Everything Day” – this time including our first spelling test!  If the children have lost their spellings, you can find further copies on the Class Dojo portfolio page.  Please also bring in library books so they can be changed, and remember to wear PE kits.


Have a great weekend everyone!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson




Place Value - what we need to know for Year 3!

Week Commencing 6 September 2021


Hi everyone - it's good to be back!


The summer seems to have gone in a flash, but the Year 3 children are already right back into the swing of things. Year 3 is always a big stepping stone, as the children move into the exciting but demanding world of ey Stage 2.  Inevitably it will take a bit of time to adjust, particularly given how much disruption the children have had in their education over the last couple of years; the last time they had an uninterrupted 3 terms in school was when they were in Reception.  Because of this, a lot of our work over the first couple of weeks will be aiming to get back into good learning behaviours and back up to speed on all those little tasks and skills (spellings, handwriting, reading, listening skills etc) that mean we can make the most of our time in school.  However, that doesn't mean that we haven't been working hard in all of our normal lessons - far from it!


In our maths, we started with a "cold task" maths test, to see what the children already know about our number system, place value, comparing and ordering numbers.  This is something we will be making much more use of this year, and is aimed to make sure we target the children's learning needs precisely.  Having completed that, we have started work on a sequence of learning geared around place value, looking at how to represent numbers, order then up to 1000, and compare numbers as being greater than, less than or equal to another.  We'll be sticking with place value work next week.


Our literacy work for the next few weeks will be geared around traditional fairy tales, but given a twist.  We started with another cold task, retelling the story of the Three Little Pigs, but have now got stuck into a twisted tale, the Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig: 



We will be using this text as a focus for our writing for the next few weeks.  This week, we listened to the story, answered questions on the text, and then prepared some super story maps so that we could retell the story to our classmates.  If you want to listen to the story at home, you can do so here:


In our foundation work, we have been practicing some art skills, learning how to use a pencil to sketch and vary pressure, and how to dilute and apply acrylic paints in different consistencies to get different effects.  We had lots of fun learning about how to create a fair test with our paper helicopters, and started learning about the Bible in more detail by examining the 66 different books that it includes and how they are classified.


A great start to the term, Year 3 - well done!


Mr Birtwhistle, Mrs Turner and Mrs Tomlinson

Times Tables Practice



One of the key skills in KS2 maths for a child to master is learning, and learning how to use, their times tables.  By the end of Year 4, the expectation is that every child will know their times tables, from 1 to 12, up to 12x each number (so 1 x 1 through to 12 x 12).  This is 144 separate calculations - a lot to learn in one go!  Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that we can make this much easier…


By the end of Key Stage 1, children are expected to know their 2x, 5x and 10x tables fluently.  In Year 3, they will also learn their 3x, 4x and 8x tables.  Of course, we will be very happy if they can learn the rest of their tables at the same time, as this will help them become even more secure in knowing them, and using them, in Year 4!


Achieving fluency goes beyond being able to just chant them in order. Children need to be able to recall individual multiplication and division calculations quickly and easily, and apply them in their mathematics work with confidence.  At the end of Year 4, they will sit a national multiplication test to see how well they can remember all the multiplication and division sums in the times tables up to 12. 


To learn tables fluently, we will be practicing them in different ways throughout the course of the year.  You can help with this process, too.  Reciting the times tables is one useful repetitive task that helps to embed the knowledge thoroughly, but there are a lot of other activities which children can try at home, including drawing, writing, and games, which will help build fluency and confidence.  A good range of suggestions can be found here:


We will set out specific homework games and activities to try as we start learning the different Year 3 times tables (3x, 4x and 8x) during the course of the year.  However, in the meantime we would like the children to start logging in to Times Table Rock Stars on a regular basis to practice.  The games are based around quick recall of both multiplication and division, and will use commutativity and inverse operations to help children multiply and divide (if I know 6 x 2 = 12. I also know 2 x 6 = 12, 12 ÷ 2 = 6 and 12 ÷ 6 = 2).  Completing Times Table Rock Stars challenges will earn rewards in the game, and will also be rewarded with Dojo points in school.  As the year goes on, the times tables included in each child’s challenge will grow, starting from Year 2 times tables and gradually adding more.


You can log on to Times Tables Rock Stars here:


You will need to use the user name and password in your child’s reading diary.  The user name is generally the first three letters of the child’s first name and surname put into a single 6-letter word, and the password will be a three-letter word which can contain letters or numerals.  You may also need to give the school post code (B97 6PD).  Please let us know if you have any difficulties in logging in, so we can find a solution.


There are also regular competitions, organised by Mrs Smit, where the children can win individual prizes, as well as extra treats for the whole class, based on individual scores and how many children are logging in to participate, even if they only have a couple of goes, so please do encourage your children to have a go so that they can learn their way around the programme….




Spelling is an important part of the Key Stage 2 literacy curriculum. Pupils need to be able to read and write a large range of words by the end of Year 4, including both words with common spelling patterns which follow phonics rules (which we will look at in specific lessons in school) and words which are more unusual - known as "exception words" - which we will still practice, but where the children will have to put in some practice of their own, too. 


You can find a full list of all the exception words for each year group at Batchley in the "Guidance Documents" sub-page on the Year 3 Class Page on the school website - link below:


We are sending out our first batch of spellings on Monday, and will be posting these as tasks to be completed on Class Dojo too, using the "Portfolios" screen that was used for remote learning tasks during Lockdown  We will be having spelling tests each Monday morning, to make sure the children are practicing and making progress, and will have several big in-class tests through the course of the year to make a formal assessment of how well they are progressing.


The most important thing is that the children are able to read, and write, these words AT ALL TIMES, not just in an artificial test, so we will be picking out mis-spelled words in the children's writing and getting them to correct these during our "Pink for Think" time.  If you do spot any words that your child has particular problems with, either to read or write, please do let us know.


When practicing spellings, we find that children are able to retain spellings much better when using a Read, Cover, Say, Write, Check method.  This means that, when working down a list of words to learn, children don't just try to memorise them, and hope for the best.  Instead, encourage your child to follow this five-step method:READ the word - do you actually know what it says, and what it means?  If not, you will struggle to spell it!  If you aren't sure, check before you go any further.  At the same time, look at the letters used, and think about any patterns or sequences in the individual letters.


COVER the word - the next steps will be carried out without you looking at it.  Try to keep a picture in your mind when the word is covered, though.


SAY the word out loud - this verbal reinforcement will help your memory.  Try to picture the word as it looks on the page when you say it.


WRITE the word out from memory, making sure the original is still covered.  If it helps, you might want to sound out the individual letters as you are writing.


CHECK that you have spelled it correctly.  If you have, great, but if you haven't, look at where you've gone wrong and think about how you can get it right next time.  Then have another go, using the same method.


You can see an example of this method being used on the link below:


As with a lot of other key skills, like reading, handwriting and times tables, little and often is the key here.  5 minutes of spelling practice a few times a week should be more than enough to get words embedded, and will make a big difference in your child's confidence in reading and writing. 


If you do find that your child continues to struggle when learning spellings, please do let us know so that we can look at other methods and make sure they are properly supported!

Handwriting practice


As you know, the National Curriculum says that by the end of KeyStage 2 all children should be using fully cursive, joined-up handwriting that is consistently sized and spaced, easily legible and pleasing in appearance.  We are going to be working hard during the Autumn term to help us with this progress!

We'll be doing handwriting lessons in class anyway, as well as running small-group interventions. If you are wanting to get any extra practice in, we have also added resources for you to use - click on the "subject resources" icon at the bottom of this page, and then on the "literacy" sub-folder, and you'll find PDF files in there for you to print off.

These resources use a font available for free on Twinkl, called"Twinkl unlooped". You can download this for free onto any devices you are using, so you can create your own resources. Follow the link below and click on the icon (although you may have to set up a free Twinkl account if you want to do this...)

We'll be printing and posting spellings for each weekly spelling test in this same font, so the children can practice their handwriting and spellings at the same time! 

If you want any advice about helping your child with their handwriting, please do let us know and we will be more than happy to help.