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Year 3 - Elephants and Giraffes

Meet the Year 3 Team!

Autumn Term 2021


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.