Autumn Term 1

Year 5 have settled really well and quickly back into their school routine. They are so eager to learn and are showing that they are active, resilient and independent learners already!

Collective Worship


Collective Worship is a great opportunity for us daily to come together in prayer and create a peaceful, safe atmosphere where we can share our thoughts and feelings with God. We have listened to the Creation story from the Book of Genesis which is also a focus for our RE topic and we have reflected on our gifts and talents from God.

Each week, we have a different virtue to live by and worship is centred around this. “Virtues to Live By” enable us to improve the school community’s virtue literacy and to deepen understanding and appreciation of the essential role the virtues play in the education of the whole child towards human flourishing. The virtues chosen are common across cultures and faiths, but are sourced from the Christian tradition.

Year 5 have been leading the weekly KS2 worship this week. Our virtues were respect and courtesy. Our prayer leaders that week were responsible for choosing a Scripture we could reflect on and including examples about what makes us successful in living out the virtues. Many children also had reading roles and they led prayers as part of the worship.

Class Saint Feast Day – Saint Therese of Lisieux

We had a lovely feast day in celebration of Saint Therese of Lisieux in Year 5. The children read more about our class saint we they also used research online to find out more about her. We collected the information into fact files and then we had some extra time to eat some delicious snacks together!


RE – Gifts from God

This half term we will spend time reflecting on our Gifts from God and parables that link to this. We will begin by digging deep into the meaning of the Creation Story (Genesis 1) and will think about how this story has shapes religion and how it shapes our lives too. We will consider our own gifts and talents and will think about how we can show our gratitude and thanks to God.

The children began their learning by reflecting on what they already knew about Creation and what questions they might ask God about Creation. They had lovely thoughts and then we listened to some of the Creation story and imagined what it could have been like. Inspired by the story, the children composed their own poems and performed these where they reflected on this wonderful moment!

We continued working on understanding the different points of view about Creation. We talked about scientific and theological views, as well as how they can support each other. The children then used their knowledge and understanding and wrote a letter where they expressed their own views about Creation too. 

To further explore God as a creator in RE, the children this time reflected on their own gifts and talents they received from God. They decorated their handprints with dots as well for International Dot Day! The two topics linked together very well, as Dot Day is all about making our mark in the world. The children reflected on their gifts and talents and how they will use these to make a mark and live lives full of virtues!

We carried on learning about how God made us so that we can love, know and serve Him on Earth. The children could think of many great ideas to share about how they can make sure to look after each other, the planet and all the animals around them, as well as their community. We recorded our ideas in organised paragraphs.

Year 5 enjoyed a collaborative activity to explore actions and decisions made that have a positive or negative impact on the planet. They were asked to use and apply their mathematical skills to sort the scenarios into a Venn diagram. Year 5 then applied their existing knowledge and understanding about prefixes to learn about the terms ‘co-creator’ and ‘de-creator’.

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Our class text this half term is going to be “Who Let the Gods Out” by Maz Evans. This book is fun, witty but also quite thought provoking too and it links perfectly to our topic of Ancient Greece for the half term! I can’t wait to get stuck in and reading this with you all.

Photo Credit: Teachwire

We have started the half term with exploring our brand new class text, Who Let the Gods Out! Year 5 worked collaboratively to make predictions based on the front cover and the blurb. We discussed as a class how the front cover, title of a book and blurb can help us find out what the book is about. The children’s understanding of a blurb was fantastic and they said its purpose was to give us clues about the story to make us want to read it! Year 5 thought about what they already know about the story because of the information given on the front cover/blurb.

After the introduction to the story, we decided to step into the shoes of the characters. We practised our retrieval skills and collected information about the second chapter. Afterwards, to understand the characters’ feelings and actions even more, we practised reading speech aloud with expressions in our voices. This was a fun activity which made us laugh as we pretended to be  the posh and irritating Patricia Porshley-Plum!

To further promote the love of reading in Year 5, we went to the school library where the children could choose books that they want to read for pleasure. We also have a super collection in our reading corner in the classroom that is popular with the children that has many exciting fiction, non-fiction and books that link to our topics!

We have been exploring ambitious vocabulary by going on a Burn2Learn active learning activity outside! The children had to find the new words from our next chapter of Who Let the Gods Out and they had to match them with their meanings. Then they got quizzed on this before we explored the words with our word aware approach, when we clapped out the amount of syllables, talked about what the words sound like and mean as well as using them in sentences.

We have been reading more about Greek Gods and the children have become more and more confident in their retrieval and use of dictionaries to find the meanings of words. We also talked about meanings in the context.

We continued with our learning and worked on the uses of apostrophes as well as using and punctuating fronted adverbials to make our writing more interesting. The children have also been getting more and more familiar with the Who Let the Gods Out chapters so we can plan and write our diary entries in role. We also explored more ambitious vocabulary before writing.

We have been writing diary entries and as we have been moving on in the chapters of Who Let the Gods Out, we have also been exploring descriptive elements that we could include in our work. The children pooled all their ideas together as they created a large word and phrase bank about a cave setting. We also used figurative language for our descriptions to make the writing more interesting for the readers.

Young Shakespeare Company Romeo and Juliet Performance

Four Young Shakespeare Company actors performed Shakespeare’s heartbreaking story of ‘star-crossed lovers’ in a fast-moving fully-costumed interactive production to the Y5 and Y6 classes. The play was brought vividly to life around all of us, at times including the whole audience to create such dramatic scenes as the masked ball at which Romeo and Juliet meet and the street fight in which Mercutio and Tybalt are both killed!

Throughout the performance we became actively involved in the play through carefully structured drama and language activities. We had brilliant discussions which encouraged us to explore the motives, thoughts and feelings of the characters, imagining, for example, how Juliet feels as she takes the sleeping potion from which she may never wake up. Volunteers from among the children were also chosen to become individual characters in the story and all the children have had the opportunity to speak and enjoy Shakespeare’s words in short, accessible sections.


In Mathematics, we expand our understanding of place value which involves reading, writing, ordering and comparing numbers to 1,000,000 as well as rounding numbers up to 1,000,000 within the nearest 100,000. We will also investigate negative numbers and will use powers of 10s to count forwards and backwards. We will incorporate reasoning and problem solving throughout to ensure that we have a concrete understanding of the concepts that underpin the whole of the subject. We will then move on to using column methods for addition and subtraction of numbers – this will also include lots of mental maths! Again, involving lots of reasoning and problem solving to get our brains working really hard!

The children had a good time practising reading numbers and identifying the values of digits during our Burn2Learn active learning task outside. The hoop hop was a great way to challenge each other and to keep fit at the same time!

To follow on with our place value number work, we explored different representations of numbers and had to answer questions as we interpreted the pictorial and abstract ways numbers were shown. The children did a great job and could explain their understanding.

To keep our Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) practising, we like to get active in Year 5! We moved alongside the Super Movers to practise our times tables facts in class.

We have been busy working on our place value topic in Year 5 and following rounding, we worked with negative numbers. We had a great discussion about where we can find negative numbers around us in our lives. The children could recall key vocabulary like temperature, thermometer, degrees Celsius to talk about their knowledge. We had fun as we modelled the order of numbers and compared negative numbers as well.

Chess Taster Session

The KS2 children had the opportunity to take part in a chess taster session where they could have a go at playing the pawn game or those who felt confident, could play a proper game of chess against their opponents. Chess is a great game that promotes intellectual skills such as problem solving, logical thinking, pattern recognition and concentration. All the children showed their resilience as they tried different tactics to win and had to think about what their opponent’s moves would be and how their own actions would have certain consequences in the games. The chess session really brought the children together through the game they could all quickly and easily access as well as enjoy!

Science – Earth & Space

This half term, we are learning all about Earth and Space. We began our learning journey by looking at key vocabulary we will be using within the topic and considering what we already know about Earth and Space.

We carried on building on our scientific vocabulary learning and understanding by exploring more topical words and applying our English skills to create a glossary. We also collected some fun facts along the way!

To help children answer their questions about space, we applied our English reading skills as we read around the subject using the library books we got. The children were keen to share many wonderful facts with each other and then used the books to swap with each other and read them for pleasure.

We have been learning a lot about the planets and also used active learning as a Burn2Learn task to find more information about how far the planets are from the Sun and how large they are so the children had to apply their Maths learning to compare and order numbers. As we recorded the information, we then had to match what we found to a fruit representation of the planets! We then also used fun songs to remember key facts about the planets and their order.

As we have been learning about the movements of the Earth, Moon and Sun, we took the opportunity and created mobiles to show the movements. The children then had to get tested on their understanding and had to solve science quizzes about the correct use of the vocabulary rotation and orbit, as well as identifying correct or incorrect statements about the Earth, Moon and Sun.


This half term in Art, Year 5 will learn about the modern artists Robin Moline and Peter Thorpe. They will explore shading through the use of a range of pencils of different blackness and hardnesses. The children will learn how to create a 3D effect through shadow, reflection and definition in their shading. This will link with our Science topic of Earth & Space where we will study the spherical shapes of the planets in our solar system. Year 5 will then apply their skills to create a piece of artwork in the style of Robin Moline or Peter Thorpe, following on from drawing a 3D sphere.

We started by evaluating pieces of artwork with the use of visual language. The children had to comment on their likes and dislikes as well as the use of line, shapes, texture, patterns, light and shadow in the art.

We carried on with our art by using sketching to create spherical shapes and adding shadows by shading to create the 3D effects. The children had a few goes and practised their skills.

We carried on working on our skills of creating 3D shapes with the creative use of light and shadow and this time we have been using oil pastels and chalk pastels. They have also been further exploring Robin Moline’s and Peter Thorpe’s artwork and created a sketch as a plan for their artwork where they will apply the skills they have learnt as part of our practise lessons.

For their final piece of artwork, the children took their inspiration from Robin Moline and Peter Thorpe and had to apply what they have been practising before. They have created some truly stunning pieces of art using chalk and oil pastels. Our next step will be to evaluate our artwork.


In Computing this half term, we will continue to focus on online safety themed lessons. We will also learn about how we can create websites and the children will be coding and creating their own webpages on our Code4Kids platform where they can safely access and upload their work. We will link these websites to our Science and Topic learning where the children will showcase their knowledge and understanding of the solar system as well as facts about the country of Greece.

As part of our online safety learning, we always begin our computing lessons by recapping our motto of Stop! Block! Tell! The children could again come up with many ways they knew to keep themselves safe online and what to do if they came across inappropriate content.

We learnt about copyright through drama where the children had to act out courtroom dramas and had to give ‘evidence’ and use their reasoning skills to convince the judge that they did not commit copyright infringement. We learnt about fair dealings and how to make sure we ask for consent or give credit to authors. 

We worked on iPads to begin our coding activity in computing. The children had to look carefully at the code and read their tasks. We worked on typing up text in the correct place so our code would work and show up on the webpage. The children then had to work on their research skills to find information about the UK to fill in the missing information. But we didn’t stop here! Following the first webpage, the children worked on changing the colours of text and background as well. They then had to create a webpage about Greece which is our topic now. They had to use the drawing tools to create pictures now as well!

We carried on working on computers where the added element of typing on a keyboard was a welcome activity for the children. They very soon started looking into adding more text and images to their webpages. They had to work with various countries on different continents to apply their geography knowledge and also build a website about our solar system which called for their science knowledge! The children got quicker and better at carefully looking at code and changing colours, adding image names and debugging code as well!


Our first topic that we will explore in Year 5 is Ancient Greece! In our history learning, we will begin to explore where the Ancient Greek civilization existed and order key events on a timeline. We will learn about Athenian and Spartan children and the different lifestyles and experiences they had due to the city-state they lived in.

To start our history learning about Ancient Greece in Year 5, before we even moved on to learning about our new topic, we spent time thinking back to our prior learning in History in different year groups. The children recapped on the time periods they had studied, and key sticky knowledge (facts) they remembered.

We then spent time going even deeper, and thinking about all of the time periods we learn at St Joseph’s. We recapped the meaning of BC and AD (and this knowledge really did stick as the children remembered these terms with ease) and we considered events that have happened a long time ago, and some that have happened more recently. Year 5 then ordered these time periods on a human timeline. Some children had to run up and down the timeline to show that their time period lasted for a long time, for example, the Romans (which the children studied in Year 4).

We then used our whole school history timeline to show the time periods we have very recently studied. This was where we considered our Ancient Greece topic for this term in history. From looking at our history timeline in school, the children were able to see visually that Ancient Greece happened at the same time as the Romans. Next in our learning, we will move on to thinking about our sticky knowledge from the Romans and other time periods, and what we might be able to predict about life in Ancient Greece, based on our existing knowledge and understanding of other time periods. We will consider how history and the time periods we have already studied have impacted on life today and how life today, in modern society, is different to life in Ancient Greece.

As part of our learning journey in Year 5, we spent time recapping what life was like as a child in different time periods we have already studied. Year 5 remembered that in Year 4, they studied what life was like as a child in Victorians and in Ancient Egypt but when they studied the Romans, the focus was more on expansion, battles and their inventions, so there was new learning happening today! Year 5 had a range of statements about life as a child and had to decide if the statement referred to Ancient Egypt, the Romans (Ancient Rome) or the Victorians. We then enjoyed a Burn2Learn activity where the children had to run to a specific point in the hall depending on which time period they thought the statement belonged to.


Year 5 will further develop their geographical awareness and will name and locate the countries and cities of Europe with a focus on Greece and the Mediterranean.

We began our learning by checking the children’s prior knowledge of continents and oceans. We followed on by exploring the different physical features of Europe as well as exploring the various maps in our atlases.

We have been getting to know different types of maps and which ones to use when. The children had to find out more about the features of political, topographic, physical, climate, resource and road maps to be able to compare them and evaluate in which scenarios they would be the most appropriate to use. We also worked on identifying countries and capital cities in Europe. Children had to apply their Maths skills and they also found coordinates on a grid which was placed on a map of Europe!

We learnt more about Greece and its human and physical features in our geography lessons. The children then reflected on why they would recommend Greece as a holiday destination. To be able to compare the appeal of Greece and the UK and where we live, we went to carry out some fieldwork activities around Wetherby. We use three different maps and had to locate where we were visiting. We also explored many human and physical features on the way.


MFL – French

We began our French learning with recapping our prior learning and counted to ten. The children were confident in this activity and we carried on learning the rules about two-digit numbers and how to pronounce them correctly. We had fun discussing what Maths skills we had to apply as we had to add and multiply to get some of the French numbers right!

We worked as table group teams to sort the French numbers and order them as they went up in 10s.

Next, we ventured outside for an active Burn2Learn activity to further work on our number knowledge. We had to do star jumps and then as we turned around we had to add the numbers we showed on our hands. We had to make sure to say the numbers in French. To make things more tricky, we then had to multiply and get higher numbers closer to 100!

We have been practising and recording our learning of French numbers. The children had to continue to apply their maths skills and carried out the four operations to calculate with French numbers.

We have worked on asking and answering questions about our ages as part of our French conversations. The children worked on their pronunciation and then we had a go at translating sentences from French to English to identify how old people were in the examples. We also had to look up some words as some numbers went above 100!


The children had the best time starting their ukulele music lessons. They learnt the parts of the ukulele by singing a song and could point and name the tuning pegs, strings, sound hole, frets, head, body, neck, nut and bridge. The children also learnt a fun way to remember their string notes in order by saying Giant Caterpillars Eat Apples for G C E A. We also worked in pairs and in table groups to play with our down stroke and also got to play alongside music, keeping with the rhythm. The twinkle, twinkle, little star song was great and we recognised the ABC song sounded the same! The children did well when they had to play together and they started writing their own notation down to follow, plus they kept looking at each other whilst playing to keep playing together. For the don’t play this one back game, they really had to listen to the same tune no matter how fast or slow it was!

The children started the lesson with a recap of the rules from last week. They were fantastic at knowing when to play and when not to play in the game of ‘don’t play this one back’! Everyone worked really hard and followed the instructions as well as read the music to play ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’. They said the letters as they played. We moved on to placing our fingers on the frets to change the sound of the strings. The children had to make sure to they pressed hard on the string in the correct place to get the correct sound. They had fun performing the whole song as a group and individually as well by moving their fingers to the correct places on the frets. We finished with a detective game where the children had to play quieter or louder depending on where the seeker went.

The children have been learning which fingers to use on which frets to get the C and A minor sounds correctly. They had to use these sounds and come up with their own rhythm by playing them as they liked. They also played alongside the song ‘Roar’ from Katy Perry which was a great favourite as it also was an opportunity for everyone to sing along too!


In PE this half term, Year 5 will start their weekly swimming lessons down at Wetherby Leisure Centre. They will build their confidence in the water, develop their use of breathing when swimming and build up to swimming 25m confidently using a range of strokes. In PE lessons, Year 5 will develop their agility, speed, tactics, technique, power, observation and communication skills and will improve on their decision making in a variety of in-game situations.

In PE, children have been working on their strength, speed and resilience as they had to complete various challenges. They had to run for a minute, do squat jumps, star jumps and push ups for 30 second sets as well as making sure they stretched their muscles by the end of the session.

Year 5 carried on working on their resilience and speed, however with the added difficulty now of having to handle their hockey sticks and dribble between various goals. They had to also play as a team with carrying out accurate goal shots to score as many points as possible!

Year 5 played some fun games where they had to aim at their targets and the other group had to dodge the balls flying their way! The children also had some dodgeball games to apply their skills.


This half term in PSHE, we will spend time developing our class rules and targets to work on and also developing our understanding of the British Value ‘Democracy’. We have daily check ins to give the children the opportunity to develop their emotional literacy. The first session we had included emoji visuals to help to understand the difference between some emotions.  Then it was chance for them to have a go and choose some emojis which reflected their first day feelings after being away from school during the summer holidays. There were lots of smiles on faces throughout the day and as they left school for the first day, but we will keep checking in daily to support their emotional well-being.

As we have been learning about the British Value of democracy, the children had the opportunity to run for School Council representatives. They worked well on their speeches and some even had advisors to come up with valuable ideas! The children shared their ideas with the class and then we all voted!

We continue to include emotional wellbeing in our PSHE lessons and therefore have our worry monster and worry jar available in class for children to use if they feel they need to. This has been developing children’s resilience and also independence when thinking about how they feel. We also use daily check ins in class so children know to talk to an adult and seek help if they need to.

To further explore God as a creator in RE, the children this time reflected on their own gifts and talents they received from God. They decorated their handprints with dots as well for International Dot Day! The two topics linked together very well, as Dot Day is all about making our mark in the world. The children reflected on their gifts and talents and how they will use these to make a mark and live lives full of virtues!

During dyslexia awareness week, we spent time in Year 5 and talked about what dyslexia is and what difficulties dyslexic people might face. We looked at many successful people who have dyselxia and we also explored their professions and achievements. The children were really keen to decipher various texts that were shown in different ways to imitate what dyslexic people might be seeing as they look on a page. The children were truly respectful as one of their classmates who has dyslexia shared their experiences too! What a wonderful and motivating discussion Year 5!

We carried on learning about protected characteristics  in PSHE and we focused on different scenarios where we had to spot if someone has been discriminated against / treated unfairly because of their age or gender. The children gave good advice and could talk about why it was important to give everyone the same chances and be fair in life.

We also had a great time recapping the Pantosaurus song when we revisited that pants are private. We reminded ourselves of the P.A.N.T.S. rules of:

  • Privates are private.
  • Always remember your body belongs to you.
  • No means no.
  • Talk about secrets that upset you.
  • Speak up, someone can help.