Autumn Term 1 2021

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! They are certainly showing ready to be UKS2 role models which is fantastic! Year 5 enjoyed their first day of working towards earning their ‘Oscars’ that leads to a ‘Golden Time’ of their choice (decided when they earn all the Oscars). We also have one child a day who receives the Oscar for something that has really wowed myself or Miss Quenby during the day. This could be working really hard, showing resilience, behaving excellently, showing kindness and so much more! The children were extremely excited about this. We have considered our class rules and revisited our school rules of TRUST so Year 5 know exactly what to do to earn the class oscar.

Collective Worship

Collective Worship is more important than ever at the moment to come together in prayer and create a peaceful, safe atmosphere where we can share our thoughts and feelings with God. We always start our collective worships with relaxing and calm music where we then bring a focus to the centre of our table. 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.

Class Saint Feast Day: St Therese

Friday 1st October marked our class saint’s feast day. St Therese of Lisieux is our class saint so we spent lots of time today learning about why St Therese was so important and why she was canonised as a saint. We considered the qualities she had and how we can learn from St Therese. We had a special collective worship to mark the saint’s feast day and then spent time in activities learning more about St Therese.



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.

Year 5 have started our topic in RE this half term by reflecting on their own gifts and talents from God. We thought about all of our values and qualities that we possess such as kindness, generosity, care, love, compassion, empathy, resilience…Year 5 came up with so many more qualities too. We then thought about our own specific gifts and talents that God blessed us with such as being good as a certain sport or dancing or singing or being really artistic or creative. We remembered that God made us all to be unique and special and that we were all created in His image.

Year 5 enjoyed their first visit of the year to the prayer garden where they heard the Creation story. They first had a go at ordering the Creation story and considering their existing knowledge and understanding about this Bible story. We made connections to their prior learning in Foundation Stage 2 and Year 1 where they learnt about God’s creation and other occasions they have used the story of creation in RE, or where they have heard it being talked about at Mass for example.

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 (but they weren’t told how to sort). Some children sorted into 2 groups whereas some children sorted 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’.

The Fall: Adam and Eve

Year 5 enjoyed a role play activity to further explore the Bible story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, titled ‘The Fall’. They applied their English skills to follow a playscript which they performed in groups. They enjoyed considering the different viewpoints from each person in the story (Adam, Eve, God and the serpent).







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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 again with you all.

We will start by recapping on some basic skills such as word classes, the use of apostrophes, using compound sentences correctly with coordinating conjunctions and fronted adverbials.

Photo Credit: Teachwire

We have read Chapter 1 of our class text together as a class and it’s safe to say the children are absolutely loving this story! They absolutely laughed their socks off during this chapter. We were introduced to three characters: Elliot, Mr Sopweed (whose nickname is ‘Call me Graham’), the Headmaster at Brysmore Grammar School and Mr Boil, the head of history and Elliot’s least favourite teacher. The children are totally engrossed in the story and have been so excited about this stimulus for our writing this half term.

Their first task was to ask delving questions to reflect on how the characters are feeling in Chapter 1. They then use their own delving questions they’d asked and considered the responses that their characters would give if they really were in the hot seat. Year 5 stepped into the shoes of characters of their choice and using role play and drama acted out what they thought the characters may have said.

Year 5 worked collaboratively in pairs and in groups to read a good example of a diary entry (WAGOLL). They discussed the features of a diary entry and found examples of these features. Some of these were structural features or writing features that we use in a diary entry.

We considered the purpose and audience of a diary entry. Usually, when writing a diary entry, no one else is going to read it as it is a private entry into a journal or diary. Year 5 talked about the level of formality when writing a diary entry and decided that this is the most informal style because you don’t expect anyone else to read it.

We shared our ideas and then created a list of the features of a diary entry that we can use and refer to when planning and writing our own diary entries. These will remain on our English working wall for us to use as a checklist.

Year 5 planned their diary entry after having lots of talking time about their diary entries. They were able to use Chapter 1 from our class text as inspiration and had to step into the shoes of our main character Elliot. Year 5 benefitted from modelled writing at the beginning of their writing lesson to really understand a writer’s thought process. They then checked their plan against their top tips and checklist and once they were ready to write, they enjoyed relaxing music and a fireplace loop video to really set a calm and relaxed writing atmosphere




Year 5 have had a very busy start to Maths this year. They have revisited their prior learning on place value and have applied this to reading, writing, comparing and ordering numbers up to 1,000,000.

Year 5 enjoyed their very first orienteering/Burn2Learn Maths lesson of the year. They had to race each other to find all of the numbers around the school grounds, making sure they underlined the given digit in each number. They then used their place value understanding to identify the value of the digit in each number.

Year 5 then revisited rounding numbers up to 1,000,000. They enjoyed using the rhyme “5 and above, give it a shove! 4 or below, let it rest!” to help them figure out if the number needs to be rounded up to the next multiple. Year 5 worked on their fluency, varied fluency and reasoning and problem solving.

We have now moved on to negative numbers. Year 5 enjoyed a fun, phsyically active and competitive game to practise counting forwards and backwards through 0 before moving on to using negative numbers in a context. We talked about what we already knew about negative numbers and how negative numbers are used in real life. Take a look at our Maths working wall below.


Science – Earth & Space

Our very first topic in Science in Year 5 is going to be OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! (Pardon the pun)! Keep checking back here to see all of the exciting things we get up to in Science!

Take a look at our Science working wall. We have developed our key word wall already and Year 5 have reflected on what they have learnt in Science throughout their time at primary school. Wider reading is promoted in all subjects so a range of non-fiction books are provided for the children to develop their knowledge and understanding of a topic whilst applying their reading skills. Children are also encouraged to be active and resilient learners and use their working wall to support their learning.

Year 5 applied their DT skills to create a model to show how the earth and moon move in relation to the sun. This showed that the Earth rotates on an axis and that the Earth orbits the Sun whilst the Moon orbits the Earth. The children learnt the following key facts:

  • The Earth rotates fully once every 24 hours.
  • The Earth orbits the Sun. It takes 1 year (365.25 days) to complete one revolution – this means one full orbit.
  • The Moon orbits the Earth and takes 28 days to complete one full orbit – this is why we have 12 months in a year.

Year 5 applied their mathematical skills in Science today. They used a ruler to measure different lengths of string accurately. The top tip they had to always remember was to start measuring from zero. Once they had measured at least five pieces of string, they had to present this data in a table (that was drawn accurately with a pencil and ruler). Then, they had to present this data in a histogram. Year 5 were practising their maths skills they had learnt previously in Year 4 so that they can apply them in our next Science lesson promoting lifelong learners.



In Art this half term, we will explore spheres linking to our Science topic of Earth & Space.


To start our first topic in Art, Year 5 explored the different art shading pencils we have. They had to explore and comment on the darkness and blackness of each pencil. The children realised that the harder you pressed for some pencils didn’t make a difference for the hardness of the shade compared with the darkest pencil. They then had to order the pencils in terms of their shades.

Identifying shadows and reflection in spherical objects

After exploring the shades of pencils, we then explored shadows and reflections in existing artwork. We studied a piece of art by Robin Malone.

The children had to:

  1. Evaluate the artwork – explain why they liked it and what they liked about it.
  2. Apply their writing skills and write in full sentences to describe Robin Malone’s artwork.
  3. Write what they see in the picture. They had to consider the following:
    1. shape
    2. colour
    3. lines
    4. texture
    5. pattern
  4. They were given key words to support you with your explanation.

The children then started to explore shading a 3D object and how to portray shadow and reflection in their sphere. They had the option of following a tutorial to support them – the focus was to create interesting effects through shadow and reflection. They had many ‘drafts’ so that they could continue to improve each time and were encouraged to evaluate their drafts as they went on and to give and receive feedback to/from their peers.


This half term, Year 5 will develop their knowledge and skills on an app called ‘Keynote’. Keynote is an app on iPads that allows you to create presentations that includes animations, videos, audios, images whilst also developing the knowledge of buttons and links – just like an app would work.

We started our topic in Computing by recapping what we know about staying safe online when using the internet. We recapped our motto of ‘STOP, BLOCK and TELL!’. 

We also considered the ways we use the internet and how the use of the internet has changed so much in such a short period of time. Year 5 talked about all of the different ways they use technology and the internet. Some of these included:

  • smart televisions
  • research on Google
  • internet on game consoles such as xbox, PS4
  • smart watches
  • messaging other people 
  • video calls: FaceTime, Zoom etc.

Year 5 then continued to apply their online safety knowledge in their computing project. They used the app Keynote to showcase their skills first using our Earth & Space topic as a stimulus. They then learnt new skills such as animations, transitions and the use of buttons to create ‘in-app’ like features. They created another Keynote that a younger child could access to showcase their knowledge and understanding of their history topic of Ancient Greece.

Once they completed their Keynote, they evaluated it – ensuring they had all of the features in their Keynote and the effectiveness and content of their presentation.



History – Ancient Greece

This half term, our whole class topic is Ancient Greece so this will be our focus in History and Geography too. Keep checking back here to see what we get up to and what we learn!

Wider reading is encouraged across the curriculum to develop knowledge and understanding. Next to our topic display we have a range of non-fiction books linked to our Ancient Greece topic for our children to do so. Take a look at some of our historical replica artefacts also that can promote the children’s understanding of the time period.

Making Connections with Previous Learning

Before we started our History topic, Year 5 enjoyed reflecting on their previous learning at St Joseph’s in History. They talked about the topics they had studied, things they remembered learning and fun facts that had stuck for them. We discussed the terms knowledge, understanding and skill and considered what knowledge, understanding and skills they had developed during their time in primary school. Take a look at all the things they remember learning throughout their time in school here at St Joseph’s.

Understanding chronology and representing events on a timeline

Today, Year 5 began their history study on Ancient Greece by ordering the key events of this time period on a timeline. They had to make links to their previous knowledge and understanding of the terms BC and AD and apply their mathematical skills of ordering numbers to complete this task. They worked collaboratively to do this.

Once all the events were ordered, they considered the spacing of the events to represent the time passed between each year.



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Identifying, naming and locating the countries and capital cities in Europe.

Year 5 were resilient learners today during a practical and challenging geography lesson that involved a range of skills. They applied their existing mathematical knowledge and skills of coordinates whilst also applying the skill of map reading and using an atlas to identify, name and locate countries and capital cities in Europe. First, they had to locate Greece and consider how the map around Greece has changed so much compared to the city-states during Ancient Greece – linking this geography lesson to our History topic of Ancient Greece.

The children had maths top tips to help them with the skill of using coordinates as this was a link to previous learning in Year 4 where they learnt about coordinates. Some children were even challenged to use 4 quadrants, involving negative numbers.

  • Identify the country of each coordinate.
  • Write the coordinate accurately and the country it is in.
  • Find out that country’s capital city.
  • Example: (-3,0) sits in I The capital city in Ireland is Dublin.

Take a look at how the maps that the children used to complete this task.


MFL – French

In MFL, we will develop our listening skills through listening to spoken language in French and show understanding by joining in and responding. We will also encourage children to speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary and phrases. The children will be encouraged to engage in conversations in French and this will progress to broadening their vocabulary and developing the ability to understand new words that are introduced. The children will then write phrases from memory and adapt these to create new sentences. We will focus on counting to 100 in French, greetings and then will learn some basic greetings in Greek, linking to our topic.

Year 5 learned new vocabulary to be able to greet others in French. They then applied this in conversations with their peers. They had word mats to help them with their vocabulary and had top tips to help them put the new vocabulary into sentences. Year 5 then had to listen carefully to what their peer was asking them so that they could respond in French. They applied their previous learning of counting to 100 to be able to share how old they were in French and learnt how to ask ‘and you?’ without repeating the same question so that the conversation continued to flow.

We moved on to learning how to describe feelings so created actions to show how to say ‘tres bien’, ‘bien’, ‘comme ce comma ca’ and ‘mal’ and how to ask others how they are feeling and then respond in conversation.

The children then practised putting all of this together in conversation where they had to cover the following:

  • saying hello using the correct formality
  • introduce themselves using ‘je m’appelle’ to say their name
  • ask each others’ age and respond
  • ask how each other are and respond
  • saying goodbye using the correct formality




In Music this half term, the children will build an understanding of rhythm and keeping in time with others and the beat. They will also have the opportunity to develop their own rhythms, including call & response. Holding a part within a round, playing from memory and playing solo or in an ensemble will also be skills that the children develop this half term. This will all be done through the use of percussion instruments. Year 5 will have music every Thursday.

L.O: To learn about the origins of the Dhol drum.

Year 5 were introduced to the Indian drum called the ‘Dhol’. They learnt where the origins of the drum came from and what it was used for. Year 5 played rhythms using body percussion and had to concentrate hard to keep a steady beat. They also learnt that every sound in Indian music has a name. The sounds they learnt today were called ‘na’ and ‘ding’.  The drum was extremely loud! Their ears were ringing! Year 5 really enjoyed their first music lesson of the year and they are excited to apply their new learning next week when they use the instrument. Take a look at Year 5 in action!

L.O: To play in an ensemble to a steady beat and rhythm.

Now Year 5 know more about the Dhol drum, today, they were extremely excited to get the chance to play it themselves. They were taught how to use the tilli stick correctly to beat the drum and then had to keep a steady beat in time with each other. There was an element of competition in this lesson to see who could keep the steadiest beat. Year 5 really enjoyed playing the Dhol drum!








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.

Year 5 have very much enjoyed their swimming lessons this half term. They have developed their skills in different swimming strokes, breathing skills, confidence in the water as well as developing their understanding of water safety. Next half term, the children will continue to develop their awareness of technique and strategies when swimming to make them improve even further.






In PE lessons with Mrs Powell, the children have enjoyed playing a range of games including hockey, dodgeball, invasion games, football, netball and rugby. They have learnt about technique in specific games and the power they can create through their body – whether this is kicking a ball, throwing a ball or dodging a ball. They have also had a real focus this half term on their observation and communication skills: working together as a team and supporting their peers which really encourages the children to have high aspirations for themselves and their peers – a key aspect of our curriculum intent. Year 5 have developed their dribbling skills and their decision making in game situations – such as attacking or defending. 



Our PSHE lessons this half term will focus all on settling back into school, our children’s wellbeing and self-esteem as well as helping to restore those friendships after such a long time away from normal school life. Soon, I am sure it will feel like we have never been away!

Emotional Wellbeing

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. For example, the children thought that the adults in class would all feel excited and chose emojis to match this emotion. They were right that we all felt excited but all the staff in the classroom talking about also having what we might call butterfly feelings in our tummies too. We talked about openly about why we can experience a mixture of emotions and the children then selected different emojis to reflect this. 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. As you can imagine, we have a mixture of emotions and any children who wanted a 1:1 session after that were able to discretely request one. 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.

Another way for the children to share with an adult how they are feeling is through the use of our Worry Monster. The children can write their worry on a piece of paper and the worry monster keeps it safe so that they can feel the burden has been removed. If individuals want to talk about their worries, they simple add their names to the paper and an adult will discretely find time to chat with them. It’s up to the children which way they choose.

Rules and Target Setting

Year 5 had a PSHE lesson where they worked as a class to decide what the classroom rules should be for the year to ensure that we are happy, safe, valued and learning! We discussed what mutual respect is and how we need to be tolerant of different viewpoints so that we can build positive relationships. In our discussions, the importance of forgiveness came up as mistakes will be made over the year and forgiveness is essential for our relationships to be restored. We discussed how important the rule of law is so that we all learn in a fair classroom and how each member of the class plays their part in that. By the end of the lesson, Year 5 had agreed the classroom rules and we have kept them as simple and positive as possible so that we know exactly what is expected.

Personal Hygiene – Leeds City Council’s School Wellbeing

Year 5 enjoyed an information packed workshop all about personal hygiene. The workshop covered the following areas:

  • being able to identify the early signs/symptoms of illness/feeling unwell
  • develop their understanding of personal hygiene and germs including bacteria, viruses, how they are spread and treated
  • the importance of handwashing as well as the facts and science relating to immunization and vaccination

Here were some of Year 5’s answers:

  • Niamh: “Bugs make you feel unwell.”
  • Amelia: “You can only see them under a microscope.”
  • Cara: “Germs can spread and become bugs that continue to spread and make people poorly.”
  • Edward: “You need some germs to survive – some germs are good.”
  • Sophia: “Hygiene is all about being clean. You might clean the tables with antibac.”
  • Thomas: “Vaccines kill a virus.”
  • Lauren: “Vaccines help you to survive for longer.”
  • Liam: “There are lots of different types of vaccines.”
  • Sophie: “You have vaccines through injections.”
  • Oliver: “Vaccines put weakened or dead viruses into your body so that your body’s defence system can fight and defend your body from the virus if you get it.”
  • Lola: “Animals can have vaccinations too.”
  • Niamh: “Vaccines help you to fight against illnesses and viruses but don’t fully stop you from getting them.”

We considered the signs and symptoms of illness/feeling unwell and what we might tell an adult about if we were feeling unwell.

Year 5 showed an excellent knowledge of personal hygiene and how to keep ourselves safe and healthy. The main message to take away from this is that all bad germs and bugs are spread across people so it is always important to wash our hands. 

Wellbeing Week

Year 5 enjoyed Wellbeing Week where we had a focus on physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and mental health. All Year 5 pupils commented that their understanding of all 3 of these terms had increased during this week. We enjoyed 5 themes across the week: Be Kind, Take Notice, Be Active, Try Something New and Feel Good Friday. We considered our emotions throughout the week and how all of these things had an impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing as well as our mental health. The purpose of this week was to give the children tools to support their own wellbeing: finding strategies and things that help their own wellbeing.

Be Active & Feel Good Friday

During our Be Active theme, Year 5 chose to dance to keep active! They had so much fun that they chose this for their Feel Good Friday activity. Look at the happy, smiley faces on all of them!! We talked about how dancing makes us feel, how hearing upbeat music makes us feel and how pairing the two can make us feel really good. All of Year 5 had so much fun and commented on how this had an impact on their mood and overall wellbeing.