Spring Term 1 2024

Welcome back and happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break. We have so much planned for this half term so I hope you are ready to get right back into the swing of things for your third half term in Year 5!

Our half term theme is Exploring The Americas! We have a Geography focus this half term where we will explore North and South America. Our class text this half term will be The Explorer by Katherine Rundell – this is one of my favourites! I can’t wait to enjoy reading time together and hopefully we will get through a good chunk of the book! 

To find out more about what’s happening in Year 5 this half term, please read the curriculum newsletter and keep checking out this page which will be updated regularly.

Collective Worship

We celebrated Epiphany at school. The children listened to the Word of God during Mass. We reminded ourselves of the importance of this very special day and what the Epiphany is all about. We learnt that Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning appearance. It is a celebration of the baby Jesus being seen by the visitors who had travelled to see Him.

The children have been coming together during our singing liturgies and had sang our hymns and worship songs beautifully alongside live piano music! This is a lovely opportunity for all the children to reflect on God’s word and their talents!

RE – Inspirational People

In RE this half term, we will learn about the many inspirational people from all walks around the world that lived the way Jesus inspires us to live each day. We will reflect on what it means to be an inspirational person and what qualities and traits these inspirational people had. We will also make links to how the command ‘Love our neighbour’ informs our behaviour and actions. During this half term, we will be exploring the meaning of being a true disciple and will think about how we can live this out in our daily lives. We will learn about individuals (past and present) who are an inspiration to us. Throughout the half term, we will reflect on how we can serve others at home, school, locally and globally with our continued focus of “Living Simply” at the forefront.

We began our learning by reflecting on what it means to be an inspiration person. The children had to think of qualities that might inspire others and the reasons why we might look up to other people. We made links to our own experiences and people we knew to collect these.

We applied our maths skills to sort statements and had a good think about how Jesus describes a true disciple. The children sorted statements whether they were classed as foundations for living as a true disciple or they were foundations that would benefit everyone to live a good life.

To learn more about living a life following the footsteps of Jesus, we learnt about the parable of the two houses and builders. The children watched and listened to many versions to be able to reflect on the story and then to consider the true meaning behind the teachings. The children did a good job at making links to their own lives and writing about how to behave and live their lives like the wise man in the story!

English

Our class novel this half term is “The Explorer” by Katherine Rundell which is set in the Amazon Rainforest. This has been the inspiration for our class topic. Our English lessons, both reading and writing, will be based on our class novel. We will develop our story writing including setting descriptions and using figurative language to add engaging detail as we build up to writing our own narratives. We will also further develop using evidence in our answers to justify our inferences in our reading lessons. We will continue to develop our spelling, punctuation and grammar skills (SPaG) and will learn about subordinating conjunctions (in subordinate clauses). We will continue to revise areas that we need to develop in—such as the use of the comma for fronted adverbials.

We began our learning by reading about our author, Katherine Rundell. The children found out many interesting facts and created their own fact file. We also looked at some of the other books she wrote and what inspired her to write The Explorer, which is going to be our class text this term.

As a start, we made predictions based on the front cover and blurb. The children already came up with many fun adventures and surprising events that might happen in the Amazon rainforest! They had to think about the characters, setting and plot as well and use evidence to back up their predictions.

As we are reading the chapters, the children spent time retrieving information about the characters. We looked at descriptions and dialogue as well to find details about the characters’ appearance and personality.

We have been really enjoying The Explorer book as a class. If it isn’t the teachers reading, we like to listen to The Explorer as an audio book. It is also great to have the words on the board so we can follow the text as we listen plus we can also see the illustrations!

We have been busy working on understanding and using figurative language like similes, personification or onomatopoeia and alliteration. The children wrote a wonderful piece of setting description about the rainforest and then about how the fire has been chasing our main character Fred around the forest. These pieces of writing were a great way for the children to show off all the imagery and their creativity. We then continued working on being able to recognise and punctuate subordinate and main clauses. We had fun as we represented these parts of the complex sentences with Batman and Robin. We also spent time manipulating the parts and recording their punctuation.

Maths

In Mathematics, we will continue with our learning about fractions, decimals and the formal methods for multiplication and division. The children will continuously revisit their prior learning of multiples, factors, prime numbers, square numbers and cube numbers to keep this knowledge bubbling as well. Year 5 will develop their knowledge of fractions by practising how to represent fractions and what their relationship is to decimals. We will work on equivalent fractions and how to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers and the other way around. Our ongoing focus will be the application of skills in reasoning and problem solving contexts. We will be working on KIRFs to ensure that mental maths calculations can be recalled quickly—this is an essential skill that will help your child across the whole maths curriculum.

We worked on consolidating our understanding and built our knowledge of recognising and representing fractions by using practical resources. We used various manipulatives to make unit fractions and non-unit fractions. We also discussed what makes one whole. We had to pay attention to place our numerator and denominator in the correct places when we noted down our fractions. We also explored improper fractions and mixed numbers.

To practice our KIRFs (key instant recall facts), we like to play active games! We did a bit of Beach Ball Bonanza to count and work on our times tables that will support us in finding equivalent fractions and to also be able to simplify fractions.

As we have practised with concrete resources before, we also spend time looking at various ways fractions are represented visually before working with them in an abstract wayWe continue to convert between improper fractions and mixed numbers as well as compare and order them.

We continued to work on fractions and practised laying out equations in our books neatly to add and subtract them. The children worked really had on applying their previously learnt skills to find equilvalent fractions to help them with their work. We also worked on simplifying fractions and finding improper fractions as mixed numbers.

Science

This half term, we will continue with our topic of materials where we will group everyday materials on the basis of their properties and will apply our Maths skills to do so using Venn diagrams and classification keys. The children will then explore reversible changes and will describe how to recover a substance from a solution, e.g. salt water. Finally, we will explore irreversible changes in Science and consider why these changes are irreversible, such as toasting bread, frying an egg and a more exciting investigation involving bicarbonate of soda and vinegar!

We have been working on developing our scientific vocabulary. We focused on building on our prior learning of states of matter in Y4 and our previous topic of materials in Y5. We looked at the words and matched them to their meanings whilst giving examples of experiments we carried out previously as a class.

We carried on by matching the scientific properties to certain materials to be able to explain their everyday uses. The children had to apply their English skills and explain in detail and also give evidence for their knowledge whilst using scientific vocabulary to report on their findings.

As we learn about reversible and irreversible changes, we had a look at sorting many examples. The children had to think about the processes and whether they could get back the original materials or not after they have changed.

Art & Design

Last term, Year 5 really enjoyed learning about the Ancient Greeks and next half term they will study the Maya Civilisation. The children already know that pottery was important in ancient time periods and that they are used by archaeologists to infer information about the past. Therefore, this is going to be our inspiration and stimulus. Year 5 will be able to plan their own vase or pot that they will make. Before creating their artwork, Year 5 will have the opportunity to develop and practise their skills of using clay.

We started our learning by investigating different ancient Greek pots and evaluating existing designs. We learnt about how sculptures are 3D pieces of artwork and we explored the many representations of everyday life on ancient Greek pots as well as which repeating patterns they used on them.

We worked on our fine motor skills by having to continue and create precise repeating patterns. The children then had different shapes of pots where they had to plan what designs they would like to create on them and consider the sizes and placement for the designs.

Year 5 worked really hard during this art lesson to practise the skills and techniques needed to handle clay. First of all, we used playdough to work on the skills, ready to get the clay out next time! These skills and techniques will be used when we actually design and create our own pots inspired by Ancient Greek pottery. We also spent time using tools to carve patterns and texture to get ready for how we want to decorate our clay pots.

Year 5 have spent time this half term commenting on Ancient Greek pottery, and looking at the design of these artforms, analysing the patterns, the colours and the shapes. They have also spent time exploring skills linked to clay, as well as key sticky knowledge they need to know to be able to handle and use clay well – a lot of this required a recap of their previous learning in Year 3. In order to prepare the children to design and create their own pots, the children have followed a plan, do and review process where they have explored geometric patterns and planned their own, as well as planning their own pot design. They then had time to practise the skill of carving patterns (so they could edit their plan if they wanted to). This whole learning journey was leading up to the children creating and moulding their own pot, carving geometric patterns on to their pots and then decorating the pots so that they looked more like pots you would see in the time period of Ancient Greece. Year 5 have developed a range of skills this half term and should feel very accomplished with their artwork!

Computing

In Computing, we will continue to focus on online safety themed lessons at the start of our learning journey. We will also learn about how we can create iMovie videos and how to add the pictures and transitions. The children will be filming and creating interviews to match their choice of topic. To make sure their communication looks high quality and professional, they will be editing before saving the finished video.

To start our project in computing, we began by carrying out research online to find out more about Mexico. The children recapped what it meant by Stop! Block! Tell! and how they can make sure they are safe online. To communicate our findings, we will be learning how to use the application iMovie, so the children discussed what photo slides they might want to use and we applied our English skills as we read around the subject and found out more about the country in North America!

We continued our research into Mexico and the children have been using the iPads to look for images, but this time we also started recording interviews and presentations in our small groups. The children also had to consider their script and which pieces of information they wanted to showcase.

The children continued to record their interviews, their voices notes and carried on adding interesting and relevant images as they shared their knowledge about Mexico through their iMovie videos. We also had time to share some at the end where children gave each other feedback on how well the videos turned out!

Geography

This half term, our topic begins with a focus of ’Explorers’ linked to our class novel and linked to exploring the Americas (North and South America). We have a full term of exploring—this half term will have a focus on Geography. We will begin with naming and locating the countries of both continents whilst embedding our map skills through the use of atlases. We will also explore the human and physical features and will develop a deep understanding of locations in North and South America.

We used atlases to learn more about North and South America. We had a sticky knowledge recap about what types of maps we can look at and how we could find the countries of the Americas. The children worked well with the maps and also recapped continents and oceans.

We continued our learning by having a closer look at various topic specific vocabulary. We looked at the imaginary lines around the Earth and discussed the importance of longitude and latitude. Now that we know the words, we will be focusing on finding out more about the physical and human features of Mexico to be able to compare it to the UK.

We worked on longitude and latitude to explain the purposes of the imaginary lines. We then had to apply our maths skills to work on identifying different time zones and adding on or taking away hours in the different zone!

MFL

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 learn new vocabulary about different clothes and we will work on creating a glossary after we read a story with French phrases The children will then write phrases from memory and adapt these to create new sentences and a conversation in French.

We learnt new vocabulary in French about different pieces of clothing. We worked on pronouncing the words, then we wrote them into sentences depending on what we were wearing! The children also filled in a words search and had to match the pictures to the French words.

We continued our learning of French vocabulary and phrases by listening to and reading the story of Elliot the very cute alien. We repeated the words and phrases alongside the audiobook and then also had to work on creating our own glossary of words and phrases.

We continued our learning by recapping what we knew about French culture and we built our knowledge by applying our maths skills to be able to talk about how many Euros items cost. The children also had to work out the change and say the conversations.

Music

This half term, Year 5 will continue to learn how to play the ukulele. They will carry on learning the ways to use their chording and strumming hands as they play. The children have their music lessons every Friday morning where they focus on developing their skills by engaging with music through their instrument, enhancing control by playing the strings, working with rhythm and working cooperatively.

To learn a bit more about the ukulele, we applied our English skills and read about the instrument’s origin and we also had a look at some fun facts. The children then made notes of their favourite facts and recorded any new vocabulary that they learnt.

We played ‘don’t clap this one back’ and beat the teacher! The children used dynamics to help find the secret person during their game. We used our voices then our ukuleles and played a given chord to increase the volume. We played along to ‘A sailor went to sea’ playing c for the word sea. We looked at the way dynamics are represented in written music. For example, mf or pp showed us to play moderately loud or quiet. The children then played along to ‘Riptide’ which had three cords: A minor, G and C. They then had the opportunity to improvise strumming parts along the song.

We recapped the Latin words to describe the dynamics and discussed what symbol meant what. For example, mf or pp showed us to play moderately loud or quiet. The children then played along to ‘Natural’ where they learnt about the two ways to play the ukulele and which strings are involved in each case. They also had a go at following strumming patterns.

 

PE

Year 5 will continue to develop their skills and ability in swimming, including their understanding and awareness of water safety. They will continue to develop their breathing using a range of strokes. In PE lessons, they will continue to develop their sportsmanship skills—encouraging and supporting their peers in lessons, including their coaching skills. In PE lessons, Year 5 will develop their skills in dance and gymnastics.

Flex Dance Workshop

The children had a great time taking part in the Flex Dance workshop where they moved to the rhythm and ended up performing a routine by the end! The dance session was super for all abilities as it was encouraging freedom of creativity and it kept us moving and growing in confidence!

The children had indoor lessons where they have been focusing on their reaction time and how to anticipate the actions of others and react in a timely manner. Bench ball or dodge ball was a great game to work on the speed of thought of what to do and reduce the reaction times to help us in the gameplay.

The children began their gymnastics learning and have been busy working in groups to practise different balances, holds and how to travel in a creative way or leap as part of a routine. They played the alphabet game which was fun and then had time working on their own routines which had to include 5 elements.

PSHE

In PSHE, we will consider what the words ‘stereotype’ and ‘discrimination’ mean. We will also revisit our British Value: the Rule of Law. As always, PSHE lessons are responsive to the children’s needs and we will continue our emotional literacy check ins at the beginning of the day and after lunch time—this is well embedded in Year 5 and reinforces the ethos of a safe and welcoming classroom where all voices are heard.

At the start of the half term, we spent time on changing our classroom jobs. The children all have something to do and we keep this changing so we can be helpful and do our part in the classroom community!

Children’s Mental Health Week – Assembly Delivered by the School Council

We celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week in school by coming together for an assembly on Monday which was led by the School Council members. They shared a lot of useful pieces of information about how we are all the same but different and they also talked about what discrimination means. The pupils then shared the quick way we can remember the protected characteristics that should not be discriminated against. We use DR RAMPS to remind ourselves. A huge bonus was that the School Council members also made a song and dance which they also performed that will help everyone remember the key characteristics.

Mental Health Week and Safer Internet Day

During our Mental Health Week, we also celebrated Safer Internet Day and we recapped the importance of our motto in school of Stop! Block! Tell! The children were also taking part in a ‘kindness challenge’ as we discussed how we should behave online. As part of the challenge, they had to compliment someone and be kind to them whilst writing a comment but then the children also had to do this face to face with their table partners in class! We spoke about why consent is important both online and offline. Then building on consent, we talked about what personal space is and what it means to respect it. One of the children’s favourite song is the ‘Respect Rap’ which we listened to and reflected on how to put it in practice online and in our everyday lives! All of these key learning points have also led us to consider the impact on our wellbeing. We spoke of how we are in charge of our own actions and how we can have a positive impact in our community by making good choices. We made posters about our learning and also had a super dance workshop that kept us active and the children could share how this helped with their moods and wellbeing.