Spring Term 1 2023

Welcome back and happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break where you spent lots of time with your families. 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 (the continents)…inspired by 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 each day and hopefully we will get through a good chunk of the book together throughout the half term! Based on our first week back, already, the children are loving our new class text and are really excited to get stuck into their brand new Geography topic!

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

Credit: svsc.info

In worship this week, we have been learning about Pope Benedict XVI who sadly passed away on New Year’s Eve. On the day of his funeral, we had a whole school assembly with reflections, prayers, reading and songs to remember this inspirational Christian. Miss Milivojevic taught us lots of interesting facts about him, and reminisced about how she took a group of pupils from St Joseph’s school back in 2010 to see Pope Benedict when he visited England. We watched real footage of the event in Twickenham and Miss Milivojevic shared fondly of how this experience impacted on her.

Miss Milivojevic reminded us of many key messages from the Bible that Pope Benedict XVI shared during his time as Pope and how he put this into practice. We then listened to readings from Corinthians, Ephesians, Isaiah and Proverbs. We gave thanks to God for Pope Benedict XVI.

Our school song ‘Siyahamba’ came as a result of this visit which is the first time that Miss Milivojevic heard it as a choir performed to Pope Benedict. We enjoyed singing the song together and finished with prayers for Pope Benedict XVI. May he rest in peace.

We celebrated Epiphany on Friday 6th January. The children listened to the Word of God during Mass at Church. 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.

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 have started our half term’s unit by linking back to the previous half term’s themed week ‘Inspiring You Week’. We have considered other people that inspire us and our own inspirational qualities as well as what inspirational qualities someone who is inspirational needs to have. Year 5 came up with lots of different ideas and could really easily think about people that inspired them…some were even some of our visitors during Inspiring You Week last half term!


This half term, all of our English lessons (writing and reading) will link to our class text ‘The Explorer’ by Katherine Rundell.

Year 5 started by studying the front cover and blurb of the book, as well as the reviews from other authors and newspapers. They then spent time discussing what they already knew about the book based on this information: four characters that are children, there is a plane crash and they are stranded alone in the Amazon rainforest. We can’t wait to start reading this together!! Our class text will become our new stimulus for writing where Year 5 will enjoy stepping into the shoes of the characters to write diary entries, informal letters and descriptive narratives. We will develop our understanding of levels of formality even further and will also start to develop our understanding of figurative language (similes, alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia and metaphors).


Our new reading ambassadors were chosen at the end of this half term ready for next half term and are ready to take over the role. They have had handover sessions with our previous reading ambassadors so they know exactly what is expected from them in the role! 



In Maths this half term, we will continue to develop confidence in the four operations, including multiplication and division. Using skills of then four operations, we will move on to measusring and calculating the perimeter and area of rectilinear and composite shapes. The children will continue to develop their fluency and speed in times tables and key instant recall facts (KIRFs). Throughout the half term, we will keep all skills bubbling, as well as linking back to Y4 skills. We will revise symmetry and the properties of 2D shapes before we move on to learning about angles next half term.  To help your child at home, please continue to work on quick mental addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as being able to quickly recall multiples and factors of a given number. If you require any resources to support with this, please ask!

We have been working hard in class on the written methods for multiplication and division. Throughout our learning journey in maths, we have incorporated lots of physically active learning to keep our hearts racing, and our brains active and in gear too! Year 5 really love all the ways we keep physically active in school, which include Tagtiv8 and a range of Burn2Learn activities!

Take a look at some videos we have used to help us with our learning in maths…

Here is a video we have used to help us remember how to multiply by a 2 digit number. Key things we needed to remember to help us with this method:

  • Placeholder zero to show when we are multiplying by 10 (not a unit).
  • Carrying carefully so that we don’t get confused
  • Adding up the units and tens multiplied answers to get the total!

Click here to watch the video/song we have used to help us with this learning!



We began this half term by developing our understanding of solutions. We planned and created an experiment linked to separating a solute from a solution. The children created a solution out of salt and water and then left it near a heat source. They gave it a few days to see what would happen. The children enjoyed seeing evaporation taking place!

To consolidate our learning about solutions and mixtures, the children applied their data handling skills by completing a Venn diagram activity.

After that we moved on to identifying reversible and irreversible changes. The children considered different changes. They then used a table to organise the information. 

We also considered properties of materials in this topic. The children considered material properties, such as magnetic, reflective, absorbent, translucent, transparent, opaque… and many more! The children then considered these and applied into Venn or Carroll diagrams. 

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 learn even more about the significance and importance of pottery for the Greeks and Mayans and will be able to plan their own vase/pot that they will make where they will draw inspiration from the Greeks and Mayans. Before creating their historical inspired vases/pots, Year 5 will have the opportunity to develop and practise skills for using clay. They will then create their vase/pot inspired by Greek/Mayan pottery and will decorate it.  They’ll spend time evaluating their creations and considering how they would improve them further and considering also how they are similar to the Greek/Mayan pottery they took inspiration from.

Year 5 have spent time consolidating and building on their knowledge of and skills to use when handling clay. We recapped sticky knowledge of sculptures, linking to our most recent themed workshop linked to “Let Culture Loose Day”. Year 5 practised a range of techniques (as above) and also explored creating a pot shape. They used the techniques above and then focused on creating a sturdy base for the pot so that it could stand, unsupported. Year 5 then practising the pinching and hollowing forming method to create the inside hollow of the pot. They had this practise so that when they move on to design their pot, they can consider which shape is the most achievable, when using air-dry clay. Once they’d explored techniques needed to handle clay, and practised creating a pot shape, Year 5 had more time to plan the shape of their pot.

Today in art, Year 5 practised using tools to carve and add shapes, textures and patterns to clay. They used their existing skills of rolling and slabbing to make the clay flat and smooth and they then explored and practised with a range of tools to create patterns that they had planned in their design plan. This will help Year 5 in our next lesson where they use their design plan to create their pot: which will include creating the shape of the pot, as well as carving the geometric patterns, inspired by ancient pottery. Here is a sample of just some of the patterns that the children created using carving tools.

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 on to clay (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!




This half term in Computing, we will focus on coding. We will think about the need for coding within computing equipment such as iPads and computers and when else we use coding in our day to day lives. We will do this physically first, giving each other in-structions on how to get to a certain location or draw a certain picture so that we understand the need to be extremely clear with our instructions (code). This will lead us on to thinking about efficient coding. We will set IF conditions for movements and use our mathematical knowledge of degrees to specify types of rotation and we will use variables and functions to make efficient code. Finally, we will move on to using IF THEN ELSE conditions to control objects more precisely. We will be using a range of apps and programs to do this, examples including Swift Playgrounds and A.L.E.X (A.L.E.X. can be downloaded at home). Keep checking our web page to see what we get up to in Computing. Online safety is explicitly taught and embedded in all lessons.

Safer Internet Day

This half term we took part in activities for Safer Internet Day. The children started by adding post its to the board containing everything they might use the internet for at school or at home. We were surprised by just how many answers there were!

The children went on to discuss many age appropriate scenarios and were asked to decide what they would do in the circumstances. In some cases, they used the school’s STOP, BLOCK, TELL message if they felt that something in one of the scenarios would make them feel uncomfortable or could be dangerous. The children were also able to give some good advice about how to protect themselves online by never giving out their personal information or location data. The children told me about some of their personal experiences where people they di not know had sent unkind messages when they were playing online games. All the children agreed that the STOP. BLOCK, TELL approach was the best course of action in these circumstances.

For more information about Safer Internet Day, you can watch the video below.


L.O: To revise identifying the position of planet Earth’s imaginary lines and the key geographical terms for these.

After exploring these terms through sticky knowledge quizzes and practical activities, as well as through discussion and exploring our class atlases, Year 5 showed their knowledge and understanding of the following geographical terms:

  • Lines of latitude
  • Lines of longitude
  • Equator
  • Northern hemisphere
  • Southern hemisphere
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Tropic of Capricorn
  • Arctic circle
  • Antarctic circle
  • Prime meridian

Take a look at our Geography working wallChildren are active and independent learners and use our working wall for support with key words, to refer to prior learning, to see where we are on our learning journey and for any other useful pointers. We also have non-fiction books to support reading around the subject in Geography. This inspires curiosity around our subject and expands the children’s knowledge and understanding too.

Forest School Workshop

Year 5 enjoyed a forest school geography workshop where the focus was on a geographical fieldwork skill of interpreting and reading maps, which has also been our focus for this half term, in terms of looking at keys, identifying mountain ranges, rivers etc. linked to our ‘Americas’ topic. This workshop involved a local study of Wetherby, looking at real maps that are used for different purposes, one purpose being for avid walkers/hikers. The children learnt how to use map keys and symbols to identify natural resources, bodies of water, different types of highways (roads: such as A roads, B roads and motorways) and much more. Year 5 then learnt about contour lines and how these can show where higher landforms are, such as hills or mountains. This linked to our learning in geography where we studied a range of landforms, such as canyons, valleys, hills, mountains, plateaus, plains etc. 

Year 5 were then introduced to using a compass to identify where ‘North’ is and we talked about times when we might need to use a compass: such as being out on a walk, with no signal and needing to find your way back through a thick fog. We had recently revised this sticky knowledge of compass points in our geography lesson so the children were confident with North, North East, East, South East…and so on, on a compass. They were able to apply this sticky knowledge in a practical task during this workshop. 






In MFL, this half term, we began by using our French dictionaries to identify new vocabulary for food. 

We then played some games to support the children with this learning. The children regularly used this game to keep the new vocabulary fresh in their minds! We also pretended to be in a restaurant ordering food too!

The children once again applied their translation skills by using dictionaries to find words to describe food. Following all of this, the children then put their learning together by writing sentences. Again, they enjoyed applying their developing vocabulary and seeing how they could use this! 

To finish this topic, the children took part in a B2L activity where they learnt about French culture with food. They put this together by making comparative sentences. 


Our learning in Music this half term will continue to be using the Dhol drums. Year 5 will continue to develop their rhythm, keeping in time with others and performing as a solo and in an ensemble, whilst developing their historical understanding of this type of music. So far, the children have learnt about a range of rhythms including the hip hop rhythm and other rhythms. The children really enjoyed their drumming sessions and feel they are getting better and better with each lesson. Please continue to check the class webpage for videos and pictures of the children in action! 



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, Year 5 will continue to develop their sportsmanship skills—encouraging and supporting their peers in lessons, including their coaching skills. In PE lessons in school, Year 5 will develop their skills in dance and gymnastics. We also have a Leeds Rhinos Foundation Coach coming in to deliver 3 taster rugby sessions for Year 5 this half term!

Leeds Rhinos Taster Rugby Sessions

The children really enjoyed their first Leeds Rhinos session with ex-player Harvey Whiteley. They begun their taster sessions by playing some fast paced games that linked directly to rugby skills, such as dodging, sprinting, handling the ball, placing the ball down on the ground (for when players score a try) and much more! Take a look at the children in action!


In PE lessons on Fridays, Year 5 have been exploring a range of skills and movements in gymnastics. Using all of their skills and knowledge of different types of movements, e.g. balances, travels, turns and the different ways you can perform: in unison, in canon (one after another) etc. the children came up with their own sequence of movements that they performed to the rest of then class. They had to include balances, travelling phrases, turns and a range of performing techniques too. Take a look at the pictures below – I’m sure you’ll spot lots of these elements even in the still photos! 



This half term, our PSHE lessons will explore two more of our British Values: individual liberty and the rule of law. We will explore the term discrimination, what this means and how we can ensure our own behaviour and self awareness as so not to discriminate against others. We will also explore and challenge common stereotypes during our PSHE lessons.

Let Culture Loose Day

During Let Culture Loose Day, we learnt about Leeds 2023 Year of Culture from Mrs Bradley. The children had a really exciting assembly where they were shown how this year culture is going to be celebrated all across Leeds and we also had a super creative workshop where the children were inspired by sculptor, Antony Gormley, who is from Leeds, to create a piece of artwork, inspired by Antony Gormley’s brick man.

Children’s Mental Health Week

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, Year 5 have been enjoying a range of activities to help them understand the meaning of mental health and ways that they can support good mental health.

The class discussed what mental health means to them. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Mental health is how you feel inside, in your brain, in your mind, your feelings and emotions
  • Getting outside, exercising and getting fresh air can help your mental health
  • Talking about how you feel helps your mental health
  • Mental health is about how you feel in your mind
Taskmaster x Place2BE

The partnership between Place2Be and Taskmaster Education for Children’s Mental Health Week has been an exciting opportunity to play Taskmaster across the country with thousands of children at the same time. Hosted by Greg Davies and starring (and created by) Alex Horne, the television series, Taskmaster sees celebrities pitted against each other to complete tasks. Taskmaster Education takes elements of the show and uses them to inspire, engage and teach children and young people. The tasks can be adapted to meet any desired aims that the teacher might have, whether curriculum-based or more, to aid the child’s social and emotional development.

During Children’s Mental Health Week 2023, Alex Horne set daily tasks for children to do at school or at home and Year 5 got involved each day!! The theme this year for Children’s Mental Health Week was ‘Connect’ so we took the Taskmaster tasks as time to connect with each other, to have fun, and to let our minds be free!

Take a look at some of the ways we enjoyed the Taskmaster tasks throughout Children’s Mental Health Week! 

British Values: Individual Liberty

This half term, during PSHE, we have also explored another one of our British Values: individual liberty. We explored the term discrimination, what this means and how we can ensure our own behaviour does not discriminate against others. We will continue to work on this explore and challenge common stereotypes.

Here is a handy video to explore at home if you wish to discuss this further at home: