Spring Term 1 2021
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 Maya! We will learn about the Mayan civilization in History and 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 learn about the Mayans – especially the ball game ‘Pok-a-tok’!
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.
RE – Inspirational People
This half term, 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. We have then moved on to learn about the parable of the Two Houses and how this relates to our lives.
To consider foundations for living as a disciple.
Year 5 had really extensive discussions about foundations for living as a disciple versus foundations for living as anyone and we linked this back to the parable of the Two Houses. The parable of the two house builders (Matthew 7:24-27) teaches that Christians should build their lives on the words of Jesus and that these words should be lived out by being put into practice.
As our main activity linked to this parable, Year 5 took a foundation and placed it on the Venn diagram depending on if they thought they were good foundations for living as a disciple or living as anyone. If they thought some were not good at all, they left them outside the Venn diagram. During this lesson, Year 5 were using and applying their mathematical skills whilst using a Venn diagram in context of an RE lesson.
This half term, all of our English lessons (writing and reading) will link to our class text ‘The Explorer’ by Katherine Rundell.
We have enjoyed reading this class text during our story time at the end of each day. This class text has also been our stimulus for writing so Year 5 have enjoyed stepping into the shoes of the characters to write diary entries, informal letters and descriptive narratives. We have developed our understanding of levels of formality even further and have also started to develop our understanding of figurative language (similes, alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia and metaphors).
We have spent some time in class enjoying poetry. The first poem we listened to and explored was ‘Throwing a Tree’ by Thomas Hardy. We listened to it and we read it and considered what we liked and didn’t like about the poem as well as the patterns we spotted, any puzzles or confusions we had or things we didn’t understand in the poem and any words or vocabulary throughout the poem we didn’t understand. Take a listen below to the poem we listened to in class.
Year 5 have been really enjoying our class text, The Explorer, this half term and we have been enjoying daily ‘story time’ as our reading for pleasure time at the end of each day. The children have enjoyed predicting what is going to happen next. The story is actually very funny in places so we have been in fits of laughter at points in the story.
We really love reading in Year 5 and we dedicate time every week to just enjoy reading. Year 5 created some posters to go in our reading area and in the library – they could choose what their posters were about. Some designed posters about what good reading and what a good reader was, others designed posters to recommend books to different age groups and others wanted to recommend their very favourite book. Take a look at the children in action designing their posters. Once these are complete, we will proudly display these in our reading area and will find a place for them to go in our school library for the whole school to see!
This half term, we are focusing on geometry, measurement and position and direction.
Properties of 2D Shapes
We started our half term learning journey in Maths by recapping on the properties of 2D shapes. This allowed the children to make links to their previous learning however, due to the time away from school over the last couple of years, we talked about how their knowledge and understanding of shape might feel a little rusty. We spent time investigating the properties of shapes and using mathematical language such as sides, angles, equal, parallelogram, parallel sides, etc. to classify shapes. We also defined a regular polygon and an irregular polygon and talked about how a regular polygon is a shape that has equal sides and angles.
Area and Perimeter
We then moved on to studying area and perimeter. This also involved recapping previous learning from Year 4 where the children learnt about area and counted squares and also were introduced to perimeter. We spent a lot of time developing our understanding of the difference between area and perimeter. Area is the total surface inside a shape and perimeter is the total distance around the outside of a shape. Area is measured in square units and perimeter is measured in units of length. Year 5 instantly saw the connection between area and square numbers because they knew the symbol was the same.
We also talked about the career and job opportunities and times in life where you would need a secure understanding of area and perimeter. Year 5 had lots of ideas but there are just some:
- linesman in football would need to know about perimeter
- replacing a fence – you would need to measure the perimeter of your garden
- architect when designing houses – you would need to know perimeter for dimensions of rooms and also area when decorating/designing the interiors
- carpet shop when measuring carpet – you would need to calculate the area of the room
We continued our learning journey in Maths by using our existing knowledge and understanding of the properties of 2D shapes to develop their understanding further of symmetry – again, recapping on previous learning. We started this lesson by investigating symmetry by drawing around 2D shapes and folding the shapes to find the lines of symmetry. This was a practical and investigative way of finding lines of symmetry and allowed the children to physically see that symmetry is where there are two equal halves in an object/shape.
To begin with this half term, Year 5 explored what they already knew about mixtures and solutions and we linked this back to our learning last half term linked to States of Matter. The children had to read the statement and decide if they felt this was about a mixture, a solution or both. Here were some of the statements they had to work on:
- 2 or more substances that are mixed together
- Can be easily separated
- Can be separated by evaporation
- The materials keep their original properties
- Substances evenly dissolve
- A solid substance seems to disappear in a liquid
- To separate mixtures.
Year 5 enjoyed a practical, hands on Science lesson today where they worked collaboratively in a group. They were all active learners – engaged in their task and actively supporting their team members. The aim of the task was to make the water clean. We were inspired by a Yorkshire Water themed letter to clean a ‘sample of river water’. The children had to identify the substances in the sample and then consider how they were going to separate the substances from the mixture. They worked methodically, in steps and problem solved as they went. Often, they had to be resilient when things didn’t go as they wanted to – e.g. when filtering the water. Take a look at the children in action!
Year 5 learnt the following key words today:
- properties (in materials rather than shapes like they initially thought – linking to states of matter)
- solution which we will explore further in our next lesson
The Final Result!
After a long time working together to clean the water, this was the final result for each group. Take a look! Year 5 were really proud that they had been able to ‘clean’ the water so well. We then talked about how even though this water looks clean – it wouldn’t be safe to drink as water goes through a cleaning and filtering process before it comes through our taps to be drinkable. Year 5 had a good understanding of this already!
To understand the water cycle.
Year 5 recapped their prior learning and knowledge about the water cycle from Year 4 by applying their reading skills – they had to retrieve factual information from a text and answer questions about the water cycle. This allowed the children to revise the key points about the water cycle. This will support them in our next Science lesson where we are planning an experiment to recover a substance from a solution.
This half term, we have had some important key vocabulary to learn. We used a couple of educational videos to support us with our knowledge and understanding of this key vocabulary. The key vocabulary that the children need to know is:
This half term, we are focusing on online safety and we are also developing our skills using computers.
The first skill we have practised in our computing lesson has been touch typing using the programme ‘Dance Mat’ on BBC Bitesize. We talked about how technology has advanced and continues to advance and how a lot of what the children will do in the future will be heavily based around technology so it is vital they have well developed skills across all methods of technology – including computers and keyboards.
If you want to practise touch typing at home, follow this link: BBC Dance Mat
Across the half term, we have explicit online safety lessons to support the children with their knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe online and when using the internet. For one of our lessons, we were exploring different scenarios that could happen to the children in real life. Year 5 had to talk about each scenario, what the possible dangers would be, and what they would do if they were put in that situation. They then had to choose 5 scenarios to write about in detail about what they would do. Some of the scenarios were:
- You saw something online that really upset you. What should you do?
- Someone from school sent you a nasty message online. What should you do?
- You have been talking to someone online for a long time and consider them a friend, but you have never met them. They ask if you want to meet. What should you do?
- Your friend is planning to meet up with someone they don’t know but have been texting. What should you do?
- You have joined a site that requires a profile picture. What should you do?
- You find a really cool site but you need to pay £5 a month to access it. You know where your Dad’s bank card is. What should you do?
Year 5 had some really responsible and sensible responses that would keep themselves and their friends safe in these situations. We talked about our motto STOP, BLOCK AND TELL and how actually, sometimes we don’t necessarily do it in this order. We could stop, tell and then block – as if something upset us, it would be helpful for a trusted adult to see what has upset us first so they know how to help us.
This half term, our PSHE lessons will explore the British Values in our country. These are: tolerance, mutual respect, individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law.
We have started our first week back with culture week. We have started by considering what is meant by the word ‘culture’. The children had fantastic ideas and pretty much hit the nail on the head – they thought of the following things: way of living, beliefs, religion, traditions, festivals, food and fashion.
Children’s Mental Health Week
Our last week of the half term marked Children’s Mental Health Week in school. We started the week by exploring the term ‘mental health’ to ensure that all children understood the term and what it meant to them. We watched this informative video with the Duchess of Cambridge to help us understand the term even more:
I asked the children to rate their overall understanding of mental health from 1-10 (10 being a very good understanding and 1 being not sure at all) which included the following:
- what the term mental health means
- if you can see mental health
- the difference between good mental health and poor mental health
- what factors can affect mental health
- ways to look after/support their own mental health
52% of children rated their understanding between 8-10 at the beginning of the week with just 7% rating their understanding a 10. At the end of the week, 100% of children rated their understanding between 8-10 with 66% rating their understanding a 10.
Part of our activities this week involved lots of discussions in our PSHE lessons. The main thing being distinguishing the difference between physical and mental health, and identifying ways we look after both. See what Year 5 came up with: