Spring 2 2022

This half term’s theme is “Exploring the Maya” where we will continue our theme of exploring. Our class text will continue to be “The Explorer” by Katherine Rundell– this is due to the children’s high interest in this book and wanting to continue reading and writing around this stimulus. We have a super exciting half term planned, especially because our Y5 residential is this half term! We have a parents’ information evening for Y5 parents on Tuesday 28th February at 5pm in the Y5 classroom. All Y5 parents/carers and children are welcome. Keep checking this webpage to see all the exciting things we get up to this half term!

Year 5 Residential Retreat to Castlerigg Manor

At the end of March, Year 5 went on their residential retreat to Castlerigg Manor, in Keswick in the Lake District. The theme was “Salt and Light”. The children had a wonderful time. For some children, it was their first time being away from parents and being away from home. Year 5 did themselves totally proud! They were all incredibly behaved, were resilient, were kind and caring to each other, reverent and respectful during prayerful times in the chapel or during activities and best of all, they all had fun together! Take a look at the photos taken that captured the wonderful memories made on this 2 night residential. 

The next day we enjoyed some prayerful activities, where we listened to and read the scripture from Matthew “Salt and Light” where we considered that we can be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world, just like Jesus was. We have spent time reflecting on our own gifts and talents and what we good we can bring to the world. 

We had time to appreciate the beauty of the God’s world all around us when we explored our beautiful local surroundings in Keswick on a long walk around Derwent Water and the countryside around Castlerigg Manor. 

We enjoyed lots of free time, time to just be with our friends, to socialise, play games and have fun! Everyone loved the free time! 

We had lots of time to reflect on our own gifts and talents, have prayerful quiet time, pray and be together. The children could choose to sign up to a prayer session in the morning and a creative workshop. They could choose from salt jars, painting rocks and making candles for their creative workshop and for the morning prayer session, they could choose the tea spoon prayer, the rosary and singing in the chapel. 

The last whole group activity was writing something positive about themselves, and the person to their right and their left. We then made a paper chain of all the positive affirmations that we have written about each other. Take a look below! 

Collective Worship

In Collective Worship, we continue to keep those who are affected by the natural disaster in Turkey and Syria, and we continue to pray for those affected by conflicts in Ukraine and Russia. 

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marked the start of Lent so on this day, we enjoyed a very special liturgy as a whole school community in the hall. Fr Andrew marked the sign of the cross on all our foreheads using the ashes that had been prepared on Palm Sunday last year. We were reminded of the special time that is Lent and that we are preparing for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In class, we have been considering ways we can become closer to God during Lent, through fasting, praying and giving.



This half term’s topic is Reconciliation, where we will make links back to and build on their learning and their own experience from Year 3 when they received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They will  learn about the concept of sin and that when we sin we hurt ourselves and others and damage our relationship with God. They will build on their understanding that God loves and forgives us if we are truly sorry and learn that God heals our friendship with Him and others through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will then learn about Holy Week, through the Stations of the Cross, where Jesus died for the forgiveness of all our sins and resurrected again on Easter Sunday.


Live Simply Mission – University of Leeds Workshop

We had a free workshop with the Conservation Committee from the University of Leeds. Nimna, Deep, Isabella, Charlotte and Guarav, students from the university, led this free workshop with the focus on conservation and climate change. This workshop fit perfectly with our school’s Live Simply mission and our ethos of caring for our common home.

This cross-curricular workshop included key themes we study in RE, including the Pope’s pledge to care for our common home, as well key learning linked to science knowledge, geography knowledge, PSHE knowledge and much more.

Firstly, Year 5 explored soil pollution and how the impacts this can have on the environment. They had samples of soil and had to decide which they felt was the healthiest soil: children used their senses to investigate this: looking at the soil, smelling the soil and feeling the soil. Year 5 had many hypotheses, including that soil was healthier if it had moisture, vs being dry, or soil that had litter in it was less healthy. For this activity, Year 5 had to apply their existing knowledge and understanding of properties of materials.

The children then moved on to a more scientific way of testing soil. This was extremely ambitious learning! We learnt that soil can be ‘acidic’ or ‘basic’ and that different plants grow best in different types of soil. To test how acidic, neutral, or basic soil is, we used pH strips. From this, we could then conclude which soil was the healthiest (neutral). We also talked about factors that can affect the pH of soil, such as high rainfall/low rainfall and  chemicals and toxins from factories, released into the ground.

The next part of our workshop was to create bug hotels from recycled materials, that were provided by the University of Leeds. Year 5 talked about the benefits of bug hotels, and showcased all of their knowledge and understanding of animals habitats, including micro habitats for small insects, and the importance of caring for our local wildlife – where they also told our visitors about the birdhouses we have already made. The children then worked collaboratively in partners to create their bug hotels.

We also had chance to ask our visitors questions about their own studies, the countries they come from (as 4 out of 5 of our visitors are international students and came to England to study). Jack finished off the Q&A perfected by asking the visitors what change they would most like to make in the world. One of the students, Isabella, said that she is passionate about speaking to children and getting into schools as she feels children of the world can make the biggest change. Jack concluded our workshop beautifully by saying the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.



World Book Day

On Thursday 3rd March, we celebrated World Book Day in school. We celebrated World Book Day in school. All children were invited to dress up as their favourite book character or come in PJs with teddies and their favourite books, and we had some fantastic characters come into school!

Throughout the day, the children enjoyed a range of reading activities: we started the day by being introduced to a new book called ‘Skysteppers‘ by one of our favourite authors, Katherine Rundell.

The children then attended a live Q&A session with Michael Morporgo – can you believe it? It was absolutely amazing to see him talking live and reading the author note and part of chapter 1 of War Horse. He showed us the original horse painting that he discovered in an antique shop that inspired him to write War Horse 40 years ago, and how he learnt so much about WW1 by talking to people and asking questions. He also told the children about some of his favourite books as a child. When the children move up to Y6, War Horse is a book that they will enjoy reading as one of their class texts. The children really enjoyed this virtual author visit! We hope it left them feeling inspired!

Year 5 enjoyed visiting Year 2 to enjoy some paired reading. Year 5 shared their reading tips and tricks with Year 2, listened to them read and also enjoyed reading them a story too. A lot of Year 5 said this was their favourite part of the day so this is something we are definitely going to continue to do!

We then enjoyed a visit to the library where we played a ‘Yes and No Answer only’ game to guess the book characters of the children who had come dressed up, we had Bear Grylls, Mandalorian, 2 characters from Appley Bridge and many, many more! A lot of children came dressed in comfy clothes, such as PJs, so we enjoyed talking about our favourite place to read. We then went back to class and everyone enjoyed a hot chocolate and reading for pleasure time. This also included continuing our story “The Explorer”!

The class also completed “Me as a reader” posters with their families at home as part of our World Book Day themed activities. Photos of these are coming soon….

So far this half term, we have revised using inverted commas to show speech whilst exploring the dialogue used in our class text to give us more information about the characters. Year 5 explored this at sentence level, editing the punctuation for speech themselves before writing their own dialogue between the characters in our class text. We used a cheesy song to help us remember how to punctuate speech!




Our focus this half term has been fractions. We began by recapping key knowledge and prior learning from Year 3 and Year 4 that we needed before moving on to new learning in Year 5. We reminded ourselves of what a fraction is and what the numerator and denominator represents and then spent time recapping how to find equivalent fractions and used the mantra “Do it to the bottom, do it to the top! Do it to the top, do it to the bottom!” We also explored different visuals that would help us with our learning, for example bar models. We will now move on to comparing and ordering fractions less than 1 before we move on to exploring and recognising mixed numbers and improper fractions, and converting between both forms.


As part of our next step in our fractions learning journey, Year 5 enjoyed a Burn2Learn practical activity where they had to sort a range of fractions into groups: proper fractions, improper fractions or mixed numbers. The children also drew diagrams to show their understanding of the value of the fraction (e.g. how many wholes and parts). They started to see the links between improper fractions and mixed numbers, i.e. seeing that you could convert from one to the other. This will be the next step in our learning journey. We also watched the following video, which is not only very funny, but gives catchy phrases to help us remember the difference between the 3 types of fractions.

Take a look at our Maths working wall. Children are active and independent learners by using the wall to support them with their current learning (top tips), by seeing where we are on our current learning journey, to recap key mathematical vocabulary, or to use the prompt/help resources in their lessons.


Living Things

This half term, our topic is Living Things. We began our learning journey by revising what it means for something to be alive. We talked about MRS NERG. We talked about each aspect and linked how we do this and how plants to this too. We compared how something not alive, the carpet, doesn’t do any of these.

The children then considered how we classify different living things. We considered some of the labels and some of the key characteristics. We did this through a sorting activity.

The children then applied this learning using their data handling skills by organising the animals into Carroll and Venn diagrams. They considered the key characteristics to do this.

British Science Week – Making Connections

As part of our learning journey, the children revised food chains. The children recapped that the arrow means ‘gets eaten by’. The children were then given a range of animals from a farmyard habitat. They created food chains and food webs and we discussed what happens if we remove just one living thing from the chain/web. The children could immediately see how this would affect every other living thing in the food web/chain too! 

Spaghetti and Marshmallow Challenge

As part of the ‘Making Connections’ theme, the children took part in the spaghetti and marshmallow challenge. They worked as a team and thought carefully about how to make their structure secure. They had to work with the force of gravity a lot and did some amazing persevering to build some tall towers!


This half term in Computing, we will continue with a focus on coding. The focus will move on to 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 continue to use Swift Playgrounds to develop and embed this knowledge of coding. Keep checking our web page to see what we get up to in Computing. Throughout the half term, there will be opportunities to apply computing skills across the     curriculum. A big hit this year has been our online sticky knowledge game called ‘Kahoot’! The children love this! We will continue to use this to keep our computing knowledge bubbling. Online safety is explicitly taught and embedded in all lessons.

Design Technology

This half term, Year 5 will work on their designing skills where they will create innovative designs to improve the user experience: the user being birds in our birdhouses. Year 5 have already learnt when you would use sanding and what sanding is, how screws are driven into wood and important vocabulary and knowledge for using a drill. They also know which direction screws tighten and loosen. All of this knowledge and these skills were used to build birdhouses and this half term, Year 5 are going to consider how they can enhance these even further. They will consider materials, how the product will meet the needs of a bird and the design of their birdhouse, whilst remembering the sole purpose of a birdhouse: to provide shelter and protection.

Live Simply Eco Project: Birdhouses

Year 5 have developed and applied new skills today when they constructed a birdhouse in a full day workshop. Before this workshop, we’ve spent time exploring the uses of birdhouses and why they are important, particularly to protect our common British garden birds. This gave us a real purpose for this project!

The children worked in pairs to construct their birdhouse. They had to learn a range of new skills, and new knowledge too! This included what the tools were they were going to use, how to use them as well as the names of the equipment and skills they were using. The children worked to construct their birdhouse: they had to choose the right tool, swap the tools in the drill, pick up the right length screw to join the different pieces of wood, as well as ensuring that the birdhouse was assembled and joined together correctly. They learnt to countersink first so that the head of the screw would sit flush to the wood. Year 5 had to make sure they had ‘keyed’ in the drill bit into the head of the screw otherwise, the drill wouldn’t work as well and could cause damage to the metal of the screw bit. Once they had constructed their birdhouses, they were able to decorate them and paint them with some paint that had been kindly donated to us.

All of the materials used for the birdhouses has been either recycled or reused as this is an eco-friendly project! We will be placing these birdhouses in our woodland area in school and around our local community to support the birds in our area.


History: Exploring the Maya

In History, we will move on to exploring the Ancient Maya Civilization. Our historical enquiry question that we will work towards being able to answer will be: Why should we remember the Maya? Firstly, we will work on our chronological understanding to place this civilization on a world history timeline so that the children know when this time period took place. Year 5 will also place the events of the Maya Civilization in an accurate order on a timeline—this will also include ensuring that events are accurately spaced out according to their dates.  We will be exploring the diversity of this particular civilization and will be learning about the gods they believed in, the cultural and spiritual significance of the historical game ‘Pok-a-Tok’ and we will also learn about why the Maya was an advanced civilization. We will continue with this topic for the first few weeks of the Summer 1 half term where the children will be able to confidently explain why we should remember the Maya.

Year 5 are enjoying getting stuck into our new History topic, the Maya Civilization, and have spent time today in their lesson exploring when the Maya civilization was and why the Maya civilization ended. They have started to recognise how things either continue or change over time.  They learnt that there were 3 main time periods within the Maya Civilization: Pre-classic, Classic and Post-classic.  Year 5 were practising scaling timelines, using and applying their maths skills of measuring. They had to decide on a scale and then set out the events of the Maya Civilization according to this scale. This allowed the children to see how the events connected with each other. We used a scale of 10cm : 100 years.

Year 5 enjoyed a fact gathering activity in History today where they had to work collaboratively, in groups, to gather facts about the ball game Pok-a-tok. We discovered that this Maya ball game has many names: including Pok-a-tok, Pok-ta-pok and pitz. During this lesson, we talked about how some historical sources of information can be more reliable than others. In addition to this activity, Year 5 have also been working hard on a homework research task to support them in applying their writing skills and writing a non-chronological report about the Maya ball game, to show their understanding of why it was so significant for these people.

As part of our history learning journey, Year 5 enjoyed discovering for themselves that the Maya developed their own number system and that they initially developed the concept of zero. The children worked collaboratively to match the domino cards – not knowing what they would discover. After they thought they had matched them, they conferred with other groups to see if other groups had the same findings. They then discussed what they thought this meant. We concluded as a class that the Maya used two symbols to record numbers: a dot and a line, but that zero was an entirely different symbol altgoether.


We have begun our learning journey in French this time by learning to tell the time. The children began by learning the key phrase, ‘Quelle heure est il? The children then learnt to tell the time to the hour and half past too. We applied our learning by playing a game outside of ‘What’s the Time Mr Wold’ but with a French twist! They asked our key question and answered all in French. It was a great way for the children to work on their pronunciation of this key question and vocabulary and the children loved playing the game!


Year 5 will continue their music lessons using Dhol drums this half term and will develop their confidence and skills in playing the Dhol drum. They will continue to play from memory with confidence, perform solos or as part of an ensemble, hold a part within a round and choose from a wide range of musical vocabulary to accurately describe and appraise music. Year 5 will also develop and create their own rhythms and engage in call and response activities. This half term, we will also begin to learn about the orchestra and will enjoy a trip to the Carriageworks to see a piano concert.

Trip to Carriageworks Theatre: Piano Concert

Since Ancient Greece, music and maths have been inseparable. All of Key Stage 2 had the pleasure of visiting the Carriageworks Theatre and enjoying and listening to international superstar pianist Alexandra Dariescu and London Symphony Orchestra conductor and presenter Timothy Redmond during a piano concert. The concert linked to the music curriculum by allowing learners to appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians. Throughout the concert, we explored the links between music and mathematics. Together, we explored the irresistible combination of notes and numbers! The children sang along with the performances, counted the length of music, explored musical vocabulary and its link to mathematics, wondered about Pythagorean theories and frequency, used ratios to learn about intervals and more! The children really enjoyed the varied performance where they could listen to piano concertos from Grieg, and female composers, Florence Price and Clara Schumann as well. It was a truly wonderful experience, and even Miss Milivojevic was able to join us for this memorable school trip! 







Our PSHE lessons this half term will link to emotions and feelings. We will learn about the wide range of emotions and feelings that we can have and how these are experienced in the body. We will also learn about times of change and how this can make people feel, for example, bereavements which will link to exploring and knowing about the feelings associated with loss, grief and bereavement. As always, PSHE lessons are reactive and 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!

School Council Assembly – British Values

This half term, the school council have been working together to promote British Values across school. The School Council delivered a whole school assembly all about British Values. They whole reminded us all about why the British Values are important, what they are and the work that they are currently doing around school to promote the British Values. One of the ways they are promoting the British Values is through posters they have created that explain what each British Value is and how we can ensure we are living by each value. Thank you to then School Council for this very important assembly!

This half term, we have been exploring emotions and feelings and how to deal with feelings. This learning is extremely important, especially for our Year 5 pupils are they are growing into young adults. We first began by exploring all the different emotions and feelings that we knew of, and Year 5 came up with many! We discussed the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings, where Year 5 developed the knowledge and understanding that no feelings are ever ‘bad’ but simply, some feelings are more comfortable than others and that some feelings can make us feel uncomfortable. We considered how feelings can present physically in our bodies, for example, feeling excited can give you butterflies in your tummy, feeling happy vs sad can change the way your body language presents, feeling nervous can make you have butterflies (similar to excitement but different) or perhaps even feeling a little bit sick. Year 5 had a very good understanding of how some feelings can present physically. We talked about a good example of being on a rollercoaster when you feel scared, and all the physical symptoms you feel because of this. As part of our learning, we used Inside Out, the animated film as a stimulus. 



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. They will develop a range of skills in small sided cricket games and rounders games.