Autumn Term 1 2022
Year 6 have settled really quickly in to Year 6. Their behaviour is excellent, the children are very motivated and we are getting lots of learning done! The class love the secret student idea where, if they have followed the classroom rules all day, the secret student is revealed and they get to collect 2 secret student badges to add to our display. Once the class have collected 40, they will have some well-earned golden time. We also have Pokemon rewards which are characters given to children for growth mindset demonstrated like perseverance, resilience, seeking help at the right time whilst still being an independent learner. These are going down a treat!
School councillors will soon be elected and we have several children thinking about what skills they have which would make them an effective councillor. The candidates will have to bravely came to the front of the class to make their speeches and then their peers will cast their votes in the ballot boxes; this is an exciting process which also helps with their understanding of democracy which we have been learning about this week too.
The children in Year 6 plan and lead class collective worship. The children enjoy dressing the worship table themselves and explaining their choice of artefact for the table. For example, one child chose a green cloth to reflect that it’s ordinary time in the liturgical calendar; one child chose a mirrored ornament which reminds us that we are made in the image of God and that our actions should mirror those of Jesus. One child chose a plant to reflect that we grow when we are close to God. One child chose a crucifix to remind us that we are so special that Jesus died for us. We also include time for some quiet meditation. We have lovely calming music on in the background and focus on our breathing to try to clear our minds and be still so that we could focus on feeling God’s presence and be ready to hear God’s word in the reading that follows.
Each week, we have a different virtue to live by and worship is centred around this. “Virtues to Live By” enable us to improve the school community’s virtue literacy and to deepen understanding and appreciation of the essential role the virtues play in the education of the whole child towards human flourishing. The virtues chosen are common across cultures and faiths, but are sourced from the Christian tradition.
The children have been praying and reflecting on the life of our Majesty the Queen who sadly died. They participated in a wonderful assembly with prayers delivered by Miss Waite, our school RE leader. The children had such lovely comments to share, and with Platinum Jubilee celebrations only a few months ago, they had remembered so many facts about her role, life and impact on others. We ended the assembly watching the Queen with Paddington Bear and the children’s faces were lit up! What a wonderful way to remember a wonderful Queen who modelled the importance of faith, family and the act of service to so many people for so long!
Later in class, Y6 wrote their own prayers and placed them around the altar. We will keep her Majesty in our prayers during this period of mourning, and pray for King Charles III.
In RE we have been thinking about what a kingdom is. The children enjoyed drawing what comes into their mind when they think of a kingdom and then described their kingdom in detail. Lots of their ideas came from stories, films and video games that they have experienced.
The children then started to think about what the kingdom of God is like and asked lots of questions which are very appropriate for their age. Hopefully, as we work our way through the term, the children will be able to answer many of their own questions themselves as we learn more about the God’s kingdom.
The Franciscan Sisters of Renewal (Morning Retreat)
On Tuesday 20th September, we had Brother Jonathan, Father Franpisek, Sister John-Paul, Sister Emmanuel and Sister Ciara from The Franciscan Sisters of Renewal visiting us for a morning retreat. We started the day with a whole school collective worship where the children had some lovely key messages that they could reflect on. We had a reflection on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, we sang songs and followed this up with actions and we also learnt different ways of prayers we can use in our lives to remind ourselves that ‘God is good all the time!’
Year 6 were told about Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd. The children were asked to reflect upon what it meant to be a shepherd and trust in someone to guide them. Sister Emmanuel led the children in a prayerful meditation where they pictured the face of Jesus and his smile. The Sisters are very musical and the children all enjoyed learning songs accompanied by live guitar playing and actions.
In English we are using the classic narrative poem by Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, as inspiration to write. The children are already engrossed in the story and enjoyed exploring my box of tricks which was full of Highwayman goodies. In the box was a French cocked hat, a bunch of lace, a red ribbon, a rapier, a pistol, a black cape, a mask and lots of books about Highwaymen. Some of the children dressed up in the clothes to give us a good idea of what the Highwayman looked like. We also put a red love knot in one of the girl’s hair to give us an idea about what the character Bess might like look.
Before reading the poem, we created a glossary of words using the dictionaries and iPad to look up words which were new to our vocabulary. These included, rapier, breeches, doe, moor, musket galleon, and many more. The children had a treasure hunt around the school to find the words first of all which they enjoyed. It was a great way to get active and have fun while learning. All the keywords for the English topic are displayed on our working wall with a visual to support understanding. We expect these to be spelt correctly now too as the words are all here as a way of self-checking.
Y6 also enjoyed hot-seating to ask questions to characters. The idea was that they would delve deep with open questions which demanded that the characters give detail. They wrote their questions first and practised punctuating them. Then children stepped into the shoes of the characters and answered the questions. This was great fun but also revealed how the children’s understanding of the characters and relationships were deepening.
The Book Tucker Trial
Year 6 have enjoyed selecting a book of their choice from a lovely new selection we have on our book shelve, and are now making their way through the Book Tucker Trial. They can read their school reading books as well as long as they read! The children are encouraged to read a wide range of genres and work by different authors to expose them to different writing styles. To make their way through the Book Tucker Trial, they have reading challenges to complete in their reading journals.
In class we also have a wide range of non-fiction books linked to our topics so that the children can read about lots of real life subjects rather than just sticking to fiction. At the moment we have non-fiction books about the water cycle, rivers and coasts, human biology and inspirational people in sport.
We also have a selection of fiction books and poetry carefully linked to the topic of rivers and journeys. Mrs Ward has read these and recommended these to the children, and there is a lovely range of challenge in the books too – if you fancy a shorter book with some pictures but a superb story line, then you could read Michael Morporgo’s This Morning I Met a Whale: this book is really powerful and stirs up great emotion when you read about the relationship between the boy and the whale. If you fancy something with animals in, then you could read River Singers by Tom Moorhouse. If you fancy something with humans as the main characters, you could choose Journey to the River Sea which has a strong river theme of adventure. There are plenty so give them a try!
It’s only week one and Year 6 have already proved themselves to be willing and capable of being challenged in maths. They have completed some really tricky problem solving to show their understanding of place value, comparing and ordering numbers up to 10,000,000 so far and including decimals. Their self assessments at the end of lessons is showing a really good attitude to challenge and learning – having a growth mind-set and seeing challenge as a good thing will really help the children to progress with their maths. It needs to feel challenging!
Year 6 have made a quick start to their first Science topic of the year – the Human Body.
The children shared some thoughtful ideas about how to achieve a balanced diet and then found out about what happened to sailors in the past when they didn’t eat any food containing Vitamin C (it wasn’t very pleasant as the video below shows).
The class researched different food groups and looked closely at the packaging on lots of common snacks to discover where they could find the nutritional information about the amounts of sugar, salt, fat and fibre. The children used their maths skills to compare the different values on the nutrition labels and then designed their own favourite perfectly balanced nutritious meal with some weird and wonderful ingredients.
Year 6 have been learning the skill of using lines and experimenting with different lines and tools to make lines. This sounds really simple but it was quite interesting to see the children enjoying sketching in their art books and starting to think about how these lines could be used to add a feeling of movement to a picture which they will be starting to work on shortly.
Year 6 worked on explaining what the different lines could be used to represent. They had a WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and a WABOLL (what a bad one looks like) to guide them, and then got busy with their creative minds and using their guided reading skills of PEEing to make their point, explain and give an example.
Year 6 have moved onto experimenting with their sketching skills to add dynamic action to their art work. They drew simple, yet effective stick men thinking about the emotions and actions they wanted to portray. Extra lines were added to emphasise the movement. They used their top tips to evaluate their work and had time after written feedback to make some small improvements where needed.
Here is a really great video to watch and follow to look at how simple lines can be added to create dynamic action. Lots of children said they wanted to have a go at home, so try this:
Bonjour! Year 6 have started their French learning by recapping what they have learnt about French numbers in previous years at St Joseph’s. Many children were confident saying and using the lower numbers up to ten or twenty. In Year 6, our aim is to learn how to use the French numbers system up to and including 100, so there is lots of work to do.
We have found that it is very useful to listen to a native French speaker, so we will be using videos of ‘Alexa’ in our lessons this year, to help us become more confident in pronouncing words correctly. Please see the video below, which is really useful for practising the numbers.
To start off, we have played lots of French Burn to Learn games outside, counting around the circle with a ball and answering fast fire French number questions. Those who dropped the ball or got their numbers mixed up had to run around the circle as fast as they could. We will go on to use maths in French and count in 10s, 2s, 3s and other times tables in French.
Orienteering has been a focus for Tuesday PE sessions at the start of Year 6. This is particularly exciting as it allows the children to combine map reading skills and teamwork with running at speed. The children have played a variety of orienteering skills games such as using colour-coded maps to collect a series of French numbers and ‘Map matching’ different map key symbols to find places around the school grounds.
Part of the fun of orienteering is working as a team to complete the course quickly and efficiently. The children have also been learning to improve their running stamina by keeping a steady pace and negotiating different kinds of terrain.
Year 6 have used Competition Control Punches, which allow children to time themselves on orienteering courses in the school grounds and prove that they have completed all the markers using the special clipping tools. We have also been focussing on cross country running skills and building stamina to improve our personal best times for longer distance running. Everyone has pushed themselves to run further and I was particularly proud of those children who ran twice as far this week as they did last week.
Year 6 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, Y6 had agreed the classroom rules and we have kept them as simple and positive as possible so that we know exactly what is expected.
To simplify rules in school, we just need to remember TRUST and STOP. Trust teaches us how to behave in school and STOP is our child friendly anti-bullying policy.
Pants are Private
Year 6 have been learning some key messages about keeping themselves safe, which we deliver with the NSPCC’s Pants are Private message. The children think about which areas of their bodies are private and we talk about the word ‘privates’. Children know that their privates are private and that their body belongs to them. Year 6 sensibly discussed the messages of ‘No means no’ and ‘Tell a trusted adult’. We also talked about scenarios like being at the doctor where being asked to show private parts might help us.
The children listened to the Pantosaurus song in class. If you would like to listen at home please watch the video below. Year 6 really showed us that they understood all the key messages by working hard to design Pants are Private posters. You can see some of these below.