Autumn Term 1 2023

Year 6 have settled really quickly in to Year 6 and I am so happy to be their teacher for another year, alongside Ms Crolla who teaches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! Their behaviour has been 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 other ways of being rewarded in Year 6 – our motto is ‘work hard, play hard’! I am so excited for the year ahead with Year 6! Watch this space and keep checking the class webpage for updates. 

Collective Worship

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.

In class collective worship, we have been focussing on the virtues of ‘Respect and Courtesy’ and ‘Thankfulness’. We have thought a lot about what these virtues look like in practice. We’ve been learning about different types of love and the important words Jesus taught us about love.

‘A new commandment I give you; love one another, as I have loved you. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’ John 13:34-35

If you would like to share this message together as a family at home, here is a song we have used in class worship.

 

Child Led Worship

Year 6 take great pride in planning and leading acts of collective worship each week. The children are really creative and we have recently enjoyed different types of music during our collective worship to help us reflect on our mission from the worship. We have heard Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story, as well as religious songs too. Take a look at some of our Year 6 children in action leading collective worship.

 

RE

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.

Y6 also enjoyed a really good debate about the values in the Kingdom of God. I was impressed with how the children challenged ideas respectfully and made reference to scripture to justify their ideas, for example, some children said they wanted love as the most important value as Jesus said, ‘the greatest commandment is to love one another as I have loved you.’ We are now learning about what parables reveal about the Kingdom of God.

In church as a whole school, we celebrated All Saints Day before half term and Year 6 noticed just how much of the Mass referenced the Kingdom of God, so responding to the children’s insights, we explored the order of service from the Mass in more detail, finding where the Kingdom of God / Kingdom of Heaven is referenced in the usual order of the mass, but also in the specific readings we heard on All Saints Day, one being Jesus’ sermon on the mount where he shared the Beatitudes. 

Our Class Saint Feast Day: St John Paul II

In class, we had a special day to celebrate the Feast Day of our class saint: St John Paul II who was formerly Pope John Paul II. We enjoyed a range of activities to learn more about our class saint as well as a special collective worship to commemorate the occasion. Year 6 learnt about the life of St John Paul II, when he was a Pope, and learned why and when he was canonized.

They then created a poster, using their ICT skills, to capture their new knowledge of our class saint, making links to our topic of the Kingdom of God. All children had to explain how St John Paul II spread the Kingdom of God during his time on Earth. We then enjoyed a tea party to continue our celebrations of this special day.

English

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

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 our dictionary skills 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 grounds 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 children have also enjoyed writing a ‘Wanted’ poster to catch the Highwayman and stepping into character as the Highwayman or Bess to write a diary entry. Both writing tasks allowed the children to plan, write, edit and publish written work to a high standard using their skills and really focusing on language to describe features of the characters and their feelings. Year 6 really enjoyed their Highwayman dress up day which really helped them to step into character before writing their diary entries – I was very impressed with some of their Highwayman attire! Take a look below!

Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet

Year 6 both enjoyed a Shakespeare play of the famous tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The children learnt that Romeo and Juliet was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young Italian star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconciled their feuding families.

After watching the production, Year 6 used their reading skills to recap the plot of the story, including the plot twist where both Romeo and Juliet die at the end of the play. They then enjoyed exploring the links between all of the characters and the feelings of the characters at different points during the play. As well as this, Y6 compared and contrasted the themes in Romeo and Juliet with the themes and story of The Highwayman which they studied earlier on in the year.

 

Reading

The Book Tucker Trial

Year 6 have enjoyed selecting a book of their choice from a lovely new selection we have on our book shelves, and are now making their way through the Book Tucker Trial. Children in Year 6 have a school reading book, a non-fiction book and reading for pleasure book. The children are encouraged to read a wide range of genres and work by different authors to expose them to different writing styles. 

Wider Reading

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 Cooper has 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!

Maths

Place Value

During our first few weeks of Year 6 maths, the children have once again 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 are 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 really enjoyed a range of Burn2Learn and physically active lessons in Maths to support with our learning. One lesson the children really enjoyed was when we were exploring the place value of decimal digits and identifying the value of specific digits in decimal numbers. The children went on a hunt around the school grounds to find numbers, and use their place value knowledge to identify the value. We recapped Year 5 learning of decimals before we moved on to this and Year 6 were extremely confident with this!

This half term we have consolidated and further developed our place value understanding, including rounding numbers and we have also consolidating written methods for addition and subtraction, as well as long written multiplication. We have applied all our skills in a wide range of test style questions, reasoning and problem solving style questions as well as word problems involving money and decimals. Of course, the children always enjoyed physically active learning maths lessons or quick activities to keep their bodies, and brains, active! Here we are practising our times tables…a key skills that we need to make sure we stay on top of! 

Chess Taster Session

All our KS2 children had the opportunity to take part in a chess taster session where they could have a go at playing the pawn game or those who felt confident, could play a proper game of chess against their opponents. Chess is a great game that promotes intellectual skills such as problem solving, logical thinking, pattern recognition and concentration. All the children showed their resilience as they tried different tactics to win and had to think about what their opponent’s moves would be and how their own actions would have certain consequences in the games. The chess session really brought the children together through the game they could all quickly and easily access as well as enjoy! We will be running a chess club later this half term that all KS2 children are invited to.

 

Science

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 children found out about Dr James Lindt – a scientist who developed the first clinical trials to prove that sailors who ate Vitamin C did not get scurvy.

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.

Food groups

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.

This week in our science lessons, we used everything we had learnt about the circulatory system to create life size posters of it. Using red and blue pens, we showed the difference between the veins and arteries in our bodies and the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. After that, we connected up all the blood vessels in loops visiting the surrounding organs, as well as the lungs and heart. We took part in a Burn2Learn recreating the human circulatory system in the playground. Each member of year 6 was a blood cell travelling from the heart to the lungs and other organs in the human body to transport oxygen and nutrients.

Year 6 have investigated the amazing ways in which our muscles work and the jobs they do in body. The children learnt the names of the major muscle groups and designed exercises to give all of them a work out. We took part in some challenges to understand how the different muscle groups work together to keep our bodies balanced.

We used dishes and sit-ups to get our abdominal muscles working, wall sits for our quadriceps and leg lifts for our gastrocnemius muscles.

Computing

Digital Wellbeing

Year 6 learnt about Digital Wellbeing in IT this half term. The children discussed their ideas about what Digital Wellbeing means and came up with a lot of great ideas about how digital technology can make us feel positive about our lives but can also have negative impacts in certain scenarios.

Here is a digital 5 day challenge for Y6 to try and to get you talking about this at home!

During weekly computing lessons we have been learning about various aspects of online safety. These have included how to show respect online by making sure that we don’t make others feel upset and treat others how we would wish to be treated ourselves. We also learnt the importance of using manners online and making sure we were using appropriate language online.

We then learnt about our digital footprints. The children learnt that information that they post online is stored and can be accessed by other people. We learnt about privacy and how to make sure that our personal information is not given out online.

Our computing project is to make a powerpoint about all the aspects of online safety that we learn about. We have been using powerpoint skills such as animations, transitions and how to insert images. The children’s presentations are looking really good.

Art

Dynamic Action

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.

Together, we explored Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’. We thought about the inspiration for this painting, and if we were to go anywhere inside the painting, where would we go. Lots of children said they would go to the other side of the hills in the painting to look at the scenery and landscape from an alternative view point. Year 6 then applied their existing sketching skills to explore the use of lines to show dynamic action and movement. They then used oil pastels to further explore ‘Starry Night’ and to further explore the use of lines to portray action and movement.

 

 

 

 

French

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. We have also been combing exercises with French. The children visited various exercise stations in the hall and had to do the correct amount of repetitions, which was written in French! The children enjoyed this activity and counted along in French as they did star jumps, burpees and sit ups.

The children have also recapped their prior knowledge of colour vocabulary in French. Year 6 have taken this a step further by introducing the masculine and feminine ending forms – this can be a very tricky part of learning French. Children have been matching the correct forms of the colour words to the articles they are describing. The endings change depending on whether the nouns they are describing are masculine un/le, feminine une/la or plural des/les. We will be continuing to work on this throughout the year in our French lessons.

Geography

To kick start the topic, Year 6 were asked to reflect back on prior learning in other classes and think about what they had previously learnt which would support them with learning more about this topic in Y6. For an extra challenge, they were asked to consider if what they remember was a skill or knowledge. It was an interesting response: they were a little hesitate to start with but soon started to recall things from prior learning. As one child remembered one thing, another child in the group remembered something else and the atmosphere in the class started to buzz and they happily talked about prior learning with excitement. Making these links was a great confidence boost for the children as some had been worried that they had forgotten everything over the summer holidays. Some of their memories of prior learning actually went back as far as Year 2 which was incredible! We also discussed whether what they remembered was a skill or knowledge. We will be looking to build on the skills they already have this half term.

In class, we also have lots of topic books to enjoy reading to give us depth to our learning. We have time to read around the subjects and we can take these books home too to further explore. This is a popular activity with the class as they can freely choose which book to choose and having time to explore non-fiction is great fun too.

Year 6 enjoyed some physically active outdoor learning using picture clues to locate areas around school where they would find a key word linked to our topic. Just for fun, some of the clues were red herrings so the children had to search really carefully around school and outside in the playground and woodland, eliminating the red herrings as they went. All the words were topic vocabulary about the different features of a river.

Y6 have also revisited the water cycle which they previously learnt in Y4. It was incredible to see how much knowledge was recalled so we had a strong starting point to start from. Year 6 loved outdoor learning and used natural items from outdoors to make a diagram of the water cycle. During this lesson, myself and Miss Quenby all questioned the children to use their topic vocabulary and give more detailed explanations of the cycle. I loved seeing the children getting creative and having to justify their creation which, as first glance, may not look like it resembled the water cycle, but every group was able to explain their designs. We will now move on to writing an explanation of the water cycle, which will really help the children to fully emmerse themselves in the experience of our upcoming school trip to the Yorkshire Water Treatment Plant this week.

We used our existing map and atlas skills to locate rivers around the world and recapped key sticky knowledge from Year 5, remembering that the Rio Grande is the longest river in Mexico. This was a good opportunity to recap our sticky knowledge on continents and oceans too!

Yorkshire Water Headingley Trip

Year 6 enjoyed another trip this week to enrich their science and geography learning. They revisited the water cycle and the scientific processes involved including condensation, evaporation, transpiration, solids, liquids and gases.  The water treatment site has a fantastic educational centre where the children can learn about the water cycle and then see the process that water follows to become drinkable. It was amazing!

We visited the actual water treatment plant and saw how the water from the reservoirs is cleaned.  Some of the tanks were full of brown sludge which looked rather revolting! It’s incredible to see the water becoming cleaner and safer after each part of the process.

Back in school, the children will build upon what they know and complete some extension tasks using the challenging vocabulary introduced in this workshop. More to follow on this soon.

 

History

This half term topic is geography focussed but we also have some history planned linked to the theme of journeys and rivers. Please check later in the half term for an update on the history included in this topic. In the meantime, if you’re keen to get started on this at home, here are some videos for you to watch about two significant people who played an important part in the identification of a water borne disease and the treatment of waste water .

 

Before we started to learn about Joseph Bazalgette and other significant individuals who were so pivotal during the time of the Great Stink, we considered the history of the River Thames and the how the river has changed over time due to human activity. The children watched a video about how the river has changed over time and made notes…developing their note taking skills. We then compared and contrasted the River from then (18th century) to now. 

 

 

Music

Year 6 are enjoying their weekly music lessons with Miss Crowley who taught them music for the last two years. She knows the children really well and is the perfect person to build on their prior learning and really extend them in this final year of primary school.

Y6 have been working on rhythms with the use of crotchets, quavers and minims. They have had lots of fun and been creative using colourful batons to generate a rhythmic pattern. They enthusiastically joined Miss Crawley in following a video of a set rhythmic tune in order to ensure they understood the task in hand. Every child worked extremely hard in order to perfect the skill. This was essential in making sure their final tasks were completed in a successful way. Year 6 then followed a pattern of crochets, minims and quavers on an precomposed sheet. Ensuring the beats were held for the correct length of time.

Moving on from this, Y6 started creating their own piece and practising ready for a visual performance. Teamwork was required and Year 6 did not disappoint! They worked well together in their groups and managed to compose some wonderfully rhythmic and beautifully visual pieces of music. Year 6 had an entertaining time, both spectating and performing their practised piece of music with their batons.

If you want to chat with your child at home about musical notation which is part of what the children are building on this half term, here is a useful video to share together.

Year 6 have also been working hard on re-capping how to identify note names and values (crotchets, quavers, minims, semibreve and semiquavers) by also using percussion instruments. As the half term has progressed, they have been challenged to compose our own rhythms and incorporate choreographed movement and notated their work as a graphic score. Year 6 have also been learning how to notate their own music by completing short tasks based around spelling words using the notes on the staff, using the treble clef pitch and creating their own rhyme to help us to remember these notes. They have composed their own story and challenged themselves to use the treble clef notes to incorporate into their piece while developing their vocal skills such as holding a melody line and building on articulation and how to support their breathing. We have learnt songs as a whole class ensemble to help us to remember. Year 6 have been very busy with their weekly music lessons!

 

PE

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.

Orienteering across the curriculum

Year 6 have been using their orienteering skills in a variety of different ways during PE lessons. We have used a variety of clues and different types of map to keep the activities challenging and diverse. This week, we have used our maths skills, had a memory challenge and kept our French number skills bubbling. All this mental challenge is taking place while the children are running and keeping track of where they are on the maps! We have been lucky with the weather and the activities have taken place on all our school fields. By running the whole of the long course, the children are covering nearly one kilometre. Year 6 have also carried on challenging themselves to improve their personal bests in cross country running. By practising each week, it is great to see the improvement in stamina and self-confidence of all the children. There has been a really positive attitude and determination on show from the whole class. Most children are now able to run one kilometre without walking or stopping.

Competitive Opportunities

Our Y6 girls’ and boys’ football teams have represented St Joseph’s fantastically recently at their recent league matches…take a look at the pictures below and head over to our ‘Sports’ page to find out more about their matches! 

PSHE

Democracy

To mark the beginning of a new school year, any candidates interested in putting themselves forwards to be our Y6 School Council Representatives had to prepare and deliver a speech. We recapped on existing knowledge and understanding of one of the key British Values ‘Democracy‘, whereby we all have a right to vote and have our own say. All children voted for their top four choices for our school council representatives and we are really proud to share our new fantastic Y6 School Council Representatives:

Dyslexia Awareness Week

The children had a special PHSE lesson to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week. The week started with a whole school assembly, highlighting the challenges and strengths of people who have dyslexia.

Year 6 enjoyed taking part in a Kahoots quiz about the topic of dyslexia and really showed me what they knew. They know that both boys and girls can be dyslexic and that dyslexia affects more that reading and spelling.

We then learnt about lots of the inspirational famous people from all walks of life who have dyslexia. The children then researched a famous person of their choice and found out some interesting facts about challenges and strengths they had.

Some examples of the mini fact files we created are below.

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.