Autumn Term 1
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 statement of the week and worship is centred around the statement. For example, the focus this week is about saying how we feel. The children placed beads on plates to reflect how they feel. We had time to pray to God to give thanks for the things that have made us feel good, and we prayed for anyone who was feeling sad in the world too.
Although we are missing singing during our worship at the moment, we can still enjoy listening to some hymns, old favourites and newer ones too. Here are a few of our favourites:
Called to Serve in the Kingdom of God
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. 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.
While we are learning to understand what God’s Kingdom will be like, we know that we are called to make our time on Earth as close to God’s will as possible so we look to make sure our actions reflect our faith. To support the children to achieve this, we spend time in class linking to prior learning in previous classes, linking scripture from worship and looking at their lives and the community and world around them so that they can start to understand the bigger picture and their role in it. For example, in worship we often take time to appreciate the awe and wonder of God’s world and we know from our learning in Y5 that we can be co-creators so we look for ways that we can support the environment so that God’s will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.
The children also took part in a group discussion about values. They had to try and sort them into order of priority. This was quite a task and it was interesting to listen to the children’s reasons. What was even more rewarding to see and hear was how the children respected each other’s opinions and negotiated their way through the task. In the end, the children decided that all the values are important so arranged them in a shape to reflect that.
Year 6 have also been learning about parables and particularly what they reveal about the Kingdom of God. We have looked at the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Yeast, the Parable of the Adulterous Woman and the Parable of the Lost Son. With lots of talk partner time and private time to reflect, the children have really developed a good understanding of what these parables tell us about God’s kingdom. Importantly, we then thought about how this should impact on our own actions so that we truly put our faith into action on a daily basis. Each child had some good ideas about how this should look for them and we look to see this in practice in every part of our school day.
The children have made posters to show their understanding that the Kingdom of God is for everyone. Their posters had to include this key message, a link to at least one parable that supports this idea, and a link to the sacraments as a way of accepting the invitation to God’s kingdom. The children love tasks like this as a way of showing what they have learnt and take a lot of pride in the work.
We have also been considering the advantages and possible challenges that Christians face being part of God’s Kingdom. The children worked in groups and each contributed to the lists that were made and later discussed. Year 6 then wrote about the advantages and challenges putting into real personal context for them. They used their developing reading and writing skills to write detailed explanations with examples (we call this PEEing: make your point, explain it and give an example).
This half term, Year 6 have particularly impressed me with their ability to make links to scripture. I know this is something they have worked hard on in past years and they do this very naturally now. I have loved reading some of their links to scripture which I haven’t myself seen before too!
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.
Year 6 have also been learning about metaphors and precise noun phrases to add vivid detail to their writing. The Highwayman has many metaphors in it which really help us to set the scene in our minds and we want to use this as inspiration for when we write so that our audience has a similar experience. We have add these ideas to our palette which helps us as a visual when we are writing to make sure we use a wide range of tricks to add detail to our work. We also have a worthy word wall which we add to as we go along. These are new words which we learn as we read and we could steal to use in our own writing at a later date. Our word wall is just beginning to grow and is sure to be full of words by half term.
Year 6 enjoyed using hot seating as a way of delving deep into relationships and themes of the Highwayman Book. First of all they thought about questions which they could ask the three main characters. We talked about the difference between open and closed questions and the word ‘delve’ and tried to ensure that our questions delved deep so that the characters opened up their thoughts, feelings and motives. Random selection was used to select the characters in the hot seat and the other children asked their questions. It was trickier than it sounds but lots of fun too.
Year 6 are enjoying the stimulus of The Highwayman and have been preparing to write letters to Bess from the Highwayman. Before writing, they evaluated some love letters sent by King George’s Men to their wives. The Red Coats have been away from home for many months trying to hunt down the Highwayman so haven’t seen their wives for a long time. The first letter they evaluated, they decided that it wasn’t romantic enough and that it was, at times, too modern sounding for this period in time. They also challenged the vocabulary choices, for example, the word window; there weren’t glass windows back then so it should be changed to casement. The second letter they were much happier with as they felt it addressed many of the issues lacking in the first one. They enjoyed this task very much as giving feedback to their teacher (stars and bricks) really motivated them – they were hard to impress that’s for sure!
Once they had evaluated bad and good examples, they planned to write their own letters. They used their planning to then write their letters. It was so great to hear the children asking if they would be doing the writing that day as they were so excited to write the love letters, particularly the boys! The class worthy word wall has grown significantly over the last few weeks and the class enjoyed challenging their teacher to verbally put the words into a sentence on the spot which would fit the style of writing of the day. Each child was convinced that they had chosen the word which would not work, but it was not to be! Every word could be used and it was up to the children to take on that challenge themselves now! As the children wrote their letters, they used their writing targets too to make sure they are working on their own personal goals. What followed was fantastic!
The children produced some excellent letters and then spent some time self editing to pick up on any little tweaks that needed attention like run on sentences or comma splices, etc. (We’ve been working hard to polish up on these in our BEE zone time: BEE means Basic English Editing). Once they had self evaluated, their partner peer evaluated their letters to give another layer of feedback to the task.
After this, some children dressed a table to set the scene and children were selected randomly to come and role play being the Highwayman reading his letter after writing it. We had romantic music on in the background and the fun began! As the letters were read, the whole class listened and gave them feedback on those specific things we had worked on today: cohesion, word choices to add detail and romance to the letter and organisation of their paragraphs. Spontaneous clapping followed each letter and it was a joy to see such pride for themselves and each other in the classroom. Well done Y6. This is why I love teaching!
Building on their success at letter writing, we decided to use these skills to write another letter but with a shift in formality. Instead of writing to Bess, we decided to write a more formal letter to her father, the Landlord, to request his daughter’s hand in marriage. Before starting to plan our letters, we took time to evaluate a formal letter. This letter was a letter from Lord Capulet to Lord Montague (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet). The formality of the letter was very different to the formality we had used when writing to Bess so it was a great stimulus to use to unpick the language choices and how they are fit for purpose. Year 6 remembered taking part in a theatre production last year of Romeo and Juliet so it was a nice link back to prior learning which could be used to support and extend their skills of formality today.
Year 6 then spent time planning, writing and editing/improving their formal letters. It was also great to see their organisation and cohesion improving which we have worked hard on this half term too.
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. After every 5 books, they have to write a book review of their favourite one and recommend it to a friend. Who will be first to reach Rats Den?
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 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.
Year 6 have been working on improving their skimming and scanning skills when reading texts. It’s important to be able to find information at speed without reading the whole text so we practise this skill. Once the children find the key words, they then read the sentence before and after the word to get a feel for the meaning.
Guided reading lessons are mostly embedded within the rich stimulus of the half term. For example, this half term we will be looking at poetry by Valerie Bloom who uses metaphors in poetry to explain different features of the river. We will be learning about metaphors which are used also in The Highwayman poem. We will then use our skills gained in guided reading and writing lessons to apply this in geography where we will write our own metaphors to describe different features of a river. Using curriculum time in this way with strong links really supports deeper learning.
We also do lots of vocabulary work in guided reading to develop our understanding of words. In recent non-fiction texts that we have been reading, the children have collected subject specific vocabulary and then used colour coding (traffic light system) to show if they have heard the word and confident with the meaning, heard the word but not sure about the meaning, or they have never heard the word before. At this point, dictionaries are used to clarify meaning and build confidence with the words. Each child is at a different stage in this journey but it’s a really useful way to build vocabulary understanding.
We also have a Worthy Word Wall on our English wall which we add to when we learn new vocabulary directly from fiction from our shared reading. Words like delve, stealthily, stead and unrequited have been added so far which are words directly as a result of our discussions around the Highwayman text.
We also work on vocabulary in all the other subjects too as understanding words builds our ability to understanding texts whether that is when reading stories or non-fiction. If you look in our topic and science books, you’ll find a lot of what we call subject specific words which we collect as we are reading and learning in these subjects too. When we learn a new word, Mrs Ward puts it on the board and we do spelling aerobics to help us learn to spell it in an interactive and fun way!
Here is an example of our vocabulary wall so far in geography:
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. 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!
We have also been learning how to round numbers including decimal numbers. This can be tricky but challenge is good and we take time to work on corrections too. We learn from being challenged and mistakes are part of learning.
Year 6 enjoyed a physically active session today which we call BOGOF Balls; in this game you find a multiplication fact and then use this to find other related facts including large multiples of 100 and 1000 and division facts. If you know one fact, you know so many more and this active game is a great way to practise this skill. When we came back into the classroom, we looked at how to use inverse to check our answers. We’ll keep practising this to keep it bubbling away as what looks like tricky calculations, can actually be done mentally if you remember your BOGOFs. Year 6 have enjoyed other lessons like this outdoors.
Year 6 have been working on understanding part-whole models and bar models as a different way to interpret number. We have also been working on improving our confidence with maths vocabulary of sum and difference. These are actually really easy with a quick reminder and some practise.
Year 6 have also been working on negative numbers. They enjoyed a game with a partner first which was a winner for a Monday morning lesson as it helps to get them ready to learn and aware and alert. Year 6 find Monday mornings and Friday mornings tricky and as they feel tired so I have adapted the weekly timetable to accommodate tasks which will support them through this. Year 6 love being active so a good game or some outdoor learning does the trick quickly!
Year 6 complete lots of arithmetic quick practise to keep their skills fresh and improve their speed. These may only be 5 or 10 minute fast sessions but they really do help! The children are very motivated by the quick results they achieve through a little and often approach. Keep up the good work Year 6!
Year 6 really enjoyed revising finding factors. It was great to see them applying skills previously learnt in other year groups as a good starting point for these lessons. They could remember learning about factors all the way back to Y4 with Mrs Harrison! So we polished up on the most efficient method to ensure that we could find all factors methodically and then practised applying this with some problem solving and reasoning. Of course, we included some physically active learning too as they were becoming more fluent at finding the factors prior to problem solving. Year 6 love this type of activity and it certainly supports their learning back in the classroom too. Look how much fun they are having in outdoor maths!
Here is a really simply but effective tutorial which is the same method that the children use to work out factors of numbers methodically.
Year 6 have been looking at how ideas about diet were investigated in the past. They learnt about James Lind and the work he did to try to find out why sailors suffered from scurvy. The class have also been asking questions of their own about diet which we aim to be able to answer at the end of the unit of work.
Year 6 have also been learning about different food groups and why the body needs foods from each group. This was a good chance to address some misconceptions about food groups which the children had already picked up from places like the news. One such misconception that we have addressed is that there is no such thing as bad food, it’s bad choices and all about moderation. They looked at different food labels to see which foods contained the most fat, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. and then had to use their maths skills to order them in the top five. This was quite tricky and involved lots of maths skills involving decimal numbers, comparing and ordering. As they worked through these tasks, they were able to start to answer some of the questions they originally asked like, ‘Can fat be good for us?’, ‘What is a balanced diet?’ and ‘What are the different food groups?’
In class, we have lots of books to support the science topic and the children are giving time to read around the chosen science topic to really deepen their understanding and make links to what they are learning in the classroom and the bigger picture.
Moving on with our science learning, Year 6 were really interested when they learnt all about how muscles work in the human body. They learnt about the different types of muscles: cardiac, smooth and skeletal muscles. They did some different exercises to focus on which muscles were being used. They learnt about how muscles contract and relax, and learnt to name many of the main muscles in the body. They then had to look at different types of exercise and decide which muscles were being worked harder during the exercise. After that, they chose their own muscle group and pretended to be personal trainers; they recommended advice to clients who wanted to exercise these muscles.
Year 6 have also been investigating the impact of exercise on the heart and how the circulatory system works. They really enjoyed trying to locate their pulses and recording data using this. They counted their pulse for 10 seconds and multiplied it by 6 to calculate 1 minute. They repeated this for minimum of 3 times and then worked out average pulse rates. After this, the children enjoyed planning and conducting an experiment to look at the impact of exercise. The children then worked really hard to write up their investigations using lots of scientific words (predictions, conclusions, results, variables, etc) and methods (including recording data and interpreting). What a lot of learning has been taking place!
Overall, the children have really engaged well with this topic and deepened their knowledge of the human body. They have also really impressed their teachers by using more scientific vocabulary too which is great to see developing so quickly and to a high standard. Well done Y6.
STEM Workshop (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
Year 6 were really lucky to have a STEM workshop led by Jenny Hatcher who is the regional STEM Coordinator for the Marine Society & Sea Cadets. We started by discussing what jobs there are in engineering and science and then concentrated on what a marine engineer does and how they need to think. It was summarised as having ideas, designing, building, testing, fixing and improving but all linked to things that go in water or under water.
We then moved onto learning about buoyancy. To understand this, we needed to understand all about forces, density and how particles behave in solids, liquids and gases so marbles, plasticine, sponges and candles were needed! The children observed what happened when you put the various items into the bowl of water: the children were able to summarise that the density of the object has to be less than the density of water for objects to float. They also learnt about water displacement as this needed to be a consideration in the next part of the task.
This led perfectly onto the problem that the children were going to work on in teams: they had to use this understanding of density and buoyancy to design, make and test a vessel of their own, working within restricted measurements just to make it a bit trickier. All the children were given the same limited materials to make the challenge fair: tin foil, sellotape, A3 card and scissors, ruler and a pencil. The children had to design a vessel with the best buoyancy so that it would hold the most marbles. They had 20 minutes to design and make the vessel before the testing began. The excitement in the room was palpable!
Once the time was up, it was time to get testing. To be efficient with time, the children took it in turns to put groups of 10 marbles into their vessels and recorded their data in tables. The winning team had almost 300 marbles in their vessel which was incredible! My favourite part of the day was watching their faces when the vessels finally sank!
After a good tidy up (and dry down), the children then used their writing skills and knowledge of scientific investigations to write up the experiment, including instructions so that it could be repeated by anyone, and the results. They then presented their findings using a bar chart. They have also covered lots of maths vocabulary today like combined, total, amount, greatest, least, average, surface area, volume, scale factor, etc.
It was a day jam packed with excitement and bursting with new learning opportunities whilst giving the children chance to apply existing knowledge and skills too. We all LOVED it! Who knows, one day, one of the class might become and engineer.
For more information about joining the Sea Cadets, see the link below:
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 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.
Sometimes the movements would look slow and laboured and other movements looked energetic or rapid. The children then started to add bulk to their stick men to give a more human shape. This wasn’t always successful and we ended up with some really muscly figures, but practice makes perfect and we know that our first attempts will always need developing more. It was fun experimenting!
The children then moved onto looking at how lines have been used by an inspirational artist, Vincent Van Gogh. They learnt how to comment on artwork using visual language with a modelled example on a different artist. Then they had a go themselves at commenting on Starry Night by Van Gogh. They commented on the use of line, colour, tone and the overall impact. This is a really mature skill to develop and I was really impressed with their first attempt at this.
Now the children are working on creating their own art inspired by Starry Night but with a Highwayman link. They will be using lines, colour and tone to create a picture inspired by the metaphors in the HIghwayman: The wind was a torrent of darkness amongst the gusty tress, the moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy sees, the road was a ribbon on moonlight over the purple moor…
Year 6 loved using the Ipads this half term and an app called Book Creator where you can create your own book. They children were given free choice about the topic of their book as long as it linked to the theme of journeys. Some chose to use their new geography knowledge of rivers whilst other did the journey of the motor car, fossils developing, etc.
The children decided as a class on some of the key things they needed to include to ensure a high quality finished product which could be used by a range of different users. They agreed that they had to include a title page, images, text, sound and select a colour scheme suitable for the theme. We had some non-fiction books on the table to refer to for good practice. Using the devices in this way supported many other computing skills as they had to use many of the advanced features in order to create a high quality, professional finish as a means of communication. Inserting sound allowed the children to consider users who may have additional needs and not be able to see the words to read, so they could listen to the text instead.
Once completed, the children shared their work by sending it to me using their Showbie accounts. They found this very exciting as they could see on the classroom interactive board when their attachments had been received.
After feedback, Year 6 have been working on editing and improving their books by making small changes to text size, colour, font and spacing. They have also been working on the quality of the sound inserted so that the speaking book is nice and clear to hear with an interesting expression to engage the listener. Once the sound has been inserted, the children were able to make the icon invisible rather than having a speaker icon. By resizing the images, you can then click on the image to hear the text read.
Something else the children have been working on is remembering how to log on, store passwords safely and share their work attaching is as an epub or PDFs.
Year 6 have been really enjoying French lessons, many of which so far have taken place outside. Our aim was to be able to count to 100 confidently in 1s and multiples of 10 and it’s been going really well. We have worked really hard to pronounce the words accurately and this takes a lot of thinking about as some of the sounds are not naturally in our own language but we listen first and then practise.
As well as count to one hundred, we have also been working on recognising written numbers to one hundred and being able to recall at speed numbers in a random order too. To help with this, the children have completed a number of written activities as well as oral including word searches, matching games and crossword puzzles.
In addition to counting, Year 6 have started to learn words, phrases and sentences linked to areas of school. We are currently at the stage of listening, reading and repeating sentences but will shortly move onto translating French into English.
The children have a willing attitude towards languages which is excellent and therefore are happy to have a good go at any of the tasks, which is particularly helpful as people can often feel awkward trying to pronounce words in another language. Well done Y6.
Geography: Survive and Explore
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 due to having so much time off. Some of their memories of prior learning actually went back as far as Year 2 which was incredible! Look at what we captures together as a class which we think is going to help us to continue learning about rivers in Y6.
Before we start learning about rivers, it is important they we understand the water cycle so we revisited this through a guided reading task. The children started by looking for subject specific vocabulary first. This included lots of scientific words and we then looked up the meaning of the words to improve our understanding of the vocabulary. We then completed the guided reading which gave us lots of detail and real life examples that we experience in our own homes where we can see the water cycle in action.
The children then made posters of the water cycle and used these outdoors to make a diagram of the water cycle using natural materials. They absolutely loved this task which is designed to support deep learning as they had to explain their natural diagrams in detail when questioned. Every group was able to talk about what each part represented and fed in the subject specific language into their explanations. This was excellent to see and they loved outdoor learning too!
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.
After the outdoor learning session, the children came back into class and researched the different parts of a river using the Ipads. They made a glossary of all the different subject specific words and looked at images on iPads to reinforce the new meanings. These words are now displayed on the topic working wall and the children regularly reference these to support their spellings and understanding.
Yorkshire Water Workshop
Thank you to the Yorkshire Water team for coming into school to deliver the workshop. Hopefully next year we will be able to come to the Headingley site to see it with our own eyes.
Year 6 were gripped byof journey history linked to our topic and rivers, when they learnt about the Great Stink! It was only right that after learning about the water cycle, the features of a river and how water is cleaned to make it safe to drink, that we ended that journey with waste water. To understand this, we went back to a big problem called The Great Stink and the children were shocked at the conditions which people lived in prior to the development of underground sewers and waste water treatment.
They learnt about Sir Joseph Bazalgette who was a 19th century English civil engineer who designed the ingenious system of drains and sewers to carry foul water to new pumping stations and holding tanks to make the river Thames cleaner and safer.
Year 6 learnt about the huge change that came about as a result of this amazing engineer, and were delighted to make connections with some of his other designs, like Tower Bridge, which some have been lucky enough to have seen with their own eyes when visiting London.
We have daily check ins to give the children the opportunity to develop their emotional literacy. The first session we had included emoji visuals to help to understand the difference between some emotions. For example, the children thought that the adults in class would all feel excited and chose emojis to match this emotion. They were right that we all felt excited but all the staff in the classroom talking about also having what we might call butterfly feelings in our tummies too. We talked about openly about why we can experience a mixture of emotions and the children then selected different emojis to reflect this. Then it was chance for them to have a go and choose some emojis which reflected their first day feelings after being away from school for so long. As you can imagine, we have a mixture of emotions and any children who wanted a 1:1 session after that were able to discretely request one. There were lots of smiles on faces throughout the day and as they left school for the first day, but we will keep checking in daily to support their emotional well-being.
We have also tried ‘tweeting’ today as a way to share how we are feeling. The class really enjoyed this as a different way to talk about how they are feeling. They posted their tweets on our ‘page’. Another way for the children to share with an adult how they are feeling is through the use of our Worry Monster. The children can write their worry on a piece of paper and the worry monster keeps it safe so that they can feel the burden has been removed. If individuals want to talk about their worries, they simple add their names to the paper and an adult will discretely find time to chat with them. It’s up to the children which way they choose.
Rules and Target Setting
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.
The children have also set themselves a personal development target for the autumn term. This target is totally personal to them and decided by them. We have made a display in class using the metaphor of ‘Pulling Your Socks Up’ which the children understand to mean work a little bit harder on something, and that is exactly what they intend to do. I will be encouraging and supporting them to achieve their targets over the term.
Over the half term in PE, Year 6 have been working on improving their leadership skills. They discussed the qualities of a leader and have been given lots of opportunities to put this into practice. They decided that a good leader can:
- be fair and show respect to all people
- value contributions from all people
- motivate and support
- communicate well
- be ready and organised
- observe what’s going on and look for ways to improve performance
- look for ways for themselves to develop and grow