Autumn Term 1 2021

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.

Class 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 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.

We’ve also been learning some new songs in worship. Some are active ones where we sing and dance with Makaton actions and others are less active but more to support our minds resting and being ready to appreciate the awe and wonder of the world and our amazing God!

Here are a few examples of our favourites at the moment.


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. 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.

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.

The next lesson was using our geography skills and knowledge of the UK to compare God’s kingdom to the UK. The children made a table of things that were in the UK and things that were in the Kingdom of God. They then compared looking for similarities and differences.

The perfect way to then present this was in a Venn diagram which is a super visual way to see the similarities and differences.

We have also spent extra time this half term looking at parables as the children were a little rusty, so we looked a a variety of different parables and what they teach us about God’s kingdom. The children have made good progress with this so it was time well spent!

Here are some short cartoons of parables which can be a useful quick revisit if you want to look at these at home together:

Class Saint Day

Year 6 enjoyed a morning of learning about our class saint, St John Paul II. The children researched him and then shared facts as a class together. They also wrote prayers incorporating what they had learnt from their class saint and how we can be inspired today by his dedication to faith.

We enjoyed prayers in the prayer garden and then had buns and pop as a treat as well as no uniform day!



The Highwayman

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 answers the questions.

Year 6 have moved onto writing character descriptions using ambitious vocabulary from the text which they previous learnt when they made a glossary. The designed ‘Wanted’ posters to help King George capture the deadly Highwayman.

They wrote a plan to get their ideas organised before writing, and then wrote their descriptions. After that, it was time to self-assess and edit/improve using RAMPS (remove, add, move, punctuation, spellings/substitutions). I was really pleased to see their writing targets being used too.

The children have also been working really hard to improve their writing skills. They have evaluated some love letters written by King George’s men and given some very useful feedback about the positive parts and the things that need improving. Seeing what a good one looks like (WAGOLL) and a bad one (WABOLL) really helps the children to see what is expected of them. The children focused particularly on the things they are working hard to improve in their own work; this included use of vocabulary, organisation of paragraphs and cohesion with paragraphs and across paragraphs.

We later had a dress up day where all the children came in disguise. The children planned their own love letters in role as the Highwayman writing to Bess. Then they wrote their letters using the plans and top tips created from evaluating other love letters. The results were superb! The language choices were ambitious, with many words being taken from our Worthy Word Wall or the Improving It display – I was so pleased to see the children independently selecting these words which had previously been discussed in guided reading.

The finished letters were fantastic! We had some fun afterwards reading the letters in role as the Highwayman with romantic music in the background.

Romeo and Juliet 

We kick started our next exciting stimulus in English with a fantastic experience from the Shakespeare Theatre Company who performed Romeo and Juliet. The performance lasted all morning and the children were fully involved from start to end. They were captivated by the story and range of contrasting characters. Using this stimulus over the next few weeks is going to be fantastic: I can’t wait. Thank you to the Friends of St Joseph and all the parents, grandparents and carers who support their fundraising, as without this, we simply couldn’t have these experience for the children.

We spent some time comparing and contrasting themes in Romeo and Juliet with The Highwayman. The similarities were interesting but the children also spotted differences.

We also used the word ‘feud’ for our word aware work and the children came up with rhyming words with similar spelling patterns, actions and pictures to help them put this word into context. We love word aware work where the children have a multi-sensory experience of language. We shout, whisper, sing, act, clap the syllables, rap and lots more!

All the children took home an adapted version of Romeo and Juliet and read it for homework. We will continue to use this stimulus next half term for more exciting writing opportunities.




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?

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 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.


Guided Reading

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.

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.

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 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!

We have also been learning to round numbers to a range of different degrees of accuracy. We started this by finding the nearest multiples of 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 and 1,000,000. This helped us to know the numbers that our starting number sat between, therefore, rounding was then easier. We also know some rhymes to help but it’s important that we know why the rhymes work which is why we spent time finding nearest multiples first.

If you would like to practise rounding at home, here is a useful video to help you.

Y6 then spent time working on negative numbers. We started this by recalling what we already know about negative numbers, where we might see them in the world and writing an explanation about what a negative number is. We RAG rated a range of words related to negative numbers like greater than, digits, integers, reduce, minus, increase, smaller than, fewer, etc. This helped us to focus on new vocabulary to deepen our learning whilst we learnt about negative numbers. We practised finding the difference between positive and negative numbers, starting with a number line and moving to mental methods once we were confident. The children also applied their understanding and skills with word problems, remembering to use the correct unit of measurement in their answers.

If you get need to practise more or need help on your homework, here is a useful video to watch on the BBC Bitesize website.

Year 6 have also made a great start to maths sessions with Ms Crolla, which will focus on the shape and space elements of the Year 6 curriculum. The children have started by consolidating their knowledge of both 2-D and 3-D shapes and learning more about 3-D polyhedrons and angles.

Next, the children got to grips with applying their shape skills to practical problem solving tasks, such as using paper triangles to make regular and irregular hexagons, along with heptagons and quadrilaterals.

After this work, the class looked at the nets of 3-D shapes. The children carefully constructed their own 3-D shapes from nets. These included some wonderful dodecahedrons and heptagonal prisms.

Here are some useful videos and songs to help you visualise and remember the name of some 3d shapes; they will also help you with some of the language needed to be able to describe 3d shapes like vertex, vertices, face, curved, etc. 

STEM Workshop (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

Year 6 were really lucky to have a STEM workshop led by John Pratchet 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, A4 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 2 marbles into their vessels and recorded their data in tables. The winning team had over 100 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 made a great 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 scurvy – the illness sailors died from in the past when they didn’t eat any food containing Vitamin C (it wasn’t very pleasant).

 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 sugarsaltfat 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 also enjoyed learning about the human circulatory system. They raced around the playground pretending to be blood cells delivering oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body, getting more oxygen from the lungs and being pumped out by the heart.

With a partner, the children designed an experiment to investigate what happens to our heart rates when we exercise. Some children found it tricky to find their pulse but soon got the hang of it and calculated an average resting heart rate and then an average pulse after some pretty intense exercise in the playground. The class concluded that our heart beats much faster when we exercise. We will find out why next week!

Overall, the children have made a very positive and enthusiastic start to Year 6 Science and have impressed staff with their accurate use of scientific vocabulary in their work.

Mr Foster: Orthopaedic Surgeon Visits

Year 6 were lucky enough to be visited by Mr Foster, who came into school with a real human skeleton to show the children.
The children learnt about the important jobs the bones do in protecting our bodies and helping us move around.
He taught us the names of many of the important bones in the human skeleton and the jobs they do. The children also learnt about the roles of ligaments, cartilage and different types of joints.
As well as sharing his expertise in science and all things related to bones, he also did a super job of supporting our curriculum intent which includes having high aspirations for ourselves. Mr Foster did this by telling us all about his job as an orthopaedic consultant along with the different roles in the NHS and how these all work together to help people. Hopefully this has inspired some members of Year 6 to follow future careers in medicine and health as the variety is vast!
This half term, the children have incorporated PE into their Science learning. Year 6 have been looking at the different muscle groups in the human body and the important roles they play. The children have learnt about how the circulatory system takes blood containing oxygen and nutrients to the different muscles around the body. We also found out that the heart has to work harder to do this when our muscles are performing lots of exercise.
We designed our own exercise routines to work the different muscle types, focusing on our abdominals, quadriceps, deltoids and gastrocnemius (calf muscles) to name but a few. The children worked hard and had fun proving the exercises worked well.



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.

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:

We have now moved onto evaluating some work by an inspirational great artist, Van Gogh. He is famous for using lines to create his masterpieces so we commented on his work looking particularly at line, colour and tone.  We looked at a WAGOLL and a WAGOLL to help us learn how to evaluate and comment on art work and used work by Goudi for this. 

We then tried to use lines to recreate our own version of Starry Night but with a Highwayman spin on it. In the Highwayman it describes the moon as a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, and the road is a ribbon on moonlight over the purple moor. We wanted our Starry Night artwork to reflect the metaphors in this poem which we have been using in English. Photos will follow once our masterpieces are complete!

If you would like to try and draw Starry Night at home, here is a video clip to guide you but remember to be create and put your own spin on it:

If you would like to learn more about Van Gogh at home, this video is a good starting point.


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.
The children used whiteboards to show how different scenarios might make them feel. One example was if they had been trying to beat their high score on a computer game for three hours instead of doing homework. Another was if they were chatting online to a close friend who had moved away. The children gave very sensible and well considered opinions and were able to talk honestly in groups about what they felt the good and bad things about using so much digital technology were.
Year 6 also offered some great advice to other children in made-up situations, whose digital wellbeing was low.

Here is a really useful video to watch at home with your child to help you develop conversations around healthy habits and digital wellbeing.



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.

We have also been enjoying physically active learning outdoors playing Tagtiv8 and using the numbers generated to practise saying them in French. The children loved this way of incorporating exercise with French and got a huge thumbs up!

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.

Y6 have also had some orienteering opportunities built into French lessons which has kept them active whilst practising their numbers in French.

If you would like to continue practising your numbers at home, here are some helpful clips to watch:

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: Journeys – 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 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.

Look at what we captured together as a class which we think is going to help us to continue learning about rivers in Y6.

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.

The children will shortly be locating rivers around the United Kingdom and beyond, but we needed to revisit the difference between Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles. To do this, the children had two different representations of these to analyse and use to answer some statements made the teachers in KS2 who claim to know alot about this subject! The children had to spot the mistakes, give advice as to why the teachers were wrong and explain where they had gone wrong. Of course, not all the teachers were wrong but the children enjoyed spotting our mistakes.

For another challenge, they then had to explain which visual representation they found the most useful and explain why using their developing guided reading skills of PEEing. They had a word back to push their skills of comparing and contrasting.


Yorkshire Water Workshop

Year 6 enjoyed a special workshop this week which was all about water and how we use and reuse it in our daily lives. The workshop was led by Adele and Vicki from Yorkshire Water, who were impressed by what the children already knew about the water cycle and the different states of matter.

The workshop started by getting the children thinking about how much of planet earth’s water is usable and whether new water is being produced by the earth. They learnt about the amount of salt water versus fresh water and where water is stored naturally in polar caps. Some of the class were shocked when they discovered that they might be drinking the same water that the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago!

The workshop added to children’s topic knowledge by introducing new vocabulary about what happens to the water we use such as: transpiration, interception, borehole, groundwater and water table.

The children applied knowledge of solids, liquids and gases which they learnt about in Y4, and applied this knowledge to water molecules and how water changes state. They enjoyed going outside and acting like water molecules in a solid, liquid and gas state.

The children took a virtual tour of some of Yorkshire’s many reservoirs and rivers and learnt about why the geography of our area makes it so great for capturing water. After being captured, much of the water for Leeds goes to Headingley Treatment Plant. The children watched a film about all the ‘baddies’ which must be removed from water before it is safe to drink, including tiny creatures called cyclops and daphnia.

Year 6 took a virtual tour of the treatment works where the water goes through seven different tanks and technical processes before it is fit to drink.

The children watched an experiment showing how different methods of filtering worked. We were super impressed with how they recalled prior learning of planning and completing their own filtering experiments last year when they were in Year 5 with Miss Waite.

The class really realised how precious our water is and went on to learn about ways to waste less water. They were shocked to find out that the largest amount of water used by Yorkshire families was from flushing the toilet. We shared ideas about saving water such as turning the tap off when brushing teeth and choosing a shower instead of a bath. This supports our mission to Live Simply.

The children were fascinated by the sewer system and they were shown a very realistic model of some of the good and bad things that waterworks staff have found in there. After this, the class played a game about which things should go down the sink and toilet. Another experiment showed how toilet paper disintegrates quickly but that baby wipes and blue roll can block pipes if they are flushed away. Many of the children were keen to makes changes in their own homes, particularly after learning that 844 million people in the world are not as lucky as them and don’t have access to clean water.

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.

Geography Field Trip

Year 6 enjoyed a trip to Nidd Gorge and Knaresborough Waterside as part of their geography learning this week.  Nidd Gorge looked beautiful with all the autumn colours and there was a blanket of leaves for us to walk on – the weather was absolutely gorgeous too.  We enjoyed looking at all the different features of the river, and we were able to see first-hand the processes which change the shape of the river over time; we could see erosion of roots and deposition of materials at different parts of the river. The children also collected data about footfall in different locations: in the gorge itself and the woodland walk, compared to the riverside at Knaresborough where there are cafes, boats and antique shops.

We enjoyed a picnic in the ruins at Conyngham Hall and then walked along the riverside. A very friendly cafe called Marigolds were happy to serve all 33 of us with ice-cream and we all enjoyed a delicious treat! After that, we marched up the steps to the castle and took in the spectacular view.

The children’s behaviour was exceptional all day – Ms Crolla, Mrs Holmes and I were very proud of them. Well done Year 6 – I loved this trip and I know you did too. Check out some of the children’s comments below:

  • “I found the river exciting. I loved the woodland walk!”
  • “I really enjoyed the experience at Nidd Gorge because it was great fun and I learnt lots. The trip also helped me to picture in my head what the different features of a river look like.”
  • “The ice-cream was my favourite part. It was a very useful trip because I learnt lots of new things about rivers.”

Back in class the following week, the children took their practical experience and put it into good use. They made tally and bar charts to represent the footfall at each location visited on the field trip. This was then put into bar charts which was a skill in itself! After that, the children interpreted the data and made conclusions about how the physical and human geography of the locations impacts on the footfall. I have seen some great geography and maths skills being applied with this task. Well done Y6.


Year 6 loved learning about the Great Stink! They kick started this with a homework project learning the basic background knowledge about the Great Stink; then the classroom was buzzing with fact swapping as they shared what they had learnt.

Year 6 completed some reading around the subject to deepen their knowledge about this period in history, picking out all the subject specific vocabulary which they could later use in their history writing.

We then started to work on our skills of comparing and contrasting water conditions in the 19th century (mid 1850s) compared to today looking for similarities and differences. Year 6 enjoyed learning about Joseph Bazalgette and how he was responsible for the sewers and pump stations in place which still work today.

Y6 were very excited to know that for those who have visited London, they have seen his designs with their own eyes as he was also responsible for some of the streets and bridges in London today.

We also learnt about another inspirational person of that era called John Snow. He was the doctor who discovered that cholera was an air-borne disease.


Using their knew knowledge about the Great Stink, Year 6 then wrote a diary as a poor Victorian back in 1858 suffering the effects of the water problem but having heard that parliament had rushed a bill through to sort the problem so there was hope to cling onto. They completed this as a homework task in preparation for writing a diary in school as Joseph Bazalgette who had just found out that he had been commissioned to complete the improvements to the sewer systems, and the heavy burden this brought him as so much relied upon him.

In their historical diaries, the children had to really ensure that the historical information was accurate and embedded throughout the diary so that they could really showcase all they had learnt in history this term.


During music lessons over this half term we have been listening to a variety of music and identifying the instruments used within the song. Year 6 also really enjoyed using body percussion. Body percussion is the art of using your body to make music. This includes any movement that you can make with your body that makes a sound. Year 6 can now confidently perform using crotchets, minims, quavers and sometimes more complex rhythms too.

In addition to the lessons with Miss Crawley from Artforms, the children have also had music lessons with Mrs Ward where they have focussed on learning to name a wide range of musical instruments from all the different sections of an orchestra.

Year 6 really enjoyed an orienteering outdoor lesson where they had to navigate to 12 locations. At each location they found images of 2 different instruments, and they had to try to name the instruments.

When we got back to class, the children self-assessed their work and it revealed that they have a lot to learn about musical instruments before we can start to appraise music using musical terminology!

Another step to their learning was to learn the different ways that each instrument could be played. They used their writing skills well to explain in detail the different ways and tried to use musical terms within their description like strum, pluck, strike, bow, etc.

One final step this half term has been to practise spelling the instruments as some of them are not the easiest to spell! We will continue working on spelling as well as naming the instruments next half term as there are so many instruments to learn about.

If you would like to continue learning about instruments at home, how they sound, what they are called and how you play them, you could try using these resources below:


music-class-instrument-families-display-posters – A3

music-class-instrument-families-display-posters – 2xA4


Emotional Well-Being

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 during the summer holidays. 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.

The children also revisited what a trusted adult is and how to speak out and stay safe. If you would like to revisit this at home with your child, here is a useful video to watch:


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.

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.


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.


Well-being Week

It has been wellbeing week at St Joseph’s and Year 6 have explored different aspects of their own wellbeing.
On Monday, the class did a guided mindfulness meditation. They then built up a mental picture of a time when they were happy. They pictured how their friends and family look when they smile and talked about what kind of things make other people smile. The children then drew their mental images and shared happy pictures with their friends.
Year 6 then used role play to build up a bank of advice for a child who had poor mental and physical wellbeing. Their ideas included changes to the child’s diet, bedtime routine, daily exercise and the importance of sharing worries with friends, family and teachers.
In addition to this, across the week the children completed other activities: tried something new which was a hip hop dance; practising gratitude (5 things we are grateful for each day); learn a new skill (trying to whistle); extra exercise (we ran extra lengths of the playground). All these things made us smile, energised us,  gave use comfort or a feeling of achievement. We will continue with activities like this throughout the year, not just on wellbeing week.

Keeping Safe – Road Safety & Online

A Police Constable and Police Community Support Officer visited Year 6 to speak to our children about keeping safe, especially around roads and online. The children learnt the following key important messages:

  • How to cross roads carefully and safely using pedestrian crossings e.g. zebra crossings (when cars stop) and traffic lights.
  • How to stay safe when walking home alone or with friends.
  • How to use mobile phones to keep us safe.
  • To avoid looking at mobile phones and listening to music when crossing roads.

The children were reminded of the number to call the police on if they were in immediate danger: 999.

We also talked about ‘stranger danger’ and to “Use everything in your power to get away from danger”: run away, find people, places, knock on a door, go to a shop, scream or shout as loud as you can if you feel you are in a position where you feel you are in immediate danger.

Finally, we recapped the very important online safety skills we need if we are using the internet, especially when children start using social media and when playing online games against other players that we don’t know in real life. We recapped our motto: STOP, BLOCK and TELL!

Thank you to Louise and Karen from the Wetherby Police Station for visiting us to help us stay safe!



Orienteering is the topic for Tuesday PE sessions this half term in 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 create ‘Funny Faces’ with PE equipment 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 managed to stay outside for most of the time. In one indoor session, the children showed how sensibly they could practise their orienteering skills in the limited space inside the hall. They got some impressive times!

This half term, the children also have incorporated PE into their Science learning. Year 6 have been looking at the different muscle groups in the human body and the important roles they play. The children have learnt about how the circulatory system takes blood containing oxygen and nutrients to the different muscles around the body. We also found out that the heart has to work harder to do this when our muscles are performing lots of exercise.
We designed our own exercise routines to work the different muscle types, focusing on our abdominals, quadriceps, deltoids and gastrocnemius (calf muscles) to name but a few. The children worked hard and had fun proving the exercises worked well.

Year 6 have also been working with Mrs Powell on improving power and physicality through strength exercises. Team work and leadership skills have been a thread throughout the last 6 weeks focussing on improving their ability to devise, execute and evaluate team tactics. Through dodgeball and slamball games, we have also looked at how to be a good team member and work towards a common goal. We have used hockey, rugby, basketball and football to further develop effective dribbling skills and passing techniques in competitive situations.