Autumn Term 2 2021

Welcome back. I hope you’ve all had a lovely half term break and feel fresh and ready to learn. We’ve got lots planned for the half term up to Christmas and I’m sure it’s going to be lots of fun. We are going to have a Den building day where we’ll pretend to be soldiers from WW1. We are also having a DT workshop to make a leather map bag which a WW1 soldier would have used to keep his map safe and dry. We will also be having a WW1 experience from a parent who has a passion for history and a genuine soldiers uniform and a great story behind it!

Last half term, Year 6 were so excited to be back to school and embraced every single opportunity given to them.so I’m excited to see them back to school, fully rested and ready to learn even more!

Class Collective Worship

Year 6 have enjoyed singing and performing actions in worship to this song which links to another one of their favourite songs inspired by Mathew 22:34-40. Hopefully soon we will be back in the hall singing as a whole school – imagine how amazing that will be!

Year 6 also enjoyed the song ‘Our God is a Great Big God’ during worship this week to remind us of the reading from Matthew 19:23 when Jesus said “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible”. They stood and enjoyed the actions without singing but had big smiles on their faces. We’ve also been back into the hall having small assemblies and Golden Book which has been lovely to sing all together!

In November, remembrance was a strong focus for our prayers. We read remembrance prayers from CAFOD during our class worship and wrote prayers of our own too. We prayed for those who lost their lives during conflict and the families left behind, as well as anyone who has passed away.

 

Our class worship since the beginning of December has focused on this preparation time where we must prepare our hearts and minds ready to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

Here is a link for an online advent calendar which you can explore at home together as a family. Every day has a reflection for the day which is lovely to spend time doing as a family,

https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Advent-calendar

 

RE

Year 6 were lucky enough to be visited by Maggie Atkinson from CAFOD, who worked with the children during a special one-off lesson. Maggie began by showing children examples of the work that the CAFOD charity does and asked the children to think about why this work is so important. The children learnt that there are nine different ways in which CAFOD supports people around the world.

 
 
The vocabulary was challenging, so the children asked questions in order to deepen their understanding and link the words to our school’s work on living simply and caring for God’s world.
 
After this, the children worked in small groups on scenario cards; these included a situation that children might find themselves in and actions they might take. The challenge was to match these cards with the nine different ways CAFOD helps in the world. Everyone worked hard and gave thoughtful ideas about how the CAFOD message is relevant in their own lives. The activity also gave the children great inspiration for how we can make positive choices in our own lives and support fairnessinclusion and environmental action.

Year 6 have been learning all about justice.  They started off by discussing what it means if something is unfair. We looked at 3 different scenarios where something was unfair and they had to explain that impact on other people due to individuals being unfair. They then had time in groups to make their own scenarios up and role-play these. Each group performed and the rest of the class had to spot the injustice and the impact, giving feedback to the groups. 

Year 6 moved on to learning about 3 inspirational Christians who felt called to serve God: Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day.

The children watched great videos to learn about these inspirational Christians; each individual had different heritage and experiences, but they all recognised injustice in the world and serve to be truly inspirational followers of Jesus and relevant to us today.

Oscar Romero Animation

They made lists of subject specific words related to all three Christians and the subject of justice. Once they made the lists, they RAG rated them to reflect their confidence and understanding of them and then wrote sentences in a glossary style to learn the meaning of new vocabulary.  This is a great way to improve their vocabulary understanding and develop their RE skills further as the are then challenged to use these words in the correct context in their written work at a later date.

The children then presented their information about the three inspirational Christians in a way of their choice, and they wrote a paragraph about how each one could inspire us to put our faith into action today. I love this topic in RE and never get tired of learning about these people!

The children also enjoyed a physically active challenge where they had to find hidden clues about the Martin Luther King and Oscar Romero and then present it using their maths skills. Their Venn diagrams reflected the similarities and differences. They then had an extra maths challenge as they then had another group added to the Venn diagram which increased the intersections and they included their own facts about Dorothy Day into the Venn diagram. It got very complicated but was a great way to compare these Christians.

English

Year 6 have been busy writing in role as Romeo Montague. They were set the task of persuading Lord Capulet to let Juliet marry Romeo instead of Count Paris. To do this, they spent time evaluating WABOLLS and WAGOLLS to learn what a good persuasive letter would look like. This was a very challenging task for them to complete as they had to learn to be persuasive whilst being subservient to Lord Capulet and respectful of his status. Year 6 are not afraid of challenge so they got on with the task!

They stole words directly from Shakespeare play too so that their letters sounded old-fashioned in keeping with the style and period the play is set in. The letters are now completed and they will spend a little bit of time polishing up punctuation, spellings, etc. to ensure they have picked up on all the basics before I get to read them. I can’t wait!

 

The children have now moved onto writing a persuasive letter with a slight shift in formality; they pretended to be a close friend of Lord Capulet and had to make suggestions about a menu for the annual Capulet ball. They planned their menus first and then wrote their letters presenting the menu choices in the most persuasive way possible. The writing was full of description to make the food sound tempting, and I was so impressed by the standard. Of course, we always finish every writing project with some time for the children to independently edit and improve their writing before they get written feedback from me. We have now sent these menus off to a real Chef at Rudding Park Hotel and he is deciding which ones are the most persuasive. Well done with this writing projectY6!

Y6 have finished this half term with a final writing project where they have look at the features of instructions and then written instructions for Captain Nichols to follow when Joey goes to war with him.  They became the horse experts and learnt lots of equine words so that they could be precise in their instructions. They practised the skills first of using and punctuating adverbials openers, and then got cracking with the task. The results are superb! I’ve been so impressed with how Y6 have been applying their skills plus using their personal writing targets to make great progress.

Reading

The class shelves have been refreshed for this half term with some new topic books about WW1 and some new authors. The children are currently enjoying a range of books by Phillip Pulman and Anthony Horowitz. We have a fabulous selection by these two authors for the children to select from.

In addition, a new range of classic books have been selected for the Y6 classroom so that the children can enjoy these old favourites.

We also have some adapted versions of Romeo and Juliet to re-read and refer to which is really helpful when they are writing too. As they enjoyed Shakespeare so much, I have also added some Twelfth Night books to the mix to expose the children to more stories by the same fantastic writer.

We are also moving onto a book called War Horse this half term, written by Michael Morporgo, and there are plenty of copies for any children to take home if they want to read past the point we are currently at in class together. The children are really enjoying this text and we are using it as a great stimulus for writing now. Our worthy word wall is already bursting with vocabulary from the text that we have discussed and will try to embed in our writing.

It’s also nice to have a selection of books that we have already read so the children can revisit when they like so there is a copy of The Highwayman still in class for them to read when they feel like revisiting it, plus a wide range of non-fiction books about our last topic. There is also a basket of poetry books which are great when you have 5 minutes to read as you can just pick up a book and read one poem. We are spoilt for choice!

We also have poetry linked to the children’s topic which they can explore during free reading time. There are challenges linked to the poems for Y6 to do which help them to interpret the poetry which can be a little harder to understand than a story or a non-fiction book.

During November, we studied the poem Flanders Field written by John McCrae and the children worked in groups to memorise and perform the poem in front of the class. It was nerve-wracking performing in front of the class but they did a great job and every had a go! 

 

 

Maths

Year 6 have spent more time securing addition, subtraction and multiplication methods. Once they polished up their skills on the methods, it was time to apply these skills to word problems, including some data handling of WW1 statistics. During practise time like this, it’s great exposure to lots of mathematical language like combined, total, percentage, lowest, highest, greatest, difference, etc.

Here is a sample of the type of data they had to interpret using their maths and reading skills.

After that, Year 6 have finished move onto factors and needed time to practice an efficient method to find factors and be methodically so they don’t miss any out. However, when we moved onto problem solving and reasoning, the children had to interpret what the question was asking for and decide if ALL factors were needed to answer the question or not. It’s important that they learn to be efficient mathematicians looking for clues like this to save them time. So, to address this we did some reasoning around odds, evens, multiples of 5 and 10 to help make a point that you don’t always have to find all the factors of numbers to answer questions. For example, any number ending in 5 (except for 5) will always have at least 3 factors; all even numbers (excluding number 2) will always have 2 as a factor; any multiple of 10 will always have at least 3 factors and one will factor will always be 10. We also looked at divisibility tests for 3 which really helps when you are finding factors. Rather than just tell the class how the rule, they had to work them out from given clues and looking for patterns. We’ll continue to work on these in a variety of different ways to build confidence and improve speed. Click below for divisibility rules. These can be found on Twinkl website.

Click here to download divisibility tests poster.

Year 6 have now moved onto learning about square and cube numbers and square and cube roots. To launch this learning, the class learnt a song to be able to recall all the square numbers up to 12 x 12 from memory aiming for less than 10 seconds. It’s a great way to learn them and soldier hats were crucial as we went outside to do some drills like the army which they loved. We chanted the words outside and marched in the playground. It was great fun! This foundation really helped when they came onto cubing numbers too. They then started to calculate using square numbers, cube numbers and the inverse to find the roots.

Here is the song we like to sing below to help you at home if you need some revision.

Click to go the Number Fun website and join in the square numbers song.

Here is another simple song with nice visuals to help too.

Year 6 have also been learning about the order of operations and picked up a simple but methodical method to make sure that they got the correct answer if there was more than one operation in a calculation. The children used the word BIDMAS/BODMAS to help get the correct order.

If you would like to practise order of operations at home, here is a link to BBC Bitesize which is really useful or you can watch the tutorial below.

Click here to practise BODMAS at home.

Science

Year 6 finished their Science learning journey about the human body by investigating the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The children shared ideas and learnt that drugs can have both beneficial and negative impacts. We discussed when it would be safe to take a drug such as paracetamol or an inhaler and when it wouldn’t. Children learnt about the addictive qualities of nicotine in cigarettes and the damage that smoking can do to many aspects of their health. They also learnt about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol and the negative effects that can have on the body.
 
The topic ended with a true or false quiz, where the children answered quickfire questions about drugs, alcohol and tobacco and showed what they had learnt.
 

Electricity

We introduced the new topic by doing some balloon investigations. How could we get a balloon to make our hair stand on end, pick up paper or stick to a window?

The answer was with static ELECTRICITY!! The children were amazed by how easy it was to create static electricity using friction on different types of materials such as plastic and fabric. We deepened our understanding of electricity. It is not just something in circuits and wires. Electricity is all around us and can be created in nature.

Year 6 continued their work on Electricity.

The children set up basic circuits using batteries, wires, bulbs and buzzers. They investigated different types of circuits and proved that some would work and some would not. Common problems included gaps in the circuits and batteries with the terminals connected incorrectly.

After securing their knowledge of creating basic circuits, the children explored ways in which to increase the brightness of a bulb or the loudness of a buzzer. The children also added motors into their circuits and many were able to find a use for these; some god examples used fans and wheels.

 The children have been working hard to include scientific vocabulary in their work and write thorough explanations of how circuits work.

To improve our skills at fair testing and data recording, we conducted an experiment to test whether a range of materials were conductors or insulators. The children used common materials to predict what would happen when they added them into their circuits and recorded their results in a table.

Art

Year 6 spent some time peer assessing each other’s art work from last half term when they made their own Starry Night to show the use of lines, tone and colour to create a feeling of movement. To support them with growth mindset, it’s always nice to get feedback from a partner first to help you spot the best parts rather than focussing on the things you don’t like. Once they had discussed it with a partner and had feedback, they then evaluated their own work commenting on the skills they had applied, the progress they felt they had made and any improvements they would like to make if they did it again. They then had some time to try again so that they could work on the areas they identified. Some children tried a different medium during this time to see what the impact would be. 

We have now moved onto our next art project which is linked to our topic of war and peace. We started by looking at a range of pictures of poppies and seeing which one we were most drawn to and why. The children used their writing and reading skills to give detailed explanations (PEE) using visual language. They practised this skill last half term on artwork by Van Gogh so it was good to see them applying their visual language skills again. The children produced some exceptional work, well written with really personal responses included. I was blown away!

They have since spent time working on their own skills of using s bend lines and creative perspective through the use of tone and orientation. They have practised several times to improve their skills, and their partners gave them feedback using yellow and pink post-its; these colours match our marking and feedback policy so the children are very familiar with how to do this well. They are now working towards creating their own masterpiece inspired by the theme of war.

if you’d like to practise this at home, here are some of the tutorials we watched to help us start to understand how to create perspective when drawing poppies.

 

After evaluating other artists’ work and practising the skills, it was time for them to get creative. Sometimes this can be tricky for the children as they often ask ‘can I….’ and the answer at this stage is always, ‘try it!’. These pieces of work are totally freestyle but using what they have learnt so it’s always exciting to stand back and watch what happens.

Some of the work is now displayed on the art wall and the children get to take their finished pieces home once they have evaluated their work. Before they evaluate, it’s always nice to get some feedback from a peer too so they peer assessed each other’s work which was a nice boost!

Computing

Y6 are busy researching and planning their documentaries which they will be filming shortly. To get started, it was important to spend some time looking at the features of a documentary and how visual and audio elements and the presenter are balanced to add interest and engage the audience. 

We looked at the basic ingredients for a good documentary film watching these tutorials below:

We have started to look at the individual features on iMovie which will allow us to make a professional looking documentary and once each feature has been mastered, we will be able to use these to make the final piece. These should be very exciting and professional to watch.

This is a big project so we will continue it into Spring.

Digital Wellbeing

The children continued exploring what digital wellbeing means and how it can have both positive and negative impacts on their lives and the lives of others. We discussed the meaning of wellbeing and made lists of both negative and positive feelings. The class used the example of a similar aged child whose digital wellbeing was not good. The child spent too much time at screens and became obsessed with a certain game, to the point of staying up into the night to play more and more. The child had got anxious about going to school as his homework had not been completed to a good standard. Arguments had broken out in the family. 

In groups, Year 6 produced a weekly timetable for the child in order to increase their digital wellbeing. They thought of lots of sensible and positive solutions to the issues faced by the child and they stressed the importance of talking to trusted adults about digital wellbeing worries. A key message was to know when to turn a screen off if it is damaging your wellbeing.

 

DT

Year 6 have an exciting project underway in the build up to Christmas. We don’t want to give too much away, but our DT project this half term involved lots of sewing. The children have been working very hard to improve their fine motor skills as these are crucial to making good progress in DT, as well as in many other aspects of school life. We had a knot tying competition and then worked hard to learn how to thread a needle quickly – some children can now thread a needle more than 20 times in a minute!

The children have practised some common stitches including running stitch, cross stitch, overhand and herringbone stitch.

Now that the children have the knowledge of different types of stitches and the skills to be able to sew a range themselves, we have been looking at other handmade products available to buy and evaluating them. We stayed with the Christmas theme and looked at a wide range of Christmas decorations. The children had their top tips to follow which included by starting simply with discussing orally what they liked about each product and perhaps what they disliked. It’s important that we recognise that we all have different tastes so some products appeal to some of us and not others. After that, they independently evaluated the products commenting on the use of colour, stitches and embellishment. The children self-assessed as they worked to ensure that their evaluations were thorough and covered all 3 aspects.

After looking at these products already available on the market, they used this inspiration to plan and design their own Christmas decorations which they will shortly be making.The children love DT and are looking forward to getting on to the making of their product. Before we can do that, we need to look at how we can progress our sewing skills to move from Binka to felt which doesn’t have holes already spaced out for us.  A little practise on felt is therefore needed before we dive into making the actual Christmas decoration. We have lots to do as Christmas is fast approaching!

 

They are currently experimenting with running stick, back stitch, cross stitch, blanket stitch and some others which give a really lovely visual effect on fabrics. They are also learning to embellish by attach decorations like sequins and bells.

Before they started stitching, they planned their stitches on spotted paper to give them a guide to work towards. They are currently practising on binka and once they have mastered a range of stitches and securing the threads at the end, they will move onto joining material to make a Christmas stocking, tree or bauble. It has been lovely working on this seeing growth mind-set at it’s best! I was particularly delighted when some children asked if they could take it home to continue working on it as they had enjoyed it so much. One boy asked if he could take it home immediately as he was keen to show his parents what he had achieved – he was so proud as he thought he wouldn’t be able to do it but actually did a great job!

DT – Inspiring You Week

With so many children in Y6 interested in designing and engineering after our Marine Engineering Workshop back in autumn 1, Inspiring You Week in school was the perfect opportunity to expand their minds and inspire the children about what other possibilities there are in this area as a profession.

Zoe from Deckle and Hyde kindly came to talk to Y6 about working behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House and the richness and vibrancy that a life in the arts can bring including varied career options. She brought in many props and shared videos of her at work in her workshop along with seeing the final results brought to life on stage with some fantastic clips from the opera.

Year 6 enjoyed listening to Zoe, asking questions and looking at some of the things she has made.  We look forward to seeing Zoe back in class again in Spring when we will work on a DT project together linked to WW1.

DT – Den Building Day

Year 6 had a fantastic day of den building with Chris who provides all the equipment you need to make a den from scratch. He gave really good advice about the skills needed today to be able to make a successful den that met specific requirements. 

To make it more challenging, the children were NOT allowed to make dens of a certain shape; this included cubes, cuboids and prisms. They learnt about how to make strong structures using triangles and had to ensure that their dens had a tunnel entrance as well as space to live in.

Designing activities like this in a group really develop teamwork skills too – everyone needed to work together, plan, do and review their designs, making changes where needed as they worked.

They needed to make their dens as waterproof as possible ready for the bucket challenge where the water would find any gaps for sure!

Y6 loved eating their lunches inside their dens and finished off with a fire and toasted marshmallows. They all got to try starting a fire using a flint and cotton wool which was very exciting. They learnt about the fire triangle and what to do if they caught on fire – stop, drop and roll!

What a fantastic day!

 

 

 

French

This half term, Year 6 started by revising their colour words. We built this into a Burn 2 Learn, in order to increase the children’s confidence in the vocabulary. We have also been emphasising the importance of oral French and giving tricky pronunciations a go. As part of this, we have continued listening carefully to native French speakers pronouncing the words.

To follow on from colours, Year 6 were introduced to new vocabulary for common items of clothing. We played bingo games to help us get used to the new vocabulary. A challenging aspect of French this half term has been getting to grips with the masculine and feminine noun system in the French language – this is a tricky concept to understand. When children felt confident using un/une and le/la, they started to construct basic sentences using noun phrases. This increased the complexity as the children had to match the masculine or feminine endings of the colour words to the gender of the items of clothing.

If you would like to practise pronouncing the words for different articles of clothing, here are some of the tutorials we have used in class to help you at home.

 

 

History

Year 6 are really interested in their topic of WW1. They started by reading around the topic using our fantastic range of books from the library. This is a super way to get the children interested and start asking questions about what direction they would like to go with their history topic. So far, trench warfare is a big winner!

Once they had spent time reading about their new topic, they completed a reading comprehension to learn all about why WW1 started. Before answering questions from the text by using their reading skills, they spent time capturing subject specific vocabulary and researching what the words meant to build their vocabulary banks.

Then Y6 enjoyed using different sources of information and learning to look carefully at the sources to deduce information. A modelled example was shared first showing what a good answer looks like and then they got busy using the sources.

Y6 know that good historians look carefully at the fine detail in sources of evidence and try to apply their knowledge of what they already know to infer what could have happened in the past, and this is exactly what they did. It was great to see so many children digging deep into the sources and making links back to what they had read about the British Empire as they addressed misconceptions expecting the WW1 soldiers to all be white British males.  I was so impressed by the superb history that they achieved and how they used their writing skills to such a high standard to present their ideas as well as using their inference skills to back up their ideas. Great progress Y6!

For homework, they completed some further research about trench warfare and came back to school ready to demonstrate what they now understood. Y6 enjoyed a practical lesson collecting items from outside and in the classroom to make models from a bird’s eye view of what trenches might have looked like. This allowed them to show how the trenches zig-zagged rather than being dug in a straight line, and how their would be the front line, support line and reserves – this addressed the misconception that the soldiers would be on the front line for the whole time and with no back up. The class had lots of fun making these, and were able to explain what they were creating when questioned. It was a big mess to tidy up at the end but well worth it to deepen their knowledge!

After this task, their next task was to design trenches on squared paper using their maths skills. They had to include parallel and perpendicular properties, as well as some acute angles and right angles. They used their measuring skills to measure the lengths of the trenches, angles of the zig-zags and their converting skills to scale up their trenches. They loved this task!

We will be spending more time on this topic in Spring as the children have asked to learn more about the role of women and animals in WW1 now.

 

 

 

Music

Building on progress from last half term, Year 6 clapped impressively in rhythm to a set piece of music. They were able to recognise notes, along with semi-quavers, crotchets and rests. This enabled them to clap in time accordingly.

The children used their own rhymes to identify different words using treble clef notation. For example: E G B D F could be remembered as Every Green Bus Drives Fast or Every Good Boy Does Fine. This is for all notes which are on the line and F A C E is for all the notes in the spaces between the lines.

The children were able to recognise on the blank staves where each note should sit. This will help them to learn how to notate music using different pitch notes. Later in the term this will be useful when they write a piece of music to accompany some written work for their World War 1 topic.

To cement their newfound knowledge of recognising notes, they played a roulette style game of bingo whereby a note would show up on the screen and they had to fill their bingo card to win. Year 6 really enjoy music lessons.

 

In today’s music lesson with Miss Crowley, Year 6 worked with huge amounts of concentration. Their eagerness to be precise and neat was wonderful to see and hear. In  order to compose their own musical stories, the whole class were given the same sheet. This was not your usual type of music with lyrics…that would have been far less enjoyable. This was something different. This was a great way for the children to put all their knowledge of treble clef notation into practise. The lyrics were written with words missing. The missing words had to be made by recognising corresponding notes on a stave to spell them out.

Again, the children used their rhymes to identify the notes. For example: E G B D F. This is for all notes which are on the line and F A C E is for all the notes in the spaces between the lines.

Beginning the Process of Writing Music

Year 6 had the task of making up their own funny song lyrics using letters to spell words from the notes they knew. CABBAGE, CAFÉ and BABE amusingly featured in quite a few of the songs.

A wonderful, calm and thoughtful time was shared when the children listened, quietly discussed and evaluated several pieces of music which were written and played during the war.

Words such as optimistic, pessimistic, sarcastic, patriotic, cheerful and solemn were considered during their evaluation. Thoughts on how the soldiers and civilians were comforted and helped by listening to this music was also spoken about. They then completed a table showing their conclusion for each piece.

To listen to some songs from WW1 era, you can watch the video below:

 

PE

This half term, our PE lessons with Ms Crolla are linked to our World War 1 topic. The children have been exploring this theme through the medium of dance. We started by looking at marching rhythms and making quick, repetitive steps in time with the beat. We then added turns and salutes into the routines. When they mastered marching, the children worked in small groups to march in time together – a much trickier skill!

The next parts of our dance were linked to the roles people had in earlier 20th century Britain, just before the outbreak of war. We created a series of motifs showing farming and agricultural movements, such as scything and picking. After linking a short sequence of these, we added a similar short section to music with a different rhythm. This showed the faster, robotic movements that factory workers would have performed. The children were careful to perform in an exaggerated and precise way, linking a longer series of movements and beginning to develop mirroring sequences with a partner.

The children have impressed me with their group work and the confident way they perform in front of their peers.

 

The children began to link different sections and motifs of their dance through types of music such as jazz, ragtime, classical and march tunes. We took inspiration from a ragtime dance to become pairs of masters and servants, performing dance movements on two distinct plains. We included high, precise actions for masters and low, repetitive actions for the servants. The children linked these together well to create tableau starting positions which reflected the characters which they had taken on.

A powerful piece of classical music gave the children their inspiration for depicting battle and life in the trenches through dance. Without using the most obvious acting gestures, the children reproduced the trench battles through leaps, static poses and dynamic throwing and charging movements. A challenge was to get to know the dramatic structure of the music and ensure that the movements fit to more complex rhythms.

The next part of the dance was a sequence set to calmer music where the Christmas Day truce, which troops in WW1 took part in, was shown by slower, exaggerated mirrored movements. Pairs crept together to shake hands without touching and to a consistent beat.

We have been amazed by how many different parts of the dance we can now remember and perform. The children have all contributed particularly well to evaluating each others’ performances and getting ideas from their peers.

 

Year 6 have also been working on their dance and gymnastics skills with Mrs Powell in her weekly lessons. They developed their leadership and teamwork skills creating group routines to a piece of music or a sequence that involved specific elements. They listened to each other’s ideas and were encouraged to include ideas and creativity from every member of their group in their final piece.

Each week they focussed on different elements such as stillness, listening to the performance music, creativity and expressing emotion or telling a story.

The children used the gym equipment to enhance their balance and coordination skills as we looked at different ways to travel and balance on the benches and tables.  The children enjoyed showing what they had created in the lessons and often performed their routines to the rest of the class and gave each other feedback. This served to build observational skills in watching and critiquing their peers as well as the confidence to perform.

Year 6 also gave the Year 2 class a special PE lesson as part of their kindness week. In which they formed teams across the years and competed and refereed dodgeball, football and basketball games.

Aikido – Inspiring You Week

Year 6 were really fortunate during our Inspiring You themed week to have a Aikido taster session with Mr and Mrs Grundy who are active and passionate Aikido instructors and also compete in competitions both in the UK and other countries. The session started with some background context around Aikido. The main message around the Aikido was that it is used for self-defence and Mrs Grundy showed us some really amazing moves which brought Mr Grundy to the ground which was amazing as he is over 6 feet tall! Mr Grundy also showed us how to protect your back by breaking falls with rolls rather than falling flat.

Then children then had the opportunity to have a go. This started with a tag game where the children took on a partner and had to intercept an object tucked behind them; they were not allowed to run around to dodge their partner, rather they had to make body contact and grab around their partner’s body.  This was great fun.  The next activity involved removing your opponents wrist band. They started in a sitting position back to back and were not allowed to rise to a standing position. There was lots of body contact and adrenaline running as it was extremely exciting!

This workshop supported the development of being active and resilient learners as growth mind-set was crucial; out of 30 in the class, 23 children had never tried this before and it is very physical so a ‘can-do’ attitude was crucial. Resilience was needed for the children who didn’t win their rounds and this was quite a challenge as adrenaline was flowing and definitely heightens emotions. The session was very active and Mr Grundy talked about the importance of healthy eating, an active lifestyle and dedication needed to be able to take this sport to a competitive level. Interestingly, Mr Grundy told us that there are more champions in this sport from Leeds Clubs than Japanese champions which is incredible since this is a Japanese discipline. Mr Grundy was very passionate that we could have a future champion sat there in the hall today if they worked hard at the sport.

Mrs Grundy also talked to the children about how having an interest in a martial arts like Aikido can also support developing confidence which can be used in so many other opportunities. She talked about how you can use that confidence, for example, in interviews for college, university and jobs.

Thank you to our fantastic volunteers, Mr and Mrs Grundy for offering their time to enhancement our curriculum; what a fantastic experience this was!

If you would like to get involved in more of this outside of school and join a club, here are the details you need. (Coming soon…)

PSHE

Mutual Respect/Equality

As part of our theme of War and Justice this half term, the children in Year 6 were privileged to be visited by Judith Rhodes, who came to help them to learn more about the experiences of families during Nazi Germany and particularly during the Holocaust. Judith showed the class a short film about a girl who was sent away from Nazi Germany by her parents in order to live safely in England. Ursula had been sent away as she was in danger because her father was Jewish and the Nazis had started a campaign of hatred against Jews. While Ursula was away, her parents and her sister were sent to a concentration camp and Ursula never saw them again. The children were amazed to find out that the girl in the video was actually Judith’s mother; it was a very personal and moving story.

The children then had a discussion and asked some very interesting questions about Judith’s family, the Nazi regime and its persecution of the Jewish people. We related Judith’s story to those of people in the modern world who have to flee their homes because of their beliefs. The children really deepened their understanding of this extremely serious topic and were intrigued by the artefacts Judith brough in, particularly her mother’s tiny suitcase, which was all she took when she fled from the Nazis.

Year 6 will include in their prayers, people who have suffered from injustice and pray for respect, mutual respect, tolerance and peace.

To learn a little more about the Holocaust, you can watch this short video on Youtube

 

Anti-Bullying Week

At St Joseph’s we have been celebrating Anti-Bullying Week as a school. The week began with an assembly where children learnt about what bullying is by using the school’s STOP message. STOP stands for Several Times on Purpose. It is particularly powerful because it also reminds us of what we should do if we see bullying: Start Telling Other People.
 
The children all wore odd socks on the first day to remind us of the important message that we are all the same but all different.
 
 
 
The theme of Anti-Bullying Week this year is One Kind Word; by small and regular acts of kindness we can spread our message of inclusivity and friendship throughout school and in our lives in general. The children have been using the One Kind Word theme in their morning worship and daily wellbeing check-ins to remind them of how a smile or a compliment can make a real difference to the daily lives of others.
 
 
During their PHSE lesson, Year 6 unpicked the meaning of the anti-bullying message further. We started by reading about some scenarios and discussed whether or not they were bullying. The children collected words to describe how the people who were being bullied or shown unkindness were feeling. After that, the children discussed actions they could take and incidences where One Kind Word or act had made them feel the opposite of the first set of emotions. The children described their ideas and used a positive word bank to help them really understand how small words and acts of kindness can make a huge difference to their wellbeing.
 
 
 
Later in the week, Y6 organised a surprise for Y2 and completed an act of kindness as suggested by our class SIPs and school councillors. Y6 planned a sequence of clues for Y2 to solve and this led to them finding Y6 outside waiting to have a joint PE lesson with them. Y6 were very excited about this and Y2 seemed just as excited when they found out.
 
To find out more about this year’s anti-bullying campaign, click on the button below:

Anti-bullying Week – more information.

Disability Awareness 

This week, Y6 learnt about disabilities and how some can be very obvious but other disabilities can be hidden. We learnt what a disability is, the different types of disabilities, what it can look like and a very special boy called Theo who really helped us to understand how people with disabilities want to be treated.

To learn more about Theo, you can watch his story here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/visual-impairment-theos-story/zkhsbdm

 

The Big Bike Fix

This week our class SIPS helped with the handover of 13 bikes which have been donated by children and parents in school so that they can become part of the Big Big Fix. We were keen to take part in this as part of our Live Simply mission and this initiative hits the reduce/reuse element of this perfectly! These bikes just need a quick wash, a few tyres blowing up or inner tubes replacing and they’ll be ready to be wrapped up and given to children at Christmas who may not be as fortunate as we are.

These bikes will have a new life now, helping children to be active and have fun whilst hopefully developing a new love of riding. Who knows, this could even help the environment in the long term too as the children may choose to ride a bike as adults rather than driving so reducing omissions in Leeds!

Thanks to Ed who came to collect the bikes from school and take them away to repair them. Who knew we’d be able to fit 13 bikes in 1 car!

For more information about this, or to get involved with the Boston Spa, Wetherby and Villages Green Group, please visit the link below:

https://bostongreengroup.co.uk/cycling/big-bike-fix/

 

 

 

Inspiring You Week

As part of Inspiring You week at St Joseph’s, Year 6 were visited by a dentist. Mrs Hodgson talked to us about how she first became interested in becoming a dentist when she had to have braces at school. She asked the children to think about all the steps she had to take and the skills she had to learn in order to achieve her dream of becoming a dentist. Some of the children were surprised that, as well as working hard at Science in school, Mrs Hodgson had to develop her fine motor skills. Performing delicate procedures in people’s mouths means that it is essential to have these fine motor skills – just like the ones that we have been practising recently in class.

Mrs Hodgson inspired children to think about their future careers by explaining what job satisfaction means and how being a dentist gives her fulfilment as she can change people’s lives for the better.

The final part of the session involved Mrs Hodgson showing children the different jobs that different types of teeth do in our mouths and answering the children’s questions about dentistry.

Dogs’ Trust Visit

In our final week of term, we were lucky enough to have a visit from Mrs Hill from the Dogs’ Trust. As we have lots of dog-lovers at St Joseph’s, this was a visit that the children really enjoyed. After asking the children about their own experiences of looking after dogs, Mrs Hill showed the children images of some of the dogs that had been brought into the charity. The Dogs Trust looks after abandoned and mistreated dogs; the charity tries to find new homes for these dogs. The children got to learn about the different jobs that people do for the charity and many were inspired to think about future careers as vets, animal welfare officers and people who look after other animals.

Mrs Hill explained the importance of microchipping pet dogs and how that helps dogs to stay safe. She explained what a day in the life of a dog who lives at the Dogs Trust kennels is like. This includes training and preparing the dogs so that they are ready find lovely new homes.

The children were asked to think about reasons why people might not be able to look after their dogs properly and why some dogs end up at the Dogs Trust. They learnt about how keeping a dog can be a big commitment and responsibility. As well as physical care, we learnt about dogs’ feelings and how dogs might feel when they first come to live with the charity. The children asked a range of very perceptive questions.