Autumn Term 2

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 been missing singing in worship recently so we enjoyed a new song today to finish our collective worship with. We did all the actions instead of singing and it still brought a smile to our faces. This song links to another one of their favourite songs inspired by Mathew 22:34-40.

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. The day we finally get to sing again, I’m sure we’re going to raise the roof in worship!

Over the half term, our statement of the week has focused on preparing for a special time of year. We have reflected on how to prepare our hearts and minds ready for the Christmas. We thought about the type of barriers which can prevent us from preparing properly and how we will remove these barriers to allow us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

During this time of preparation, the children and their families have been putting others first by donating to the SVP food bank and supporting the Franciscan sisters with their amazing work in the community too. The bags of food and little Christmas treats have been coming in generously and taken to the community in need as a reminder of God’s love.  Canon Nunan teaches us that where ever there is love, there is God, so we are truly blessed!

Year 6 have continued to share God’s love by making Christmas cards for the residents in a local residential home. They used their art skills to make 3d cards and we hope that they bring joy to the people who receive them.

We ended the term together celebrating mass in class. Canon Nunan kindly recorded one for us and we dimmed the lights and spent some time together listening to God’s word. Thank you to Canon Nunan for taking the time to record this for us. We would usually celebrate mass altogether in the hall with families there too, but this was not an option this year. Let’s pray that we are reunited as one school for next year’s Christmas mass!

If you would like to watch the children’s Christmas mass, please click on the link.

https://www.churchservices.tv/wetherby/archive/recordings/e2sgFHRkixoYE35

 

RE

Year 6 enjoyed making Remembrance Day wreaths as part of our learning about Armistice Day which is a perfect introduction to our unit of work this half term about justice. The children also wrote some beautifully thoughtful prayers for peace and to remember those who have lost their lives at war and their families left behind. They made links to what they had learnt in history about Armistice Day, including the subject specific vocabulary which we worked on to deepen their understanding. The children have taken these home to include the wreath and prayers in their worship at home over the weekend which will include Remembrance Sunday. 

We also used the wreaths in our class worship at the end of the week to decorate the prayer table and be a reminder of our statement of the week which was to know the understanding of peace.

Year 6 have been learning all about justice. Sadly, we had a bubble closure so we had to go home and isolate for two weeks, but we continued to learn from home and the children benefitted from the tutorials which were planned  and sequenced to continue building on what they had already learned. Year 6 completed 3 RE lessons over the 2 week period about inspirational Christians who were called to serve God: Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day.

 

The children watched great videos to learn about these inspirational people.

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 next thing the children learnt was about the word ‘imitate’ and what it means to imitate someone. What sort of positive characteristics would you want to imitate about someone in your family, one of the inspirational Christians we learnt abut or even Jesus? The children noted positive qualities of their chosen individuals and then made links to Bible references. 

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

We will shortly be starting to read War Horse so, to prepare for this, the Year 6 children made a glossary of words related to all things equestrian. This included vocabulary like canter, gallop, bridle, stirrups, colt, filly, skittish, jib, bareback, saddle, dismount, etc. Getting to know these words before we read will help us to understand the story and definitely improve our writing skills too as we will incorporate this language into different text types when we write. They really enjoyed this lesson as it started with some physically active learning outdoors where they had to search for hidden words which would later be used in their glossaries.

Just for fun and to get the children starting to make connections to their new topic of World War 1, the children enjoyed wearing soldier hats. It was also really good to see the children applying their knowledge and skills from the last half term to write a glossary.

After writing their glossaries, we did a whole class spelling aerobic session to practise spelling the words. After each aerobic spelling, a child was chosen at random and they had to explain what the word meant in the correct context. The class had big smiles on their faces as they were once again being physically active while learning.

The children self-assessed at the end of the lesson and found that their vocabulary understanding had increased significantly! I look forward to seeing this language being used now in future writing.

Another way that the children have started to make connections with their own experiences and prior learning was be recalling as much as they could about horses and any actual experiences they’ve had. Tasks like this always stimulate great conversations and it was lovely to see the children smiling when they remember particular events in their lives or of people they know. Also, living in Wetherby where there is a race course just a mile away, they are bound to know at least a little about horses!

Year 6 enjoyed at the end of a guided reading lesson about Armistice Day, colouring in poppies to decorate our English working wall. Some children chose red poppies to remember the soldiers and some children chose purple to represent the lives of animals lost at war. The vocabulary learnt in guided reading will really help the children when they move onto their history learning too.

Year 6 have started to read War Horse. We are getting to know the main characters and their relationships at the moment. As well as reading the text, Year 6 have enjoyed listening to the story being read to, either by myself (their teacher) or an audio version which can be found on the BBC website.

 

Click here to listen to War Horse.

Year 6 have been working on improving how they start their sentences so that they have a little more variety. Subordinating conjunctions are a great way to achieve this so they have been practising writing sentences using some of these conjunctions. A funny way to remember some of these is ISAWAWABUB. They used a fan of this and wrote a sentence for each subordinating conjunction using Chapter 1 of War Horse as a stimulus. They had 3 images of the story at certain points to stimulate their ideas and give them a rich context to write within. 

Unfortunately, Year 6 then ended up with a two week bubble closure but this did not stop us from continuing to learn in English. We continued to listen to War Horse using the BBC audio which was really helpful and enjoyable.

The children had daily tutorials from their class teacher to help support their progress at home. The first focus was to polish up on modal verbs and why you might use them. We will be needing these back in class when we write instructions on how to look after Joey the war horse. All the word and sentence level practise was embedded in the rich context of War Horse.

After modal verbs, we really unpicked the feelings of various characters from the story. The children could choose which 3 characters to focus on from the second chapter in the story. They listened to the audio from start to finish initially so that they could just enjoy the story and soak it up. Then they listened again and were encouraged to stop the audio when they felt a shift in the characters’ feelings. This was a really interesting task to do as it often revealed many things about the characters and the relationships, for example, why was mother so protective over the father and how was this impacting on her relationship with Albert?

After that, the children had a tutorial to support them to plan and write a diary as Albert who was devastated to find that his father had sold Joey to Captain Nichols to relieve some of the financial burden from the family. They imagined how Albert would feel and stepped into his shoes. They planned their writing first, like they always do, and then wrote. The diaries were amazingly powerful and beautifully presented. Well done Year 6!

After the diary entries, it was clear that we did need to continue to work on sentence starters for variety as quite often the sentences in the diaries started with the word ‘I’. The children were given feedback on Showbie to edit and improve some of these at the time, but another follow up lesson would really help so we looked once again at using subordinating conjunctions to vary the sentence.

Then they had to write a persuasive letter with at least 3 good reasons as to why Joey should be returned to him rather than go to war. They planned different reasons why first and then planned a list of emotive words which they could include to really tug on the heart of Captain Nichols and make the letter persuasive through emotion.  After planning, they wrote their letters and I was blown away by the quality of the work – not being in school didn’t phase this fantastic class as they wrote with the same dedication and attention to detail that I would have expected in class. I was so proud of them!

After a couple of home learning lessons which were quite heavy in writing content, it was time for a physically active lessons to get them moving around the house. I gave them facts and opinions based on our story and the children cut them up and asked an adult in the house to hide them around the house. Then the children got busy finding the clues and sorted them into piles of facts and opinions. The hiding places were very funny – I even had a photo of a dog sent to me who was hiding a clue! This was a lovely recap of facts and opinions and the children could challenge themselves further by writing their own.

To finish off the home learning, Year 6 used the English skills which they had practised in history when they wrote a poem. They varied how to start sentences, beyond using subordinating conjunctions, and used past tense verbs, present progressive verbs and adverbs. This sentence level work, within the rich context of War Horse, will really help the children when they get back to school – we can’t wait!

Year 6 were eager to get back to school and it was fantastic to see that they had continued to make progress even learning from home. The children’s first writing project was to plan and write a set of instructions on how to look after Joey the War Horse. They had to include very specific detail to ensure that all his needs were met and ensure that instructions were well organised to make it easy for the reader to follow. They used titles, subheadings, bullet points, etc. Once they had written the instructions, editing/improving was completed to make sure that it was the best piece of work it could be. 

After this project, they moved onto designing their own Best British Christmas Menu. They needed to plan and write a letter to Chef Gray, the Head Chef at the Clock Tower Restaurant at Rudding Park, and persuade him that their menu should be chosen as the winning menu. The letters were full of persuasion and made my mouth water reading them! They were skilfully organised and included excellent cohesion to bring all the elements together. The children are now waiting to hear which is the winning menu!

Maths

Year 6 have finished off some learning around factors which they started at the end of last half term. It was good to see they had remembered the efficient method to find all the factors of numbers but sometimes they were missing a trick to save some time, depending on what the questions asked for. 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, 4 and 8 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.

Divisibility Rules Poster

We have now moved onto finding multiples of numbers and looking for highest common multiples. This area of maths is really easy if you know your tables and division facts. These are skills need to keep polished so we’ll keep doing lots of short bursts of practise to support this to be fast and accurate.

Click for Factors and Multiples Poster

Year 6 have 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 foggy 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.

 

Unfortunately, Year 6 ended up with two weeks learning at home due to a bubble closure, but the daily timetable and home learning tutorials really helped the children to continue to make progress in maths from home. They started with looking at the order of operations and learning the rule to know which operation to complete first. They spent a little bit of time polishing up of prime numbers too. Y6 had previously found factors of numbers and knew that a number with only 2 factors was called a prime number, but they needed more practise identifying prime numbers.

After that, we moved into fractions which is a huge area of maths to master. We started off recapping what equivalent fractions are and learning to simplify fractions using knowledge of highest common factors. The children then had a tutorial on how to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa. They remembered how in Y4, Mrs Harrison used to call improper fractions ‘big heads’ due to the numerator being of a number greater than the denominator. Once they had practised this, the next tutorial was to place fractions on number lines. For this, you need to use division skills to look at how many intervals there are on a number line, so it’s must trickier than it sounds! Then the children learnt how to compare fractions to be able to order them and how to add fractions with the same denominator and different. I’m so proud of what the children achieved learning at home but can’t wait to get back together!

 

We are back to school now and we kicked started our maths with a physically active maths warm up on equivalent fractions. It’s good to keep these skills bubbling away by doing little and often so we went outside and got busy. The children had to locate hidden fractions and then write 5 of their own equivalent factions. They had various physical challenges along the way too which made them very excited and out of breath!

Year 6 have been working on revising parallel, perpendicular and intersecting lines, as well as different types of angles. They really enjoyed designed their own WW1 trenches using all these different properties. They also discussed where you will see parallel and perpendicular lines in every day life, and what jobs rely on an understanding of these maths properties. The list was long!

For handy revision of these properties, you could watch the video below:

 

Science

Our work this half term is focused on electricity and particularly on making and investigating electrical circuits. We started by imagining that we lived in a world without electricity and thought about the things we would miss most. The children came up with a very thorough list of everything from hair straighteners to lightning in the stormy skies. They realised just how much impact electricity has on all our lives.
 
 
To demonstrate the fact that not all electricity comes from plugs or batteries, Year 6 tried out some fun experiments using balloons, paper and their own heads. The results were hair-raising to say the least as the children unleashed the power of static electricity! They were even able to make balloons ‘stick’ to the windows in class.

Here are some of the children’s comments:

  • “Science is really fun!”
  • “It was like magic seeing our hair stand up on end when we rubbed the balloon on it!”
  • “I like how you can get the balloon to stick to the window.”
 
 
 

 
 
During our Science lessons, the children have had time to experiment making their own simple circuits. using batteries, wires, bulbs, buzzers and switches. When things weren’t working, we talked about solving the problems to make sure that the electricity was able to flow around the circuits. The children learnt about the positive and negative terminals of batteries and how a switch can control whether a circuit is closed or broken. The children also built circuits using different diagrams to test whether they would be effective or not.
 
 

Science learning continued even when we were learning from home due to a bubble closure. Ms Crolla filmed a tutorial for the children and they enjoyed completing the tasks at home. The bubble closure meant that children had an opportunity to investigate items in their homes which use electricity. They were asked to look closely at one battery-operated item, in order to work out how an electrical circuit inside made it work. Children then practised their circuit drawing skills to show how their items worked and explained the components of the circuit worked using scientific language.

 
Back in class, children spent time with the electrical equipment designing ways to show how power affects different circuits. They explored this using different types and sequences of batteries and learnt about the importance of positive and negative terminals. They set up experiments to make more bulbs light up, to make buzzers sound more loudly and to alter the speed of motors. Children utilised maths skills by measuring the total length of the wire used in their circuits, along with finding difference in voltage and average lengths. Many children also designed a fan or other toy using a motor in a circuit.
 
For our next experiment, the class learnt about conductors and insulators. Most children independently planned and carried out their own experiment to test a hypothesis about which common materials would be conductors and insulators. The children set up a circuit to prove their theories and recorded their results in their chosen way. It was very pleasing to see some thorough independent scientific investigations.
 
During our topic, the children have been safely using the school circuit equipment. Our last lesson focused on how to use electricity safely in other situations around the home and out of school. The class had lots of ideas and some misconceptions about household electricity circuits. We played some hazard spotting games and then used what we had learnt to write reports about electrical safety with advice for other children. What a busy half term of Science we have had!

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.

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!

Aiden said, “In my point of view, the light in the middle of the oval represents the peace and the dark outline of the border signifies all those who lost their lives in order to have that light. Furthermore, the colour of the grass creates a very downcast feeling and the poppies which surround the grass represents the hearts of those who have lost loved ones.”

Jessica said, “Furthermore, I like how there are some poppies which are closed, almost tear shaped, which reminds me of tears that people have shed about the war.”

Lewis said, “Furthermore, the colour represents the scarred and battle-weary battlefield by using black and white but the red represents the graves. In addition, the dark outline represents the danger of war but where it is a bit lighter in the middle represents the tiny bit of hope there still is.”

The class then moved onto learning to use a variety of effects to depict perspective and shadows. So far they have worked on drawing poppies all in a variety of different orientations and developmental stages: some are full flowers and some are buds or just opening. They are currently experimenting with shading techniques too to add a feeling of depth and shadow. Again, growth mindset is crucial and the children were pleased to get more than one attempt so that they could improve as they worked. After their first attempt, they self assessed to have a clear idea about what they needed to try to improve on their next attempt. One common area to work on was their stalks and making them look smooth and more consistent in width, so we had time to practise the skill of s bends and gentle curves first and then tried again. The class loved doing this artwork and I could see lots of proud faces at the end!

Year 6 have continued to practise the skill of perspective by drawing a different style of poppy now. It’s important to try different styles of representations and it was also a good chance to apply their s bend skills in a different piece of work.

We unfortunately then went into a bubble closure for two weeks but this was not going to stop us on our learning journey! Year 6 had several remote home learning lessons in art where they had pre-recorded tutorials to follow and it built on all the skills practised so far. They practised a different type of curved lines too which were not as bendy as s bends. Art was a nice way to end home learning for the day and I had so many gorgeous pieces of work sent to me on Showbie by the class – it was one of the highlights of the time at home as it was obvious that all the skills practise was paying off.

When we got back to school, the first task was to have a full morning of art where we could relax together, enjoy being creative and have a chat too. The children applied all the skills learnt so far of perspective, use of colour and lines to create some amazing final pieces of work. I was so proud and the progress has been excellent! 

The children ended their art learning journey for this half term by evaluating their work thoroughly. Well done Year 6!

Here are some comments:

  • “I am so proud of my work. I didn’t think I could draw as well as this.”
  • “I loved using the charcoal. I have never used it before.”
  • “I liked practising the s bends with the charcoal and smudging.”
  • “The home learning tutorials really helped me to make progress at home.”
  • “I really enjoy art. It’s relaxing and makes me feel good.”

Computing

We revisited some top tips for online safety before we started our computing project as it’s important to keep this at the forefront of our learning for when we practical use the internet. Year 6 discussed the importance of thinking carefully about what keywords we put in the search engine and the possibly repercussions of not being careful. At school we have filters to block inappropriate content, but at home, their filters will not be as developed. The children gave really good examples of how to be precise to get safe results and suggested some very innocent key words related to school topics which could potentially give inappropriate content simply due to lack of context. As always, Year 6 were mature and showed that they understand ways to keep themselves safe online, and now they can continue to put this into practice!

 

The children have really enjoyed making a history documentary about an aspect of WW1 of their choice. The most popular choices were the children have chosen the role of animals in WW1, the role of women or trench warfare. They already had the historical background for these documentaries from their lesson in school and home learning so they could concentrate on their computing skills to communicate this to an audience.

We started by looking at what were good features of documentaries and the children named some that they had watched at home. We made a list of key features and these became our top tips to work towards during the project. The children worked initially on collecting the images for their documentaries and planning out the sequence these would appear and the supporting text for each image.

They have been working hard to ensure that appropriate texts goes with the correct images, using different effects moving from one image to another, engaging the audience using their voice overs or through filming themselves delivering a confident commentary with green screen effects. Throughout the process, the children have to debug to make it fun smoothly with a polished effect; this may include tweaks like changing the length of time that an image stays on the screen, changing the speed of their auto cue, retaking to reduce noise pollution while filming, etc. The children also used green screen which they thought was really cool.

We are looking forward to watching the final documentaries as a class.

Children’s comments about their projects:

  • “I’m really proud of my documentary as I have learnt to make it look really professional.”
  • “I have learnt a lot and can now add images and text, and change the transitions too.”
  • “My documentary looks really professional. I found it tricky to find music to go with it but I was happy in the end.”
  • “I liked using Ken Burnes effect to change the focus of the images.”
  • “It was great fun using the green screen.”

DT

Year 6 have enjoyed developing their stitching techniques so that they can use a combination of stitches to join materials. Before they got started, we did some fine motor skills tasks to develop their ability with fiddly things.

They had to pick up small, flat glitter snowflakes just using the tips of their fingers and place them in a very small pot. They timed themselves and repeated the task to see if they could improve their times. After that, they took a small piece of sewing thread and had to unravel it into the 4 smaller threads which made up the whole. At first, some children didn’t believe that the thread was made up of other smaller ones twisted together, but with some patience and fine motor skills, they were able to untwist them and lay them out in front of them. After this, they had to try and line each thread up from the same starting point which is harder than it sounds as they are so fine. The children really enjoyed this and it should really help them all, particularly the boys who many of them have said that they enjoy DT but find some of the fiddly elements tricky. We’ll keep practising activiities like this to develop their fine motor skills further.

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. 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!

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!

The children have progressed nicely on felt even though it’s much harder than using binka, but a nice sharp needle and some practise has done the trick and the children have moved onto making their own Christmas decorations. I’ve been really impressed so far with how the children have used patterns and used their stitching technique to embellish the products. Some children even managed to make snow flakes from stitches!

Our class Christmas tree is now displaying some of the finished work. In Spring 1, we will take time to evaluate their final work and look at what they learnt over the half term.

Geography

This half term has been a history focus but we still managed to brush up on some geography skills as soldiers needed to have very good understanding of areas as they moved from one place to another. We decided to go right back to basics starting in our own country and discussing the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles. The conversations were interesting!

The children then used different map representations to answer questions about this. The teachers across school had made various statements about places in the UK, Great Britain and the British Isles, and Year 6 had to explain if they were correct or not. 

French

Year 6 have been very busy this half term so far with French. Last half term we practised numbers to 100 and we have kept that bubbling this half term to make sure this knowledge sticks ready for Y7 French. We have completed lots of chants, games and even maths puzzles to including our work in maths of factors and multiples!

During home learning, this didn’t stop us making progress in French and we had tutorials to help us learn the days of the week and the months of the year. Back in school, the children also had spelling tests in French to make sure they can spell in French too as well as read and say the words.

We completed spelling aerobics to help us keep fit and learn French at the same time. It was fun and certainly got our hearts racing!

Now that it’s Autumn, we have also been learning to name items of clothing. We have watched several videos and worked hard on pronunciation. Our class expert, Gabriel, also helps us with this and doesn’t accept it if we don’t get the ‘r’ sound spot on which is hard as it’s not a natural sound in our English language. Practise makes perfect so we keep practising!

Year 6 have also practised pronouns and how the verbs change to reflect the change in pronoun. They have focused on the verb ‘to wear’ and are now able to write full sentences to describe what someone is wearing. They can write sentences which include a list now too.

To add more detail to their sentences, the children practised naming colours and changing their spelling to reflect masculine, feminine and plural. This took a bit of practise as it depends on the item of clothing rather than whether its a male or female wearing the clothes. Year 6 had a great growth mindset approach and don’t shy away from challenge. Before we knew it, they were able to change the spellings of the colours too. The children also learnt to ask questions about colours and answer them in full sentences.

The final challenge of the term was to learn new vocabulary associated with patterns and materials: les tissus et les motifs. The children used French dictionaries to work out which French word went with the English translation.

The children then incorporated these into their descriptions of what people were wearing in a fashion show. They chose their models and then described in detail what they were wearing.

History

Year 6 are really interested in their topic of WW1. They started by looking at 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.  All the evidence was arranged in an active game to bring an injection of physically active learning to the task which Year 6 always enjoy. They had to roll dice and use these to make a number which included a source of information. If they didn’t roll a matching number, they completed that number of star jumps and repeated the rolling of the dice until they did.

The sources of information included photographs taken at the time, paintings of events that happened and modern photos of artefacts from WW1 era.

The children used the idea of ‘I see, I think, I think…’ to guide their ideas and they applied their developing guided reading skills of providing deeper explanations too (PEEing). They enjoyed this so much, we decided to have a second lesson to carry on this task as it was just so interesting to look at the different sources. Well done Year 6.

Unfortunately, we then went into a bubble closure so Year 6 found themselves learning from home, but this didn’t stop us from continuing to learn about WW1 in history. The children accessed three tutorials over the 2 weeks which were planned to continue the sequence of learning which we had started. I was so impressed by the standard of history completed at home and it was great to know that the tutorials had helped. The first lesson was to research about the conditions of trench warfare and gather facts. The children had to use several sources of evidence to ensure that the information was reliable. They then used this information to write a poem to show their understanding of trench warfare and applied their core English writing skills too as they varied their sentence openers in the poems to include adverbs, present progressive verbs and past tense verbs. These openers helped to create a great pattern to the poems. The poems were amazingly powerful and a very emotive to read! We plan to make these into a class poetry book.

As well as this, they also researched information about the role of women in WW1 and the attitude towards a shift in their role. This research will be used later to write a letter as a woman in the Women’s Land Army.

Our learning wall is full of key words and useful sources of help for the children to refer to as and when they need to.

As part of our history topic, it was important that the children brushed up on some geography skills about location as soldiers would have needed to have very good knowledge of places and location to help them as they moved around from area to area. See the geography section to find out what they learnt.

PE

We have started learning netball skills in our PE lessons this half time. The children have practised the three types of passes used in the game and thought about how to select the right type of pass for the right circumstances. Netball has some tricky rules and children have been getting to grips with footwork rules and perfected the art of pivoting, which is especially important for netballers. We have also had fun making sure we followed the three second release rule to keep the game moving very fast!
 
 
Shooting has been another skill we have been working on to improve accuracy and range. During our last session, we started to talk about what the different netball positions mean and which players can move where on the court. We will be moving onto matchplay and having short games to practise all the different positions on the court.

Over the half term, the children have built up their netball skills and are ready for playing matches. We will continue with this in spring 1 as the children are really enjoying the non-contact sport and will definitely benefit from having more time to apply their skills further.

 
Year 6 have also been having PE lessons with PE Partner. Over this term, Year 6 have been building on their physical and manipulation skills by incorporating them into competitive situations. The children are very active and have a very strong love for PE so the children love any lessons that improve their skills further. They have a very good attitude to learning in sport and their growth mindset is strong too. They understand that you need to practise to improve! We continually refer to growth mindset in all lessons including its’ impact on PE.
 
 
A fixed growth mindset in sport results in the following:
  • avoid challenges
  • ignores feedback and critique
  • intelligence and talents are fixed
  • less effort
  • gives up easily
  • has feelings of being a failure
  • feels threatened by the success of others

A growth mindset in sport results in the following:

  • embraces challenges
  • learns from feedback and critique
  • intelligence and talent can be developed
  • more effort
  • keeps trying and never gives up
  • persists in the face of setbacks
  • inspired by others’ success
 
They have been focusing on their decision making in a range of sports and games e.g. when, how and if to pass. Year 6 have also been developing their leadership skills through teamwork activities, leading warm ups in small groups, refereeing and suggesting tactics.
 
 

PSHE

We have continued to focus on wellbeing this half term with daily check ins and lots of time for talk. We have lots of different ways for the children to communicate privately how they are feeling and to ask for time to talk if they need it. Here are a couple of examples below.

As well as having time to talk, the children have spent time reflecting on what they are proud of this half term. Some children shared these and we had lots of different areas of school discussed which was great to see. Some children were proud of how they had coped moving into Year 6 and starting the Year 6 curriculum, others were proud of their progress in lessons or how they had played with other children and tried new activities at play time. Some children talked about how they were proud of their home learning or how they had worked on their personal Investors in Pupils targets. 

We’ve also spent time this half term learning about ways to keep themselves safe. With increasing independence, they need to be able to make good choices when out and about without adults so lots of different scenarios have been discussed with top tips on how to stay safe. We will continue this topic into Spring 1.

Music

Year 6 continued to build on their body percussion skills and use their musical knowledge to create their own rhythms. They have developed their confidence to perform to others and have used their bodies to create more complex rhythms while reading a graphic score. Year 6 have become more confident at identifying basic notation and are able to identify rhythms using rhythmic ostinato patterns within a piece of music.

We have listened to music focused around a Christmas theme (Slade, Wizzard, etc.) and used these to identify the elements of music and develop our performing skills. It has been very important that we use music to express our emotions and use this artform to support our mental wellbeing so performing has played a big part in lessons this term. We also enjoy having music on quietly in the background of other lessons sometimes, especially like independent writing session where some relaxing music in the background can be really settling. Sometimes we put lively music on too if we need a quick lift!

During home learning, music lessons still continued and the children used the tutorials by Mrs Ward to continue to enjoy learning about music. They enjoyed listening to the lyrics of We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn and reflected on the social context at the time. They then spent time researching other songs written during the war period and reflected on the impact of them.

When we returned to school, the children evaluated their home learning and they said they’d found the tutorials really helpful and enjoyed still having music lessons at home.