Autumn Term 2 2023

Welcome back. We had such a fantastic first half term of Year 6 together and 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.  I’m excited to see you back to school, fully rested after the half term break and ready to learn even more!

Collective Worship

We are enjoying our focus on virtues in both whole school worship and our class collective worship. We are currently learning about prayer and looking at different sources that teach us about prayer. We have been listening to the words of Pope Francis who teaches us that we are instruments and reflections of the Lord’s peace.

We have been enjoying worship through songs in class too. Here is our current favourite one which links back to our last virtue and the idea of agape which is the love that God asks from us. This is a great type of love and our God is a great God! 

Year 6 dressed the prayer table to participate in Remembrance 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.

Year 6 continue to plan and lead collective worship and they do this so beautifully. The children give up their own break times and lunchtimes to prepare, including preparing a powerpoint, selecting scripture, selecting songs and considering how they are going to create a prayerful atmosphere. There is always time afterwards to reflect on the collective worship and evaluate: the rest of the class can share how the worship made them feel, what they enjoyed about it and how it perhaps could have been better. Some examples of recent feedback have been:

“I loved the atmosphere that there was – it was so peaceful.”

“I would have like more time to reflect and be with God in my own thoughts.”

“I really liked the song we listened to because it linked to what we thought about in the scripture really well.”

In worship, we are now preparing for Christmas through prayer and worship around the advent wreath. Our virtue is now patience where we consider how we can wait patiently, how we can show honour and grace when things don’t go right the first time and we have been thinking about how this virtue helps us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day. 

 

 

RE – Justice

Our new topic this half term is Justice. We are all called to work for justice and in this topic we will learn what justice is,  They will explore the concept through work on some of the prophets who spoke out against injustice as well as learning about some inspirational Christians who stood up for justice and how challenging that can be, like Oscar Romero. Once Advent begins, we will further explore the meaning of Advent and the customs associated with Advent and Christmas and why this time of year is so important to Christians around the world. We will also learn more about other faiths and their beliefs/traditions around Christmas.

Year 6 have explored the meaning of justice and have shown an excellent understanding so far already. They have enjoyed using Bible journalling to explore some of the prophets who spoke out against injustice.

We have now moved on to learning about 3 inspirational Christians who felt called to serve God: Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King 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.

Watch this beautiful animation at home together to learn more about Oscar Romero, who is known as a martyr. We also learned about the term ‘martyr‘.

You could also watch this child-friendly animation to learn more about Martin Luther King who was inspired by his faith and the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi:

Watch this useful video about Dorothy Day’s beautiful story. She had many challenges in her life and made mistakes. She was sometimes seen as a trouble maker, but she turned her life around, converted to the Catholic Faith and championed for the poor in America.

 

Reading

We have a fantastic range of new books in our class reading area which have been changed to reflect the new topic of War and Justice. Our class text is War Horse by Michael Morporgo and we have a lovely range of his books there for the children to take home and enjoy, as well as plenty of copies of War Horse for anyone wanting to read ahead.

We have some super non-fiction books about WW1 and WW2 for the children to explore. These books can be taken home, but we also have time in class to read about our topic of war so these books are often very popular in class too.

We also have a nice range of dyslexia friendly books too that anyone can read as they’re great stories. In this area, we have images of successful dyslexic people to inspire the children that they can achieve, and a reminder that we are all the same but we all learn in different ways.

Y6 have been enjoying quizzes about the authors in our learning journey so far this year. These authors are displayed in our reading area. They have also made some creative facts files about the authors, and these are displayed in our reading area too; these are chosen by our class library monitors who love organising the books and keeping it looking inviting.

English

Over the half term, we will be using Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare and War Horse by Michael Morpurgo as powerful stimuli to engage writing. We will write letters, instructions, a splash of poetry and non-chronological reports, both in English lessons and across other curriculum subjects too. A focus this half term will be on writing in a formal tone. To support the children’s writing to a greater depth, there will be opportunities for lots of quality reading time, comparing themes in key texts, lots of vocabulary meaning work, role play and hot seating prior to planning, writing and editing and improving their work. We will also evaluate examples of different text types prior to writing to deepen the children’s understanding of language choices, purpose, formality and features of different text types. I can’t wait!

To support your child at home, please continue to encourage independent and consistent reading habits – at least 20 minutes each day of reading.

Year 6 have explored formal and informal tones of writing and have explored features of a formal letter before they wrote their own formal letter to Lord Capulet, in character as Romeo, persuading Lord Capulet to let Romeo marry his daughter, Juliet. Year 6 had to explore reasons that Romeo believed he should be able to marry Lord Capulet, as well as exploring different language and vocabulary choices they could use to enhance their formal tone of writing and to reflect the time period in which they were writing. Take a look at some of the first drafts:

 

Maths

Year 6 are still working on some objectives from last half term as we slowed the learning journey down to further embed and consolidate skills and knowledge. Therefore, we are still working on key number facts, such as prime numbers, square and cube numbers and multiples and factors. We will also consolidate short division with remainders in word problems. Nearer the end of half term, we will move onto finding fractions of amounts and finding percentages of amounts in time for the January sales – fingers crossed! The children will also do regular arithmetic practise in short bursts to keep their mental skills and their written methods developing nicely. Work on times tables is still needed to avoid silly errors and improve speed so please keep supporting with this at home as these should have been cracked by the end of Y4. Short regular practise is the best way forward with this.

Year 6 have been working on lots of problem solving. They have now moved onto division methods which we have been revising to get lots of practise before moving onto word problems and puzzles. Y6 have been working on how to show a remainder as a decimal. There are some simple videos below for you to watch at home with your children to revise short division and turning remainders into decimals.

 

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.

The children have 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.

Year 6 have also made sure they have been using their maths skills  during science lessons. We measured the length of the wires we use in our circuits and found the total length of wire for our full circuits. It was quite tricky to measure the wires as the children found they had to straighten them out fully in order to get an accurate measurement.

“In class we made fans with circuits and they had a motor to make the fans go round. It was very fun and everyone enjoyed it. We also made bulb light up and buzzers sound off. We talked about the keywords. Mostly everyone made a fan out of paper. For the circuit we used batteries, wires ,cells, switch, motor, buzzer and  bulbs.”

JCH and AB

Art

Remembrance Theme Paper Making Art Workshop

On Friday 10th November, Year 6 enjoyed a Remembrance themed art workshop in which they explored an artistic way of making paper. The workshop was led by Christine from Art Rooms who used to be a primary school teacher and after having children, set up the company of Art Rooms to follow her artistic passions and interests. Not only did the children get to try something that was new and hands on, but we also heard about a real life example of how artistic skills can link to jobs and careers.

The children learnt about the process of making paper and explored how this may have changed over the years – considering the use of machinery and factories that mass produce. The children used a range of equipment. They first had to stir the pulp, and then capture it in a sieve like tool. Once the children had cracked this method, they had time to practise the skill before carefully creating their own designs with poppies. Their hand made paper was then left to dry over the weekend. Take a look at the children in action and their results!

 

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 practice on felt is therefore needed before we dive into making the actual Christmas decoration. We have lots to do as Christmas is fast approaching!

DT WWI Leather Map Bag Workshop

Year 6 are really enjoying the topic of WW1 and loved today’s practical arts workshop which was lead by Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide and former Head of Armoury at the Royal Opera House.

Zoe was also very excited to be running this workshop for Year 6 and the children certainly enjoyed the experience. In the workshop, the children had a practical hands on project, working with leather and up-cycled materials which fits with our Live Simply mission. They made leather map bags which a soldier would have used in WW1 to keep their maps protected from dirt. Without maps, the soldiers would have been in big trouble, even danger, so the leather bags were an important part of a soldiers kit. Zoe went to great lengths to research and make a prototype so that the map bag closely resembled the real thing!

The DT skills which the children have developed to be able to achieve this task included using a template, seam allowance, careful cutting, folding, gluing, strengthening and following instructions to name only a few. As they worked, the children had to problem solve to progress with the task. Also, leather is a material they have never worked with before so cutting through it felt very different to cutting paper. Zoe taught the children a good technique of slightly tilting the scissors on an angle and using the very inside of the blades rather than the tips of the scissors. This made an instant change. Some of the children also realised that adding a bit of tension to the leather helped with the cutting too. The children also got the chance to use some real tools which fascinated them; this included a rotary punch, rivet setting tools and a rawhide mallet.

During the workshop, it was incredible to hear so much mathematical vocabulary also being used, such as parallel, measure, centimetres, rectangular, length, width, circular, to name a few. When the map bags had been completed, the children created their own maps of trenches, using their learning so far in history, on old fashioned looking paper to include inside the map bags; this really finished off the overall look of the finished item. Year 6 loved this workshop and are very proud of what they achieved.

 

 

French

We have made a great start to our French learning this half term by learning to talk about many different places in the world in French, The children were surprised at how many countries have similar names in French and English and some children have learnt the names of up to 25 countries in Europe and beyond. We also took part in a fun burn to learn where the children had to match the names of French countries to the continents on which they were located. This helped to keep our Georgraphy skills bubbling too!

We have gone on to ask questions about where in the world people live and say where different people are from using our country vocabulary. Here’s a video to give you a taste of what we have been learning,

History

Our brand new topic this half term is World War I. Before we start to look at the details of WW1, we looked at out historical enquiry question for this half term which is, ‘How did expansion of empires contribute to WWI? . Over the weeks, we will be trying to build up a picture through each lesson to be able to answer this questions in detail.

We started by learning vocabulary needed in order to understand why WW1 started in the first place. The vocabulary included: declared, threat, allies, alliances, defend, agreement, colonisation and imperialism. They made a glossary of these words and then learnt why WW1 started. This was pretty tough as there are so many different things to understand but Y6 did a great job as they had the understanding of imperialism, colonisation and how this caused tension. To help keep these words bubbling and deepen our understanding, there is a table-top activity in the reading area for the children, and we will keep revisiting the language in our history lessons so they can apply what they know.

They learnt about the Central Powers and Triple Entente.  Y6 are familiar with Horrible Histories from the TV so asked to watch some episodes which made a lot more sense after our lesson.

Once they understood why WW1 started, they started making predictions about how Wetherby might have been affected based  on our basic starting knowledge of men going to war. We then looked back at prior learning about battles during the Stone Age, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Greece, Romans and Vikings (all studied in KS2 earlier) so that we can make predictions about what battle might have been like in WW1, considering significant changes during the industrial revolution.

 

 

 

PE

The weather is getting chillier, so this half term we have planned lots of exciting indoor PE opportunities for the children. In Year 6, some of the sticky knowledge that we want the children to remember is about the role of a referee and what skills a referee must use to take charge of a match. As part of this, the children are being given the opportunity to work as the referee of a match in PE at school. We had some great refs for our first two lessons, where each child was put in charge of a short game of two different kinds of benchball. We evaluated what the challenges of being a referee are. The children told me that it is easier to be a referee when the players respect you and don’t question your decisions. Another challenge is to keep your eyes on what is happening in different parts of the game at the same time and spot fouls. A last challenge was keeping track of the score of the game and the making sure that all players stick to the rules. All the children agreed that it wasn’t an easy job at all and had lots of respect for the people who do this job for our sports.

Another key part of the Y6 curriculum for PE is developing sports leadership skills. We ask children to lead parts of the warm ups in PE and, with our prior learning in Science, children have been very thorough about warming up all the key muscle groups of the body such as the abs, quads, deltoids, biceps and calves. Also in PE, to get our heart rates up, we have been performing simple exercises such as star jumps and sit ups with a twist. The children have been telling each other how many of each exercise to do in French in order to practise using their French numbers in another context. A great start to this half term’s PE.

Dance

This half term, our Dance 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.

 

Music

Year 6 have been learning how to input different instruments on Garageband. Year 6 have been continuing to compose music based on WW1 songs using GarageBand. The children will be inputting different instrument sounds onto their compositions. They will use Smart Keyboard and learn how to change the sounds. The children had to ensure that their compositions were suited to the war theme and structured their music accordingly.

We then went on to learn rhythms with the use of musical notation. A very creative and enjoyable lesson was had by year 6. The Year 6 students enthusiastically joined Miss Crawley in following a video of a set rhythmic tune to ensure they understood the task in hand. Every child worked extremely hard to perfect the skill. This was essential in making sure their final tasks were completed in a successful way.

Year 6 then followed a pattern of crochets, minims and quavers on a precomposed sheet. Ensuring the beats were held for the correct length of time.

Next was time for the fun to begin. Creating their own piece and practising ready for a visual performance. Teamwork was required and Year 6 did not disappoint. They worked well together in their groups and managed to compose some wonderfully rhythmic pieces of music.

 

PSHE