Spring Term 1 2024

Welcome back and happy new year to you all. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas break and you’re ready to dive back into the spring term with lots of energy. We are going to have lots of fun and learn loads too, so get ready and brace yourself for a super busy and exciting half term!

The theme for this half term will continue with World War 1 due to the great interest taken in it last half term by the children; we still have lots of things to learn about in this area so it will be great to continue it for a little longer. 

To find out more about what’s happening in Year 6 this half term, please read the curriculum newsletter and keep checking out this page which will be updated regularly. Let’s get started…

Worship

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This half term, we have been learning about the Passover and the Last Supper in our new topic: Jesus, the Bread of Life. Year 6 recalled prior learning from Year 5 as they had learnt about Judaism and visited a synagogue in the summer term. We wanted to look in more detail now at the Passover and how/why Jewish people celebrate this festival. Year 6 learnt about the symbolic meaning of the Sedar plate. Here is a lovely illustration of Passover which we looked at in school and you can share at home too:

Year 6 moved onto looking at the The Last Supper and stated to make links between the Passover meal: perfect male lamb sacrificed; bread and wine; body and blood of Christ; freedom from slavery; freedom from sin, etc.

We listened to the most beautiful story called Badger’s Parting Gift by Susan Varley and considered what our parting gifts would be and why, and what was Jesus’ parting gift. We reflected on what this gift revealed about Jesus and why the fit is so important even to followers of Jesus today. To listen to the story again, please enjoy the video below:

 

English

Y6 moved onto looking at the key features of non-chronological reports and have written their own about World War One. We spent time unpicking the features and then children used their prior learning and research to plan and write their own reports. The children had creative freedom to publish their non-chronological reports however they wished. Here are some examples below. 

 We will continue to work on these skills. Y6 enjoyed presenting these creatively and are very proud of the end results. Next, we will move on to learning about passive voice. Here is a handy tutorial which helps you to understand passive voice.

Reading

We continue to read War Horse by Michael Morporgo as our class text which is providing a wonderful stimulus linked to our theme of War and Peace as we learn about WW1. Our classroom reading area is bursting with fantastic texts, both fiction and non-fiction, by Morporgo or stories about war.

 

Maths

Y6 are doing so well even after only a few days of being back to school. We are thrashing fractions at the moment! We have revised converting improper to proper and vice versa, and simplifying fractions to the lowest term. We have also practised converting fractions so that we can work out the decimal and percentage equivalents. Great progress already Y6!

Year 6 enjoyed a Tagtiv8 lesson where they used the tags from the session to make their own fractions to covert. It’s great to be active in maths and make fractions so much fun too!

Here are some basic videos to support with homework and revision if needed at home.

Y6 have worked hard all term learning even more about calculating with fractions. We started off with multiplying fractions which is really easy to do. To help the children remember, we had a class v teacher rap off so the rap gets stuck in your head! Simply multiply the numerator by the numerator and the denominator by the denominator, check your answer and simplify to the lowest term. Easy!

We then moved onto adding and subtracting fractions which is simple if the denominators are the same, but a bit trickier if they aren’t. Finding common denominators and then converting the fractions to have the same denominator needed some practise so we played lots of games to keep this skill bubbling.

Y6 have also been ordering fractions, decimals and percentages by converting them to then order. Most of the children preferred to convert to percentages to then compare but it’s what ever you find the most efficient method for you that’s important.  Here is another handy tutorial to support you at home when you’re completing homework or revision:

Y6 are also working hard to keep mental arithmetic bubbling every day with quick arithmetic and KIRF time. The more quick practise we do, the better we are able to switch between choosing to do it mentally or with a written method. We start our day, every day with early work on this so get to school early and boost your maths power!

Science

This half term, Year 6 have been studying the topic of Light in Science lessons. This includes learning about shadows, reflection and refraction. We will also be looking at how the human eye works to help us to see and of course, conducting lots of experiments to improve our investigatory skills.

We started the topic by trying to prove two hypotheses with equipment in the classroom. The first hypothesis that children wanted to prove was that shadows are created when an object blocks the path of light. The second hypothesis was that light travels in straight lines.

The children worked hard to set up their own investigations and then discussed how they had proved the two statements to be correct. We also got to grips with the terms opaque, translucent and transparent. We were surprised to find that many objects we predicted would be opaque, were actually translucent. Some of the objects that we thought would be transparent actually blocked a small portion of light and created faint shadows too.

This was a great start to our Science learning journey.

Shadows

We waited for a sunny afternoon to go out into the school grounds in order to investigate shadows. The children carefully observed where the shadows were formed. We worked in groups to observe our own shadows and those of objects naturally occurring in the playground. After having some fun guessing the different animal shadows we could make on the school wall, we discussed how the shadows might look different at certain times of the day and why we couldn’t change the direction of the shadows. This task really made the children consider the sun as a light source and how we create shadows by blocking the path of the sun’s rays.

Position of Shadows

Year 6 continued their investigations into light and shadows with an experiment to predict and record how the position of a light source affects the size of a shadow. The children first discussed whether shadows ever change size of shape and agreed that they did. They then made predictions about what would happen to the size of a shadow went a light source was moved further away from it.

In groups, the children decided how to set up their investigations: what equipment they would need, what the variables would be, what they would keep the same and how they would take measurements and make it a fair test.

Initially, the children recorded their results in a table. After that, some children chose to use their maths skills to create line graphs showing what happened to the size of the shadow created as the distance from the light source increased.

Here are some of the children’s results.

Art

In art, our key artists of study are Brian Clarke, Georgia O’Keeffe and Emil Nolde. Continue reading to see our learning journey in art this half term develop!

Y6 loved developing their art skills by experimenting with different techniques, inspired by watching our current class artist at work (Brian Clarke) painting poppies which he became obsessed with during lockdown 2020. To see Brian Clarke’s Vespers work, see the clip below:

We have followed a sketchbook approach this half term where the children have responded to artwork first looking at not only Brian Clarke, but Georgia O’Keeffe and Emil Nolde too – all very different artists within their own rights. The children responded to the artwork, commenting on what they liked, disliked or what they though the artwork represented. We also compared the artwork of all three artists and considered which was our favourite and why. Year 6 then had a go at recreating some of the styles through their sketchbook approach. For example, using oil pastels, water colour paints, crayons, pencils, felt tips, collage effects – they had the free range of mediums to choose from to fully explore.

We have practised the techniques for the poppy heads to start with, followed by the stalks which were harder than they looked. The children discovered that changing brushes was essential as the largest brushes worked well for the poppy heads but finer/thinner brushes were best for the stalks. Y6 also looked to mix colours to add tone to their artwork. This was one approach to creating artwork inspired by our key artists of study but Year 6 have had total freedom to respond to the artwork and be inspired!

Year 6 have had time to really develop their ideas and techniques and have then planned their final piece, developing their imaginative ideas and personal style of painting where they have drawn upon ideas from the artists they’ve studied.

Once Year 6 had explored the techniques they would be using, had an attempt at their first draft and then evaluated their first draft, they moved on to their final piece of art. They carefully considered what they would take from their first draft and what they would further improve in their final piece and finally, they had to be really clear about which artist they’d drawn inspiration from (Brian Clarke, Georgia O’Keeffe, Emil Nolde, or a combination). 

Here’s the children in action with their final piece and then a sample of final pieces…enjoy!! 

 

Computing

Coding

Y6 have started working on a new computing project this half term. The project is on a programme called Game Builder. This takes the children through step-by=step instructions for changing basic coding commands in order to create their own computer game. The children are using html code to first of all produce a simple memory matching game. In pairs, the children will write the coding for the colour scheme, images. facts and titles. The finished games were about topics of the children’s choice: football, boxing, Roald Dahl books and musical instruments to name a few.

Year 6 have also started to think about what they need to consider before building a game such as: marketing, financing, target audience, platform, online accessibility and storyline. There is a lot to consider and learn in order to create a user-friendly game.

Safer Internet Day

This half term we took part in activities for Safer Internet Day. The children started by adding post its to the board containing everything they might use the internet for at school or at home. We were surprised by just how many answers there were!

The children went on to discuss many age appropriate scenarios and were asked to decide what they would do in the circumstances. In some cases, they used the school’s STOP, BLOCK, TELL message if they felt that something in one of the scenarios would make them feel uncomfortable or could be dangerous. The children were also able to give some good advice about how to protect themselves online by never giving out their personal information or location data. The children told me about some of their personal experiences where people they di not know had sent unkind messages when they were playing online games. All the children agreed that the STOP. BLOCK, TELL approach was the best course of action in these circumstances.

For more information about Safer Internet Day, you can watch the video below.

French

This half term, we have continued our work leading up to write more detailed sentences in French, including nouns and matching adjectives to their masculine, feminine and plural forms when writing descriptions. We have been using clothing as a stimulus. Our work began with a great Burn2Learn activity. See the pictures below.

The children raced outside to find a pictures of celebrities somewhere in the playground outside. They had to form a mental picture of what the person was wearing and then come in to work with the resources in their French books to write down what items of clothing the people shown were wearing and the colours. Although the activity was fast paced, there were extra points on offer for making sure that the adjectival colour words, which have masculine and feminine versions in French, agreed with the gender of the nouns that they were linked to. This concept of masculine and feminine nouns is challenging so we are making sure that the children get lots of practise and feel confident about having a go and expressing themselves in French.

Clothing Description

As part of our French learning journey, Year 6 have been learning how to describe what people are wearing in French, This really builds on our French grammar work as many of the colour words for the items of clothing change their endings depending on whether the item of clothing is masculine, feminine or plural. Children started by recapping the colour words vocabulary and then used games and matching activities to learn new clothing vocabulary.

To start with, we wrote simple sentences describing the clothes and their colours, making sure to check that the colour adjective endings agreed with the nouns. When children felt confident saying and writing these sentences, we moved on to add vocabulary about which materials the clothes might be made out of and even whether the clothing had patterns such as checks or stripes on it.

Some children were able to extend their sentences further by adding words such as ‘et’ for ‘and’ and ‘aussi’ for ‘as well’. Year 6 are becoming increasingly competent at writing more complex sentences in French.

To practise pronunciation of the clothing words in French, we watched the video below.

History

Y6 continue to learn about WW1 to be able to answer the historical enquiry questions.

Y6 have moved onto learning about the experiences of women and their changing roles in society during WW1. We have looked particularly at the Women’s Land Army, and how attitudes changed from initially negative by the older male farmers to more accepting as women proved they could do the work previously dominated by men. Y6 discussed how the changing roles over 100 years ago impacted on women in British society and our own locality today. To answer our historical enquiry question and to show their understanding of the role of women during WWI, Year 6 worked on a project in small groups to create a ‘diorama’ style model/scene all about the role of women in WWI. Take a look at these below:

Y6 learnt about propaganda and the purpose of it. They looked at a variety of posters and by the end of the lesson, were able to say that propaganda was used to persuade or mislead the audience. They enjoyed drawing their own propaganda posters to mislead the enemy.

 

Music

Y6 have continued their music lessons with Miss Crowley every week with a focus on Samba.

Samba is a type of music from North East Brazil and is played a lot at carnivals. The task for Year 6 was to create Samba patterns. The pattern is often called a groove. Samba music has no set structure and follows a series of signals from the lead player. The signals are often played on a whistle called the apito. Each group had a lead player and Miss Crowley played the apito.

Year 6 worked super hard on creating a wonderful Samba performance based on everything they have learnt this half term. They had to work together in small groups to create their own rhythm, using one of each of the instruments that they have become familiar with over the past few weeks.

Every member of the small group or ensemble had a specific role as the music often involves the layering of different rhythms over each other. Their prior learning from baton work earlier in the year was put to good use. This was a tricky skill to learn as it meant that, rather than playing alongside each other with the same rhythm, you have to play your own instrument and rhythm to compliment others in your group. This requires a lot of concentration!

As always, Year 6 took on the challenge and were excited to perform their final work to an audience! Well done Y6.

 

PE

As part of this half term’s PE lessons, the children have now all had a turn at being the referee for their classmates during a short game. This is not an easy task and has taught all the children valuable lessons about what a hard job referees do.

Here is what some of Year 6 had to say about their experiences of being a referee:

Being a referee is a very hard job because some people playing shout at you. There are always players disagreeing with your decisions and trying to get their own way.”

“There was some shouting in my game but it went well and I felt good.”

I felt really good about being a referee. I felt like everyone listened to me well and I looked after the game.”

I thought refereeing was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite surprising that I didn’t get as much arguing as I thought.”

I really enjoyed being a referee. My game was played well and people treated me with respect.”

Gymnastics

Year 6 took part in some gymnastics lessons over the past half term, where we used a range of equipment. Part of our learning was how to safely move and store the larger equipment such as the tables, connecting bench and large blue mats. Some of this equipment is quite high and the children learnt rules in order to use it safely and connect it together.

The children groups in groups to create gymnastics routines with specific parts, using their choreography skills. The children had to include key elements such as jumps, high and low travels and balances. The children tried to link the movements smoothly and work together as a group so that the movements were synchronised.

Some of the groups even managed to incorporate a WWI theme in their routines. Take a look at the some of the work we did.

Year 6 have been exploring creative ways to move across gymnastics equipment. Once they decided how they could safely set up the pieces of equipment, they created several sequences involving a variety of ways to travel across their equipment. They peer reviewed each other and were encouraged to practise and refine the sequences using the feedback they had received.

Leadership and teamwork were the cognitive focus in these lessons where each pupil had a chance to decide what the next part of the routine was and how those elements were going to fit together.
 
Strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance were the physical skills being developed through the holds, jumps and landings, rolls and climbing. The pupils took great pride in demonstrating their sequences to one another and it was a pleasure to see their how creative each group had been so no two routines were the same.
 
Dance
 
Year 6 had the opportunity to take part in a special dance workshop run by the Northern School of Dance. They children learnt about the importance of choreography and how, in a group dance, each dancer should be moving at exactly the same time. After practising this and following cues, the children when onto to learn about how dance can help them express themselves as individuals. The children enjoyed taking part in simple activities to express themselves such as walking across the hall to music in their own personal ways. We practised listening to the music to find the beats and keep our actions in time to the music by performing simple clap dances.
Our work on rhythm in music helped us with this.
 
 

PSHE

Leeds United Foundation: Positive and Negative Choices

Vicky from the Leeds United Foundation visited today to deliver a workshop to Y6. She showed how the objectives for the day linked to our school mission statement and kick started the session asking the children to think about what they already know about positive and negative choices.

They learnt about what ‘anti-social behaviour’ and the age of criminal responsibility. They looked at a range of scenarios and identified examples of anti-social behaviour like graffiti, littering, theft, etc.

They were informed about the steady rise in knife related crimes and the impact that this crime has on people and communities. They learnt about what might happen if you are in possession of a knife and that it could be being arrested, going to court and possible prison. The impact of breaking the law was also discussed on long term goals and ambitions like travelling abroad, attending universities and getting jobs.

They watched a video with lots of sporting individuals encouraging us to make good choices.

Y6 then were given scenarios to act out. They had to discuss with their group how to act in the situation so that it ended in a positive way. They also thought about the people who might be affected by this, and possible consequences for if they scenario had ended negatively.

Thanks to the Leeds United Foundation for helping Year 6 to learn about these important messages so that they can make positive choices in the future.

Children’s Mental Health Week

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, Year 6 have been doing some activities to help them understand the meaning of mental health and ways that they can support good mental health.

The class discussed what mental health means to them. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • make positive choices in your lifestyle and avoid negative choices
  • Mental health is how you feel inside and that can be different for every person
  • How you cope with things that happen to you depends on your mental health

We looked at some scenario cards where children of a similar age were feeling low or worried and worked in groups to think of ideas of how they could support their mental health.

Year 6 went on to choose some colours that represented positive and negative feelings for them. These were different for each child. Each group made a poster of ideas of things that could support their mental health. Again, some of these were different for different members of the class. Some people thought that playing football with their friends would keep them feeling positive, whereas others valued spending time with animals and having days out or nice food with their families. The top three things that the children felt affected their mood for the day were: getting a bad night’s sleep, having argued with somebody and rainy weather.

The children also discussed what they should do if they felt that they were struggling with their mental health. Most of the children knew that they can access support in school and that they should talk to a trusted adult about how they were feeling.

Y6 this half term have also had PSHE lessons exploring two more of our British Values: individual liberty and the rule of law. We explored the term discrimination, what this means and how we can ensure our own behaviour does not discriminate against others. We will continue to work on this explore and challenge common stereotypes.

Here is a handy video to explore at home if you wish to discuss this further at home:

Y6 have also been learning about what manipulation means, how to spot the signs of manipulation, and what to do if they feel they are being manipulated in some way. We will follow on this work later in summer term when they will complete lessons in their RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) about grooming. Here is a useful video to watch at home together to help support this message.