Spring Term 1 2023

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 War and Justice 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. We are also learning lots about different cultures so watch out in each subject section to see what we learn.

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

In worship this week, we have been learning about Pope Benedict XVI who sadly passed away on New Year’s Eve. On the day of his funeral, we had a whole school assembly with reflections, prayers, reading and songs to remember this inspirational Christian. Miss Milivojevic taught us lots of interesting facts about him, and reminisced about how she took a group of pupils from St Joseph’s school back in 2010 to see Pope Benedict when he visited England. We watched real footage of the event in Twickenham and Miss Milivojevic shared fondly of how this experience impacted on her.

Miss Milovojevic taught is many key messages from the Bible that Pope Benedict XVI shared during his time as Pope and how he put this into practice. We then listened to readings from Corinthians, Ephesians, Isaiah and Proverbs. We gave thanks to God for Pope Benedict XVI.

Our school song ‘Siyahamba’ came as a result of this visit which is the first time that Miss Milivojevic heard it as a choir performed to Pope Benedict. We enjoyed singing the song together and finished with prayers for Pope Benedict XVI. May he rest in peace.

RE

In RE, Year 6 have been learning more about Dorothy Day. We learnt about her challenging life and how she developed her faith overtime to the point where she founded the Catholic Worker movement which is still going strong 43 years after her death. Her life story was interesting with some challenging ideas to discuss but she is still an inspirational Christian to learn from despite her mistakes. We linked this to Corinthians which we heard in assembly this week which says ‘love keeps no record of wrongs’.

English

Y6 have been using skills learnt earlier in the year to ask really good delving questions. They have been getting to know the characters in the Christmas Truce. They loved planning questions to hot-seat their partners to orally practise what they would later be writing.

Of course, we had to go out and act out the Christmas Truce and Y6 thoroughly enjoyed this. We tried to keep it as factually accurate as possible whilst having fun.

Using their history knowledge of trench warfare, they then planned and wrote a letter as a soldier in WW1 to their loved one at home. They had to ensure that it was historically accurate and fitting for the era. They were so engrossed in this after having the hot-seating and drama experience. The results are amazing! Here is a taste of what they wrote!

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.

In guided reading, Y6 have been working on summarising the key plots and themes in text. The understand now that plot is what happens during the story, but themes are messages learnt from the text. They have been working on their summarising skills too which means not putting all the details in but just the main key points needed.

As well as War Horse, Y6 are also reading poetry about war.

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.

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

 

 

 

Art

In art, 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:

 

It was a messy but fun lesson as flicks with watery paint were needed. We practised the technique 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.

After experimenting with making the flower heads and the stalks, the children moved onto starting to think about placement of the flower heads for a final piece they are building up to.

The children will now choose if their final piece of artwork is using the skills they practised today with paint effects, or whether they will use their drawing skills previously practised.

Computing

DT

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. 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.

Geography

History

We have been busy learning more about WW1 with a focus on trench warfare. So far this half term, the children have been using sources of information to learn more about life in the trenches. They enjoyed Burn2Learn included in this lesson. The children were shocked to hear some facts like soldiers had rum every day or that boredom often set in as soldiers spent a lot of time in the trenches but not actually fighting. Also, some soldiers self-inflicted injuries to get out of trenches. The lesson was bursting with information and Year 6 have been soaking up as much as they can.

They also learnt about what the trenches were actually like, how they were constructed and what life was like living in them. They learnt lots of new vocabulary about sumps, duckboards, bayonet, parados, etc. Here are some videos to share at home and discuss to deepen the children’s knowledge.

 

Y6 had a WW1 themed day. Information to follow, but for now, please enjoy the photographs below:

Music

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.”

 

 

 

PSHE

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.

Year 6 were given some reading wellbeing time where they enjoyed choosing a book to read for pleasure in a calm environment.