Spring Term 2 2023
Welcome back after a lovely half term break. We were hoping for some snow during half term but it didn’t arrive, but lovely bright days mostly made up for it. I hope you are ready to start a lovely new topic called Our Precious Planet. Keep checking on this page to see some snapshots of what Year 6 get up to.
Now we are back to school, Lent has started so Y6 made their Lenten promises and also attended Ash Wednesday Mass. Our prayer monitors dressed our worship area in class and the children wrote their promises which have been placed on our worship table.
During Lent, we will focus on three things: praying more, fasting and almsgiving. The virtue being focused on at the moment is ‘self-control’ which is the perfect time of year to exercise this. Many children have decided to give something up for Lent and this requires self-control. Others have decided to do more for the benefit of others which is a wonderful thing to focus on during any time of the year! Please talk about Lent at home with your child. Here is a really simple, child-friendly video for you to watch at home together to help open up discussions around Lent promises.
This half term, we have been focusing on two new virtues: self-control and self-reflection. Thank you to the parents who came to join us for class worship. It was lovely that you could join us and see how the children are developing their meditation skills which really help to settle the children to settle into worship and start the day off with really clear purpose. This half term, we have listened to and started to sing some new worship songs. Please enjoy these at home with your children as well.
This wonderful worship song below really helped us to think about the different names that Jesus was given. This links to the work we are completing in RE at the moment, where we are learning about Jesus, the Son of God/Messiah.
We have been finishing off some work around the Last Supper from last half term, before moving onto our new RE topic for Spring 2. Year 6 had a really interesting conversation looking at 3 pieces of artwork, all of which reflected the images of The Last Supper. The art work raised interesting questions and discussions. The children chose one piece of art to evaluate in more detail and then thought about follow up questions: if you were invited to the Last Supper, where would you want to sit and why? If this artwork was displayed in Church, would it help Catholics to worship? If so, why?
We are now moving onto our new RE topic called Jesus the Messiah. Year 6 looked at what the word ‘Messiah’ meant and recalled as many names/terms as we could think of that have been used to name Jesus. This included titles like Son of God, Servant King, King of Kings, Lamb of God, promised deliverer, Bread of Life, etc.
Year 6 then used the Bibles to look for evidence in texts that Jesus was truly human and truly God. They looked at 8 different sources in Luke’s Gospel and made lists to support their ideas.
After this work, we have been looking at why Jesus started to gain enemies and who those enemies were. They looked at how the Jewish Pharisees were interpreting the Sabbath law and how Jesus’ criticism of this was received. Year 6 considered what they wouldn’t be able to do today in their own lives if they followed the strict rules set by the Pharisees at the time which Jesus was challenging.
Our new class text is called The Great Realisation by Tomfoolery which is a wonderful story told through a poem written in lockdown 2020. It is a poem of hope and resilience, and has a connection to the impact of humans on the environment. It has been watched over 60, 000,000 times! To watch the poet himself reading this poem, you can click on the Youtube link below.
We started by just enjoying the content of the poem first, watching it several times on the screen as well as reading the book version. We then looked at the use of verbs in the poem and decided if we thought they were powerful verbs and effective, or if some could be improved. Children made suggestions for different verbs and had to justify their choices.
Year 6 also read non-fiction text about the damage that plastic is having on our environment, particularly wildlife, and came up with some short and snappy sentences to give the text a punch! These are displayed in our classroom to refer to later when the children write their own persuasive letters and non-chronological reports. Year 6 also referred back to prior learning about Martin Luther King in RE and his speech ‘I Have a Dream’ and how repetition of phrases can be very powerful. Using this idea, they wrote sentences with repetitive phrase in to experiment with the impact of their writing prior to applying this in the next few weeks. The stimulus of environment really captured the children’s interest quickly and these first few lessons have really produced some super skills to apply in longer pieces of writing soon!
We have also spent some time looking at verbs in other written texts such as extracts from persuasive letters. Again, the children improved the extracts by adding more powerful verbs or adverbs to have a greater impact on the audience. If you are studying powerful verbs at home with your child, this catchy song may be useful!
Year 6 have been working on their persuasion skills and written letters to McDonald’s regarding all the litter between the lovely villages in Knaresborough to Wetherby which literally has their name written all over it! Year 6 gave helpful suggestions to help reduce this litter pollution. Look at these amazing letters below:
Moving towards Easter, our stimulus in writing has had an Easter theme. Year 6 have written letters to Chef Gray at Rudding Park Hotel to suggest an Easter menu fit for the occasion. Their persuasive skills took a slight turn focusing more on being able to select descriptive language to make their menu stand out! The audience of the piece meant that Year 6 also had to really push their formality skills so that their writing was pitched well for a sophisticated and experienced audience. The children planned their menus first and then wrote their letters. They tried hard to edit as they worked to reduce time needed afterwards for corrections, so we allowed plenty of time to complete these tasks, avoiding rushed endings too. The children worked independently to decide how to present their work; some children chose mostly well-organised paragraph but some children chose subheadings within the letter that also worked. Well done Year 6. My mouth certainly watered reading these menus, and I look forward to Chef’s comments coming back to us soon!
In class, the books have changed to provide lots of opportunities for the children to read about our current topic of climate change. We have a super range of non-fiction, plus the class reading ambassadors chose some fiction books linked to animals and the environment to tempt the class to try something new.
World Book Day
We celebrated World Book Day in school. All children were invited to dress up as their favourite book character or come in PJs with teddies and their favourite books, and we had some fantastic characters come into school! Take a look at Year 6’s costumes and book choices. Of course, we had a lot of football books by our football enthusiasts!
We started the day with a visit to the school library and a good chat about books of their choice, the characters they had dressed up as and some book recommends.
The children then attended a live Zoom with Michael Morporgo – can you believe it? It was absolutely amazing to see him talking live and reading the author note and part of chapter 1. He showed us the original horse painting that he discovered in an antique shop that inspired him to write War Horse 40 years ago, and how he learnt so much about WW1 by talking to people and asking questions. He also told the children about some of his favourite books as a child, and by coincidence, we are going to be reading one of the in summer term: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. What a wonderful and special experience this was today!
The children were very excited after that to watch the film version of their class text from last term which was War Horse. They had waited so long!
Year 6 have been finishing off some work from last half term about fractions, decimals and percentages. We just needed a little more time of word problems applying their skills and this has really paid off. We didn’t want to rush so had several lessons getting plenty of practise with multi-step work problems, and it was great to see the children growing in confidence. Well done Year 6.
We have now moved onto spending some time on time! The children converted lots of different units of time which demands a lot of key knowledge that you simply need to know. We shared a few tips to help each other remember the key knowledge and we’ll keep this bubbling with short bursts of practise regularly.
Year 6 have also been working hard on ratio and money problems. They have made super progress building their confidence with the increasing challenge of multi-step problems and applying knew learning as they have never encountered ratio before.
World Maths Day
Year 6 celebrated World Maths Day with some fun maths challenges. To build on their recent work of finding the area and perimeter, the children explored some practical work on this topic. The children worked with partners to calculate the area and perimeter of both large and small locations and objects, including the playground, the basketball court, the outdoor classroom, the year 6 classroom, the cloakroom and even the shared area. The children worked together in pairs using equipment such as trundle wheels, metre sticks, rulers and tape measures. They compared results to see who had the most accurate measurements. We also tried using our feet and hands to calculate the area and perimeter of large areas.
On the same day, our Science lesson had a maths focus as we recapped our work from Autumn term on angles. The children used practical equipment such as torches and mirrors to create reflected light beams. We predicted how the light ray would enter the mirror (the incident ray) and leave it (the reflected ray). We then used our protractor skills to predict, measure and record the angles of incidence and reflection of the light rays we had produced. If the children had measured accurately, these two results should be the same. All the children became increasingly accurate at estimating the size of angles during this lesson.
During World Maths Day, we also found time to talk about jobs and scenarios at home when we might use maths surrounding area, perimeter and angles. Some of the jobs the children came up with were: architect, decorator, groundsperson at a football club, school caretaker, artist, gardener, designer, race organiser.
If you would like to revise area and perimeter at home, here are some quick videos to help you.
To finish our topic on Light, Year 6 conducted two experiments in order to show how white light can be split into a rainbow or colour spectrum. We used our knowledge of how light travels and reflects off surfaces to reach our eyes to help us understand the concept of seeing colour. Children worked in pairs to make a ray of light from a source split into the colours of the visible spectrum. We needed to use a curved shiny
surface to do this.
We then did the opposite version of this experiment, by making some Newton discs. When we spun these colourful wheels fast, we could see that the seven parts of the visible spectrum blend back into white.
During this half term, we have celebrated British Science Week in school with extra science-based activities and special challenges.
Year 6 enjoyed doing a kahoots science quiz playing against other members of the class on the ipads to recap on all the knowledge that they have learnt in past topics and in previous years. As we have moved onto a new topic of animal and plant classification in science, another fun activity for science week was a picture stimulus with a discussion question about what would happen if we all ate insects. The children came up with some interesting arguments and ideas. The Y6 adults were surprised to find that several members of the Y6 class had actually tried eating insects at extra curricular settings! Children were able to think about the question in depth and discuss how it might impact food chains in nature and climate change.
Year 6 then played a nature guessing game where images of different creatures’ teeth were shown on the board magnified 200 times. We then zoomed out gradually and children won points when they guessed the correct animal.
We have now started the topic of Classification and children had a lesson on sorting and grouping animals with similar characteristics using a picture bank. We were impressed by the amount children remembered about the key groups such as mammals, reptiles and amphibians, so we moved on to learn about new groups such as myriapods, echinoderms, molluscs and arachnids.
During the week, we also completed two science challenges. The first of these was building the tallest free-standing towers we could using only spaghetti and marshmallows. The children then measured their towers and competed against others groups. Two groups got close to a metre in height!
The second challenge we completed was to build a bridge with the longest span we could only using paper and glue or tape. The children had to measure not only the bridge’s span, but how much weight the structure could bear. Staff chose the best bridges which had a combination of length and strength.
Part of Science Week is about inspiring children to go on to use science skills in their future careers. We talked particularly about electronics and the designer James Dyson, who we are studying in DT. Year 6 decided that good designs need to have good science behind them; it is no use designing a beautiful bridge if it can’t hold the weight of traffic going over it. We also looked at the different types of fingerprints and how criminologists might use these to solve crimes.
Year 6 started their new topic by looking at the design and history of robots. The word ‘robot’ comes from the Russian word for ‘to work’. it means any machine or mechanism that is designed to do a specific job. In the past century, we learnt that designers had been making robots to perform jobs in factories and to speed up the process of manufacturing goods such as cars and electronics.
The children found out about how the design of robots has changed over time as electronics, computers and Artificial Intelligence has advanced. Year 6 thought about where they have seen robots at work in their homes and how they can help perform different jobs.
Year 6 then went on to use their evaluating skills to look at some specific robots. We thought about what features they had been designed with to help them to perform their purpose; examples included wheels and cameras to help them walk a dog or heatproof material to help them go inside a volcano. We also evaluated what we liked about the look of the design and suggested any improvements.
Over the past two weeks, Year 6 have worked in groups to build their robot designs. The robots we made were from kits where there were complicated instructions to build a head with a solar panel on it and a body unit with a small motor and a series of wheels to make gears. Once the two pieces were assembled, they had to be joined together with wires to make a complete electrical circuits.
When the main functioning parts of the robots were built, the rest of the design was up to the children to build. Each group worked hard together to build robots that were powered by the solar panels on their heads. The children tested out their finished products under a bright light. We made robots that travelled across the classroom using wheels or legs and robots. Other robots were designed to carry cargo such as sweets. Year 6 deserve to be proud of themselves as these robots had up to 120 small parts.
This half term’s French lessons will start with learning how to describe people in French. The children began with a Burn 2 Learn, collecting topics words which describe people’s personality. The children then had to ‘gamble’ on whether they could translate each word they found for two points without the help of a dictionary, or ‘play it safe’ and use a dictionary to get one point. Some of these adjective words are similar in French and English, whereas others are tricky to guess.
A key part of our learning in Year 6 is based around the French rule that all nouns have a gender of either masculine or feminine. We learnt that when we use these adjectives to describe someone’s personality, the ending of the French word often changes depending on whether you are describing a girl or a boy. For example: Mrs Wright est serieuse but Mr Wright est serieux.
Easter in France
The children have been learning all about how Easter is celebrated in France and French Easter customs. Did you know that in France the eggs are not delivered by the Easter bunny but by the Easter bells. We also learnt about how the French general Napoleon Bonaparte demanded that a huge omelette be cooked for his troops to celebrate Easter.
A traditional meal is eaten in France for Easter, which includes, lamb (l’agneau’) and green beans (les haricots verts). The children also practised French Easter greetings and wished each other ‘Joyeuses Paques’. The Easter cards that will be coming home soon were designed as part of our French learning journey. As well as the Easter greetings, children wrote the inside of the cards and who it was to and from in French.
Our topic this half term has a geography focus and is called ‘Our Precious Planet’. Building on prior learning about environmental issues like deforestation which the children learnt about in Y3, we will be looking particularly at the problem of plastic on our environment and how it is contributing to the climate crisis.
This topic builds beautifully on our Live Simply Mission, with our most recent ambitious whole school project of making hedgehog houses, bird tables, bird feeders, water sources, seeded wild flower paper, bird houses, bat boxes and bug hotels.
We started by looking at some key vocabulary which we need to understand as we learn more. The children RAG rated their understanding as a starting point and then the class shared their understanding of each word to build up their knowledge and apply the word in a verbal sentence. The words we are aiming to understand fully by the end of the topic are the following: biomes, elevation, vegetation belts, tundra, grassland, forest, tropical rainforest, deciduous, savanna, marine, freshwater, climates, inhospitable, abundance, deficit, drainage, resources, convenience, consumers, environmental impact, economical, affordable, adaptable, versatile. durable, accessible, multi-faceted.
Year 6 then completed some reading around the topic of plastic damaging the environment including wildlife, and they found some of the statistics shocking! This reading lead to good discussions about what was used before plastic was invented which was a really good point to consider, so we looked at the impact of inventions over time. Children were able to tap into prior learning from different year groups where they learnt about how inventions like wheels, cars, bikes, trains and planes impacted on the world. We considered the impact of inventions in terms of positive and negative, and the children then chose inventions that interested them to consider their impact. We will shortly move onto why plastic was so popular and why it’s hard to stop using this material despite the negative impact on the planet.
Year 6 enjoyed learning about biomes and how climate affects flora and fauna. It was interesting to see them applying prior learning about biomes which mostly came from their experiences rather than a taught topic as many of the children have played video games which include biomes, so this was a great starting point!
Year 6 read about the subject of biomes and then played a loop game trying to match up statements to the correct biomes. There was lots of conversations justifying their choices and it was super to stand back and see them working together as small teams. The children then moved onto choosing 2 biomes of their choice to pretend to visit and they used atlases to locate places in the world where the biomes were and wrote about the landscape, climate, flora and fauna. Year 6 always enjoy using the atlases and were keen to choose their locations. I hope they get to visit these places one day!
During the course of this half term the Year 6 will be building up to play 12-bar blues, the most prominent chord progression in popular music.
The children watched a short film on the origin of the blues to try and gain an understanding of the style of music in its original form compared to present day. They learned that the blues originated from work songs, spiritual songs and early southern country music in America around the end of the 1800s.
Year 6 moved onto playing chords and were absolutely brilliant at this; they grasped the concept immediately, working in unison and playing a wonderful ensemble. So to add dynamics, texture and fun to the already fabulous rhythm, Garageband was introduced and the class split in half. With a 100bpm to accompany their playing, the Garageband chord group and the chime bars group played together. The sound was amazing and Year 6 thoroughly enjoyed it! Look how well the children are concentrating in the photos below – no wonder they were absolutely spot on with their timing!
During this half term, many of the Year 6 children have had the fantastic opportunity to play in competitive netball and basketball matches against other primary schools in the area. In PE lessons with Ms Crolla we have looked ta developing the skills to play these sports. I have been blown away be just how much the children’s confidence has increased as we have put the skills to work in matches during lessons. We have worked hard on passing skills and being able to move into space so that effective passes can be made. Through our games, we have learnt more about attacking and defending skills. When children were confident with the different types of passes and had practised their shooting skills, we began to look at the different positions and roles on a netball court. This can seem quite complicated to learn at first, but children soon got their heads round the main shooting and defending positions.
We have rotated playing in the different positions in all our matches and analysed tactics of how to distribute the ball effectively and how to block and defend when you are on the team without the ball. The children have enjoyed playing in a range of teams and positions during this topic.
Finally, we discussed gender in sport. Netball is a good example of this as it is taught and played as a mixed sport until the age of 11, but currently there are very few boys’ teams at secondary school. We learnt about some grown up male netball players who are trying to promote men’s netball teams in international competitions and who want to challenge anyone who says any sport is just for boys or just for girls.
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.
Dogs Trust Visit
Year 6 children took part in a special workshop run by Lauren from the Dogs Trust charity. Lauren began by telling the children that her charity rescues or rehomes around 12,000 dogs each year and gets 60 calls a day from people concerned that dogs are not being well looked after.
Lauren started with a game to address some popular misconceptions about dogs. Many of the children believed that all cockapoos and labradors would be friendly, whereas they thought that huskies and staffies were unfriendly. Lauren explained that we should never make these generalisations about dogs and that we should treat each animal as an individual. A dog’s temperament can depend on how it has been treated. Lauren also told children that often dogs that are barking are actually frightened or anxious rather than being aggressive.
The children shared some of their own experiences both positive and negative about dogs with the class. Many children own dogs in Year 6 and Lauren had lots of suggestions to ensure that the children’s dogs all have happy lives. She told children to watch for signs that their dogs wanted to interact or play. She gave the children ideas such as snuggling with their dogs, playing hide and seek, building a doggy den and getting their dog a boredom box.
The children discussed what to do in different scenarios: they learnt not to approach a dog without asking the owner’s permission and what to do if they felt frightened by a dog. The children practised standing still with their arms crossed over their chests to prevent injuries from a dog that was jumping up at them.
The children have been continuing their work about understanding British Values this half term. The school council have designed a series of posters which are on display in the Year 6 classroom to help us remember these.
A helpful way we are remembering the five key British Values is with the acronym DR TIM.
D = Democracy
R = the Rule of Law
T = Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
I = Individual Liberty
M = Mutual Respect
The children worked in groups to think of examples of where we use all these British Values in our school and in our lives outside of school. Some of the suggestions were in voting for the school council, in making sure we listened equally to everyone’s ideas and opinions in class, having free choice of what to play with at break times and choosing what we have for our lunches.
The children went on to think about why British Values are important. They said:
“To keep our school safe.”
“So that everyone can succeed and do well.”
“Everyone is happier because we stick to these rules.”