Summer 1 2022
Welcome back after a lovely Easter holiday. I hope you are well rested and ready to enjoy your last term at St Joseph’s before you leave for summer and start your new school.
We have an exciting and busy term, so let’s get started!
Keep checking this page for regular updates throughout summer term 1.
Now that it is May, we especially focus on honouring Mary through prayer as this month is dedicated to her. We remember the many ways God blessed Mary and we read about Mary in Scripture during our worship together in class. We have been thinking about what we can learn from Mary and it’s been lovely that children’s learning and experiences in school have linked with their faith that begins in the home and at Church.
We have also been keeping our dear Canon Nunan in our prayers as he is unwell at the moment. The children made lovely messages on love hearts to send to him and we know this will make him smile as he recovers. We hope and pray he will be well again soon and that it won’t be long before he comes back to school to visit and worship with this.
In RE lessons this half term we have been reflecting on what it means to be a disciple. The children thought about words linked to this like mirror, model, follow, learn, copy, imitate, etc. They then went on to think about qualities and attributes of a family member that they want to imitate, follow, model, etc. and repeated this task with Jesus as an image.
We learnt about when the invitation to become a disciple starts and how we respond to the invitations throughout our lives so that we can be better neighbours to each other and carry out God’s will on Earth.
Year 6 finished off the half term by writing letters of thanks to Canon Nunan who will shortly be celebrating his Golden Jubilee. Canon was ordained 50 years ago and the children are starting to realise through our work in class how very special Canon is and what a wonderful achievement this is. The letters they have written are beautiful and I’m sure Canon will enjoy reading them soon.
Year 6 made a good start back to the new half term starting off with lots of revision of fractions, decimals and percentages. They answered lots of different style questions presented in many different ways for varied fluency in this area of maths. I was super impressed with how quickly they got back on to this topic which is something we have worked hard on earlier in the academic year.
if you’re working on this at home and need a quick reminder, here is a useful video to help you.
Year 6 have been working hard with their revision in preparation for their SATS tests very soon. The children are keen to do their very best so lots of practise has been on the menu each day, along with lots of fun ways to apply their maths knowledge and skills. For example, one maths lessons was an outdoor orienteering session. The children had to use their knowledge and skills with maps and location to navigate their way around school and find different points to collect their maths arithmetic questions from. There were different levels of challenge for the children with next steps for round two which they children were pleased to take part so that they could try to improve their speed from the first round.
During this lesson, the children had to choose the most efficient methods to calculate and there was lots of discussion between partners about what the most efficient methods were. It depends on your maths ability and your thinking sometimes so methods can very between children but it was good to hear the children justifying their choice of methods or learning from partners and trying a more efficient method. Activities like this are the perfect way to practise some core maths skills which can be applied in all other areas of maths so we’ll keep revisiting arithmetic methods each week to ensure we are fully secure and versatile.
They have had lots of puzzles to solve too which has really challenged their application of maths. A real favourite for Y6 has been the murder mystery maths challenges. Each stage of the mystery reveals who was murdered, who did it, where, when and why. These are great maths puzzles to allow the children to practice and apply what they have learnt. We love these!
Year 6 have made good progress with their revision so far this half term and have already covered the following: possessive pronouns, noun phrases, modal verbs, prepositions, antonym, direct speech and active/passive voice. The children are in charge of their revision and select areas that they would like to polish up on. Of course, as they missed some school in Y4 and Y5, we find the odd gaps so we address these too. Year 6’s attitude to learning is so good that it makes learning much easier – they want to learn, so they do!
Here is a whistle stop tutorial of the very basics of SPAG to be confident with. The tutorial includes very simple examples to help you if you are revising at home. There is also a useful 10 minute practise test for you to join in with for extra practise. You will be very familiar with the style of these so get your pen and paper ready and give it a go!
We have also been working on vocabulary skills to widen our understanding of work meaning. The words we have covered so far are meagre, abundant, genuine, authentic, inferior and exceptional.
Year 6 have studied a poem by Charles Causley called What Has Happened to Lulu. They started by asking questions about what they thought might have happened and then looked for evidence in the text to answer and support their ideas.
Then we did some role-play so that the children could step into the shoes of Lulu’s mother. They pretend to be Lulu and scribbled down a note to their mother in a rage which they really enjoyed. Then it was time to change roles and pretend to be mother who found the letter that Lulu had left. They thought about what she would say and how she would act. It was a lot of fun.
Following the role play, the children then planned and wrote a letter to Lulu with the purpose of persuading her to come home. As the poem was written a long time ago, the children had to try and give it an authentic sound to fit the era as well as be persuasive. They included themes from the poem within their letters.
Year 6 have been reflecting on all the skills they have learnt over their time in school and how they can use these in reading tests which are coming up very shortly (SATS). They talked in a group and made a list of top tips to share with anyone who needs a bit of a helping hand to get through the reading assessments which are quite a challenge. They understand that in a reading test, you can’t just sit back and enjoy reading the text like you would if you were reading for pleasure!
We also talked about how to pace ourselves in tests so that we manage our time effectively. Then we had a go. The children had 11 marks to try to get in 11 minutes. Some of the questions were quick information retrieval, and some demanded more inference using evidence from the text.
The children enjoyed a few minutes of Burn2learn to help them remember what we call the three magic words for answering 3 mark questions: ‘the text says’. They know if you include this in your PEE answers, then it forces you to back up your ideas with evidence from the text.
We also discussed how these reading skills that we are practising are actually used across all subjects, in all assessments, in secondary school, university and work life too, so they are well worth practising!
Building on the success of last half term in art, Y6 were keen to continue developing their drawing skills. We have started to look at developing a sense of perspective in a different type of landscape now. The children followed the tutorial and applied their knowledge and skills of scale values to add tone to their art to give it a feeling of 3d.
The children evaluated each others work giving them positive points and things to improve.
if you would like to continue practising this at home, here is the tutorial we used.
We have now moved onto understanding what a vanishing point is and drawing a landscape seen where there is one vanishing point. This is quite tricky and the children have just started it, but they are up for a challenge and keen to use their growth mindset approach to make progress in this skill. Examples of their work will follow soon.
If you would like to see how they have been taught about vanishing points, here is a good tutorial to watch:
For our Science topic this half term, we have been learning about Evolution and Inheritance. The topic started with a practical demonstration of how fossils are made. The children used clay to make a mould of a shell. This represented a sea creature that had died millions of years ago and whose body had decomposed and left its imprint in mud, which had solidified over thousands of years. When our clay had dried, we used another small piece to make a fossil replica of the original shell creature using our moulds. This represented the real moulds filling with sediment which solidifies over hundreds of thousands of years, making a fossil.
After learning about how fossils can provide scientists with evidence of life forms from millions of years ago, we moved onto thinking about inheritance.
The children used their own or fictional families to investigate which characteristics were inherited from previous generations. To have a practical investigation of how inheritance works, Year 6 used special biscuit families. We used our maths skills to make a biscuit family tree and work out which proportions of different characteristics their biscuits had. We converted these into fractions, decimals and percentages.
Year 6 had a fantastic DT day making gas rattles with Mrs Phillips. Gas rattles were used in WW1 trenches as a noisy way to alert the troops about incoming gas attacks. They are still used today as a way of cheering at sporting events. Children had to use lots of maths skills to accurately measure and prepare the wood pieces for construction. All children sawed the pieces to the correct lengths using jigs and clamps.
The next job was drilling different types of holes in the pieces in order to use dowelling to glue together the rattles. There were three different types of drill to use. The children also honed their sanding skills to make sure that their work was smooth and rounded and each rattle looked a little bit different. The finished rattles were glued together and the children were amazed at the results. It was great to see so many proud faces and so much perseverance at learning these new skills and getting the finished rattles ready in such a short time. Well done Year 6!
We have continued our work on learning about French sports and pastimes vocabulary. This half term, the children have worked on putting the sports vocabulary they know into sentences, both orally and in written work. Part of this has been learning to express preferences. We have focused on the vocabulary of likes and dislikes, such j’aime and je n’aime pas. We have practised asking our classmates simple questions to find out about their likes and dislikes in sports. These questions could be: Aimes-tu le badminton? Aimes-tu le babyfoot?
Year 6 are just starting a new topic this half term called The Mystery Tour. They are starting to look at changes in Britain since 1948 onwards to present day. Before starting this, they took some time to reflect on their last topic of WW1 and what happened after this.
With the Queen’s Jubilee just around the corner, it was a perfect time to look at the change in monarchy during this time in history. They learnt lots of things about the Queen’s reign and made some super board games to play together and help them learn facts about the Queen and her family too. We also has a Jubilee party in class which was great fun.
We now have some lovely artefacts in class for the children to explore about this period in history. New books have arrived too from the School Library Service so we can enjoy reading around our subject.
Year 6 learnt about different sources of evidence and the importance of having a range of evidence to get reliable answers in history. They enjoyed a Burn2Learn lesson outside finding different types of sources of historical evidence and then sorted these into primary and secondary sources.
In PE lessons with Ms Crolla, the children have been outside enjoying some athletics on the big field. We have been improved our running speed and stamina. Firstly, we practised getting a quick start and having explosive power. Then we had lots of friendly sprint races. The children then went on to work in teams to complete long distance relays using one lap of the field (about 300m). We learnt how to pace ourselves so that we had enough energy left to run all the way around at an even pace. We practised passing the baton effectively between teammates and how to call and set off to maximise and maintain the team’s speed.
Year 6 have also been practising different types of throwing events. We have focused on improving our personal best distances for throwing tennis balls and foam javelins. With the javelins, it was important to think about the angle of the throw to achieve a good distance.
Another athletics skill we have improved has been hurdling: we have learnt about stride patterns and how to count the number of steps between the hurdles in order to maintain speed for the jumps.
Building on our Live Simply mission, last half term’s topic ‘Our Precious Planet’ and our ‘8 to be great’ pledges, Adrian from Boston Spa Green Group visited Year 5 and Year 6 to talk in more depth about the climate emergency through a morning workshop. The children started off looking at the carbon footprint of familiar foods and were surprised to learn of foods we eat on a daily basis having a high carbon footprint, such as meat, butter and eggs. We learnt that it is always best to shop locally and seasonally.
We compared and contrasted different countries and their carbon footprints through an active Burn2Learn game outside. We then explored materials and how we should dispose of them, e.g. general waste, recycling, composting or another way of disposal (e.g. charity shops, Teracycle points).
Adrian also talked to the children about biodiversity and we learnt that one simple oak tree can house up to 2,300 species. Throughout the workshop, the children were making links to their own experiences, prior learning and knowledge linked to our Live Simply mission and our ‘8 to be great’ pledges.
Adrian was extremely impressed with the children’s knowledge and understanding of the climate emergency and their current participation and practice in working towards achieving the goal of net zero and greener planet for all.
Thank you to Adrian for visiting our school! For more information, or to get involved, please visit
Year 6 have started their transition lessons in preparation for moving to their new schools and the increased independence that comes at this stage in their lives. We have been really lucky to have Leeds United Foundation and EPOSS working with us for 4 weeks delivering bespoke lessons in school with our Y6 pupils, and our thanks go to them for giving us their time to support this important stage of the children’s learning journey.