Summer 1 2021
Welcome back to summer term and let’s hope we get to stay learning at school together this term after so much time over spring term learning from home.
I have lots of lovely things planned to keep you making progress, having fun and to prepare you for secondary school too. There will be lots of your favourite activities included too like orienteering, Burn2Learn and learning in the environment so let’s get started.
Year 6 continue with worship in class and our statements of the week give us our focus. The children help to choose the hymn/songs to go with our worship and some readings too. I always like to see the Bible being brought to the pray focus table as a child holds it in the air and reminds us about the special words we are about to hear.
Here are some of the songs we have used in class worship.
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 begin in the home and at Church.
We have also been keeping our deer Canon Nunan in our prayers as he is unwell at the moment. The children made lovely messages on love hearts to send to him in hospital and we know this will make him smile as he recovers. We hope and pray he will be back home soon and that it won’t be long before he comes back to school to visit and worship with this.
We have been finishing off some work from last half term around the events of Holy Week and the importance of these events to us today. The children reflected on the actions of Jesus during the Last Supper, particularly when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and what we can learn from this.
The message behind this act fits perfectly with the exciting new steps that Year 6 are preparing to take with confirmation as it’s a chance for them to reflect on the invitation for them to be disciples and how they might use their talents to follow the new commandment to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’
Y6 loved coming back to school to start the week with an outdoor orienteering session for maths. 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.
Year 6 have also been learning to find fractions of amounts. This is an area where they have less experience due to last year’s lockdown so we started from the beginning and they’ve made super progress across the week. The children used clapping and flicking rhythms to help them learn this which is a great way to get it to stick. They progressed to applying this method to word problems by the end of the week so there was a great feeling of satisfaction in the air!
World Maths Day was a great day for Year 6. They were invited to dress either as a rock star or a number. We had lots of football kits with numbers on and plenty of rock stars with props too. We launched using Times Tables Rock Stars to help us polish up on accuracy with tables and division facts which is why some of us dressed up as rock stars.
One activity that we did was orienteering which the children love to do. Off they went to beat their last time as they collect their calculations to bring back to class and solve. This is a great way to practise choosing the most efficient methods and it was great to see some of the less efficient methods from last session had improved today. Practise makes perfect.
After this, a murder mystery was on the cards! Y6 love a good murder to solve and today’s focus was all related to handling money. They had 5 challenges all linked to money to solve in order to solve the murder, and they worked in pairs to be in a position to put forward the final accusation. The whole class stops when they first detectives submit their final accusation, as the crime has potentially been solved, and it was solved in one accusation today which has never happened like this before! Of course, we don’t give away the details of the crime to the rest of the children as they need to work to solve it too. They LOVE this!
The detectives who come in first, second and third place all get time penalties when a new crime needs solving to give the other detectives a little head start next time.
More maths followed in the afternoon during science lessons – see science for more details. All in all, it was a full day of maths and big smiles on their faces!
Year 6 are now working on division methods and enjoying learning long division which can be quite a challenge. We started off by just working on finding key facts and multiplying the divisor until we get as close to the dividend as possible, The children started to work more methodically and were getting really close to the dividend. Doing this, some children started to realise what the answer would be to the long division and that the amount you have left is the remainder. We had a couple more lessons to build confidence with the method and to use it with word problems too.
To further support their understanding of division, we learnt divisibility tests to see if numbers can be divided exactly. The children discussed the point of doing these tests prior to dividing and finally came to the conclusion that they can help you to have an idea about your answer before you even begin. If you can divide exactly, you should be questioning why you ended up with a remainder, or vice versa. The children had mostly good understanding about divisibility by 2, 5 and 10, but had to study for patterns to try to work out the rule for 3, 4, 6 and 8. They enjoyed physically active lessons where they go outside to find numbers and then see if the divisibility test work for those numbers. In addition, they also applied this knowledge using Venn diagrams, so they had to decide if the number was divisible exactly by more than one number.
We have plenty of new books in class linked to the Mystery topic to encourage a wide range of reading by different authors, Just pop along to the book shelf and choose a great fiction book!
We also have lots of non-fiction books linked to our history and science topics to encourage reading around the subjects. The children can take these home if they would like to but we also have time in class to enjoy reading these too, and we like to share interesting facts that we’ve learnt at the end. Every time I learn something new and so do the children so we are deepening our knowledge through our love of reading.
Year 6 have been focusing on adding detail to narrative writing and found colour coding very helpful for this. Each child has their own colour coding strip with velcro prompts so the order can be manipulated to achieve different sentence types. The children loved evaluating my writing first and were able to colour code the sentences to see what I had missed out. They made suggestions to improve the detail in my sentences first and really enjoyed writing on big paper with colour felt tips to achieve this.
Then the children improved some given sentences using colour coding to support achieving more detail. After advice from the children, the next lesson they were given a much better piece of writing to show what a good one looks like (WAGOLL) and they enjoyed giving me more positive feedback about the detail. There were still some small areas to work on improving and I was pleased to see them being particularly thorough in this area. I am looking forward to the class using this skill later when they write their own narrative.
Year 6 have now been working on passive voice and why a writer might choose to use this. They picked this up quickly and were soon in a position to be able to apply this skill as a writer themselves. Before they started to write, we looked at a short extract of a crime report to look at how the language supported the theme of a crime report. The children evaluated the example and made suggestions as to how it could also be improved in some places which is always good to see!
They spent one lesson making a drawing plan of what they would write linked to the theme of mysteries. We have one particular mystery on the go at the moment with a character called Fred who has a problem with a reoccurring lump under his rug. The children planned a crime scene where Fred had disappeared but evidence of an altercation was left behind. They loved drawing this scene first and talking about it before they get to the stage of putting it in written words. They then made a word plan to replicate their drawing but in words/phrases and in preparation for writing the final piece. This was a chance to plan fine detail to include before committing to paper.
Once the planning was completed, they were ready to write and the whole classroom was engrossed in this! With a little time for editing and improving before the end, the crime scene reports were finished. The results were fantastic!
Since writing a crime scene report, we have moved onto persuasive writing around the topic of littering which fits perfectly with our mission to Live Simply and have high aspirations for our community. The children started by evaluating letters to see if the language was persuasive or not. They had to use their guided reading skills of PEEing to give evidence from the text to support detailed answers. They also practised summing up the main ideas of each letter.
We also did lots of vocabulary work to improve their bank of vocabulary ready for when they started writing. They enjoyed a tag rugby session with letters that they stole from their opponents which they then used to make some topic related words. This got their heart hates going and gave them the opportunity to practise spelling and negotiating as they tried to get the letters they needed from opposing teams.
In the name of research, a visit through the drive in McDonald’s was needed early morning and the children were shocked to find 7 pieces of packaging for just one cheesy bacon flatbread. It included two paper bags, 4 napkins and one very long receipt. We discussed together some suggestions to give to McDonald’s to help them reduce packaging and other ideas to help them become more responsible for the littering issue around the villages as you drive from Knaresborough to Wetherby. Their name is clearly on the rubbish so we felt it was time for them to take action.
The children planned their ideas and researched facts about littering from fast food restaurants to support their arguments. They then wrote super persuasive letters and brought all their ideas together. Of course, they needed time to evaluate their own letters and make improvements where needed and then the letters were ready to send. We will shortly be delivering some of these directly to McDonald’s in Knaresborough and some to the head office. We hope that our efforts are rewarded and that we hear from McDonald’s too.
Finally, to finish off the half term, Y6 have been stepping into the shoes of a 1950s housewife longing for appliance and now she has them. They also wrote letters as Beatle fans to describe the experience of Beatlemania. See history for more details. For both pieces of writing, the children enjoyed role play and hot seating to orally rehearse what they understood before planning their writing.
Year 6 really engaged in the topic about WW1 back in autumn and were disappointed that, due to a bubble closure, we had to cancel a DT practical arts workshop which was due to be lead by Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide and former Head of Armoury at the Royal Opera House. So imagine how excited Year 6 were to hear that we had managed to rearrange this and it could go ahead!
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 maths vocabulary also being used so we decided to capture all the mathematical concepts being applied, The children went to the large flip chart and noted down a mathematical word as they used it. If they got there and found someone had already noted it, they ticked it to show that they had also used that word.
When the map bags had been completed, the children made maps 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.
This half term the children have started to learn vocabulary about la maison (the home). We have practised saying the French words for each room of the house such as le jardin, la chambre and la salle de bain.
The children then started to put these new words into sentences using positional vocabulary such as dans. The children have played games and used talk partners to reinforce the topic vocabulary, as well as listening and copying native French speakers pronouncing the words.
Year 6 have continued to work on their French lessons and are doing a superb job of translating French sentences to English and then writing a full sentence in French. They have been careful to change their words to reflect the masculine and feminine words and are now writing short sentences mostly confidently.
They played a game with their partners where they had to hide a cube in the room to represent where they were hiding, and their partners had to ask the question, “Where are you?”. They had to reply in a full sentence in French to say where they were. For example,
Ou est tu?
- Je suis dans ma maison.
- Je suis dans mon sous-sol.
- Je suis dans le jardin.
Year 6 took on a challenging area of geography this half term. They were analysing statistics and other information to draw clear conclusions. The data that they were looking at was from 2015 and it was plastic production by industrial sectors measured in tonnes per year. The data was staggering and really go the children talking!
They also looked at the data for the same year but the amount of plastic waster generated by industrial sectors and measured again in tonnes. This allowed them to compare the two sets of data to calculate how little plastic is not wasted each year. The classroom was buzzing with conversations from these young people who were so shocked and clearly keen to do their bit to reduce plastic waste.
During these lessons, they have used their maths skills, applied lots of maths understanding of maths vocabulary and used their guided reading skills of explaining by backing up with evidence from the data.
I was so impressed by their resilience and general attitude towards the challenging task and feel confident that they will play their part in helping to address this problem in future.
As a next step challenge, we also started to look at a graph which shows cumulative global plastic production over the years since 1950. Using their increasing knowledge of Britain since 1948, Year 6 have started to apply this knowledge to make suggestions as to why the global plastic production has rapidly increased and the impact that plastic has had on lives.
Year 6 also spent time this half term looking at data about plastic pollution in the top 20 rivers in the world. The date was taken from 2015 to make it a consistent comparison. The children used atlases to locate the rivers and name the countries and continents they are found in. The children were very confident using an atlas and showed that prior learning in previous classes has stuck as they needed no explanation as to how to use them. Well done Year 6!
Year 6 are enjoying learning about Britain since 1948. The first area we looked at was how to ask effective questions to ensure that they were delving questions that allowed us to learn about the past compared to the present day, and how to ensure we capture detail about how things have changed or elements that remain the same or similar. Year 6 loved asking me questions to try to establish which decades from 1948 I had personal experience of as they tried to work out my age!
They moved onto researching various different areas of life and how they have changed across the decades with a great research project combined with a board game and exercise. The children had to roll two dice and add them together to find out which number they could move onto. Each number either had a picture stimulus or a number underneath it. If it was a picture stimulus, they had to work out if it linked to the following areas: monarchy, population, working life, food, technology, travel. popular culture, etc. If it was a number, this was the amount of star jumps they would do. This type of lesson allows them to be active and really engages the children as they learn best when they get to be active and have fun whilst learning.
The children had to be good historians by cross-checking their sources of evidence to ensure that the information they found was accurate. I was amazed by the conversations that followed at the end of the research project as they showed such interest and enthusiasm for the topic. The area of monarchy was of great interest particularly as the children had learnt a lot more recently from the news after the sad loss of the Duke of Edinburgh. In the past, children have not known who Princess Diana was but this year so many children knew who this time and made connections to Prince Charles, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh along with Prince Harry, Prince William and their wives. It was clear that they had been soaking up this information on the news, programmes and conversations with families, so they were able to apply this to our history topic which was excellent.
We have now moved onto looking at the experiences of women from 1948 onwards and we are focussing at the moment on the 1950s. Year 6 loved putting together their own role plays to reflect what they had learnt so far. All the groups performed to the rest of the class and they audience had to say which elements of the role play reflected an accurate picture of the life of a working class women, and which were less accurate. The women were very busy cooking, cleaning, sewing, going to the shops and looking after the children while the man went out to work and came home expecting his dinner to be ready and the children to be out ready for bed and out of sight.
When they heard the word freeze, the children had to freeze except for the one playing the role of the women who paused to do some wishful thinking about what life would be like if they had one of these new appliances she’d heard of called a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner!
The children will shortly be writing diaries to reflect the experiences of the woman changing so this practical session should really help to develop a deep knowledge ready to apply when they start to write.
The children went on to look at different types of throwing in athletics events. They practised the correct technique to improve their personal bests in javelin throwing and also worked with partners to accurately measure their tennis ball and bean bag throws. They found that each item required a different type of throw technique.
It was Earth Day this week and, as part of our Live Simply mission, it was the perfect time for us to make new pledges to look after the Earth. Every Y6 child made 3 pledges to make small changes which combined can make a big difference. They also read about how the planet is being damaged by our actions so that they are more informed and understand why the pledges mean so much.
Year 6 have been revisiting stranger danger as they now have an increased amount of independence and freedom. It’s important to consider different scenarios and what to do in each, and Year 6 made sensible suggestions for each scenario that we discussed. Having this knowledge empowers the children to enjoy their freedom knowing that they can be aware and make sensible decisions should they have a problem while out with friends or alone.
Relationships & Communication
We have also been having some extra time together outside to play as Y6 have had so much time away from each other that it’s important that they enjoy having time to chat, play, negotiate, compromise, etc. and playtime form an important part of this. You can see from their smiles that this has been time well spent!
Emotional Literacy & Wellbeing
To support the children’s wellbeing, we continue to have our morning check-ins. These are done in a variety of different ways to keep it fresh and to allow the children different ways to communicate how they are feeling. Developing this emotional literacy is a vital skill to maintain healthy mental health for the future. It’s a natural part of our daily routines and the children are very honest and able to ask for help if needed and it’s all done in a private way so that it’s sensitive to their needs.
Year 6 were delighted to have Bikeability back on the menu since it was originally planned for February but lockdown stopped that. Imagine their faces when they found out it was back on as we managed to rebook it! They had a fantastic 3 day course and progressed their cycling skills whilst also improving their knowledge of road dangers and personal safety. Their confidence and independence soared too so well done Y6 and thank you to Cycle North for providing this.
Relationships & Sex Education (RSE)
Year 6 have started their RSE unit of work. We started by thinking about what we already think we know and how confident we feel about the subject of change, puberty and relationships. The children were able to reflect on this in a private way which also allowed them to raise questions with their teachers in private if they wanted to, alongside letting us know if they were worried about anything before we started.
We started by looking at our baby pictures and sharing with friends what has changed and what is the same. This gives the children chance to relax and have some fun as they start this unit of work as they really enjoy looking at pictures of each other as babies.
We finished the session with a superb book which reminds us about the journey they have already been on and how they are made in the image of God. After lots of excitable chat in the classroom, this book brings about a calming end to the lesson as the children all were mesmerised by the images and words which really are quite moving. The book is called Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman. It tells the story of how, in its mother’s womb, a baby grows, explores the waters, and talks with the angel who is there. The gentle illustrations tell the story of that baby and angel, delighting young children because the journey from conception to birth is their story, too.
We have moved on now to learning all about the changes that happen to boys and girls. The children sorted the changes that happen during puberty into a Venn diagram: just boys, just girls or changes that happen to both. They worked with their close friends for emotional support as topics like this can sometimes feel a little awkward so having a close friend at your side can really help.