Summer 1 2023
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.
The virtue to focus on this half term is the virtue of confidence. We are trying to do things without fear or doubt; we are trying to place our trust in God and know that He gives us strength.
We have listened to the word of God from Joshua 1:9: “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.” This reading is useful for us to refer back to whenever we feel less confident or scared. We are trying to be determined using our confidence in God when we are faced with any type of challenge. We can face our worries and take comfort in the knowledge that He is with us to fill us with bravery and the power to overcome self-doubt.
In RE lessons 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.
Other Faiths Mosque Visit
Year 6 were lucky enough to visit the Makkah mosque in Headingley as part of their learning about other faiths. When we arrived at the mosque, the children were asked to take their shoes off as a mark of respect. We learnt that Muslims believe that they need to prepare themselves in order to pray at the mosque by performing a cleansing ceremony called the wudu. The children were able to practise cleaning their hands, faces and feet in a special area of the mosque.
Afsha led us on the trip and showed us some key features of the mosque. The Makkah mosque has a spectacular dome which lets in light and is decorated with beautiful calligraphy written in Arabic. The children found out that Arabic writing, including in the Holy book of the Qu’ran, is written from right to left in Arabic.
The children were able to listen to the Imam (a leader at the mosque) sing a call to prayer in Arabic and then watch the afternoon prayers which were attended by many members of the congregation. Each worshipper prays kneeling down on a large carpet of prayer mats at the mosque.
Year 6 then took part in some activities such as a treasure hunt where we had to find and match many key parts of the mosque such as the kaba, the qibla and the minbar. Another activity involved a memory game with a table of key artefacts used by Muslims. We dressed in traditional robes that Muslim pilgrims would use when making the trip to Mecca.
The children were surprised to find so many similarities between the customs and beliefs of their own faith and Islam, and they asked some really interesting questions.
SATS & Robinwood Parents’ Information Evening
Here is the information shared at our recent parents’ information evening which should cover the basics for SATS week and Robinwood. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Please ensure that you have completed the personal information form and handed this into Mrs Ward. Paper copies have been sent home but please request another copy if needed.
Year 6 made a good start back with some new learning using algebra and inverse operations to find unknown values. The mystery theme for this half term worked perfectly with this task, and children were encouraged to work methodically to find solutions.
Year 6 are 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 is 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!
We have also been working on algebra and finding possibilities for two unknown values. Knowledge of factors really helps when working on this. Well done Y6 for all your hard work this half term. Your confidence is high and your knowledge and skills are strong; you’re almost ready for secondary school!
Year 6 are making good progress with their revision so far. We got off to a good start looking at some extracts from Harry Potter and looking to see how JK Rowling created impressions of how characters were feeling without explicitly telling us. This requires detective skills from the children as they search the text to back up the impressions they have formed to prove it. They have practised this with several different extracts from Harry Potter and Lockwood and Co. This is great practise before we move onto our new class text which is The Hound of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan Doyle. Here is a cartoon version of the book we will be reading for any children keen to get started at home.
Year 6 enjoyed an outdoor revision session of figurative language skills covering examples of the following: alliteration, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, idioms and onomatopoeia. They loved working in a team to collect examples and then sorting through them back in class to put into categories. It was good to hear the children giving reasons for their choices and working as a team. They will soon create their own mystery stories and include a range of these tricks so it was good to bring back to mind their prior learning from over the years.
Year 6’s attitude to learning is so good that it makes learning much easier – they want to learn, so they do! If you are supporting your child at home with any homework tasks or revision in preparation for their SATS, 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!
Year 6 gave their very best efforts in SATs week to complete their SPAG and reading tests. Now we have moved back to our theme of mysteries and are working on writing our own mystery story settings. Year 6 enjoyed drawing their settings first and then writing an introduction to the story, trying to set the scene and introduce a feeling of foreboding. Passive voice really helps with this as it leaves the reader wondering who did it! We looked at several models of mystery writing prior to starting our own, and tried to use authors’ techniques within our own writing from the models we evaluated together.
The Year 6 reading corner has been refreshed with an exciting collection of adventure and mystery books linked to our theme of The Mystery Tour. Come and steal a good book and relax!
We have continued our learning journey about living things and their classification. The next part of our work focused on micro-organisms which are tiny living things. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but sometimes their effects can be seen.
Year 6 learned about different micro-organisms that are helpful to us and unhelpful. One helpful micro-organism Year 6 learnt about is yeast, which is used in breadmaking and breweries. We investigated how the micro-organism of yeast reacts with catalysts of sugar and water. This wakes up the yeast, which is dormant in its packet and creates carbon dioxide, which fills up the balloon.
In class, we looked at examples of harmful micro-organisms and why good hygiene and storage rules are important in food preparation. We set up an investigation to observe over time which conditions were best to create growth of mould micro-organisms on slices of bread. We put one clean slice, one dirty slice that everyone had touched and one damp slice into plastic bags and left them in a warm place. We observed and recorded the results for the estimated percentage of the slice covered with mould after one hour, two days and ten days.
To finish our work on classification, we learnt about significant scientist Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus is so important because he invented a system of classifying all living things on earth into kingdom and species. This was important because, during the Victorian times, there was a lot of confusion about different names for different organisms and what groups they belonged to. In the system that Linnaeus designed, all species were given a short Latin name that all scientists from different parts of the world could use and understand.
Linnaeus had lots of adventures through his life and we watched some great animations about him. Our favourite story was how he proved that mythical monsters such as the Hydra did not really exist.
Year 6 finished off the topic of describing personality traits and physical characteristics with a great lesson. The children took part in a Burn to Learn activity where ten girls and boys were chosen to act out a different personality trait in different parts of the playground. The remaining children had to find the actors and then run back into class to match up which French characteristic word the children were representing. See if you can guess what they were from the pictures below.
After practising the vocabulary orally, we used a bank of character pictures to write a detailed descriptive paragraph in French about the characters we had chosen. The children were challenged to use their knowledge of masculine and feminine adjective and colour endings correctly. The descriptions had to include information about hair and eye colours, clothing and personality traits. The children impressed me with how much they had remembered and how confident they were to write a longer piece in French.
Telling the time – L’heure
Part of our French learning this half term has been practising how to tell the time in French. We started this by recapping our knowledge of the French number system, as it is essential prior knowledge to help us with telling the time. We practised telling the time to the hour on both digital and analogue clocks, before moving on to how to tell the time to the half hour and quarter hour. Our aim is to become confident telling the time to the nearest five minutes, so we will be doing lots of games and activities to practise this.
As usual, we have been learning how to tell the time like a native speaker with our friend Alexa. Here is the video to help you to practise at home.
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.
We learnt about WW2 and focussed on the Battle of Britain which will really help us moving forward to understand why Britain needed rebuilding, and our key historical question: what impact have the changes in Britain in this era (1948 to present day) had on the way we live in our society today? Over the weeks we will look at the experiences of men, women and children, and those people who migrated to Britain to help rebuild it, and move through the decades to present day.
We 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.
This half term year 6 will be learning about how music changed throughout history and how different eras affected the style. Year 6 kicked off to a great start with some quick-fire sounds on a film, from prehistoric times up to modern day. This, amusingly for year 6, started with some portrayed dinosaur noises. The music was split into categories. Whilst watching the film, Year 6 drew pictures to depict a scene they could imagine through the piece played. The class had to think as to which instruments may have been used and the timbre(tone) of the snippet of music. A new skill the children worked on was deciding the general mood created and the texture(thick or thin). For example, one piece reminded someone of a funeral and another piece of a wedding.
The categories were as follows and subtitled by date in the film: prehistoric, ancient, medieval, renaissance, classical, 20th century and modern.
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 enjoyed a Yoga taster session this half term. Year 6 learnt that yoga is a mind and body practice that can build strength and flexibility, and allows you to only focus on the present. The children enjoyed a range of movements and controlled breathing to help them to feel a state of calm and relaxation. We also talked about famous athletes/footballers who enjoy yoga to support them in their own sporting talent. Next half term, Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to attend a Yoga and Mindful Crafting club every Thursday to develop this mind and body practice even further.
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 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
Transition to Y7
Now SATS are over, we are starting to think about transition to our new schools and into Year 7. Leeds United Foundation and EPOS cluster are helping us to do this, and we have already covered so many useful points:
- How to recognised signs of worry, stress or anxiety?
- How to approach worries through mindset, meditation, positivity, exercise, good routines sleeping routines, healthy eating, fresh air, time with friends, etc.
- New rules, routines and how to get organised.
- Body language and how to look confident and open to making new friends.
- Things in our lives that are staying constant/the same.
- People we can share our feelings with.
The children also had the opportunity to ask questions to the Assistant Head Teacher from St John Fisher who visited us recently. They made a big list of questions to ask when he came, and it was reassuring to get all the answers from Mr Phillpot. Thank you for coming to visit us!
Letting Culture Loose
Bollywood Dance Workshop
As part of Letting Culture Loose Week, Year 6 took part in a Bollywood dance workshop. Bollywood films are made in India and they are colourful productions with lots of songs and dance in them. Chiragi told us that India is 14 times bigger than the UK and its film industry is the second biggest in the world. The children thought that Hollywood was the biggest, but they were surprised to learn that China has the biggest film industry.
Bollywood includes a lot of different dance styles, but the children were introduced to the upbeat style of Bhangra. Chiragi encouraged the children to use traditional Bollywood costumes and bhindi decorations. The children also had the opportunity to wear the traditional Henna patterns on their arms.
All the children were surprised that Bollywood dancing was such fun and that the moves were interesting and energetic. In a short amount of time, Year 6 learnt a really effective routine, incorporating some classic bhangra moves. Well done Year 6.