“Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom!” Nelson Mandella
Welcome to Year 6
Mrs J Ward
Year 6 Teacher, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Year 6 Worship
Christ at our Centre
Academic Year 2019/2020
Welcome back to school! I hope you’ve all had a fantastic summer holiday and you’re ready for a brilliant year in Year 6. I always feel very privileged to teach Year 6 and I will do everything I can to make sure that you are happy, engaged, learning and grow in confidence and skills ready for secondary school. We’ve got so many exciting things to do together that I have no doubt it will be the best year you’ve ever had. Throughout the year, the Year 6 curriculum will be tailored to build on the children’s interests, make links to their role in the community of Wetherby, and the wider world itself. We will be ambitious for ourselves, aiming for the very best we can achieve academically, morally, emotionally and spiritually. There will be experiences built in along the way to inspire learning and to inspire the children for their future roles as active citizens. All the children will be able to achieve and thrive by giving their very best efforts.
Very soon, our class webpage will start to fill up with all the exciting activities that I have planned for the year. Watch this space!
School Trips, Visits and Workshops!
I am always looking for ways to enrich and enhance the Year 6 curriculum, therefore, I have planned many school trips, visitors to school and workshops for the year ahead. Please see the school calendar for full details. Look at some of the things that are already booked for the coming academic year!
- Geography field trip to Nidd Gorge and Knaresborough waterside
- Lego Robotics Workshop
- RE trip: Big Sing Liturgy Thing
- English: Shakespeare Theatre Production of Romeo and Juliet
- Marine Engineering workshop
- Railway Children Theatre Production
- RE trip: Mosque
- Mr Foster: Orthopaedic surgeon to visit
- Y6 Residential Trip to Robinwood
One of the things that Year 6 really look forward to in Y6 is being buddies with our new children in Foundation Stage 2. The Year 6 children play a huge role in helping our new children settle quickly. They help them in the lunch hall to build up their confidence, and then play with them in the playground at lunch time whilst encouraging them to play with their peers and have independence too. Year 6 enjoyed meeting their buddies today and will be spending a lot more time with them over the next year.
Autumn Term 1
Year 6 have settled really quickly in to Year 6. Their behaviour is excellent, the children are very motivated and we are getting lots of learning done! The class love the secret student idea where if they have followed the classroom rules all day, the secret student is revealed and they get to collect 2 secret student badges to add to our display. Once the class have collected 40, they will have some well-earned golden time.
School councillors have been elected. Well done to all the candidates who bravely came to the front of the class to make their speeches. The children enjoyed casting their votes in the ballot boxes; this has helped with their understanding of democracy which we have been learning about this week too.
We have lots of school trips planned this year. Very shortly we will be going on a geography field trip to Nidd Gorge and Knaresborough riverside. We also have an RE trip organised to Mount St Mary’s in Leeds to attend the Big Sing Liturgy Thing – we are very excited about that! We also have Young Shakespeare Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet near the end of term. Obviously the Robinwood residential is the highlight of the year but there’s a lot to keep us busy and excited before that!
The children in Year 6 plan and lead class collective worship. The children enjoy dressing the worship table themselves and explaining their choice of artefact for the table. For example, one child chose a green cloth to reflect that it’s ordinary time in the liturgical calendar; one child chose a mirrored ornament which reminds us that we are made in the image of God and that our actions should mirror those of Jesus. One child chose a plant to reflect that we grow when we are close to God. One child chose a crucifix to remind us that we are so special that Jesus died for us. We also include time for some quiet meditation. We have lovely calming music on in the background and focus on our breathing to try to clear our minds and be still so that we could focus on feeling God’s presence and be ready to hear God’s word in the reading that follows.
Each week, we have a different statement of the week and worship is centred around the statement. The children decide how to dress the altar and what hymns we should sing. This week the children learnt a beautiful hymn, Psalm 23 The Lord’s My Shepherd by Stuart Townend. The words are so beautiful. Canon Nunan joined us for worship in class and had never heard this version before; he loved it!
Called to Serve in the Kingdom of God
In RE we have been thinking about what a kingdom is. The children enjoyed drawing what comes into their mind when they think of a kingdom and then described their kingdom in detail. The children then started to think about what the kingdom of God is like and asked lots of questions which are very appropriate for their age. Hopefully, as we work our way through the term, the children will be able to answer many of their own questions themselves as we learn more about the God’s kingdom.
The children also took part in a group discussion about values. They had to try and sort them into order of priority. This was quite a task and it was interesting to listen to the children’s reasons. What was even more rewarding to see and hear was how the children respected each other’s opinions and negotiated their way through the task. In the end, the children decided that all the values are important so arranged them in a shape to reflect that.
Year 6 have also been learning about parables and particularly what they reveal about the Kingdom of God. We have looked at the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Yeast, the Parable of the Adulterous Woman and the Parable of the Lost Son. With lots of talk partner time and private time to reflect, the children have really developed a good understanding of what these parables tell us about God’s kingdom. Importantly, we then thought about how this should impact on our own actions so that we truly put our faith into action on a daily basis. Each child had some good ideas about how this should look for them.
The children have made posters to show their understanding that the Kingdom of God is for everyone. Their posters had to include this key message, a link to at least one parable that supports this idea, and a link to the sacraments as a way of accepting the invitation to God’s kingdom. The children love tasks like this as a way of showing what they have learnt and take a lot of pride in the work.
We have also been considering the advantages and possible challenges that Christians face being part of God’s Kingdom. The children worked in groups and each contributed to the lists that were made and later discussed.
In English we are using the classic narrative poem by Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, as inspiration to write. The children are already engrossed in the story and enjoyed exploring my box of tricks which was full of Highwayman goodies. In the box was a French cocked hat, a bunch of lace, a red ribbon, a rapier, a pistol, a black cape, a mask and lots of books about Highwaymen. Some of the children dressed up in the clothes to give us a good idea of what the Highwayman looked like. We also put a red love knot in one of the girl’s hair to give us an idea about what the character Bess might like look.
Before reading the poem, we created a glossary of words using the dictionaries and iPad to look up words which were new to our vocabulary. These included, rapier, breeches, doe, moor, musket galleon, and many more. The children had a treasure hunt around the school to find the words first of all which they enjoyed. It was a great way to get active and have fun while learning.
All the keywords for the English topic are displayed on our working wall with a visual to support understanding. We expect these to be spelt correctly now too as the words are all here as a way of self-checking.
Year 6 have also been learning about metaphors and precise noun phrases to add vivid detail to their writing. The Highwayman has many metaphors in it which really help us to set the scene in our minds and we want to use this as inspiration for when we write so that our audience has a similar experience. We have add these ideas to our palette which helps us as a visual when we are writing to make sure we use a wide range of tricks to add detail to our work. We also have a worthy word wall which we add to as we go along. These are new words which we learn as we read and we could steal to use in our own writing at a later date.
Year 6 enjoyed using hot seating as a way of delving deep into relationships and themes of the Highwayman Book. First of all they thought about questions which they could ask the three main characters. We talked about the difference between open and closed questions and the word ‘delve’ and tried to ensure that our questions delved deep so that the characters opened up their thoughts, feelings and motives. Random selection was used to select the characters in the hot seat and the other children asked their questions. It was trickier than it sounds but lots of fun too.
The children have also been working really hard to improve their writing skills. They have evaluated some love letters written by King George’s men and given some very useful feedback about the positive parts and the things that need improving. The children focused particularly on the things they are working hard to improve in their own work; this included use of vocabulary, organisation of paragraphs and cohesion with paragraphs and across paragraphs.
The children then planned their own love letters in role as the Highwayman writing to Bess. Then they wrote their letters using the plans and top tips created from evaluating other love letters. The results were superb! The language choices were ambitious, with many words being taken from our Worthy Word Wall or the Improving It display – I was so pleased to see the children independently selecting these words which had previously been discussed in guided reading. The finished letters were fantastic! We had some fun afterwards reading the letters in role as the Highwayman with romantic music in the background.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
We kick started our next exciting stimulus in English with a fantastic experience from the Shakespeare Theatre Company who performed Romeo and Juliet. The performance lasted all morning and the children were fully involved from start to end. They were captivated by the story and range of contrasting characters. Using this stimulus over the next few weeks is going to be fantastic: I can’t wait. Thank you to the Friends of St Joseph and all the parents, grandparents and carers who support their fundraising, as without this, we simply couldn’t have these experience for the children.
We have been revising how to punctuate speech and how to make speech more effective in narratives. We used some of the pictures from above and wrote conversations at that point in the performance. We learnt a very annoying but funny song that helps us to remember how to punctuate speech. Singing it several times get the rules in your head and then there’s no excuse! Basic speech punctuation is much better now but we are continuing to work on making the speech more effective through more detail about what was said or how and where it was said.
Year 6 have also been evaluating a formal letter from Lord Ward to Lord Capulet to give thanks for inviting him to the annual banquet but also to inform him of some issues that were noticed that evening. As a close friend, he is writing with Lord Capulet’s reputation in mind so, although he brings issues to his attention, it is with his best interests in mind as he doesn’t want his good name to come into disrepute. The letter was full of ambitious language so Y6 are building their understanding of vocabulary up as they work. These words make it to our Worth Word Wall and will hopefully be used in their own writing at a later date. We also do Burn2Learn aerobic spellings with any new words so that we are getting fit while learning how to spell. The children evaluated the letter for its use of paragraphs to organise ideas, cohesion, vocabulary and correct formality.
They are now planning to write their own letter to Lord Capulet pretending they are a chef invited to suggest a menu for the next annual banquet. They are planning canopies, starters, main course and pudding with drinks for each course. I can’t wait to see what these turn out like!
National Poetry Day
Year 6 had a themed day of poetry to celebrate National Poetry Day. We started by looking at a Jamaican poet called Valerie Bloom. She wrote a poem called The River which uses metaphors to describe the different features of a river. We started by reading the poem and looking at the rhyming words and how they fall in each verse on a pattern of lines. We then looked at unknown vocabulary and learnt its meaning, for example, nomad and hoarder. The children used dictionaries to learn what the words meant and then put them into their own sentences to show they could apply the words in different contexts. After that, the children listened to how I used my voice to read the poem and the impact of using intonation and expression. They then wrote their own poems using metaphors about rivers which links to our topic of journeys. This was a challenge but the children were proud of their achievements.
The Book Tucker Trial
Year 6 have enjoyed selecting a book of their choice from a lovely new selection we have on our book shelve, and are now making their way through the Book Tucker Trial. They can read their school reading books as well as long as they read! The children are encouraged to read a wide range of genres and work by different authors to expose them to different writing styles. After every 5 books, they have to write a book review of their favourite one and recommend it to a friend. Who will be first to reach Rats Den?
In class we also have a wide range of non-fiction books linked to our topics so that the children can read about lots of real life subjects rather than just sticking to fiction. At the moment we have non-fiction books about the water cycle, rivers and coasts, human biology and inspirational people in sport.
Year 6 have been working on improving their skimming and scanning skills when reading texts. It’s important to be able to find information at speed without reading the whole text so we practise this skill. Once the children find the key words, they then read the sentence before and after the word to get a feel for the meaning.
We also do lots of vocabulary work in guided reading to develop our understanding of words. In recent non-fiction texts that we have been reading, the children have collected subject specific vocabulary and then used colour coding (traffic light system) to show if they have heard the word and confident with the meaning, heard the word but not sure about the meaning, or they have never heard the word before. At this point, dictionaries are used to clarify meaning and build confidence with the words. Each child is at a different stage in this journey but it’s a really useful way to build vocabulary understanding.
We also have a Worthy Word Wall on our English wall which we add to when we learn new vocabulary directly from fiction from our shared reading. Words like delve, stealthily, stead and unrequited have been added so far which are words directly as a result of our discussions around the Highwayman text.
It’s only week one and Year 6 have already proved themselves to be willing and capable of being challenged in maths. They have completed some really tricky problem solving to show their understanding of place value, comparing and ordering numbers up to 10,000,000 so far. Their self assessments at the end of lessons is showing a really good attitude to challenge and learning – having a growth mind-set and seeing challenge as a good thing will really help the children to progress with their maths. It needs to feel challenging!
We have also been learning how to round numbers including decimal numbers. This can be tricky but challenge is good and we take time to work on corrections too. We learn from being challenged and mistakes are part of learning.
Year 6 enjoyed a Burn2Learn session today which we call BOGOF Balls; in this game you find a multiplication fact and then use this to find other related facts including large multiples of 100 and 1000 and division facts. If you know one fact, you know so many more and this active game is a great way to practise this skill. When we came back into the classroom, we looked at how to use inverse to check our answers. We’ll keep practising this to keep it bubbling away as what looks like tricky calculations, can actually be done mentally if you remember your BOGOFs.
Year 6 have been working on understanding part-whole models and bar models as a different way to interpret number. We have also been working on improving our confidence with maths vocabulary of sum and difference. These are actually really easy with a quick reminder and some practise.
Year 6 have also been working on improving their multiplication skills so that they choose the most efficient method depending on the calculation. For example, sometimes they could choose mental method because they can use known multiplication facts, e.g. 70 x 800 can be done mentally because you know 7 x 8 = 56 so the answer will be 1000 times larger than 7 x 8, so 56000. Sometimes they could do informally jottings, for example, 13 x 9 is 10 x 9 and 3 x 9; we may need to jot some of this down but the calculating side is still mentally. Finally, sometimes we will need to use a formal written method, for example, 129 x 48. Year 6 are working on getting up to 4 digits multiplied by 2 digits, e.g. 6359 x 84.
Year 6 have been looking at how ideas about diet were investigated in the past. They learnt about James Lind and the work he did to try to find out why sailors suffered from scurvy. The class have also been asking questions of their own about diet which we aim to be able to answer at the end of the unit of work.
Year 6 have also been learning about different food groups and why the body needs foods from each group. This was a good chance to address some misconceptions about food groups which the children had already picked up from places like the news. They looked at different food labels to see which foods contained the most fat, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. and then had to use their maths skills to order them in the top five. This was quite tricky and involved lots of maths skills involving decimal numbers, comparing and ordering. As they worked through these tasks, they were able to start to answer some of the questions they originally asked like, ‘Can fat be good for us?’, ‘What is a balanced diet?’ and ‘What are the different food groups?’.
Moving on with our science learning, Year 6 were really interested when they learnt all about how muscles work in the human body. They learnt about the different types of muscles: cardiac, smooth and skeletal muscles. They did some different exercises to focus on which muscles were being used. They learnt about how muscles contract and relax, and learnt to name many of the main muscles in the body. They then had to look at different types of exercise and decide which muscles were being worked harder during the exercise. After that, they chose their own muscle group and pretended to be personal trainers; they recommended advice to clients who wanted to exercise these muscles.
Year 6 enjoyed experimenting with their sketching skills to add dynamic action to their art work. They drew simple, yet effective stick men thinking about the emotions and actions they wanted to portray. Extra lines were added to emphasise the movement. Sometimes the movements would look slow and laboured and other movements looked energetic or rapid. The children then started to add bulk to their stick men to give a more human shape. This wasn’t always successful and we ended up with some really muscly figures, but practice makes perfect and we know that our first attempts will always need developing more. It was fun experimenting!
Year 6 also enjoyed trying to add a feeling of dynamic action to space pictures. They experimented with different sizes of pieces , spacing and direction to try and give the feeling of an explosion. Some children also used paint splashes or chalks and crayons to enhance the feeling of movement. The final results look great! Photos to follow soon.
Using Apps to Communicate Ideas
Year 6 loved using the Ipads today and an app called Book Creator where you can create your own book. They used their topic words from a geography lesson and wrote a book about the different features of a river. They had to include a title page, images, text, sound and select a colour scheme suitable for the theme. We had some non-fiction books on the table to refer to for good practice. Using the devices in this way supported many other computing skills as they had to use many of the advanced features in order to create a high quality, professional finish as a means of communication. Inserting sound allowed the children to consider users who may have additional needs and not be able to see the words to read, so they could listen to the text instead. Once completed, the children learnt to share their work and send it to their teacher using their Showbie accounts. They found this very exciting as they could see on the classroom interactive board when their attachments had been received.
Year 6 have been working on editing and improving their books by making small changes to text size, colour, font and spacing. They have also been working on the quality of the sound inserted so that the speaking book is nice and clear to hear with an interesting expression to engage the listener. Once the sound has been inserted, the children were able to make the icon invisible rather than having a speaker icon. By resizing the images, you can then click on the image to hear the text read.
Something else the children have been working on is remembering how to log on, store passwords safely and share their work attaching is as an epub or PDFs.
Year 6 have now started a new computing project using Keynote as a way to communicate ideas effectively’. Keynote is an app on iPads that allows you to create presentations that includes animations, videos, audios and images whilst also developing the knowledge of buttons and links – just like an app would work. The children had to really think about how they wanted their ap to work. We talked about how they needed to create pages and how each button that the user presses needs to lead to something. The first stage of creating their app/presentation in Keynote was the planning stage. Once the children had designed the layout and where their buttons would take them, they began designing on the iPad – learning how to use all of the features within the program and how to add links to their buttons so that the presentation would work. The children learnt a range of technical skills such as altering the layering of a picture and text (bringing a photo to the front or back), inserting animations, audio files and much more. Engagement and enjoyment in computing is really high and it’s a joy to watch the children’s confidence and eagerness to learn going from strength to strength.
French: Notre Ecole
This half term Year 6 are learning to be able to exchange information about their school and school routines. They started by listening to an animation of a french boy giving a tour of his school. He took us to all the different places in the school and we listened and then practised saying the sentences ourselves. We then looked for key words/phrases that were repeated like voici and voila and practised using those in the classroom context to understand them further. We learnt lots of french words for places around school like the main entrance, staff room. classroom, dinner hall, play ground, library, etc. We then played a great game which the children really enjoyed to consolidate this learning. They had to read the word in french and select the correct picture for the place in school. It was very fast and the classroom was noisy as you had about 3 seconds to do it before it changed so the children were excited. This really helped to developed their knowledge and the children loved beating the high scores each round.
The children are continuing to enjoy their French lessons and I’m really pleased to see their confidence growing at recognising the French words and translating them to English. They are also enjoying learning songs in French to learnt the names of the parts of the body and to learn numbers too.
Geography: Survive and Explore
Before we start learning about rivers, it is important they we understand the water cycle so we revisited this through a guided reading task. The children started by looking for subject specific vocabulary first. This included lots of scientific words and we then looked up the meaning of the words to improve our understanding of the vocabulary. We then completed the guided reading which gave us lots of detail and real life examples that we experience in our own homes where we can see the water cycle in action. Next week will be making our own mini water cycles. Watch this space.
Year 6 enjoyed a Burn2Learn session using picture clues to locate areas around school where they would find a key word linked to our topic. Just for fun, some of the clues were red herrings so the children had to search really carefully around school and outside in the playground and woodland, eliminating the red herrings as they went. All the words were topic vocabulary about the different features of a river.
After the Burn2Learm session, the children came back into class and researched the different parts of a river using the Ipads. They made an ibook to present what they had learnt and absolutely loved doing this! Lots of learning taking place and lots of fun too. They also wrote poems during National Poetry Day all about different features of the river inspired by a poet called Valerie Bloom. They had to compose their own metaphors which they have studied in English to represent the 4 different features of a river which they chose from pictures. The poetry was a really good way for them to show their understanding of geography too as each metaphor had to reflect their geographical understanding too – this was quite a challenge but the children achieved great things!
Year 6 really enjoyed making mini water cycle bags using their improved understanding of accumulation, evaporation, condensation and precipitation. They were very excited to see these stuck to the windows in the classroom and we’ll be watching when the sun eventually shines and starts the water cycle in our bags before our very eyes!
Year 6 have been revising the countries in the UK and also used atlases to locate and name the water bodies around the UK. They have also been learning about the difference between the UK, Britain and the British Isles. They were set a task by Bear Grylls to challenge the teachers’ knowledge; each teacher made a statement about either the UK, Britain or the British Isles, and the children had to use various maps to decide if the teachers’ statements were correct or incorrect. They did a fantastic job of this and made super progress!
Year 6 have been working specifically on their concentration and ensemble skills in the last couple of weeks, playing several different parts at the same time in a full class samba ensemble. They can perform three different Samba grooves and some intro/outro phrases such as I Like Walking The Dog, We Will Rock You, Afuche/Cheese and Seven Nation Army. The children are using the four main instruments in the Samba kits and working in instrumental sections of 6-8 instruments rotating as a class so that they get to play all of the instruments in one session. The children are moving onto writing their own Samba lyrics and to compose their own Samba grooves that incorporate those lyrics.
Rules and Target Setting
Year 6 had a PSHE lesson where they worked as a class to decide what the classroom rules should be for the year to ensure that we are happy, safe, valued and learning! We discussed what mutual respect is and how we need to be tolerant of different viewpoints so that we can build positive relationships. In our discussions, the importance of forgiveness came up as mistakes will be made over the year and forgiveness is essential for our relationships to be restored. We discussed how important the rule of law is so that we all learn in a fair classroom and how each member of the class plays their part in that. By the end of the lesson, Y6 had agreed the classroom rules and we have kept them as simple and positive as possible so that we know exactly what is expected.
The children have also set themselves a personal development target for the autumn term. This target is totally personal to them and decided by them. We have made a display in class using the metaphor of ‘Pulling Your Socks Up’ which the children understand to mean work a little bit harder on something, and that is exactly what they intend to do. I will be encouraging and supporting them to achieve their targets over the term.
Democracy, Rule of Law and Individual Liberty
Year 6 have continued to learn to understand the term democracy and why it matters. We watched a video from the parliament website which is a great cartoon that explains a little more about democracy. We learnt about these key words: bills, parliament, law, government, prime minister, parties, opposition, opinions, monarch, House of Commons and House of Lords.
To help put this into context for the children we had a Burn2Learn voting activity outside. The children were asked various statements and had to vote. This involved lots of running around to get to the voting stations at either side of the playground.
We learnt from this activity and majority and minority with no debate, and discussed how it feels to not get your choice even when you have voted. We also discussed about secret ballots and the reason why this might matter, and about opinions. Every person has the right to individual liberty to have their own opinion and vote however they want to following their own conscience. Once we have democratically voted and decided the laws, we all have to follow the rule of law, and because we have respect for each other, we create laws that care for different people’s needs and don’t just think about ourselves.
As part of our Investors in Pupils work now, the children are invited to suggest bills if things aren’t working in our classroom. These will be shared with our Y6 school council reps who will consider the bills and then decide if a new class rule needs introducing – children will then have a vote and the majority rules.
Year 6 have also been working on writing a speech which includes ideas about how to make life better for people in the United Kingdom. The children will deliver their speeches in groups and democracy will be applied as they decide who would make the best Prime Minister based on the presentations within the group. They’ll be looking for quality of ideas, consideration of all citizens and their needs and a confident delivery too. Once the votes have been cast, the winner from each group will go through to the final round where they will deliver the same speech but to the full class. Again, all the children will have a vote and we’ll find out who would make the best Prime Minister in our class.
The children have now completed their speeches and the standard of ideas presented were absolutely incredible. Well done to every single pupil as you really put a lot of effort into this task. It’s not easy speaking in front of people but we are proud that you all managed it to a superb standard. The person nominated as our class Prime Minister was R’dli whose speech really was top class!
Mental Health Week
Year 6 enjoyed National Smile Day on Monday to launch Mental Health Week. We have also been having lessons about why it’s important to keep our minds happy and healthy and how to do that. The children made lots of suggestions about how to keep their mental health well, and really enjoyed making posters to share their messages. These will be displayed around school.