“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 Townsend. The words are so beautiful. Canon Nunan joined us for worship in class and had never heard this version before; he loved it!
Pupils from Year 1 all the way up to Year 6 led our Harvest Festival today. During the lead up to our Harvest Festival in school, the Mini Vinnies collected food items and monetary donations to offer to those people less fortunate than ourselves through our local SVP Centre (St Vincent de Paul). We enjoyed a Harvest celebration full of readings, prayer, song and dance where parents and visitors also joined us too. During this time, we thanked God for all of the wonderful things given to us each day and also kept those less fortunate than us in our prayers. What a wonderful time of year!
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!
Year 6 have also now completed some fantastic letters as Romeo to Lord Capulet to try to persuade him to allow Juliet to choose who she can marry. They started by evaluating 2 letters written by Juliet to her father. They looked at the level of formality and how it was maintained – this was quite a challenge as 500 years ago, the level of formality between Juliet and her father would be very different to daughters and fathers today. We looked at the letters to see if there was an overall appreciation for the status of Lord Capulet and that Juliet was subservient. We looked to see if the language of the play had also been incorporated. After that, it was time to get writing and try to apply this ourselves but as Romeo instead. The children loved this task and asked to carry on after lunch to get the letters finished as they were enjoying it so much.
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.
We also work on vocabulary in all the other subjects too as understanding words builds our ability to understanding texts whether that is when reading stories or non-fiction. If you look in our topic and science books, you’ll find a lot of what we call subject specific words which we collect as we are reading and learning in these subjects too. When we learn a new word, Mrs Ward puts it on the board and we do spelling aerobics to help us learn to spell it in an interactive and fun way!
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 enjoyed other lessons like this outdoors.
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 worked hard to improve their understanding and skills with negative numbers. This has been tricky but they have made good progress and are feeling much more confident now. They have been solving some really tricky codes using positive and negative numbers. They’d make great detectives!
Year 6 have also been working on their data handling skills. They collected data on a geography field trip and presented this data using tally charts and then bar charts. They watched a really useful video to recap on the top tips for drawing bar charts and then had a go themselves. They also repeated this skill using some data from a STEM experiment which they did. This data was very different to the data collected on the field trip so took some extra thought in terms of presentation and scales.
The children then answered questions using their data which included maths vocabulary like compare, greatest, least, average, scale factor, ratio. etc. It’s great to see the children applying their skills in other subjects (science and geography) and with the data being ‘real’ (collected by them through their experiences) they really engaged with the maths.
Year 6 complete lots of arithmetic quick practise to keep their skills fresh and improve their speed. These may only be 5 or 10 minute fast sessions but they really do help! The children are very motivated by the quick results they achieve through a little and often approach. Keep up the good work Year 6!
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.
With the intention of continuing to inspire our children, I arranged for Mr Foster to come into school to tell us all about his job as an orthopaedic surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary. Before he arrived, Year 6 made some life size skeletons. They worked in groups of 5 and built the skeletons carefully.
Mr Foster brought with him a real skeleton for the children to see and taught us lots of interesting information about bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, tendons and muscles. He also taught us about all the different roles in the NHS and how he has a team of people around him all playing a really important role in helping the patients get to surgery, through surgery and post surgery care. Thank you to Mr Foster for giving up his time to inspire our class to think about possibilities for their future.
Year 6 have also been investigating the impact of exercise on the heart and how the circulatory system works. They really enjoyed trying to locate their pulses and recording data using this. They counted their pulse for 10 seconds and multiplied it by 6 to calculate 1 minute. They repeated this for minimum of 3 times and then worked out average pulse rates. After this, the children enjoyed planning and conducting an experiment to look at the impact of exercise. They also loved learning about blood and how the red blood cells transport oxygen around the body to supply the cells. We had test tubes with blood (dark red paint), clotted blood (ketchup) and plasma (clear oil with red and white plasticine in to represent white and red blood cell). This really helped the children to start to understand something which we can’t actually see for real in class. They touched different size tubes which represented the different vessels in the body. The children then worked really hard to write up their investigations using lots of scientific words (predictions, conclusions, results, variables, etc) and methods (including recording data and interpreting). What a lot of learning has been taking place!
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
Year 6 had a fantastic day of STEM activities starting with a Sea Cadet Marine Engineering workshop led by Mr Lupton who is an engineer himself. He worked for the Royal Air Force for 30 years and worked for BAE Systems and designed apprentice programmes to recruit and train the new generation of engineers.
We started by discussing what jobs there are in engineering and science and then concentrated on what a marine engineer does and how they need to think. It was summarised as having ideas, designing, building, testing, fixing and improving but all linked to things that go in water or under water.
We then moved onto learning about buoyancy. To understand this, we needed to understand all about forces, density and how particles behave in solids, liquids and gases so golf balls, marbles and plasticine and cricket balls were needed! The children observed what happened when you put the various items into the bowl of water: the children were able to summarise that the density of the object has to be less than the density of water for objects to float. They also learnt about water displacement as this needed to be a consideration in the next part of the task.
This led perfectly onto the problem that the children were going to work on in teams: they had to use this understanding of density and buoyancy to design, make and test a vessel of their own, working within restricted measurements just to make it a bit trickier. All the children were given the same limited materials to make the challenge fair: tin foil, sellotape, A3 card and scissors, ruler and a pencil. The children had to design a vessel with the best buoyancy so that it would hold the most marbles. They had 20 minutes to design and make the vessel before the testing began. The excitement in the room was palpable!
The team work and communication was excellent between the children as they worked in groups of three. It was lovely to be able to stand back and watch the children working alongside each other, negotiating, sharing ideas, improving the designs as they worked, without any one individual dominating the discussions: every child was on task, included and engrossed!
Once the time was up, it was time to get testing. To be efficient with time, the children took it in turns to put groups of 10 marbles into their vessels and recorded their data in tables. The winning team had almost 300 marbles in their vessel which was incredible! My favourite part of the day was watching their faces when the vessels finally sank!
After a good tidy up (and dry down), the children then used their writing skills and knowledge of scientific investigations to write up the experiment, including instructions so that it could be repeated by anyone, and the results. They then presented their findings using a bar chart. They have also covered lots of maths vocabulary today like combined, total, amount, greatest, least, average, surface area, volume, scale factor, etc.
It was a day jam packed with excitement and bursting with new learning opportunities whilst giving the children chance to apply existing knowledge and skills too. We all LOVED it! Who knows, one day, one of the class might become and engineer.
For more information about joining the Sea Cadets, see the link below:
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!
The final step to any artwork that we do is to evaluate it. We look for the things that worked well. We also look for the things that could be improved. Sometimes, it’s great to see that even when we plan our artwork and have an idea about what we are aiming for, things don’t go to plan but we can be pleased with ‘happy mistakes’ – these are things that we don’t plan to do but actually look great anyway! Having a positive mindset in our approach to art is really important and we talk often about how our first draft can always be improved. With practise, our art can get better – we just need to be creative and have a go!
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.
Computing & DT
Year 6 enjoyed a workshop using Lego WeDo to create and program models using Lego and a tablet. They used their building and team working skills to create the models and their programming skills to program the models to move. The models contained sensors and sound, so the children were able to see how the models reacted when they were run. There was a lot of fun recording and experimenting with the sound!
This was a great way to learn observation skills, as the children had to follow the Lego instructions to make the model work in the correct way. If it didn’t work, they then had to use their critical thinking and problem solving skills to find out why.
The children started to understand how to use pulleys, levers and linkages, within the Lego models. The pictures below, show some of the models they built and then programmed to change the variables, such as speed. They built and programmed 4 models in total. Some of the models were used in races – it was great fun!
The Lego Robotics Workshop covered the following knowledge and skills:
- Observation, modelling and solution design.
- Introduce students to scientific fields by making them tangible and relevant.
- Programming skills.
- Collaboration and presentation skills.
- Critical thinking and problem solving
The children absolutely loved the workshop.Here are a few comments from the children:
“I have developed coding skills. My best part was Milo because I raced it against”
“I loved it! 10/10 – it was brilliant!”
“It was great fun and improved my understanding and skills in Lego robotics and computing.”
“I learnt to tweak coding (debug) to make the robot do what I wanted it to do.”
“10/10 because I liked building and then racing our cars and robots.”
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.
Year 6 are growing in confidence with saying and recognising French numbers to 100 now. They really enjoyed Burn2Learn singing and moving with numbers to 50 and then it was surprising how quickly they started to apply this to numbers to 100. Then the children worked on crosswords or word searches linked to French numbers. One of the tasks involved solving calculations involving all 4 operations and then translating the answer to French and looking for the written word – this was challenging but Y6 have a great mindset and embrace challenge!
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 enjoyed a trip to Nidd Gorge and Knaresborough Waterside as part of their geography learning this week. Nidd Gorge looked beautiful with all the autumn colours and there was a blanket of leaves for us to walk on – the weather was absolutely gorgeous too. We enjoyed looking at all the different features of the river, and we were able to see first-hand the processes which change the shape of the river over time; we could see erosion of roots and deposition of materials at different parts of the river. The children also collected data about footfall in different locations: in the gorge itself and the woodland walk, compared to the riverside at Knaresborough where there are cafes, boats and antique shops.
We enjoyed a picnic in the ruins at Conyngham Hall and then walked along the riverside. A very friendly cafe called Marigolds were happy to serve all 28 of us with ice-cream and we all enjoyed a delicious treat! After that, we marched up the steps to the castle and took in the spectacular view.
The children’s behaviour was exceptional all day – Mrs Frost, Mrs Prestwich and I were very proud of them. Well done Year 6 – I loved this trip and I know you did too. Check out some of the children’s comments below:
- “I found the river exciting. I loved the woodland walk!”
- “I really enjoyed the experience at Nidd Gorge because it was great fun and I learnt lots. The trip also helped me to picture in my head what the different features of a river look like.”
- “The ice-cream was my favourite part. It was a very useful trip because I learnt lots of new things about rivers.”
Back in class the following week, the children took their practical experience and put it into good use. They made tally and bar charts to represent the footfall at each location visited on the field trip. This was then put into bar charts which was a skill in itself! After that, the children interpreted the data and made conclusions about how the physical and human geography of the locations impacts on the footfall. I have seen some great geography and maths skills being applied with this task. Well done Y6.
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.
In the photos above you can see a warm up game called Tails where they have to take each others tails but also protect theirs, working on agility and decision making. We then progressed the Tails game into a game called Fox and Hounds, where it became a team game. Foxes had to protect their tails for as long as possible from the Hounds who had steal as many as possible in a time limit. This started to look at team tactics as well as still working on their individual decision making.
You can also see in the photos a game called “Jelly Grenades”. Two teams take a third in a court. The middle third is No Mans Land – nobody is allowed in. Teams take it in turn to attack and defend. You attack by throwing the ball (jelly grenade) into the oppositions third. If the defending team lets the ball bounce twice in their third, the attacking team get a point as the jelly grenade “explodes in to jelly”. If the defending team lets the ball bounce once in their third, and they catch it or it goes out, nobody gets a point. If the defending team catch it before it bounces, the defending team gets a point. The defending team now become the attacking team. We added in our own progressions to the game which included new ways of scoring points to challenge decision making and tactics.
Since the games detailed about, we have been extending our work on agility and decision making, looking to improve on a range of movements to deceive an opponent and then be able capitalise on it in a game of tag rugby. Therefore, we are hoping to see the pupils use a variety of swerves, fakes, dodges and sidesteps and any other creative and safe ways they can come up with.
The children have also been putting everything we have done so far into practice with some round-robin mini-games of hockey, basketball and football whilst giving everyone an opportunity to challenge their leadership skills and knowledge of rules by refereeing a game.
World Ballet Day 2019
To celebrate World Ballet Day, Year 6 pupils have been introduced to their first ballet lesson in school. Lesson objectives for were to develop the understanding of some basic ballet terminology whilst practising the skills. Our lesson included port de bras (carriage of the arms, head and upper body), sauté (to jump), echappés (to escape) and assemblé (step put together) requiring elevation and extension together with preparation for pirouette requiring posture and placing. We’ve also further developed our basic awareness of musical rhythm and tempo.
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.
Autumn Term 2
Welcome back. I hope you’ve all had a lovely half term break and feel fresh and ready to learn. We’ve got lots planned for the half term up to Christmas and I’m sure it’s going to be fun.
Big Sing Liturgy Thing
Year 6 went to Mount St Mary’s to take part in The Big Sing Liturgy Thing and what an amazing experience it was! The whole day was totally uplifting. The children learnt new songs, prayers, Makaton actions, dances and readings to combine together to worship alongside other children from primary schools in the Catholic Compass. The energy in the room was incredible and smiles were on their faces from start to finish. This was a truly moving and inspiring experience which we will never forget! Our thanks go to Mount St Mary’s and all those involved in organising this very special event. The Big Sing is an event which I look forward to all year – we can’t wait for the next one!
In RE we are continuing our topic Called to Serve in the Kingdom of God and will be focusing on justice this half term up to Christmas. Year 6 have been thinking about what it means to be a disciple and how we might imitate people around us who we admire; Jesus is the perfect example of who to follow by example. They have also been learning about the different types of miracles that Jesus performed and what these reveal about God’s kingdom. The children used the Bible to find the miracles and read about them. As they were reading, they had to decide if the miracle showed God’s power over nature, disease or death. They sorted the miracles into the 3 different categories using a table. They then started to look at how people reacted to the miracles and why that might be the case.
Year 6 have also been learning all about inspirational Christians who have fought for justice inspired by their faith and beliefs. We thought about what the word ‘justice’ means and how we are called to stand up for justice. To launch this area of learning, we learnt about a Oscar Romero who has recently been proclaimed a Saint! We learnt about his life as a child, his dreams to be a priest and how he had to postpone that dream to work and raise money to care for his sick mother. We learnt about how his beliefs and values called him to stand up to the injustice in El Salvador and how he died for his beliefs. The children were fascinated by his story which is summarised in a really child-friendly and powerfully moving animation on the CAFOD website.
The children took part in a hot seating exercise where I stepped into a pair of shoes and became Oscar Romero. The children asked me incredibly challenging and thought provoking questions. Volunteer pupils then had a go at stepping into his shoes and answering the questions themselves. It was an incredible lesson and all the staff were totally blown away by the depth of consideration given to the questions and the children’s ability to answer them whilst making links to his beliefs, values and often references from the Bible.
The children then learnt about Martin Luther King and started to compare how his faith and beliefs inspired him to fight for justice. The children collated a huge amount of vocabulary watching the animation below while learning about Martin Luther King’s life. We then spent time discussing the vocabulary, much of which was challenging, for example, oppression, censorship, atrocities, assassination, etc.
We finished our RE lesson with a prayer for justice around the world and guidance from God to put our faith into action to play our part in making the world a fair and just place to live for everyone.
Year 6 really enjoyed a Burn2Lesson lesson in RE this week. 19 clues were hidden outside around the school grounds and the children worked in pairs to find all the clues and bring them back to class for a sorting activity using Venn diagrams.
Once they had found all the clues they had to look for similarities and differences between the two inspiring Christians and sort their clues into the appropriate section of the Venn diagram. It was great to listen to the children’s discussions at this stage which showed how much they had learnt in previous lessons as they compared and contrasted orally.
Once this was completed, they researched a female Christian who was called to serve God and looked for similarities and differences between her, Oscar Romero and Martin Luther King. They wrote facts on post it notes about Dorothy Day and started to add this to their existing information in the Venn diagram. This meant that their Venn diagram needed an extra hoop and had lots more intersections to consider carefully. The children were challenged to ensure that every section of the Venn diagram included information unique to that section.
Year 6 really enjoyed their art lesson today which was to draw with more accuracy and add detail like reflection, shadows and movement. We looked at flowers and how each have different petals but how we can often over look this detail when drawing if not careful. We looked at how the flowers stand in different orientations: some wide open, some closing, some sideways, some forwards and some still in bud. We also looked at the width of the stems and how flowers don’t simply stand in a perfect line, but will grow more randomly. We then tried to draw poppies in different orientations paying attention to the petals you could see and the ones that were overlapping so that only parts are visible.
During the drawing process we discussed how artists will do different attempts to achieve the desire piece they are aiming for. You are unlikely to get the picture looking the way you want in your fist attempts so a growth mindset approach is vital. After their first draft, partners gave them feedback on the things that they thought looked good and the things they could try to improve on their second attempt. For many of the children, one skill to practise was an s stroke which should be fluid and smooth (not sketched). Practising this made drawing the stems easier on the second attempt. At the end of the lesson, the children then self-evaluated as it’s important to be able to give yourself feedback as well as others – sometimes it’s not easy saying things that you are proud of as you tend to focus on the things you wish you’d done better. It was lovely to see the children feeling proud of their work. One pupil said she felt it was her best work to date which was nice to hear as she had started off by saying she felt she wasn’t good at art. We can all achieve if we try!
The children have now moved onto their next project in art which gives the children the chance to work on their collage skills . They have been using different images all related to the Great War, tearing these into pieces and arranging them to collage the shape of a horse’s head. Some of the images being used included old newspapers, poppies, horses and soldiers. The children are now working on using water colours to create an interesting colour effect for the background. We looked at similar pieces by different artists to get an idea about what we were aiming to achieve, and discussed why we might choose to use watercolours rather than poster paint to create this effect – children enjoyed working with this paint. It took patience, imagination and creativity to try to merge the colours gradually and create something beyond a traditional blue sky. Once this has been combined with the collage, it should look great. Photos to follow soon!
We’ve been learning about square numbers, cube numbers and roots in maths this week. This is has been lots of fun as our lessons have included singing, actions, games and competitions. The children have particularly enjoyed a Burn2learn game involving hoops and lots of bouncing!
While learning about square numbers, the children have also been revisiting Venn diagrams.
Year 6 have also been revisiting how to change mixed numbers in improper fractions and vice versa. They enjoyed a domino game with a partner which helped them to practise this skill. The children have also polished up on their ability to be able to multiply and divide any number by 10, 100 and 1000. Singing the ‘Jump’ song and using the large place value chart at the front of the classroom really helped the children to visualise the digits moving to the next place value. They also enjoyed a tile task as a way to show their understanding of this. Once completed, a partner checked their answers.
The children have also been learning to find factors of numbers. They have a method which we call ‘drawing the curtains’ which helps them to work methodically to find all the factors. Once the children could find factors, they were able to find common factors. The children have also learnt about prime numbers as these are numbers with only 2 factors.
The children enjoyed a Burn2Learn game involving square and prime number recognition at speed. As usual, the class were keen to get active and learn at the same time.
We will shortly be starting to read War Horse so, to prepare for this, the Year 6 children made a glossary of words related to all things equestrian. This included vocabulary like canter, gallop, bridle, stirrups, colt, filly, skittish, jib, bareback, saddle, dismount, etc. Getting to know these words before we read will help us to understand the story and definitely improve our writing skills too as we will incorporate this language into different text types when we write.
Year 6 have been polishing up on their skills at punctuating sentences with subordinate clauses or phrases in. To get the lesson started, the children completed a Burn2Learn activity which was really active whilst also supporting learning. This game gave the children the chance to practise the skill in an active way on whiteboards as a team as well as keeping them active which they really enjoy.
Year 6 have this week been looking at different sets of instructions looking for common features and those features that also differ. They discussed the different structural features like subheadings, bullet points, number points, photos and captions, and discussed how useful they found them in terms of supporting their understanding of the instructions. We then made a list of top tops as a class to guide us through writing our own instructions in future.
The children then planned their own set of instructions to inform Captain Nichols how to look after Joey the War Horse. The quality of the instructions was excellent and the children self assessed at the end of the task to ensure they had included all the top tips.
The books in class this half term have changed to match our current topics across the curriculum. The children can choose from a superb selection of good quality books provided by the School Library Service. This half term, they can read fiction and non-fiction books about WW1 to deepen their knowledge and understanding in history, and non-fiction books about electricity to support further science learning.
The children are also enjoying doing some book recommends. At the moment, The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day by Christoper Edge is causing quite a stir. We have 2 copies in class and the children are loving it so much that some children are managing to read it within 2 days as they can’t put it down! The children who have read it are doing a great job of not releasing spoilers! This book was nominated for a Leeds Book Award last year and is certainly number 1 in our classroom at the moment!
Year 6 have enjoyed bringing in photos of them reading at home with their parents. They were challenged with choosing a book by an author they have not heard of or read before. They then were given free choice about how to present information about that author, and to get their parent reading the same book alongside them. Thank you to the parents for getting on board with this. It’s great to see the children talking about other authors and sharing opinions and recommended reads.
Year 6 are loving reading War Horse as a whole class guided reading text. They love it so much that they don’t want guided reading lessons to end which is fantastic to see. The book is a heartfelt story of incredible loyalty, hope and tenacity set in World War 1 which separates Joey, the horse, and Albert, a young teenager who becomes a soldier in the war. We are using this text in writing lessons as a stimulus to practise writing skills and to write for purpose. As we read, we keep discussing vocabulary and our Worthy Word Wall is bulging with superb vocabulary which the children have learnt. The children are then challenged to include some of these words in their own writing. Year 6 are always up for a challenge!
Year 6 have really enjoyed science week. We have worked on our investigation skills building on the success with this last last half term. The children investigated how the size of an object being dropped would impact on the size of the crater created by it. We linked this to our theme of WW1 which really excited the children as you will be able to see from the photographs below. The children planned the investigation, gathered the equipment and then conducted the experiment measuring and recording very carefully the results so that they could be interpreted looking for patterns, etc. Just for a bit of fun, the children used toy soldiers in their experiment. We didn’t want to to interfere with the results so we kept them out of the way of the actual space where the ‘bombs’ were being dropped until the end, but it made the context of the science a little more real for the children. I was really impressed throughout the experiment to hear the children reasoning and problem solving to ensure that all the conditions were correct so that this would be a fair test. They also came up with some good follow up questions, for example, would the depth of the sand have an impact as we ensured our sand was 2 cm deep but would the crater be larger if the sand was deeper? Year 6 would now like to keep the equipment (including toy soldiers) in class just for fun!
Also, as part of the school science week celebration, Year 5 and Year 3 held a fantastic Science Fair . Year 6 enjoyed exploring all the projects in both classrooms. There was such a range of stalls including electricity tasks, dissolving, reactions to make lava for a volcano, lava lamps, exploring senses including sense of smell and sense of touch and much more! Year 6 came back from the science fair chatting about the different tasks they took part in and some were already planning replicating these at home as they enjoyed it so much. Check out the pictures below to see some of the projects that Year 6 saw during the science fair. Thank you Y5 and Y3 for working hard to provide a superb experience to further enhance interest in science – we loved it!
Year 6 have also been really excited about exploring building circuits using different components.They worked with their partners and then problem solved to make the circuits work. The children then drew their circuits and learnt the importance of using standard symbols so that everyone could understand the circuits. They have learnt about how a complete circuit is needed and can look at diagrams to say if a circuit is complete or not.
Using iMovie to Make a Documentary
Year 6 are really enjoying their computing lessons. They started by planning what the topic of their documentary would be and made sure they could narrow it down to be really specific. This was linked to the current topic of history so there were lots of really exciting ideas, for example the role of dogs and horses in WW1, the role of unusual animals like monkeys, elephants, pigeons and even slugs! Once they decided their title and key questions which needed answering in the documentary, they then looked at conducting some quality research. The children learnt to split screen at this stage which is a really useful tip as you are able to research and make notes without switching between apps. Once this was planned and completed, the children then searched for relevant images to link to the topic; the best images would be ones that supported the documentary, almost visually answering the questions they planned to cover. They saved the images to their photo albums to retrieve later.
At this point, it was time to open iMovie and familiarise themselves with the different sections of the main screen. The children then used the media browser to retrieve their images for the documentary and start to sequence them in a logical order. The children have learnt about transitions between the images to create a pleasing effect for the viewer and how to use Ken Burns effects to enhance the visuals of the documentary. They also learnt how to adjust the timings so that the images and sound worked together as one.
Year 6 have also been learning about how to film themselves and then import this onto their documentary using a green screen – they absolutely loved this as they have seen this kind of effect used in films and it makes your documentary look really professional. Some of the children experimented trying to make their own green screen while they waited to use the professional one – we found a green display in the classroom and a table that did the job with a couple of children holding it behind! Lots of children like the idea of aspiring to be involved in film making when they are older due to special effects they can create in the film industry using green screen. Their filming will need working on over the next few sessions as the children can feel really self conscious being filmed. We will now use DV prompter to script our words on an autocue like a TV presenter so that the children can polish the overall presentation maintaining good eye contact with the audience.
As well as learning to include images and videos, the children have learnt how to record sound and include this. It’s not easy recording your own voice and ensuring the quality of the sound is professional so this took several attempts. Another skill they learn to do was to include text like captions, titles and credits. We discussed where you would see these on TV on a daily basis, for example, on news reports when the reporters name tends to be displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Now that the children have learnt lots of the IT skills needed to make the documentary, they will work on improving and developing it further so that it looks really professional.
Design & Technology
The children have been practising cutting and folding with precision – that sounds really easy but it does actually need practise, and with the task they were set, it all relied on precision or the final result would have looked very different to what we were aiming for! The children have made some remembrance day wreaths which look really nice on our prayer table now. All the children will take theirs home to remind them of the soldiers who gave their lives for their country. We remember them this Sunday on Remembrance Day.
Year 6 have enjoyed developing their stitching techniques so that they can use a combination of stitches to join materials. They are currently experimenting with running stick, back stitch, cross stitch, blanket stitch and some others which give a really lovely visual effect on fabrics. They are also learning to embellish by attach decorations like sequins and bells. Before they started stitching, they planned their stitches on spotted paper to give them a guide to work towards. They are currently practising on binka and once they have mastered a range of stitches and securing the threads at the end, they will move onto joining material to make a Christmas stocking. It has been lovely working on this seeing growth mind-set at it’s best! I was particularly delighted when some children asked if they could take it home to continue working on it as they had enjoyed it so much. One boy asked if he could take it home immediately as he was keen to show his parents what he had achieved – he was so proud as he thought he wouldn’t be able to do it but actually did a great job!
Now that the children have the knowledge of different types of stitches and the skills to be able to sew a range themselves, we have been looking at other handmade products available to buy and evaluating them. We stayed with the Christmas theme and looked at a wide range of Christmas decorations. The children had their top tips to follow which included by starting simply with discussing orally what they liked about each product and perhaps what they disliked. It’s important that we recognise that we all have different tastes so some products appeal to some of us and not others. After that, they independently evaluated the products commenting on the use of colour, stitches and embellishment. The children self-assessed as they worked to ensure that their evaluations were thorough and covered all 3 aspects.
After looking at these products already available on the market, they used this inspiration to plan and design their own Christmas decorations which they will shortly be making. The children love DT and are looking forward to getting on to the making of their product. Before we can do that, we need to look at how we can progress our sewing skills to move from Binka to felt which doesn’t have holes already spaced out for us. A little practise on felt is therefore needed before we dive into making the actual Christmas decoration. We have lots to do as Christmas is fast approaching!
Year 6 have really been engaged in their current topic about WW1 so a practical arts workshop was lead by Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide and former Head of Armoury at the Royal Opera House.She was very excited to be running this workshop for Year 6 and the children certainly enjoyed the experience. In the workshop, the children explored the life of a maker working behind the scenes of opera and ballet, and the richness and vibrancy that a life in the arts can bring. The children explored career diversity and traditional craft skills, culminating in 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, 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.
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. Photos and children’s comments will soon follow.
French: Notre Monde
This half term Year 6 are learning all about the world around them and started by learning the names of lots of different animals, both domestic and wild. We have been working really hard on improving our pronunciation of the words, phrases and even full sentences. The class have completed word searches to learn to spell the French words and cross words to practise translating English to French. The children translated full sentences written in French into English. They also enjoyed another game of the music dance mat but this time had to match the animal word in French to the animal’s picture. This is a fast and fun game and the children are able to see progress each time as the score improves round by round.
The children have also been learning about different climates around the world. They have been learning to say how hot it is in different countries, applying their knowledge of numbers from the last half term. They have also been learning to say how cold it is in different countries. Other new language was learnt about mountains, valleys and different animals in the differing habitats.
This half term, our topic is all about World War 1. Year 6 have started this by learning all about Armistice Day. They also completed some activities around word meaning and spellings associated words with Armistice day. They then made wreaths in DT and used these on the prayer table for our worship this week when we have been thinking about the importance of peace and how we can put our faith into action to help achieve this.
Moving on with our learning about World War 1, the children have been learning about why the war started. After this, they worked on their inference skills using only images from WW1. They had to look deeply at the picture to give details about what they could see, what this made then think and wonder. The level of detail that the children went into was excellent!
Year 6 have also really enjoyed making a film documentary using their developing knowledge about WW1. They were able to choose an area that they were particularly interested in, for example, the role of animals, trench warfare, etc.and put together a really professional looking documentary using their computing skills. See computing section for more details.
To support the children developing a deeper knowledge of this topic, they have had time to immerse themselves in some of the excellent non-fiction books. They have free choice and can simply choose a book that they like the look of about WW1. While they are reading, they note down any vocabulary which is new to them and we discuss this in class at the end. This vocabulary work is really beneficial to support their knowledge and understanding, as well as building their vocabulary skills to draw on when they are writing at a later date. As well as vocabulary work, the children write down 3 facts that they found interesting from the book and share these with each other. So many of the children were so keen to share what they had learnt at the end of the session which was excellent to see. I was particularly pleased with the enthusiasm of 2 boys who were fascinated by how the war started; they were so keen to share with the rest of the class that they are now planning to lead part of the next history lesson where they have decided to use role-play and get everyone involved. I look forward to sitting back and letting the children teach!
The children have also been using their mathematical skills to design their own trenches. To start this off, they learnt about the different ways to dig trenches (entrenching, sapping and tunnelling) and how the soldiers generally rotated through three stages of the front. They would spend time in the front line trenches, some time in the support trenches and some time resting. They also learnt about No Man’s Land and how it was often covered in barbed wire and mines. They also learnt about the conditions in the trenches. Using this knowledge and their maths skills, they designed trenches which they really enjoyed.
Moving through the half term, the children have been working on improving their flexibility through dynamic stretching and comparing flexibility (swish kicks) after stretching. With these skills developing it was time to start working on time signatures and rhythm responses. Year 6 worked on creating responses to a set rhythm after working in groups to practise accented/even rhythms through claps, jumps, etc. This had links to music as musical terminology was introduced to aid understanding of crotchets and quavers.
The children then moved onto choreography. They learnt set steps and amalgamations in preparation for group based choreography. They will continue to work on this over the next couple of weeks putting their moves to Christmas themed music.
Year 6 have been learning about the concept of bucket-filling and how it relates to pupil wellbeing. Bucket-filling refers to kind actions and behaviour practised by each other. It relies on the analogy that every person carries with them an invisible bucket. This bucket contains a person’s feelings and emotions. When the bucket is full, this represents us feeling happy and contented. However, when it is empty, we feel low, upset and dissatisfied.
We thought about how wonderful it feels to have a full bucket and how easily our buckets can be dipped through unkind words and actions of others. We thought about how it can take a long time to fill your bucket once it’s been dipped. Year 6 were then keen to put this into action so made a private promise to ensure that they are not dipping anyone’s bucket and will actually go out of their way to fill someone’s bucket too. We talked about practical ways that they can fill someone’s bucket – these gestures don’t have to be huge, they just need to be kind and genuine.
Live Simply: Our Role as Citizens
As a class, we learnt all about what net zero means and how we can, as citizens of the world and disciples of Jesus, take extra action to become zero heroes. We need to protect God’s planet and reduce the impact of humans which result in things like droughts and flooding. Year 6 thought about how they can have high aspirations to protect their immediate community of Wetherby and moving slightly wider to the Leeds area. The small actions that they all agreed were very simple for them to achieve (both themselves and with their families) will also contribute in a positive way to making the world a more stable place.
We are going to continue with our Live Simply mission and try to do even more to reduce waste. For example, walk one day a week, reuse items at home rather than throwing away, recycle and make a big effort to reduce plastic waste, etc.
Health and Hygiene
Year 6 have also been revisiting how to keep themselves healthy, and one really important thing to be very aware of and improve further is basic hygiene including hand washing to ensure that germs don’t spread. The children arrived in school, and within only a couple of minutes, they had all been infected with Mrs Ward’s germs – glitter! By the time the children were ready for register, they started to notice that they all had little particles of glitter on them or were sat within touching distance of it; these had spread simply by hand from the moment of greeting the children on the door to register. The children were shocked that I had been able to do this in such a short space of time but this is how germs spread, so we needed to discuss further how to help prevent real germs spreading like this in our class and school.
We revised how to wash hands properly and all the children went off to the bathrooms to practise. We also talked about the importance of catching the germs in tissues from coughs and sneezes, getting the tissue immediately into the bin and then washing hands again. The children now keep a tissue up their sleeve or in their pocket to catch germs quickly as winter coughs and colds are particularly challenging at this time of year. The children are also trying to become of more aware of things that sometimes go in their mouths like fingers and the ends of pens – it’s important to stop these things going into mouths to further reduce the chances of infection. We’ll keep this high priority to help it just become natural practice for the children moving forward.
Healthy Relationships and Gender Stereotypes
Year 6 learnt all about gender stereotypes today. They looked at a picture of a strong man and considered who the strongest person is that they know. 11 children shared their ideas and out of those 11, only 3 were women. The children offered some great suggests though about how you can be strong in mind rather than physically strong. We defined stereotyping as an idea or attitude linked to gender.
The children then took some time to think of stereo typical ideas which they have encountered. They came up with these ideas: boys like blue and girls like pink; men play football and women play netball; skipping is for girls; makeup is for girls; boys don’t cry; girls wear skirts and boys wear trousers; men earn more money than women; girls have long hair and boys have short hair; mums stay at home and dads go to work.
To give the children a tiny feeling of what it might be like to not have the same opportunities as the opposite gender, each child was given a card. The card said either M for male or F for female. This decided their gender. All the males came went out to work (they played maths games and did exercise outside) and all the females had to go to the other side of the classroom and stay home. The females watched from a distance. Their choice was taken away because of their gender. This generated some excellent discussions and developed their understanding of gender stereotypes so that they can avoid stereotyping themselves in future. To finish, they came up with some hashtags to support equality. #womancandothesameasmen #everyoneisequal #againststereotypes #fairisfun.
Thanks to Becki from Catholic Care for delivering this valuable PSHE lesson.