“Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom!” Nelson Mandella
Mrs J Ward
Year 6 Teacher, Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Burn to Learn
Physically Active Learning
Year 6 Teaching Assistant
Christ at our Centre
Year 6 Worship
Y6 Class Curriculum Newsletters
Read what we are learning about each half term here:
Academic Year 2018/2019
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!
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
- RE trip: Big Sing Liturgy Thing
- English: Shakespeare Theatre Production of Twelfth Night
- History: WWI 100th Centenary workshop
- Marine Engineering workshop
- Speed safety workshop
- RE trip: Mosque
- Y6 Residential Trip to Robinwood
Autumn Term 1 2018
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 Pokemon themed class rewards which are given at the end of the day to the secret student if they have followed the classroom rules all day. The secret student is revealed and they get to choose 2 Pokemon toys to add to our display. Once the class have collected 40, they will have some well-earned golden time.
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 a Shakespeare Theatre production of Twelfth Night and a WW1 workshop to look forward to near the end of term. Obviously the Robinwood residential is the highlight of the Year and the children are already asking questions about it!
Class Collective Worship:
We have class worship together 3 times each week. This week, the children enjoyed 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.
The children also had time for some quiet meditation. We had lovely calming music on in the background and focused 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 followed.
After reflection on the reading, the children responded by drawing pictures in their mind of something that show’s God’s love. We gathered their ideas on little cards which were displayed on the worship table for the morning. Some children them asked if they could decorate our small tree with their ideas, which they did. We finished with a joyful song of praise: Our God is a Great Big God – this always makes us happy!
The children will be starting planning and leading their own class worship next week. I’m looking forward to it!
Year 6 enjoyed class worship in the prayer garden this week. Our theme was creation, and the prayer garden is the perfect place to reflect on the wonder of creation. We settled our minds and spent a few moments just breathing in the fresh air with our eyes closed. We then started to listen to signs of God’s creation – we could hear the birds and the breeze in the trees. We could also feel the breeze on our faces and the autumn sunshine on our backs. It was so lovely to pause and appreciate God’s creation which surrounds us every day but often we over look it. We listened to God’s word and had time for reflection. We finished with the children’s own prayer intentions. As a result of this week’s theme of creation, Year 6 will be bringing in some objects to put together an autumn box to use in our worship for the next few weeks.
Children’s comments about class worship:
“I like praying for others and talking about our feelings. I like sitting with the people we love and care about.”
” I like the songs we sing.”
“It gives you a warm feeling and a good start to the day.”
“I like how we pray to God and talk to him.”
“I like watching the prayer table being dressed.”
“I like having time to relax and realise how lucky we are. It also starts the morning with a happy and joyful thought.”
“I like sitting together in peace. It starts the day off calmly and reminds us that everything comes from God.”
“I like sharing my prayer intentions with everybody.”
“I enjoy being calm and close to God.”
Class Saint Feast Day:
Today was the Feast Day of Saint John Paul II so Year 6 had a celebration day. They enjoyed having a non-uniform day just for them and a tea party in the afternoon with sweet treats, tea or hot chocolate and some free time. St John Paul remains an inspiration to us today, and our prayers and worship for the week will focus on how we can learn from St John Paul.
KS2 Collective Worship:
Each week, KS2 gather together in the hall to take part in collective worship. Each year group takes responsibility to plan and lead the worship. A group of children from Year 6 started the year off with a very thoughtful worship which they planned in their own time. They included a candle prayer, morning prayer, a reading, time for children to reflect and respond, and a hymn. Year 6 did a great job and felt proud. I’m looking forward to seeing the worship developing further as their confidence grows. Well done.
This morning we had a lovely Harvest liturgy gathered together as a community. The hall was bursting with children, teachers, parents, younger siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. the Harvest liturgy included singing, dancing, art, readings, Makaton signing and prayers and was a chance to thank and praised God for the wonderful things provided whilst also considering those less fortunate and in need of our support in our local community and in the wider world.
We know that there are many people who suffer in poorer countries and we aim to support these people throughout the year with our fundraising events with CAFOD. This harvest, we wanted to focus on those people in our closer community of Wetherby and just beyond in Leeds who are also experiencing difficulties and in need of food supplies. We asked for food donations from our school community and the response was generous and overwhelming! The Mini-Vinnies have shared the food donations with the SVP Centre in Leeds and the Franciscan Sisters in Wetherby. Thank you to everyone who made donations and well done to all involved for another fantastic Harvest Liturgy!
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.
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.
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.
After this, we all went outside for some physically active learning and played a game linked to the parables. The children enjoyed running around in the fresh air whilst also reinforcing the themes of the parables learnt earlier. Year 6 love physical activities like this.
The Pit and the Pendulum: Edgar Allan Poe
Year 6 are enjoying an adapted version of The Pit and the Pendulum. They have been looking up words in the first extract to improve their own understanding of vocabulary. These words are then displayed on the Worthy Word Wall for them to use in their own writing at a later date.
It’s only week two 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 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!
The children have been working on their reasoning skills to develop their ability to double check if their answers are reasonable. This skill really involves some deep mathematical thinking and lots of knowledge of maths language. We collect words on our Maths vocabulary wall which the children have found tricky so that we can keep referring back to them regularly. Hopefully, this will build their confidence and understanding!
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.
Then the children enjoyed listening to the poem – you could feel the tension in the room as I read!
The Highwayman poem has many metaphors in it so we have been discussing the impact of these and how they help to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind. Our working wall has some super examples of metaphors on too.
We also had a lot of fun outside using role-play to act out different parts of the poem. When the children heard ‘freeze’, they had to stop immediately and hold their positions. Activities like this really help the children to understand the characters and the relationships between the characters and this enhances their writing skills later.
The children also worked well as a group to find synonyms for some of the key themes and emotions in the Highwayman poem. These are now on our Improvin’ It display in the reading area and can be accessed by the children at any time to support their writing further.
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 then planned their own love letters in role as the Highwayman writing to Bess. Then they wrote their letters using their plans and the top tips they 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.
English: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
We kick started our next exciting stimulus in English with a fantastic experience from the Shakespeare Theatre Company who performed Twelfth Night. 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, particularly Sir Toby Belch and Malvolio who had us crying with laughter. 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.
The Book Tucker Trial
Year 6 are busy reading to make their way through the Book Tucker Trial. They can read their school reading books and other books of their choice 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?
Healthy Lifestyle, including Circulatory System
Year 6 have been learning about how ideas about diet were tested in the past and how this has contributed to our knowledge of a balanced diet. They learnt about James Lind who conducted the first clinical trials into the effects of citrus fruit in diet. They have also learnt about different food groups. They looked at different food labels to see which foods contained the most fat, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.This was quite tricky and involved lots of maths skills involving decimal numbers, comparing and ordering.
Year 6 enjoyed being active outside playing ‘Tiggy Triangles’ with a science focus on food groups. The game is fast and fun, and provides them with an opportunity to practise using the scientific words and develop their understanding.
We are soon going to be making a life-size circulatory system – watch this space!
Year 6 were really interested in science this week 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 were really interested to learn about the circulatory system this week. It’s quite complicated and includes lots of scientific language but the children’s interests meant that they listen carefully and had plenty of time to discuss the key words and ideas. The children compared blood cells to a delivery driver who delivers oxygen but takes away the waste carbon dioxide to aid their understanding. They then enjoyed trying to find their pulses and measured their resting pulse rate 5 times to work out an average. This was tricky and once they have cracked finding it and counting the beats accurately, they will conduct an investigation into the effects of exercise on their heart rates.
Survive and Explore with Bear Grylls
This half term, our topic is geography based and all about rivers. The children enjoyed their first topic lesson where they had an active game to get them moving, engaged and learning new geographical vocabulary whilst having lots of fun too. The children then used the topic words which they found in the ball game to write a glossary of the words all linked to different features of a river. They also completed diagrams to support the glossary.
Year 6 really enjoyed another geography lesson today where they needed to use their maths understanding to read an eight-point compass to make sure that Bear Grylls didn’t get lost. They used the following language: clockwise, anti-clockwise, full turn, degrees, quarter turn, clockwise, north, north east, north west, south, south east, south west, east and west and direction!
To understand rivers, we also need to understand the water cycle, so we learnt about each stage of the water cycle using an interactive illustration. The children then made their own water cycle on freezer bags and were very excited to see the cycle starting so quickly as the autumn sun got to work in our classroom. We very quickly had evaporation and condensation taking place. By the end of the day, it was raining inside the bags! The children really enjoyed this activity and it certainly will help them with their developing understanding of the water cycle.
Nidd Gorge and Knaresborough Waterside Geography Trip
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. The children enjoyed skimming stones across the river and playing hide-and seek in the woods. We even found a rope swing to play on.
We enjoyed a picnic in the ruins at Conyngham Hall and then walked along the riverside. A very friendly shop called PJ’s ice-creams were happy to serve all 33 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. We saw the castle ravens who were enormous and a little bit cheeky!
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. Thank you to Mr Capitano for helping out on the day. Check out some of the children’s comments below:
- “I enjoyed paddling and the rope swing, I also 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. My favourite part was the rope swing and paddling, 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.”
- “I liked the ravens. They were huge!”
The children were exhausted by the end of the day as we had walked over 10,000 steps (4.5 miles).
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!
This term, the children, have completed their programming lessons using Scratch with Mrs Waterhouse. They have built up their knowledge and understanding of programming starting with sequence and repetition, building up to using IF statements, variables and broadcast triggers.
They have learned how to program broadcast triggers and IF statements by writing a program for a game called ‘Beat the Goalie’ game. The aim of the game was to score as many goals as possible within a specified time – the children set their own time variables and displayed their scores.
They have also used variables and random operators when creating a game called ‘Ghostbusters’.
The aim of the programming aspect of the computing, is to equip the children with an understanding of how computers work – programs within the computer. The logical approach to writing a program, also helps their problem solving skills – a skill which they can apply in other areas.
In Y6, Mrs Waterhouse taught the children how to create Graphics, using a package called Inkscape and the graphics side of PowerPoint. This term, they have used these skills to create images of WW1, which will subsequently be used to create WW1 collages in art lessons.
They really enjoyed this lesson and have shown some fantastic skills! Here are a few examples of how they have edited colours, applied filters and artistic effects:
D&T and Computing: Lego Robotics
Year 6 enjoyed a workshop with 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 the cars they built and then programmed to change the variables, such as speed.
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 Lizzy.” (Niamh)
“I loved it! 10/10 – it was brilliant!” (Isabelle)
“It was great fun and improved my understanding and skills in Lego robotics.”
“I learnt to tweak coding to make the robot do what I wanted it to do.”
“10/10 because I liked building and then racing our cars and robots.”
Thank you to Young Animators and Mrs Waterhouse for a fantastic experience which developed DT and Computing skills too.
This half term, Y6 have enjoyed learning German for their Modern Foreign Language lessons each week. They have covered a variety of different topics include introducing themselves, naming things around the classroom, saying the days of the week and counting from 1-20.
Year 6 enjoy their weekly PE lessons with Mr Cooper from PE Partners. This half term the children have been focusing on improving their games skills. They have been working on dribbling, tactical awareness, power, peer mentoring, passing, fielding and their agility. Mrs Frost also takes the class for their second PE lesson of the week which focuses on applying the skills learnt with Mr Cooper. Year 6 are always very enthusiastic about PE and love being outside and active.
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 in Y6.
Road Safety & Speed Awareness Training
Year 6 took part in a morning of activities learning about road safety when out walking without adults, car safety and speed awareness training. The children measured the speed that cars were travelling and learnt how the difference between 30 miles an hour and 20 miles an hour can make a huge difference to surviving a car accident. Year 6 also did some road crossing safety reminders as many of the children are now allowed to walk to and from school without an adult so it’s really important that they put their training into practice. Stay staff Y6. Stop, look, listen, think!
Mental Health & Emotional Well-being
Year 6 have been learning about this half term. This was a word that most of the class had heard of but their understanding of it was very unclear to start with, so we addressed many misconceptions around the term ‘Mental Health’ before we started to learn more about it. The lessons allowed us to learn what mental health is, what can affect mental health and some ways of dealing with this along with learning some everyday ways to look after mental health and who to go to if we are worried.
The children found it interesting to learn that mental health problems can affect anyone!
We learnt all about the Duchess of Cambridge and her involvement as the Royal Patron on the Place2Be charity, which is the charity that organises Children’s Mental Health Week established very recently back in 2015. Y6 school council will be taking the idea of the whole school taking part in the next Children’s Mental Health Week to their next meeting.
Mental Health is a huge subject that needs exploring with children much further, but we made a good start this half term and ended with the focus being on us working on our own self esteem so that we can be happy with who we are. To kick start this, the children work a poem about their qualities and personalities; the poems were called Unique! We enjoyed listening to some and I loved how each poem reflected the individual child.
We also took a moment to give each other compliments; we focused on qualities for the compliments and it was lovely to hear and see children giving and receiving compliments. I heard comments like, “I like how you are always kind. Thank you for being patient with me and helping me with my confidence. I like how you make people laugh. I like how you are encouraging when I am playing football. I like how you are patient and helpful” etc.
Moving forward, we will spend some time learning about the stigma and discrimination that can surround mental health so that we ensure we are fully knowledgeable and don’t ever discriminate.
Autumn Term 2 2018
I hope all the children had a lovely half term break and had lots of well-earned rest. There were certainly lots of things to talk about on the first day back in class, and we are very happy to welcome Mrs Mallory back to school after her maternity leave. Mrs Mallory will be in class 2 full days each week so we feel very fortunate to have such excellent support joining the Year 6 team.
After a very successful first half term, Year 6 have a lot to look forward to up to Christmas. See the class news letter for information about what we will be covering.
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. We have already 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. After hot-seating, the children then answered more questions by completing speech bubbles in first person as Oscar Romero. If the children were finding it tricky, they were invited to put the shoes on as they wrote so that they could imagine being the man himself.
It was so powerful to see these large, adult shoes being filled by our Year 6 pupils (some who literally rattled around in them as their feet were so small) and the thought that these children are the future and hopefully their actions will be inspired moving forward by learning about this incredible Saint.
Later in class worship, the children who were given the job of preparing the prayer table which is completed as a procession as the other children sing, brought the black, shiny shoes as an object of meaning for our theme of ‘Peace’. The shoes were placed on the floor in front of the prayer focus and I thought it was the perfect choice for this week!
Year 6 researched Martin Luther King who is another inspirational Christian who was called to serve for justice. Today the class enjoyed a Burn2Learn activity where they had to find lots of different clues all around school (inside and out). Once they found the clues, they used a Venn diagram to look at the similarities and differences between the two Christians.
RE: 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. Thanks go also to Mr Hodgson, the Year 6 Governor, and to Mrs Atkinson one of the school Foundation Governors, who came on the trip and thoroughly enjoyed the experience! The Big Sing is an event which Mrs Doran and I look forward to all year – we can’t wait for the next one!
Advent is a time for us to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day. During Advent, Year 6 will spend time learning about the symbols and meanings behind these. They will spend time preparing their hearts and minds for this special celebration and make sure that their thoughts are focused on the real meaning of Christmas.
To get Advent preparations started, the children made personal promises which they will try to keep during Advent. These are now decorating our prayer focus in class.
The children have lots to learn this half term in maths. So far they have polished up on their knowledge and skills of square numbers and learnt what a cube number is. They have practised squaring and cubing numbers and solving calculations involving these. They enjoyed learning a song about square numbers where a very bossy drill sergeant has them marching on the spot repeating square numbers. The children are working on recalling the first 12 square numbers at speed and are enjoying beating their fastest time. The fastest I have seen this done by a child in previous years is 7 seconds and Y6 are enjoying working towards this target.
They have also been working on their understanding of negative numbers. They have practised fluency with negative numbers and also worked on problem solving using their understanding of negative numbers. This has been quite tricky but with lots of practise and time to talk and share with partners, the children are making progress!
Year 6 have enjoyed learning about parallel, perpendicular and intersecting lines. I explained how much I like perpendicular properties as I like right angles and lines that meet at perfect right angles, so they searched around the classroom for things to show me that had these properties to see if I would like them – it’s amazing when you look around and see we are surrounded by these. We also played the X factor music and styled it out with some X factor arms to help us remember what intersecting lines are.
Year 6 have been working on improving their confidence at sorting data into Venn diagrams. They were a little rusty to start with but have made good progress this week with this. They really enjoyed the practical lesson using maths equipment which they had to sort into categories chosen by themselves. They used the hoops and labelled using post-its. Some children even got onto sorting using 3 hoops which really increases the number of intersections you have.
Year 6 have also been enjoying learning about related number facts by knowing just one simple fact. We had a Burn2Learn activity in the hall where the children had to collect a ball with a number fact on it and then work with their partner to work out as many other related numbers facts as possible. Of course, this was all done with the pressure of time to step up the recall skills too. The hall was noisy but fun and there was lots of learning taking place.
Year 6 enjoyed learning how to calculate missing angles. To be able to do this, they needed lots of maths knowledge including the total number of degrees inside a triangle, inside a quadrilateral, in a right angle, straight line angle and a full turn. They also needed to know the different types of triangles. With a partner, they completed a loop game to get plenty of practise working out the missing angles. It took a lot of perseverance and effort to complete the task, but it was a fun lesson with lots of learning taking place. Look how happy the children are to have completed the game!
English: Formal Letter Writing
Y6 have been evaluating a range of formal letters looking for common features and language choices appropriate for the tasks. They magpied some words which they thought would be worth keeping to possibly use in their own letters which they have now started writing. The had really good fun pretending to be a neighbour of Lady Olivia from Shakepeare’s Twelfth Night, and wrote a letter to her to complain about the rowdy behaviour of her uncle, Sir Toby Belch, who kept them up all night with his partying antics. We had lots of fun pretending to be posh and complaining. The letters are fantastic; some include elements of humour while remaining formal and authentic sounding. They will now have some time to edit and improve their letters which is a really important part of the writing process. I’m looking forward to reading the final versions and writing some more formal letters.
The image below helps the children to decide which level of formality is needed in their writing. They stick this image in their books and circle the picture which best reflects the formality which they will use.
English: Instruction Writing
Y6 have been writing a set of instructions to give to Captain Nichols who went to war with Joey the war horse. They pretended to be Albert (who knows Joey best) and wrote a precise set of instructions to help Joey to be as happy and settled as possible whilst at war with Captain Nichols. The instructions were great and the children really enjoyed writing them. It was quite tricky to write instructions which you would normally keep very concise, whilst giving very specific and accurate information to meet the needs of Joey who we love. It was also tricky to try to sound old-fashioned (as this story is set during the beginning of WW1) and include lots of technical vocabulary linked to horses too. The class are always keen for a challenge and did a great job. Let’s hope the instructions work!
Year 6 have been learning all about Remembrance Day in guided reading this week. They also read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written in 1915 by the medical soldier and poet, John McCrae, following his time fighting in Flanders, Belgium. The children will be working on performing this by heart in small groups, taking a verse each and using their voices appropriately to say the poem with meaning.
War Horse by Michael Morporgo
Year 6 have started to read War Horse which is a powerfully moving book and perfect for this time of year around Remembrance Day. The children have been looking at the vocabulary chosen by the author to describe Joey the horse and we have banked these words to inspire our own vocabulary choices at a later day. I’m looking forward to reading more of this story over the next few weeks. We plan to use this incredible story as a stimulus for our writing, and our first task will be to write a set of instructions on how to look after Joey.
Drawing and Collage
Year 6 enjoyed a morning of art with Mrs Doran where they experimented with a limited range of colours to create different effects. They were restricted to black, white, grey and red to create art work linked to Centenary of World War 1. Some children chose to collage, some children drew poppies in different positions and some children used string and glue to make coils and then painted then red to represent a poppy. Some of the artwork also includes the children’s own designs from their Computing lessons where they collated images to use in the backgrounds.
The children have had some more time to work on finishing their art work. This included editing where needed so that they achieved the effect they were aiming for. For example, in some of the artwork, the red colour of the poppy wasn’t vivid enough so this has been worked on and improved. Also, to add a feeling of age to some of the artwork, the children stained their backgrounds and added what looks like old writing on. Some of the backgrounds also include key vocabulary from history which adds an interesting visual element to the art too. Look how stunning these look now!
Year 6 have also been working on evaluating their art work. It’s important that we stop to think about the final result. Did it look how we planned it to look? Did something not work out the way he hoped? Did something happen that we didn’t plan but actually the results are unexpected and good? If we did it again, would we change anything? Are our art skills progressing?
Year 6 worked on their Christmas cards today. They had a lot of elements to build into the card with the focus being of a high quality finish in everything. Their cutting had to be precise. They had to stick in inserts inside which were carefully measured and placed for a neat finish, and they then had the fun task of using their art skills to embellish it.
Textiles: Sewing Techniques
Year 6 have been 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 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.
The Christmas stockings are now finished and are decorating our class Christmas tree. They look great. It’s much harder sewing into fabric than binka as the holes aren’t already there for you so I was really impressed to see the children aiming for consistent neat stitches, equal in size and with appropriate tension too. It’s a lot to master! Thank you to Anne-Marie who is a grandparent in school who came to help the children with the stockings. Photos to follow.
This half term, Y6 are building on their German language skills and are focusing on speaking confidently in German about their homes (Za Hause). They are also working on saying when their birthday is (Wann hast du Geburgstaf?). In order to do this, they are learning the names of the months of the year and to say how old they are. And with Christmas just around the corner, of course the children are learning a German Christmas song, (Weinachtslied – Oh Tannenaum). They are not only learning to sing this song, but they are learning to read the words as they sing.
Music: Musical Styles of the 20th Century
The children in Year 6 have been learning about different music styles through the 20th Century. This included: Swing and Big Band, Rock and Roll, Funk, Disco, Hip Hop, R ‘n’ B, Indie and Pop. The children enjoyed listening to different musicians from each style and even jumped up for a little dance here and there. The Four Tops really got the children on their feet and clapping along. The children also learnt about the history behind the music particularly how it came to be and where it originated. We’ll be building on this knowledge in Spring when we move onto our new topic. Learning about the different styles of music was also really interesting for the musicians in our class who may aspire to play professionally in the future or even become composers/song writers themselves one day.
Year 6 had a fantastic fencing experience today.They learnt about the fencing stance called “en garde” and the range of equipment used. They also learnt some of the history and traditions behind the sport. If anyone is interested in taking up fencing, there are classes running in Harrogate every Wednesday and flyers are available from the office for those interested.
Healthy Relationship 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; 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 to one side of the classroom to work and all the females had to go to the other side of the classroom and stay home. The males came and played some games of hangman while 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. To finish, they came up with some hashtags to support equality. #womancandothesameasmen #everyoneisequal #againststereotypes #fairisfun.
Looking after our Teeth: Visit from Leeds University Dental Team
On Tuesday 11th December, Year 6 were lucky to have the dental team from Leeds University work with them for the afternoon. Children learned about good dental hygiene and the different ways in which they can care for their teeth, including the effects of having a diet high in sugar. During the workshop the dental students discussed the many jobs that exist in the dental industry from the dental nurse to the orthodontic. The children had lots of fun dressing up in the different roles and learned how to brush their teeth correctly. Not only did this visit help us to understand the importance of good dental hygiene, but it was a great opportunity to see some of the possible professions that the children could aspire to when they leave school. Thank you to the dental team for coming into school today.
Year 6 have been investigating what kinds of exercise make their heart rate increase. In groups they enjoyed designing an experiment to answer the question: Does exercise increase our heart rate? They had lots of fun completing their experiments and measuring their heart rate – some children even used Mrs Doran’s blood pressure monitor to their test was accurate. Year 6 have also been working on their skills writing up scientific experiments thoroughly. They are making lovely progress.
We may have some doctors, nurses or paramedics in the making!
Light and Shadows
Year 6 have been reviewing their current understanding of light and shadows, and how light travels. They came up with as many light sources as they could think of and then sorted them into natural and man-made. Year 6 then investigated how shadows are formed and what happens when objects are moved further away from a light source. They made predictions and then collected their equipment to complete this investigation. They have also learnt about the key words transparent, translucent and opaque. They then selected materials from around the classroom and made predictions about whether the material was transparent, translucent and opaque.
Year 6 have moved on to learning about how we see things through light entering the eyes.
History: World War One
History: One Day Workshop WW1
Year 6 thoroughly enjoyed a full day workshop themed to WW1 activities. They learn to sequence the events on a timeline and learnt why the war started. They learnt about trench warfare and what life was like living the terrible conditions of the trenches. They enjoyed taking part in a slo-mo of going over the top into No-Man’s Land. The children also learnt about a poem called Anthem for a Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen and acted out the poem in groups.
Later in the day, the children learn about the Home Front. They learnt about life in Britain for those not sent to war and what daily life was like. They learnt about the activities of the civilians in a nation at war and how women’s roles changed and the significant impact this had on the outcome of the war.
It was a fantastic day to enhance the children’s historical understanding further. Here are some of their comments:
“I loved it! 10/10” (Isabelle)
“My favourite part about today was everything. I learnt lots of things about WW1.” (Emilia)
“My favourite part was the slo-mo walk.” (Libby)
“My favourite part of today was when we pretended we were soldiers in slow motion.” (Ralph)
“My favourite part of the day was the acting. I loved how we did some in slow motion and helped our friends when they pretended to fall.” (Alanah).
“I enjoyed doing the still trench pictures the most. 10/10” (Freya).
History: Parent Visitor
Today we were really fortunate to have Mr Wilson visit Y6 to tell the most remarkable story behind a genuine WW1 officers uniform which he brought in for us to see and learn about. The uniform belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Bury Vandeleur.
We learnt about his journey through WW1. We saw real photos of him wearing the actual uniform too! During the war, he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was the first British officer to escape from the Germans in the WW1. To help us to understand what he and all the other soldiers went through, Mr Wilson organised the children into groups: vets, medics, soldiers on watch, ammunition, communications and catering. One Y6 German soldier was also put in charge of the prisoners of war (POW). He had to try to keep the two POWs (Mrs Ward and Mrs Doran) from escaping. All the children worked hard on their task. Then an attack happened and they all had to try to continue doing their jobs whilst being under fire from the enemy. It was noisy and exciting. When the attack ended, the prisoners of war had escaped just like Vandeleur did!
We will use this fantastic real story as a stimulus for writing escape stories in the next few weeks. I’m sure they’ll be fantastic! Thank you to Mr Wilson for this really engaging experience.
Show and Share with Y6 Parents
Christmas Party Day
Wetherby Jubilee Award Winner 2018
Spring Term 1 2019
Happy new year to you all! I hope all the children had a lovely Christmas holiday and are ready for an exciting half term ahead. The theme for this half term is Mysteries and I can’t wait to get started.
RE: The Bread of Life
Year 6 have been learning about the Jewish festival of Passover. They have researched the sedar plate and what each part of the meal symbolises. They drew their ownsedar plate meal and then completed a matching activity to apply their new knowledge. They then wrote a prayer that a Jewish child might say at the end of the Passover festival, giving thanks to God for freedom and remembering the suffering of their ancestors
.In addition to learning about Passover, the children are now learning about the different parts of Mass. We started with reflecting on something we do many times each day: making the sign of the cross. The children learnt the reasons why we do this and these are now displayed on our learning wall which we can refer to whenever we need. When we say our prayers in collective worship and during the day, we will now aim to really think about this new learning to give this action more meaning. Year 6 also learnt about why we say sorry during Mass. They thought about how we can make mistakes through our words, actions, thoughts and things we fail to do too.
Investors in Pupils
Year 6 are working as a class to get better at transitions between lessons. The idea is that they work as a team on an area which needs improving so that everyone benefits. Transitions are already improving with this new focus so they are already ‘pulling their socks up’ which makes classroom life a lot more productive. Each child has also set their own individual target for something they would like to improve and these are displayed on the back of their socks as a reminder. Year 6 are also aware of the importance of attending school so attendance is monitored closely and we are aiming for 97.5% each week.
Year 6 have got off to a flying start with maths already this spring term! They have revisited multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000. A good sing always helps us with this so we sang the ‘Jump’ song which reminds us that the digits move NOT the decimal point. We have also been looking at the value of digits up to 3 decimal places. The children can now write these as decimals and fractions. On top of this, we have been multiplying and dividing decimal numbers which the children have handled confidently. Problem solving and reasoning is built into all the lessons so once the method has been cracked and they are fluent, we move onto the reasoning which can be trickier. We are almost ready to move onto some mystery maths problems which are sure to stretch our brains and make them ache a little!
Year 6 have also learnt how to round up or down when solving problems with divisions which give you a remainder. You really need to read the questions carefully for these as sometimes you need to round up, sometimes rounds down and sometimes the remainder becomes the answer itself. It really does take some careful reading skills to do this and we are constantly reminding the children to apply their guided reading skills in maths to become better mathematicians.
English: The Mystery of Harris Burdick
Year 6 have are already engrossed in the Mystery of Harris Burdick which is a superb book to hook their imaginations. The children arrived at school to find there had been a crime. Was this crime linked to the disappearance of Harris Burdick or are the events unconnected? The children got writing straight away and have been identifying verbs and then looking to see which verbs are powerful verbs. They then learnt to use verbs to show how characters were feeling through their actions without telling the reader first. Show rather than tell was the key to success with this task. Using some of the pictures from the Harris Burdick book, they wrote extracts to practise this skill as well as using their other writing skills to create a vivid picture. Their writing skills are coming along a treat!
Year 6 have been working on using prepositions to add extra detail to their writing and what a difference they can make; if they are used at the right time, in the right way, they can really add help the reader to visualise a particular part of the text. We started by looking at a short extract from Wind in the Willows. This helped the children to see the impact of using prepositions.
“As he sat on the grass and looked across the river, a dark hole in the bank opposite, just above the water’s edge, caught his eye, and dreamily he fell into considering what a nice snug dwelling-place it would be for an animal with few wants and fond of a bijou riverside residence, above flood level and remote from noise and dust.”
The children then used an illustration from the Mystery of Harris Burdick called The Harp to practise using prepositions in their own writing. They were given an extract written by me, to continue the story to get Danny and his dog from one side of the river to the Harp.
With his faithful companion, Shep, beside him, Danny stood in wonder on the bank of the river and gazed at the sight in front of him. It appeared to have a halo of gold hovering above it as if it was omitting some kind of mystical energy. The tales from old which had been passed down from generation to generation were actually true! For only moments along the way had Danny doubted this. His long, arduous journey across field and forest had finally paid off. There is was: the harp!
The children’s writing was excellent and I’m looking forward to seeing them using this newly developed writing skill in future writing.
Art: Visual Language and the Mystery Artist
Year 6 really made super progress developing their art skills of using visual language to describe elements of art work. They learnt about how to describe the use of colour, line, tone, texture and overall mood. They also tried hard to build in cohesive devices into their writing so that their ideas flowed within paragraphs and between paragraphs. The children self-assessed their work and then had another try with a different piece of art trying to build on their next steps identified in the previous lesson. I was very impressed and the children enjoyed learning new art skills.
Throughout the lesson, I was very careful not to reveal the identity of the artist whose work we were looking at, which was very difficult. The reason for this was that the children have been set a task to find out who the mystery artist is. They have been given a list of clues in the form of key words and a puzzle. Once they have solved the puzzle, they have to use their computing research skills to use these key words to find out who the artist is. All the children have been set this task and have been asked not to reveal who they think the artist is to any other member of the class. Each time a child thinks they have found who the artist is, they put the name in a box. We are hoping that, when we open the box, the same name with be in there 30 times. I hope it works!
Mrs Waterhouse and I have been teaching the children how to send appropriate emails. We have looked at the dos and don’ts to ensure that the emails are appropriate with a professional, formal tone. We recapped on e-footprints to remind them that everything can be traced so it’s important to make sure we use technology sensibly and safely.
The children then composed emails to send to the author of The Mystery of Harris Burdick (Chris Van Allsberg) to give their theories about what they think happened to Harris Burdick. The class picked this up really quickly and it was great to see them changing some of their vocabulary as they worked to make sure the formality was correct.
PE: Dance 1960s
Year 6 really enjoyed their first session of dance with Mrs Mallory. They are focusing on learning different skills each week which will then be reinforced with a dance topic. The children are learning to combine dance moves from the 1960s to perform an 8 piece dance routine. They will have the opportunity to work in groups, help others to improve as well as improve their own leadership skills. I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole routine at the end of the unit of work when we will have a 1960s dress up day; the dance routines will look even better in costumes. Photos to follow: watch this space!
PSHE: Peer Pressure
Year 6 have been thinking about what peer pressure is and the sort of peer pressure they might already have experienced or shortly experience as they transition to secondary school. There were some very mature discussion in groups about this and they have considered some effective ways to manage these pressures too.
Science: The Mystery of Electricity and Sound
Year 6 really enjoyed experimenting making circuits with 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.
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
Marine Engineering Day
Year 6 had a fantastic day of STEM activities starting with a Sea Cadet Marine Engineering workshop led by Sally who is an engineer herself. 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 balloons, coke cans and big bowls of water were needed! The children observed what happened when you put coke and diet coke cans into bowls of water: although only a slight difference in how they floated, the children were able to summarise that the density of the coke was greater than the diet coke due to the amount of sugar it contained, so this affected the buoyancy.
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.
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:
History: The Magical Mystery Tour
In history, Year 6 have been learning what it takes to be a good historian. They have learnt about different ways to gather evidence of historical events and the importance of being a critical thinker to evaluate the accuracy of the evidence – it’s very much like being a detective! They then learnt about different sources of historical evidence (primary and secondary) and learnt to sort evidence into these groups.