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 lots of fun. We are going to have a Den building day where we’ll pretend to be soldiers from WW1. We are also having a DT workshop to make a leather map bag which a WW1 soldier would have used to keep his map safe and dry. We will also be having a WW1 experience from a parent who has a passion for history and a genuine soldiers uniform and a great story behind it!
Last half term, Year 6 were so excited to be back to school and embraced every single opportunity given to them.so I’m excited to see them back to school, fully rested and ready to learn even more!
Class Collective Worship
Year 6 have been missing singing in worship recently so we enjoyed a new song today to finish our collective worship with. We did all the actions instead of singing and it still brought a smile to our faces. This song links to another one of their favourite songs inspired by Mathew 22:34-40.
Year 6 also enjoyed the song ‘Our God is a Great Big God’ during worship this week to remind us of the reading from Matthew 19:23 when Jesus said “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible”. They stood and enjoyed the actions without singing but had big smiles on their faces. The day we finally get to sing again, I’m sure we’re going to raise the roof in worship!
Year 6 enjoyed making Remembrance Day wreaths as part of our learning about Armistice Day which is a perfect introduction to our unit of work this half term about justice. The children also wrote some beautifully thoughtful prayers for peace and to remember those who have lost their lives at war and their families left behind. They made links to what they had learnt in history about Armistice Day, including the subject specific vocabulary which we worked on to deepen their understanding. The children have taken these home to include the wreath and prayers in their worship at home over the weekend which will include Remembrance Sunday.
We also used the wreaths in our class worship at the end of the week to decorate the prayer table and be a reminder of our statement of the week which was to know the understanding of peace.
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. They really enjoyed this lesson as it started with some physically active learning outdoors where they had to search for hidden words which would later be used in their glossaries.
Just for fun and to get the children starting to make connections to their new topic of World War 1, the children enjoyed wearing soldier hats. It was also really good to see the children applying their knowledge and skills from the last half term to write a glossary.
After writing their glossaries, we did a whole class spelling aerobic session to practise spelling the words. After each aerobic spelling, a child was chosen at random and they had to explain what the word meant in the correct context. The class had big smiles on their faces as they were once again being physically active while learning.
The children self-assessed at the end of the lesson and found that their vocabulary understanding had increased significantly! I look forward to seeing this language being used now in future writing.
Another way that the children have started to make connections with their own experiences and prior learning was be recalling as much as they could about horses and any actual experiences they’ve had. Tasks like this always stimulate great conversations and it was lovely to see the children smiling when they remember particular events in their lives or of people they know. Also, living in Wetherby where there is a race course just a mile away, they are bound to know at least a little about horses!
Year 6 enjoyed at the end of a guided reading lesson about Armistice Day, colouring in poppies to decorate our English working wall. Some children chose red poppies to remember the soldiers and some children chose purple to represent the lives of animals lost at war. The vocabulary learnt in guided reading will really help the children when they move onto their history learning too.
Year 6 have started to read War Horse. We are getting to know the main characters and their relationships at the moment. As well as reading the text, Year 6 have enjoyed listening to the story being read to, either by myself (their teacher) or an audio version which can be found on the BBC website.
Year 6 have been working on improving how they start their sentences so that they have a little more variety. Subordinating conjunctions are a great way to achieve this so they have been practising writing sentences using some of these conjunctions. A funny way to remember some of these is ISAWAWABUB. They used a fan of this and wrote a sentence for each subordinating conjunction using Chapter 1 of War Horse as a stimulus. They had 3 images of the story at certain points to stimulate their ideas and give them a rich context to write within.
Year 6 have finished off some learning around factors which they started at the end of last half term. It was good to see they had remembered the efficient method to find all the factors of numbers but sometimes they were missing a trick to save some time, depending on what the questions asked for. So, to address this we did some reasoning around odds, evens, multiples of 5 and 10 to help make a point that you don’t always have to find all the factors of numbers to answer questions. For example, any number ending in 5 (except for 5) will always have at least 3 factors; all even numbers (excluding number 2) will always have 2 as a factor; any multiple of 10 will always have at least 3 factors and one will factor will always be 10. We also looked at divisibility tests for 3, 4 and 8 which really helps when you are finding factors. Rather than just tell the class how the rule, they had to work them out from given clues and looking for patterns. We’ll continue to work on these in a variety of different ways to build confidence and improve speed. Click below for divisibility rules.
We have now moved onto finding multiples of numbers and looking for highest common multiples. This area of maths is really easy if you know your tables and division facts. These are skills need to keep polished so we’ll keep doing lots of short bursts of practise to support this to be fast and accurate.
Year 6 have moved onto learning about square and cube numbers and square and cube roots. To launch this learning, the class learnt a song to be able to recall all the square numbers up to 12 x 12 from memory aiming for less than 10 seconds. It’s a great way to learn them and soldier hats were crucial as we went outside to do some drills like the army which they loved. We chanted the words outside and marched in the foggy playground. It was great fun! This foundation really helped when they came onto cubing numbers too. They then started to calculate using square numbers, cube numbers and the inverse to find the roots.
Year 6 spent some time peer assessing each other’s art work from last half term when they made their own Starry Night to show the use of lines, tone and colour to create a feeling of movement. To support them with growth mindset, it’s always nice to get feedback from a partner first to help you spot the best parts rather than focussing on the things you don’t like. Once they had discussed it with a partner and had feedback, they then evaluated their own work commenting on the skills they had applied, the progress they felt they had made and any improvements they would like to make if they did it again.
We have now moved onto our next art project which is linked to our topic of war and peace. We started by looking at a range of pictures of poppies and seeing which one we were most drawn to and why. The children used their writing and reading skills to give detailed explanations (PEE) using visual language. They practised this skill last half term on artwork by Van Gogh so it was good to see them applying their visual language skills again. The children produced some exceptional work, well written with really personal responses included. I was blown away!
Aiden said, “In my point of view, the light in the middle of the oval represents the peace and the dark outline of the border signifies all those who lost their lives in order to have that light. Furthermore, the colour of the grass creates a very downcast feeling and the poppies which surround the grass represents the hearts of those who have lost loved ones.”
Jessica said, “Furthermore, I like how there are some poppies which are closed, almost tear shaped, which reminds me of tears that people have shed about the war.”
Lewis said, “Furthermore, the colour represents the scarred and battle-weary battlefield by using black and white but the red represents the graves. In addition, the dark outline represents the danger of war but where it is a bit lighter in the middle represents the tiny bit of hope there still is.”
The class then moved onto learning to use a variety of effects to depict perspective and shadows. So far they have worked on drawing poppies all in a variety of different orientations and developmental stages: some are full flowers and some are buds or just opening. They are currently experimenting with shading techniques too to add a feeling of depth and shadow. Again, growth mindset is crucial and the children were pleased to get more than one attempt so that they could improve as they worked. After their first attempt, they self assessed to have a clear idea about what they needed to try to improve on their next attempt. One common area to work on was their stalks and making them look smooth and more consistent in width, so we had time to practise the skill of s bends and gentle curves first and then tried again. The class loved doing this artwork and I could see lots of proud faces at the end!
Year 6 are really interested in their topic of WW1. They started by looking at different sources of information and learning to look carefully at the sources to deduce information. A modelled example was shared first showing what a good answer looks like and then they got busy using the sources. All the evidence was arranged in an active game to bring an injection of physically active learning to the task which Year 6 always enjoy. They had to roll dice and use these to make a number which included a source of information. If they didn’t roll a matching number, they completed that number of star jumps and repeated the rolling of the dice until they did.
The sources of information included photographs taken at the time, paintings of events that happened and modern photos of artefacts from WW1 era.
The children used the idea of ‘I see, I think, I think…’ to guide their ideas and they applied their developing guided reading skills of providing deeper explanations too (PEEing). They enjoyed this so much, we decided to have a second lesson to carry on this task as it was just so interesting to look at the different sources. Well done Year 6.