Spring Term 1
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 will continue with War and Justice due to the great interest taken in it last half term by the children; we still have lots of things to learn about in this area so it will be great to continue it for a little longer. After that, we will move onto the theme of Mysteries which will take us through to the end of the Spring term. I can’t wait to get started.
Class Collective Worship
The children continue to enjoy taking turns to dress the altar at the start of class collective worship. As this is starting, the other children find themselves a little space to start to settle and focus on their breathing which is a lovely way to calm and settle ready to feel the presence of God with use. As this is happening, we usually enjoy a hymn or song which the children can start to join in when they are ready, as it suits as some children like to close their eyes and remain quiet. Worship is a personal experience so we allow the children to participate in a way that suits them. Collective worship is always linked to the statement of the week and includes time to listen to the word of God and time for private reflection. Over the half term so far we have listened to readings from Luke 2:6-7, Matthew 3:1-12, Matthew 3:13-17, Colassians 3:17 and many more. After the reading, we reflect in the silence of our own hearts and think about how we can put this into practice.
This half term it has been lovely to invite the parents in to take part in class worship alongside their child. The feedback from this has been really positive from both parents and children.
Judaism and Passover
In RE we have started to learn more about Judaism. The children started by recalling some learning from last year in Year 5 when they remembered a Jewish visitor coming into school to talk about her faith and she brought some artefacts for the children to look at too. Interestingly, the children were quite excited to recall eating some of the matzah bread which they said was delicious! Year 6 then enjoyed a Burn2Learn session to get active on a dull January morning. Off they shot around the school grounds in linked groups to find the hidden words. These words then became the focus of the lesson where the children used Ipads and dictionaries to learn the meaning of the words. All the words were linked to Judaism. The children made glossaries of the words, and were encouraged to delve deeper beyond the initial research to really make sure they understood what the words meant. At the start of the lesson, very few words were familiar but by the end, each child self-assessed and had made progress understanding them. To finish off, they matched some pictures to the words in their glossary to aid further understanding. During the lesson, Canon Nunon joined us and helped to add more meaning to the vocabulary and helped us to move onto our next step which is learning about Passover.
Year 6 have now also learnt about the major Jewish celebration of Passover. We watched a very child friendly video several times and discussed the meaning as we watched. Some of it was changed to reflect a young child’s idea behind the story but Year 6 were mature enough to be able to spot this and almost translate it which was interesting to see them doing quite naturally.
Passover story brought more key words for us to consider the meaning of through discussion. The children also collated a word bank of their own to reflect the feelings of the Israelites who were slaves. These are now displayed on our working wall and will be used at a later date for some SPAG work.
Year 6 have also been learning about how Passover is celebrated by Jews with a series of rituals. Each ritual symbolises a different part of the story of Exodus. The children researched the Sedar plate and drew their own as a visual way of understanding what it would look like and the meaning behind it. They labelled the different parts of the Sedar plate with the meaning behind the food. The plates looked really good by the end of the lesson and the children’s understanding had developed more too.
Year 6 have also been learning about the reasons why we make the sign of the cross. This is something we do so many times every day but do we really understand why we are doing this? The children had their own ideas as a starting point but we also watched a video of a priest who tells you beautifully why we make the sign of the cross. We finished the RE lesson with a prayer and extra thought to why we were making the sign of the cross as we finished our prayer.
Year 6 have been learning the reasons why it is important to ask for forgiveness and forgive too. This is not easy but we talked about how we all make mistakes (adults included) and that we just need to recognise our mistakes and learn from them trying not to make the same mistake again. We looked at several Bible references that teach us how important it is to put things right with our ‘brothers’ before we go to church to ask God for forgiveness.
Matt 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23,24, Jesus says: if you realise someone has something against you, (that is, if it’s your fault,) then you go to them and settle it. But He addresses the other scenario in Matthew 18:15. “If your brother sins against you, (that is, if it’s their fault) then you go to him….!” We talked about how challenging this is but when a relationship breaks down, regardless of who is at fault, Jesus asks us to initiate reconciliation.
We also thought about how it feels to be reconciled, forgiven and which parables Jesus told to teach us about mistakes and forgiveness.
In English so far this term, Year 6 have worked on using punctuation for parenthesis. They were fairly confident quickly with this as they remembered using brackets in Y5 which is one type of parenthesis, so only needed to learn about dashes and commas. All the practise was embedded within the context of our class book, War Horse, which they are becoming very familiar with and thoroughly enjoy. The children composed some sentences of their own, again using War Horse, and used the different types of parenthesis.
Year 6 have also been planning to write a letter in role as a solider to his wife back at home. We had a fantastic role-play outside to kick start this day. All the children lined up and had camouflage face paint put on. We did some drills in the playground to get into character and then got cracking on their first task. When they entered the classroom, they had to crack 25 codes to find their place to sit. These were linked to their date of births so it was interesting seeing the children trying to solve which number belonged to them without any clues – they quickly realised! This then became their soldier number for the day. At their places, they also found a soldiers helmet to wear for protection as battle was imminent!
We then watched a fantastic short film which was actually a TV advert from 2014. More details to follow.
Year 6 have also been spending some quality time learning to edit and improve work to a really high standard; we are not talking about the odd spelling mistake or piece of punctuation, but focusing more on adding depth of detail, quality of impact on the reader and the dynamics in writing. We took part in some shared writing lessons where samples were taken from the children’s books and worked on together as a class. A common theme which needed working on was the speed at which their writing progresses and the impact this has on the reader. We have therefore been working on slowing down the action so that there are not big jumps from one time to another unless this particularly suited the impact you are trying to create. To help us to edit well, we are using A.R.M.S (adding, removing, moving and substituting). The children really enjoyed these sessions and the impact on their own writing was fantastic. It was great to see this skill being applied in history when they wrote as Rose, a Land Army Woman; it was so exciting to see the standard of their writing increase so quickly by some simple sessions working on shared writing. We will definitely be doing this more as it really does support the children’s skills at editing and improving when they come to write independently.
Year 6 have also been working on their writing skills in geography where they have been trying to apply their ability to explain and give examples (like we do in guided reading) to compare and contrast different geographical representations of locations. Good quality writing skills and quality explanations (Point. Explain. Example) were key the success of these lessons. See geography section further down for full details.
Year 6 have been having lots of time allocated during the day to work on the whole school Readathon which we are currently running to raise money to buy more reading books for the school. They can choose any reading material they like as long as they are reading.
To go alongside the Readathon, Year 6 English lessons for this week have had a great reading focus. They have been working on their skimming and scanning skills to retrieve information quickly from texts. They have also been working on language skills to think about authorial intent by the choice of words. Inference skills also remain a key focus of reading lessons (and other subjects when they lend themselves) and the children are becoming really good at backing up their ideas with evidence from the text (we call it PEEing: point, example, example).
These skills have been applied also to our class text which is War Horse. They have been looking for evidence in the text of Joey’s changing emotions when he was taken from Albert and sold to Captain Nichols. The mixture of changing emotions is a key theme of Chapter 4 and one which provided really rich opportunities to PEE. Chapter 5 also allowed for such opportunities but from the perspective of Captain Nichols and shows Captain Nichols sensitive side as he deals with a very upset Albert who is desperate to go to war to stay with Joey even though he is too young.
The children have lots of opportunities across the curriculum to apply their reading skills. We are having a huge push on inference and backing up ideas with evidence from the text; this works really well in other lessons too so the children’s confidence has really grown over this half term and they are now able to apply this with confidence when completing assessments too – well done Y6!
Year 6 have been learning to multiply fractions. To start this off, some calculations were displayed and the children looked to see if they could see a pattern emerging. Then visuals were used to support the calculations and the children discussed with partners what they thought the top tips should be to be able to multiply fractions. A similar pattern followed for mixed numbers multiplied by fractions. The children decided to make the mixed number into an improper fraction (fondly called ‘big heads’ in our class) and then multiply the two fractions together. Applying their knowledge of factors, common factors and highest common factors also helped the children who started to simplify their answers to take them to the lowest term in the fewest steps possible. To help the children remember this even more, Mrs Ward performed a rap which resulted in a ‘rap off’ – it was hilarious and even though we discovered that Mrs Ward can’t rap, neither could her opponent! Nevertheless, it was great fun and the whole class can now remember a silly wrap to help them remember how to multiply fractions.
Year 6 completed an active maths activity outside. The children focused on getting to grips with equivalent fractions and becoming more familiar with the most common ones, as well as recognising the relationships between tricky members of equivalent fraction groups. The children spread out in a rectangle around the edge of the playground. They each had a fraction and had to run and form a group linking arms with equivalent fractions that they found on the way. We repeated this several times with different fractions. The activity was great for addressing misconceptions as some children found they didn’t belong in any group and, by the end of the session, Year 6 became quicker and quicker at recognising their fellow equivalent fraction group members.
Maths Show and Share
Year 6 parents were invited to spend some time in the Y6 classroom with their children this week. Over two mornings, parents came in and experienced a typical morning alongside their children. We started with morning class worship linked to our statement of the week. After this, the parents took part in a maths lesson linked to using and applying maths vocabulary. The parents had to hunt around the school looking for clues to solve a murder mystery puzzle which involved lots of application of arithmetic skills, mathematical language and problem solving. It was lovely to see the parents supporting the children with their maths skills. Thank you to all the parents who were able to attend. The children really enjoyed having you in class. To see the feedback from our parents regarding these sessions, please visit the questionnaire section of the website.
This half term in Computing, we are developing our coding skills. We kicked off by thinking about ‘computational thinking’ and why specific instructions are really important. We first started by giving instructions to each other to instruct our partner to move from one place to another place. In order to move from A to B, one partner had to give really explicit instructions such as how many steps to take, how large/small the steps were, how to turn etc. Some partners soon found that if they were not specific with their instructions, the partner (with eyes closed) would not move in the way they had been instructed. This enabled the children to really understand why it is important we have specific and clear instructions. This is just like on a computer, iPad or phone – technology needs really clear and explicit instructions.
We further developed the concept of clear instructions through a simple drawing activity. In groups, one child had a picture and had to give instructions to their group in order for them to draw the picture (which they could not see). By the end, what each group had drawn was usually not like the original picture at all which further showed the need for extremely clear instructions.
A.L.E.X – Coding App
We continued to further develop our understanding of computational thinking through the use of the app ‘A.L.E.X’ using our iPads. Pupils had to work through a number of levels with increasing complexity. The levels required pupils to move the robot forward or to the left or the right. This also was a perfect opportunity to use some maths language and understanding of angles and clockwise/anticlockwise. As the levels increased in complexity, portals were introduced and having to turn a multiple number of times to face the right direction. Pupils would have to input all of the instructions before they could ‘run their code’. This then allowed pupils to further explore the concept of ‘debugging’ thinking about what didn’t quite work and going back and attempting to fix it before running the code again. This deepened the understanding of the need for clear step by step instructions before we moved on to even more complex coding.
We had a whole school assembly on Monday morning to remind all children of the very important tips to stay safe whilst using the internet. The key message that we took from the morning was that if we are unsure of anything on the internet we should ‘STOP, BLOCK AND TELL!’
Here were the key top tips we learned for staying safe online:
- Keep your personal information safe and private (don’t share it with anyone).
- People online are not always who they say they are (don’t become friends with someone online that you haven’t met before in real life and never meet up with anyone you speak to online).
- Ask before you share – think carefully about the photos you post on the internet. You need to have permission before you post photos of other people online.
- Think carefully about the words you use on the internet.
- If you see something you feel uncomfortable with, STOP, BLOCK AND TELL!
- Always speak to a trusted adult.
For more information on how to stay safe online, watch the video below that was shared in our assembly or visit the following websites for more information:
Safer Internet Day
Year 6 have been learning to read, recognise and say the names of clothes in French. We started off by just learning the name of the clothing and progressed to full sentences. They were also able to incorporate prior learning of colours into these lessons as they were able to say phrases like here are some grey trousers, this cap is red and blue, etc. The children are now at the stage of being able to read full sentences in French and can also recognise some French words/phrases from previous learning.
The children enjoyed playing a matching game to build their confidence with word recognition and to practise saying the words in French. They timed themselves and tried to beat their times on the next rounds.
Year 6 have been working hard on translating full French sentences to English. They have been drawing upon knowledge of colours learnt as this was included in the sentences linked to items of clothing. As well as colours and clothes names, they also learnt about different materials that clothes can be made of like silk, leather and cotton (soie, cuir, coton) In addition to this, they learnt new verbs like to buy (acheter/achete) and others to express how much they like something (J’adore, J’aime), etc. Putting all this together was a huge challenge but they looked for familiar words to start with and then worked out the rest applying their new knowledge. These are some of the sentences they have been translating:
- Je vais acheter ce pull orange et rose en laine.
- Je voudrais cette robe rouge en soie.
- J’adore ce blouson marron en cuir.
- Je vais acheter ces chaussettes blanches et rouges en cotton.
- J’aime beaucoup cette jupe fleurie.
- Mon pere achete une cravate rayee violette et marron.
- Tu aimes cette ceinture verte en plastique.
- Je vais acheter ce T-shirt multicolore.
Year 6 have enjoyed learning about WW1 so much that we are continuing it for a little longer to respond to this interest as there is so much more historical knowledge and skills to be learnt with such an interesting topic. The children have moved onto learning how to use sources of information to form a testable hypothesis and to construct a response. We started by discussing the vocabulary in the learning objective itself which was challenging but they quickly were able to refer to lessons in other subjects where they have already started developing these skills, for example, in science they ask questions and then test to see if they can answer the question. In terms of constructing a response, guided reading skills really helped here as they have learnt to make a point, explain the point and then back up their point with evidence from the text. After this discussion, the children were feeling confident and ready to start the task.
The children started by thinking about everything they thought they knew about rations for the soldiers in the trenches. From this a hypothesis was formed: The food in the trenches for the soldiers was scarce and mostly inedible due to the difficult conditions of living in trenches. Then the children had to use a range of sources to either prove of disprove this. We have lots of topic books in class which they used and they also used the internet. The children knew that if they found information about the subject, they shouldn’t just accept one source of evidence so they needed to check other sources to see if this was backed up. After some time researching and making notes, the children were in a position to construct a response. This clip below was a great starting point which we watched together; then the children went solo in their search for evidence.
All the children were surprised by some of the misconceptions they had to start with, and had deepened their skills and understanding around this subject. It was a morning full of learning related to rations as they then were given the task of sharing rations out equally for a troop of 50 soldiers. This involved lots of different approaches to dividing by 50; see the maths section for more details about this. It was a morning packed full of learning embedded in a topic which really interests the children.
Year 6 have also been learning about Propaganda. Although most of the propaganda posters are from World War 2, it was really interesting to look at them and interpret the meaning and reasoning behind them. We did have some WW1 posters to look at too. As usual, Year 6 gave their very best efforts and made lovely progress during the lesson.
Year 6 have also been learning about the attitudes and experiences of women in WW. We focused on the Women’s Land Army and used different sources of evidence to build a picture of what life was like for the women in the Land Army. The attitudes of the male farmers was also explored and how this changed over time as the women proved they really could do the work previous seen as only for men. Year 6 then wrote a diary as Rose (Jim’s wife who they previously wrote in role as when he experienced peace on Christmas day 1914). Rose worked for the Women’s Land Army and she recalled the events of the day in a diary. After the diary entry, the children then used the posters below in infer what attitudes these presented of women. The children used their reading skills to back up their ideas with evidence from the posters and included detailed explanations. These were fantastic pieces of work applying both their knowledge of history, writing skills and reading skills. Well done Year 6. You now have a really good deep understanding of the attitudes and experiences of men and woman in the Great War.
Year 6 have been learning to analyse different geographical representations of the same locations. They made a plan of the effective and ineffective features of both representations and then wrote up their opinion trying to compare as they explained. This was a challenging task as it involved applying geographical understanding whilst using writing skills. The children found it useful to think about it like a see-saw: comment on one of the representations and explain in depth (like you do in guided reading), and then comment on the other representation, before moving on to a new point.
This lesson also allowed the children to apply some prior learning from the beginning of the year when they went on a field trip. One of the follow up tasks from this trip was all about using geographical language around physical and human features of locations. The expectation was that their explanations would include comments about physical and human geography.
We will soon be looking at some other representations of locations to further build on this knowledge.
To tie in with the Year 6 study of the Mystery Tour (Britain since 1948 with a focus on 1960s) we are now starting to explore the music of the Beatles. We have listened to and analysed both Can’t Buy Me Love and Eight Days a Week and are learning to play Eight Days on the chime bars. The children have to concentrate really hard to play the chime bars in time and the correct notes – it sounds great!
On Tuesday 7th January, a large group of pupils from Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 attended the Young Voices concert (the largest school concert in the world). Our pupils performed alongside 5,000-8,000 other children as a single choir to a huge audience of family and friends. This year, we were joined by Tony Hadley, The Shires and Ruti winner of The Voice UK 2018. During the lead up to the concert, the children worked incredibly hard learning all of the songs, lyrics and dances for the show and they performed fantastically on the night! Their absolute favourite had to be the Queen Medley song – full of incredible Queen hits that some of the children hadn’t actually heard before. Our Year 6 pupils had such a fantastic time!
The Young Voices concert not only gave all the children that attended the opportunity to learn a brand new range of songs but also to perform in an extremely large ensemble whilst following the conductor’s signals. We hope that by providing our pupils with the opportunity to attend such a wonderful event that it will inspire them to pursue their passion in music in the future and will encourage them to become lifelong learners in music.
During the middle of half term, Year 6 were guided by Mr Cooper to be creative and come up with a short dance routine. To be familiar with the beats of the music and counting in 8, the children played a warm up game called ‘Follow the Leader’ which they found extremely fun. Whilst the music played, they were partnered up and had a minute to dance to the music whilst their partner copied, then switched roles. Mr Cooper asked them about why they chose the dance moves they did and how the music made them feel. It was clear from the answers that the music and its beat gave inspiration for their moves. Their next challenge was to use 3 actions; a jump, spin and slide in 1 count of 8 to the music, in order to get used to fitting movement to the beat. Some partners were able to do 2 counts of 8 in the short space of time given and got to choose their own actions. They were then given a different song to dance to that had a different beat, and different instruments, which they had to get used to. Mr Cooper asked the class to compare and contrast both songs, and then asked how the new one made them feel and wanted to dance. The answers from the first one made them feel really upbeat and crazy, and the second one made them feel powerful and strong but graceful too. They were then given the remainder of the lesson to come up with a dance to two counts of 8 for the first part of the new song.
In the next dance lesson, we replayed the fun ‘Follow the Leader’ warm up game. It was then time to merge partners from last lesson into a variety of groups whilst still having some duets. Mr Cooper let them know that this lesson they would be coming up with 6-8 counts of 8 for the song they finished on last lesson and was looking for quality rather than going beyond 8 counts of 8. To help the children come up with quality movement but still be creative, Mr Cooper introduced them to Actions, Space, Dynamics and Relationships (ASDR). For each count of 8 the children had to pick their actions (what?), space (where?), dynamics (how?) and relationships (who with?).
An example of this was:
- Action: Stretching with arms reaching up then out to the side like a sunrise
- Space: Group in a circular formation from low to high
- Dynamic: Smoothly
- Relationship: In canon (one at a time)
The children were also given the lyrics to the music for further inspiration for their movements. The first line of the song was “We could hideaway in daylight” which may have given inspiration for the example above. With a little guidance from Mr Cooper and practise over the rest of the term, the children were able to complete and perform some incredible dances!
After some fantastic work produced in PE this half term, Year 6 will be treated to one of their favourite lessons, dodge ball, which will be played through a variety of adapted games to keep it inclusive and challenge many different technical, physical, social and psychological skills.
First Aid Training
Lots of valuable life skills learnt today – well done Y6.
Keeping Ourselves Safe
For more information about what we have been learning about in this area, please see the Computing/PSHE section above.
During anti-bullying fortnight, as well as whole school assemblies, Year 6 took part in activities to deepen their understanding of what they could do if they see or experience bullying. We began by asking the children to talk about what the school already does to prevent bullying from happening and whose responsibility it is to tackle bullying. The children agreed that, although bullying rarely happens at our school, they should keep working to make sure that all the children at school feel safe and happy. After that, the children acted out role plays of situations they might see, both in and out of school, and thought about what they could do to help or stop bullying from taking place.
Alongside children from other classes, Year 6 contributed to a whole school anti-bullying leaflet. The class thought specifically about ‘Rights and Responsibilities’ at school. The class came up with these statements:
- We all have the right to be safe at school, to speak out and be listened to.
- We have a responsibility to tell a trusted adult if we are worried about bullying or see something happening to other children which might be bullying.
Later in the week, the children watched an age-appropriate film about body image and learnt about how the media can alter photos that we see online and on television to make the models seem perfect. Most of the class believed that these ‘perfect’ image puts pressure on young people to look a certain way and sometimes leads them to feel unhappy about the way they look. The class created some great cartoons about having a positive and healthy body image. The main message they agreed to put across was to remember we are all equal and unique.
Year 6 children took part in Bikeability training to improve their cycling skills and knowledge of road safety. All the children loved the session which took place over the 3 days, so they had plenty of time to practise and improve. Thank goodness the weather stayed fine! As well as road safety and cycling skills, the children learnt to self-assess risks and think about ways to manage risk in situations which without adults in future.