Spring Term 2
Welcome back after a blustery and wet February half term holiday. We have lots of fantastic things planned for the half term including 3 school trips: one RE trip to a mosque, one MFL trip to Queen Ethelburga’s for Zingo Lingo language workshops, and, weather permitting, we have another geography field trip planned for the end of the term. For full details of the lesson planned for this half term, please look at the medium term plan for spring 2. Let’s get started!
Year 6 have been listening to the word of God in class worship linked to the statements of the week. They enjoy looking after our prayer table and I am never short of volunteers to dress the altar. The children enjoying choosing artefacts to reflect the liturgical calendar, seasons and other themes in class. We will shortly be changing the worship table to purple to reflect Lent which is fast approaching.
Year 6 attending Ash Wednesday Mass as Lent has now started. They have also made their Lenten promises with a big focus on doing something extra in addition to giving something up. Year 6 will also be starting some activities to complete at home with parents for Lent activities. In addition, each child will get the opportunity to take the Lent prayer bags home to use at home with their families during prayer.
In RE, the children have been recalling some of the miracles performed by Jesus and the reasons why he performed them. They really enjoyed working in groups to role-play the miracles and include the reactions of others who witnessed it based on their beliefs and values. After this, the children stepped into the role of witnesses and wrote a response to their comments based on their own beliefs.
English – Reading
Year 6 are already hooked and talking about it! What happened to Harris Burdick? It’s the question that has puzzled many people over the years (including teachers) and still the answer is not clear. Year 6 enjoyed listening to the introduction of the Mysteries of Harris Burdick and were left to ponder over lunch time. When returning back to the classroom, there was a pile of post its all with questions to ask about the Harris Burdick situation. We will start to investigate these further and the children are already looking forward to writing their own stories to accompany the illustrations which sadly have not been reunited with their original stories…..yet!
To also tempt and tease the children further, we have more seriously mysterious books for them to explore. They are under strict instructions not to let any other children read these from other classes as they are simply too mysterious for younger children!
As well as mysterious books, Year 6 have lots of other books related to their topics in geography, history, art and music which they can investigate. They enjoy reading around their subjects and using the School Library Service books.
English – Writing
Year 6 have been evaluating the effectiveness of verb choices. They started with a Burn2Learn session in the hall where half the class had to put the powerful verbs facing up and the other half of the class had to put the weak verbs facing up, so no sooner did they put a powerful verb facing up than someone came along and challenged it. It was fun, got the children active while learning as well as proving a lovely warm and discussion around effective verb choices.
After this, the children relaxed and enjoyed having Hound of the Baskerville by Sir Arthur Conon Doyle read to them by myself and I modelled lots of thinking in response to certain points in the text. The children discussed ambitious vocabulary choices and word meaning as new words cropped up. We then stopped at a crucial point and the children read the next two pages and highlighted the verbs throughout. They then RAG rated the verbs deciding if they thought the verb choices were effective or not. This led to excellent discussions as the children had to justify their answers orally to start with. Guided reading skills came in useful here yet again as the children were giving more developed answers by PEEing (point, explain and example). This then progressed to written answers and I was really pleased to see the level of detail in the explanations. The class will soon be writing their own pieces ensuring more precise verb choices to express characters emotions, feelings and actions.
Year 6 enjoyed listening to the next 4 pages of this exciting story. Before doing this, they recapped on the story and characters so far. Then they sat back and enjoyed the thrilling story that followed. The language is excellent in this book so the children identify some new vocabulary which they didn’t understand initially like the words inert, gaunt, feeble and flank. These words will go on our wall to encourage the children to try to use them in their own writing in future.
The children then learnt about adverbs and how these add extra information to verbs, adverbs and adjectives. They then looked to identify the use of adverbs in the extracts of Sherlock Holmes from that lesson and made suggestions as to alternatives which Conon Doyle could have used instead without changing the meaning. After this, the evaluated the effectiveness of the adverbs giving full answers and explanations for their reasoning. I am really looking forward to seeing the children apply this knowledge and consideration now when they write their own mystery stories.
There is a simple and handy short clip to watch below which will help you understand about adverbs.
Year 6 have now finished reading Hound of the Baskervilles and have learnt some super vocabulary and writing tips from this amazing book to apply to their own writing now. While reading the story, the children have enjoyed visualising the plot on a map which demarcates all the main places in the story like Stapleton’s house, Baskerville Hall, Grimpen Mire, etc.
They have now had the chance to use inspiration from this great detective story to write their own extract for a mystery story using a picture from Harris Burdick as a stimulus. The children got to choose which picture stimulated their imaginations and then got writing from a given point. They really enjoyed creating a feeling of mystery and tension, particularly keeping the identify of a mystery visitor withheld from the reader. They then used RAMPS to edit and improve their work independently. What came from this work was the need for a little more variety in sentence openers and different terms of reference for individuals in the stories so we set to work immediately the next day to work on this. This should really help them to move their writing skills on to the next stage – we can’t wait to write more. The next story to inspire and challenge us will be The Pit and the Pendulum written by Edgar Allan Poe.
Year 6 have been evaluating an adapted version of the Pit and the Pendulum, and, after some practise using a variety of sentence openers of their own, they rewrote the opening extract improving any sentences which they felt were not ambitious enough; editing including adding more ambitious vocabulary/phrases, reordering words like adverbs to the beginning of a sentence to avoid repetition of the word ‘I’ as the story is told in first person, removing any words they felt were unnecessary, adding in different terms of reference for the narrator, and sometimes changing the punctuation choices to make the cohesion better or for more punch. The children’s writing was excellent and we really enjoyed listening to their adapted (and better) versions of the story.
Railway Children Performance – World Book Day
To celebrate World Book Day, we had a very special performance of the classic novel ‘Railway Children’. The whole school came together to enjoy this performance and were excited throughout the whole experience. From the characters, to the costumes to the wonderful set design, we were blown away with the performance and very much enjoyed the story. Thank you to M&M Theatrical Productions for the wonderful adaptation of this classic novel.
Well done also to Year 6 for dressing up as a character from a book for World Book Day. You all looked great!
Year have been enjoying revisiting 2d and 3d shape properties; this area of maths always provides lots of opportunities to use a wide range of maths vocabulary, in fact, the children RAG rated their confidence with words related to shape and the list included over 30 words including ones like parallel, perpendicular, properties, congruent, prism, trapezium, vertex, etc. The class enjoyed the practical element of these lessons where they could pick up and explore, compare and talk. Some children also enjoyed completing the interactive classifying games too. Classifying is also a good time to revisit Venn and Carroll diagrams.
Year 6 have also been learning to use inverse operation. They loved arriving to the maths lesson after break to find the Pink Panther music playing softly in the background. The children had to use their detective skills to look carefully for clues, work methodically and find the unknown values. Each word problem was presented within the Harris Burdick theme which the children loved! The top tips were modelled and then the children got busy. Some of the children started to represent the unknown values using a letter rather than a question mark or an empty box.
Year 6 have made excellent progress with converting different units of measurements and applying this to solve word problems where the units of measurements are mixed. They have also become better at suggesting appropriate units of measurements for different objects from very small to large. In addition, the children thought about the many different professions where it is important to be able to measure and convert things accurately like butcher, carpenters, currency exchange, bakers, pharmacists, nurses, doctors,hairdressers, architects, builders, carpenters, etc.
Year 6 have also polished up on their skills of calculating area and perimeter. They enjoyed a challenge of drawing their own shapes with given areas or perimeters where they had to apply their understanding of factors to work it out. Word problems were built in too for good measure allowing the children to apply their reading, estimating and reasoning skills as they worked. Again, we like to talk about the real world where maths is applied and other jobs they came up with included grounds men, green keepers, zoo keepers, farmers, carpenters and maths teachers! Interestingly, one of the questions talked about a carpet fitter and the word ‘skirting boards’ came up – hardly any of the children knew what this meant – now they do!
Year 6 are doing an excellent job of getting to grips with money and working out money problems. It has taken some practise but they are much more confident now. They have been encouraged to get involved at home now with handling money whenever they can to put this into real life contexts.
There were some impressive pieces of Science work during the last fortnight as Year 6 continued their work on Light and Shadow. As part of their focus on observing and recording, the children were asked to design their own experiment to investigate how changing the distance of the light source from an opaque object affects the size of the shadow. Firstly, the children explored different ways of creating shadows outside on a rare sunny afternoon; this was done by playing shadow tig and predicting which side of different objects the shadows would appear on. They then used torches and different shapes to set up their experiments in the classroom. The task tested the children’s measuring skills and accuracy. After they had collected their results, the children were asked to create a line graph showing the relationship between the size of the shadow and the distance of the light source. We were extremely impressed by the accuracy, scale and clear information shown in the finished graphs.
In order to provide lots of challenge for the super scientists we have in Year 6, the class moved onto learning about angles of reflection. To gain understanding, we initially went into playground to investigate how mirrors allow us to look around corners and how they can reflect light from the sun and other light sources at different angles. We played games using mirrors to look behind us and pretended to be drivers using rear view mirrors. Year 6 then set up experiments in pairs to observe and record the angles at which light beams are reflected in mirrors. This work introduced new vocabulary such as angles of incidence and reflection. It also tested the children’s protractor skills, as they carefully measured angles and recorded the measurements. Some children even designed their own submarine periscopes and rear view mirror systems using their new knowledge.
The children have really impressed staff this half term with their thirst for scientific understanding, accuracy and perseverance in difficult tasks.
Year 6 have been learning about colour palettes. They were given mystery colour palettes and had to try to decide if they thought that the palettes reflected a natural or man-made item. This was really fun as some of the children in class devised a game using an idea we tried in history the day before. The children had to roll a dice and each table revealed their mode from the set of data created. This was fed back to the teacher and the mode for the class was worked out. This number determined the section of the game they could collect a task from. Some of the tasks were the mystery colour palettes and some were some physical challenges to keep them active which they always enjoyed doing short bursts of in every lesson, for example, 20 star jumps or run 6 lengths of the playground.
By the end of the game, they had collect all the colour palettes and explained their thoughts on the use of colour starting to use visual language like bright, colour, contrast, dark, shades, tones, etc. Before the answers were revealed about where the colour palettes had come from, we had a big drum roll and all the children looked at the same time; they loved this and it was so much fun to see the reactions on their faces! For example, one of the palettes had a soft peach colour in with a variety of different shades of purple – the picture which used these colours was a sunset over the sea. They couldn’t believe it as they had never really looked that closely at colour before.
The children then used their computing skills to make their own colour palettes. The children were really excited about doing this and wanted to surprise Mrs Ward with their choices. “You’ll never guess mine!” could be heard around the computing suite.
Year 6 have also been reading around the subject of art. It’s lovely to get time to relax and dip in and out of non-fiction books about each subject. They had a lovely range of art books, some which teach you about different styles of drawing, painting, collage, etc. and some which teach you about different artists.
Year 6 have now started to learn about a mystery artist. They were given clues in a puzzle which hinted at different clues to reveal the artist. We will soon reveal who it is and start to experiment with that artists techniques.
Year 6 also enjoyed a class reading session where they were able to read books about art. We have a wide variety of books in class and the children simply enjoy reading around the subject. As they read, they capture 3 interesting facts and subject specific words to share.
The children have really enjoyed making a history documentary about an aspect of history in Britain since 1948 using their computing skills. They have been working hard to ensure that appropriate texts goes with the correct images, using different effects moving from one image to another, engaging the audience using their voice overs or through filming themselves delivering a confident commentary with green screen effects. Throughout the process, the children have to debug to make it fun smoothly with a polished effect; this may include tweaks like changing the length of time that an image stays on the screen, changing the speed of their auto cue, retaking to reduce noise pollution while filming, etc. We are looking forward to watching the final documentaries as a class as each group has chosen a different focus.
Year 6 have got off to a great start with history this half term where the big focus of the term is selecting sources of evidence and analysing their effectiveness. We started with a fun Burn2Learn to get the children physically active while learning. The children worked in pairs to collect pictures of sources of evidence and had to do start jumps or bunny hops to and from their base to the source and back. This certainly got their hearts pumping!
After this, the children started to sort the source of evidence into primary and secondary sources. This is not as easy as it sounds, and, because Y6 are developing into really effective historians, they were instantly question the sources they had, for example, if it said ‘tools’, the children wanted to know if the tools were from a particular era or whether the tools were replicas – they related this back to some work we did in history and DT last term where they made leather replica WW1 map bags. I was really impressed to see them instinctively questioning the sources.
After this, the children moved onto adding in their own sources of evidence including both primary and secondary. Again, I was super impressed to see that the children were drawing on history learnt in other year groups where they recalled learning about Mayans in Y5 and Eqyptians in Y4 and Stone Age in Y3 – they have excellent memories and talk with great enthusiasm as they recalled things they had learnt years ago. This fed into their work today!
As well as this, Y6 have been delving deeper by starting to question how effective/reliable the sources are. For example, we discussed how songs about WW1 could be seen as a really effective source of evidence to give you an idea of experiences of soldiers, like the songs the children learn in music last year (It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles). However, the children were also thinking about how important it is to know the year when the songs were written as you could write a song today about WW1 yet never have experienced it. The children then chose another primary source of evidence and evaluate it themselves.
Year 6 have also been working on asking really effective questions to delve deeper into history. Ineffective questions were modelled first to help the children get to grips with why they were ineffective and then effective questions were modelled which involved lots of appropriate historical vocabulary like decade, era, legacy, etc. The need for clarity in questions was also discussed. After this, the children had time to write their own questions using the new knowledge gained. They were sensational and super ambitious! Look at these below for a sample:
- How has fashion evolved over the decades since 1948?
- What was the lasting legacy from popular culture from 1948 to now?
- What materials were available since 1948 compared to today?
- How have people’s beliefs and religions changed since 1948 compared to today?
- How has children’s discipline changed over the decades since 1948?
- Were the opportunities for women the same in each decade; if not, how does it differ?
We will now start to study the decades in more detail and start to fill in the blanks.
Year 6 had a lovely afternoon of history where they have used their prior knowledge of effective sources to research all about life in the 1950s. They came back from lunch to find an evidence game on the floor. Working in pairs, they rolled the dice and took a clue from the game to research. They had 15 minutes per clue to investigate that particular area and they worked simultaneously with their partners to cross reference their findings to ensure that the sources were reliable and consistent across a range of sources. They completed research on the monarchy, technology, home life, food, popular culture, travel, work life and population.
If they rolled a 5, they got a Burn2Learn challenge to do outside for some wriggle time, fresh air and to keep active. They loved this!
During the afternoon, we also played 1950s music and the children were surprised to recognise many of the songs. Some of the children said they reminded them of TV programmes that they watch with their family like Call the Midwife. To listen to some of this music, click on the link below:
In French, Year 6 have started to learn to recognise, spell and say words in French related to food and drink. For some words, they are able to spot similarities in spelling between French and English which gives them a clue; for other words, this is not the case so it makes learning them a little trickier. We will soon be moving onto putting the words into sentences so that the children can order food and drinks in a cafe.
The children have enjoyed building up their confidence saying words related to food and drink and are now at the stage of being to putting say simple sentences to express their likes and dislikes. They really enjoyed being physically active outside whilst playing a game related to vocabulary.
The children also enjoyed a matching game back in class to reinforce vocabulary: how it is spelt and how it is said with visuals to support too. They had to try to beat their time when they repeated the game.
Year 6 are progressing well with their French work and are now able to write simple sentences and compound sentences to express their likes and dislikes with food. They have also learnt words and phrases related to the time of day like in the morning, at breakfast, at tea time, etc. Some of the children have started to try to write complex sentences applying these phrases to start the sentence. They are taking good care to spell the words carefully too.
Year 6 have been enjoying learning all about the different sections of an orchestra and which section an instrument belongs to. They have studied in detail what instruments look like, size in relation to each other, for example, violin compared to a viola, cello and double bass, and how the size of the instruments effects the pitch. The have also been listening really carefully to each instrument so that they can start to identify the instruments when played together in a piece of music.
The class also enjoyed a sorting activity to demonstrate their new knowledge – this is now displayed on the music working wall as an activity so that they can practise organising the instruments into the correct section.
Year 6 have also really enjoyed learning about different music styles over the decades since the 1940s. They learnt about the origins of different styles and some key artists and groups well known in particular styles. We learnt about swing and big bands, rock and roll, sounds of the 60s, funk, disco, hip hop, indie and R ‘n’ B. The class really enjoyed listening to well-known artists of each style: Glenn Miller, Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Beatles, The Monkeys, James Brown, Kool and the Gang, Bee Gees, Abba, Blur, Bastille and Whitney Houston.
The class were really surprised how many of these artists and songs they had actually heard already, for example, some of the songs are in children’s films like Shrek (The Monkeys), films like Mamma Mia (Abba) or on TV adverts. Many children said that their parents often have these songs ‘blaring out’ on playlists too! At times, the class broke into spontaneous song which was lovely to see!
Promoting Healthy Food and Living Simply
The children started the new half term with an assembly by the school’s Food Ambassadors and a visitor from Healthy Schools. The assembly included lots of ideas about why we like certain foods, taste buds, family food traditions, etc. The children also recapped on what a healthy diet is and the different food groups. The children enjoyed a standing up game where the Food Ambassadors choice a certain type of food and the children to say if they liked it or not – Marmite was the most controversial food discussed – most hated it. However, they also learn an important message that you need to keep trying different food for up to 15 times to see if you like it or not, and that it’s good to try food with friends as this can encourage you to be a bit more adventurous.
As well as healthy eating, we also learnt about food waste and what different ways that can look from leaving perfectly good food which has been freshly cooked to wasting food through leaving it to rot in your fruit bowl or throwing away perfectly good slices of bread that could be frozen and then toasted at a later date. We are going to try to be really mindful of this moving forward now to do our bit to Live Simply and reduce waste to support the environment.
Year 6 have been hearing lots in the news about a virus which is making people very poorly at the moment. We have been recapping on the simple things that we can do in class to keep ourselves healthy and avoid spreading germs. The children practised good hand hygiene by washing for 20 seconds thoroughly. They also all keep a clean tissue up their sleeves now to catch germs if they sneeze. They bin this straight away and wash their hands. The children are also trying really hard not to put their fingers in their mouths too. We also discussed how amazing our bodies are as they build resistance to viruses and how we have good bacteria on our bodies that actually keeps up well too. It’s a lot to understand at a time of increasing worry but the children understand that they can take really simple steps to help keep them safe.
Sadly, due to concerns around Coronavirus, school has had to close which is upsetting for all of us. However, we managed to get a few photographs of us all together on our last day for a while. We hope and pray we will return safely back to the Y6 classroom soon to finish off the year together, but for now, it’s all about home learning so check out these new pages every week.