Week Commencing 27th June 2016
Well that was another busy week which has gone by in the blink of an eye! Having said that, we do seem to have packed a lot into it. It was great to see all the children participating in Sports Day on Tuesday and we were lucky that the weather held out for us. Friday's fair was a success and I know that all the Year 5/6 adults were proud of the children's 1920's themed dancing. A special thank-you must go to Mrs Brickwood and Miss Osbourne for taking the lead at the front. Unlike me, they do have co-ordination and can work out what foot goes where!
We have spent much of the week split into two year groups with Mrs Laidlaw taking the lead with the Year 5's (RE and maths) whilst Mrs Murphy and I have been concentrating on all things 'Bugsy' with the Year 6's. Rehearsals are going well and the children should be proud of themselves.
We have continued to research the 1920's and write up our findings and the children have been asked to write a short reflection of their year.
On Monday and Tuesday, the majority of the Year 6 children will head off to Campion School for their two transition days. I am very much looking forward to spending time with the new class as it will be in September but it will feel strange without the Year 6's in the class.
It would be useful for the new class to have their PE kit in school on Monday as we plan to be outside for a while.
Week Commencing 20th June 2016
What a week both in school and out! I have been really impressed by the interest the class have shown in the EU Referendum. Following our introductory discussions on Monday, they went away to talk to families, read the papers, watch the news and listen to the radio. On Thursday, we held a short debate followed by a second secret ballot based on newly acquired knowledge and were representative of the actual final result, just tipping the balance to leave. By Friday morning, as the children were coming into school, the classroom was buzzing with conversations and discussions about all things EU and the news of David Cameron's speech. They have been involved in history in the making which I hope they will remember in years to come. It has also encouraged an interest in current affairs.
Our Going for Gold winners this week were William and Lucy. Both were awarded for confidence in the classroom. William was able to come up to the front of the class and demonstrate the bus-stop method for division and Lucy was willing to put her neck on the line when playing Countdown and share her mathematical solution with the whole class. I stood back with pride knowing that both William and Lucy would not have done this earlier in the year and to be have been able to watch them, and all the other children, grow over the last ten months is a privilege.
The Year 6 have begun their Bugsy rehearsals. Thank you to all the children who stayed after school on Monday and Tuesday and all those who will be staying this coming week. We have told the children who is needed and who isn't, as we begin to rehearse Act Two. If I am to be completely honest, Mrs Murphy and I looked at each other on Tuesday evening and we could read each other's minds: How on Earth are we going to pull this off in the time we have? I am pleased to report that by Friday morning, the children were able to run through Act One with minimal input; there has been excellent progress made. I must mention Temi, in particular, as he reluctantly stood on 'stage' (a taped area on the hall floor) to sing the first lines of his solo. Tissues at the ready everyone!
The Year 5's have been lead by Mrs Laidlaw as we have split into two year groups to accommodate the Year 6 rehearsals. I have had reports of the Year 5 children being allowed to draw on the desks in Mrs Laidlaw's room. I will let the children explain that one to you.
We were treated to a 45 minute dance lesson this week by Karen from UDance. She taught us the Charleston which was great fun. We will be putting this to good use soon.
I have explained to the children that the coming weeks are EXTREMELY busy and we have so much to pack in to what seems like hardly any time at all. We are hopeful that it will be third time lucky for the Sports Day on Tuesday. The last cookery group have not been forgotten and we are currently organising a date for them to prepare their own lunch, ably lead by Mrs Mathison.
The Year 6 children have all been asked to learn all their lines over the weekend.
The children have all taken home a letter about the School Fair on Friday which need to be signed and returned on Monday please. From the replies, we can work out who is available to help run stalls.
Yesterday (Monday 20th June), we dedicated some of our lesson time to understanding the EU referendum. We learned about the EU and what the referendum is about. We listened to arguments from both sides and then held our own secret ballot, complete with a ballot box and a 'booth'. Our results were counted and we had a 50/50 split.
Today, we have dedicated our Guided Reading to reading the First News report on Brexit and two child-friendly publications, each expressing opposing opinions. The children have been asked to watch the news, read papers and listen to / participate in conversations over the next forty eight hours to see if their opinions remain the same or change. We will hold another secret ballot on Thursday morning (before Sports Day) to see if there are any changes.
Watch this space!
Week Commencing 13th June 2016
We have come to the end of yet another busy week. We ventured out to Northampton Museum to explore the shoe collection and participate in a shoe-making workshop. The children were all fully engaged in both parts our visit. It was amusing to see flippers (yes, flippers), wooden clogs, huge wellingtons, red stilettos and ballet shoes being tried on in the gallery by all. During the workshop, we found out how shoes would have been made by hand and we then had the opportunity to 'use' some of the tools. Having seen such a vast array of shoe styles and designs, I am looking forward to seeing what designs the children will come up with.
In PSHE, the Year 5 children have been thinking about friendships and how we can share the same interests but also still be different from our friends. We have also thought about 'me, myself and I', considering what we aspire to achieve when we are older and what qualities we would need to have. This led us into thinking about what skills we would like to be better at and how we could achieve those. In RE, the children have been thinking about relaxation and thinking and how religions encourage reflective time. The Year 6 children have begun their sex education, taught by Mrs Murphy and Mrs Marsh.
We have focused on our fable writing this week and next week, each child will be filmed reading their fable. We will use a green screen backdrop and impose the children's illustrations into he film. Our fables can then be enjoyed by the children across the school.
It was a pleasure this week for both Mrs Steven's and me to join groups of children for lunch. We were served Spag' Bol', salad and garlic bread, followed up with jelly, fresh fruit and squirty cream. What a treat! This had all been prepared by the children, ably 'assisted' by Mrs Mathison. I thoroughly enjoyed having the time to sit, eat and chat with the children. They were a pleasure to be with. A huge thank-you to Mrs Mathison for the experience she is providing for the Year 5/6 classes. They are thoroughly enjoying themselves.
We did go slightly 'off-piste' through the week, using our macro photo lens to break open a poppy bud and examine it closely. Call it revision of the life cycle of a flowering plant. The children were amazed at the detail which could be seen and delighted in taking close up photos. I will add these to the photos at the end for them to share with you.
The Year 6 Bugsy auditions took place this week. It is a huge undertaking - it seemed like a good idea at the time - and we need all children to conscientiously learn their lines. The first after school rehearsals take place this coming Monday and Tuesday. Those who are needed have been informed, and permission letters issued.
The Year 6 children who are going up to Campion in September had a visit from some of the staff on Friday which gave the opportunity to ask questions. The children seemed to enjoy this and found it informative.
On Monday, we have U-Dance coming into school to teach us some 1920's dance so please ensure PE kits are in school.
There are still a number of children who are not bringing water bottles into school. Please ensure that there is one every day. Thank you for your support with this.
Week Commencing 6th June 2016
Having not seen each other as a whole class for two weeks (Aylmerton and half term), it was great to be back as one class. I must say, however, that after a full-on week in Aylmerton, a week's recovery was very welcome.
We kick-started the week with a visit from Mrs Kent, who gave a very informative talk about 78 Derngate and Rennie Mackintosh. This introduced our 1920's theme well. The children did themselves proud as they listened attentively and asked lots of relevant and interesting questions. Feedback from the children is that they would like to visit to see the house in its flesh. Having found out about Mackintosh's designs, we set about creating our own 'windows', using his distinctive designs to inspire our own. Once designs had been sketched, we were challenged to use our cutting skills and make our designs a reality. Many children were surprised at how challenging this was as they cut where they thought they should and ended up with an unexpected gaping hole! Trial and error, and a little assistance from our friends, soon found out where we had gone wrong. We are now looking forward to adding the glass (tissue paper) to our lead designs (black paper).
Well done and a big thank you to all the children who have completed their homework. There have been many high-quality, interesting submissions which has allowed us to create our own 1920's museum in class. This way, everyone is able to share each other's research.We will swap our exhibits this week so that everyone's homework has had a chance to be shared.
Fables has been the focus of English and reading this week. We have immersed ourselves in an old 1934 Disney clip (The hare and the Tortoise), a range BBC audio fables and a selection of fable books. In doing so, we have come to understand that a fable can be rewritten and presented in different ways but still has the same moral. The children have now started to plan, edit and draft their own fable. Although in their infancy, and therefore far from finished, they were keen to read their fables (in an unfinished state) out loud to the rest of the class. From what we have heard so far, we are going to have some high quality work.
In science, we returned to fossils and used secondary sources to find out how fossils are formed. We are now in the process of writing up our findings. In addition, we rigged up the Apple TV and used a macro lens to look closely at fossils found on the beach in Norfolk and some that children have at home. There were many, "Wows!" to be heard. I must confess that we did digress somewhat at this point and use the technology to look closely at other things such as skin, moles, hair, wood and, yes, a dead fly!
In maths, we have been problem solving, using our knowledge of factors and multiples, area, perimeter and volume and time. As a whole class, the children's confidence in maths has really grown over the year and they are willing to attempt the 'unknown' by thinking things through and using what they already know.
Our Going for Gold medal winners this week were Sophie and Abigael. These were carried forward from before half term. We have a brand new table tennis table in the lower playground. Sophie and Abigael were offered the chance to have a turn which they accepted. Despite being surrounded by an audience, both girls had a great time, so the award for both was for their self-confidence on the playground and their table tennis skills! It was great to see. Well done girls!
- Our trip to the museum is on Tuesday. A packed lunch is required which will be eaten at school as we cannot guarantee that we will be back in time for the usual lunch time. No spending money is required.
- Sports Day is on Thursday.
- We are going to be doing cookery on Wednesday, Friday and the following Friday. The class will be split into three groups and each group will prepare a full lunch which will then be eaten. I will tell the children on Monday which day they will be cooking. No lunch will be required for that particular day.
- PE kits are not in school every day. The class is keen to do 'Big Runs' on a regular basis. Please ensure full PE kit is in school every day.
- A number of water bottles are not being brought in. Please ensure that a non-spill water bottle is in school every day.
Week Commencing Monday 16th May 2016
Although the SATs are behind us, it has been business as usual with a very busy week. The children have been writing newspaper reports recounting their Enterprise Projects. A great focus of this work has been drafting and editing, looking for careless errors and making sure that the final outcome is the best it can be.
In science, we explored what fossils are and how they are formed. Some of us thought they were still bones. We made our own 'fossils' using Playdough and Plaster of Paris (much flour was needed to add to the home-made dough as Mrs Carr did not get it quite right!) which we then painted. The results were very pleasing for the children. Furthermore, we created our own fossil pictures using card, string, PVA, tissue paper and pastels. although a simple technique, the outcomes were really effective.
This week was Healthy Schools so we aimed to increase our physical activity and drink far more water. By the middle of the week, every child had a water bottle in the class and nearly all had a complete PE kit in school. The children really enjoyed their Big Runs around the field.
We are now looking forward to the Year 6 trip to Aylmerton and the Year 5 performance.
Week Commencing Monday 9th May 2016
Well, as we know, this was the week of all things SATs. I am so proud of the resilience shown by the Year 6 children as they faced a challenging reading test, SPaG (spelling, punctuation and Grammar) tests and three maths papers. I stood in the room and observed as each and every one aimed to be the best they could be and we can ask no more than that from them. The Year 5's were 'banished' to the hall during the SAT's which gave us an opportunity to complete some assessments in reading, spelling and maths. The reports back from the adults in charge were that the Year 5 behaviour was excellent. Thank you to the Year 5 children for being so understanding and supportive of the Year 6's.
The rest of the week was spent:
- serving breakfast to the Year 6's who were heard to say that they would like this service every day
- selling on the playground on Monday to complete our Enterprise projects
- counting the cash and balancing our accounts
- writing letters to our chosen charities explaining how the donations were raised and why our particular charities were chosen
- a 'DVD and popcorn' or 'PE and ice-pop' treat for the Year 6's
- swimming for the Year 5's
- UDance for the Year 5's
- rehearsals for the Year 5 performance
- an Aylmerton meeting for the Year 6's
I think I may have forgotten other things but we can safely say that the week was filled with a range of activities and not just SATs!
I would like to say a personal thank you for the support that has been given by the families of the children in my class with their Enterprise Projects. It was fantastic to see the children coming together to problem solve, plan, reflect on their successes and to witness the sense of pride they had when they were counting their final floats.In total, it looks as if the class have raised nearly £600 to donate to charities of their choice.
Our Going for Gold winners this week were Chloe for her amazing dance moves in UDance and to all of the Year 6 children.
(Photos to follow.)
Week Commencing Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Well, it may have only been a short week, but we seem to have packed lots into these last four days.
Our Going for Gold medal winners this week were Mia for her positive attitude to her maths and to Josian for being a good friend to a member of our class. Well done to you both.
Although it is the week before SAT's, we were determined to have some fun and I hope the children have enjoyed the week. In addition to our more academic work, the class were thoroughly entertained on Wednesday morning by a brass recital which taught us about the differences and similarities between the different instruments. We were treated to music from the Star Wars and Ghost Buster films and a number of children had the opportunity to play the 'hose pipe'!
This week, we continued with our enterprise work and had the opportunity to buy from the other two Year 5/6 classes as they ran their stalls. This gave us the advantage of being able to 'magpie' some of their ideas and see what sold particularly well. On Thursday, Mrs Stevens did a sterling job overseeing the children bake a variety of muffins which we will sell on Monday. Thank you to Mr Laidlaw for providing the ingredients and recipes for us to follow. I must say that the classroom smelt wonderful as trays of freshly baked muffins cooled.
Whilst the Year 6 children worked with Mrs Murphy and Mrs Laidlaw, I had the privilege of working with all the Year 5's, continuing our drama work. This week, we thought about what Macbeth might have included in his letter to Lady Macbeth, following the prophecies by the three 'withered and wild' witches. The children worked in groups to produce letters which were then read aloud.
Just a reminder that our allocated Enterprise Day is on Monday 9th May. The children have all worked together in their groups and know (so I am assured) exactly what they are doing on Monday. Thank you to all the parents who have supported their child(ren) with their projects. They have enjoyed it and it has definitely taught them lots about profit and loss and market research. It has been wonderful seeing the younger children use their maths skills as they worked out what they could afford to buy and what coins they needed. It has definitely been maths in action.
I have asked all the Year 6 children to relax this weekend, enjoy themselves in the sun and to have early nights. Please ensure that your son/daughter has a water bottle in school. We look forward to seeing the Year 6 children at 8.15am on Monday for pre-SATs breakfast. The Year 5 children will be in the main hall with Mrs Bramble whilst the SAT's are sat.
Week Commencing Monday 25th April 2016
This week, we have split the Year 5 and Year 6 children so that the Year 6 can prepare for their rapidly approaching Reading and SPaG SATs and the Year 5 can concentrate on Drama for Writing, the focus being on Macbeth.
Reports from Mrs Murphy and Mrs Laidlaw have been very positive concerning the Year 6's attitude and behaviour. In my camp, the Year 5's have thrown themselves into the world of Macbeth; many were surprised at the story-line and how ruthless Macbeth and his wife are. Into our class, we received a mysterious hooded figure, who spoke not a word but carried a chest of items. We 'visited' a castle and gave our peers a blind guided tour. We listened to the story edition of Macbeth and then acted in groups, taking on the role of the three witches, Macbeth and Banquo. To do this, we used scripts taken from the play and understood the language Macbeth used. There were some very pleasing results and the children seem to have enjoyed themselves. In addition, we found time to explore the difference between similes and metaphors and to find examples within the script.
In maths, we have practised our arithmetic skills and our reasoning skills. Thank you to all the Year 6 children who are staying on a Tuesday and Thursday after school to support their maths learning.
We have completed the first set of new spelling lessons and already progress is clear. The children are really thinking about the root words, suffixes and prefixes, as well as the associated spelling rules. In addition, our times tables challenges continue to go from strength to strength.
Our Going for Gold winners this week were Ollie T and Oliver M for their enterprising initiative. Both have tapped into the football spectators market and sold home made cookies to hungry spectators. The boys were the first in our class to raise funds for their chosen charities.
In PE this week, we joined forces with Mrs Murphy's class and completed a circuit of activities testing a range of skills from trowing and catching to skipping. The Year 5 enjoyed their weekly swimming lesson.
Week Commencing Monday 18th April 2016
We have come to the end of another very busy week. The Going for Gold medal winners this week were Sophie and Charlotte. Both were awarded for the same reason, being that both girls always try to be the best they can be, regardless of the task, and are always making the right choices. They are model pupils.
I have been particularly impressed with the commitment the Year 6 children have shown in the lead up to the SATs. We have offered two hours of additional after school maths each week, taking us up to 'D-Day'.The children have shown real enthusiasm for the subject and made full use of the additional learning opportunity afforded to them. Their support and encouragement for each other is fabulous to see. Our progress in Times Tables continues to move forward with our weekly challenge; in particular, the Year 5 children will have one less thing to focus on in Year 6 as they have made such good progress already.
We have started a new spelling scheme across the school. Our Year 5/6 focus this week has been on adding suffixes to words. In addition, the children have been thinking about strategies they can use when they came to write an unfamiliar word. In literacy, our focus has been SPaG - spelling, punctuation and grammar - where we have learned to add and correctly punctuate parenthesis.
Mrs Palmer visited our class this week to share some her marketing experience from her past life. The children learned about the four p's and used this new knowledge to progress their enterprise projects. The children are developing their group work skills and realising the importance of listening to each other.
Year 5 swimming on Friday, topped off with the school disco on Friday evening, ended another very busy week.
Week Commencing Tuesday 12th April 2016
What a week! The Easter break is a distant memory now as the children started the week with a SPaG assessment. This will guide our teaching of SPaG in the coming weeks as the SATs rapidly approach.
Thank you to all the parents who took time out of their busy week to attend our SPaG and Aylmerton meeting. I hope it proved to be informative. As promised, a link to the sample revised SAT papers can be found under the Parents - Supporting Your Child at Home tab. You might like to challenge yourself by completing the SPaG test as a weekend treat!
I have been blown away this week with the overall attitude to learning. There has been some truly amazing progress with fractions for some children who were finding them a struggle. Mrs Bramble came into our maths lesson on Thursday and was impressed with what she saw. She found enthusiastic learners who are not afraid to get things wrong but use this as an opportunity to deepen their understanding. Equally, the children are not afraid of a challenge.
We have thought about clauses and prepositions in our Literacy lessons. The children were tasked with using a Where's Wally picture to make use of prepositions in their sentences.
This week was the start of swimming lessons for our Year 5 children. I had glowing reports from Mrs Murphy about the children's conduct.
Our enterprise project moved forward with the nominations of treasurers for the groups and the creation of the accounting records. Further ideas for raising money were formulated. the children were reminded that all ideas must be legal!
Our Going for Gold winners this week were Bradley and Callum for 'finding the fun in fractions' and for Lucy for her ongoing positive attitude to her learning, constantly striving to improve her work and 'being the best she can be'.
There were five children this week with no PE kit in school. Please ensure that a PE kit is in school all week so that children can participate in our PE lessons.
Week Commencing Monday 20th March 2016
This week, we have still been playing 'catch up' from all our illnesses and subsequent absences. We have completed some end of term assessments which will help the children to know what the next steps in their learning journeys are to be. I have been very impressed by the overall positive attitude to the assessments.
The two Parents' Evenings were a great opportunity to share the children's progress. Thank you for all your supportive comments on those two evenings and I do apologise if you were one of the unlucky ones at the end of the evenings who may have been kept waiting a little longer than I would have liked. Your patience was appreciated.
The children enjoyed their cookery lessons during which they made some very delicious pizza. I believe that not many slices made it home as the children were given the opportunity to eat it at lunchtime if they wished when it was still fresh.
Following the children's persuasive writing, Mrs Bramble has been sufficiently impressed to allow the children to borrow a 'start up' fund of £2 per group to carry out enterprising projects of their choice. This will continue through Term 5. Get those thinking caps on for some unique ways to raise money for your chosen charities.
Have a great Easter break and I look forward to seeing you all bright-eyed and bushy tailed on Tuesday 12th April.
Please ensure that PE kit is in school on the first Tuesday back.
Week Commencing Monday 14th March 2016
Our Going for Gold winners this week were Callum and William. Both received their medals for their fantastic efforts with their Kinetic Letter handwriting in their persuasive writing. Not only did they receive their gold medal awards in assembly, but both were proudly sporting a Mrs Bramble special sticker. Well done boys!
This week has been like no other I can recall since 2001 when I started working in schools. Mrs Stevens and I watched the class numbers reduce before our eyes as one-by-one, the children succumbed to the 'class illness' earlier on in the week. At one point, I ended up having to write a list on the board of those who had either not come in or had come in but been sent home as I was losing track. Our record this week was thirteen children ill at once! Some bravely returned only to find themselves going home again within hours.
So much absence has meant the week hasn't quite gone as planned but the children have been great and understood why I have had to chop and change the timetable. Our focus for the first part of the week was our persuasive writing. The children who were well enough have planned, drafted, edited, drafted, received peer feedback and drafted again until they were able to produce a letter which was the best it could be. Many were keen to read their letters aloud to their classmates.
In cookery this week, Waitrose bakery was given a run for its money as the children became master bakers and made some delicious bread rolls. All seemed to enjoy themselves. In French, the children have been communicating with their French pen-pals and I have overheard some impressive French speaking going on, lead by Mrs Brickwood. Bugsy Malone has been the focus of music.
Because of the high level of absence this week and not wishing to leave any children behind in our maths learning, we have taken the opportunity to revise and focus on a range of maths topics by completing ten minute timed 'tests' to build up our speed of working. We have then marked and discussed the answers together. I have been really proud of the way in which the children have been able to openly share when they have not got an answer right which has allowed us to explore any misconceptions. This is demonstrative of the way in which the children rally round and support each other. In addition, the children have discussed and volunteered alternative strategies to answer questions.
Thursday afternoon was our 'DVD in PJ's with popcorn (and chocolate biscuits)' afternoon to say farewell to Thomas. The children seemed to enjoy themselves, some so much so that they chose to walk home in their pj's; at least they were ready for bed nice and early!
(Photos to follow)
Week Commencing Monday 7th March 2016
Congratulations to our Going for Gold medal winners this week. Charlie has been putting in a great deal of effort to produce well formed letters in our Kinetic Letters lessons. Alicia was awarded her medal for her progress in maths. It would be fair to say that Alicia's progress has come about through her sheer determination to crack 'fractions'; she has taken every opportunity to move her learning forward. I was very proud when she stood in front of the class as 'teacher' and demonstrated how to divide a fraction by a whole number. This involved converting a mixed fraction to an improper fraction, doing the calculation and then converting her answer from an improper fraction back to a mixed fraction. Great work Alicia and Charlie.
This week, we have focused on persuasive writing. I was impressed with the enthusiasm in the class as the children were challenged to persuade me to donate a fictional £10 to the charity of their choice (the charity they had researched for their homework). I played the devil's advocate and was deliberately awkward. To overcome this, the children had to really think about their AFOREST techniques. It was a shame that we had to end the lesson so we will carry this on next week. I look forward to reading the letters they are to produce.
In maths, we have been revisiting division: the bus stop method and for some, long division. Once we were happy with the method, we applied our knowledge to solving word problems. I have been impressed with the progress made. In addition, the children also completed a maths assessment. Every child in the class was head down and focused, many achieving very pleasing results. They are really starting to think about 'using what they already know' to answer challenging questions and to have a 'can do' attitude. Our weekly Times Tables Challenge resulted in a number of children achieving their next target.
The children have also worked with Mrs Matheson in cookery, making some colourful and delicious fruit kebabs.
Whilst the rain continued to fall on Wednesday and the roads surrounding the village flooded, we lost ourselves in our art work, using pastels to create our rat characters from our World Book Day writing. These have made a great display in our Thinking Zone area.
You should have all received a message to inform you that we will be having a farewell party on Thursday afternoon for Thomas. He has chosen to have a pj-wearing dvd party and I will provide some popcorn and drinks. The children need to bring in their pyjamas (and a teddy if they wish) on Thursday and we will change in the afternoon.
Week Commencing Monday 29th February 2016
The highlight of the week was World Book Day. The children looked amazing in their costumes and their was a real buzz of excitement in the classroom. Our focus text was 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' by Russell Brand. We did not have time in the day to read all of the book but we will continue this in the days to come. We read sufficient pages to enable the children to complete a vocabulary harvest, discovering unfamiliar, new and exciting vocabulary which they can use in their own version of the rat riot. In addition, we sketched our own rats. The day started with a whole school assembly in which all the classes paraded around the hall so that all the costumes could be enjoyed. In the afternoon, there was a book swap and the opportunity for the children to go to different parts of the school to listen to a story of their choice.
In addition, this week, we have continued with our persuasive writing in English and ratio in maths. We had our usual weekly spelling test on Monday and our Multiplication Challenge on Friday.
The children had their first of three cookery lessons on Wednesday and created some delicious vegetable soup. It was clear they had enjoyed their time with Mrs Matheson.
Just a polite reminder that the homework is due in on Tuesday. We will be using this to support our English writing this week.
Week commencing Monday 22nd February 2016
The week started with the opportunity to be part of a World Book Day attempt to be in the Guinness book of World Records. Every child participated at 2pm on Monday along with thousands of other people across the country. Congratulations to Sophie and Daisy who were our class winners with the most correct answers.
In English this week, our attentions have turned to persuasive writing and we have been thinking about what makes some text persuasive. Ask your child about AFOREST. We will be thinking about the language of persuasive text in the week to come, leading us to write our own persuasive letters.
In our daily Kinetic Writing lessons, we practise certain exercises to build muscle strength. As a class, there has been clear improvement since we started and so the children were keen to have a competition. The photos tell the story of the plank! Some children found that they struggled to write after this which proved that the muscles we use in our exercises are also those we use in our handwriting. The children have, and will, continue to learn joins and these are being used in our writing.
We have been using many areas of our maths knowlege this week as we sought to explore pie charts and area of compound shapes. We found ourselves using multiplication, division, angles knowledge and knowledge of shape. Some Year 6 children have worked with Mrs Laidlaw and been challenged further by equations.
In our reading this week, we focussed on literal questions as well as reading for meaning. The children were amused by deliberate errors they found in sentences, which completely changed its meaning. They had to work out what the correct word should have been by thinking about the context of a sentence.
We have a new topic in science, being electricity, and there was much excitement as the children were let loose with an assortment of equipment to 'play' with. There were some interesting first attempts at cuircuit building and I was able to hear a great deal of problem solving discussion as the children used trial and error to improve their circuits.
There was success again this week with the Multiplication Race, with some achieving their first elusive 100 score and another achieving a grand total of 500. I love the buzz in the room as the children mark each other's answers and the huge grins which follow. Some children have been on the iPads using an app (Maths Duel) to help with rapid recall of their times tables. This has proved to be a hit.
Homework has been issued and explained. Next week, we will begin a Spelling Bee competition in class to help us learn our statutory words.
Week Commencing Monday 8th February 2016
Wow! Where did that term go? Congratulations to our Going for Gold winners, Lucy and Kacey. Lucy's was awarded for both her valued contributions in our class and her proactive approach to her learning at home. Kacey received her award for all her help in the classroom. Whenever a job needs doing, she's there. A bonus award was also presented to Martin who is a member of Mrs Laidlaw's class. Whenever I see him around school, he always takes the trouble to say a smiley hello and his manners are impeccable.
This week has been spent finding out how much we have improved with our SPaG knowledge. In addition, we have been testing ourselves weekly on the statutory Year 5/6 word list. So far, we have built up to the first forty and the children have seen some very pleasing results. This has come about by regular daily practise. Additionally, the weekly Multiplication Race has been an ongoing success with more children achieving their next target. I saw one girl punch the air earlier with a huge grin. Who would have thought that Times Tables could be such fun?
In science, we have continued our work on classification and Mrs Stevens - who is not normally in our science lessons - was genuinely surprised and impressed by the children's new knowledge and their use of scientific vocabulary. We also watched a very recent report from the BBC news of a 'Purple Sock' and how scientists have struggled to classify it. This really demonstrated to the class that their learning is relevant and that scientists are using the knowledge they are acquiring.
In maths, the children have been thinking about reflective and rotational symmetry, finding the area and circumference of a circle and the area, perimeter and volume of other given shapes.
I have seen some budding artists this week as we added detail to our water colour backgrounds. these depict the park setting of Voices in the Park. The children clearly enjoyed doing this activity.
Have a relaxing and enjoyable break.
Week Commencing Monday 1st February 2016
We have come to the end of another very busy week. The children have all been busy drafting their own fifth voice for Voices in the Park. Claims to have finished have been met with strong encouragement to check, check and check again for careless errors and to ensure that their final draft is the absolute best it can be. I am looking forward to marking and reading the final results. From what I have seen so far, all of our focused sentence work in recent weeks has supported the children in their extended writing.
In art, the children were fortunate to be unexpectedly taught by Mrs Etherington and take full advantage of her natural artistic talent. Water colours were the order of the day and colour washing was used to create the background as the first stage of the children's illustrations for their fifth voice. This coming week will see the children add detail.
Classification was our focus in science. We thought about what makes a living thing, living. Ask your child about MRS NERG. Our classroom has been overrun by a vast range of 'living' creatures; they are to be found inhabiting every surface! When the children came into class on Wednesday to find them, there was an air of excitement and puzzlement. We will continue with classification next week.
our focus in Guided Reading this week was poetry. The children read the text independently and then answered questions. We then came together in small groups to work with an adult to discuss the meaning and appreciate the poet's choice of language.
Transformation of shapes was the order of the day in maths, with the majority of us focussing on translation of shape. Thanks to Mrs Laidlaw who organised a really enjoyable range of activities to choose from on Friday morning as the whole school immersed itself in a 'Maths Morning'. We started our morning by putting on our coats and getting outside to draw circles on the playground, using wool and chalk. The challenge was to then name and label the parts of a circle as well as use algebraic equations to calculate the circumference and area of our circles. One of the other activities was to complete the first multiplication race in seven minutes or under. It was great to hear comments from some children who had found this hard in September comment on how easy it was. Hard work and practise pays off!
Mrs Stevens led the children in this week's Big Run. I was thrilled with her feedback on how excellent the children's behaviour had been and how much they had enjoyed themselves.
I have been particularly impressed with many of the children's proactive ownership of their learning. A number of children have come to speak to me to ask for help with their homework which we have been happy to provide. Some have been willing to use one of their playtimes this week to improve their understanding of fractions. Well done! I cannot ask for more. There has been more success in the weekly Multiplication Race and our weekly test on the statutory Year 5/6 words.
Congratulations to our Going for Gold winners this week, recommended by Mrs Etherington. She was very impressed with the whole class but in particular, Thomas and Imogen for their positive can-do attitude and their appreciation of the magic of water colour.
Week Commencing Monday 25th January 2016
Just as last week, another week has passed in the blink of an eye. This week, our Going for Gold winners were Joel (for representing Bugbrooke School at at a Boccia match and returning to the class with the hugest, proud grin) and Abigael (simply for being Abigael and always making the right choices).
We have continued with the Voices in the Park theme and focusing on grammar and sentence construction. This led us to starting to plan our own fifth voice of Voices in the Park, from the viewpoint of Victoria, the pedigree Labrador, no less. It is evident that the children are working hard to put into play their recent learning. I look forward to seeing how their first drafts develop as they go on to edit and draft further before creating their final draft next week.
Our weekly reading club, complete with cushions and scented candles, brought us closer to the end of the adventures of Norm. We were disappointed that time beat us and we couldn't reach the end but that gives us something to look forward to.
In maths, we have moved away from number work temporarily and turned our attention to co-ordinates and transformation of shape across the four quadrants. The children were given co-ordinates to plot and then join up to create a variety of polygons. Whilst some were able to do this straight away, there were confused expressions and amused grins as we compared what the final result should look like with what they actually ended up looking like. I am pleased to report that by day two, progress in the children's understanding of co-ordinates had vastly improved.
In PE this week, the children had requested to do a 'big run'. In response to their enthusiasm, that is exactly what we did and I was super impressed with each and every one of them. No pressure was placed on any individual to complete a certain number of circuits but every child challenged themselves. I then saw children reaching their personal goal and pushing themselves to achieve more. Even more impressive was the camaraderie demonstrated. I witnessed children choosing to run or walk alongside those less confident offering encouragement to keep going and keeping them company. I was an extremely proud teacher!
(photos to follow shortly)
Week Commencing Monday 18th January 2016
It feels like only yesterday that I was writing on here. Yet another week has flown by.
The week started with the children using their notes they had taken (in the previous science lessons) to write about the life cycle of an amphibian, bird or insect. 'Voices in the Park' continues as our focus text in English but our English lessons have seen us steer in a different direction with an intense focus on sentence construction, using FANTASTICs and BOOMTASTICs. I am sure that the children will be able to tell you all about these. We have even been thinking about 'pathetic fallacy'. Scaling language encouraged children to generate alternative words for 'looked' and put them in an order according to the strength of the word. The children decided that 'glanced' would be at the opposite end of the scale to 'glare', with many other synonyms in between. This skill enables children to deepen their sentence writing skills as they seek to use the most appropriate words in their writing and not to automatically choose the most obvious one. The children also worked in groups of four this week to present monologues from each of the characters' viewpoints. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and some budding actors were unearthed.
Homework was a success this week with every child handing it in on time (the first time we have achieved this since September). Thank you for all the support that has clearly been given to the children at home. Our maths lesson on Friday was used to go over the answers and talk about any misconceptions. It also highlighted the need to read every question very carefully to determine exactly what it is asking and then to check answers thoroughly. The Year 6 children have all been given SAT maths and grammar books from which to do their homework this week. It is vital that homework is back in on time as we will be going over the tasks in class. The children know that the answers are in the back of the maths book but have been encouraged not to look at these. We have left them there should parents wish to check their child's answers. We will go over the homework each week to discuss any identified issues. May I please encourage all children to make the most of the Abacus maths resources on line.
On Friday, as the weather was far from ideal for outside PE, we went into the hall to play Dodge-ball. I was particularly struck by the sportsmanship demonstrated by a number of children in the class. We ended with a game played in silence which, for some, proved to be a real challenge, but also required them to consider other means of communication. There was a great deal of hand waving, pointing and a array of expressive faces to be seen.
Maths has focused on number and the use of mental strategies to solve calculation problems. French focused on colour vocabulary and in music, the children have been thinking about rhythm.
Our 'Going for Gold' winners this week were:
- Pyper for showing an improved attitude towards homework.
- Josian for his enthusiasm in our book club and taking the trouble to go to the library to seek out books in the same series.
- Emily for her pro-active approach to her maths.
Well done to you all!
In our weekly Multiplication Race, we had a number of children rightly proud of their achievements this week. I was not in class at the time of the test but was thrilled to feel a palpable sense of excitement as I went back into the classroom as the tests were being marked.
Whilst writing, may I please request that all children have full PE kit in school every day of the week. This should include warm, long trousers, shorts, T-shirt, warm jumper, spare socks and a plastic bag to put any muddy items in. I am happy for the children to have a warm hat as well whilst the weather is colder. Children should be getting fully changed into kit and not wear their school uniform clothing for PE. I ask for the kit to be in school every day as there might be times when PE is swapped for a variety of reasons.
Week Commencing Monday 11th January 2016
This week' our Going for Gold winners were Oliver L for his positive 'take a risk' attitude to unfamiliar maths and to Alicia for being a positive, valued member of the class who is always willing to share her knowledge with others as well as seek support when required. Well done to both of you for displaying examples of our recently updated Class Charter.
The children have continued to enjoy engaging with the Voices in the Park text. We have talked around the different themes in the book with the class choosing to focus on comparing and contrasting the backgrounds of the four characters. In addition, our SPaG work has led us to understanding the difference between the passive and active voice as well as embarking upon our quest to learn the spelling of the one hundred statutory Year 5/6 words. We have also taken a simple sentence and improved it by adding a relative clause.
In maths, we have considered how learning about negative numbers is relevant to our everyday lives: temperature, weather, business accounts and personal finance. We have built upon our previousl knowledge of Roman Numerals and revisited multiplication using the formal method. I was on a course on Friday, so I look forward to finding out how many of us achieved the next 100 score in our Multiplication Race.
Again, this week in science, the children were in awe of the miracles of nature as we focused on the life cycles of insects and metamorphosis. The children always have so many questions and comments.
'Volcano in My Tummy' was our focus for PSHE and we used circle time to explore and discuss how anger feels and how it can result in a range of both appropriate and inappropriate behviours, affecting how others feel.
We partnered up with KS1 on Wednesday and shared stories with the older children either listening to or reading to the younger children.
It's been another busy week! The children have maths homework this week as well as the usual daily reading, times tables and spellings practice.
(photos to follow)
Week Commencing Tuesday 5th January 2016
Happy New Year! In the words of the children, it has been an 'action packed' four days to start 2016.
We have started a new text in English, Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne. Although, at first glance, this may seem like a younger reader's book, it is packed full of amazing illustrations providing ample opportunity for us to practise our inference skills. The week started with a 'cold writing' task. We told the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf's viewpoint and debated whether he was as mean as people believe him to be or whether he was provoked. The children created text maps which enabled them to attempt to learn the first part of Voices in the Park word for word.
In maths, our focus has been on place value. We have played games to deepen our knowledge. Number bonds to 0.1 were revised and we used this as an opportunity to revise some of our earlier fraction work. Our weekly Multiplication Race happened on Friday with two children achieving the next 100 score.
In science, we have began to consider the difference between the life cycles of mammals, insects, amphibians and birds. This will continue next week.
The children have been developing their ball skills in PE and worked with Mrs Etherington in Art, improving their sketching techniques.
A 'Volcano in my Tummy' was our focus in PSHE this week which started some very interesting discussions about anger. We thought about the emotions of anger and the possible resulting behaviours. We will continue to build on these discussions in the coming weeks.
Our Going for Gold medal winners this week were Chloe, for her consistent positive attitude in PE and Oliver M for showing that he cares about other children and how they feel. Congratulations to you both.
As we approach the SATs, the Home Learning homework is being temporarily suspended. Your child will have brought home maths and grammar work to complete by next Friday. In addition, the children are fully aware that they need to continue to practise their identified gaps in the statutory Year 3/4 spelling lists as well as read daily and practise their times tables.
Overall, it has been a busy week and I am proud of the way the whole class has quickly settled back into school and knuckled down.