- Sport On Tour
Earlier this term we had the chance to take part in Sporting Futures On Tour - a sports workshop session run by coaches from the Stevenage Sporting Futures Team, which involved a series of ball skills drills and stacking-cup games. Working in pairs, we kept careful score of our results in each activity, as these all counted towards our overall school score, which will be compared with every other school in town to decide the overall Stevenage On Tour champion.
In return for our hard work so far this year, those of us who had achieved our Silver Merit Award by the start of February were rewarded with a bonus trampolining session, run by coaches from Rising Stars. Almost half of the class were able to take part, showing how much effort we’ve put into making maximum progress and producing our best work already this year, and thoroughly enjoyed their treat. Following positive feedback from across the school, School Council have now decided that those of us who achieve Platinum level by the end of the year will get to take part in another reward session - something that we’ll all be working extra hard to secure.
- Christmas Performances
We rounded-off the Autumn Term with two nerve-wracking performances in front of the whole school. On the penultimate Wednesday of the year, we had the chance to sing the Christmas-themed songs we had written and rehearsed in our music lessons this term. We were very nervous about sharing our work in front of such a large audience, but the practice paid-off and we stayed in time, sang with confidence and earned lots of applause from the rest of the school!
- Rugby Festival
We thoroughly enjoyed taking part in our first intra-school sports fesitval of the year, taking on the rest of Year 5/6 in a 5-a-side Tag Rugby tournament. To find out more, check out the full story here.
- Secret Agents!
To support our work on instructions, we took on the role of secret agents, battling to break into the lair of an evil mastermind and retrieve vital information. We started by working in groups, blindfolding one of our team and then giving them instructions to make their way through a maze of lasers, moving walls, suction pits and gun turrets, some of which you can see in the pictures below. We quickly discovered that this was a lot harder than it might seem - and that shouting at someone wearing a blindfold really doesn’t help!
- Table Tennis
Our table tennis team were delighted to be able to take part in a second tournament this year, having been invited to take part in a Rising Stars event organised by our coach, Mr Butler, at the Leisure Centre. Edy, Connor, Cristiano, Taskia, Honey and Kate played in a mix of singles, doubles and triples matches (playing on some interestingly shaped, six-player tables), against schools from across town - and, thanks to some excellent teamwork and a lot of time spent on the practice table, they won almost all their games. Eventually, they reached the final, where another confident display saw them win through, securing gold medals and an impressive trophy to bring back to school, which they proudly shared in assembly.
- Crucial Crew
Year 6 headed down to Bowes Lyon House on 13th September to take part in Crucial Crew training. The aim of the sessions, which are run by a local charity and visited by every school in town, are to help us to behave safely as we grow up and become more independent - and therefore we were all really focussed throughout the afternoon, recognising how important this could be. Over the course of our session we took part in a series of workshops, each run by expert volunteers, learning how to stay safe around railways, animals and water, how to check our houses are fire-safe and how to put someone in the recovery position. The section focussed on the dangers of using your mobile while crossing the road was a real eye-opener, too - none of us were able to complete the signpost challenge while texting, which is hopefully something we’ll remember when we’re out and about.
What we've learnt about this term:
- Our focus in the first half of the term was story writing. We were introduced to a mysterious room, overlooking the streets of Paris, with bars on the windows and a rope made out of sheets that had been tied together which disappeared out of the window - and we began by trying to work out what could have happened here, as you can see below…
The following day, our questions began to be answered when we were introduced to the story of The Last Princess, which described how the narrator (a young girl called Claudine Lafayette) had been kidnapped, locked in the room and then, over the course of eight months, had planned and executed her escape. We learnt the story by heart, using pictures and actions to support us, and then used this text as the base for our work in English throughout the term, building up to writing our own versions - examples of which you can see here.
In the Autumn Term, we explored instruction writing. We began by giving oral instructions, taking on the role of secret agents, attempting to infiltrate a HYRDA base, before learning a set of instructions that we’d been sent by heart. We were then set the task of guiding other agents to the heart of HYDRA HQ. With the floor-plan of the building laid-out in the hall, we planned our route in pairs, working out how to overcome lasers, motion sensors, electrified floors, heat sensors and a lot of guards - and came up with an impressive range of ingenious solutions, including some crazy high-tech gadgets. Over the course of the next week, with support from a model text and lots of shared writing, we all produced high-quality instructions, which we presented using ICT - click on the thumbnails below to view two examples of our finished work.
- We started the year by focussing on our history topic, learning what it was like to live through the Second World War. We began by placing this period on a timeline, recognising how all the historical periods that we have learnt about (from the Stone Age, through Greeks, Romans and Tudors, to the present day) fit together. We then used first-hand accounts, images and texts from the time to help us to understand how the War affected everyday life, learning about evacuation, the Blitz and rationing. We also tried to put ourselves in the position of families in wartime, scripting conversations between parents and children who were about to be evacuated, and writing diary entries for evacuees after their first night away from home, an example of which you can read below. We finished off our topic fortnight by trying out some ration-book cookery, discovering how people living through the war managed to make filling meals from the odd collections of ingredients that rationing allowed them (which turned out to be heavy on root vegetables, light on sugar... and all surprisingly tasty!)
Saturday 24th September 1939
I’ve had an atrocious day! I can’t believe it was only yesterday that we found out that we were going to be evacuated, and now here we are, stuck on a smelly boat in the middle of nowhere! We got on a train for Liverpool at dawn this morning, and were all herded onto boats with name tags stuck round our necks and suitcases in hand. We barely had time to say goodbye to Mum and Dad, and I could hardly look at Mum as she was crying so much. I tried to be brave for her, but I don’t think anyone believed it. Once we got on the ship (which is enormous by the way), Danny, Andy and me found our room. It must be near the engines, because its incredibly loud, and I don't know how we’ll sleep...
Saturday 8th October 1939
Sorry I haven’t written for two weeks, but we haven’t really done anything worth writing about - the Atlantic Ocean is really boring (and really choppy, too - I’ve been seasick dozens of times!) Anyway, we finally arrived in Canada today... And it’s brilliant! Mr and Mrs Cooper met us at the docks and took us to their house, which is HUGE! They’ve even got an indoor toilet and (amazingly) a TV!
- Our maths targets have focussed on place value, identifying, explaining and comparing the value of each digit in increasingly complex numbers (using whole numbers to ten million and decimals with up to 3 places). To support our understanding and help us to visualise problems (and amounts) in a variety of ways, we spent a lot of time making numbers using a range of resources, including bead strings, counters, base-ten equipment, number cards and grids. Representing decimals with these resources required all our ingenuity and helped us to ensure that over 70% of us achieved our “Should” target, the point we should be working at by the end of Year 6..
Over the course of this term, we have all also begun to get ready for our SATs tests through weekly Booster sessions. We split into small groups, each working with our own adult, and work our way through questions from previous tests, to help us improve the way we approach these tasks and get used to the style of the problems. We’ll continue with these sessions all the way through until SATs week (which is now only three months away), and really appreciate any help we can get at home with completing our question packs and other homework.
Our Spring Term Topic:
Our next topic will focus on Persuasion. We will begin by learning a persuasive text, ‘selling’ a new form of transport to the Mayor of London, and will then examine the way that the author uses rhythm, repetition, rhetorical questions, facts and exaggeration to make their writing more effective. We will also explore persuasive speaking, identifying how body language and tone can effect the impact of a presentation. We will write diary entries, descriptions, letters and reports, before moving on to design our own form of city transport, which we will then ‘sell’ persuasively to the Mayor. We will also be taking part in regular Reading Booster sessions, to help us to get ready for our SATs tests in May.
Our targets for next half-term will focus on measures. We will be learning to convert quickly between metric units of length, mass and volume, drawing on the key skill of multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000. We will also compare metric and imperial units (miles, pints etc) and estimate quantities using both systems.
Following this, we will be developing our use of tables, graphs and charts to collect and share data, carrying out our own investigations, presenting our results and using these to ask and answer questions. As always, we will also continue to practice times table facts every day.
We will be developing our understanding of animals by looking at the role of the heart, lungs and blood in humans and other animals. We will investigate the way that water and nutrients are transported around animal bodies, before exploring what it means to be ‘healthy’ and identifying ways in which we can lead healthy lives.
Next half-term will focus on geography, looking at capital cities around the world - particularly Paris, London, Mexico City and Washington DC. We’ll be learning about what it’s like to live and grow-up in each of these cities, the types of homes people live in and the jobs they do there. We’ll be trying to work out why each city became (or was chosen as) the capital, and looking at similarities and differences between these four places. We’ll finish-off by planning new capital cities of our own.
We will be investigating food from around the world, making and comparing dishes from the countries we are learning about, and thinking about the reasons why different foods and types of cookery become popular in different countries. We will also be continuing with our weekly music lessons, exploring pitch and rhythm.