Aim Big to be Big!
Class teacher – Mr Douglas
Mrs Staples and Mrs Smith also help us with our learning
During Autumn 1, we have begun our new scheme for maths- Maths No Problem. This follows a mastery approach which allows children to gain a deeper understanding of maths so they can apply it in lots of situations.
Each lesson begins with a problem which leads to a class discussion where the children get to share how they have solved the problem. So far, Year 6 have covered Place value, which included reading and writing numbers, comparing and rounding numbers up to 10 million.
We have also begun the second unit of mixed operations. This involves solving problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Our science topic has been electricity. The children have enjoyed learning about how electrical appliances work and have had a go at creating their own circuits. Once we were confident in creating a complete circuit, we were able to investigate how different elements can affect a circuit. The children tested voltage, wire length and the number of appliances on a circuit.
In English, this half term, we have been focussing on a novel from a different culture. To tie in with our History, Geography, Art and RE we have read stories from ‘Arabian Nights.’ We began with the story of ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ where we learnt some fantastic new words including ‘flagon’ and ‘silk.’ Following on from this, we created a story map of the novel to help us remember all the twists and turns! We discussed the characters we met and created a character profile using point, evidence, explanation. The children used very strong and specific adjectives such as manipulative and generous. Continuing with our reading phase, we had to separate statements into fact and opinion, which led to some debating within our class! Next, we read Aladdin and The Magic Lamp, we had watched the film at the beginning of term and so made comparisons to the novel and found it to be very different! We used this story to create our own, we developed our own characters and plot. As it has been a long time since we have written a story, we found it quite a challenge to draft and write the story – but we managed it and created some fantastic Arabian tales!
This term our enquiry is ‘What was life like in the Golden Age of Islam?’ Which links into our learning in lots of other subjects this term. Our first ancillary question was ‘What did Abu Jafar Al-Mansur’s ‘City of Peace’ look like?’ We learnt about Al-Mansur and his role in Early Islamic Civilisation. We listened to a description of his city and attempted to draw what it looked like! We then discussed our illustrations with others and talked about what they had in common and what was different. After this, we looked at illustrations created by historians of the city and compared these to our own drawings. Our next investigation was about people travelling along a road with lots of things on the back of camels, we later learnt the word ‘commodities’ which is what the camels were carrying. We found out, using different historical sources, that these were merchants travelling along a very famous trade route – The Silk Road and this linked in with our Geography learning.
This term and into the first half term of Spring, our enquiry is ‘Why is Fair Trade fair?’ Our first ancillary question led us to a discussion about roads and how important these are in our lives. We looked at a photograph of a steep, windy road and had to speculate where it was and why it was considered the most important road in the world, 2000 years ago. We remembered that they would not have had cars or buses 2000 years ago, but they may have travelled by animal – such as horse or camel. We discovered that this was part of The Silk Road, one of the most famous trade routes in the world. We found out that China produced a very valuable commodity called silk and that merchants travelled to collect it to sell in Baghdad, which was Al-Mansur’s ‘City of Peace.’ To develop our atlas skills, we tried to make a list of all the countries the road passed through – we found this a real challenge!
Our next lesson was our favourite! We learnt about Marco Polo and his journals. We listened to a description of an animal that he had seen and had to try and draw it – some of our illustrations we bob on and some were a little on the wild side! As we enjoyed this activity so much, we watched a clip of an unusual creature and created our own description in the style of Marco Polo for another class to try and draw!
In Art, we are creating some Islamic patterns to link with our learning in History and RE. We analysed some patterns and pieces first, focussing on the line, pattern, and shape. We then used some geometric shapes to create patterns that we could make an observational drawing of. We haven’t finished our Artwork just yet, so we will be working on it next half term as well.
In computing, the children have been practicing their coding. They have been creating algorithms using variables and functions. They have also been challenging themselves by de-bugging code which is not quite correct.
The children have enjoyed learning the skills required for athletics this term. They have been practicing how to run, jump and throw effectively powerfully. They have also taken responsibility for leading their own activities and groups. The children have used stopwatches and tape measures to accurately measure and record the scores of their peers.
This term, we have been going over basic greetings and conversations. The children have revisited how to ask and tell basic information about themselves and others in Spanish. We have recorded this verbally as well as in writing.
Our topic this half term was ‘Islam.’ During this unit of work, we were aiming to answer the question ‘What is Hajj and why is it important to Muslims?’
Firstly, we discussed a time of guidance and how this was followed. We thought about our own personal achievements and recognised the people who guided us.
Next, we made links with the Five Pillars of Islam. We were able to name the five pillars and understand what each pillar represents.
In addition to this, we learned about the stages of Hajj. We gained an understanding of Hajj and recognised the importance of pilgrimage to Muslims.
After that, we thought about the purposes of pilgrimage to a Muslim. We learned about the sights of Hajj, the experience and recognised the feelings that would be experienced. We demonstrated this by writing a diary entry as if we had been on pilgrimage.
Next, we reflected on our own life journey so far. We thought about important events and achievements in our lives and who has helped us.
Finally, to finish our topic and as a link to art week, we studied Islamic art and created our own geometric patterns.
The BFG’s have enjoyed their music topic – Britain Since 1930. They have studied the famous songs of Dame Vera Lynn – The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll meet again and Glenn Miller – In the Mood and Chattanooga Choo Choo. They have had great fun attempting a simple version of the Lindy Hop ! As a group they discussed the dimensions of music and tried to recognise them in the 1930’s music they listened to.
We began Autumn 2 by finishing our chapter on the four operations. The children have worked very hard on their times tables knowledge and have been applying this in order to help them solve a mixture of multiplication and division problems. We have looked at formal written methods, including long multiplication and division working with up to four-digit numbers.
In the last few weeks, we have changed our focus onto fractions. The children have simplified fractions by finding common factors, they have also learnt how to order and compare fractions and add and subtract fractions, including improper fractions and mixed numbers.
After Christmas, we will continue with our fractions topic- learning how to multiply and divide fractions.
Our science topic has been light. The children have built up a lot of knowledge around the topic and are able to explain how light enables us to see objects as well as how shadows are formed. The children have also investigated the properties of materials, testing whether they were transparent, translucent or opaque. We used the topic as an opportunity to teach some design and construction skills as well. The children created their own functioning periscopes using cardboard and mirrors.
In computing, the children have continued to learn how to code. They have been creating algorithms to adapt games and convert units of measurements. They have also been challenging themselves by de-bugging code which is not quite correct.
The children have enjoyed learning the skills required for football this term. They have been practicing how to dribble effectively and how to pass accurately. We have also discussed and applied tactics for game situations such as finding space and anticipating the ball. At the end of the term, the children have competed in an intra-school football competition by applying their taught skills in a range of drills against the clock.
We have been learning about how to order food in Spanish. The children have learnt the vocabulary for different foods and have practised asking and writing questions using sentence stems.
Year 6, The BFG’s, this half term we have listened to music and tried recognising the inter-related dimensions of music = Dynamics – p = piano, mp = mezzo piano, f = forte. Rhythm – listening for long and short sounds. Beat. Pitch = are there high or low sounds. Timbre = detecting the different instruments playing. Texture = thick/thin – how many layers in the music. Tempo = largo or presto. Structure = how it is ordered. To help us remember these elements of music we use the mnemonic Dr. B. Pitts.
We played the game apple pie and changed the timbre of our voice – great fun!
The children really enjoyed playing the glockenspiels following a graphic score to play the Christmas tunes – Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells. Then had fun composing using strips of coloured card to create a graphic score for them to follow and play again.
As part of our learning around Christmas, the children learned about Christingles and their meaning in the Christian faith. As part of their learning, the children each made their own Christingle.
As part of our online learning, year 6 have been learning about fractions, decimals and percentages. We started by multiplying and dividing fractions as we had already started our topic before Christmas. This included giving answers as mixed numbers or improper fractions. For decimal numbers, the children started by learning about tenths and hundredths, and how to write these as a decimal number. We then looked at how we could convert different fractions into decimals.
After this we moved on the percentages. The children learned about the relation between fractions, decimals and percentages and were able to convert between the 3. Finally, we have looked at how to find percentages of amounts.
Maths on the move day
On the last day of the half term, we had practical maths day. This allowed the children to learn away from the laptop and complete a number of mathematical problems by applying their maths around the house. This involved solving measure, time and shape problems.
We began the term focussing on parenthesis. The children learned how to include extra information in a sentence using dashes, commas or brackets as punctuation. We then applied this to add information to our own sentences.
We also looked at the use of headings and sub-headings in a non-fiction text. The children have organised information into paragraphs and assigned each paragraph with an appropriate sub-heading.
We have linked our English with our science and the children have written their own explanation of the life cycle of a plant, including their own sub-headings and examples of parenthesis.
For our science lessons, we have focused on living things and their habitats. The children have learnt about life cycles including those of a frog, a butterfly and a flowering plant. We have also classified animals and plants and learned about different habitats.
During the half term, we have partaken in safer internet day. In year 6, we watched a video on cyber bullying and reflected on what we would have done in that situation and how we should behave while online. We have also continued to learn how to code by completing the challenges set on purple mash 2 code.
The children have learned about ancient civilisations. They studied the Ancient Greeks including their Gods and the story of the Trojan horse.
They have now begun to research the Mayans.
For Geography, our topic has been volcanoes. The children have used research to discover about Mount Etna, they have discussed the importance of volcanoes on the environment and imagined how their own lives would be affected if they lived near a volcano.
For our home learning, the children have been staying active by following adapted activities which have allowed the pupils to practice their key movements and skills in their own homes or gardens.
We have been learning about parts of the body and clothing as part of our Spanish lessons this term. The children have learnt the vocabulary for body parts and are able to listen to and understand simple instructions. We have also learned the names of different clothing and how to describe them in Spanish.
Our year 6 children began their online home learning by studying music texture – learning the words monophonic and polyphonic. Then they have been listening to different styles of music including Jazz, Blues, Pop and Classical music. Each week they listened to several tracks from each genre then asked which genre they preferred, explaining why using their music vocabulary.
The children also studied Mozart and answered a short online music quiz about him. They have also joined in with a YouTube body percussion video set the Ludwig van Beethoven’s German Dance. Then to finish off their half term they used a free online staff notation composition tool to create their own music.
In Spring 2, we have switched our focus onto decimal numbers. The children have applied their knowledge of fractions to help them understand the value of decimal numbers and convert between the two. We have then looked at how to multiply decimal numbers both mentally and by using a formal written method when required. The children have shown a good understanding of this topic and have applied their knowledge to solve a number of problems involving converting units of measure as well.
Our science topic has been Evolution and Inheritance. To begin our topic we looked at inherited characteristics and discussed which traits are inherited through our genetics and which are acquired or learnt through watching others. We have also looked at how animals inherit characteristics from their parents in order to help them survive in their environments. We will continue with this topic after Easter.
In computing, the children have learned how to use different programmes on a computer including word and PowerPoint. We have explored how to add extra features onto our documents and how to edit the appearance of our work.
The children have been learning skills linked to rugby as part of their P.E. sessions. We have looked at the technique for an accurate pass and for how to catch and carry the rugby ball. The children have then applied these skills in races against time as part of a virtual competition against other schools in Burnley. The effort the children put in really showed as they all posted very quick times and some children were awarded medals for their skills.
We have continued to learn about food in Spanish. The children have learnt the vocabulary for a range of foods and were able to listen to, understand and retell a story in Spanish using the taught vocabulary.
The BFG’s listened to ‘Oh Happy Day’ https://youtu.be/mXPoRnY3r10 and were challenged to rewrite the lyrics.
We then challenged ourselves to learn the lyrics to Lord of the Dance, an upbeat YouTube version and come in correctly with the first word of the phrase.
Finally singing along to our favourite Easter Songs.
Our novel in Summer One was Charlotte’s Web. The children have thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic and partaking in a range of activities including, role on the walls, hot seating, illustrating, and writing in role. A new activity we particularly enjoyed was an emotions graph. This helped us to track the emotional journey the characters went on as well as to aid our recall of key events. As we are nearing the end of the year, it was important to challenge ourselves further to use UKS2 punctuation as well as up levelling our vocabulary. We had the chance to do this in a variety of written pieces including a diary, letter, and description. As well as fictional pieces, we enjoyed researching spiders and finding out how amazing these feared creatures really are! The children had to use high level thinking skills during this task – reading information texts, watching a documentary, and making notes that were pertinent to a fact file they were going on to write.
In Summer Two, we read ‘Frog Prince Continued’ which was a sequel to the famous Fairy tale ‘The Frog Prince.’ We began by making inferences from an illustration from the book and were looking for clues to tell us what the book will be about. Next, we read The Frog Prince and made connections to the Disney film ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ We discussed how lots of fairy tales are recreated in different ways – TV series, musicals, or live action films. As we were writing our final pieces of writing for the year, we really pushed ourselves with a setting description and an alternative chapter.
In the summer term, we started by learning about percentages. The children applied their times table knowledge to find percentages of amounts.
Next, we turned our attention to algebra. This involved the children applying their four operations to find x and y as unknown amounts. The children enjoyed identifying the patterns in sequences and coming up with their own algebraic formulae.
After that, we moved onto our shape, space and measure topic. The children revised how to find the perimeter and area of a shape, as well as learning how to find the volume of shapes.
Finally, the class focused on position and movement. This involved reflecting and translating shapes as well as plotting shapes using coordinates.
During Summer term, we focused on living things and their habitats. This involved classifying plants and animals into different groups and creating tables and keys to present our information. We began by classifying biscuits and coming up with different categories in which to group them. We then did the same with plants and animals. As well as improving their scientific thinking skills, the children improved their knowledge of the animal kingdom when they learned about the main groups in which animals are classified.
Our final science topic has been animals including humans. During this topic, the children learned about the main components of the circulatory system as well as researching how our diet and exercise routine can impact on our health. We carried out several investigations during this term, including testing how different exercises affect our heart rate which we measured by feeling our pulse.
In computing, the children have learned how to use different computer networks, like e-mail, and how these enable people to communicate. Using purple mash, the children learned how to compose, send and read emails. We also looked at internet safety and what we should do if we receive an e-mail from someone we do not know.
The children have been learning skills linked to invasion games as part of their P.E. sessions. We have looked at the technique for passing and receiving in sports such as netball and basketball. We have also worked on game awareness and tactics as children improved on finding space and choosing when to pass.
We have also worked on skills linked to striking and field games. The children have practised throwing and catching with a smaller ball as well as being able to strike the ball consistently.
We have covered the topic of towns and cities in Spanish this term. The children learnt about the largest cities in Spain as well as the key vocabulary for places you could find in a town. The children practised key phrases and questions that could help them when travelling in A Spanish speaking country.
Our enquiry this term is ‘How have the medical breakthroughs of the last two hundred and fifty years affected the lives of people in Britain?’ This has been a particularly fascinating enquiry given the COVID19 pandemic as we were able to make connections to our experiences in the last 15 months. We began by learning what life expectancy was and what factors have affected that across the past 11000 years. We learned about the change that took place in the Neolithic Era as farming had a huge impact on the health of humans.
We then spent a long time investigating an epidemic that hit London in 1665 – The Great Plague! We were enthralled by the sources of information; a storyboard depicting the months of this disease sweeping across England. Using our higher order thinking skills, we learned about the differences between the rich and the poor and what the Government did to try and prevent the spread. Interestingly, they were locked down, told to keep their distance from people and to keep their houses and streets clean! The officials did not understand how this made a difference but realised it did! Our outcome from investigating this particular event was to write and perform a news report from the time. The children wrote fantastic scripts and performed them to their class!
Following this, we moved on to asking why life expectancy had only increased another 40 years since the Neolithic Era – it should have advanced much more! We found that war, lack of knowledge, unsanitary conditions and dangerous jobs had resulted in people dying young. Until, Edward Jenner made, arguably, the most important discovery in medical history – the vaccine. Again, this allowed us to make connections to current events with the role out of the COVID19 vaccine. We learnt how Jenner made the discovery, including the risks he took and how there was huge opposition to people having the jab. We debated whether the Government at the time should have made the jab mandatory – which they had done – or not. A big factor for most people saying it should was that Smallpox had been completely eradicated from the world in the 1970’s and that this is the only time a disease has become non-existent in history!
Finally, we answered our question ‘Which medical breakthrough was the most important?’ We started by ordering the key events, such as the discovery of penicillin, invention of a CT scan, vaccinations, the NHS etc. It was very tricky for anyone to choose just one from the list we made:
- Free healthcare
- Cleaner air
- Human Rights
- Better food
Most agreed that all these factors had equal importance, and many would not happen without another.
This term our enquiry was ‘Where in the world is the most valuable treasure and who owns it?’ This linked closely with our history unit as we began by looking at the impact of cholera in Birmingham and how this led to a change that would impact the rest of the world. We learned about the impact of dirty water in poverty-stricken places in Birmingham in the 1800’s. We discussed the discovery of John Snow and how that would have impacted Life Expectancy across England. Following this we read an announcement by Thomas Barclay who had proposed a solution – building reservoirs in Wales. We investigated this to find out why Wales. This included working out the distance from Brimingham to other major cities, looking at the climate in Wales, the landscape and how the water could flow into Birmingham.
We spent a lot of time looking at rainfall in Wales and how this compared to Birmingham, we created a bar graph to show this for each month and then we spoke about advantages and disadvantages. Alongside this, we learned about the Water Cycle and how the landscape aided this such as V Shaped Valleys and impermeable rock.
Next, we compared two maps, a present day, and a historical map to see how the landscape had changed. We identified the new reservoirs that had been built and where these had been positioned – near to a river. We linked this back to our learning on the Water Cycle. This allowed us to develop our map reading skills, including reading grid references and key symbols.
Moving forward, we looked at current water usage in the world and which countries had the highest usage and which had the lowest. We discussed how this could be linked to climate, demographics, and population. We revisited the terms ‘developed and developing countries’ and how this plays a role in how much water is being used. We discussed what measured could be put in place to save water and developed ideas of what could be invented to provide water to countries with very little rainfall.
To link to our history learning, we studied renaissance art this term. We looked at the key work of Donatello, Michealangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Rapheal. We evaluated their work and discussed how it was important at the time. We dissected and sketched a lily in the style of Da Vinci, developing our sketching skills as well as our work on perspective.
This half term our Year 6 BFG’s have started to compose their own music using varies techniques including – Purple Mash, Chrome Music Lab and Formal Notation.
They have started to be aware of sharps and flats – asking why a sharp symbol looks like a hash tag?
We have looked at the notes placed on the treble clef stave and enjoyed some musical spelling.
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