Class teacher- Mrs Staples
Mr Douglas and Ms Brown also help us with our learning
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.
Year 5 children have been hard at work learning to play the descant recorder. They have learnt to play the notes B, A and G. They can hold the descant correctly and are getting much better at changing their finger position and playing softly to create a recorder ensemble. They have improved their knowledge of formal notation by trying to read the notes which include crochets quavers, and minims.
Our topic this half term was ‘Islam.’ During this unit of work, we were aiming to answer the question ‘Why is the Qur’an important to Muslims?’
Firstly, we discussed a time of guidance and how this was followed. We thought about how religious people are guided by holy books and the importance of rules.
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 tried to understand why the Qur’an is a holy book for Muslims. We learned that, for Muslims, the Qur’an is the direct word of God. We also recognised that it is treated with great respect and learned about what it contains.
After that, we were able to gain an understanding of Ramadan. We learned about when Ramadan is observed, understood what it is and gained a greater understanding of fasting.
Finally, to finish our topic and as a link to art week, we studied Islamic art and created our own geometric patterns.
Our topic this half term was ‘Being Me in My World’
As part of this topic, we discussed how we could face new challenges positively and set personal goals.
We then investigated our rights and responsibilities as a British Citizen and as a member of our school.
Next, we made choices about our own behaviour because we know how rewards and consequences feel.
In addition to this, we learned about how an individual’s behaviour can impact on a group.
To finish our topic, we learned about democracy and how having a voice benefits our school community.
Whilst the last half term was somewhat disrupted for year five, having to isolate and work from home for two weeks, there was still plenty of opportunity for learning to take place and for lots of fun to be had! Here is some information on the kinds of things we got up to on the run up to Christmas half term.
At the beginning of Autumn 2, we continued to look at addition and subtraction, using formal written methods and have now started to look at Multiplication and division.
Recently, the children have been learning about multiples and factors of a number. They have had to identify common multiples or factors of numbers by applying their knowledge of their timetables. Now, we are looking at prime numbers. The children will learn what a prime number is and how to identify one.
In English, year five studied Classic Fiction. They looked at film adaptations of popular works such as: The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Secret Garden, and they compared these to the books themselves and used them as inspiration for writing of their own with some fantastic results. For example, the children learnt how to describe an effective villain. They used techniques such as similes, emotive language and vivid imagery created from carefully chosen vocabulary, to create some especially evil characterisations! From a grammatical perspective, the focus included the use of relative clauses, varied sentence openers and correctly punctuated dialogue. They also learnt how to describe a setting that sparks the reader’s imagination. The children described the secret garden using exciting adjectives and expanded noun phrases and, where appropriate, they upgraded their vocabulary with the aid of a thesaurus to really make their descriptions shine. These descriptions can be seen displayed in the Key Stage 2 corridor, written up in the children’s very best cursive handwriting!
History and Geography
In History, as part of the wider topic of the Golden Age of Islam and the old Silk Road trade route, year five have been looking at the city of Bagdad, a historical centre for trade, known in ancient times as Madinat al-Salam. This half term, the children used their skills of deduction to work out what the building, the Bayt al-Hikma, was used for many years ago. Together they analysed evidence such as pictures and engravings from the time in question, and many of the pupils came to the correct conclusion that it was, in fact, a centre for learning (a library referred to as The House of Wisdom). Such activities allowed the children to practise their skills of: team work, analysis, investigation, collaboration and the presentation of findings to an audience.
Continuing with the theme of international trade, year five pupils looked at imports and exports, in particular, to and from China, as part of their Geography studies this half term. They learnt technical vocabulary such as: commodities, products and tariff, and about the process/ issues involved in trading with other countries. Activities gave the children the opportunity to practise their skills of categorising, collaborating and to make judgements based on the evidence available to them. The children also began to learn about Fair Trade and what this means, a topic they will continue to pursue over the next few weeks.
Our science topic has been Earth and Space. The children have really enjoyed researching and learning about our solar system and about how space affects the earth including the seasons and night and day. We will be continuing with this topic next term.
In computing, the children have been practicing their coding. They have been creating algorithms using functions and inserting clickable buttons into their programmes.
The children have continued to go swimming as part of their P.E. this term. All the children are very confident in the water with most of the class having swam at the deep end of the pool recently. The children have been working hard to improve their ultimate swimming distance and have also practiced how to stay safe in deep water.
We missed a few weeks of swimming due to pool closures and in that time we focused on invasion games, including football and netball.
In year 5, we have been learning numbers in Spanish and then applying the numbers to tell someone how old we are. The children have been able to ask and answer questions relating to their age in Spanish.
In Art, year five looked at Islamic Patterns including the use of line, colour, pattern and shape. The initial focus of this topic was to study and analyse Islamic Patterns and their key features. The children soon realised that Islamic patterns are based around the use of geometric shapes, they are symmetrical and repetitious. It was then time to create some patterns of their own and the children used concrete shapes to experiment and explore the possibilities. In pairs, the children created their own version of an Islamic Pattern and then faced the challenge of recreating it on paper. The drawings were very effective and careful colouring and use of sharp pencils and rulers allowed the children to create artwork to be proud of.
In the days approaching the end of term, year five enjoyed a range of Christmas activities in and amongst their regular lessons of Maths and English. For example, pupils enjoyed making a festive top hat and a snowflake ballerina for our whole school display: The Twelve Days of Christmas. They also got tied up in knots making Christmas wreaths, showered in glitter making cards and Christmas stars, and their beautiful performance of several Christmas songs, delivered via the website, brought a tear to many an eye.
In addition to this, the children met a special guest in the form of Rudolph the Reindeer and posed for a photograph with this festive four-legged visitor which was then used in the making of this year’s calendars. Overall, we did not let the current situation dampen our Christmas spirits and we are looking forward to whatever exciting learning opportunities this upcoming half term will bring.
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