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2020-2021

Welcome to the Kestrel Class weekly blog for 2020-2021. Each week, when possible, I will post here to share what we have been up to!

Week 25 (22/3/21-26/3/21)

We are nearing the end of a very interesting term; the children have settled back into school really well and are making progress with their work.

 

It will be a short blog post this time as I have left the iPad with many of the photos on at school! I will try to post this week's photos at the end of next week.

 

In English, we have been looking at balanced arguments this week. To understand what they involve, we have been looking at different features of balanced arguments, building up from debating with opinions to using facts to back up arguments. Towards the end of the week, we started writing down our justifications for and against before researching for and against arguments for deforestation using Oddizzi. Next week, we will be writing our balanced argument for deforestation within the Amazon.

 

In maths, we have moved onto perimeter and area. The children have really impressed me with their enthusiasm to learn about this and pushed their understanding further, with year 5 working out the perimeter and area of composite shapes and year 6 have explored that shapes with the same perimeter can have different areas (and vice versa), before looking at the area of triangles. Both year groups were able to spend time outside on Monday to explore the area of the playground (year 5) and the perimeter of a 4-square court and a 4-square court missing a segment (year 6).

 

Our outdoor learning lesson with Mr Wedderkopp on Tuesday may be our last, but we had fun exploring in the copse, looking for keys for a box (which turned out to have some sweets in!), whittling, den-making and playing a whole-class game of hide and seek. 

 

On Thursday, we explored different ways of separating materials. The children made a mixture of salt, sand, oil and gravel and were tasked with separating them into their constituent parts. We discussed dissolving and how it is different to melting (though both processes involve a solid turning into a liquid), so the children added water to their mixture to dissolve the salt. The children could then filter out the gravel using a funnel, and the sand using filter paper. This left the salty water and oil. The children used syringes to extract the water which could then be evaporated, leaving behind the salt. On Friday, they were asked about each step and could explain them to us. I have got two photos of this!

On Friday, the children used scratch to make a calculator, by adding variables to algorithms which allowed the children to input numbers. The children were then able to explore how they could adapt their code. As the children now have Scratch logins, they could save their algorithm to allow them to access it later.

 

Notes and reminders this week:

  • Next week is the final week before the Easter holidays. As Friday is Good Friday, it is a bank holiday - meaning our final day will be Thursday.
  • Like Christmas and Harvest, we will be making a whole-school video to celebrate. The children have been looking at the Garden of Gethsemane and listened to a song for us to perform with Wren Class. After speaking as a staff, we have chosen to change the song to Lord of the Dance, so if your child wasn't too impressed with the song, we now have a more cheerful song...
  • The children will find out what our school play/movie will be on Wednesday. All children in year 5 and 6 will have acting roles and year 3 and 4 will be our choir.
  • To allow us to get going after Easter, I have asked the children in year 6, who would like to audition for one of the main parts of the school play/movie, to prepare a song (or part of a song) to sing for an audition on Wednesday in-front of myself, Mrs Lemon and some children from Wren Class. The audition will also involve a speaking part, taken from the script of the play - they will be speaking as a villain for this. 15 of the 18 year 6s have stated their interest, so not all children will have a main part with a solo, but the school play will be a great experience nonetheless. The class will find out their roles after Easter.

Week 24 (15/03/21-19/03/21)

This week, we have been busy ​​​​with a range of activities, including celebrating Science Week!

 

In English, we have been busy writing and illustrating our picture books based on the task we were set last week by our Author of the Term, Richard O'Neill. I am in the process of reading them and will try to share as many of them as possible with Richard. The children have really excelled themselves with these and have put a lot of thought and effort into them.

 

In maths, the year 6s have continued looking at algebra and the year 5s have been looking at time and money. As a class, we have also looked at tables to hold data and working out the mean in our Science Week activities...

 

Speaking of which, we completed a range of science activities to help us understand different materials by looking at dissolving and testing the bounciness of objects this week. On Tuesday, we looked at what dissolving is by measuring how long it takes sugar cubes to dissolve in different temperatures of water. With our data, we learnt how to work out the mean time it took the cubes to dissolve at a temperature; before thinking why they might dissolve quicker at a hotter temperature.

On Thursday, we recapped the water cycle to think about how it links to the rainforest as part of our learning quest. To put this into action, we created our own terrariums using the bottles the children brought in from home.  Over the next couple of months, we will keep an eye on them to see how they are showing the water cycle in action and in the summer we will be looking at reproduction including for plants, so will be a useful reminder to us then. They are on top of the windows in the classroom, so should get some sunlight to help keep the closed water cycle going and keeping their rainforest (well chives) growing.
On Friday, we completed another science experiment by looking at the bounciness of different balls in the school. Using our understanding from Tuesday, we were able to make our own tables to carry out this investigation before testing the balls. Once finished, the children could again use their knowledge from Tuesday to calculate the mean - something that the children had remembered and could get on with. We then used the mean to create a bar chart to show our results. 

On Wednesday, we continued with our Romani afternoon - something the children were really looking forward to! Half the children took part in the outside activities and half on the inside activities. Outside, we were whittling, willow weaving and den making and inside we made paper flowers, learnt some Romani numbers and decorated horseshoes - all with great results!

Notes and reminders this week

  • This week, we have Outdoor Learning on Tuesday. Therefore, the children will need to come in in suitable clothing and with a bag of spare clothes.
  • It is the year 6 leavers photo day on Wednesday, so you may want to send them in looking smart. There will be a photo of the whole of year 6 along with Mrs Hayes, Mrs Lewis and myself as well as individual leavers photos. 
  • Thank you to the PTA who have organised the year 6 leavers hoodies, which were given out on Friday to much excitement. They have also organised last year's year 6s to have one too. These were paid for by the parents of the year 6s/7s.
  • It has been a year since schools operated differently for the first lockdown. Last year's year 6s, who came in towards the end of the summer wanted to keep the date Friday 20th March 2020 on the board as that was when the class were last together. Hopefully, we will be able to stay open for all from now on.

Week 23 (8/3/21-12/3/21)

It is great to be back in school with everyone and I hope your children have enjoyed being back too!

 

In English, this week, we have been reading the book 'The Lost Homework' by Richard O'Neill. It's about a boy called Sonny, who has such a busy weekend that he managed to fit all of the subjects we do at school into the weekend without knowing it. In the process, he has lost his homework book, so worries about coming into school, but the teacher and the class look amaze Sonny by telling him about all the work he has done. 

We were then able to link it to our own extra learning in lockdown and discussed how we have done this. Later in the week, we were sent a message by Richard O'Neill, setting us the task to write a story about a beatboxing beetroot! The children were enthralled by this task and created their own beetroot character to write about. On Friday, the children put pen to paper and have started writing their story to finish next week. I have had a quick look and can see the quality and motivation in the children's writing!

 

In maths, we have been learning about algebra. On Monday, we looked at Pascal's Triangle and looked at the patterns within it. After colouring the even numbers in, we could see another pattern - Sierpinski's Gasket. From there, we made our own pyramids and stuck them together to make our own 3D version. I will have to take a photo next week to share it with you. We then moved on to introducing different variables to number sentences by measuring different items in the classroom and working out how many of them we are tall. For example, 12 glue sticks or 12g. We then started to develop this into algebraic equations.

 

On Tuesday, we had our forest school morning. The children took part in a treasure hunt, created medallions, dens and even a rope swing! What a busy morning with lots of fun!

On Wednesday, looking at the Romany theme within Richard O'Neill's books, we looked at who the Romany people were and in 6 groups completed half of the activities set with the other half to be completed this week coming. The children made dens to show how the travelling Romany people may live; used willow to make items; whittled to see how the Romany people could make flowers (we didn't advance that far); instead, we made paper flowers; decorated horseshoes and learnt some Romany numbers. An enjoyable afternoon!
In PE, we looked at the skills needed to play hockey, before playing a game of it.

In geography, we looked at the different layers of the rainforest and what might live in each layer. The children were then tasked to find information about each layer of the rainforest using Oddizzi. 

 

Notes and Reminders This Week:

  • On Monday and Tuesday, 6 of the year 6s have bikeablity. The other 12 will have it in 2 weeks time. The parents of the 6 children have been sent an email by the message to remind them. If you haven't received an email, your child is most likely in the group of 12.
  • Thank you to those of you who sent your child in with spare clothes this week. The easiest way to continue this is to have a full set of clothes in a bag on your child's peg. I would suggest a spare carrier bag to put muddy shoes in as well as sometimes the children just need to change their shoes. 
  • The only day the children need to come in different clothes this week is Thursday for PE.
  • Can the children bring in a plastic bottle (preferably a 2L bottle, but any bottle will do). We will use it to make something as part of science week. If you have a spare bottle that would also be useful. We will use the bottles later in the week, but do bring them in as early as possible.

Week 13 (07/12/20-11/12/20)

 

As we gradually make our way to the end of term, we can reflect on so much that we have learnt over the past term. 

 

In English this week, we have been learning how to write biographies. To help us do this, we have recapped the life of Rosa Parks - another influential person we have looked at this term. We read biographies and watched a short biographical film about her earlier in the week. We then used our summarising reading-focus to summarise the key events of Rosa’s life into a flowchart. After being shown how to use the flowchart to develop their writing into detailed paragraphs on the working wall, the children then worked in pairs to write a biography for Rosa Parks, before writing it up neatly on Friday. Everyone has been impressed by the biographies the children have created this week. Next week, the children will write their own biography for a range of other influential people.

In maths, we have continued our learning of fractions by exploring improper and mixed fractions, by exchanging between them, and then we looked at ordering and comparing fractions - which we will continue next week. The children have done well to develop their fractions knowledge and are progressing well.

 

In history, we have reflected on all of the significant events that we have looked at over the past term and developed our understanding of chronology by putting them into a timeline. The children were first tasked to put the events into chronological order, before putting rough dates onto them. We then went outside and made a class timeline with their dates before comparing them to the real dates. The children were accurate with most events and have done well to remember most of them.

In art, the children painted the moon using their skills from last week of gradually changing the shade of the paint to make darker. There were some grate results, which I will have to get pictures of to share. 

In PE, the children played dodgeball with a festive twist of protecting their ‘secret Santa’. There were 4 teams playing each other in a round-robin tournament with the teams not playing being the referees. At the end, we had one big game of dodgeball, with the secret Santas, but also a pile of Christmas presents each to defend...

In music, we have been listening to and discussing Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’. The children had to guess which planet we were listening to this week. With time, the children have been getting better at guessing the planet, which this week was ‘Mars -The Bringer of War’. Once we had listened to it, the children drew how the song made them feel and what they imagined. We then discussed how it linked with war and danger.

Notes and reminders this week:

  • Next week will be a 4 day week, with the INSET day scheduled for June moved to Friday. It will therefore be our last day of term on Thursday.
  • On Thursday, we will be having our annual pantomime and Christmas dinner at the village hall. We will stay in our key-stage bubbles for these events. The pantomime will be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Hopefully, there won’t be a flood like last year!
  • As we have a pantomime on Thursday, we won’t have PE, so the children do not need to come in in PE kits.
  • Due to the day planned for Thursday, the home learning for those self-isolating next week will be for Monday to Wednesday. On Thursday, you can watch a film about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or a film of your choice. There will also be a Christmas Quiz that you can do at home and possibly some other activities!
  • Well done to the year 6 team who took part in the Wellington Maths Challenge. They came equal 4th out of 63 schools. More can be found here: https://www.oakebradfordnyneheadprimary.co.uk/stream/news/full/1/-// last year’s paper can be found here (they haven’t uploaded this year’s paper): https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1605629844/wellingtonschoolorguk/ar4a0shbi6vdgizmio6q/WSMC_2019docx.pdf
  • On returning in January, the children will be taking part in outdoor learning on Tuesday mornings for the first 3 weeks of term. They will also have outdoor learning after the half term for 3 weeks. The children will therefore need to come into school wearing suitable clothing as well as a spare set of clothes to change into for the afternoon. Like for PE, I would suggest also packing a carrier bag or similar to put wet and/or muddy clothes in. If the spare clothes aren’t needed, it may be a good idea for the children to keep them on their pegs for PE. 

Week 12 (30/11/20-04/12/20)

It has been a busy week in Kestrel Class with tests and other (and probably more fun) activities too!

 

In English, we have been finishing our stories to enter into the Rotary Club Writing Competition. To enter, the children had to write a piece of writing with no more than 550 words with the Title: 'The happiest day of my life'. Competitions like this really enthuse the children's writing senses! On Friday, we then started a new focus for our writing: biographies. To see what the children knew, they were tasked to write a biography for Edmund Hillary, who we looked at a couple of weeks ago when looking at information texts. The children worked hard on their biographies and were able to tell us a range of facts about his life.

 

In maths, we finished our learning of long division by solving word problems. It was a tricky concept for many of the children to grasp, but one that will be useful in upcoming topics. On Friday, we then moved on to learning about what fractions were and the year 6s looked at finding equivalent fractions.

 

The children also completed NFER (year 5) and SATS (year 6) tests this week to help us identify any areas the children need to work on more over the coming year. The children completed them with real maturity and have done well in them. The data from these tests will take time to process, but they have shown that the areas to focus more on in reading are predictions and summaries, and in maths, fractions, decimals and percentages - all of which we will be covering slowly for the next few weeks and then after Christmas. 

 

As a reward for their hard work, on Tuesday and Thursday, we took part in some activities that were fun and would build their teamwork skills. On Tuesday, we completed the tarpaulin challenge, where in groups of ten the children had to stand on the tarpaulin and turn it over without stepping off. The children took their time to do this, but were able to complete it in their teams. We then went onto another activity which saw the children have to line up in a particular order blindfolded.

On Thursday, it was a messier affair! The children had to work in small groups to make spaghetti and marshmallow bridges. The children worked well in their teams to put their bridge together with many of them passing the 'candle test'. 
In art, to help us prepare for painting the Moon, we looked at slowly adding some black paint to white paint to make different shades of grey. This will help us next week with the different shades and tones on the Moon.
In history, we looked at different perspectives of events and how sources can try to persuade you to think a certain way. To understand this, the children looked at different pieces of evidence about the Moon landing to see whether it was real or faked. Some children were then able to evaluate flaws with different pieces of evidence too. The majority of the class concluded that it was real.
Finally, in PE, the children played a game to develop their tactical thinking. They were split into 2 teams and they had to throw the ball to each other and then to the person in their end zone. Sounds easy? The end zone could be defended by the other team to stop the ball from being caught in the end zone. If the ball was caught in the end zone, the person who threw it would also go into the end zone. This made them think about who would be best placed to go the end zone and think quickly.

Notes and reminders this week:

  • The online auction to raise money for the school is now live! You can bid here!
  • We are encouraging the children to be outside wherever possible, this includes during PE (and other lessons), playtimes and lunchtimes. To ensure your children are kept warm, please send them in with a coat and spare clothes to get changed into after PE (should they get wet and/or muddy). They can also bring in hats, gloves, scarves etc. and a towel. I’d also suggest an empty carrier bag to put their muddy/wet clothes into.
  • We will be learning God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in singing this week, so it would be a good idea if the children could listen to the song at home.
  • Year 6 parents, you may be aware that there are changes to school examinations this year, including the SATS. SATS week will still go ahead in May (the ones we did this week were past papers) without the spelling, punctuation and grammar tests that would usually take place on the Monday. The children will now complete the reading paper on the Monday, the first 2 maths papers on the Tuesday and the third maths paper on the Wednesday unless the school has to close; in which case we can take them the following week. I will still of course be teaching spelling, punctuation and grammar as these are important areas of English. The data will be used to identify gaps and will not be published as a ‘league table’.

Week 11 (23/11/20-27/11/20)

Approaching the end of term in a couple of weeks, the children have all worked hard and have hopefully made lots of fantastic memories.

 

In English, the children have been planning and writing their own stories to enter into a competition. The focus for the competition is to write about ‘the happiest day of my life’, which can be based on a real event (such as getting a pet) or what the children believe would be the best day of their life (such as Southampton winning the Premier League - don’t tell my family from Portsmouth that...). To help us write in detail, we looked at the progressive tense and wrote a few sentences to use within our stories. To plan our stories we had help from our ‘Author of the Term’, Tom Palmer, who showed us how he plans his stories. Using his methods, the children created a plan to detail what will happen in their stories. Towards the end of the week, the children started typing up their story and we will edit them next week - also with the help of Tom Palmer.

 

In maths, we have been learning about long division. This is a tricky concept to learn at first, but with perseverance, the children have been fantastic at using it. We will look at solving problems with long division next week.

 

Additionally, we took part in the Wellington School Maths Challenge for the second year in a row. This competition sees teams of 4 year 6s from schools across the local area work together to solve a range of tricky problems. This year, Will, Hattie, Sam and Tom C represented the school against 62 other schools from the surrounding area. They worked really well as a team and developed their own tactics, which allowed them to finish 20 minutes early and check their work. Their answer sheet has been sent to Wellington School and we will hopefully hear back from them this week to find out our school. From looking at their answer sheet and the questions, I reckon they got 20 or 21 (one question is worded a bit awkwardly) out of 25. Bearing in mind that last year’s winning school scored 17, they have done exceptionally well regardless of the result. Mrs Barnes commented on how well the children worked as a team, whilst she was teaching the year 3s in the hall.

In science, we revised what days and years were and how the Earth's movements creates Earth days and years using our models before writing our own explanation about what days and years are in as much detail as possible. Many children drew a diagram to help show their understanding. The children impressed me with how much detail they put into their explanations as well as with what they could remember.

In history, we witnessed the Moon landing! We watched Apollo 11 launch, the Eagle land on the Moon, Neil Armstrong's famous words, and the Armstrong and Aldrin's activities on the moon. We will look more into the Moon landing next week!

 

In geography, we looked at what the UK exports to the rest of the world. We found out that in 2015, the UK's largest export in terms of value was gold (it's cars now). After looking at which countries we trade the most with, we made a bar model to show the top 10 products that we export to the rest of the world.

 

In PE, we played a game called 'speedball', which is a mix between football and netball. To play, the children kick the ball to each other, when the ball is on the floor, and throw it to each other when the ball is in the air. They get 1 point for every time the ball is kicked into the net and 3 points every time it is thrown in. This, therefore, required teams to think tactically about how to play - especially if they were behind.

Notes and reminders for next week:

  • The PTA are running an auction to raise money for the school. The children in Kestrel Class have therefore made posters to advertise this, to go around the village. The auction starts on Friday 4th November at 5 PM and closes on Friday the 11th November at 8PM. You can find all of the products you can bid on here: https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/oakebradfordandnyneheadprimaryschoolauctionofpledges
  • Next week, we will be completing assessments to work out the children's attainment. I have told the children that we will be completing them, but not to worry about them as they are going to be used more to find out what gaps the children have due to lockdown. The year 6s will be completing a set of SATs tests for this, which will also help them understand the structure and layout of the tests. The year 5s will be completing a set of tests based on the year 4 and 5 curriculum. I stress that these are not anything for the children to worry about.

Week 10 (16/11/20-20/11/20)

We have had a really positive week in Kestrel Class - looking at a variety of skills and subjects.

 

In English this week, we have been focusing on writing our information texts, which we have worked on for the previous two weeks. The children were tasked with writing an information text as a double-page spread about one of the first people to go to space or animals who went to space - a topic which interested and appalled many of the children. Their final pieces speak for themselves - well done, Kestrels!

In maths, we have looked at prime numbers, common factors and short division. The children have worked hard this week and have been able to apply their understanding to a range of problems, which will help us as we focus on long division next week.
On Monday afternoon, during my planning time, the children are taught about nutrition and wellbeing by someone from Premier Sport and this week, the children have enjoyed trying and investigating fruits and vegetables. There were two activities, one of them was blindly tasting different fruits and vegetables; the other, was guessing the fruit or vegetable by touch. From speaking to some of the children, they enjoyed trying these foods and guessing what they were.
It was of course Anti-Bullying Week this week, which started with Odd Socks Day. The children enjoyed coming in wearing odd socks on Monday and we had to have a photo for that! On Tuesday and Wednesday, we then looked at how we could make the school a better place, by standing up against bullying. The children then made their own puzzle piece, which is now on display within the classroom to remind the children to be a defender and support the target of any bullying should it take place at school.
In history, we looked at America in the 1950s at the start of the Space Race - particularly the issue of racism. The children came in after lunch to see a bus had been set up in the classroom. Slowly, children got on the bus, which was segregated between year 5 and year 6, and sat down. However, as more year 5s got on, the year 6 section was pushed further back with some year 6s having to give up their seat for a year 5. As the last passenger boarded, 4 year 6s had to give up their seat and stand at the back, so that the one passenger could sit down. We then watched a short clip from Doctor Who which showed us what a remarkable woman did. This led to a great discussion about racism. We then looked at what happened next with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the actions of Martin Luther King Jnr. The children were brilliant in this lesson and came up with some great questions for us to look at as a class. I was even told by one parent that their child came home and said part of the “I have a dream” speech. Some children told me that they then watched the whole of the Doctor Who episode at home!

In PE this week, we had to redo the cross country from last week, as an error had been made with the length of the distance ran. Come to think about it, if the children’s times were accurate, Harvey would have ran at Usain Bolt’s world record pace for the whole of the 1200m... No wonder our times were quick! Once we had a correct time, we had a game of rounders, which the children thoroughly enjoyed! 

In music, we listened to our third planet, Venus - the Bringer of Peace. The children were very good at guessing which planet we were listening to and we then looked at the timbre of the music. We enjoyed discussing this and, with our eyes shut, thought about what colour the piece reminded us of. There were many responses, such as light blue (reminding them of the sky), pastel colours (flowers) and black (the night sky). 

In computing, we looked at Google Forms and how we could create a form which would help us to create a database. The children watched as I showed them through adding ‘questions’ and then they created their own, which we will use next week.

Notes and Reminders this week:

  • In spelling next week, we will see how well the children have learnt their spellings this term. To practise the spellings at home, it would be a good idea to recap the rules learnt so far this year.

Week 9 (9/11/20-13/11/20)

Wow, another week over! The children have worked really hard this week and collectively, we have had a great week! 

 

What better place to start than our orreries? Last Friday, the children finalised their plan in their art and DT book, so that they could make an orrery with the materials they had brought in from home, but we had to wait until Tuesday, this week, for the moment they had all been waiting for - getting started! The children all eagerly got underway, either painting their planets, cutting out cardboard or setting up their base to finish the following day. To allow us to get cracking from the off on Wednesday, the children kept their materials on their desk overnight. As the tables needed cleaning (not just because of the paint), John, the cleaner, and I were able to have a closer look at how the children's orreries were coming along and we were both impressed! The next day, the children reviewed their plans to see what they had to do next and at 9:15, we restarted our DT work. The children were keen to get going, and get going they did! Only stopping for playtime and the 2 minutes silence for Remembrance Day, most of the children were able to finish their orrery. 

Mrs Hayes, Mrs Lewis and I were all impressed that the children had a variety of ideas about how they created their orreries and were impressed by the final outcome! At the end of the day, Mrs Barnes popped along and suggested that they should be displayed in the hallway, so that everyone could see them! I agreed and all of the staff have commented on how incredible they are. Well done Kestrel Class! 
Also on Wednesday, it was Remembrance Day. To mark the start and end of the 2 minutes silence, 2 of our year 6s were chosen randomly by Mrs Hayes to ring the old school bell. Ned and Meadow were chosen and went over to the hall with Mrs Hayes, whilst the rest of the class, Mrs Lewis and myself went out onto the playground. The children showed real maturity during those 2 minutes, which was noted by Mrs Lewis and myself. 

In English, we have continued with our study of information texts, using the book Everest as our key text. In history this week, we looked at the first few people in space, Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard and Valentina Tereshkova as well as Laika the dog - which gave us a good starting point for writing our own information texts. After discussing and debating the ethics of sending animals into space, many of the children decided that they wanted to find out more about the animals who have been to space, but some also chose to research Yuri Gagarin (the first person to go to space) or Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman and civilian to go to space). We will start writing our information texts next week.

 

In maths, we have continued to look at multiplication - focusing on long multiplication this week. This is a tricky method to understand, so is one we will continue to practise throughout the year. However, I have been impressed by how well the year 6s could remember the method from last year, so I am sure the year 5s will pick this up by the end of the year - however, many have done well. On Friday, we looked at factors and created our own factor bugs to show the factor pairs of numbers.

 

In music, we are continuing to listen to The Planets by Gustav Holst. Again, the children had to work out which planet the piece was about from the names given to each of the Planets' names. The majority of the children were able to guess that this week's piece was 'Uranus - The Magician', and the children also impressed me by remembering the names of most of the pieces. 

 

In science, we looked at one area that the children had asked a lot about since comparing the Earth with the other planets in our solar system - what days and years are. We started of by discussing different thoughts about what a year is, before looking into them more deeply and discovering that a day is a rotation of the planet and a year is the time it takes for the planet to travel around the sun. This allowed us to understand why a year on Venus is actually shorter than a day on Venus! We then made our own model, which we will use next week to recap what days and years are. At the end of the lesson, we returned to the different thoughts we discussed at the start of the lesson to see who was most accurate about what a year was.

 

In PE, we completed a cross-country run around the field. As part of a running competition with other schools, the children had to run 1,200m. Mrs Ward, who teaches our PE lessons was impressed with our times and said that we were one of the faster schools in the area. We will find out our best runners next week.

Notes and Reminders this week:

  • It was school photo day on Friday. The children should come home with the order forms next week.
  • On Friday, it is 'Break the Rules Day' for Children in Need. For Mrs Lewis's and my sanity, there is a list of rules that they will be allowed to break to raise money - not all rules can be broken! It is NOT a non-school-uniform day, the children are still expected to come in their normal school uniform, but they can also (at the cost of 50p per fine):
    • Have crazy hair
    • Wear trainers
    • Wear a temporary tattoo
    • Wear a hat
    • Bring any snack at playtime (remembering we are a nut-free school)
    • Wear nail varnish
    • Wear makeup
    • Wear bright socks or tights
    • Wear a different colour jumper (the children don't have to wear their usual one).
  • It is anti-bullying week next week, which we will explore in class. On Monday, to celebrate this, we will start with Odd Socks Day, so the children are invited to wear odd socks to celebrate the uniqueness of every member of Kestrel Class - I will be taking part in this!

Week 8 (02/11/20-06/11/20)

It has been lovely to welcome back all of the children in Kestrel Class back into the classroom this week. We have moved on to the second part of our learning quest, The Race for Space, now focusing on the years after World War 2.

 

In English, we are looking at the book 'Everest' by Alexandra Stewart. This is to help us understand the features of information texts and build our understanding of the explorations that took place after the Second World War. To begin this topic, we first looked at what happened to help the children understand the key parts of the text before looking at 'Part 1' of the book about the lives of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - the first 2 people to reach the summit of Everest. We used this part to build our understanding of the book and our reading skills - this time focusing on our vocabulary skills. We look forward to reading the rest of the book next week.

 

Our 'Author of the Term' is now Tom Palmer. Many children have been excited to listen to his book, After the War as our class read and I have been asked to read more of it! Some children have asked to read some of his books, which we have on our special bookshelf, to read and have thoroughly enjoyed them - the Wings series went very quickly! It has been lovely to see the children take a real interest in reading so far this term and I hope it continues. I have been in touch with Tom Palmer and he would like to say, "Hi!" to you all and he is glad that the children are enjoying his books.

In maths, we have continued from where we left off - with a focus of multiplication. On Monday, we looked at making and identifying cube numbers. We started this by making cubes and looking at how many multilink cubes we had used to make these cubes. On Tuesday, we used our understanding of multiplication and the grid method to mentally solve a range of questions in a 'times table relay' - which was much enjoyed. Throughout the rest of the week, we focused on written methods to solve more complicated multiplication problems, so far looking at the expanded short multiplication method (we will look at the compact - standard - short multiplication on Monday). 

 

Elsewhere, we have started to look at (or listen to!) Gustav Holst's 'The Planets', starting with Mercury. The children heard one of the pieces from The Planets and had to guess what piece was being played based on the name of each piece. This led to a good discussion about which planet the piece we were listening to might be. After we found out which piece we had listened to, we watched it being played at the Proms to see which instruments were being played. We found out that many of the instruments used in the piece were woodwind instruments, so we looked at how they worked by making an 'oboe' at of straws.

In History, we looked at how the Space Race started at the end of World War 2 and the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1, came into orbit. We learned that it did nothing but beep and stopped when its batteries ran out. Also, we watched a video to see how fast it travelled through the sky - impressing the Americans (and the Kestrels)! 

 

In PE, we played a game which developed children's listening, attacking and defending skills. The children were split into 8 teams with 2 teams battling against each other, so 4 games in total. The children were numbered 1-4 within their team and when their number was shouted out, they had to race the opposing team's player to grab the tennis ball and bring it back to their starting spot without being tagged by the other player. The children enjoyed this and then got to play 'French cricket' afterwards.

Overall, we have had a good week, also learning about supply chains, databases, what Hindus believe about God and planning our orrerys, and I hope next week will be even better!

 

Notes and reminders this week:

  • It is the children's school photo day on Friday, so you may wish for them to look as smart as possible! We will have our Children in Need Day the following week so that the children's photos are in their school uniform.
  • On Friday, we planned our orrerys and will start making them next week. Thank you for everybody who provided materials for your children's orrerys. They will look fantastic when they are completed.
  • We have been invited to take part in Wellington School's Return to Neverland Writing Retreat. I have posted this on Class Dojo with more information, but if you would like your child to take part let me know.
  • Next week's (Week 9) weekly spellings can be found on our spelling page

Week 6 (12/10/20-16/10/20)

Another good week in Kestrel Class!

 

In English, we have been looking at the short story Little Vixen Street, about a fox called Enola. We started by looking at the technical language in the story to help us understand some of the more tricky words and comprehend what we were reading. We took this comprehension further the next day by discussing inferences (reading 'between the lines') and answering questions to build the children's skills to infer from texts. Then, with our knowledge of the story, we pretended we were Enola and completed a hot-seat activity, where the children asked 'Enola' questions. On the final days of the week, we prepared and wrote a story in the style of Little Vixen Street, which many of the children were enthused with!

 

In maths, we have finished our learning of subtraction and have moved on to multiplication. On Monday, the children developed their understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction by completing addition pyramids. At first, these were a bit tricky, but with time, the children developed their understanding. By the end of the week, we were looking at problems involving multiples, including common multiples.

 

In PE, the children looked at the importance of communication. They worked in 4 groups, where most were blindfolded and one child had to guide them around an obstacle course on the field. It was interesting to hear what the children would instruct their team to do as well as seeing how the leader guided them through the course. This is because for some obstacles, the leader could guide a member of their team through one at a time, or guide their whole team through it.

In science, the children had to plan their own science experiment to find out what features of paper planes made them fly further due to air resistance. To do this, we discussed as a class what variables we could change to the planes before they worked in pairs to plan their own experiment using our science planning boards. As a class, the children changed a variety of variables, but in their pairs could only change one and keep everything else the same. On Friday afternoon, we put their planes to the test!
In computing, we explored Google Classroom to see how we could use it as a learning tool. To do this, the children had to login to Google Classroom (which they did well) and complete a quiz about the half term so far. The children very much enjoyed this and I have noticed that a few have tried to see if they could access Google Classroom from home over the weekend.

Notes and reminders this week:

  • Half term is coming up and we all deserve a well earned rest. The children have worked exceptionally hard and have created fantastic pieces of work under these strange circumstances. The children are in Monday to Thursday this week and Friday is an INSET day. 
  • Thank you to those of you who have helped your child fill in their 'Moon Diary'. Some days were hard to fill in due to the moon 'coming up' past the children's bed times.
  • As it gets wetter, the children may need a full set of clothes to change into (ideally school uniform) if they get wet and muddy during PE - as otherwise they may have to stay like this the whole day. This could be brought in on PE days or a set of clothes brought in in a bag which the children can keep on their peg (this may be easier).
  • If your child has to self isolate at home and needs to access the home learning, it can be found on our 'Home Learning' page. This can be found by going to 'Children' -> 'Class Pages' -> 'Kestrel Class (Year 5 and Year 6)' -> 'Home Learning'. Alternatively, CLICK HERE

Week 5 (04/10/20-09/10/20)

Another week in Kestrel Class with lots going on!

 

In English, we have continued our work on instructions - particularly some of the grammar features, such as modal verbs (words that indicate obligation or possibility, such as could, should, can) and imperative verbs (verbs which tell you what to do in a command). From there, we used our great understanding of how to wash our hands to write instructions to help other people. We started this by giving the children a 'new' sanitiser (our current one with UV paint added to it) after the children came in from playtime (as usual). After recapping the features of instructions, we told the children about the UV paint and then looked at a few of the children's hands under UV light on the board to see how well they covered their hands (unfortunately, there were parts that they missed!) Interestingly, one child, who has his own sanitiser, still managed to get some UV paint on his hands. This showed the children why we wash our hands regularly in school...   

After that, the children were given the opportunity to show us how well they could wash their hands, using our usual 'conga line' technique. The children found that their fingernails and between their fingers were areas that kept a lot of the UV paint and required more washing. From reading their instructions afterschool on Friday, I am impressed with how much they have learnt and how far they have come so far this year.

In maths, we have continued our learning of addition and subtraction, with a particular focus on column subtraction this week. To help our understanding of why we exchange (carrying over) in column subtraction, we modelled out subtraction calculations using place value counters and have applied it to solve problems. On Friday, we looked at how addition and subtraction are the inverse to each other.

 

On Tuesday afternoon, we had a double header of history and science looking at Isaac Newton and forces, such as gravity. The children completed 2 experiments. The first one was to find the gravitational field strength on Earth by using newton meters to find the weight of different items in the room in newtons (grams is a unit of mass). The children worked this out to be 10m/s2. The second was to explore other forces that act on objects, such as air resistance, which caused the children's spinners to spin as they fell to the ground. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of these, but the children had plenty of fun!

In PE, the children had a lot of fun playing ultimate tag. Fortunately, it did not rain too much, but it was still pretty muddy! Despite working individually, the children had to discover their own tactics, such as spinning, waiting and forming support teams. Two big teams formed, subsequently named 'The Alliance' (which even had a chant) and 'The Snakes'. The children really enjoyed playing this (and sliding around in the mud), that we advanced it to 'last player standing'. At the sound of the start whistle, it was a low-key mixture of The Hunger Games and the Lord of the Flies between the 2 big teams. What many members of those 2 teams didn't realise is that a third team (with good tactics and observational skills) was hiding on the side lines, which started pouncing when the 2 big teams had almost cancelled each other out. When we got to the final three of Max, Hattie and Mason G, it was a tough encounter, which was eventually won by Mason G. Overall, the children developed good team building strategies and observational skills - and many were also quite muddy...

 

Thankfully, the majority had a set of spare clothes to change into. If the children are bringing in their spare clothes in the same bag as their lunchbox, a carrier bag would be a great addition, so mud and water don't get everywhere.

Elsewhere, we have looked at Harvest this week. As we couldn't have our usual Harvest service at the church, we have created a school harvest video instead. This involved every class having a different word formed from the letters in Harvest. Ours was 'starve', so we looked at the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and then recreated it on the field. The year 6 worship leaders also went off with Mrs Barnes to film the introduction to the video. You can watch it below.

Harvest Celebrations 2020

Notes and reminders this week:

  • As mentioned above, thank you for sending your children with a full set of clothes to change into. As we get deeper into autumn and winter, the children may get wet and muddy in PE, so they may need to get changed again. They can either bring in a bag with a full set of spare clothes to put on their peg for when needed, or bring them in specially on Thursdays for PE. I would suggest that if your child(ren) are bringing in clothes in their schoolbag on Thursdays, that they include a carrier bag to put their clothes into. 
  • If your child is self-isolating for whatever reason, then work will be set on our class's home learning page. If your child is ill, then it would be best for them to rest and recover, ready for a return to school.
  • Mrs Kimsey and I took part in an interesting science training course afterschool on Monday. Last year, we both attended training courses led by researchers of science teaching from the University of Bath Spa. The TAPS model has developed science teaching in the school and hopefully the children are enjoying it more. As part of their research, they are studying how children in year 5 can develop their practical skills. Initially, the current year 6s were the focus of their study and would have been teacher-assessed last summer. However, with it being a SATS year, they have moved their focus on the current year 5s. A letter has been added to the year 5s portfolio on Class Dojo with more information and an opt out form. We will have to send numbers of children taking part back to them this week, so if you do not want your child to take part in the study, please let us know by Wednesday. You can opt out at any time past Wednesday, but this is for their initial data.

Week 4 (28/09/20-02/10/20)

What a busy week we have had!

 

In English, we have started looking at instructional texts. This started on Monday, when we played a game outside where the children had to instruct their partner to draw an image by describing it. The children discovered that their instructions had to be clear and tell us about the size or amount they had to draw - otherwise Tom C's panda could result in Max's snowman... We developed this by looking at a recipe for cola to understand some of the vocabulary used. On Wednesday, we then compared different instructions to find out what was important when reading instructions: clear steps, pictures, commands and simple sentences. Using this knowledge, they were then tasked to write instructions for me of how to make a jam sandwich. Mrs Lewis and I were impressed with the clarity of their instructions, but things got a bit messy for me on Thursday afternoon (see the picture of the sandwich below)... 

In maths, we finished our learning of ratio and have moved onto addition. The children worked really hard to show me their best column addition skills with some numbers, for year 6, up to 10,000,000! This is a skill that wasn't lost over lockdown!

 

As part of learning about the 'Zones of Regulation', the children have looked at ways to 'get back to green' - a state where the children can learn effectively. Mrs Cooper has developed STOP IT to help us return to a stable working condition. STOP IT stands for 'Squeeze, Talk, Oxygen, Press, Imagination and Think'. These are strategies we will look at over the coming weeks; however, we looked at 'Oxygen' and 'Press' this week. 'Oxygen' means that we should complete some breathing exercises. We could do this by tracing our fingers - up for slowly breathing in and down for breathing out. We then looked at 'Press', where we could press against something to help us calm down.

In art on Tuesday, we looked at John Singer Sargent's, 'Gassed' - a painting from World War 1. We discussed it as a class before we recreated it. Working in 4 teams, the children were different people in the painting allowing them to be in the position of the soldiers.

In RE, we looked at the Hindu story of Ganga, Shiva and the River Ganges. This was a really interesting story to read and discuss, before retelling in their books. The children could create a double page spread or a comic strip to show their understanding - all of which had a lot of detail and effort put into them.

 

In PE, the children were introduced to Hop Jump. This is an advanced rock paper scissors competition, where the children had to jump or hop to their opponent and play a round of rock paper scissors. If they won, they jumped or hopped until they came to the next player on their opponent's team. If they made it all the way to their opponent's team's hoop they got a point. The first team to 5 points won.

I am sure you have heard a lot about our science lesson from Thursday... We made the phases of the moon from Oreos - which was very well received by the children (especially after the jam sandwich lesson!). We looked at each phase in detail, before they made the Oreo moon phases in pairs. This was a very... tasty lesson!

Notes and reminders this week:

  • It is our Harvest celebration this week. We have contacted Open Door to find out what they need at this difficult time. They have asked for any non-perishable food other than pasta, pasta sauces, baked beans and UHT milk; instant snacks (for if people come outside of meal times or for people in emergency accommodation) and toiletries (especially disposable razors, wet wipes and deodorant). Boxes will be put in the playground for donations. Thank you for your support in advance.
  • The children will need a coat and wellies as we would like to use the field as much as possible (especially as it gets wetter and colder). These will need to be named.
  • After school on Friday, I tidied up the cloakroom a bit (putting bags and jumpers on pegs and re-taping a few peg labels. Thank you for naming items, it has made it helpful to quickly return items, which may have fallen off, to pegs.
  • As it gets wetter, the children may need a full set of clothes to change into (ideally school uniform) if they get wet and muddy during PE - as otherwise they may have to stay this the whole day. This could be brought in on PE days or a set of clothes brought in in a bag which the children can keep on their peg (this may be easier).
  • If your child has to self isolate at home and needs to access the home learning, it can be found on our 'Home Learning' page. This can be found by going to 'Children' -> 'Class Pages' -> 'Kestrel Class (Year 5 and Year 6)' -> 'Home Learning'. Alternatively, CLICK HERE

Week 3 (21/09/20-25/09/20)

Another week over and we are settling into new rules and a new year really well. 

 

This week, in English, we have been looking at how commas can change the meaning of the sentence and avoid ambiguity by reading the book, 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves'. Over the week, we have discussed 5 different uses for commas before creating our own pages on Thursday - there were lots of good ideas here!

 

Elsewhere, as part of our learning quest, The Race for Space, the children worked in groups to create and research one of the planets within the Solar System. The children had to find out interesting facts about their planet, including how far the planet is from the sun. With this information, we went outside and the children guessed where their planet would be if the sun was near the old building and Neptune was 100m away. Many groups decided to spread out their planet evenly from each other, trying to stay within the order of the planets. The Mars group, however, realised that their planet must be quite near the sun based on how far away Neptune would be. We went back inside and looked at how to place the planets in proportion to the distance away from the sun. Once we had worked that out, we were able to put all of our research together to create this documentary for you to enjoy (not all facts may be accurate...)

A Tour of the Solar System

In PE, we enjoyed playing jailbreak and had our own competition to see who would be the ultimate jailbreakers! Whilst playing, the teams developed their own tactics as to how to win. The more games they played, the more they realised that they had to play as a team and work together to collect the other team's tennis balls and free each other from jail.

In art, we are looking at how every picture has their own story to tell. This week, we looked at how we could use emojis to write sentences. The children thoroughly enjoyed creating their own sentences after decoding some of mine. What will next week's pictures have to tell us? We'll have to wait and see...

 

To end the week, we had our usual celebration assembly (although now on teams). We are still working on being quiet in assembly and I hope that we are better on Tuesday. Despite this, I had 5 certificates to give out; 3 stars of the week to Freya, Mia T and Zeke and 2 rather special certificates that I had to keep quietly excited about, which arrived on Wednesday! These 2 were for Sam and Dougal, who had entered a national competition to say, "Thank you!" to the NHS as one of the tasks set during lockdown. Both boys wrote fantastic songs and were subsequently 'Highly Commended' out of thousands of entries.

 

Notes and reminders this week:

  • Thank you to all of those who have signed up to Class Dojo. We are using it as a way to communicate with parents.
  • The children's spelling results were exceptional this week! You can find this term's spellings here to practise with your children at home.
  • We do try to read with the children at least once a week to keep track of their reading. Each child can borrow a 'banded' library book to build their reading stamina, comprehension and vocabulary as well as another school book. We are encouraging the children to log their reading and we hope that the children can read for at least 15 minutes for 4 days a week. 

Week 2 (14/09/20-18/09/20)

Wow, what a week! I spoke to Freddie in afterschool club on Friday and he told me that he enjoyed everything this week, which is fabulous to hear. I hope that all of the children had a great week too!

 

Last week, I had noticed that the children's maths skills were where I hoped they were, which was fantastic! However, I had noticed that we had forgotten a few sentence writing skills over lockdown. Therefore, this week, we worked on composing sentences, which started by looking at basic punctuation and expanded noun phrases. Throughout the week, we adapted this to write a recount about 2 pictures. These pictures really motivated the children to write (in fact, I have never known such eagerness to write!) which was beautiful to see. The outcomes were fantastic too - we have a great class of writers here - it's fair to stay we are back on track!

 

In maths, we have continued our learning of place value by looking at negative numbers and rounding and like last week, the children have impressed me. These can be two tricky areas of maths, but the children have excelled themselves again. This is only possible due to your continued support through lockdown - thank you!

 

Elsewhere, as part of our learning quest, we will see how the USA developed as a country as we move towards learning about the space race. However, to do this, we started with the journey of the Mayflower, 400 years ago to the month. The children enjoyed the story and we discussed each part. Afterwards, we created our own origami Mayflowers on Thursday and sailed them on Friday.

Elsewhere, we looked at eternal truths in RE - as part of our learning of Hinduism. Looked at where some of our breakfast items came from in geography, spotting false information on the internet in computing and made some lovely inkblot drawings based on the work of Rorschach in art.

 

In science, on Tuesday, we completed an experiment to see what happened to a shadow throughout the day. The children started this first thing in the morning by drawing around the base of a cricket or rounders stump and then its shadow. The children thoroughly enjoyed this and noticed that the shadow moved throughout the day as the Earth rotated as well as getting smaller towards lunchtime as we started to face the sun and got bigger again after lunch as we rotated away from the sun. Fortunately, the sun was not 'hiding behind the clouds' too much that day! 

This linked very nicely with our guided reading on Thursday, which was the book 'Sulwe' - including a story about the hidden beauty of the night. The children were very good at discussing this as a class and came up with some fantastic responses to some deep questions.

 

In PE, the children enjoyed their time completing a circuit of activities, before playing football cricket. 

Overall, it has been a fantastic week, and I have been thoroughly impressed with their hard work and commitment. They are brilliant.

 

Notes and reminders this week:

  • From Monday, work will be placed on the 'Home Learning' page of our class page to ensure those at home self-isolating can complete some work. The work will be similar to that set in class, though cannot always be the same. There will be English tasks, a maths task and a learning quest task for each day. We will also be looking at Google Classrooms, hopefully before the half term holiday.
  • Thank you to those who have named your children's jumpers and cardigans, it has made it so much easier to return them. 
  • Most of you are now linked to our Class Dojo class, which is fantastic as you will get updates of any key information this week. However, a few of you aren't yet, to join send an email to homelearning.obn@educ.somerset.gov.uk to be added.

Week 1 (07/09/20-11/09/20)

It has been thoroughly enjoyable to be back in the classroom after the summer holidays. I have enjoyed seeing 18 old faces from last year, who have stepped up fantastically to year 6. I have also enjoyed welcoming 12 new year 5s, who have settled in spectacularly. We certainly have a great year ahead!

 

In English, we have enjoyed reading 'Here We Are' by Oliver Jeffers and using his book as the basis for some fantastic free verse poetry this week. Throughout the week, we have written poems on day and night as well as the skyline that we can see on the field. I have been impressed with the start of this week and have enjoyed reading the children's poems.

 

In maths, we have looked at Roman numerals and place value. Roman numerals can be a tricky concept to grasp, but the children have knuckled down and have really enjoyed learning about how to use them. We will use them throughout the year to help keep that high level of understanding. On Wednesday, we moved on to reading and writing numbers up to 10 million. Again, I have been impressed with the children's eagerness to impress with this topic, which has put us in a great position to look at comparing numbers and rounding next week.

 

On Tuesday, we launched our learning quest, 'The Race for Space', by launching our very own rockets on the field. The children had a lot of fun making these rockets out of card. We found making the nose cone for the rocket a bit tricky, but we got there in the end! I was also impressed that the children made links to the rocket mice experiment we completed last year and used it to help make their rocket. The rockets launched with varying levels of success, from 18.5 metres to exploding on the launchpad... No matter far their rocket flew - all children enjoyed taking part.

In PE, we were taught by Miss Ward, who taught us taekwondo last year. She introduced us to football rounders, which the children thoroughly enjoyed! The first game we played ended 10.5 - 9.5 to Jacob's team and the second, with an expanded court, 7.5-6.5 to Will's team. Afterwards, we had a little time left over, so we had a game of noughts and crosses with beanbags and hoops.

Elsewhere, we have learned about Galileo Galilei, global trade and how the internet is different to the world wide web. The children have really enjoyed learning about a wide range of subjects this week and have been absolutely brilliant. I have been impressed with their commitment as well as how quickly they have become interested in our class read (we have read over 50 pages already!).

 

On Friday, we had our first whole-school virtual collective worship. The children were very excited to see themselves on the screen and the rest of the school too! It was certainly an enjoyable moment in the school's history!

Notes and reminders this week:

  • All of the children have (hopefully) brought home a reading book to read and their reading record. We have introduced a new system of levels in key stage 2 to ensure a wider and appropriate use of language in the books they read. The children can fill in their reading record themselves or they can read out loud to you, if you feel it would be beneficial.
  • To ensure a method of communication between you and us, the home learning email address is still working. We are also trying to ensure as many of you can contact us directly through Class Dojo. To ensure that we can invite you to join our class, email us at homelearning.obn@educ.somerset.gov.uk saying that you would like to join our class's Class Dojo. I will post on our class story there as well.
  • Thank you for remembering that your children need to be in their PE kit on Thursday. The children can change their shirt afterwards for personal hygiene reasons.
  • If your child would like to take part in Somerset County Cricket Club's winter training programme, let me know, so I can send your details on.
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