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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 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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