Monarch class go swimming every Thursday, starting on 16th September.
On Fridays, the children have PE lessons, taught by specialists from Rising Stars. Children will need to wear their PE to school on this day and will remain in it all day.
Please ensure that they have the correct kit for both sessions so that they can successfully participate.
Children in Monarchs will have the opportunity to visit the school library every Thursday. They will be able to choose a book to take home to read. If they need to change a book, please ensure that they have it in school on a Thursday.
Reading - Children are expected to read for at least ten minutes every day and should record this in their reading record. Your child's reading record must be handed in every Thursday. In year 6, children are not expected to always read to an adult, however a parent/carer will need to sign their reading record to show that they have read at home. We hope to see lots of children becoming Reading Ambassadors this year!
Times Tables - Times tables (and the associated division facts) are a vital part of mathematical knowledge and understanding. It is crucial that your child practises these skills at home by logging onto the Times Table Rockstars website daily, for at least ten minutes.
Spelling - In school, we will teach the children spelling patterns and rules. At home, we would like the focus to be on learning and practising the Year 5 and 6 statutory spellings (you can find these by clicking on the spelling star at the top of this page)
CGP books - Children have been given and English and maths CGP workbooks. This home learning is set on a Friday and these books should be returned to school the following Wednesday. Please use the answer sheets at the back to mark the workbooks, then we will follow up with any children who have struggled. Children should spend approximately 20 minutes on each workbook. If you find that they are struggling with a question, they can skip it. Also, if the workbook is taking them too long, please just make a note of where they managed to get up to in 20mins.
This week's (Friday 21st Jan) home learning is:
English - Choice of Language (page 13)
Maths - Pie Charts (Page 86)
What a jam-packed second half to the Autumn Term it has been in Monarchs!
In English, we studied the story ‘Wisp’ by Zana Fraillon. The children learnt all about the symbolic meaning behind the text before learning how to use figurative language, in particular metaphors, for description. Their language choices were beautiful and they helped to create vivid images in my mind as I read them. We then studied the non-fiction text ‘Planetarium’. It was lovely to see the children’s enthusiasm for the space topic as they drew on learning from last year to help them with their writing. We also enjoyed listening to a catchy space rap more than a few times! We used our knowledge to write fact files about Earth, persuasive postcards about Venus and then wrote non-chronological reports about the fictional planet Pandora, from Avatar. The children displayed the range of skills they had learned in this piece of writing and formulated formal reports, which included ambitious vocabulary, multi-clause sentences, adverbial phrases and relative clauses. The also used a variety of punctuation successfully.
In maths, we tackled the tricky topic of fractions, learning how to compare and order fractions, find fractions of amounts and add and subtract fractions. We found out how important it was to use our multiplication skills to help us calculate the lowest common denominator. This term we have also recapped formal methods of multiplication and short division. I was so impressed with how much the children had remembered about these methods from last year; we seem to have a class of short division experts! The children proved their knowledge and understanding using these strategies to solve a range of problems including missing number problems, true or false questions and more. Year 6 finished the term with a unit of work on statistics that involved reading and interpreting graphs as well as finding out how to calculate a particular type of average called the mean.
In science, the children have spent time learning all about electrical systems. After finding out about components of electrical circuits and how to represent them using scientific symbols, we planned, carried out, wrote conclusions and evaluated investigations to prove/dispute a variety of claims including: ‘The bulb will be brighter if I add more batteries’ and ‘The more bulbs I have in a circuit the brighter they will be.’ Children showed off a variety of scientific skills and enjoyed working practically, building their own circuits to test their predictions.
The children have loved our World War II history topic and so we continued to study it this half term. I was thoroughly impressed with the maturity shown when learning about The Holocaust. The children wrote sensitive yet informative newspaper reports about this atrocity. We enjoyed using the iPads to record radio bulletins about the dogfights during the Battle of Britain. Some of us found out about code-breakers and the French Resistance during WWII; we even had a go at writing messages in Morse code before creating codes of our own. We modelled how the war came to an end by moving playdough around on a map, demonstrating how the Allies regained control of Europe, before designing medals for those who fought for our country. Of course, the children have enjoyed their final WWII task – designing and creating their very own Anderson Shelters. Although I have not been in school to see these, I have heard lots about the great work going on and I have seen some brilliant photos.
In Geography this half term, we have learned about the landscape of Europe. This has involved locating the continent and the countries of Europe on world maps. We have investigated capital cities of Europe and compared them to London, identifying many similarities and differences between the human and physical geography of the cities.
Computing lessons have focused on video editing this half term. We began by looking at filming techniques including camera angles and types of shot before using a storyboard to plan a video of our own. We then filmed our videos in groups. Some children created ‘how to’ videos such as ‘How to braid hair’, whilst others filmed themselves doing reviews, such as ‘The top five footballers in the world’. The children showed that they were adept at using technology to create their videos.
Who knew that we had so many confident French speakers in Monarchs? I have been so impressed with the enthusiasm shown for the subject over the past half term as we have learned how to name places in our school, say and write sentences about our school, sing the days of the week, name the subjects we learn each day and even give opinions and justify them in French! I have enjoyed hearing the developing French accents and the confidence in speaking another language is growing – c’est super Monarchs!
We have enjoyed music lessons with Mr Mitchell this half term. We spent time learning the lyrics to a Christmas song as well as how to play it on a variety of instruments. We hope you enjoy watching and listening to the recording soon!
In PE, the children have continued to enjoy swimming lessons, improving both their technique and stamina. This culminated in our sponsored swim – I cannot wait to find out how much money the children have raised for our class. The swimming teachers have been very impressed with the effort and determination to succeed shown in every lesson. Well done Monarchs. With Rising Stars, the children have been honing their gymnastics skills, focusing on balance and movement.
Our PSHE lessons have been focused on the importance of celebrating difference. We learned all about tolerance and the importance of being understanding of people with different cultures from our own. We held mature discussions about sensitive topics such as hate crimes and black history. We learnt that groups of people are discriminated against because of perceived differences and we discussed how we could overcome these conflicts. I was so impressed with how mature all the children were in talking about these subjects and expressing their views to others.
Of course, the fun and success hasn’t been limited to what’s been going on in the classroom: the Charity Committee have sold poppies and raised money for Children in Need; House Captains organised a bake sale that was very well attended and meant that I spent lots of money making sure the staff room was full of delicious treats; and our Pupil Parliament have planted a Queen’s Green Canopy Tree, shown visitors around school, met with the Chair of Governors and our Hertfordshire Schools Advisor and much more. Every single child has been an excellent representative of the school whilst carrying out all of these tasks and I am always so proud to see what a fantastic group of young leaders we have at Margaret Wix. Well done everyone.
As the term draws to a close, the festive spirit has taken over. Pablo (our Spanish Elf on the Shelf!) has caused mayhem and mischief, the children enjoyed decorating the school Christmas tree, we have worn Christmas jumpers and sang to the people of St Albans, had a yummy Christmas lunch and much more. I was disappointed that my term was brought to an abrupt end and I did not get to participate in all of these events with the class, but Mrs Walters has kept me up to date and said that they have all been doing me proud with their excellent attitudes to learning and behaviour.
I hope you have a restful and well-deserved break over the coming weeks, Monarchs! Well done for all of your hard work and I look forward to seeing you again in January! Thank you parents and carers for your continued support in helping your children to reach their full potential – it really is a team effort and I am so pleased to be part of such a great team in Monarchs at Margaret Wix.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas - if you are celebrating - and Happy New Year,
The fun and learning has continued in Monarchs over the past two weeks with the children finishing writing their lost words poems, including lots of lovely figurative language (metaphors, similes alliteration etc.) After that, we began our unit of writing based on explanation texts. This involved looking at examples and identifying what makes them successful before beginning to think about what we could create our own explanation texts about. We have been reading a story called 'Rosie Revere, Engineer' by Andrea Beaty which tells the tale of a young girl who loves to invent. She crafted hot dog dispensers, python-repelling cheese hats and even helium pants to help her Aunt fly. We took inspiration from Rosie, and designed some flying machines of our own that we look forward to writing about next week.
In maths, we have applied some of the mental strategies we have learned to problem solving. We talked about how important estimating is in making sure that our answers are accurate. Working backwards through problems was another strategy that we explored, as well as trying hard to find logical starting points when working out. After, we moved onto learning more about decimal numbers which included ordering and comparing them as well as rounding them to the nearest whole number or nearest tenth. We used the mountain model to help us do this which was very helpful.
We immersed ourselves in our WWII topic by taking part in a workshop whilst dressed as evacuees. We enjoyed watching the actresses who were in role as billeting officers, cooks using rations to carrot biscuits, ladies from the Women's Institute showing us how to make do and mend, and much more! We got to take part in the workshop in various ways and came back to class to bake our own WWII cheese scones. We also learned about one of the most important battles of WWII - the Battle of Dunkirk. In addition, we loved using the headphones this week to take of the role of a character at the heart of a WWII story. We acted out the story in the hall and it really helped us to understand how children would have felt at the time.
In Science, we have continued our learning about light by planning an investigation to find out how the distance from a light source affects the size of a shadow. We've learned about rights and responsibilities in PSHE, considering how we need to act to ensure that everyone's rights are met. This week we enjoyed Yellow Day too, planting daffodils that we hope will brighten up the flower beds outside the office and the ground in front of forest school, next spring. This time in nature allowed us to slow down and consider how important being mindful of our own mental wellbeing is. I've added lots of pictures to the slide show above that include some of the exciting things we've been up to over the past two weeks.
Next week, we will begin to write our explanation texts in English. We'll finish our work on decimal numbers in maths before moving on to learning about fractions. In science, we will carry out our shadow investigation and see what conclusions we can draw. As it is Black History Month, we will be learning about the Windrush and finding out how many people migrated to England from the Caribbean after WWII. We will be learning about why they decided to come to live here as well as how many people were treated once they arrived. Of course, we also have our exciting trip to Haberdasher's to enjoy too!
Wishing you all a great weekend,
What a fantastic two weeks we've had in Monarchs! We're firmly settled into school routines now and I have seen the children come out of their shells, sharing more and more ideas, asking exciting questions, demonstrating enthusiasm for learning and great curiosity (one of our new learning powers).
In English, we finished exploring the text 'Lift' by writing some brilliant job applications to NASA - all of the children were able to write using a formal tone to explain why they would be the perfect astronauts. They tried hard to use persuasive sentence starters such as 'I'm sure you will agree that...' and 'It is obvious that...' as well as making use of the power of three. This week, we have moved onto a poetry unit of work based on a beautiful book called 'The Lost Words'. It contains poems about lesser known aspect of nature and we have spent the week developing vocabulary and exploring poetic devices that we will use in our own poems next week.
In maths, we finished our work on place value by rounding numbers to varying degrees before moving onto learning a range of mental calculation strategies such as doubling and halving for multiplication, equal sum for addition and equal difference for subtraction. These have been new strategies that we've taken time practising and we a starting to be able to choose which one would be most efficient for solving a given problem, rather than reverting to a formal written method every time. We also learned that estimating an answer before calculating is a useful strategy to ensure that our answers seem sensible and accurate!
The fun and learning over the past fortnight has also included using torches to explore reflection and how light travels. We've learned how Christians and Buddhists express their faith through art and designed our own mandalas. In topic, we opened an evacuee's suitcase and explored the contents before imagining ourselves being evacuated and writing letters home to our parents and carers. In computing, we learned how computers send information using IP addresses and acted this process out. We've been swimming and enjoying our football lessons too.
Of course, this week has been especially exciting with the announcement of our new Pupil Parliament, House Captains and Charity Committee! I'm not sure I've ever seen such well-written applications or heard children share their ideas so enthusiastically as I have done in this week's elections. All of the children who put themselves forward and went through the process should be incredibly proud of themselves. I was also pleased to see how grateful and gracious they were when the roles were announced - they might not all have got the original role they wanted, but every single child was happy for their friends and supportive. What amazing children we have leading our school!
There have been lots of letters home this week about exciting trips and visits - all of these dates are now under the information star at the top of this page as well as on the parent noticeboard by the classroom door. We have lots to look forward too over the coming weeks!
Just so that you are aware, and in case your children might need a bit of advanced warning about changes to routines, I will not be in class on Tuesday and Wednesday next week as I am undertaking training.
I hope that you all have a lovely weekend,
Miss Abbott :)
What a brilliant first full week we've had in class! The children have quickly settled into school routines and have shown me what enthusiastic learners they can be. We've enjoyed exploring a picture book called 'Lift' in our English lessons and have produced some excellent setting descriptions including fantastic vocabulary and engaging diary entries written in role using fronted adverbials and subordinate clauses. We've focused on writing neatly, with correct punctuation and I've been pleased by the effort the children have put in to using the new grammatical features we have discussed.
In maths this week, we've been learning about place value. We've thought about the what each digit in a number is worth (including numbers up to 10 million), ordered and compared numbers and began to explore decimal numbers too. We used place value charts a lot this week to help us with our learning. The one below may be helpful for some children when completing this week's home learning.
It's been a busy start to the year as we've also found time to set our goals, learn what it means to have a growth mindset, begin our WWII topic by creating some fantastic artwork, learn about electronic systems in computing, recap previous understanding of light in science and showcase our football skills in PE! Look out for some photos of some of this brilliant learning appearing on our class page very soon!
Today, your child should have brought home a letter about our 'Crucial Crew' trip on 30th September as well as our curriculum newsletter that should give you an idea about what will be happening in class between now and Christmas. Earlier in the week, you should have received a leaflet about secondary school applications too. Please let me know if you didn't receive any of these letters.
As I will not be in class next Tuesday afternoon (14th Sept), our timetable has changed slightly. Rising Stars will be teaching the class for part of the afternoon. Therefore, children will need to be in PE on Tuesday, not Friday for next week only.
Thank you to the children (and the parents I've been able to meet so far) for making my first full week at Margaret Wix so enjoyable; I can't wait to continue to have fun learning with you next week, Monarchs!
Have a lovely weekend everyone,