Margaret Wix Primary School
Excellence, Creativity, Individuality!
Monarchs have PE lessons on Tuesdays. They are taught by PE specialist teachers from ASL Education. Children will need to wear their PE kit to school on Tuesdays and will remain in it all day. Please ensure that they have the correct kit 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)
This week's (Friday 15th July) home learning is...
Rehearsing your leavers' song ready for Thursday's assembly.
I have loved returning to school for the final half term of the year and spending time with your amazing children again! What a half term it has been - I am so proud of the children and the way they have shown our learning powers in abundance. The children have demonstrated self-belief, taking to the stage in front of the whole school, as well as parents and carers, in their school production. Climbing walls were conquered on our end of year trip and required the children to show immense resilience, getting back up and trying again when the fear of heights took over. Curiosity has been displayed in lessons time and time again; the thoughtful questions asked by the children often prompt further learning and inspire more discussion. Respect for others is so very important and Monarchs have shown maturity in transition lessons this half term in particular - they have acknowledged other people's opinions, thoughts and feelings about moving onto secondary school and always responded in considered, respectful ways. As I've said to a few parents recently, I taught one class a few years ago who were incredibly special and I didn't think I'd be lucky enough to work with such an amazing group of children again...then I met Monarchs! There are many reasons why I've loved teaching them this year, but the kindness they show each other daily is one of the most fantastic things to witness. I am sure that the special friendships they have made and maintained during their time at Margaret Wix will continue to grow with them even as they move to new schools. The children have grown hugely over the past year, academically, socially and emotionally, and should be delighted with all of their achievements.
In English this half term, we prepared for our writing moderation by completing two final units of work: a narrative story about a 'Dreamgiver' and a discussion text about Seaworld. The children first watched the 'Dreamgiver' animation, which showed a peculiar creature fluttering into an orphange and cracking glistening, golden dream eggs onto objects near sleeping children. These sparked dreams, based on the objects, but, unfortunately, the dreams soon turned into nightmares and the 'Dreamgiver' had to intervene in order to ensure the children had a peaceful night's sleep. After watching the clip, the children planned their own version of the story, choosing their own special objects and dream settings. The narratives were challenging to write as they flitted between reality and the dream, but the children worked hard to use a range of literary devices to produce gripping stories. Our second piece of writing involved discussing supporting and opposing arguments about Seaworld. Passionate debate filled the classroom as we found out about the poor treatment of marine animals and the lives of orca trainers that have been lost. Although some children found it hard to write about the positives of Seaworld, they persevered and produced excellent, formal arguments. I spent an entire morning with the writing moderator and we enjoyed looking through the children's books together. The gentleman was very impressed with the standard of writing - especially with the ambitious vocabulary used across a range of genres - and even took a few ideas back to use with his own class!
In maths, the children's learning has centred on financial maths this half term. We have enjoyed visits from Metro Bank who have taught us about savings and investments, budgeting, income and expenditure. Much of this learning was reinforced in our own maths lessons in class too as we role-played running a household for a month, deciding how to spend our £2000 income. It was interesting to find out that after purchasing the necessities, most children in the class were savers and decided not to buy many luxury items in order to ensure that next month they had more money in the bank… I wonder whether they’ll keep that sensible attitude when they do actually have money burning a hole in their pockets! Of course, the highlight of our maths work this half term was 'Young Enterprise' during which the children worked in teams to develop their own small businesses. We had everything from glitter tattoos to basketball and cakes to cuddly toys being sold to Cardinals and Admirals. Despite rain on the day, the children quickly brought their businesses into the classroom and continued selling, resulting in an amazing total profit of £150. We have put this money towards an inflatable assault course for the Leavers' party - it's set to be great fun!
Science and PSHE lessons this half term have linked together as they have centred on the changes that happen as we grow. The children impressed me with the maturity shown when recapping learning from year 5 about puberty and how best to look after ourselves physically and emotionally during this time, as well as when we learned about reproduction and how babies grow and are born. In addition, we have discussed self-image and how what we see of celebrities or of people online is not always a true reflection of the person. Also, we learned about the pressures that may come as we move on to secondary school regarding our relationships with others. The children were able to think about potential difficulties and also come up with possible solutions.
In PE this half term, the children have completed health related exercise circuits which involved them building and improving stamina and flexibility through a series of activities each week. This obviously had a positive impact as the children performed brilliantly on sports day amassing a number of points for their houses and helping to make the event highly competitive. We saw great sportsmanship with the children encouraging each other too, which was fantastic, and it helped to make it a great day.
We dedicated a large portion of our time this half term to rehearsing the songs, dances and scenes for our production of 'Pirates of the Curry Bean' and I am sure that you will agree that the children's hard work paid off - what a show it was! The wonderful thing about performances like this is that it often gives children the chance to shine in new ways. There were a number of pupils who surprised me with the confidence shown in being in the spotlight - something that they had often shied away from previously - and they actually made me well up. We were made to laugh out loud throughout the show with the impeccable comedy timing of some children. Others gave me goosebumps with their beautiful singing, especially the soloists who showed immense courage in stepping forward to sing alone. The dancing was fantastic and I noticed members of the audience couldn't resist joining with the actions too. The children also had a hand in making props, building treasure chests, medallions, a saw, a fish, and more; the show wouldn't have been complete without these. There was a real buzz in the air on both evenings and that was created by the children and the brilliant performances they gave - I couldn't have asked for anything more and I hope that the memories of the show remain with the children for a long time to come!
Of course, as the year comes to an end, especially in year 6, it can be a sad time for the children as they leave our lovely school community. The leavers' assembly on Thursday will give them an opportunity to share some of their memories from their time at Margaret Wix and I'm sure will result in a few tears too. However, the assembly will also give us the chance to celebrate the awesome young people that we have had the pleasure of working with and have seen accomplish a great deal; their school reports and SATs results show just some of what they have all achieved this year. The leavers' party is something we are all excited for and it will give this fantastic group the chance to celebrate their successes together in a fun-filled evening. The end of the year is also full of traditions such as signing shirts and this will happen on Friday morning so please make sure that your children are wearing a clean white school shirt and have a permanent marker pen/fabric pen with them.
I cannot emphasise enough what a pleasure it has been to teach your children this year. They are a credit to you with their positive attitudes, kindness, determination to succeed and more! Thank you parents for your support this year; helping your children to reach their full potential really is a team effort. I am sure that each and every one of them will go on to achieve amazing things at secondary school and I cannot wait to hear about it. Please do keep in touch!
Wishing you all a wonderful summer,
Miss Abbott 🙂
The first half of the summer term seems to have whizzed by! The children, once again, endeavoured to demonstrate all our school values as they tackled SATs and enjoyed their residential trip, in addition to all their usual learning in class. Time and time again, they make us incredibly proud as they show kindness and respect to others, display curiosity in their learning and demonstrate increasing self-belief and resilience when taking on new challenges. What a pleasure it is to see you learn and grow, Monarchs!
In English, this term, Monarchs have demonstrated increasing maturity in their writing. They have used a wide range of grammatical techniques to effectively write in a variety of genres. They finished their work on the Spiderwick Chronicles by creating mystical creatures of their own that they then wrote reports about. They focused on using a formal tone, organising their writing into paragraphs and using a variety of sentence structures to ensure that their reports were informative and interesting to the reader. After this, the children produced narratives based on a picture book called ‘The Island’ by Armin Greder. This is a powerful story about refugees, multiculturalism ad human rights that provoked excellent discussion. Having immersed themselves in the text, they went on to write their own tales about outsiders and their experiences. Next, they tackled persuasive writing – they wrote letters, which they shared with local councillor Helen Campbell, about lowering the voting age to eleven. Helen Campbell was impressed with the children’s use of rhetorical questions, statistics and emotive language. Finally, the children have finished the half term by writing explanation texts linked to their science work on the circulatory system.
In maths, the children recapped much of their learning from this year in order to prepare them for their SATs tests. It was important to have a good understanding of arithmetic in order to feel confident in all three test papers. We focused on areas that we know are frequently tested, including lots of work on fractions, decimals and percentages. As well as this, we made sure that the children felt able to effectively apply their knowledge of calculation strategies to solve problems in a range of increasingly complex contexts. The children impressed us with their growing self-belief and their determination to succeed.
This half term’s science topic was the circulatory system. Monarchs found out what blood is made of and its functions in our body. Watching an animation helped them to understand that blood is a kind of transport system carrying oxygen and waste around our bodies. They learned about the basic structure of the circulatory system before delving into the structure and functions of the heart and lungs in more detail. Making a model of lung using plastic bottles, that we were able to inflate and deflate, helped the children to understand how the system works. Finally, they investigated the effects of exercise on pulse and breathing rate.
Of course, as well as working hard towards SATs and continuing their efforts in rest of the curriculum, such as in developing skill and technique in PE, Monarchs have enjoyed a variety of enrichment opportunities this half term. As I am sure most of you saw from the wonderful photos on our Facebook page, Monarchs had an exciting time at Kingswood: the opportunity to develop teamwork skills and push themselves out of their comfort zones on this residential trip was fantastic. The children loved swinging from the high ropes, perfecting their aim in archery and learning how to fence. For some of them, this was the first time they had stayed away from home without family and they enjoyed the opportunity to develop independence, as well as spend time with their friends, completing these exciting activities.
Bikeability has been another excellent opportunity for Monarchs to learn life-long skills. Many of the children took to the roads in the local area and showed how they had learned how to ride their bicycles safely. The whole class has appreciated support from Watford Football Club on Friday afternoons – they have begun our transition work with a focus on developing positive minds. Further learning and development regarding transition will take place next half term as we look ahead to moving on to secondary schools.
Finally, the children ended the half term by auditioning for our end of year production (Pirates of the Curry Bean) and finding out their roles. Miss Abbott and Mrs Gibbs were so impressed by the children who had made the efforts to learn lines in preparation as well as those who pushed themselves out of their comforts zones and stood up to audition in front of their peers. Putting yourself forward for something is not always easy, but the growing self-belief that the children showed during the process was excellent and has made us really look forward to getting stuck into putting the production together next half term – it’s going to be great!
We hope that you have a restful and well-deserved break over half term. Well done for all your hard work, Monarchs. Thank you parents and carers for your continued support; together we can help your children to reach their full potential. Although I've been involved in lots of what has happened in class from a distance, I've very much missed working with your children each day and look forward to being back in class after half term to share in all of the exciting activities the final half term has in store.
This half term has continued to provide Monarchs with challenges and the children have once again impressed with how adaptable and resilient they can be. It has also been a half term full of hard work as we head towards SATs, including a week of mock tests during which the children tried their best to show off everything that they have learned so far. We have been really impressed with the improvements since the autumn term, but every child will have brought home a letter detailing a few key areas that we would welcome your support with over the Easter holidays. As well as the links on the letter, the 'Five a Day' SATs revision booklet I have made for the children to complete over the holidays will help. In working together, we are sure that we can give the children the best possible chance of reaching their full potential. This half term hasn’t all been about tests however, there has been lots of exciting learning going on both through additional opportunities, such as working with Haberdasher’s on maths and English challenges, and through all of the fun things that have taken place within the classroom.
Since February half term, Monarchs have enjoyed exploring a range of texts and completing a variety of genres of writing. We began with a cross-curricular unit of writing based on animal adaptations and used lots of knowledge gained in our science lessons to support us in writing these explanation texts. We revisited a range of grammatical features from previous learning as well as introducing new techniques too; we learned how to use the subjunctive mood to express a hypothetical situation. After this, we enjoyed everything that Book Week had to offer: we read a wonderful text (Just Like Me by Louise Gooding) that included biographies of a number of physically and neurologically diverse celebrities before researching and writing our own versions; we had a fantastic morning taking part in a book tasting that lead to many of us going home with lists of books we would love to read; and, of course, we dressed as our favourite characters or in our pyjamas on book day itself! Finally, we have loved immersing ourselves in Arthur Spiderwick’s Field guide to the Fantastical World Around You. It is an excellent text, full of beautiful illustrations of weird and wonderful mythical creatures. There is a report in the field guide about each creature that includes: precise, ambitious vocabulary; a range of sentence structures; hyphenated words; varied pronouns; a combination of active and passive voice; ideas organised into paragraphs; adverbials for cohesion within and across paragraphs; and much more! They were excellent models to base our own writing on. We enjoyed being creative and designing mystical creatures before developing our own reports, trying hard to use all of those ingredients for a fantastic piece of writing.
We’ve continued to work hard in maths this half term, tackling a range of topics. We learned how to perform long division, mastered BIDMAS and algebra, recapped the properties of 2D shapes as well as how to calculate area and perimeter, practised multiplying and dividing fractions, and also found out how to calculate ratios and proportion. Once again, we were impressed by the resilience shown by the children as they tackled tricky new content. The children have also spent time revising previously taught content, making sure that they feel as confident as possible in key areas such as calculation strategies and fractions, so that they can apply their knowledge and understanding in other, new contexts.
In science, we built upon last half term’s learning when finding out about living things and their habitats. We found out how living things are sorted by observable characteristics and that scientists all over the world use the Linnaeun System to group and classify animals. We enjoyed creating our own classification keys to classify… Liquorice Alllsorts! We discussed various yes/no questions that would lead to each sweet being classified. Some of us even came up with Latin names for each sweet found in the bag! We then applied this learning to classifying leaves and more unusual living things.
Our geography topic this term has seen us exploring South America and we have found out lots of interesting facts. We learned about the location and countries of South America and the climate. We also enjoyed making miniature mountains and writing a range of facts on them about the mountains of South America. We've learned a lot about the human and physical geography of the continent that will be interesting to compare to next term's learning, which will include developing knowledge of Central America, when we delve into the fascinating world of the Ancient Maya.
In computing, this half term, we have learned about flat-file databases. We first created paper databases before moving to online databases. We learned about records and fields and how to sort data and search within a database. Finally, we found out how databases are used in real life.
In design and technology, we have enjoyed turning our hands to cooking. We have been lucky enough to have cookery lessons, during which we have prepared a range of a delicious meals and treats including cookies and fajitas. It has been fantastic to have the opportunity to develop a real-life skill during these sessions!
Our French lessons this half term have involved learning about the weather and seasons. We found out how to describe the weather in French before naming the seasons. We had to use and apply what we learnt last half term about the months of the year in order to do this successfully. I’m looking forward to hearing the children’s confidence in French continue to improve next term.
In PE, the children have been developing their understanding of basketball skills and games with Miss Wright. They began focusing on the rules of basketball and practising their passing and dribbling before applying this to game scenarios. We’ve seen great skill, teamwork and sportsmanship that has really impressed us. With Rising Stars, the children have enjoyed unleashing their competitive sides during dodgeball sessions.
In RE, this half term, we have been learning about sources of wisdom, prayer and reflection. We have focused on this in relation to Buddhism and Christianity in particular and found out what meditation and mindfulness are, as well as the ways in which Buddhists and Christians pray and meditate. We developed our understanding of what an offering is and how we can transfer this to our own lives. Finally, we learned about karma and thought about whose actions and consequences we are responsible for.
Our PSHE lessons have been focused on the topic ‘Healthy Me’. We have learned about the risks and effects of smoking and alcohol on our bodies. I was extremely impressed with the considered discussion and thoughtfulness surrounding these mature themes. The children enjoyed learning and putting into practice basic emergency aid procedures. They did brilliantly when putting each other into the recovery position before creating a storyboard to show someone else how to do it. We learned about body image and how what we see of celebrities in the media is often edited to look a certain way. Finally, we talked about other aspects of keeping fit and healthy including what we eat and drink, exercise, how much sleep we get, good hygiene and more. We ranked the elements in order of what we thought was most to least important – this prompted interesting discussion amongst everyone.
What a jam-packed and challenging half term it has been! Your children have been a credit to you with the way they have tried their best even when things have been different to usual. Whilst being away from school, I have continued to hear about their determination and desire to succeed, resulting in fantastic achievements – the children in Monarchs make me so proud! As always, thank you for your continued support too. I hope that everyone has a restful and enjoyable break and I look forward to hearing more about the brilliant learning going on in Monarchs when the children return to school on Tuesday 19th April.
The spring term has been a challenging one in Monarchs with many of the children affected by Covid and having to complete learning form home, when they were well enough - we’ve really missed them! Those in school have experienced changes to their usual routines with playtime arrangements altering and clubs being cancelled to keep us all safe. Throughout though, I have been amazed by how the children have continued to demonstrate our Margaret Wix values:
Despite the challenges faced this half term, we have still managed to enjoy some wonderful learning opportunities including: working with a local artist to produce a whole-school piece of art; learning how to be safe around dogs with The Dog’s Trust; taking part in a yoga mindfulness session and, of course, finishing our science topic with a trip to the Natural History Museum in Tring.
In English, this term, we began by exploring a classic work of fiction: ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens. We based our writing on the film adaptation, and we thought closely about three central characters (Oliver, the Artful Dodger and Fagin) and how we could use our word choices carefully to make the reader feel differently towards each one. Watching clips from the film helped us to create detailed plans that included a range of grammatical techniques that we then used to write excellent narratives. Following this unit, we have explored a picture book titled ‘Night of the Gargoyles’, written by Eve Bunting. It was a foreboding tale following the journey of a lonely watchman who was mocked and taunted by sinister gargoyles that came alive at night. We were tasked with re-writing the story, focusing on creating a menacing atmosphere throughout. The children used some fantastic, ambitious vocabulary to bring the gargoyles to life and successfully used a range of sentence lengths to build tension and atmosphere. We made good use of punctuation to leave our stories on cliff-hangers too.
What a busy half term it has been in maths: we have mastered percentages, interpreted pie charts, calculated the areas of a variety of shapes, recognised and found different angles in shapes, revised reflection and translation of shapes and, finally, recapped Roman numerals. This term has involved reactivating lots of prior knowledge from previous year groups and building upon it by answering questions that involve new, more complicated contexts. Although some aspects of this have been challenging, the children have been determined to succeed and I have enjoyed seeing them support (and challenge) each other to be the best mathematicians they can be.
In science, we delved into the world of ‘Evolution and Inheritance.’ We began by learning lots of new vocabulary. We found out the difference between inherited and acquired characteristics, learned that characteristics or traits are passed down in DNA and that mutations are unexpected changes that occur. The children played a game using peppered moths made of newspaper that helped us to find out how characteristics are important for species to thrive and reproduce. This taught us how changes in a species’ environment can decrease the population or cause extinction. We found out that animals that survive are better adapted to suit their environments and played a new version of the well-known game ‘Snakes and Ladders’ to demonstrate this. We selected a species to be and, each time the environment changed, or an animal hunted our species, we had to move up or down the board. Monarchs learnt all about Charles Darwin and his journey to the Galápagos Islands this half term too. We explored his justification for natural selection through his study of finches. It is great to be able to learn more about this with a trail that lead us around the Natural History Museum today too.
History, this term, has been centred on Tudor Exploration. The children wrote in role as a Tudor Sailor and expressed to the reader what it would have been like on board a Galleon Ship. With Mrs Campbell-Pugh, they also designed their own ‘ships in bottles’ and used oil pastels to draw them. We had a tricky lesson exploring lines of longitude and latitude, but our maths co-ordinates skills did come in handy! We also learnt all about Christopher Columbas’ life and role in shaping history and exploration. We had to decide whether we thought he was more of a hero or a villain after discovering that although he was the first European to sail to the Americas, he colonised land and killed many natives.
In computing, we practised numerous skills relating to vector drawing. We learnt how to manipulate shapes, zoom, duplicate, copy and paste, rotate and order in order to produce a range of fun vector drawings including animals and flowers.
In design and technology, Mrs Campbell-Pugh has enjoyed teaching the children how to design and create their own maps. They began by looking at examples of Tudor maps and then drew their own. After this, they practised their sewing skills, before using Binca fabric to stitch their own maps.
We have continued developing our French skills this half term by learning about places in the local community and how to name them, working towards saying and writing sentences about St Albans. We learned how to say the months of the year through a catchy song this half term and also found out how to say numbers to one hundred. Putting this together with our days of the week learning from last half term meant that we were now able to say and write dates of the year successfully.
In PE, the children have been developing their understanding of hockey skills and games with Rising Stars. On Wednesdays, we have been learning about health-related exercise. This involved the children assessing their stamina, strength and flexibility at the beginning of the unit, before completing a variety of circuits over the last few weeks. These have not been easy, but I have enjoyed seeing the focus of the children as they tried hard to improve. We look forward to seeing the results and the impact our exercise has had in our first week back after half term.
In RE this half term, we have been learning about the roles and responsibilities of leaders, and in particular, religious leaders. We began by focusing on the roles we knew most about – our own! We wrote job specifications for House Captains, Pupil Parliament members and Charity Committee members. After this, we learned who lead worship in the six main religions and thought about whether they would need any similar skills to us. To find out more, we interviewed a local Vicar and watched a video about a Buddhist monk who guided meditation. We noticed many similarities. We finished by looking at our local community and taking notice of the distribution of religious buildings in New Greens and in St Albans. We thought about how, although there are many more churches than other religious buildings, there are still people of different faiths living successfully side by side.
Our PSHE lessons have been focused on dreams and goals. We started our topic by thinking about our long term goals, learning that these needed to be realistic and that we would need to work hard to achieve them. We then looked at a range of jobs and salaries and discussed which profession we felt contributed most to society. We had enthusiastic debates about this, and when the average salaries of various professions were revealed, many of us were shocked. It was pleasing to learn that we have many headstrong individuals in class whose dreams could not be altered by the prospect of more money – they valued using their skills and being happy more. As well as our PSHE lessons, we took part in NSPCC number day and Children’s Well-being week!
I am sure that you will agree with me saying that I think Monarchs have worked hard this term! I hope that this will be the break we need to ensure that we can all return to school happy and healthy on the 21st February. Over the half term, Mrs Gibbs has set a grammar challenge and the children have their usual home learning to complete, but I do hope they enjoy a well-earned break too. As always, thank you for your continued support this term.
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,