Welcome to Year 6
Our class is called Monarchs. We are taught by Miss Abbott and supported by Mrs Green.
Monarchs have PE lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are taught by PE specialist teachers as well as Miss Abbott. Children will need to wear their PE kit to school on Tuesdays and Thuradays 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 Wednesday. 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 Wednesday.
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.
English and maths - Children have English and maths tasks to complete each week. The pages to be completed in their CGP books can be seen below. Home learning is set every Friday and should be handed in the following Wednesday.
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 and a few each week are included in your child's home learning book)
I have loved teaching Monarchs this year and this half term the children have continued to amaze me and make me proud as they show our learning powers and values 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 and kayaks were conquered on our end of year trip and required the children to show immense resilience, getting back up and trying again when their fears 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. There are many reasons why I've loved teaching Monarchs this year, but the kindness they show one another 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 blossom even as they move to new schools. The children have grown hugely over the past year, academically, socially and emotionally, and they should be delighted with all of their achievements.
In English this term, we began discussing supporting and opposing arguments about Seaworld and whether it should remain open or not. 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. As well as this, we have completed a unit of poetry based on a short film called the 'Dreadful Menace'. The children practised using a range of figurative language techniques often found in poetry during this unit. Finally, we have selected a piece of independent writing to copy up in neat and send to our secondary schools.
In maths, we have used our time to recap learning from previous years to ensure that we are prepared for secondary school. We revised how to tell the time on an analogue clock and also found out how to calculate the mean (average) of a data set. Over the holidays, as well as having a rest, it would be worth continuing to practice times tables and calculation strategies for all four operations to ensure that the children begin year 7 feeling confident.
Monarchs have enjoyed visiting a 'French tea room' during our language lessons. They have learned how to ask for a number of food and drink items in full sentences, ensuring they say please and thank you in French too. The children's confidence in reading and speaking French has greatly improved this half term and I've enjoyed listening to the children role-play in our French cafe.
In DT, the children have been making automato moving toys including cams. They have carefully used a range of hand tools to accurately cut wood for their toys. Children thought carefully about their designs and the purpose of their toys before crafting some excellent products.
We dedicated a large portion of our time this half term to rehearsing the songs, dances and scenes for our end of year production 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 during 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 including treasure chests, animals, a cave and more; the show wouldn't have been complete without these. There was a real buzz in the air 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!
The first half of the summer term seems to have whizzed by! The children, once again, endeavoured to demonstrate all our learning powers and values as they tackled SATs and enjoyed their young enterprise work, 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.
In English, this term, Monarchs have been 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 of them. Watching snippets of the film helped us to create detailed plans that included a range of grammatical features which we then used to write excellent narratives.
In maths, the children began the term by recapping 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 determination to succeed throughout. After SATs, we have been focused on financial maths including role-playing running a household for a month, deciding how to spend our £2000 income. It was interesting to see most children being quite frugal and avoiding spending too much on things they didn't need... I wonder whether they'll keep that sensible attitude when they actually have money burning a hole in their pockets! Of course, the highlight of our maths work was our young enterprise project during which the children worked in teams to develop their own small businesses. We had everything from bookmarks and bracelets to lemon pie and apple strudel on sale and the other classes had a great afternoon buying from our stalls. All money raised will be going towards our leavers' party at the end of the year.
This half term's science topic was animals including humans. Monarchs found out about the gestation periods of different mammals and noticed a pattern: the larger the animal, the longer the gestation period usually is. They were amazed to find out that elephants are pregnant for nearly two years! Growth and development has been a large focus for us during this topic; we learned how a foetus grows in the womb and then recapped the stages of development through to old age. Latterly, our lessons have focused on puberty and understanding the changes that our bodies go through. After some initial giggles, I was impressed with the maturity that Monarchs showed during these lessons as they used scientific vocabulary accurately and asked sensible questions to clarify their understanding. Finally, we discussed ways to ensure we look after our physical and mental health throughout puberty (and beyond) including exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, talking to our parents and carers about our worries, and having hobbies that we enjoy.
In history, Monarchs have learned about the British empire. We learned why Britain wanted an empire and used our geography skills to find and label the countries that were part of the empire on a world map. I was especially impressed by Monarchs as we learned about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the part the British Empire played in this. The children discussed their feelings of upset, anger and disappointment in learning that, as well as invading and colonising almost a quarter of the Earth's population, we were responsible for enslaving millions of African people over a course of approximately 300 years. The children were pleased to learn that countries regained independence and now Britain is part of a much friendlier group of countries - the Commonwealth - that work together towards shared goals.
Our RE lessons this term have allowed us to revisit previous learning about the five pillars of Islam as we reflected on the question: Does belief in Akhirah (life after death) help Muslims to lead good lives? We were lucky enough to have Muhammad and Mustafa's mums join us to help us understand how Muslims live by the five pillars every day. They talked to us about their belief in paradise, showed us beautiful prayer mats and explained how they prey. They also helped us all to reflect on our own beliefs in what living a good life looks like and what motivates us to try to do good each day.
In computing, we have enjoyed using micro:bits this half term. We have learned that micro:bits are input, process, output devices that can be programmed. We found out how to write algorithms that caused the micro:bits to perform a range of different functions including: lighting up in different patterns, displaying text, acting as a compass, and more.
Relationships has been the focus of PSHE lessons this half term. The children have engaged in meaningful discussions about mental health and identifying causes of anxiety as well as sources of support. Children learned how to deal with conflict, build assertiveness skills and identify their own strengths and strategies for building self-esteem and resilience.
In DT lessons with Mrs Campbell-Pugh, we have been making a automata toy with moving parts. The children have completed the planning stage and have begun using saws to cut wood to make the frames. The children are excited to finish theses pieces and have a fully-functioning toy to share with everyone next half term.
In art lessons, Mrs Campbell-Pugh was impressed with Monarchs skills in 3D form as they learned how to attach two pieces of clay together to make a fairy door. The children planned and sketched their ideas and then moulded them out of clay, ensuring they hatched and blended it enough to prevent it from breaking when it dried. We are proud to see our completed fairy doors around school - keep your eyes peeled for them!
Mr Tate has enjoyed teaching the children athletics this half term in PE lessons. The children have perfected their sprinting technique, learned how to successfully pass a baton in a relay, and found out how important it was to pace themselves during a longer 'cross-country' race. We are sure these skills will help many of us who are looking forward to competing in the district sports athletics competition next half term.
Monarchs have enjoyed the expert music tuition of Mr Mitchell this half term, using games to help understand rhythmic notation as well as playing a variety of instruments.
Bikeability was an excellent opportunity for some of Monarchs to learn life-long skills. The children took to the roads in the local area and showed how they had learned to ride their bikes safely, signalling at junctions and braking in plenty of time. The children enjoyed the course and proudly collected certificates and badges at the end of it.
Finally, the children finished the half term by auditioning for our end of year production and finding out their roles. Mrs Gibbs and I were impressed by children who read lines clearly and who confidently sang in front of their peers. There were even a few people who had already begun to learn the script by heart. The really amazing moments came when we watched children push themselves out of their comfort zones to audition in front of their friends. Putting yourself forward for something is not always easy, but the growing self-belief that the children showed during the process was excellent and made us look forward to getting stuck into putting the production together next half term - it's going to be great!
Mrs Green and I hope that you have a restful and well-deserved break over half term. Well done for all your hard work, Monarchs. It looks like half-term is set to be a sunny one - enjoy and we look forward to seeing you again on Tuesday 6th June.
Thank you parents and carers for your continued support; together we can help your child reach their full potential.
The second half of the spring term has been jam-packed with a visit from the Dog’s Trust, Crazy Hair Day, a music concert, wellbeing sessions with Watford Football Club, a trip to Holy Trinity Church, science week, and much more! It has also required a lot 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. All children have made improvements since the autumn term, but every child will be bringing a letter home 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 made for the children will help practice key skills. In working together, we are sure that we can give the children the best possible chance of reaching their full potential.
Since February half term, Monarchs have enjoyed exploring a range of texts and completing writing in different genres. After reading various texts about refugees during Book Week, including 'The Island' and 'The Arrival', the children were able to use emotive language to manipulate the bias of the reader and ensure they were on the refugee's side. They then showed great sensitivity when writing discussion texts based on this topic; the children had to write using a formal tone, from different perspectives, before including their own point of view. Book Week also gave us the opportunity to take part in a range of fantastic activities to promote a love of reading, including sharing stories with Early Years and writing book recommendations that were displayed in Waterstones. Since then, we've been writing non-chronological reports about our class butterfly. We have enjoyed finding out more about the creature our class is named after and are in the process of writing reports that give us the opportunity to use a variety of grammatical techniques including: precise, technical vocabulary; a range of sentence structures; hyphenated words; varied pronouns; a combination of active and passive voice; adverbials for cohesion within and across paragraphs; ambitious punctuation, and much more!
We have continued to work hard in maths this half term, tackling a range of topics. We learned how to multiply and divide fractions, calculate ratios and proportions, work out the volume of 3D shapes, convert metric units of measure and practised reading different types of graph and chart. Once again, Mrs Green and I were impressed by the resilience shown by the children as they tackled tricky new content. Some of this content gave them opportunities to revise previously taught concepts, increasing the children's confidence in key areas.
In science, our topic this half term was 'Living Things and Their Habitats'. During this, we recapped learning from previous years regarding classification of animals before learning about and comparing their life cycles. We even gained four new members of our class in the form of caterpillars and have been able to see metamorphosis in action as they created chysalides. We are now eagerly awaiting the emergence of butterflies! As well as this, we have found out about the gestation periods of animals and learned how different types of plant reproduce.
We loved the opportunity to conduct a number of investigations during science week too. Our class' theme was sustainable energy and we made wind turbines and water wheels, as well as finding out about other renewable energies and even designing our own sustainable transport or homes. Additionally, we we treated to various workshops to ignite our interest in science and see how it has numerous applications in different areas of work. Visitors from Rothampstead Research talked to us about pollination and showed us a game that helped us to understand why some pollinators were more successful than others. We also welcomed NHS Blood England, who delivered a fascinating morning of activities including a virtual reality experience and the opportunity to identify blood groups!
Our geography topic this term has seen us learning about Fair Trade. We discovered one of the oldest trading routes in the world: the Silk Road. We compared this to modern trade in which commodities are regularly imported and exported by container ships. It was interesting, and somewhat surprising, to find out some of our our most popular imports, included toys and games from China, and some of our most popular exports included Scottish salmon! Comparing the lives of two banana farmers in St Lucia enabled us to learn about Fair Trade - we were shocked to find out that many farmers only receive 10% of what their product sells for in the UK. We felt this was unfair and so were pleased to find out about the work of Fair Trade foundation. We spotted their logo on a number of products and want to keep an eye out for this when we shop in the future.
In computing, this half term, we have learned about spreadsheets and how they can be used to perform calculations with large amounts of data. We began focusing on using cell references to multiply, divide, add or subtract data, before moving onto more complex functions such as finding the average of a data set. As our skills improved, we looked at larger data sets and eventually managed to plan a party using a spreadsheet, working out the costings per person.
Our RE lessons this half term focused on Christianity and we have been trying to answer the question: 'Is Christianity still a strong religion 2000 years after Jesus was alive?' During this unit of work, we have found out about Christian celebrations, teachings and places of worship and reflected on how Christians are sometimes treated by others. It is always pleasing to hear the children thoughtfully share their own ideas and respectfully make comparisons to their own beliefs and experiences during these lessons.
This half term's PSHE topic was 'Healthy Me'. We have learned about the risks and effects of alcohol and drugs on our bodies and considered the pressure to take part in anti-social behaviour, for example by joining a gang. I was extremely impressed with the considered discussion and thoughtfulness surrounding these mature themes. The children also learned how important it is to recognise and develop positive strategies to manage our mental health through work in these lessons and with Watford Football Club. The children did brilliantly in these sessions and Caoimhe, our leader from WFC, was so pleased with their work.
Music lessons this half term have seen us strumming away on ukuleles - what fun! Miss Miller, our teacher, has helped us to learn a number of different chords, she's taught us the difference between plucking and strumming, we've worked on our ability to keep time and much more! We've even played along to a few different songs, including Bob Marley, which has been a great way to begin every Thursday!
In PE, the children have developed their understanding of hockey skills and games with Mr Tate. They have learned the rules of the game as well as practising their passing, dribbling and shooting skills before applying this to game scenarios. Mr Tate has seen great skill, teamwork and sportsmanship that has really impressed him
What a busy half term it has been! Your children have been a credit to you as they endeavour to show our learning powers and values each day. This is clear with the number of children who have been taking part in the Junior Citizenship Challenge - they've set up their own clubs, delivered presentations to their classmates and the school in assembly, created posters to persuade others to look after our school environment... the list goes on. Whilst SATs are important in showing the progress that they have made during their time in primary school, we know that there is much more to your children than the results of these tests: at Margaret Wix, we are proud to be developing well-rounded individuals. I hope that everyone has a restful and enjoyable break (with just a little SATs practice) and I look forward to seeing the children again on Tuesday 18th April.
What a busy half term it has been for Monarchs class once again; despite only being back at school for five weeks, we have managed to enjoy lots of new learning and experience numerous successes. I have been especially pleased to continue to see the children striving to demonstrate our learning powers and values in everything we have done. This has been particularly true during our numerous enrichment events: we've enjoyed having Watford Football Club visit us every Friday afternoon to work on self-belief and wellbeing; we showed curiosity during our Shang Dynasty drama workshop; we demonstrated respect for others when learning about another culture at Chinese New Year; we've been resilient when tackling new learning, including with out parents during Marvellous Maths Week; and it's been a pleasure to see how kind the children have been to one another during Children's Mental Health Week this week as well as to others outside our school by making donations on NSPCC Number Day!
In English, we began 2023 by watching an animation entitled 'Dreamgiver', which showed a peculiar creature fluttering into an orphanage and cracking glistening, golden dream eggs onto object ear sleeping children. These sparked dreams, based on the objects, but, unfortunately, the dreams soon turned into nightmares and the 'Dreamgiver' had to intervene. After watching the short film, the children planned and wrote their own versions of the story, choosing their own special object 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 unit of work was based upon JK Rowling's 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. After exploring the book, the children designed magical creatures of their own 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.
Maths this half term has involved recapping previously taught content, aiming to ensure that the children feel as confident as possible in key areas such as calculation strategies, so that they can apply their knowledge and understanding in other, new contexts. We're also tackled a range of new topics including: long division, BIDMAS and algebra, area and perimeter, angles, and reflection and translation of shapes. Whilst some of this learning has proved challenging, I've been impressed by the resilience shown and the desire to improve.
In science, we have explored properties of materials. We have loved the practical investigations that we have been able to carry out this half term - separating materials using a variety of resources, testing soluble and insoluble materials, and heating and filtering solutions were all fun. The most excitement came during our last lesson of the half term during which we investigated reversible and irreversible changes. We watched as a tea bag burned and began to fly, saw a balloon 'magically' inflate as it filled with gas and even tried to launch our own 'rockets' by mixing vinegar and bicarbonate of soda! The squeals of excitement during this hands-on learning were wonderful; we definitely created some memorable learning experiences!
We delved into the world of the 'Shang Dynasty' during history lessons this half term. We learned how 'dragon bones' revealed much about this ancient dynasty and found that they were used by Shang people to ask questions of their ancestors. We looked at a variety of secondary sources to find out what life was like for emperors and farmers during this time period and were able to identify similarities and differences between them. We were interested to find out about the rise and fall of the Shang Dynasty and learned about the perfect first emperor, King Cheng Tang, who had many desirable qualities. We compared him to King Di Xin, who was a terrible ruler and whose actions resulted in the downfall of the dynasty. Finally, we found out about Fu Hao, a female army general who was in charge of around 13,000 troops. Considering attitudes towards women during this time period, we were surprised that a woman had managed to reach such an esteemed position. It was interesting to see pictures of her tomb, through which we were able to infer much about her life. There has been great interest and curiosity shown during history lessons this term.
RE lessons have been centred around the question: 'Is anything ever eternal?'. During this unit of work, we have found out about the Christian perspective on eternal life and eternal love, but also reflected on our own beliefs. RE lessons often prompt interesting discussion as the children share their own thoughts and I have been pleased to see how respectfully they have listened and responded to one other.
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 have aspiring lawyers, authors, gymnastics coaches, footballers, artists, teachers, and more in Monarchs! Next, we reflected on the world around us and things that may concern us such as war, poverty or natural disasters. We thought about our hopes and wishes for the world and what we might be able to do to support others. It has been wonderful to see some children build upon this through the Junior Citizenship Challenge, researching local charities and organising events that will enable us to support others.
Our computing lessons this term have involved using software called 'Scratch' to programme variables in our own games. We had great fun testing out a variety of games and then seeing how we could create our own versions. We had to programme the games ourselves and, as a result, could make a variety of things happen including creating our own scoring system, changing features after reaching a certain total, some of us introduced a timed element to our games, others enjoyed creating sounds that they programmed to play when certain events happened. Of course, we all very much enjoyed testing out and playing our games too!
I have been impressed with the enthusiasm shown in French lessons over the past half term as we have learned how to sing the days of the week and name the subjects we learn each day in school. 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 lyrics to a song as well as how to play it on a variety of instruments. With the number of children attending choir and band club, it's clear that we have some very talented musicians in Monarchs. Next half term, we are looking forward to getting to grips with a new instrument when we have ukulele lessons!
In art lessons, Mrs Campbell-Pugh has enjoyed teaching the children how to design and make their own maps of China, linked to our Shang Dynasty topic. They began by looking at examples and then planned their own. After this, they showed off their sewing skills, creating their own maps out of fabric.
Mr Tate has enjoyed teaching dance during PE lessons this half term. The lessons have definitely pushed a number of the children outside their comfort zones, but I have been proud of how they have persevered and shown self-belief. The teamwork demonstrated in creating and performing their dance routines had been equally impressive. In our second session, we have taken ourselves outside for tennis lessons. After developing our hand-eye coordination, we practised our forehand and backhand strokes, striving hard to hit the ball with accuracy. We gradually worked towards playing small games, including scoring using the proper (if slightly confusing) system - we're still not quite sure why they use 'love' and 'deuce!'
I am sure that you will agree with me saying that I think Monarchs have worked hard this term! We have covered so much in such a relatively short space of time and I am enjoying seeing the progress the children continue to make. I hope that the children enjoyed a well-earned break over half term and look forward to seeing them all refreshed and ready to tackle more learning when we return to school on Monday 20th February. As always, thank you parents and carers for your support this half term - together we can help your child reach their full potential.
At Margaret Wix, we are proud of the varied opportunities afforded to our pupils and in the second half of the autumn term, the children have been able to develop various key life skills, including cooking and cycling, alongside all of the learning that has taken place in the classroom. Monarchs have approached tasks with ever-increasing confidence and have demonstrated our learning powers and values throughout. I am finishing the term feeling very proud of all that we have accomplished!
In English, this half term, we have explored poetry, narratives and persuasive writing. During the week of Armistice Day, we spent time reading a poignant story called 'Where the Poppies Now Grow'. This gave us ideas for our own writing, including descriptive and emotive language. Cinquain poems, which we were focused on, have a specific syllable structure so we then spent time ensuring that each line of our poems were the correct length. We shared some of our completed work with the rest of the school in our Remembrance Day assembly. A favourite series of books with many of the children in Monarchs is the Harry Potter series. Of course, they are a favourite of mine too so we just had to use the texts in some of our English lessons this term. Over a couple of weeks, we wrote descriptively in role as various characters, acted out the dramatic troll scene, and even wrote a new chapter entitled 'The Malfunctioning Typewriter' in which Harry got his own back on his Uncle after being treated horribly yet again. Finally, we have taken on the challenge of writing persuasively. First, we read a book called 'The Spider and the Fly' in which a naive spider is lured into a trap by a cunning spider. We wrote to other insects trying to persuade them not to fall for his lies. After this, we linked our English with our geography topic on climate change and wrote to the Prime Minister to try to convince him to take further action to help stop global warming. It was brilliant to see the children use the facts they had learned during their geography lessons in their letters, in order to support their persuasive arguments. I think Rishi Sunak is going to find it difficult to ignore Monarchs as they very successfully used emotive language, rhetorical questions and flattery in their very formal letters to him!
Maths this half term, has seen Monarchs tackle fractions, decimals and percentages. We've spent a lot of time learning how to calculate each of these separately, but have also had to try to understand how they are all linked and master converting between them. It has required a lot of self-belief and resilience but we have certainly made great strides. As we know that these are three areas of mathematics frequently tested in SATs, in addition to being valuable to understand for real-life contexts such as shopping, we will definitely be revisiting this learning again! In recent weeks, we have explored properties of 2D shapes, learned how to calculate area and solved problems involving the diameter and radius of circles. We've been very busy!
We have loved being super scientists this half term, conducting a variety of investigations related to our topic: forces. We've pushed and pulled objects to test friction, made parachutes to test air resistance, crafted boats to test water resistance and created pendulums to investigate gravity. This hands-on way of learning has really helped us to develop a good understanding of quite abstract concepts.
Geography, as mentioned, has involved us learning about climate change and its impact on our planet. The children have been extremely interested and shocked to learn that heatwaves, bushfires, floods, droughts, polar regions melting and sea levels rising are all results of the way we are mistreating our world. They have drawn upon skills from other areas of the curriculum in these lessons, creating graphs, designing flood defences and more. There are many strong opinions regarding what we should now do as a school to help reduce the impact of global warming; keep your eyes peeled for an update from our Environment Minister in the new year!
In RE, we have been learning about how Christians celebrate Christmas and have been asking if their traditions help them to understand who Jesus was and why he was born. We were interested to find out how a number of Christmas traditions may have originated as religious ways of celebrating at this time of year, but now are enjoyed by many people in a secular way. We created questionnaires to find out if everyone in our class celebrates Christmas and if so how - we heard about lots of lovely family traditions that some children enjoy and are very much looking forward to over the coming weeks. It was also wonderful for children from different faiths to share knowledge of celebrations they partake in and explain how they are similar and different to Christmas celebrations.
We have some future computing experts in Monarchs class, I am sure! I have been so impressed with the children's work this half term: they have designed and created their very own websites! Each child chose a subject to create a site about and then they have worked hard to add everything from images and texts to hyperlinks in order to make their websites fully functional. It's been brilliant to see how excited they have been each week to get the laptops out and enjoy developing these skills.
Our latest PSHE unit of work was titled, 'Celebrating Differences' and we have certainly done that in Monarchs class! We have discussed what makes each of us special and unique, and thought about how these things are positives and shouldn't be used to judge or discriminate against people. The mature discussion that takes place in our classroom every Friday in our PSHE lessons is wonderful and I feel privileged to be involved. I can really see the children taking the time to think carefully before they share ideas and they are all showing great respect when faced with differing opinions.
As the term drew to a close, we enjoyed getting creative and undertaking a collage project based on the work of Gustav Klimt. We first looked at some of his artwork and noticed how he often layered linear patterns over geometric shapes. After taking inspiration from his paintings, we had a go at creating some of our own. First we created collaged backgrounds out of various colours of tissue paper cut into a variety of shapes. Then, we added our Klimt-inspired patterns over the top. We finished with a few metallic details, which is something Klimt was known for doing in his artwork too. You can see our masterpieces on display in our classroom.
DT lessons have involved cooking and electronics this half term but, thankfully, not at the same time! Monarchs have been lucky to have cookery lessons with HCL and enjoyed making a range of foods including fajita wraps and sweet breads. As Christmas draws nearer, we are looking forward to making some delicious gingerbread reindeer too! Our electronics project involved us designing and creating buzzer games. Although putting the circuits together was challenging, we had a number of successes and the children enjoyed testing how steady their hands were while playing these classic games.
Mr Tate has been extremely impressed with Monarchs during PE lesson this half term. They have enjoyed developing their tag rugby skills and he has noticed a real improvement in their skills, stamina, teamwork and sportsmanship as the half term has progressed. In the second PE session of each week, Monarchs have been honing their swimming skills. This culminated with the sponsored swimming session. The children tried extremely hard to swim as many widths as possible in order to raise money for our class - thank you to those of you who have already sent the sponsorship money in. If you are yet to, please do so before the end of term.
We have begun French lessons this half term and are gradually getting to grips with a new language. Our focus has been on our school: we've learned how to name different places in and around our school in French as well as explain what subjects we learn at school. Tackling a new language is always challenging, but I've been impressed with how willing the children have been to have a go!
We have crammed a lot into a busy half term - as well as all the learning taking place in class, we've enjoyed taking part in the Christmas music concert, watching the pantomime and nativity, welcoming parents into our classroom for Wondrous Writing Week, participating in Anti-Bullying Week and Just Talk Week, working with visitors from the NSPCC and much more! The children have certainly earned a rest over the next couple of weeks.
I wish those of you who celebrate, a very merry Christmas, and look forward to seeing all of your children again in the new year, feeling refreshed and ready to learn again!
Thank you for your continued support,
What a brilliant first half term we have had in Monarchs! The children have quickly settled into school routines and shown me what enthusiastic learners they can be. They've risen to the challenge of being top of the school and are striving to always demonstrate our learning powers and values. It was fantastic to see democracy in action as we voted for our House Captains, elected our Pupil Parliament members and chose our charity committee members - the children in these roles are already working hard, organising playtime equipment, leading school tours, sharing their ideas with Mrs Gibbs and more. I can't wait to see their impact throughout the year.
In the classroom, the children have been working extremely hard. We have focused on four different genres of writing this half term: reports based on the picture book 'Zeraffa Giraffa', diaries written in role as 'Hermelin the detective mouse', poetry written with clips from David Attenborough's documentaries as inspiration, and finally explanations and survival guides in the style of a wonderful text called 'How to be a world explorer'. Throughout, we have been concentrating on ensuring that every sentence makes sense and is correctly punctuated as well as trying to widen our vocabularies and make use of ambitious words and phrases. Our most recent unit of writing has been particularly enjoyable, with the children working in small groups to make their very own explorer's guidebooks. They have done everything from designing the front cover and illustrating each page, to providing detailed instructions for how to survive in treacherous conditions, and even writing the blurb. These guides are going to look fantastic in our library - I'm sure the rest of the school will love reading our published books.
Maths this half term has predominantly focused on number and place value. This has involved ensuring that we understand the value of every digit in numbers up to ten million. We have been ordering and comparing numbers, rounding them, multiplying and dividing them by 10, 100 and 1000, and much more! Towards the end of this half term, we revised properties of number, in particular revisiting factors and multiples from learning in previous years. Understanding of this is particularly important as we move onto learning about fractions. I've been pleased to see many children practising their times tables regularly at home - this also helps to ensure that they can access our learning in class and feel confident to tackle other areas of maths. Keep it up!
We have been immersed in our Earth and space topic this half term; the children have loved it! We've seen how ideas about the solar system have changed over time and we couldn't believe that people once thought the Earth was flat! We've found out a whole host of facts about the different planets including the order in which they are from the sun. Making our own models of the solar system helped us to understand how all the planets orbit. We enjoyed finding out about the Apollo II moon landing and became journalists from the 1960s, writing our own news reports about the events that were watched by millions globally. Finally, we investigated the phases of the moon, using Oreo biscuits to model the changing visual that we see from Earth - great fun and tasty too!
Our ancient Egypt topic has been fascinating! The children have loved finding out about the gruesome mummification techniques, designing and making canopic jars, learning about the interesting hierarchy of ancient Egyptian society, and discovering the importance of the River Nile. The topic has really sparked our curiosity for history and we have asked lots of intriguing questions and had many interesting discussions throughout this unit of work.
In RE, this half term, we have been learning about the five pillars of Islam and how Muslims show commitment to God. There are a number of children in class who have been able to act as experts, sharing their own knowledge and experiences with the class. Others have considerately and thoughtfully asked questions to deepen their own understanding of how people show commitment in different ways to themselves. We finished by evaluating whether we believed there to be a 'best' way to show our commitment to something and concluded that time and effort were key. We thought about things that we were committed to, such as learning to play an instrument or attending a club, and how we try to remain committed even when faced with challenges.
In computing, we have been learning about systems and networks, with a focus on communication and collaboration. We learned how data is sent from one computer to another using IP addresses and data packets. We discussed methods of online communication, such as email, social media, video sharing sites, instant messaging, video calls, and more. We thought about the benefits and drawbacks of each method including how private they were and whether they had age restrictions. Next, we used one method of communication, Microsoft Teams, to work on a collaborative project with people who were sitting on opposite sides of the room to us. We linked this learning to science and made fact files about planets with our group members, sharing our ideas and working online only.
This half term's PSHE unit was titled 'Being Me in My World' and involved us thinking about our goals for this year as well as universal rights of children and how our behaviour and choices can impact others. We compared things we want with things we need and thought about how there are many people, less fortunate than ourselves, whose needs are not met at all. Black History month, in October, involved us finding out about the lesser-told black history of Britain. We looked a timeline and learned about a number of inspirational black Britons such as Lilian Bader and Paul Stephenson. October also included World Mental Health Day. We spent time reflecting on the little things that we can do to improve our wellbeing each day and also wrote positive affirmation cards that made us feel good.
Our PE lessons have included netball and swimming this half term. I have heard lots of great things about the successes in swimming, with children showing great self-belief, swimming further and developing stronger strokes. Netball lessons have included lots of skills development. We've learned different types of passes, developed our shooting technique and learned some of the key rules, such as the three second rule. We enjoyed a mini tournament in which we put all our skills into practice and demonstrated how well we can work together in teams.
In art, we've completed a unit of work on portraits. We learned about accurate proportions, different grades of pencil and how they can all be used to created different effects, and how colour can be used to convey emotion. We looked at a number of famous portrait artists, including Picasso and Frida Khalo, and compared their differing styles of artwork. I been so impressed with the artistic talent in Monarchs and our final pieces of work showed great care and attention to detail; the children drew and painted their own portraits that included carefully chosen symbolic details. We definitely have lots of future artists in our class!
Our learning has extended beyond the classroom this half term with trips to Crucial Crew and the Science Museum. We enjoyed learning about hazards and finding out how to keep ourselves and others safe on our Crucial Crew visit. Exploring the Wonderlab and Space Gallery at the Science Museum was a fantastic way to end our science topic - the children loved being able to see some out-of-this-world artefacts, such as satellites, as well as have a go at a variety of hands-on activities that brought their learning to life.
It was a pleasure to meet many of you at parent consultations this week. Many of the documents referred to, such as reading lists and questions, and grammar glossaries, can be found by clicking on the relevant star at the top of this page. Thank you for your support this half term - together we can help your children to reach their full potential.
Finally, what a jam-packed half term it has been; I hope the children enjoy a well-earned break next week and I look forward to seeing them all again on Monday 31st October.