Happy Friday everybody! What a fantastic first full week we've had in Birch Class this week from re-enactments of battles to singing workshops. I have been so impressed with all the hard work the kids have been up to since we started and you can read all about it below.
Last week, we did a piece of writing based on a story we read called "The Castle the King Built". The children realised that the message of the story was that every member of the community is essential to build a community not just the most important or powerful member like the king. They then wrote "The School Mr Finch Built" which produced some very funny results. Ask your kids about it and see what they came up with!
We've started our place value topic this week and have looked at numbers all the way up to a million! The kids have been working really hard on this and I'm impressed with how quickly they've all started to pick it up!
They were most excited about history, where we have started to look at some medieval monarchs. The first one we looked at was William I, also known as William the Conqueror. After examining the context of his conquest and why he had a claim to the throne in the first place as a Norman duke, we then went down to the amphitheatre. One student played Harold Godwinson, the short-lived English King, and another student played William. The rest of the children divided between them with the English side being slightly bigger as it is believed they had a slightly bigger army. I played the narrator and the children acted out the story as I told it: the advantageous position of the English army on top of a hill and the Norman's struggle to shoot arrows at them, the confusion caused by the rumour of William's death and his heroic appearance in front of his army at the last moment, the military trick that the Normans played by retreating to get the English to follow and how they surrounded them and defeated them. One student even got to act out the historically debated death of Harold Godwinson, who may or may not have been shot in the eye with an arrow.
We also had a wonderful singing workshop on Thursday in preparation for the Whiddon Down Festival performance on Sunday. I hope to see a few of you there. It is bound to be a spectacular performance!
I hope everyone has a well-deserved rest over the long weekend and I can't wait to get back into it next week!
It has been an interesting week in Birch Class and I am so proud of everyone for how hard they've been working and how they've conducted themselves in school!
Continuing our movie narrative writing, the class have been looking at how to improve their on writing using different sentence structures. They've looked at how to improve individual sentences and then practicing editing as they write, even improving Miss Simpson's handwriting and I've been mind blown by the developing skills! From strengthening verbs to adding more detail, it has been amazing!
We've moved on from angles to shapes in our properties of shapes unit. So far we have recapped polygons, triangles and quadrilaterals and the children have been blazing through the work. It is very impressive! I am looking forward to moving onto measuring lengths and angles of shapes and 3D shapes next week.
Our afternoons have been filled with lots of rehearsals this week as we get ever closer to our production of A Midsummer's Night Dream. I am delighted with how the show is coming together and how invested the children are in making it the best that they can be. They have been working so hard, particularly with the run throughs which can be quite intense but they have remained focused and enthusiastic and it hasn't gone unnoticed! I am so looking forward to having you all see it in just a few week's time!
With one week until the half term, we've got an exciting week coming up!
First of all, we have a new addition to Birch Class who has settled right in and been made to feel welcome. I am very proud of both Year 5 and 6 for helping with that.
In English, we have moved on from Cracking Contraptions and will be working on narrative writing inspired by the short film, 'Paraphernalia'. We have so far looked at creating a mood through setting description and have discussed some 'Tier 2 Vocabulary' which can be seen in our pyramid below. Tier 2 Vocabulary are robust, high-frequency words that are encountered across different subjects and these words can often have multiple meanings depending on the context. Using the video below, ask the children to pinpoint where in the short film we discussed some of the words and how they're Tier 2 words rather than Tier 1 or Tier 3 words. There was an excellent discussion on it today!
In maths, we have had a couple of lessons recapping and adding to our knowledge of angles. The children in Year 5 have done an excellent job at recalling their knowledge of acute angles, right angles and obtuse angles and how many degrees each of them can be. I have been particularly impressed with how they've been able to use this knowledge to measure angles and explain direction. We used the following image to help us in today's lesson. They picked a starting point and which direction they were facing and decided where they needed to get to. Everyone was able to create their own problem with this information and figure out how many degrees they needed to turn to get somewhere and in which direction (clockwise or anticlockwise). They also drew on their mathematical language from fractions to explain how turning 180 degrees in either direction led to the same place due to the distance being equivalent either way. I was very impressed! See if you can test their knowledge of angles using the image.
In history last week, we read an abridged version of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech. This was a discussion based lesson and I was very impressed with the insight that the children provided. Some children picked up on the metaphors like 'Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation' because it was more encouraging than without a metaphor. One children picked out this metaphor as being about hope and how it was King's way of saying that black people and their treatment had been in the dark and were being brought into the light. Other children noticed the reference to slavery at the beginning of the speech and pointed out that King's repeated use of 'One hundred years later...' (referring to it being one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation) was like saying that black people were still slaves in a way because of the segregation and inequality they faced in America then. Everyone had a lot to say about Martin Luther King Jr's references to white people in the speech, particularly when he says 'We cannot walk alone.' Year 5 and 6 recognised the importance of white people standing up for the rights of black people when they had none and how there wouldn't be equality until everyone stood together even after everything that has happened in history. We will be moving on to look at the march from Selma to Montgomery in the coming weeks before examining how the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s has impacted the world we live in today.
We have a very exciting week coming up. More rehearsals for A Midsummer's Night Dream will be taking place and it's amazing to see how the show is coming together, especially with all the hard work from Year 5 and 6 who are taking the lead for most of the play. We will also be having our Jubilee celebration on Friday afternoon. If your child has not yet come home with an invitation, they will do today. I don't know about everyone else but I'm very excited about the tea party!
As we reach the halfway point of our penultimate half term, let's take a look at what Birch and Maple class have been up to.
In the mornings, we have started writing the descriptions of our cracking contraptions. The children have come up with some genius ideas! We have an automatic dog-walker, an outfit picker, an animal translator and an automatic fire feeder! Before working independently, we've also worked together to write a description of my Invite-o-matic, a party host's dream! We have had some very strong noun phrases created this week which will do nicely in our final drafts!
In maths, we're starting to wrap up our decimals topic. We've focused on adding and subtracting decimals for the last two weeks and our final few lessons will focus on multiplying and dividing decimals by 10, 100 and 1,000. Next week, we'll be moving onto our unit on shapes! Not to mention, during our quickfire times table tests, all of Birch Class have shown massive improvement with nearly half the class moving onto harder levels!
This week, the afternoons have been a little bit different than usual. We started cricket lessons with Andy who is teaching both classes how to play. This is of particular importance to the children going to the cricket competition next week! We've also had Lydia and Crispin in several days this week to help us learn lines for our upcoming production of A Midsummer's Night Dream. They even taught us a song, Chagford's version of the Greatest Show!
In science last week, we looked at fossils and how they help us understand evolution and this week we explored the different animal kingdoms. We've had an interesting two weeks in history two where we've looked at two times civil rights activists went to the Supreme Court to end segregation in 1950s America. Last week, we saw Oliver Brown take on the Board of Education and win the fight against the segregation of schools. This week, Year 5 and 6 heard the story of Rosa Parks and how her actions led to the de-segregation of buses in America as being illegal and unconstitutional.
Though it will be a short half term, it will be a very exciting one!
In English, we will start by writing about "Cracking Contraptions!" Using inspiration from the great inventors - Wallace and Gromit! - the children in Birch Class will learn how to write an instructional and informative piece about a cracking contraption of their own! We will examine the structure, verb choice, technical vocabulary and passive voice before starting out piece.
We continue our decimals topic in maths, now looking at how to add and subtract them. The children will build on their knowledge from our addition and subtraction topic to help them. Some of their multiplication and division knowledge will be needed as we look at multiplying and dividing decimals by powers of ten (10, 100 and 1000) before we move onto our unit on shapes later in the half term.
Our afternoons are just as exciting as we look at the civil rights movement in History. We started by discussing inequality throughout history and then focusing on life in America in the 1950s. This knowledge will help us look into the lives of Oliver Brown and his case against the Board of Education, Rosa Parks and her civil disobedience and Martin Luther King Jr's dream. This topic will take us to one week after the half term and we will end by seeing how the civil rights movement impacts the world today.
When we put our metaphorical lab coats on for science, we will be studying how humans and animals change over time. We started by focusing on evolution where the children in Year 5 and 6 learned how and why evolution happens and about the man behind evolution's discovery, Charles Darwin! We even looked at a case study about the evolution of giraffes so feel free to ask them what they know about that!
RE looks at the importance of faith in a number of religions including ones we've studied this year and a few knew ones. We will look at one religion a week, talk about their faiths and later compare some of them to see how they overlap and why faith plays a key role for the believers.
And don't forget students will be taking part in a whole school performance of A Midsummer's Night Dream where Year 5 and 6 will play key roles. We are excited to start workshopping this week!
An update on the last two weeks in Birch Class!
In English last week, we finished out biographies. We had some great pieces about Rosa Parks, Elizabeth Blackwell and Garrincha and the adversity they overcame to be successful. Well done to the Year Fives for that! This week, in between a reading test, we started looking at 'The Day the Crayons Quit' by Drew Daywalt. We will be writing humorous arguments in the format of a series of letters. We ended the week by discussing personification and everyone wrote a diary entry from the point of view of one of the crayons in the story based on their personalities from the letters. There has been some excellent work produced! Here's an extract from the one we wrote as a class from the point of view of Purple Crayon, who had complaints about being used to colour outside of the lines(!) and we established was a very tidy and also very vain crayon:
I am SICK of being used this way!
As you know, I am a very tidy crayon and Duncan - who is my human - is an untidy colour-er. It is a disgrace that he disrespects me this way. Today, Duncan was colouring in his 'Magic and Dragons' colouring book and he was using me to colour a jaw-dropped dragon. It would have been gorgeous with my outstanding colour if he'd just stayed inside the lines!"
In maths, we finished off our fractions unit last week. Most of this week was spent doing our maths assessments but we have now started our topic on decimals and percentages and have just finished recapping their previous knowledge, understanding thousandths and rounding decimals to the nearest whole number and nearest tenth. The children had to brush up on their rounding skills from the autumn term for this one!
One highlight from the last two weeks was a visit from Sophie from South-West Water who told us all about how water is collected and filtered and also about sewage and waste. The children made water pledges like taking a quicker shower, buying less fast-fashion clothes and turning the tap off while brushing your teeth. Year 5 and 6 together applied their knowledge of the water cycle to the information that Sophie provided and had a great time! Find some pictures below:
This week has been quite an interesting series of events. As you may know, the Year 5s and 6s were in separate bubbles due to a spike in COVID cases so lessons this week have been a little bit different. History and French were taught from their separate classrooms via video call. The children in both classes should be commended for their hard work and engagement despite the internet cuts that we were faced with. We did manage to have a few lessons together with science being taught in the hall and outside as we simulated the actions greenhouses gases and global warming. In PE, the children practiced their balance and reflex skills before we played games of throw tennis to apply their skills.
Fortunately, due to COVID cases going down, both classes were able to come together for an art lesson this afternoon where they finished off their version of Van Gogh sunflowers before rounding the week off with a celebration assembly where both classes were awarded a Challenge Champion certificate for their hard work in tricky times and singing some of the songs we've been learning as a school.
I hope everyone gets a chance to go out and enjoy the sunshine this week (I know I will!) and I certainly hope that all mothers and special carers get extra care and pampering on Mothering Sunday. You deserve it!
Have a nice weekend everyone and see you next week!
What a week!
In English, Birch Class have been studying some female scientists to help inspire their biography writing. We've looked at Lise Meitner the physicist who discovered nuclear fission (but never got the credit!) and Ada Lovelace, who invented the first computer program and even actress from Hollywood's Golden age, Hedy Lamarr (did you know she developed the frequency-hopping spread spectrum that prevented signal jamming and was used in the Cuban Missile Crisis? And she did it with the help of a piano player!). This week we looked at what made an inspirational person worth writing about and considered the adversities that these women had to overcome. We also explored why glossaries are important and considered the different potential structures that they could use. Most students have picked who they're going to write about but if they haven't, students need to decide by Monday as we will be writing our first draft as we go along!
In maths, we are continuing our unit on fractions. This week specifically, we did a recap of what we learned before the half term, explored number sequences that include fractions, compared and ordered fractions by size and today we were adding and subtracting fractions that shared a common denominator! Next week, we'll be looking for at adding and subtracting fractions that don't share a common denominator. Exciting stuff!
In geography, we have started our population topic. We have explored population density and distribution. Basically, we explored where people live in the world and also in the UK. Using our prior knowledge, we were able to figure out why certain places may not have had as many people. For example, the climate might have an impact or the type of place it is (cities, towns, villages, etc.). See if your child can remember the population density of Devon!
Our new science topic, sustainability, had us looking at the properties of different materials and towards the end of the lesson, we discussed how some materials take a long time to decompose, especially when put into a landfill site. This leads us onto next weeks lesson about the 3 'R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. Throughout the half term, we will be exploring how we can meet the needs of today while making sure the needs of future generations can be met!
In RE, we are thinking about why Jesus was so important to Christians. This week, we explored how God has taken different forms through the Holy Trinity and why Jesus being an incarnate of God was so significant.
I hope everyone managed to have a productive day despite the power being down!
I just wanted to start off by saying how proud I am of everyone in Birch and Maple Class for this half term. It has been a long and challenging half term for some with several students being off with COVID and having to work from home but we got through it and I couldn't be more impressed!
In English, we have just finished our 'I Am...' Poems and I must say that the results are incredible. So much thought has gone into the descriptions and the impact on the reader. After the break, we will be looking at creating a Birch Class Book of Biographies. Using 'Women in Science' by Rachel Ignotofsky, we will be exploring the different aspects of biographical writing and then creating our own piece about a inspirational people to create a book by the class. Each student will need to pick their person quite early on in the sequence so if they could have a think of someone who inspires them or someone who has overcome adversity or challenges and have a few ideas ready for after the break that would be awesome!
We have just started fractions in maths and will continue after the break. It is a very long unit so it would be great to keep our minds on fractions. If they could find any real life examples over the break to share with the class when they return, that would be awesome!
Our Benin Kingdom topic has officially come to an end with some great news articles about its downfall produced in the last few days. After the break, we will be starting our second geography topic on population where we will be looking at where people live around the world and why there are differences. It will be a very interesting topic!
We will be moving onto sustainability in science after the break. I won't give too much away but we will be exploring global warming and climate change in more detail and there is an exciting debate coming up in the future!
Finally, yesterday we learned a new wake up-shake up dance taught by yours truly to the tune of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers. We didn't get a chance to perform it this week but we will after the break so have your child perform it to you if they can. I'm very much looking forward to seeing them perform it!
Happy half term!
Years 5s have been finishing off their adventurous journals. Ask them what personification they've used to describe the desert. We had some fantastic ideas such as the "the dead bushes reached up the like curled and crooked fingers" and "the wall of sand swallowed everything in its path".
In history with the Year 5s and 6s, we looked at the Benin Kingdoms civil war and discussed the causes of it. The children can tell you all about what The Golden Age was like and why it was called this. Throughout the weeks, we've also been exploring the difference between primary and secondary sources in more depth. See if they can remember which ones we've looked at!
In RE, they did some independent research on Passover. Using books about Judaism and Chromebooks, the class tried to find the answers to questions. Some even used the index at the back of the book to help them!
Science explored thermal insulators and conductors. Can they tell you which one lets heat pass through quickly and which doesn't? Or what materials make good insulators and conductors? We will be doing an experiment this week where the class will be building their own insulators to try and keep an ice cube from melting as much as possible in just a few hours. Gather some recycled materials at home to bring in on Wednesday that might work as good insulators to help the class build theirs!
We've had a busy two and a half weeks in Birch Class!
In English, we have started looking at The Lost Book of Adventure by the Unknown Adventurer. We have looked at audience and purpose and how they can change. We have done extensive work on simile, metaphor and personification and why they are so effective. At the end of last week, we also had a look at expanded noun phrases and verb choice. This upcoming week, we will focus a lesson on punctuation, exploring dashes and brackets to add extra explanation and then we will start writing our own journal entry for the adventurer. The Year 5s will write a narrative recount on either their experience in a sand storm or hallucinating a mirage when they've run out of water in the desert. We're in for an exciting week!
In maths, they have started and finished perimeter and area and we have moved onto our second unit on multiplication and division where we will be expanding our knowledge and looking at long multiplication and division.
Our afternoons have been just as busy. Our exciting history topic, the Benin Kingdom, has had us exploring its general history, its geography, the daily life of the Edo people and how trade made it a successful empire. We have learned about primary and secondary sources and we have started to touch upon what happened at the end of the Benin Kingdom and the tragic story of what happened to the people and the culture.
In science, we have been learning about heat. Our first three sessions focused on particle behaviour. Some of our students have acted out how particles move when they freeze, melt, condense and boil and also how they behave to cause thermal expansion. Last week, we looked at thermal equilibrium and did an experiment that showed the different sensations we felt when putting our hand in hot water and then in room temperature water and the same with cold water. The children noticed that the hand in hot water felt colder in room temperature water and the cold water hand felt warmer. They quickly figured out that it was because one hand was cooling down the other was warming up to match the room temperature. The heat moves from one object to another. Ask your children to see if they remember any real life examples of this or maybe they can even show you our experiment at home!
Welcome to the class blog for Year 5 - Birch Class at Chagford Primary School