Autumn Letter – Class 5/6

Dear Parents

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and peaceful 2018! Thank you for all the gifts that you sent. They are still being enjoyed!

As a school, we always want to improve and do things better. One big change this year is that we have invested in a resource which helps our planning and teaching. This means that most of the different subjects within the curriculum (Science, Computing , Art & Design, Design & Technology, Music, Geography, History and PSHE) will be taught as part of large Topics. We have been moving towards this over the last few years, but this is an important step in improving the quality of our teaching and lessons. We will still have daily Maths and English lessons – with the English being linked to the topics. RE and PE will still be taught as individual lessons and French will be taught later on in the year when SATs have passed!

Our first Topic of 2018 in Class 5/6 will be “Darwin’s Delights.”

We’re going to investigate a range of animal specimens, describing the characteristics of the creatures, and labelling their body parts using software. We’ll use a range of non-fiction books to investigate adaptation, natural selection, variation and inheritance. After examining letters and journal entries written by Darwin, we’ll write our own examples. We’ll collect natural items and discover what plants live around our school. We’ll retrace Darwin’s steps using maps and create sketchbooks to record the plants, flowers and trees we encounter. Using maps and globes, we’ll plan an expedition. What will the weather be like and what physical and man-made features might we encounter? At the end of the topic, we’ll think about why the Galapagos Islands developed such diverse animal life, and why they might be under threat. We’ll also think about what Darwin would have worked on if he were alive today. How would he use our technology?

English: Labelling, journals, diaries, letters, explanations, newspaper reports

Science: Evolution and Inheritance, living things and their habitats

Art & Design: Creating sketchbooks, observational drawing

Computing: Online research, morphing animations, understanding computer networks

Geography: Using maps, geographical similarities and differences, islands of the world

History: Significant individuals – Charles Darwin and Mary Anning

PSHE: Taking responsibility

Helping your child prepare for their project:

Charles Darwin was a world-renowned naturalist, geologist and physicist, and we’re going to follow in his footsteps. Why not collect samples of plant life from your garden and see if you can identify them? You could make detailed sketches of the plants you find, just like Darwin. Alternatively, visit a museum that has fossils on display. What can you learn about the animals from which they were formed?

Bringing in Pets

As part of our topic we are going to be observing and drawing animal specimens. If you have a pet that your child could bring into school tomorrow (Thursday 4th January) it would be really appreciated. I apologise for the short notice, but it is important that we do this at the start of the topic, as the drawings and photos that we take will be used later on.

PLEASE NOTE:    1) The animal must be housed in a tank or cage, which it will happily stay in for the whole school day.

2) No cats or dogs. I am really looking for things like rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters and reptiles.

3) We will not be handling the animals.

4) If your child has a specific allergy or you have particular concerns about this activity, please see me first thing tomorrow morning.

You may choose whether to send them with your children for the whole day, or you may drop the pets in at lunchtime if this is more convenient, as we will only need them in the afternoon.

Homework

Year 6s will carry on receiving weekly Maths and Grammar homework.  I am now also going to start sending weekly arithmetic practice for the Years 5s. These will go home each Friday and need to be returned to school by the following Thursday. Thank you to those parents of year 5 children who completed Egyptian Homework projects last term. There will be another opportunity to complete a similar optional project this term.

It is important that children continue to read regularly at home, as this helps not only their reading skills and increases their vocabulary, but also helps them to improve their writing. Children are able to choose a book from the school library, but I’m more than happy for them to choose a book from home if they prefer.  Please encourage your child to keep their reading record updated on a regular basis.

I will carry on uploading maths games to Active Learn that relate to our recent lessons.

I am also going to send all children home this week with a copy of the Year 5/6 spelling list from the National Curriculum. Your child needs to choose a few words to learn each week. They can highlight the words that they are confident at spelling.

PE

Your children will have two PE lessons each week, which will be taught by specialist sports coaches from UK Sports Coaching. The lessons will take place on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Please ensure that they have the correct kit (blue or black shorts, white T-shirt and trainers or plimsolls) in school. At this time of year it is a good idea for the children to bring a warm top and jogging bottoms (or a tracksuit), as when we do P.E. outside, it can be particularly cold. Children with long hair must be able to tie it up for PE and all earrings must be removed.

If you have any problems or concerns at any time please discuss them with me. I am generally available for a quick chat at home time but I can arrange to meet at another time if we need to discuss something at length.  Otherwise, I look forward to speaking to you all at parents’ evening.

Many Thanks

Ben Twelves