Frozen Kingdoms

Our first Spring project, Frozen Kingdoms, has just come to an end and we’d love to share some of the children’s learning with you. The children have loved learning about conditions in the Polar Regions, the animals which live there and also about some of the explorers who have dared to venture in these harsh conditions.

Geography

The children identified where the Polar Regions are on our Earth; some were surprised to find that Antarctica is actually a continent due to there being a land mass underneath. The Arctic, which is located in the Northern Hemisphere, actually covers 9 countries. In order to understand why the Poles are much colder, we studied the Earth and identified the key biomes on our planet.

 

 

 

Additionally, we looked at how temperatures and rainfall differ in various locations. The children were given a set of places and they had to predict the temperatures and amount of rainfall; they were then given the actual readings which they placed accurately on their scale and compared to their prediction. Some were very surprised by how cold the Antarctic can get – the lowest recorded temperature is -89 degrees Celsius! Another interesting fact is that it doesn’t actually rain or snow in Antarctica meaning that the conditions are actually very dry making it a desert.

 

 

In another lesson, the children had to organise information about Polar animals into a Venn diagram; they had to consider whether the animal lived in the Arctic or Antarctic before thinking about what terrain they live on. Lastly, they created a key to show what the animal is classified as for example a mammal or bird.

 

 

In our final Geography lesson this week, the children found out some basic information about the Inuit – who are indigenous to the Arctic region – and then chose a specific area of interest to research. They could choose how they wanted to present their work.

Science and PSHE

Over the last two terms, our topics have focused on keeping our bodies fit and healthy. We have studied the cardiovascular system and paid particular attention to the heart and how it works. We even investigated what happens when we exercise and compared the heart rates of different aged people and of those who are fit and unfit.

The children also studied food and a balanced diet. To begin with, the children recapped their knowledge from previous years about the five key food groups. We then studied the Eatwell Guide which recommends what proportion of each food group we should have daily. To move the children’s learning on, our main focus of a balanced diet this year was looking at food alternatives for people with allergies and intolerances whilst also thinking of those who are vegan and vegetarian.The children used this knowledge to evaluate meals by analysing how balanced they were. They then went on to suggest further recommendations about how the meal could be improved and also how the meal could be altered considering dietary requirements.

Part of the science National Curriculum is about drug education. The children considered what is actually defined as a drug then sorted drugs into those which are legal and those which are illegal. They found out about age restrictions and what prescribed medication is. We looked at some drugs which are not good for the body in more detail and the children found out about some of the long and short term effects of these. In PSHE, we studied peer pressure and linked this with how some people might be peer pressed to smoke, drink alcohol or even take drugs.

At the end of this unit, the children were asked to design a poster for a local secondary school which encouraged people to stay healthy and give them advice about how they can do this. We were so impressed with their creativity and their maturity in this topic.

Art

After watching some clips from ‘March of the Penguins’ and finding out about the extreme lengths that penguins go to for their mate, the children created their own march of penguins down the year 6 corridor. For this piece of art, they used black sugar paper and used chalk to create the highlights using their observational skills.

 

In other news…

New project: Our new project, Temples of Doom, will be starting next week which is a history led project about the ancient Mayan civilisation.

Mock SATs: Our mock SATs week went really well this week and the children tried so hard! We’d like to keep you updated about their progress so will be sending home a letter over the next week or two which explains whether they are on track.

No Homework: As the children have worked so hard this week in their mock SATs, we have not set any homework. That being said, if children are keen to continue learning at home, they could log onto Rockstars to see if they can improve their average speed and earn some extra coins! Topmarks is another great website which supports all learning at all levels.

 

Introducing Rockstars Times Tables to St Mark’s!

A Guide to RockStars

We are very excited to be introducing a new tool which will help children learn their times tables – Rockstars!

Why is learning Times Tables important?

As you know, learning multiplication and division facts are key fundamentals of mathematics and are used and applied to so many other areas of maths; knowing these facts will help children to make progress in their learning. The National Curriculum expectations are that children should know all these facts by the end of Year 4. We appreciate that this is a hard task for some children so Rockstars is yet another tool to help them achieve this.

What is Rockstars?

Rockstars is a website where children take on the role of a Rockstar – their Avatar. They give their Rockstar a name, decide what they are going to look like and of course, choose which instrument they are going to play.

How do the children practise their tables?

Once they log in, there are different ways in which they can practise their times tables. 

Your child’s teacher will have set up specific times tables for them to focus on which will be highlighted when they log in. When they play in the ‘Garage’ or ‘Arena’, they will be solely focusing on the tables set by their teacher. In the ‘Studio’, ‘Festival, and ‘Rock Slams’, they can practise all their times tables. They children can practise independently by trying to improve their speed and accuracy but if they fancy playing competitively, in the ‘Festival’, they compete against other children from around the world and in the ‘Arena’, they can play against other children in their Year Group. In the ‘RockSlam’ area, this is where children can choose another peer in their Year Group to challenge! Additionally, sometimes teachers may set ‘Rock Battles’ where children can compete against other year groups, for example there may be a battle between Year 3 and Year 4 as to who can earn the most points over a week’s period. 

What rewards do they get for playing?

Each time the children practise or compete, they gain credits which are used in leaderboards but they can also use these to buy new accessories for their avatar.

Every few week, teachers will be awarding certificates to children who have the most credits and also to those who make the most progress in learning their times tables. The more they practise of course, the more progress they will make!

How do they know if they are making progress?

There are a number of tools on this platform which allow children, parents and teachers to see how they are progressing. They can view and compare their initial baseline speed to how fast they are now and continue to strive to improve this.

Also, by using colours, it show which tables they are confident with in green and the tables which need more practise will be in red.

How do they log in?

Rockstars is available from Year 2 – Year 6. By the end of this week, all children will have been shown this website by their teachers and all children will have username logins in their Learning Logs. Additionally, we’ll send home a parent letter which explains in more detail how to log on.

Now and again, we will play in school but primarily, this is a resource to be used at home. Rockstars is available through WebBrowser but can also be accessed through the app on a mobile, ipad or tablet.

 

We are very excited about this fun learning tool and already the children are showing such enthusiasm to learn their Times Tables. If you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to see your child’s class teacher.

Many thanks,

The Maths Team

 

 

Y6 SATs – Parent Presentation

You can download the slides from the Y6 SATS parent presentation here.

Spring Term

We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas break whether it was restful or full of adventure.

Frozen Kingdoms

This term, our project is Frozen Kingdoms which is a Geography led project about the Polar regions. We have already been looking at the Earth’s biomes and comparing conditions around the world. The children were surprised to find that Antarctica is in fact a desert which has reached temperatures of -89 degrees! We have also been researching Polar explorers with particular focus on Shackleton whose Endurance mission didn’t quite go to plan. Why not ask your child what happened when he and his crew tried to get to Antarctica. We’ll be sharing some of the children’s work with you over the next few weeks.

SATs Information Evening

We touched on SATs during our curriculum evening in September but will be holding an information evening with a sole focus on SATs including information about dates, times, what the exams entail, how they are marked and practical advice about supporting your child to prepare for these. Please feel free to join the year 6 team in the main hall on Tuesday 23rd at 6.30pm. We can discuss your child’s personal attainment and progress at  Parents’ Evening (booking opens on Monday).

7pm Carol Concert Information

We are looking forward to our final Christmas Carol Concert  tonight.

Children are requested to arrive at school at 6:30pm to be ready for the 7pm performance. They should be dressed in school uniform and make their way to their classroom to be registered.

Choir members should meet in the Music and Drama room.

For parents who are not attending the performance, children will need to be collected from their classrooms at 7:40pm.

Many thanks,

Year 5 and 6 team

Evacuation Day

What a success Evacuation day was; the children looked brilliant in their WW2 style clothing and their learning was enriched through various activities throughout the day.

 

 

We began the day with ‘Evacuation Lottery’ where the children chose numbers which correlated to details such as their first name, surname, home town and place of evacuation. The children took on this identify for the day and wrote their new details onto an identity tag.

Singing kept morale high during WW2. During the morning, all of year 6 gathered together to sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by Vera Lynn. We also looked at the lyrics and considered what might be meant by phrases such as ‘till the blue skies chase the dark clouds far away’. We also sang ‘Run Rabbit’ and learned about the alternative meaning to this song which took the mickey out of the Nazis.

To understand what evacuees must have felt like, the children took part in some freeze frames using pictures from WW2 as inspiration; the children had to say what they’d be thinking and feeling if they were in the shoes of an evacuee. This helped us to gather some ideas for postcards which they wrote ‘home’.

Entertainment in 1940 was very different from today. The children learned how to play a couple of different old-fashioned marble games; it was very enjoyable whilst also being rather competitive! Who’d have thought they could have so much fun without an X-box in sight!?

Children were evacuated to countryside locations which would have looked very different to the big cities they were used to. For some children, this was their first time seeing such lush fields and cattle. The children learned some watercolour painting techniques to create a picture inspired by countryside photos. We were so impressed by the children’s observational skills –it’s hard to tell apart the photos from the children’s paintings!

Other activites throughout the day also included reading a special WW2 edition of our ‘First News’ paper and answering some quiz questions.

At one point during the day, we sounded the air raid siren loudly. As an emergency procedure, we evacuated to the cloakrooms and turned off the lights just like they would have done during the Blackout. The children said it was quite scary knowing that the German airforce, the Luftwaffe, could be potentially dropping bombs!

To top off our learning, the following day we had some very special visitors in school – Mr and Mrs Hedgecock and Mr and Mrs Collier. They were evacuated during the war and answered lots of questions which the children had written; it was so interesting hearing about their first-hand experiences. Thank you so much for joining us for the afternoon.

We hope that the children have been sharing their learning about WW2 at home as they should have gained a wealth of knowledge in this thought-provoking topic.

 

 

 

 

 

Year 5 and 6 Fraction Workshop

There are still spaces left if you would like to come along tonight and secure your knowledge within adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions so that you can support your child with confidence.

The workshop will be in 6G at 7pm – hot drinks and biscuits will be provided!

We look forward to seeing you later.

Year 6 Christmas Display

To mark the Christmas spirit, the school have been creating festive displays. Year 6 have created a display to represent ‘Bethlehem’; a group of children designed themed houses and buildings then embellished them with gold paints and materials. To create the background, Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ was used as inspiration. The children used their fingerprints to create the North Star and the swirls in the sky.

 

Maths Fraction Workshop

Reminder to book on

If you are keen to come along and improve your knowledge and understanding about fractions then don’t forgot to book onto the fraction workshop course which is happening next Thursday at 7pm – we’d love to see you there and promise it won’t be anything too scary!

Miss Goddard will send an email to those parents booked on at the end of this week.

For more information and booking instructions, see previous posts.

 

 

 

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