Windmill Hill DVD Reminder



If you would like to purchase a video of the children’s 5-day residential trip to Windmill Hill, then please send in the reply slip with £5 by this Friday – 27th April. The video is over 15 minutes long and features all aspects of the week.

These will be distributed in the next couple of weeks!

This Week’s Homework

This week, we will be sending home the bulk of the SATs revision books which the children have been using over the last 6 months. These can now stay at home and be used to help the children prepare for their exams. The children have completed a large proportion of pages from previous homework tasks but still have areas to complete over the next few weeks. For this week’s homework, we would like the children to focus on any uncompleted pages, particularly in those areas which they feel they are still not confident in.

Although we do not require them to come back into school, if your child would like to talk over any pages then we are always happy to help!

Next week, we will be sending home some mixed practice booklets in these final weeks before SATs week.

Design Technology – Cooking Reminder

Chilli Con Carne Ingredients

Just a reminder that over the next couple of weeks, the children will be cooking a Mayan-inspired chilli con carne. In groups, they chose the ingredients which they wanted and each child has been asked to contribute one of those ingredients towards their dish.Your child should have brought home a slip before the Easter holidays which explains what they need to bring and which day they are cooking.  6G will begin cooking tomorrow and then again on Wednesday followed by the other classes over this week and next. We will be cooking rice to go alongside the chilli con carne; the children may have this as their lunch option for the day which they are cooking.

We look forward to showing you some pictures of the finished dishes!

Happy Easter!

Inter-class Challenge

We’ve had a busy but wonderful term learning all about the Mayans. For our end of term inter-class challenge, we replicated a Mayan sport Pok-a-tok. In this game, two teams would battle it out in a stone courtyard. The aim of the game was to hit a heavy rubber ball through a stone hoop however they were only allowed to use their elbows, knees and hips! The losing team would be facing more than disappointment as they would be next in line for sacrifice! Needless to say, we didn’t quite go to this extreme in school! In our version, the children had to choose which part of their body they wanted to use and then select whether they were going to aim through a large or small hoop with the small hoop being worth more points. The whole year group watched in anticipation as participants made their way to the middle of the ‘courtyard’ to try and gain points for their class. We had lots of fun and it was a close competition; the winner will be announced the first week back after Easter!


We’ve been privileged this term to have the expertise of Coach Fletcher helping the children to improve on a range of rugby skills. Last week, the children’s focus was thinking about their formation in order to provide a good defence line for the opposing team.

After school boosters

Some of the year 6 children have been attending after school boosters to aid them in making progress for the up and coming SATs. These have been very successful and we’d like to continue running them for a few more weeks after the Easter Break. The last week they’ll run will be the 30th April. The teachers have put a lot of effort and time into running these so please could you ensure that your child continues to attend so that they gain the full benefits of these.

Easter Homework

We are sending home 3 pieces of homework to complete over the Easter holidays: mixed arithmetic questions, a maths reasoning paper and a mixed grammar booklet. Completing these will help the children with their SATs preparations and to consolidate their learning from this term.

If the rain continues and children are at a loose end over the holidays, why not challenge them to make their own stop-motion animation? They have learned the skills at school and should be able to apply this at home. We’d certainly be keen to watch any of their  creations back at school when they return.


Finally, we just want to thank all the children for their hard work this term. Also, thank you to parents for always being supportive. Enjoy your Easter and we will see you in 2 weeks.

Year 6 Team


Project Launch – Temples of Doom!

To launch our new project, Temples of Doom, the year 6 children had to use their historical skills as they went on an artefact search around the school after the teachers had planted lots of photos of Mayan artefacts. Working in groups, once the children found an artefact, they took it back to ‘base’ to analyse it considering some thought-provoking questions such as: what could it be made from? What may its uses have been? What does this tell us about the Mayan civilisation?

Rhys and Lucas finding a picture of carved Mayan stone

Jake looking rather excited to have discovered another artefact outside!

The children had to look high and low around the school to find all 12 artefacts which were hidden

Shyla and Nyah analysing their artefacts considering what they might show about the Mayan civilisation

The children’s work after their artefact hunt

For the second part of the project launch, the children were told that these artefacts were soon to be displayed in the British Museum as a special Mayan exhibition but there was a problem – the information about the artefact has been lost! In order to overcome this ‘problem’, they had to use their historical skills (and a bit of imagination!) to create a paragraph explaining what the artefact is, when it dated back to, what is it made from, how it was made and what its use was. We were very impressed and think that the children’s descriptions sound very convincing!

This week, the children will be gaining more knowledge about the Mayans by finding out where they lived in the world and comparing key Mayan events with other world events. We hope that they are able to share some of their knowledge with you at home. 

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.


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.


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

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