Week ending 22.10.2020 - Half term!
Wow! What an amazing, busy half term we have had! I cannot believe how fast it has flown and here we are, ready for the long-awaited break.
I don't know how about you, but I know the children and I have found this half term extremely tiring and full-on. It might be the extra alertness, being mindful of the new rules we have to follow to keep everyone as safe as possible or just the 'back-to-work' feeling after nearly 6 months away from school, either way, we have given it our best and I could not be happier as a teacher with their progress, independence and resilience they have shown.
This week, the children were finally able to take their canopic jars home and having talked to all the parents on our parents evening phone calls, I know they were very impressed with the results!
Tuesday saw us talking about Black History Month and celebrating our differences; we discussed why it is still very important to talk about equality and different ways to battle racism and we studied the life of Nelson Mandela. It was interesting to see the children realise that not everything is as straightforward as it is in films or fairy tales, and they were able have sensible discussions about if means such as violence are ok to be used to achieve an honourable aim. Below, see some examples of fabulous double page spreads!
Finally, on Thursday, I had a chance to speak to all the parents on the phone and report on how the children are settling in Year 5, how have we been addressing some of the gaps that the children might have, how has the recovery curriculum been implemented and how have the children impressed me! It was fantastic to be able to hear the pride in the parents' voices and I would like to thank you all for making the time and your continuous support and good communication that we have!
This term, I am particularly proud of the children's way of embracing the online learning and Seesaw; I had children who had to self-isolate accessing the learning and work I'd set every single day, and when they came back to school, they knew exactly where they were and what was happening. I also had children contacting me on Seesaw letting me know when they found some learning we did both in school and at home hard, and I was able to direct them to additional resources/record an explanation which ensured their progress and consolidation of knowledge and skills. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the children grasp a new software or technology!
While I was talking to the parents, the children had a great day in school, full of fun, games and - most importantly - fancy dresses! To say I was sad to have missed this would be an understatement, however, many of the children have shared their outfits with me on Seesaw before going to school! Have a look at the photos:
Finally, have a nice half term and most importantly, stay safe! Once again, thank you for your ongoing support and great communication, and I will see you in a week's time!
Week ending 16.10.
I wonder whose idea it was to have Art on Monday! Last week, the children went home all muddy from the clay, whereas this week, they went home like Egyptian pharaohs - covered in gold paint! (Which is very hard to scrub off for which I apologise, however, it was more than worth it) This week, we finally painted our canopic jars and yes, I can assure you; the children will be taking them home. If you know anything about canopic jars, you might worry whether they are coming home empty - yes, they are! How you use them at home though, that is up to you!
Fun and games continued throughout this week, which is well-documented on these two pictures! The children know though that I would do anything to make them laugh and make difficult situations easier, so it was well worth it and I have to commend them on being able to complete their work with googly eyes staring at them!
Today, we had a special Star Badge assembly as there is none next week with it being LDST training day on Friday. Mrs Thomson told us which colour team was the winner and it was fantastic to see the children's anticipation and celebrations despite not being able to celebrate this special Star Badge in the hall as we would usually do!
If you would like to see it, here is an exclusive footage!
And finally, we had another very special celebration in our class this year - our lovely Mrs Jackson celebrated her 40th birthday! (I hope she forgives me for revealing it!) The children clapped and cheered and we gave her some nice presents and wished her a fabulous day! We are very lucky to have her in our Year 5 team and we wish her all the best!
I hope you will all have safe, relaxing weekend and I will see your children back on Monday!
Week ending 9.10.2020
This week must have been the fastest week so far - where did the days go?!
I guess time flies when you are having fun; and that, we had in Year 5.
As if Mondays were not challenging enough on their own, I decided to get the clay out on Monday afternoon to let the children materialise their designs of canopic jars and allow them to put to test their pottery skills and all the research they have done so far this term. I was also interested to see how they have progressed, as in Year 3, we made pinch pots (by sticking our thumb inside a ball of clay and pinching it to make the walls thinner) and Year 5's Clay Coil pots is the next step in them mastering the pottery skills and using different tools and techniques. Well, what can I say. There was a lot of clay (sometimes more mud). There was a lot of water. There was a lot of 'Misssss, I have touched my coat and now it's all muddy!', 'Miss, it collapsed', 'Miss, can I start again?', but in the end, we all managed to produce a container! Have a look at the pictures and judge for yourself, if these canopic jars are pharaohs-worthy!
On Tuesday, we continued our science topic and looked into different ways of separating mixtures!
Here is a link to a Czech version of Cinderella - ask your child how it links to separating mixtures (clue word:pigeons) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIFCIArJrCc (If you click on CC - closed captions, you can watch the whole film with English subtitles!).
Friday is always so hectic (I feel like I write this every Friday); we are all ready for the weekend! The children continued learning the long jump and I was super impressed with some of their frog-like jumping abilities!
Finally, I want to say - I feel so proud of the children, every day. Their resilience, trust they have in me and good sense of humour are really rays of sunshine in these difficult times and I look forward to every day of teaching them - we always have a laugh about something and I feel privileged to be the person who can guide them on their learning journey and helps them to develop.
Have a fabulous weekend and make sure you take time to look after your mental health!
Week ending 2.10.2020
This week was definitely the first proper autumn one; you could definitely smell the maroon leaves in the air and the cold wind together with some occasional rain.
It is fantastic to see how much more settled the children are with each week and how responsible and conscientious they are. They are truly becoming reflective learners and their progress is directly reflected in their work.
In RE, we have continued looking at the Bible and how the Bible could impact people's lives. We tried to imagine what must people who don't have Bible translated into their own language feel and why it might be important to have it available in one's mother tongue - the children particularly enjoyed the video of the official release of the Jamaica's patois Bible (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRI3srdcia0) - watch it together!
Reflecting on this, the pupils chose 3 quotes from Bible and contemplated who could those words help. With every reflection and work I was marking, I felt really touched as their compassion and empathy had really come through - judge for yourself:
As our last preparation before creating our own canopic jars on Monday, the children drew on all the research and learning about the Ancient Egyptian life and designed their own jars. In order to simulate the restrictions of clay, they used charcoal to sketch. It was great to watch because the children were forced to not focus on tiny details but rather think about the shape and form of the product. I cannot wait for Monday to see them create their designs.
On Tuesday, we continued our 'hands on' week and continued our learning about different materials and their properties by looking at conductivity. This was as part of our Recovery Curriculum, where we address the missed learning from Year 4 and bridge those gaps in the children's knowledge. The topic was electricity and I was amazed by how much information the children already knew - plus many of them remembered it from Seesaw when they were doing their home learning through lockdown! The children worked in threes then to create complete and incomplete circuits and test materials around them to see if they are conductors and insulators.
This week, I have also really focused on teaching the children how to edit their own work and check it for common mistakes. They all were given their own personal 'editing fans' with little checklists and I have to say, I have already started seeing the impact on their work when marking their books in all the subjects. Having structured 'to do' list really helps and it is wonderful to see that the children make use of the resources that are prepared for them - well done!
Fridays are always a bit mad in Year 5 and both the children and the adults love it - it is time to unwind while continuing learning, highlight our achievements and share any joys or worries! Today, our Star Badge assembly was a bit special - not only we had Star Badge winners, but the children also received their BEST awards from last year! Congratulations!
Lastly, I have to say great thank you to both the children and the parents - the children are just fantastic and look after me so well, and your support and communication with you is excellent; I cannot wait for parent's evening, which will be this year on Thursday 22.10.2020, to talk about how the children have settled into Year 5 after such a long time away from school. (Due to the current situation, I will not be able to meet with you face to face, however, you will be able to book telephone slots of 10 minutes with me for that day - check the newsletter to find out when will the booking system open and how to book it.)
Have a fantastic weekend full of rest and stay safe,
Week ending 25.9.2020
Another week full of learning behind us! I have to praise both the children who worked in school and at home; it is fantastic to see how we are all on the same page, making progress and learning new things and thanks to Seesaw, distance learning is not a problem! It allows the children to continue their learning at home, keep reading our class novel (Kensuke's kingdom) and answer the same questions as the children in school and when they are back in school, they can just jump straight in without any gaps or catching up to do. It is brilliant to see how much the children enjoy Seesaw and the ownership they have of their learning. Keep it up!
At the beginning of this week, the children were faced with a responsible task: to become my guinea pigs/models and model fieldwork techniques while I was filming them. The footage was then watched the all the teachers at staff meeting on Monday and I have to say, I was super proud of the way they modelled the techniques, skills and vocabulary needed in fieldwork Geography lessons; what a fabulous contribution to make to the whole school life! I also shared their work on Twitter, where the president of the Geographical Association Dr Susan Pike and Dr Paula Owens FRGS, an author, consultant and curriculum mentor, both commented on the passion of the children and hands-on fieldwork techniques!
On Tuesday, I decided to be adventurous by carrying out a Science experiment when learning about irreversible changes (and show off by not needing a tray or plastic underneath it). Imagine vinegar. Baking soda. Bottle. Balloon. Foam. Vinegar dripping. Carpet soaked...
After changing my method, I was able to conduct the experiment and the children were able to observe how chemical (irreversible) changes occur and what happens to the substances. Feel free to try this at home (but use a tray!) - the children will tell you what to do!
Finally, today, we celebrated the European Day of Languages by studying Italy, Europe and some Czech republic on the children's request! We had an interesting discussion about Britain 'leaving Europe' and if that is geographically and physically possible, took a few quizzes practising our map skills and finally, tasted some bruschetta, italian thins and Snack Latte cake. The children had to describe the texture, taste and smell of these in their books and watching them try new food was so funny! Many of them liked the bruschetta, which they described as a 'mini-pizza'.
All in all, very eventful week full of laughter and learning, as usual! The children are now all used to the routines and rules and the expectations of Year 5, and are making a good progress. I would also like to thank you, parents and carers, as your support and adhering to the pick up times and ways of contacting the school helps to keep everyone safe (even though I do miss our chat on the door!). Have a fantastic weekend!
Week ending 18.9.2020
It is evident now the children were more than ready to come to school; they got used to the routines and regimes (they remember the timetable better than I do!) and embrace each learning opportunity and challenge with enthusiasm and apparent love for learning.
In Year 5, the emphasis is on independence and taking ownership of their own work and this is more important than ever due to the restrictions which are in place in this global pandemic.
I have also been impressed with the children's synopses they produce after they finish their books; all of them got into the habit of recording new vocabulary and enriching their understanding. Once again, this will widen their comprehension skills and provide them with vocabulary which might appear in their SATs next year.
In Art, we have continued our study and research into canopic jars - but I did not have to do much teaching as the children already knew a lot of facts about the Ancient Egyptians! Here are some of their sketches of Egyptian pottery together with thoughts on purpose, methods of decoration and materials.
We continued our learning in History, where we looked at what was the Egyptian life like! I have prepared Seesaw document for them with all the texts, books screenshots and photos and using Ipads and their own QR code login, they were able to access the resources without the risk of cross-contamination!
I have to say; the work the children produced was absolutely fantastic and the double-page spreads, as we call them, show how proud they are of their own work. Many of the children have not finished their work because they did not want to rush it and continue decorating their pages with illustrations linked to the topic during transition times. A lot of the children also continued their research at home (as the Seesaw template was accessible to them from any device) and completed KEYS homeworks - 3 ticks earned! Well done!
Friday afternoon was rounded off by athletics skills; we made the most of the beautiful sunshine and early autumn weather!
Last but not least - I shared with the children my happy news about looking forward to having a baby girl and their support and joy from the news have really moved me. I am sure they will be looking after me in the upcoming months and we will be able to look forward to welcoming her to this world together!
Have a fantastic weekend and stay safe,
Week ending 11.9.2020
Finally, we have settled into Year 5 and the children are getting used to the routines, responsibilities and expectations. I have to say, I have been very impressed with their maturity and conscientious attitude towards their learning in these difficult times, when we have to socially distance and support the children in new ways.
Nevertheless, the amount of learning going on this week has been fabulous; I never stop wondering how much new information and knowledge children at this age can absorb and retain!
I have introduced the children to the APE strategy of answering Comprehension questions when reading (Answer, Proof - using evidence from the text to support their answer and Explain - drawing conclusions) as last year's Year 5 have done extremely well in their tests after being taught this strategy and practising it in every lesson. One big difference this year is that we have 4 comprehension lessons each week, which really allows the children to master their skills of quickly retrieving information, drawing inferences and answering in such a way that will score them full marks.
In Maths, we have had fun recapping our knowledge of place value from previous years and even played some strategic games! If you would like to give them a go, you can for free - click here and download the recording sheet. You will also need a number generator (unless you have 9-sided die at home), which can be found for free on google on here. The children will explain the rules to you Enjoy!
Today (Friday) was a crazy, funny end to the week and it is always great to see the children laugh and have a good time, celebrating their achievements while they have to listen to me talk about food! (ask your child about 'cheesecake' and they will tell you) But we still had fun, tested our athletics skills in PE and talked about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in our PSHE lesson, where the children had a chance to discuss which rights and responsibilities this might mean for them. We have also taken part in our weekly Star Badge Zoom celebration, which was extremely hard this week; I could have given the star badge to any child in Year 5 for their work and effort.
- Few housekeeping things: The children have been given NEW QR codes for Seesaw. In order to access the account, the children need to first open the Seesaw app and then scan the QR code (so not open a QR code reader app). If your child was absent today (Friday), don't worry, we kept the codes safe and ready for them when they are back (and I will also be emailing them out to those parents next week)
- At the end of the week, the children take home the 'Quick Skills' booklet they used this week (Grammar and Maths). This is to allow them to complete it or go over some of the ones they might have got wrong, if they want to. If they are still struggling to see where they made a mistake, they can take a picture of the problem, upload it on Seesaw and I will reply to it, explaining it to them (I can add voice memos etc on Seesaw, make a presentation and draw).
- Unfortunately, because of trying to keep the one-way system when dropping the children off and keeping the traffic flowing, I cannot talk to you on the door. I would also like to ask you to not send any paper notes in, as I will be unable to accept these in order to minimise the risk of cross contamination. Instead, there are number of ways you can contact me, and most recently, you can use a contact form through the websi (click here or go to Children-Class pages-Year 5-Contact the School). Thank you for your understanding.
All in all, first full, very busy week! I told your children already, but I will repeat it - I am so proud of them and I cannot wait to see them develop their potential this year!
Have a fantastic weekend and stay safe!
Week ending 4.9.2020
Wow! Finally, back to 'normality'. I don't know if it was the children or me who was more excited to be back in school!
We have made a great start and it was brilliant to hear all about the children's experience of lockdown, their holidays and how they understand the new normal we now live in.
This week, we have focused mainly on learning the new routines, talked about what our ambitions for Year 5 are and what we need to do to achieve those. We also did a LOT of sticking in to make sure the books are ready for the next week.
On Friday, our class took a part in Star Badge assembly through Zoom, and I am pleased to say we had 3 star badge winner who definitely deserved them, however, I could have given the Star Badge to any pupil in Year 5 - the way they embraced the new school life, persevered with concentration and early morning starts and showed me how happy they are to be back in school really made the return back great!
On Friday, we began our PSHE puzzle (unit of work) called Being Me in My World. Part of this was a very special visit from Mrs Thomson, who came in to talk about her vision for the school and the children and staff in it. At the end, the children asked some excellent question (what do you not like about being a headteacher? What made you want to work here? Have you taught my dad?!) and they were able to synthesise this with their academic and social ambitions for this year for themselves.
Well done Year 5!