Year 6’s Learning Journey - Autumn 2018
During the Autumn Term, the children were ‘hooked’ into writing through exploring the horror genre, which included immersing into books by incredible authors such as Jonathon Stroud’s ‘Lockwood and Co.: Screaming Staircase’ and extracts from R.L. Stein’s ‘Nightmare Hour’, as well as through short but tense video clips including the spine-chilling ‘Francis’. This enabled children to explore ways to elicit tension, show characterisation and play around with a range of sentence types to change pace in narrative writing. They were able to consider the intensity of their vocabulary choices alongside which of the FANTASTICs lens each sentence encapsulated. This lead them on to instructional writing based on a scene from ‘Ghostbusters’, which involved children planning, creating and editing a very mature set of guidelines for ‘How to catch a ghost’!
Our final piece of writing for the half term took the form of a non-chronological report with a twist during dinosaur fortnight. Children researched and created factual paragraphs about the anatomy and mannerisms of each pre-historic beast, and then paired this up with an additional, more colloquial partner paragraph which showcased switches in formality. Many other writing opportunities have been provided through foundation subjects, such as through biographical writing for inventors in Science to writing in role as a slave in the Transatlantic Slave Trade for Topic.
To promote reading for pleasure, children were competing in leaderboard competitions on Reading Plus, where one child read more than 3 whole classes did! Many of the children in year 6 responded to our new ‘Warbooks’ reading incentive, resulting in them being invited to a reading café and given the chance to win a Starbucks voucher. They were very excited about this – especially since being told that use of Reading Plus at home could also contribute to their number of reads! To increase children’s awareness and knowledge of topics in class, a box of topic linked books has been provided on top of the reading corner. Most of these are non-fiction to contrast with the narrative writing we have encountered this half term. Alongside this, we have worked very hard to link our whole class guided reading sessions to the ‘Are you afraid of the dark?’ topic to boost interest.
Through RE, children have delved into the depths of a variety of faiths and their view of eternity. This enabled children to create some very thought-provoking images based on their own perspectives, linking to Salvador Dali’s ‘Visions of Eternity’ artwork. They were also able to confidently describe and categorise faiths according to their shared and differing views.
In Topic, the children were given the learning challenge question ‘Are you afraid of the dark?’, through which children have explored the city of Liverpool through Tom Sleman’s linked ‘Haunted Liverpool’ series. They found out about the docks and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as well as using 4 and 6 figure grid references to identify locations on a map of Liverpool and creating fact files about the River Mersey. We were baffled to find that Warrington has the River Mersey running directly through its centre but is not part of Merseyside!
Science was a contrast to the ‘darkness’ in all other areas of the curriculum; we explored light! This involved many investigations into reflection and refraction, as well as looking closely at the work of Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb (amongst other inventions).
Finally, Maths involved beginning our new approach as a school – Maths No Problem, based on the Singapore Approach. This has sparked many conversations in class and has given opportunities to dicuss concepts in a variety of ways and approach them using a variety of methods to underpin their understanding of complex concepts. Autumn 1 involved working on the first 2 chapters of the approach: ‘Numbers to 10 Million’ and ‘Four Operations on Whole Numbers’.