Teacher, Mr Gane with Teaching Assistant, Mrs Hall.
I said goodbye to some very, very excited children this afternoon, not so much for what we’ve done here this week, but for what is coming next… They say they are ready; they look ready; are you ready? Like the Grand Old Duke of York, by this time next week we’ll have marched them up the hill and be marching them back down again with some wonderful memories to treasure.
English saw the children putting in to practise all of the journalistic writing techniques that they have learned, to write a newspaper report on the disappearance of Michael from our class book ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’, which they then turned in to a front page using the laptops and Chromebooks. Their powerful writing in their persuasive writing learning earlier has paid off, BIG time! Letters written to Mr Schumm in the autumn, have convinced him to get our big blue wall in the playground redesigned, which saw graffiti artist Sam – see @SamSureMusic – work with both classes on ideas for a mood board that will lead to a transformation of our outside space.
The end is in sight for the children’s Y6 learning on Geometry, which this week has focused (again) on angles and specifically internal angles of polygons for the children in my class; Miss Marchant’s groups, a lesson ahead, made 3D shapes out of nets.
There was a big focus on Relationship & Health Education this week which began on Wednesday morning with a super workshop from Rev Denis on unconscious bias. A gentle introduction, the workshop spoke about the differences between people (e.g. height, skin colour, eye colour and interests) and how some differences can be used to put people down and make them feel like ‘less of a person’. The children discussed how this can make people feel angry, upset and confused and that certain differences don’t devalue you. Finally, Denis pointed out that everyone has unique fingerprints and eyes and therefore no two people are the same. This ‘uniqueness’ and ‘differentness’ is something that needs to be celebrated and this is something the Year 6 do and will continue to do in their day to day lives. Sadly we know that discrimination can exist in society and it is something we have to fight against in order to create a better world. It was a very informative and helpful talk, thank you Denis!
Next up was our own regular RHE lesson in class, which saw the discussion how people look and how some people want to look ‘perfect’. We explored the fact that some people are famous simply for the way they look, so what happens when they lose their looks? We talked about how some people have photos amended – Photoshop – to make them appear ‘perfect’. Others might even have surgery to ‘correct’ the way they look, so they can ‘be perfect’. An activity that involved the children writing positive comments about their peers was a lot of fun.
Meanwhile, yesterday the children took part in a very powerful and aptly-timed workshop given by two fabulously engaging educators from Red Card To Racism. The objective was to increase their understanding of what ‘Racism’ means; to give them some understanding of the history of racism and to enable them to become an Active Citizen and to safely challenge racism.
Through examples and discussion, both of the educators teased out queries, misconceptions and uncertainties from the children, particularly about the use of language, leaving the children with a much cleared idea of how to speak and address issues. The session ended with a very enlightening film, which highlighted the role that privilege plays in society.
Lines are being learned for the end of year performance; dances practised this morning with Miss Whiting; songs sung in music yesterday too, so it’s full steam ahead for the revised dates in the children’s last week at St Stephen’s.
To matters more imminent, as it stands we are still all systems go for York on Monday. Sadly the weather has turned and it won’t be the Scarbados we were all hoping for, so please review your packing, so that appropriately warm / wet-weather clothes are included. The children will be given their groups on Monday morning before we leave and their ‘roomies’, when we arrive at the YHA – it is the best way to do it, take my word on it.
Finally, Milla and Andre’s mums will be receiving regular updates from us, which they have kindly agreed to pass on to everyone on the class WhatsApp group – I would remind you all of your agreement not to post any images on any social media platforms. Also, it’s one way communication, so please don’t ask them to contact us. If for whatever reason you do really need to contact us, please use the normal channels through the school.
Have a super weekend and please pray for more sun…. and an England win tonight.
Well it really feels like summer now; Mr Schumm’s production rehearsals, dance practice too with Miss Whiting, visits from some secondary school transition leaders and lots of sunshine to boot.
In English we have continued with Kensuke’s Kingdom, this week working towards writing a journalistic report about the disappearance of the main protagonist, Michael. We read the class exemplar and then planned our own making sure to produce a detailed plan so we are ready to write on Monday.
It’s been angles in Maths with the children learning about vertically opposite angles while exploring ways in which to calculate ‘missing’ angles. We have been joined this week by Benjamin an esteemed alumni, who has been working with small groups on some interesting and challenging Maths problems, which the children have thoroughly enjoyed. On Friday he led a mini Maths tournament, working the children in my group up to a frenzy, not often seen in Maths lessons. Congratulations to Yakob, Rohan, Imogen & Natnael who led the competition from the front and were unstoppable. Next week we will move on to drawing shapes.
‘Growing and Changing’ is aptly timed to be our final topic in Relationships and Health Education. The first lesson was about changes that can happen in our lives and how some can be positive, for example getting a new phone or joining a sports team, but some can be more challenging, for example moving to a new area, struggling with exams or going to a new school. We discussed how we feel about both the positive and more challenging changes and how they can impact our lives.
Finally, I hope you saw the Parentmail earlier in the week with another great film by Mrs Hall which captured the children’s choral work with Tom from St Paul’s Cathedral – well worth a watch. Then, also with only ten days to go now, there was a recommended packing list for our northern tour – do let me know if you have any questions.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the opening matches of Euro 2020,
What a busy last week of term! We had a fantastic cricket festival against St Peter’s on Tuesday – everyone played so well and thankfully the rain held off for the afternoon. We have some great cricketers in the class and we managed to win several of the matches. We then had DT day on Wednesday which saw us cooking fish on the BBQ for fish tacos. First we researched how to make a marinade and a salad before moving on to prepping our ingredients ready to flavour and stuff the fish. Finally, we heated up the BBQ and with the help of Miss Charrington and Mrs Hall, we cooked the fish and put it into a wrap with some salad. Despite some feeling quite apprehensive about eating the fish, everyone loved the final product.
In English, we are still at the point where Michael has fallen off the boat in our book ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’. Using this, in groups we created a television interview. Two people were the interviewers and two were Michael’s parents. The children came up with some fantastic open ended questions and performed their mini interviews to the class with confidence.
In Maths, we have moved onto Geometry and this week we looked at calculating angles. For example if we have a straight line and an angle of 31 degrees, we can work out the other angle by subtracting 31 from 180 as there are 180 degrees in the angle on a straight line. The children did this so confidently that we were able to move on to working out angles which are vertically opposite each other. After half term, we will continue with our work on angles and shapes.
We finished the week by watching Bugsy Malone and by having a giant PE session with Alastair today. It has been a really busy term and the children deserved a fun day celebrating all their hard work.
Have a lovely rest and see you on the 8th.
Played one, won one! Huge congratulations to the two Boys’ Football Teams which took part in our first football tournament of the season, hosted by QPR. Playing on the hallowed turf at Loftus Road, Adam, Jack, Jude, Kenzo, Malachi, Noah, Rufus (c) and Thomas, joined others from Y6 Stevenson and Y5 to form two squads, who both made their way to the final unbeaten! (https://twitter.com/StStephensLBHF) St Stephen’s A brought home the first silverware of the year following our enforced lockdown drought, putting a big smile back on Mr Schumm’s face.
Kensuke’s Kingdom keeps springing surprises on the children in English as they follow Michael overboard (not literally) washed up on what appears to be a deserted desert island. After writing a descriptive paragraph on Michael’s plunge in to the midnight sea to save his dog, the children were next asked to use their drawing skills to create his desert island from their imaginations before topping off the week with a much loved comprehension.
Thanks for all the family photos, which are now stuck in to your children’s Science books as part of their first lesson of our new topic, ‘Evolution & Inheritance’. They looked at inherited traits and characteristics and we briefly touched on ‘nature’ / ‘nurture’ – more of that later. On Wednesday afternoon, this led neatly in to a Relationship & Health Education (RHE) lesson where there children were asked to think about where they might be and what they might be doing in 5, 10 & 20 years’ time…. What an awful thought! They listened to author Dan Freedman, whose ambition had been to play in the FIFA World Cup. He made it; but not in the way that he had expected to when he was ten.
Last week we looked at the fairly unambiguous Ten Commandments – written in stone – which couldn’t have been more different to the ‘unwritten rules’ the children looked to identify in the Indian story of the ‘Tree Huggers’. This prompted a very considered and thoughtful discussion on how communities, of all sorts, rub along as people consciously and unconsciously conform to the ‘unwritten rules’ that guide our society.
Continuing to explore ‘legacy’ in our ‘Tribes of Britain’ unit in Humanities, the children were asked to consider, ‘What have the Romans Normans ever done for us?’ After viewing a particularly revolting Horrible Histories clip, the children learned about various innovations to Anglo-Saxon life that the Normans imposed on them. Tax, the feudal (class) system and regionalised law enforcement had a big impact on life then and William the Conqueror’s three lions motif can still be see on the England football team’s shirt today!
Before the children’s penultimate session with Tom from St Paul’s, Mr Schumm and Miss Whiting popped by Y6 to hold auditions for this year’s school productions which is…. Bugsy Malone. Parts should be announced next week, but in the meantime, the children have been asked to learn their chorus songs, which are:
Girls – My Name is Tallulah – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI9IgRppKvA
Boys – Down And Out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZvDiHxFP1w
Finale – You Give A Little Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlgqNkaUEuw
Next week, the children will be wearing PE kits on: Monday –for rescheduled Gymnastics sessions; Tuesday – for the cricket festival (packed lunch required, see Parentmail); Wednesday – for DT Day (fishy food etc) and Thursday – for PE with Alastair as normal. Back in to uniform on Friday, if it still fits!
Have a super weekend,
IDEA FOR HALF TERM
Imperial College are running a few free workshops for children during half term which might be of interest.
SATs came and went this week, I hope with not too much stress, certainly less than had the SATs been for ‘real’. From my point of view, the children handled the situation in a mature manner and while there were some outstanding scores, as I explained to them, it was really about each individual doing their best. I am very proud of them all; they should be proud of themselves and needless to say, you too must be hugely proud.
So, having sat through six assessment papers and then run through them in class that pretty much covers all we did this week in English and Maths, luckily though many of the children’s favourites were still very much on the timetable. The children learned about Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Sanai in RE on Monday and how, while he was receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the Israelites waiting below decided to start worshiping a golden calf that they had fashioned. As a class we discussed the Ten Commandments before the children reworded them in a way that they might more easily understand, creating their own versions of the ‘tablets’ in their books.
Delivering a presentation can be quite daunting for some, so imagine doing it in Spanish, which the children have been experiencing over the last few weeks. I saw some this week and I must say that Mrs Pereira has worked wonders; the children were so confident – really well done. Gym and PE remain firm favourites for some reason, and the second of four sessions with Tom from St Paul’s Cathedral this morning is fast creating choristers of them all. But the highlight of the week – despite the questionable weather – must surely have been our end of SATs trip to Holland Park; a picnic, play on the equipment and then rounders with Alastair. What better way to end the week.
Enjoy a ‘homework-free’ weekend.
PS In light of the new Dfe Guidance for post 17 May, sadly anticipated mixing of bubbles did not materialise, which means that for the time being, the Enterprise Challenge, planned for next Thursday has had to be postponed until further notice.
PPS ‘Walk to School Week’ – Mrs Jeffreys writes…
The benefits of fresh air and daily exercise are well documented for keeping us all healthy in mind as well as body. The last year of lockdown has proved that walking has also been beneficial for our mental well-being. Not only is it great for us but also great for the environment.
So as part of a national Walk to School Week (17th May) – we are encouraging all children to walk, cycle or scoot to school with their families instead of using their cars for the whole week. We will awarding special Walk To School house points for each child who has walked, cycled, scootered to school every day for the week. So set the alarm clock a little earlier, ditch the car and hop, skip and jump to school next week!
Mr Schumm will announce the house who has collected most Walk to School points on during assembly on Friday.
PPPS Scientist in Residence – position at our school: We have started advertising for a new Scientist in Residence to work at the school one day a week enthusing the children in all things science with lots of practical work. If you know anyone who may be suitable and interested please send them the link to the job advert on the LDBS website. Closing date is 31st May.
Y6 Ayres’ four day week was as varied and, dare I say, as interesting as the weather…. take it either way.
Parenthesis was the grammar focus in English this week, which saw the children using not only brackets, but also pairs of dashes and commas to add juicy nuggets of additional information to their sentences. They continued reading ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ leaving our hero Michael in a sticky, man-overboard situation, bobbing up and down in the Coral Sea north of Australia. A marvellous example of a cliff-hanger, if the moans and groans meant anything as I closed the book, or perhaps that was because it was time for some comprehension.
Mr Schumm took time out of his busy schedule to start up again his regular Wednesday afternoon English sessions, based on the Red House Children’s Book Award winning ‘horror’ novel, Room 13, which just happens to centre around a group of friends on a school trip, who stay in a creepy guest house on Whitby’s West Cliff… He certainly knows how to create anticipation!
Who had all the pies? Look no further than Y6, whose learning this week in Statistics was on reading and interpreting Pie charts. Then, by chance, today they actually made some dough, but rather than making pies, they created a whole solar system – to scale of course – as their celebration of Maths Day. They began by scaling up the dough recipe and making 1.5kg of dough with their partners. Stage two saw them using their knowledge of fractions to divide the initial mass into eight perfectly proportioned ‘planets’, before the launching them in to orbit…. Stage three was to calculate, then position their planets (again to scale) in the playground with placing those closest to the ‘sun’ next to our Adventure Playground with the outer planets extending way past Mr Schumm’s office. Somehow, also today, we squeezed in the first of four Music lessons with Tom from St Paul’s Cathedral….
Planning for the Enterprise Challenge is moving full steam ahead – we now have teams and team names and an idea of just what each stall will have to offer. This time next week one member of each group will take possession of a crisp tenner (£10) ‘seed funding’ – full letter of explanation to follow next week – so that materials can be bought and fabrication begin!
On Wednesday, the children enjoyed another lesson with the mBots, ably led by ‘Star of the Week’, Elijah, who managed to get most of the groups to follow his fabulous instruction and programme the machine to use its sensors to follow a black line – no mean feat, believe me. The children have had great fun learning to use the mBots and there are some very keen beans with super STEM potential.
Next week would have been SATs Week, so as I have mentioned before, we will take this opportunity to assess the children. Whilst amalgamated results will not be published this year, individual and cohort scores do inform our planning to plug any gaps in learning following the last 18 months. The children know that it’s obviously much lower key, but equally have been encouraged to ‘be their best’, as ever.
So that’s it for now, thanks once more for all of your help and enjoy a wonderful weekend.
We are slowly edging back to normality which was brought home on Monday when a number of the class took part in a friendly cricket match in Acton hosted by Wetherby Prep school. Sporting a variety of St Stephen’s PE kits, the two Y6 classes – including our very own Arthur, Bea, Otto, Noah, Sophie & Thomas – were up against two teams clad in ‘whites’, so coming back to school with a win and a ‘second place’ was a total triumph, very well done. Alastair was pleased with the results, but even happier with the way that the children represented us, “They were a pleasure to be with!” he reported.
Who knew that writing a ‘recount’ was so complex? After identifying the features, in English this week the children first planned then wrote a ‘day in the life of’ our book’s protagonist: Michael. They wrote in: chronological order; first person and past tense; included complex sentences using adverbial phrases and relative clauses; used their plan and their SMARPOPS ideas to add detail; used emotive, adventurous vocabulary and lots of synonyms in order to ‘create cohesion within and between paragraphs’. On Friday they designed a yacht!
A topical topic this week in Maths as the old saying goes, ‘lies, damn lies and statistics.’ The children began the week by learning how to read or interpret line graphs, often with some unit of time on the x axis, before writing their own stories and then creating a line graph to tell them. They then discovered how to use these graphs to solve word problems before moving on to learning about and drawing circles with compasses in preparation for….. pie charts. Mr Schumm and Miss Bell who popped in to see us this week, were very impressed.
Rules, rules, rules – the reasons we have them and the consequences of not keeping them, is our next theme in RE; particularly apt as the children begin to see life after St Stephen’s and the new challenges ahead. On that point, I am beginning to be contacted by the various secondary schools, who will be sending in members of their Y7 Transition Teams to meet and chat with the children to allay fears and answer any questions they may have over the next couple of months – a huge improvement on last year, when it was all done by phone or on zoom. I will let the children know in advance if and when a representative from their new school will be coming in, so look out for it in their diaries.
On Wednesday the class took part in a zoom lesson with those wonderful people from CORAM Life Education, very different to cramming into the LifeBus in the playground. They built on their learning in Relationship & Health Education last week about the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’, adding a new tool to their armoury; the “5-4-3-2-1” tool. This is a simple yet very effective method that helps to bring your mind back to the present using the senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. The first step is to identify five things you can see. Next, find four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell and one you can taste. Have fun trying it.
Now, what about those WWII films on the children’s hugely impressive lockdown projects… We’ve started watching them in class and will continue next week, the children give amazing accounts of themselves ably assisted by Mrs Hall, whose pro-skills are more than evident. Huge thanks to all who have emailed their appreciation for her hard work, which has been way above the call of duty. Thanks Karen.
The children were briefed today on ‘Enterprise Day’, which will be held on Thursday 20th May. This is an opportunity for them to shine in a business environment; think ‘The Apprentice’, but without Lord Sugar. Asked to organise themselves into small groups of five or fewer, each group will be given £10 from school coffers as their capital, which they need to invest (Matthew 25:14–30) and grow by coming up with an idea for a primary-school friendly, money spinning scheme. It might be selling; cakes pre-baked at home; a craft item or quick craft making experience; crêpes, waffles or some other ‘fast food’ delight; a game of some sort or lucky dip. I have asked the children to come up with some inventive entrepreneurial ideas, which also need to be practical, of interest to children from 5-10 years old and profitable. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Also today, Mark was back for a super long, extended drama session this morning much to the delight of the children, so with our second Computing lesson of the week – taking advantage of the additional mBots we’ve been lent – and then a Michelangelo creation focused Art lesson, the week was rounded off very nicely indeed.
Looking forward, if the children haven’t already mentioned it, we are holding an Assessment Week, the week after next, which is when the official SATs would have taken place. We need to do it for our own assessment purposes, but it’s also being used as a Y6 marker for the children, after which we will try to focus on the curriculum in a slightly less exam-focus matter. Sadly though for the children, having missed lots of time in school this year, homework will continue throughout the term in an effort to ensure ‘catch-up’.
On a happier note, the Whitby trip is really coming together now, with lots more meat on the bones, which you can find out more about during a Zoom meeting at 6pm on Tuesday 6th May – don’t miss it.
And finally, do enjoy the Bank Holiday and see you next Tuesday.
Just four days, but it felt like more, as we crammed in as much as we possibly could, and then a tad more. Kensuke’s Kingdom is our text for English, which will bring together all of the children’s learning over the last seven years, starting this week by planning and then writing a balanced argument on the pros and cons of sailing around the world. They also completed their work on ratio in Maths with a couple of assessments, which sadly, we ran out of time to complete before Easter.
Gym, Spanish and PE lessons continue as regular as clockwork, while the children also hugely enjoyed getting back in to the Music Room on Thursday afternoon with their new teacher, Miss Ailsa. They began with a bit of body percussion before moving on to the comical, ‘Who Stole My Chicken & My Hens?’ song, which had the children rolling in the aisles; they then finished their first lesson together singing the Nina Simone classic, ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free.’ A Super start for one and all.
Yesterday morning the children were treated to a wonderful live streaming from The Old Vic of “Dr Seuss’s The Lorax” in celebration of Earth Day – an energetic and vibrant performance chronicling the plight of the environment the Lorax, who “speaks for the trees” confronts the Once-ler, who causes environmental destruction. What a lucky bunch!
Then today’s excitement saw the return of Nic Hughes, Computing Teacher and the borough’s Primary Computing Curriculum Advisor, who came in to give the children their first lesson on robotics. Hooking up the laptops to their own mBots, they used the mBlock software to control the mBot making lights flash, buzzers beep as well as moving the machine forwards and backwards. Next week, we’re going to hack into NASA’s Ingenuity robotic helicopter on Mars and take it for a spin – not really, but this is what they are learning.
The sun is back, so summer uniform is highly recommended, not least so I can stop telling them to tuck their (white) shirts in. Have a great weekend and enjoy the ‘homework-lite’.
Well, we got there, after what can only be described as the most peculiar term ever. And, as ever, we have packed a lot in to our last week with the Easter Bonnet ‘Parade’ yesterday, the Easter Service this morning and a sports extravaganza this afternoon – there was loads of normal teaching too, of course – even a Maths Quiz!
And speaking of Maths, this week the children continued their learning on Ratio with a bit more to do after Easter as well as the ‘practical’. While in English, they wrote a non-chronological reports based on a sport, which I must say, were on the whole, quite excellent. The children have managed to include all the facts they researched last week, as well as the literary techniques that we learn about in Year 6 – well done everyone, I have certainly learnt a lot about all thirty of their sports.
In Science, we continued looking at our topic on light and carried out an experiment that drew us to conclude that the further away an object is from a light source, the smaller any shadow will be. We have one more lesson in this unit which we will finish after the holidays.
Thank you everyone for your support over the past four weeks, it’s been really great to be back. Have a great Easter break and see you all back here in two weeks!
It was great to catch up with you, albeit virtually, for Parents’ Evening this week and wonderful to hear that the children are so happy to be back at school. Happier still with the news that despite having to cancel the PGL trip, after sterling work by Mr Schumm, the children can look forward to a four night residential trip – a northern tour to Whitby and York – starting on Monday 21st June. Bring it on!
A super quick round up from the classroom this week:
In Maths, after a highly successful arithmetic assessment on Monday, the children began a unit of work on ratio, which we hope to get our hands dirty next week with an out of this world practical…. Watch this space.
There were squeals of delights as well as groans, and all else in between too, as the children drew a sport from a hat, which they then discovered that they would be researching and writing a non-chronological report in English. From synchronised swimming to polo, karate to cricket; we’ll be a very well informed sporting class by this time next week.
Torches in a darkened room were out again on Wednesday for Science when the children investigated whether various different surfaces tended to reflect of absorb light. They learned that everything they see reflects some light and that colours we see reflected means that the ‘other’ colours in the white light have been absorbed.
Wood was the humble theme in Humanities as the children continued learning about natural resources in the UK and around the world. They found out about hard woods and soft woods, where they were sourced as well as the numerous ways in which they are used. Exciting stuff indeed…
Cross Country was added to the regular PE and Gymnastics sessions this week and saw the whole Y6 cohort trundle off to Wormwood Scrubs first thing on Tuesday morning. Conditions were just right and the course in perfect condition as Clare fired the starting pistol and the girls first, followed by the boys sprung in to action chasing the hare, in the form of Alastair. A little under four minutes later the leaders had the finish line in sight with everyone home safe and sound shortly afterwards. For the record Bea took gold in the girls’ race with a time of 4.14 and Jack triumphed with 3.54 for the boys. HUGE congrats to everyone who went round including Mrs Hall, Miss Ceri & Miss Veronica too – I had officiation duties to attend to. Don’t mention it to Miss Marchant, but 9 of the 10 medals went to our class – well done!
In Spanish today the children continued developing their ‘Todo Sobre Mi’ presentations while in Art this afternoon their still life focus was on a close up observation.
And so to next week, Holy Week and therefore not quite a full school week as there will be no school on Good Friday. It is planned that the end of term Easter Service will be live streamed from the church on Thursday morning similarly to the Christmas Carol Service, with Y6 featuring prominently – don’t miss it!
There will also be our traditional Easter Egg Raffle, so if you might to donate an Easter egg or two and then buy a few raffle tickets to win them back, please check out your Parent Mail – all proceeds going towards Friends of the Earth charity and our Year 6 final trip to Whitby. https://youtu.be/aJxV5LBKqMc
Before that though, on Wednesday next week, is the famous St Stephen’s Easter Bonnet Parade, so if you haven’t already, let loose with the papier-mâché and chicken wire this weekend.
Two weeks since we’ve been back and it feels like we’ve never been away!
In preparation for Parents Evening on Wednesday and Thursday next week (have you booked yet), in Maths the children have carried out a few assessments on their recent learning back in the classroom as well as what they did during lockdown… Meanwhile, in English, Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Giant’s Necklace’ kept them all guessing right up to the very end, until the genre give-away prompted them all to rethink their predictions. I’ll say no more.
RE on Monday saw the children learning about the 14 ‘Stations of the Cross’ which was a bit of an epic as we prepare during Lent for Holy Week and Easter. They looked at each one in turn reflecting on what part of Jesus’ route to His crucifixion the ‘station’ depicted and what thought or prayer it might provoke. In each class we are also starting now to prepare for a virtual whole school Easter zoom service, which will take place on Maundy Thursday, 1st April at 9.10am – more details to follow, but please ink in the date at a laptop near you.
Of course, it wouldn’t be St Stephen’s without the Easter Bonnet Parade, which this year will take place on Wednesday, 31st March. The children should think about using recycled materials and wear their hat to school, which will be recorded or live-streamed or both – again, more details to follow, but book in the date. There was talk of a ‘lockdown’ theme…. I’ll leave that to you!
The Pros & Cons of different forms of energy production had an airing in Humanities on Tuesday with a written focus on renewables and solar in particular. Out Science topic – ‘Seeing the Light’ – saw the children reflecting light with mirrors on Thursday as they put in to practise their learning of the Law of Reflection: the angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection.
There were squeals of delight when the children discovered that they would be seeing Mark from RAW Drama for a session on Communications up until Easter. He has a huge talent for being able to inspire the quietest wallflower to spring to life with a lively improvised performance, which this week was based around any lockdown issues the children might want to express.
And so to today. The Spellings seem to be going very well, and being on Google Classroom, it allows the children to keep their hands in with the technology that they may well be faced with again at high school. Their work this morning in Spanish continues as the children create their presentations all about themselves, which leads us nicely to this afternoon’s WWII Exhibition…
What a show! Both Y6 classes were packed to the rafters with sculptures of planes, tanks and warships; a Carrier Pigeon, Pill Box and Morrison Shelter and all sorts of other exciting models, all of which Mrs Hall is filming and you will be able to see – hopefully before Easter. The sheer amount of work and learning that has gone in to these projects is breath-taking and the results, simply stunning. Mr Schumm, Mr Perry and all of the visitors permitted to visit our bubble were blown away by the quality and standard of the children’s work. Well done to them, and to all mums, dads, grannies and grandads that might have offered some ‘advice’ along the way!
There’s been a light touch to Homework Diaries to allow the children (and you parents) to get back up to speed, but I have told the children that we’ll be back on to full ‘Mr Gane strictness’ next week. It’s fabulous to see nearly all of the children fully on top of this burdensome annoyance which hopefully will be second nature to them come September; at least that’s the plan. Remember that the diary is there for you to check what the homework the children have and should only be signed off on the night of the day that is ending and not in advance. Many thanks indeed for your continued support on this.
And finally, on Monday we are celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Day, so the whole school has been asked to wear odd socks and we’re also asking for a £1 donation too. Then on Tuesday it’s the postponed Y6 Cross Country which will see the children walking to Wormwood scrubs for a few circuits before staggering back for a lay down and lunch!
Enjoy your weekend once again, best wishes,
Mr Schumm has been able to confirm a residential trip away for all of Y6 to Whitby after 21st June – more news to follow!
Well that week went very quickly!
How wonderful it was to have all of the children back at school; they of course were much happier to see their friends again after so long, than to be working out the volume of cuboids, although even that was done with a smile on their faces.
‘The Giant’s Necklace’ Sir Michael Morpurgo’s book, based in St Ives, is the foil around which the children are now honing their English skills. Following the protagonist, Cherry’s obsession in collecting cowrie shells to make a huge necklace, this week the learning focus has been on comprehension skills, particularly high level vocabulary and inference skills. What’s going to happen? The children have made their predictions and have been asked NOT to find out, before all is revealed in class next week.
The ‘End of Unit’ assessment for the ‘Perimeter, Area and Volume’ topic in Maths threw up some interesting results, mostly very pleasing – needless to say, however, a few gaps in learning have been identified, which will be addressed! Next week it’s ‘Ratio’, which will be fun.
There’s been lots of active fun outside too at break times and lunch times of course, as well as Kick London (on Thursdays – in case you had forgotten) – with an extra one-off session this afternoon too – and Gymnastics (inside on Tuesdays). Also after Easter, Alastair and Clare have an early morning ‘open house’ for any and all Y6s who want to blow away the cobwebs before school. Next Tuesday, as a one-off, there’s also a Cricket session with Jonathan and then on Tuesday 23rd there’s a Cross Country planned on Wormwood Scrubs!
The children continued their lockdown Humanities learning on Natural Resources, specifically on the various different ways in which electricity is generated, and also in Science, where they drew and labelled the different parts of the eye, learning how we see light. With Miss Rachel away, Music with Mr Gane was on timbre (the sound quality of a musical note, sound or tone) which saw the children learning body percussion basics ‘BOOM snap clap’ etc, while in Spanish they have begun making an ‘All About Me’ presentation…. in Spanish!
It really has been wonderful to see the joy on the children’s faces this week as the ‘catch up’ on the most important thing, their friendships; the rest will follow. Do watch out for a Parent Mail on Parents’ Evening, which will happen before the end of the month – this time I’ll be asking you!
Happy Mothers’ Day and enjoy the rugby.
What a wonderful end, to the strangest of terms – I hope you were able to zoom in to our virtual Christmas service this morning, which was a triumph of will over adversity! Most of the regular St Stephen’s trimming were on display, not least Mr Schumm’s Christmas suit, although alas with no Alastair sidekick for the full double act. Denis is a worthy foil, giving as good as he gets, and delivering a ‘kindly’ Christmas message to one and all.
Y6 do keep going right to the end, as no doubt you’ve heard… The children did their regular weekly spelling test today in English with some finishing off their Benjamin Zephaniah inspired poems too. His ‘No Problem’ poem, which the children analysed earlier in the week, confronts his experiences of racism and how he is now able to not let it affect him in his day to day life. As a result, the children have planned and wrote their own poems based on issues that are important to them. Once they were written, the class performed them with some powerful messages hitting home on majors issues including bullying, climate change, equality, coronavirus and racism – each spoke really passionately about their subject.
In Miss Marchant’s absence, Miss Charrington ably took charge of Maths next door this week teaching the children how to find fractions of an amount, dividing fractions by other fractions using our KFC method (keep, flip, change – so 1/5 divided by ½ is the same as 1/5 x 2). In my class the children enjoyed more challenging tests as their finale to fractions…. for the time being!
We have managed to finish off many of our other lessons this week by looking at the different UK coastal regions in Geography, creating our own Christmas advertisements in RE some on paper, others made video ads using the iPads, as well as discussing how to be a good friend and support those who are being bullied in Relationships and Health Education. Of course, it would not be the last week of term without throwing in lots Christmas activities to get everyone in the mood. Christmas Music, Christmas Jumpers, Christmas lunch and Christmas cards this afternoon.
Finally, I’d like to thank you all for allowing me to teach your wonderful children who have worked really hard under very different and testing circumstances. Sadly, they’ll be more of the same at the start of 2021 but hopefully, things will only get better – keep saying your prayers. Thank you also for the super generous gift, which will come in handy for more than a few more ties! Thanks for all the kind words in your cards and the wine and chocs too. I hope you all have a peaceful and very restful Christmases and look forward to seeing you at the gate again in the New Year.
Fractions, fractions and more fractions remains the order of the day in Maths. In addition to learning how to multiply fractions by integers and other fractions, the children in my group also started on dividing the same. It’s all very exciting stuff! And speaking Maths, I hope you might have seen the Parent Mail on the FREE Online Maths Tutor Programme from St Paul’s Boys School. This virtual maths mentoring programme provides students with on-demand, remote maths homework help: students simply snap a photo of their question to get help from a mentor right away, all via smartphone. Here’s a short video with more details from some of the student mentors on how it works. If you’re interested, please complete this consent form.
Continuing their poetry learning in English, the children were introduced to Birmingham born performance poet, Benjamin Zephaniah and his ‘dub poetry’. They listened to his life-story on Desert Island Discs learning that this dyslexic, ex-convict and advisor to Nelson Mandela, now holds sixteen honorary doctorates and has a wing named after him in Ealing Hospital in in recognition of his work. A definite late starter! The children listened to him perform his iconic work, ‘No Problem’ before analysing his non-standard English style and powerful themes.
On Tuesday afternoon we joined forces with our bubble-mates from Y6 Stevenson to perform our much practised Gaudete hymn and poem in the church, as our part in this year’s Carol Concert, copies of which will hopefully be available next week – see Parent Mail payments to order your copy. Back in the classroom the children looked at how the church ‘advertises’ or promotes Christmas. They came up with lots of ideas from flyers distributed to local house, posters outside the church as well as ‘events’ that might take place under normal circumstances such as carol concerts, Christmas dinners for the old and lonely, Christmas fairs etc etc. The children explored why the churches might do this and how these activities deliver the Christian message.
Thursday was DT Day, which saw the children learning all about levers and linkages, using fixed and loose pivot points; trust me, it really was much more exciting than it sounds! They used their new found knowledge to create then pop-up book style paper animations; some turned into Christmas cards. In Art this week, which was on Monday afternoon, the children advanced the paper modelling skills, crafting huge snowflake inspired stars – currently dangling from the classroom ceiling and soon to at a place near you.
Our singers were working overtime, as they always do at this time of the year, but sadly no visit to the old folks home or Westfield carol competition this this season, instead Mr Schumm rustled up a short showing on the main BBC News to be aired on the 6pm and 10pm bulletins next Tuesday or Wednesday. Miss Rachel and the School Choir were very excited; but not as excited as Mr Schumm.
Volts and amps, series and parallel – ask them whatever you want now as nearly everyone scored 8 out of 8 in our end of unit quiz in Science. …and speaking of scoring (nice link), the whole of Y6 enjoyed a wonderful Inter-Year Tournament at Play Football this morning. Organised by Claire and Alastair, we trotted expectantly down to Play Football in Hammersmith Park for the round robin five(ish)-a-side, duly togged up for the weather. For the record ‘The B Team’ consisting of Bea, Bethel, Bethany and Amelia won all four of their matches taking the Girls’ Trophy, while ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ with Jack, Kenzo Daniel, Gus, Deontay and Casper squeaked it on goal difference having lost just one match. What fun they had!
With COVID safety at the fore of all he does at the moment in place of individual Christmas cards, he would like to wish each and every one of you a Feliz Navidad. It’s Christmas Jumper Day on Wednesday next week, which is also Christmas Dinner Day when Cookie will be serving up a Christmas feast for everyone. Children on packed lunches are welcome to join us and should make payments via Parentmail. On Thursday, 17th at 6pm, the House Captains will be zooming a Christmas Quiz to your homes. This will be for all the family with grannies, grandpas, great aunt Gertrude all welcome to join us. More details to follow but think lots of fun, festive themed rounds and a Christmas goody bag, packed with delights, to make your little grey cells flex their muscles in readiness for the quiz. The cost of the quiz is £12 per family and this includes your goody bag! Then finally on the morning of the last day of term, Friday 18th at 9am in the school playground you are invited to come and enjoy a Carol Mash Up. Busy, busy, busy!
Enjoy the FOSS Scavenger Hunt on Sunday if you are taking part and have a super weekend,
PS The Cross Country will now take place on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday.
Very short and sweet from me this week as, with the children practising their SATs techniques as well as their carol and poem for our Carol Concert next week, it’s been a bit of a slog, punctuated by Cricket, Gym, Kick London, Spanish and Music – all the nice stuff! The children should be very happy indeed with all of the hard work that they have put in, not just this week, but since September, which is now showing great dividends in their attainment – Stars of the Week one and all.
Thanks for your support with Mathletics, which this year seems to have been more of an issue for children than previously. As you know, we use the online system to set questions that link to the children’s learning in class for a plethora of reasons, not least saving the world’s paper and freeing up teaching assistants’ value time to work with your children in lessons rather than marking even more in homework books. Sadly, a small but consist cohort do not do their Maths homework, which is set each Friday and due ‘back’ by 9am the following Friday. I would be most grateful if you would check and ask your children explicitly if they have done this part of their homework, before signing their diaries as confirmation. Thanks as always to the quiet majority of you who consistently do it – you do not go unnoticed!
And finally, one change for next week. On Tuesday all KS2 children will be filmed (bubble by bubble) in the church for our Online Carol Concert, so they will need to wear their school uniform that day and bring their Gym kit to change into.
That’s it, enjoy a restful if chilly weekend,
British Dyslexia Association – FREE Online Seminar
For anyone interested, there is a free online seminar on dyslexia and anxiety this Thursday, 10th December. It is organised by the British Dyslexia Association and can be accessed
Following an initial grammar brush up on identifying the past, present and future progressive (continuous) tenses, for the rest of the week our English focus was on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘The Kraken’. After analysing the Victorian language, the children recited the poem before then planning and writing a detailed description of the legendary creature. Inspired by his grot and polypi, they conjured up with their very own sea beastie planned and wrote a poem – we packed it in, with book reviews and a ‘Private Peaceful’ from Mr Schumm too.
In Maths this week both groups have continued to work their way through ‘fractions’ focusing on mixed numbers and improper fractions as well as multiplying and (in my group) dividing fractions by integers. Whilst the children have seen much of this in Y5, our work in Y6 aims to instil a greater depth of learning, challenging the children with word problems that are aimed at making them use the understanding they have in order to solve more complex problems – getting them ready for the practice SATs Week next week, brought forward due to Christmas preparations the week after… Watch this space.
Surprisingly, not all of the children completed their RE homework (part of) which was to watch adverts on TV. To much joy, therefore, we were able to watch some in class, which then enabled the children to ‘analyse’ the ads to find their messages. Of course there was lots of generic ‘goodness’, ‘kindness’ and anticipation of gifts, with – on Black Friday today – a big message to buy, but not a lot, or indeed anything at all, about the main man himself: Jesus. We used this to talk about the difference between a secular or consumer Christmas and a religious one, which we will continue working on over the next three weeks.
After the counties of the UK last week, in Humanities on Monday the children first learned the difference between towns and cities, before using atlases to locate the major UK cities on a map. Funnily enough, football supporters seemed to do very well. In was batteries, wires and lightbulbs to the fore again on Wednesday as the children investigated how the length of cable in a circuit affected the brightness of a bulb. They learned that energy dissipated as it travels through the wire, which they worked out was why wires sometimes get hot, so the longer the wires in the circuit, the dimmer the bulb.
The children are enjoying the government’s new ‘Relationship & Health Education’ lessons as we trial them before they become mandatory next year. Following ‘Me & My Relationships’ last term, our theme at the moment is ‘Valuing Difference’ which involves lots of very interesting discussion as well as role playing of challenging scenarios. Today in Art it was back to Cubism as the children completed their interpretations of Picasso’s ‘Dora Maar’ splashing on liberal amounts of brightly coloured contrasting paints. All very creative!
Finally, with Sunday the first of Advent, Christmas is coming, which means we are gearing up at St Stephen’s for as much as Covidly possible. The children have been practising their carols in Spanish and Latin, solos, reading and poems, as we prepare for a Carol Service with a difference – I hope you’ve seen Mr Schumm’s message and pencilled in the date.
Enjoy a restful weekend,
I hope you might have noticed a marked increase in the children’s persuasive skills over the past couple of weeks, as in English, we have now come to the end of our persuasive writing unit. Mr Schumm will now be ploughing his way through letters trying to persuade him to: allocate separate gender loos – with Y6 monitors!!; create a Y6 Hall of Fame; instigate daily Spanish lessons and loads of other wonderful ideas for his School Improvement Plan! The Grammar focus this week was Personal as well as Possessive Pronouns and Relative Pronouns. Next week it’s Poetry.
Speaking with a real life author is always fun, so on Wednesday (instead of Mr Schumm and ‘Private Peaceful’) Paola Somaini, a psychoanalyst and therapist, Zoomed in to the classroom to tell the children how she brought her long experience in discussing emotions and feelings into writing. Having read her book, ‘I Can See It with My Elephant Eye’, a light and colourful story addressing children’s fears and worries, the children asked her loads of great questions on both the content and process of writing.
Maths was adding and subtracting; fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, Improper Fractions, fractions, fractions, Mixed Numbers with Word Problems involving fractions. And there’s more for Homework; set on Mathletics.
The religious theme for the year in Y6 is ‘Hope’, so in preparation for the start of Advent, the children this week learned about the symbolism of the Christmas Wreath and particularly the candles, which are lit in church on it each Sunday of Advent and finally on Christmas Day itself. Next week they will be examining TV adverts, so they were overjoyed when I told them that part of their homework was to watch telly….. they were less enamoured though when they heard that Mr Perry would like them to learn by heart the Y6 Bible verse – Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord:
plans to prosper you and not harm you;
plans to give you hope and a future.”
“So how many counties are there in the UK, or England?” came the question in Humanities this week. A quick check on Google gives a wonderfully British ‘grey’ answer with lots of variations to confuse young minds – Middlesex yes or no? More importantly though, was whether or not they knew any and could identify where they might be. The children worked hard using atlases to locate Cumbria, Rutland and Worcestershire before enjoying a quick fire ‘Find the County’ game on the Interactive White Board.
In addition to work on building their vocabulary on buildings and rooms in the house, in Spanish this week the children are also learning ‘Los Peces En El Río’, a traditional Christmas Carol, which they might want to practise.
La Virgen se está peinando
Entre cortina y cortina
Sus cabellos son de oro
Y el peine de plata fina
Pero mira cómo beben los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer
Pero mira cómo beben los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer
La Virgen está lavando
Y tendiendo en el romero
Los angelitos cantando
Y el romero florecido
Pero mira cómo beben los peces en el río
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer
La Virgen está lavando
Con un poquito de jabón
Se le picaron las manos
Manos de mi corazón
Pero mira cómo beben por ver al Dios nacido
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer
And staying on song, Miss Rachel has them all singing like angels in Music – I listened to an amazing rendition of the medieval carol ‘Gaudete’ with a superb solo – it really took my breath away!
The children thoroughly enjoyed the Disney style, Pixar animation ‘Over the Moon’ for Movie Night on Thursday, which I trust allowed you all to prepare to enjoy the most popular ‘vin de primeur’, Beaujolais Nouveau – fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale annually on the third Thursday of November. Pictures on Twitter @StStephensLBHF . I’ll drink to that!
Friday was busy as ever and saw the children: whizz through some Science, learning to recognise and use the universal symbols used when creating electrical circuits; build on their learning from last week about Excel spreadsheets (for the boys) and hone their cricket skills (for the girls). We’ve moved on from our focus on the Face in Art to now looking at the body as a whole. To start this work on the Figure, the children studied Picasso’s painting of his muse ‘Dora Maar’. Considered to be part of the Cubism Movement and completed in 1937, the portrait sees Dora majestically seated in an armchair, smiling and resting her head on her hand. The face is shown in half frontal and half profile view, with a red eye and a green eye facing in different directions – the simplified Cubist body to seen from the front. As you might imagine, the children were quite undaunted by the whole concept and sketched out their own figures first in pencil, then outlined in black. Paint next week.
Enjoy the rugby; England vs Ireland, Channel 4 tomorrow.
Brush Up Your Shakespeare
It’s here! – Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival is staging an ambitious and exciting new initiative; One Night of Shakespeare, which will be broadcast live tonight at 7pm. They’ll have performance highlights from schools across the UK, interviews with outstanding teachers and appearances from celebrity patrons, including Harriet Walter and Alfred Enoch.
Can I really start off the blog with ‘what a busy week it’s been’ again….? Every week is a busy week here, and we’re in Lockdown 2! It was great to catch up with so many of you for Parents’ Evening on Wednesday and Thursday, and to share with you all of the super work and efforts of your children. On the whole, we are well on track for another impressive year, which does certainly seem to be picking up, albeit from a very low base!
So to matters in hand, or more literally, in the classroom. All of the children continued developing their understanding of fractions in Maths this week, as they compared different fraction using the lowest common denominator (LCD), although something new to those in my group, was comparing fractions using the numerator… ask them to explain, before we moved on to adding and subtracting fractions. In English persuasive writing is the order of the day with the children preparing to bombard Mr Schumm with their exquisitely crafted letters packed full of well-reasoned ideas on how to improve the school. I bet he can’t wait to receive those! Finally, the Book Reviews continued apace this week with some expert analysis by Phoebe, Bea, Arthur, Natalie and Andre followed by incisive questioning from their peers.
Part of our RE lesson on Monday included the story of Sadako Sasaki – a 12 year old from Hiroshima – and her paper cranes. Her dying wish for peace inspired your children to learn how to make her famous cranes, following the ancient Japanese legend which says that your greatest wish will come true if you fold 1,000 origami cranes. Some of those that the children made went home; some are in their RE books and others have been placed on the RE display board. More exciting perhaps, is that the School Councillors Sadie and Rufus have written to the Mayor of Hiroshima enclosing a hundred or so that we have asked to be add to others from around the world in the famous Peace Park.
Continuing the theme, on Remembrance Day itself, we watched Mr Perry’s special morning Assembly and listened to Luka and Malachi recite the poems they had especially written for the occasion to the whole school. Just before 11am we joined the live proceedings at Westminster Abbey, standing for the two minutes silence as Big Ben began to chime. I must say that the solemnity of the occasion was very well observed by everyone in Y6 Ayres. Later in the day the children learned about the ‘Unknown Warrior’ whose centenary is celebrated this year.
The children’s geographical knowledge was tested on Monday as we began our new topic in Humanities focussing on the UK. They learned about the composition of our realm before drilling down in to populations of the four countries it comprises, using iPads. In Science the children used batteries, wires and bulbs to make various different electrical circuits to investigate and test out their hypotheses around changes to the power or load on various circuits – lucky it’s so dark now by 3pm!
After putting the children through their ‘not so virtual’ 800m runs last week, Alastair put his feet up this week as the children led their own PE lesson on Thursday. With instructions create various different football training drills, working in groups the children created some spectacular drills to develop different aspects of the skills required. He’d better be careful or he’ll put himself out of business from what I saw! Meanwhile in Gymnastics on Tuesday, Paul and Fiona had the children working on various different ‘spot’ skills while in the morning Jonathan had them bowling a full 22 yards line and length – more practice required! This afternoon saw the first in a series of sessions until Christmas, for all the girls in Y6, when through an ECB initiative, Bryony the top women’s coach at Shepherds Bush Cricket Club gave bespoke coaching for our future Heather Knights, Tammy Beaumonts and Katherine Brunts.
Movie Night is next Thursday 19th November and the KS2 children will all be watching the Netflix family animation movie, ‘Over the Moon’. As the whole school is still unable to get together in the main hall, the children will watch the movie in the classroom and snacks will be delivered! Year 6 children should be collected promptly from the playground at 5.30pm, so enter via Lime Grove as normal.
Enjoy your weekend.
Online Festival for the Weekend?
Dan Freedman, creator of the Jamie Johnson series, will be speaking online at the Richmond Literature Festival, chatting with Moussa Samb about Jamie Johnson, writing and football on Sunday, 15 Nov at 12pm. Moussa is an incredible young man who, during lockdown, set up his own online platform so youngsters in his community could read books and not feel so isolated. He and Dan will be chatting all things JJ and will be taking questions LIVE from viewers during the event. The event is open to families everywhere!
Tickets are £6 but the whole household can watch and take part so hopefully Dan says, “we’ll make it good value. With any luck, it will sell out so here’s the link with all the info and to book tickets in advance: http://www.richmondliterature.com/dan-freedman.html”
This week, we celebrated ‘Parliament Week’ and in Y6 Ayres we began learning how our government functions as the children ‘worked’ as MPs online dealing with real ‘inbox’ issues, prioritising them and juggling their workloads. Then we were lucky enough to interview (via Zoom) not just one, but two MPs; Danny Kruger (Conservative) as well as Andy Slaughter (Labour) our local MP. The children fired off loads of great questions, getting a real insight into how, what and why our democratically elected representatives get up to.
Lockdown 2.0 sadly meant that the planned ‘virtual’ Cross Country planned at Wormwood Scrubs had to be cancelled, but that didn’t stop the children enjoying their regular Cricket with Jonathan, Gymnastics with Paul & Fiona and Cross Country/Playground with Alastair – what lucky children!
It’s been a week of starting new topics, which means in Maths we began by reviewing the children’s previous learning of Fractions and in English they began by finding features and techniques used in Persuasive Writing. The darker nights of the autumn term make the Science unit on Electricity more interesting – this week the children trawled their memories from Y4 to recall circuits so that we can soon get some hands-on circuit making with batteries, light bulbs and buzzers – bring on the night. Remembrance, is our theme in RE for this week and next, and saw the children learning about what it is, why we do it and how it is done. They listened to the poem by John McCrae…
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.
…before then writing one of their own. Malachi and Luka will read theirs for the Remembrance Day Assembly (on zoom) on Wednesday.
In Humanities, the children rounded off their learning from last half term on the ancient Greeks before they start looking at the geography of the UK next week. In Art too, we completed work displaced by a short-notice Drama session, last half term as the children learned about the work of Toyin Odutola, creating some amazing silhouette self-portraits.
Thanks for your understanding with the Spellings now being on ‘Google Classroom’, which is aimed at ensuring that your children are familiar with logging on to access work, in case of any future need this academic year or next. We will continue to do this for the rest of the year.
It’s great to keep in touch albeit briefly when I’m on the gate mornings and evenings, but will be great to catch up with you all online for Parents’ Evening on Wednesday and Thursday next week. If you have not already done so, please do make a booking now using the link. Also note therefore, that there will be no Maths Booster Classes on Thursday 12th.
So, that’s it. Have a great weekend at home decorating or gardening and see you on Monday.
We’ve made it to Half Term, hurrah!
For our celebration of Black Voices Week, in English the children continued their work on Fairy Tales inspired by the work of Jamila Gavin, planning then writing and editing their own fantasy fairy stories. For their sins – and to enhance the quality of their writing – they were required to include at least one example of the Passive Voice in their work, which they had perfected in the Grammar lesson on Monday. Maths continued all week, with Miss Marchant’s group completing their work on the four operations with a couple of very short assessment tests, while my group practised their calculating skills through a number of competitive challenges and quizzes.
Honing their historical skills, in Humanities this week the children learned about Primary and Secondary sources of information, before using both to gain a better understanding about the daily lives of the ancient Greeks; from clothes and entertainment to food and drink. They completed our RE unit by watching the story of the now iconic Neasden Mandir (Hindu Temple) from its inception in the 1970s to the commencement of building works in 1990 and consecration just two years later.
Then, on a rainy Wednesday, Mr Schumm’s reappearance in the afternoon, with the next instalment of Private Peaceful brought a much needed ray of sunshine. His Assembly on Thursday morning focused on the black footballer and WWI army officer, Walter Tull, whose remarkable and inspiring story was left buried until 1993. The children learned how this orphan boy was the first footballer of colour to play for Tottenham Hotspur FC prior to the Great War and then became the first black officer to lead his white soldiers in to battle. How, Mr Schumm questioned, was this story hidden for 70 years, and why? Being aware of our history, he continued, was important to all of our futures.
Coordinating our whole school DT Days is a HUGE job, so hats off to Miss Hall whose ‘Bags’ concept was a big hit and also to Mrs Hall (no relation) who led our class sessions here on Thursday. Before picking up their needle and thread, the children planned what their drawstring bag would be used for and who might use it in a true ‘user-led design’ fashion. They then used a running to sew up the sides of their fabric, making sure to leave a gap through which to thread the drawstring. As they worked industriously away, they multitasked by listening to the amazing Floella Benjamin talking about her life on Desert Island Discs recently. Well worth a listen if you haven’t already. Finally, an optional decoration was added – or not – and the results were nothing short of spectacular. Do I feel any move towards a ‘St Stephen’s Sewing Bee’? After the Inter-House Netball Competition in the afternoon (Aylward won for the record), in Music, Miss Rachel’s lesson had a Bob Marley theme with a twist at the end as the prodigious Kanneh-Mason family demonstrated their versitility with a classic/reggae mix of the classic, ‘Redemption’. What a super way to round off the day.
There was extra Humanities on Friday as the children learned about Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, that was eventually to bring about the end of slavery. Their focus was not on William Wilberforce but on the ‘freed slave’ Olaudah Equiano, whose bestselling autobiography is a wonderful ‘primary source’ of information about this ignominious period in our history. Even though they had a good idea of the themes, the children found many of the stories and attitudes of the time, quite incomprehensible. Then finally, to top off the week the children had a surprise session of drama with Mark – what a very lucky bunch they are!
Natalie and Elijah took the ‘Stars of the Week’ mantle today for their outstanding work this week, although it was once again another very hard decision to make.
One downside to being in Y6 sadly means that there is homework over the holidays… The upside, and there really is one in the distance, is that after the SATs in May, all homework stops. So this holiday the children are being asked to complete the five practice papers for the SATs tests: Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling; Reading Comprehension; Arithmetic (Maths 1) and two Reasoning papers (Maths 2 & 3). In addition they have been asked to prepare an oral book review, which will be delivered to the class as per the schedule below.
Finally, I should also remind you that applications for high school places – if you live in Hammersmith & Fulham – close on 31st October. Please ensure that you have completed your application by then and selected six schools in order of preference. DON’T leave any choice empty.
Enjoy the break,
Date Review by:
02-Nov Mon Sadie
03-Nov Tues Milla
04-Nov Wed Kenzo
05-Nov Thurs Jojo
06-Nov Fri Yakob
09-Nov Mon Natalie
10-Nov Tues Andre
11-Nov Wed Bea
12-Nov Thurs Arthur
13-Nov Fri Phoebe
16-Nov Mon Otto
17-Nov Tues Rufus
18-Nov Wed Eliza
19-Nov Thurs Daniel
20-Nov Fri Noah
23-Nov Mon Sophie
24-Nov Tues Luka
25-Nov Wed Adam
26-Nov Thurs Bethel
27-Nov Fri Rohan
30-Nov Mon Jude
01-Dec Tues Malachi
02-Dec Wed Redeat
03-Dec Thurs Thomas
04-Dec Fri Nobel
07-Dec Mon Jack
08-Dec Tues Elijah
09-Dec Wed Raphe
10-Dec Thurs Tim
Well, things are building to a crescendo as ever as we approach half term, with another super busy week at St Stephen’s.
In the classroom, the children learned to identify the subject and object of sentences in Grammar which will be very helpful for their work next week… On the more creative front and to coincide with our Black Voices Week celebration that starts on Monday, the children read the fairy tale – The Golden Carp – from the book ‘Blackberry Blue’ by Jamila Gavin. The story inspired them to delve into the recesses of their minds to come up with, what turned out to be, some very weird and whacky dreams, which they committed to paper.
Meanwhile in Maths, my class completed its unit on the four mathematical operations with not one, but two small tests, which Miss Marchant’s group have to look forward to next week. As the building blocks of all Maths, it is essential that each and every one of the children really have these basics well and truly under their belts before they leave St Stephen’s in July. The Maths homework – set on Mathletics – aims to reinforce the children’s learning in class and should be taken more seriously by some, who appear to be cramming it in late on Thursday night or even Friday morning. Your continued support on this would be greatly appreciated.
Standing up as part of a small a group in front of their peers, the children delivered the presentations they had researched and put together last week in RE. The attentive audience learned all about various different local places of worship: the faith group’s beliefs; the movement in numbers attending and their outreach programmes. I must say that the quality of the presentations was very high and we all learned an awful lot.
Thursday saw all of the children decked out in red as we focused the day around the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. After watching a powerful SRtRC film, I was hugely impressed by the maturity of the children’s discussion as they independently shared their experiences, thoughts and ideas. Finally, the children decided that they would like to recreated the end of the film with each one of them saying, “Show Racism the Red Card!”, which Mrs Hall filmed and was tweeted out to the world on the school’s account.
Ecuador was our country focus on Hispanic Day today, which after a quick rendition of old Cuban favourite El Bodeguero, saw the children taking notes from a very fast paced film about Ecuador and its people. Most sat transfixed and horrified as Sadie and I discussed the merits of the local delicacy, cuy (Guinea pig), just one (possibly the most) memorable facts they might have learned today. Cuy wasn’t on Cookie’s Hispanic themed lunch menu today, you may be glad to know. After lunch the children were in the main hall as Miss Veronica put them through their paces, brushing up their learning in Spain last year of the local Andalucian dance, the Sevillanas. Daniel and Sadie got a big shout out for their work on the dance, as do Otto and Jojo. Well done – what a fun day!
Enjoy tonight if you’re out with friends…. It may be some time.
Dear Parents and Carers,
I can’t let this week go by without mentioning, Nobel, who under the tutelage of a certain Mr Cookson last year, submitted his painting in acrylics of a horse’s head to the Royal Academy, no less, for consideration for its Young Artists’ Summer Show, along with 17,700 other young hopefuls. You’ll never guess what…. Nobel’s phenomenal painting was one of less than 400 to be accepted and will be on display for five weeks at the exhibition when it opens on 19th October. The Young Artists’ Summer Show is free to everyone although you do need to register in advance for tickets.
Back down to earth with a bump; the children in my Maths group this week have been familiarising themselves with factors and common factors, multiples, prime numbers, squared, cubed and triangular numbers too, which they have all loved (haven’t you), while those in Miss Marchant’s group have continued to develop their learning of division in all its guises. At this point I should mention that following our first assessments last week, Miss Marchant and I are pleasantly surprised at the current levels of Maths understanding, although there is no room for complacent. As such we will be starting a couple of after school Booster Classes after half term, which will then be increased early in the new year to give opportunities to even more children – we’ll be in touch. There will also be some movement between our Maths groups, so that every child is receiving the most suitable tuition.
And before I leave Maths, can I ask parents and carers to ensure that your children complete their Mathletics homework, which you are signing to confirm they have completed in their Homework Diaries. We do not want to go back to setting work on paper. The children should be: reading the questions online; accessing the animated ‘help’ if required; working out their answers on rough paper and then finally entering in their final answers. While Mrs Bouwman does run a Mathletics Homework Club on Thursday lunchtimes, this is primarily aimed at children who might have difficulty accessing the internet at home. There is not capacity for 20+ Y6s who have left their ‘homework’ until the last minute. Thanks indeed for your help and understanding on this matter.
The children really enjoyed writing their own autobiographies this week and I’m looking forward just as much to reading them all. We spent some time planning and drafting their four, five or six paragraphs, thinking about each sentence and ‘crafting’ each one to include subordinating conjunctions, fronted adverbials et al, before the children edited them and shared some with the class. Baroness Floella Benjamin’s story was a great inspiration for the children, and who knows, one day, one of them might be mooted as the new BBC supremo.
In Science the children learned about Carl Linnaeus, famous for his work in Taxonomy: the science of identifying, naming and classifying organisms. They learned a song to remember the family tree like classification structure: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species or there’s also the popular mnemonic “King Philip came over for good soup.” It made a dry topic a little more palatable.
The children travelled back to classical times, learning about the two famous city-states of Athens and Sparta in Humanities this week, as they compared and contrasted their different governments, economies and societies. Having written a letter home after a ‘visit’ to the two city-states, they were then treated to our very own in-class report from a crack Channel 4 News team (Elijah, Milla, Sophie and Malachi) and heard ‘first hand’ about the lives of the citizens in each place.
Miss Veronica stepped in to the breach on Tuesday and delivered a memorable Spanish lesson where the children discussed their siblings, pets and how they were feeling, rounded off with a game of bingo: all in Spanish. They found out that not only does Veronica support Real Betis, but has a pet ‘loro’ at home in Sevilla that can sing the club’s hymn…. So, as Betis is also my team, we decided that if the children learn the song and we send it to Veronica’s dad perhaps he’ll send us a recording of the parrot singing it!
Andre and Redeat join Nobel as our ‘Stars of the Week’ this week for their application and dedication to learning. Three this week – it’s always so hard to choose. I hope you enjoyed the COVID affected ‘Family Supper’ last night and for those of you who missed it, do take a look at the chef in action!
….and finally, on Thursday 15th October, we’ll be getting behind ‘Red Card to Racism’ day for the third year in a row. All children across the school are encouraged to come in wearing something red to show their support for the anti-racist movement. We will be having a special (streamed) assembly and the children will carry out an activity in class that will help their awareness of racism and how to deal with it. Next term, our ‘Relationships and Health Education’ learning unit is ‘Valuing Difference’, which will continue and develop Thursday’s conversation. Sadly, as we can’t collect with the buckets this year due to COVID-19, should you wish to/are able to, you are invited to donate via text. Please text ‘RED’ to 70470 to give £1, ‘RED5’ to give £5, ‘RED10’ to give £10 or ‘RED20’ to give £20 if you are able to.
Have a wonderful weekend.
The highlight of the week…. The inaugural Y6 St Stephen’s Conker Contest and definitely not, the inaugural SATs practice.
I have been so impressed with your children this week as they took on their first experience of sitting the tests that are still scheduled to take place in May next year. They all, without exception, had the temperament skills to ‘have a go’ which was our overriding message to them, particularly as there remain a few areas of the curriculum still left to cover in Maths. The results of these assessments will give Miss Marchant and I a good indication of areas of work that we might need to go over again as well as helping inform us which children might benefit from working in any particular groups in class, for interventions and/or Booster Classes, which will start after Half Term – we will be in touch.
Thankfully it wasn’t all SATs this week. In RE the children has a very special visitor, who has lived in Shepherds Bush for 66 years, who came to talk to them about the changes she has seen in the area over her life time – Mrs Connor. She spoke in general about how the shops used to be and explained that this part of London has always seen lots of different communities coming and going. She focused on places of worship close to our school some that have changed and ‘downsized’ like St Luke’s CE church on the Uxbridge Road and others that have sprung up and grown such as the Mosque and Muslim Cultural Centre just a few doors down. Also, as a past pupil of St Stephen’s herself, she told us that the whole school used to go in to the church for a service every Friday – how things have changed! The children then discussed how faith communities show and share their beliefs and faiths in the wider community, focussing on outward signs of faith; our Harvest Assembly which followed on Thursday, being a great example.
Mr Schumm turned up in the classroom on Wednesday afternoon to the delight of the children, a new regular feature – Headteacher responsibilities allowing – to continue the unit of work he started with the children during Lockdown, earlier in the year. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s First World War novel, ‘Private Peaceful’, the children listened first to the voice of a young soldier as he starts to recount 24 hours in his life at the front during WWI, before discussing the protagonist and other key characters in preparation for their work ahead.
We continued with the next Science lesson and then there was Spanish, Music, Gymnastics and PE as there always is here. The week was topped off with the aforementioned Conker Contest, which is the first ‘assignment’ for the crack new Shakin’ Stephen’s editorial team – full report to follow. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this from Miss Rachel… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gDzlK3w0vo What lucky children!
Finally, there’s a big well done to ‘Stars of the Week’, Luka and Josephine, who somehow managed to stand out from this very talented bunch in Y6 Ayres.
Have a super weekend.
WALK WITH US ON W/C 5 OCTOBER!
Get your happy feet on, it’s time to celebrate.
St Stephens has decided to take part in the greatest national Walk to School celebration, where pupils and grown-ups around the UK unite for one week of walking to school. Each pupil will be challenged to walk, cycle, scoot or park and stride to school every day for one week
Our five-day walking challenge aimed to be fun and engaging all week long, raising awareness and celebrating walking for all. Pupils will be well on their way to reaching their recommended 60 minutes minimum of physical activity per day before even reaching the school gates! Not only will it set them up for a positive day in the classroom, it will also help create healthy habits for life.
This year we invite you to join us in celebrating the incredible physical and mental health benefits walking brings to every individual.
Strong hearts, healthy bones, increased muscle strength are all well-documented outcomes of walking, but the benefits for the mind are just as powerful. Increased sense of calm and self-esteem, time to connect with friends, family and the natural world, awakened creativity and improved overall cognitive function! All that makes for a happy, healthy child set up for success in and out of the classroom.
Class teachers will be awarding daily house points to all those who walk, cycle, scoot or park and stride into school next week. Mr Schumm will announce the class winners in next Friday’s Stars of the Week Assembly. So check out the weather, waterproofs or wellies, cycles or scooters, jumpers and jackets – join us for Walk to School next week.
It’s been Election Week here for Y6 and following their superb filmed presentations the children of the school voted as follows:
Aylward: Thomas, Sophie, Lara & Gus
Crummell: Arthur, Malachi, Leila & Mabel
Liddell: Eliza, Beattie, Bethany & Shalomy
Wesley: Bea, Natalia, Felix & Ila
The standard of presentations was very high indeed this year and I must praise every single person who put themselves forward for what can be a very daunting challenge; win or lose, you all did yourselves proud!
Sports Captains were also selected this week based, not only on their love and individual ability in sport, but also on their ability to encourage and motivate other team members, as well as their organisational skills and ability to help Clare and Alastair prepare for events. So give a cheer to: Phoebe Jojo Noah SG from Y6 Ayres and Elina, Sophia, Ben, Luka L & Noah M from next door. Well done for shining in PE over the years and let’s hope that our much curtailed sporting calendar picks up later in the year.
More elections, this time to the School Council – a very influential organ – that works hard behind the scenes under Miss Mahon’s guidance. Each class elects Council Members, who from Y6 Ayres this year are: Rufus and Sadie. Congratulations and thanks in advance for all of your hard work.
Finally, the Editorial Committee for our school magazine “Shakin’ Stephen’s” was announced today too. Again, not only selected for their English writing abilities, but also for the creativity as well as their organisational skills and ability to work collaboratively as this project is totally independent of any teacher input! The budding journos are: Adam, Elijah & Eliza, plus three others from Y6 Stevenson.
…and we also had time for some teaching and learning!
In Maths we continued work on the four mathematical operations completing our review of methods of multiplication before moving on to ‘short’ and ‘long’ division – More on Mathletics homework. ‘Life in Trinidad’, the autobiography of Floella Benjamin whose birthday it was this week (71), was examined further with the children who investigated unfamiliar words and phrases and identified relative clauses, before writing a brief summary of her early childhood. Later in the week they planned their own autobiography and wrote an introduction paragraph.
The children have begun the first Y6 Science topic of the year, the somewhat dry ‘Classification of Organisms’ as well as continuing their work in Humanities learning all about the various different forms of Governments in the city-states of Ancient Greece. Using the work of Frida Kahlo, in Spanish this week the children developed their vocabulary of complementary colours while in Music Miss Rachel had them exploring various patterns and riffs using keyboards and xylophones.
I have been delighted with just how much effort the children have put in this week, they have really worked hard, which is great as next week will be their biggest challenge yet as we start our first run of SATs ‘familiarisation’.
Finally, Mr Schumm’s now famous online ‘Stars of the Week’ assembly highlighted the exceptional work of Rohan and Milla from our class – well done.
Rest up for next week; have a lovely weekend.
Dear Parents & Carers,
And so to the end of week two, the children are assimilating well in to the pace and expectations of Y6.
We have already come to the end of the first, very brief Maths unit on Place Value, an essential understanding of which is key to all going forward – and explains why we no longer use Roman numerals… Next up is a review of the four Maths operations to get everyone back up to speed.
The children have been reading extracts of Floella Benjamin’s ‘Life in Trinidad’ autobiography as a basis for their learning in English this week, as they have learned more about the features of biographies and autobiographies and begun writing paragraphs of each type. We will continue the theme next week.
Having started RE by focusing on our Y6 word: HOPE, the theme now until half term is ‘Understanding Faith in our Community’. This week, in a cross-curricula activity, the children used their geographical map reading skills to identify locations of places of worship in the locality, before then tracing their routes to school annotating any faith centres along the way. There is a special, COVID-19 secured, visitor joining us for the next lesson…
Perhaps the highlight of the week was the much anticipated House Captain presentations which took place on Wednesday afternoon and spilled over in to Thursday morning, such was the interest from so many candidates. Your children really did themselves proud, delivering thoughtful and inspired talks that included some zany fundraising ideas for many personally heart-warming and deserving charities. This year all of the presentations were filmed, so that ‘Housemates’ in other year groups could watch them safely in their classrooms. With 40+ films to get through, we have asked class teachers to get their votes to us by the end of Monday, so hopefully the election results can be announced on Tuesday. Really well done to everyone who took part.
Meanwhile in Art, with our theme of ‘The Face’, the children have been creating portraits using sharpies on acetate which was then positioned on a background of complementary colours which they had prepared – these are now proudly on display and look spectacular. Then, during the Art lesson itself this afternoon, we looked briefly at the work of Chuck Close, beginning a multi-coloured gridded background, prior to adding a simplistic over painting in water colours of a…. face.
Alastair and Clare have sent a Parent Mail about extra PE sessions that all Y6 pupils will take part in over the course of each week. Your child will take part in one mixed Y5/6 squad training session on either Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays between 9am and 9.30am – check your emails please as this starts this Monday 21st.
Finally, I neglected to mention our ‘Stars of the Week’ – Phoebe and Tim last week – how remiss, and this week’s pair Adam and Sadie. Well done you guys and keep up your superb start to Y6.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Dear Parents & Carers,
Can you believe that that little child who went fresh faced into Reception only six years ago is now in Year 6 – how time flies!
So with summer now officially over and tans (for what you could grab) fading, a very excited bunch turned in on Monday, ready and raring for the joys and rigours that face them in Y6. We’ve hit the ground running and written ‘letters to our future selves’ and poems in the style of Pam Ayres in English while cracking straight on in Maths with Place Value.
I for one have thoroughly enjoyed being back with a full class in Y6 and getting to know lots of new faces. It’s great to be back in the saddle after the hols and I’m looking forward to the challenging new work ahead – they all tell me they are too. The Homework Diaries seem to be a hit (so far) and I would be most grateful for your support in asking to see them each evening and initialling to confirm that work, especially some reading, has been carried out. Knowing how to manage this will set them in great stead for Y7, less than a year away now – gulp.
The children have had a busy week with lots to think about. We have focused on developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ – ways in which to have a positive approach to even the most dreaded of subjects while also not sitting on ones laurels. There are loads of motivational quotes around the classroom, one of which I have already had thrown back in my face!
I have no need to tell you that this whole COVID-19 thing has put a spanner in the works of our regular routine, but as ever at St Stephen’s we’re looking at solutions – hopefully we’ll be able to have our residential PGL next Spring and go to Whitby after SATs and France too.
And talking of SATs, as the children have been away from the classroom for so long, we have postponed for a few weeks their first Y6 assessments which will be based on the SAT format. These ‘mock’ tests help us to begin to identify gaps as well as helping the children get used to the SAT format and test conditions. We will use these practice papers as our assessments every half term and they will also determine your child’s group for Maths.
Finally, we will be having our house captain elections soon. Each house will have four Year 6 Captains who will help lead their houses in certain events and activities. Candidates will make a presentation to their Y6 Housemates on why they should be elected, which will be filmed and distributed to all of the lower years to watch in their own classes. Votes from each class will then be collated. This will take place on Wednesday afternoon, so they might like to start planning now – email any supporting PowerPoints to me on email@example.com . Below is a job description and a few ideas that might help.
House Captain’s Job Description
Thanks for your support and I look forward to the year ahead with you and your lovely children.
PS Don’t forget to join Miss Marchant, Mr Schumm and I for the Y7 Transition Meeting on Zoom at 6.30pm next Monday 14th September – see Parent Mail for the link.
Welcome to Year 6.
Please not that the children will need to come in to school wearing their PE Kits on Tuesdays and Thursdays which they will wear all day. They will NOT need their uniforms on those days.
Homework is set on Mondays and Fridays and available on the Y6 Ayres Google Classroom. The children use their diaries to record what work is set and when it is due. Parents are asked to check that the work is completed and then sign the diary to confirm the work has been done. Diaries are then checked each morning.