Above are some links to websites which have useful resources to help you during the coming months.
Welcome to Falcons.
We are a Year 5&6 class who pride ourselves in being curious, resilient, hardworking learners.
Falcons in lockdown.mov
Like classes all across the country, the Falcons could not possibly have imagined that our year would end so abruptly and with such a high level of anxiety all around us. Every one of the children has matured significantly since September and shown levels of engagement and commitment to learning that surpassed even my high expectations. It is therefore expectionally sad that the Year 6 Falcons were not able to show off their knowledge and skills in the SATs they had been working so hard towards. However, the Falcons are big believers in new opportunities and home learning is opening all sorts of new doors for us that will equip the children with other new and vital skills which can support them now and in the future.
Before school finished we were able to have a Skype call with Lauren, a british student studying in South Korea, who was able to tell us all about the response to Covid-19 in Korea and life in lock-down. She also told us about similarities and differences between the UK and South Korea (and how much she misses pizza!) and taught us some Korean. The BBC filmed our converstaion so we made it onto the news yet again!
Now we are all learning at home using Google Classroom. It is a steep learning curve for all all, especially me, but it is improving our computing skills no end and will certainly be the way in which the Falcons will be working in their adult lives. Alongside continuing to develop our reading, writing and maths skills we are still learning science, humanities, art, music, PE, RE and PSHCE but are learning in different, and far more independent, ways. The photos below will give you a small insight into what we've been up to in Week 1. We've been pretty busy.
Concerts and Crafts
One of our proudest moments this year was our performance at the Ridgeway Trust's Christmas concert. We sang 'Someone you loved' alongside pupils from Didcot Girls
and St. Birinus secondary school and performed 'Dancing in the Street' by ourselves to an audience of almost 500! Many of us have never been part of such a big event, nor have we had the opportunity to be part of a concert with live orchestras, bands and music. It was incredibly inspiring. We received an incredible amount of kind comments from older pupils, staff and guests on the night and in the following days.Thanks to Mrs Hawkins for the video below.
Our creative work has also been on show at the village church. We had a wonderful day designing and making 'Christmas in a Box' for a fundraising event in the church. We hope you like our creations!
At the start of December we were visited by the Fire and Rescue Service who came to talk with us about fire prevention. We learnt about the causes of fire, what to do in case of fire and how to make an escape plan for our homes. Sue, our local PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) visited to talk with us about on-line safety and behaviour. We were surprised to learn that everything we say and post on-line is traceable and that we are legally responsible for our behaviour once we are ten. We spent time thinking about how to use social media responsibly and respectfully. We were also visited by the NSPCC who gave an Assembly to the whole of KS2 and then did a workshop with our class. The focus was on keeping ourselves safe and understanding the different types of abuse and what to do if it affects us. We were reminded of the importance of talking to trusted adults and of the Childline number 0800 1111.
In Science we studied electricity. We revised the parts of a circuit and learnt how to draw circuit symbols then learnt about voltage. We designed and conducted an investigation looking at the impact changes within a circuit and recorded our results using tables.
Inspired by 'Wonder' the Falcons asked if they could hold a Science Fair. The children developed their science projects at home and then we hosted fair for family and friends in the school hall. Staff and parents were blown aware by the diversity of the different studies and the effort put into each project however, most impressive of all was how the Falcons were able to clearly and confidently explain and demonstrate their projects to the visitors.
The Falcons have been a busy bunch since October. We've composed two pieces of extended writing, the first of which linked to our study over rivers in geography. We used the beautifully illustrated 'A River' by Marc Martin and sound clips and videos as the stimulus for our writing and we told the story of our journey as a droplet of water in a river. The children were incredibly proud of their writing and have enjoyed reading it aloud to child and adult guests who have visited our classroom. Our second piece of writing was a newspaper report that focused on an event that took place in 'Wonder'. We have enjoyed the opportunity to use powerful and emotive vocabulary to influence the reader's view of the event. Many of us were surprised to learn that the media can be biased despite knowing the phrase 'fake news'.
Building on our learning last term, we used atlases to locate the Mara River in Kenya and traced its journey from source to mouth. The Falcons learnt to describe the key features of a river system and identified some of the features in the Mara and other African rivers then we followed the journey of other key African rivers using atlases and digital maps making comparisons with the Mara in terms of length, terrain and settlements. However, we used ordnance survey maps to track the journey of rivers in the UK as we wanted more detail. We also revisited the water cycle in the context of rivers which helped us with our writing in English.
In Art we studied pencil and pastel mediums to create the effect of light, dark and texture. We used this to create close up images of African animals including zebras, elephants, cheetahs, leopards and giraffes. The final results were stunning.
What a fantastic start to the year the Falcons have had! We have been so busy that we haven't even had time to update our class webpage - these are just some of the things we've been up to (see the photos below): We started the year getting used to being a Falcon. We all know that the younger children in the school look up to us and so we have to set a good example in our learning and our behaviour. As a class, we worked out what makes us a good learner, a great classmate, a classroom of learners and what makes Ms. Parks and Mrs. Crump terrific teachers.
Before we went to PGL we had a week of science where we learnt all about evolution and inheritance. We investigated fossils and worked out the important role they have in teaching us about how living things have changed over millions of years. We also had a go at making our own fossils but, like the real thing, some of us discovered they can be very fragile!
We looked at the evidence fossils give us about the features of different animals and wondered how they might have helped animals live in different habitats. Then, we studied animals that are alive today and thought about the adaptive traits they have to help them survive today. We even had a go at designing our own animal suitable for a specific river habitat. Using apples we learnt how bears have influenced the evolution of this type of fruit - we got to eat the apples too!
Lots of children brought in photos of their families and we had a lot of fun identifing inherited features.
Everyone is enjoying our class read - Wonder by RJ Palacio. We have been studying the different characters, developing our understanding of how the author develops personality and identity. We have made connections between Via's experience in Wonder and a picture book (Perfect by Nicola Davies) where a child is waiting for their sibling to be born only to discover the sibling has special needs. Using a sentence stacking technique we are learning to write our own version of Perfect telling Via's story of when Auggie was born. You can see how our vocabulary and sentence structures are developing in the photos below.
The Falcons have also started to study Kenya in our geography lessons. We have used Google Earth, a globe and atlases to locate Kenya and the bordering countries. We know where Kenya is in relation to the Equator and the atlases have helped us to make comparisons between the topography, population, climate and land use of Kenya and the UK.
In maths, we have been investigating number and place value. The children have been getting used to numbers up to seven digits long as well as decimals as small and hundreths. We have been rounding numbers to the nearest whole or decimal number and have been multipling/dividing by 10, 100 and 1000.
Our links with Didcot Girls School and St. Birinus are really benefitting the Falcons. Last week, Year 5 started their drama lessons with Mrs. Robertson. They clearly had a lot of fun as they came out hoarse and hot! We have all enjoyed our Mandarin lessons with Mrs. Wicks and realised that we have retained lots of our learning from last year so can confidently meet and greet in Chinese. We also have a group of seven Year 5/6 children who are working with Mrs Ralph and Mrs Lloyd to deepen their confidence with problem solving and reasoning in maths and how they explain their thinking and processes in verbal and written forms. We will be using their learning to develop the rest of the class later in the year.
On the 24th September the BBC came in to film the Falcons discussing parliament, the Government and Brexit. Everyone was incredibly impressed with how confident, clear and articulate the children were and we were super proud of their five-minute piece on the Sunday Politics Show. We also enjoyed learning how television reports are made. Take a look at the video about the BBC's visit here:
We have also been studying: pulse, rhythm and pitch in music and are learning to sing Dancing in the Street; developing our understanding of Harvest Festival and the use of Food Banks in modern Britian in our RE lessons; investigating our emotions and the impact of these on ourselves and other people in PSHCE though the use of zones of regulation; developing our fitness and team play in PE as well as the skills and rules of volleyball and, of course, we have been getting to know Cessy (our school dog) who spends every morning with us.
And finally... some of our class have been representing the school in an interschool maths challenge day and cross-country race. All of the children did incredibly well in both competitions.
So, as you can see, it has been a hectic start to the year but one we are all feeling pleased with. Well done Falcons - keep up the great teamwork and effort!
We've had yet another fantastic day in the glorious sunshine. Today pushed our bravery to the limits as we had the trapeeze. We had to climb a tall, narrow pole on to a teeny, tiny platform and then jump whilst trying to hit a ball. Our teachers were incredibly proud of how brave we were. We also went sailing, searched for treasure on the beach, survived a plane crash in the mountains and went street surfing. Quite a day!
What a jam-packed day we have had today! We've hardly had a minute to breathe. This morning was archery and zip wire for all the groups. We had some pretty impressive bulls-eyes in archery and quite a few arrows that flew right over the top of the target into the field!
The zip wire looked low from the ground but once we were up at the top of the steps it was quite a different experience. Ms Parks was terrified and screamed most of the way down!
This afternoon, two of the groups went sailing (the third group is sailing in the morning) whilst the other group learnt some survival skills, including lighting fires, and tried orienteering. We hope you like the photos.
PGL Tuesday afternoon
The Falcons have been soaring through the air this afternoon on the giant swing. It take a lot of bravery (and effort from our friends) to be pulled over 10 metres into the air and then to tug a tiny string that makes us drop at breathtaking speed. The look on some of our faces says it all.
It was a gorgeous afternoon for orienteering and the children thoroughly enjoyed having the freedom to explore the site even though they were stuck in groups of three or four where everyone had to hold onto a hoolahoop!
One of our groups had Street Surfing. It was much trickier than we thought it would be however the photos show you that we managed to get the hang of it. Now everyone can't wait for their turn.
This evening, it was the campfire and we've sung and danced until our throats hurt (photos of the campfire will be posted tomorrow) and now we are settling down for a long sleep #fingerscrossed. Good night from star lit PGL x
PGL Tuesday morning
We woke (rather too early for the teachers' liking!) to glorious blue skies and the sun shimmering off the sea. After breakfast, we all went on a hike through some stunning scenery and a forest full of 'drop spiders' that we heard would drop on our heads if we made a noise or didn't cover up. #plgstaffthinktheyarefunny #someofusstillbelieve
We walked over the cliff tops, through fields of cows, stopped for a few cames and then arrived at a ice-cream parlour. It's a good job Ms Parks packed the money.
We arrived safe and sound at PGL with huge whoops of excitement as everyone spotted the site and the sea. We unpacked our rooms (which have views of the bay!) and explored the site then into dinner where everyone was amazed by the choice and especially loved the doughnuts. In the evening, we played Ambush as the night drew in. This was great fun and a little scary which added to the excitement. Then our teachers had the challenging job of settling us down to sleep.
The Falcons have an exciting and challenging term ahead. We have an inspiring curriculum that sets high expectations for our learning and a jam-packed residential that will stretch our social and emotional experiences.
We will be using the wonderful novel, Wonder by RJ Palacio, as the stimulus for our learning in English, Science (evolution and inheritance) and PSHCE with a particular focus on developing a kind and respectful class environment.
In Geography we will be exploring Kenya, developing our map skills whilst investigating the human and physical characteristics of the country. Our art work will be inspired by the people and cultures of the country.
Watch this space to find out more about the term ahead and to see photos of our learning journeys.