Welcome to Year 6
Happy New Year! Thank you again for all your Christmas gifts, cards and best wishes and I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the festivities of the season, are fully rested and raring to go!
Here is an overview of our topic and key information:
Tudors: The Greats
Our topic this term takes a look at one of the most interesting and influential English Dynasties –The Tudors. When it comes to drama, few royal families can match the Tudors. Want to learn about betrayals and back-stabbing; intrigues and scandals; bloody rebellions and gruesome executions? Then what an exciting term this will be! Against the glamorous backdrop of grand castles and lavish palaces, sumptuous feasts, gorgeous clothes and spectacular tournaments; the truth about the Tudors will be discovered.
It is the theme of ‘Tudors: The Greats’, that our studies begin, exploring the life, loves and legacy of: Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare, and of course - Henry VIII. They’ll be no clichéd study of Henry however, and his unfortunate string of wives – for we will be discovering, debating and deciding upon who this Tudor Monarch really was - Famed or Infamous? Our gripping class novel VIII allows us to focus on the boy before the King, learning how his early life influenced and help shape the man and the Monarch he eventually became. We use historical enquiry skills to question how accurate our perceptions are to the realities of Henry VIII.
As we study the peaks and troughs of Henry VIII’s reign, we will be using The Dissolution of the Monasteries, to help us explore Christianity in RE. We will use St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey to learn about religious buildings and their architecture; the religious roles, beliefs and practices of people then and now, who worship within them. After half term we will look at sculptures and paintings from Renaissance artists that depict the themes and messages of the Easter story.
With Stratford-upon-Avon on our doorstep and Drama close to our Year 6 hearts, William Shakespeare takes to the stage as our second Tudor Great. As we role-play away and re-enact and re-write famous scenes from his many plays; we look not only at his gift as a playwright, his contribution to the English language but at the role his ‘theatre’ played in the daily lives of Tudor England. We hope to use plays such as Richard III and Henry V to introduce us to
a cast of characters from this legendary age, gaining an insight into their lives, the decisions they made and the consequences of their actions. By his own words:
‘All the world, is a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven stages.’
What better advocate for ‘one man in his time playing many parts’ through his many gifts and talents (sculptor, architect, engineer, anatomist, inventor, geologist….) - than Leonardo Da Vinci! Famed largely for his work as an artist, our studies move us away from not only the Tudor era, but also Mona Lisa’s smile, leading us into the vibrant times of The Renaissance. This significant time of change and progression is epitomized in Da Vinci through his love of the Arts, Culture, Music, Science and Maths. His ‘Vitruvian Man’ has already inspired our maths work this term which focuses on fractions, scale, proportion, rules of divisibility and all things Geometry! We cannot of course, study Da Vinci without learning from him as an artist, so, using sketches found in his journals and notes we will be taught about techniques and tools that take us back to the fundamentals of drawing. Line, tone, form, pattern and perspective provide the progression of our Art and Design curriculum this term – making masters of us all!
Andreas Vesalius and a particularly authentic Tudor Torture Chamber, set the scene (that Shakespeare would be proud of) for our science topic this term of: blood, guts, body parts, organs and anatomy in general; which may well turn a few sensitive stomachs – but the Human Body is far too fascinating to ignore. As we metaphorically dissect hearts and open arteries on the Old Operating Theatre, we will learn how the systems we take for granted in our bodies, work. Also, the diseases that quite literally plagued the streets of London will help us to learn about micro-organisms – good and bad – vaccines and what discoveries in medicine during Tudor and Renaissance times, meant to the daily lives of the common people.
By looking closely at these Tudor Greats as famous historical figures, we can extend our thinking beyond the literal and the superficial, to the more abstract and honest and by looking through three very different eyes, we can capture a sense of what it was really like to live in Tudor times.
Like last term the same expectation regarding homework remains the same. There will be mix of tasks related to the different subject areas and some project work, where children will be expected to manage their time. On average children should be spending 45 minutes each night on homework.
Times tables, Mental Arithmetic Books and Reading Journal entries are ongoing and as the children will be completing a ‘Genre’ challenge, please can you ensure your child has made an entry into their Reading Journals, when they have finished a book. Examples of activities and possible entries are given in their Reading Journals. These are really important as they inform my assessment of their reading and encourage your child to reflect and evaluate the content and quality of books.
We will be doing ‘all-manner-of’ sporting activities this term including netball and circuit training in PPA and Acrobatics (court Jester style) and Tudor Dance (for a performance fit for the King) – in class.
Home Link Up Book
Thank you for all your comments and questions in the pink books, they are very much appreciated and valued. Please continue to record what they have read each night, as well as any messages about buses, clubs or alternative going home arrangements.
This is the term where much of our formal preparation for SAT’s begins. I always endeavour to teach the essential skills with a creative and meaningful approach, but unfortunately, some of the preparation can be dry, so apologies in advance! I will be sending some papers and revision home, but if you want further practice, there are a number of suppliers/publishers that offer SAT revision resources, designed to suit the demands of the New Curriculum.
SAT’s week this year begins on Monday May the 11th and it is imperative that your child is in school all week. The children will sit a: 10 minute mental maths test; 2 x 45 minute written maths tests (no calculators allowed in either); a Reading Comprehension test and a Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation test. There will also be an opportunity for selected children to sit level 6 papers.
Trips and Visits
Our Yenworthy Experience begins on the 9th February. The total cost of the trip as you know is £302.50, which includes everything from transport, board and lodgings; to the use of specialist equipment and tuition. Payments can be made either in instalments or as one payment by either cheque (made payable to OCC), ParentMail or cash. If we could receive those by the 9th February – it would be very much appreciated. Thank you and how exciting!
I will be holding a meeting to discuss the details of the trip and answer any questions or concerns you may have; on Thursday the 15th January at 3pm in my classroom, which usually only takes about half an hour.
To support our topic work and indeed the new BBC series that begins this weekend on Hampton Court and the Tudors; I would love to take the children to this poignant palace. I am aware however, that with Yenworthy to pay for, this might be a step too far! The London trip would cost about £20, and would take place towards the end of the Spring term. Please could you pop a note into the Pink Book to let me know whether you are happy to contribute the monies or not. If the consensus goes in favour – I will go ahead and book it!
The usual routine for the morning continues but as the children arrive they are welcome to come straight into the classroom (particularly if it is pouring with rain!) as they have a number of jobs to complete in the mornings.
In light of safeguarding requirements our cloakroom door will be locked at 8.55 a.m., so any children who arrive after 8.55am, will have to be accompanied into school through the main entrance, and sign in.
Spring Term Expectation
This is a very busy and important term for Yr 6, as they begin to prepare for their SAT’s in May. I have been really impressed with how the children have embraced the challenges set and accepted their responsibilities so far, already having grown a great deal in confidence, independence & maturity – they have been and continue to be, a joy to teach. I have no doubt that this term will be as successful as the last and am really looking forward to discovering and nurturing their skills of survival.