Welcome to the summer term. I can't believe where this year has gone, it’s absolutely flown by. I must say that I am extremely happy with the class, they are a lovely bunch and all working pretty well together and not giving me too many headaches so this update can be fairly brief.
The SATs are upon us and it will be time to see if all the Year 6’s hard work has paid off. No matter the outcome I am proud of all of them, they have matured and developed into a group of children who are hardworking, inquisitive and keen to learn. They always try their best and set a good example to the younger members of the class.
WOW Week was an enormous success. I hope you liked the models they made. In a week of ‘fun’, we managed to pack an awful lot of science, geography, art, D&T and history into the children. This linked us to our topic too. It is the Romans. We learned about the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius both in AD79 and in 1944. However, we will now move our focus towards the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain. Over the coming months, we will take a visit or two out to Hadrian’s Wall. The children do not realise how lucky they are living on the doorstep of a world heritage site. People travel from the four corners of the Earth to visit this little slice of Northern England and it is on our doorstep.
All class arrangements remain the same: Mrs Lupton and Miss Pennington support me in the class; Mrs Sweetman teaches French on a Monday afternoon; Mrs Little comes in to read with the children on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays; Rowan delivers football and multiskills on Thursday morning; homework is given out on a Monday and is due in on Thursday; and spellings and times tables are tested on Friday.
Having mentioned times tables in the last paragraph, just a quick note to highlight the new expectations. By the end of Year 4 the children are expected to know their times tables from 1x1 to 12x12 fluently, which means being able to answer a random times table question within 6 seconds. If they are not able to do this then they cannot be considered to be meeting the standards. In simple language, all the children should be at the ‘Speed Times Tables’ stage of our programme by the end of Year 4. There are numerous Apps available to help the children learn the tables, but one I like particularly is the DK one. So, when the children are on their devices make sure they spend some time on their times tables. I know I have mentioned Year 4 a lot in this paragraph but my words are aimed at all children. There are some Year 6s and a number of Year 5s that are still not at the ‘Speeds’ stage so they need to try even harder to learn their tables.
Moving on to reading, the children need to read twice to an adult in a week to earn a Pink Ticket. However, I would like every child to spend 10-20 minutes reading or being read to EVERY DAY.
Briefly, on homework, the children will get more out of their homework with a little adult/ grown up sibling assistance. If you do help, it would be great if you would initial it so that we can see what is independent and what isn’t. If they’re stuck and you feel it is beyond you or google, then either Miss Pennington, Mrs Lupton or me will gladly help them. This would need to be before the Thursday that it is supposed to be back in on though.
Whilst on the subject of homework and reading -What I am about to write may seem extremely obvious and I am not suggesting that any of you are guilty of this but I think it is something worth thinking about - The way we engage with, discuss and help with the children’s work is vitally important to the child. If we, as adults, tut and sigh at the mention of homework or frantically squeeze a couple of minutes of reading in while putting tea out or driving to school then the children pick up on the fact that it is of no value and a chore. They then treat it as such and slowly go off the idea of learning (unless the child is extremely self-driven). On the other hand if we, for example, say to them, “What’s your homework about this week, son? Do you think you can give it a go, or should we have a little look together?”. This immediately makes you sound interested, whether it’s true or not! If while cooking tea, you say, “Come here and read with your dad, while I’m stirring this soup. I’d love to hear a bit more of the book you were reading… Oh before you start, what have I missed?” Again, you sound interested and they feel like it is a good thing to do. It takes no longer to do but choosing positive words, phrases and mannerisms subconsciously changes the way it comes across to a young impressionable child. The power of our words and body language is enormous and we need to be careful with it.
Some of the children have been asking about a project. This is currently under consideration. The concept of a project is brilliant, but the reality is often different. Homework is suspended for 5 or 6 weeks so there is a reduction in their maths and English/grammar exposure. Additionally, there is a huge disparity between the children who receive parental help and those who don’t. Furthermore, the ones who go far above and beyond the remit makes those who have worked hard and stuck to the brief feel like they’ve failed, when in fact they have done extremely well. A decision will be made over the next couple of weeks if Project 2019 is to go ahead.
As always, I will finish by saying that our door is always open to discuss whatever you like and I am very much looking forward to sports day, the end of year performance and the leavers assembly.