Merry Christmas to all

We would like to wish all our families a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.


Thank you so much for your generous gifts.


The Year 5 team,


Jane Gillhouley, Sarah Grimble, Debbie Barnett, Phillipa Howe, Mhairi Mackelworth, Edmund Grobel, Jo Bennett and Helen Reynolds

I have a dream!

This week, as you are probably aware, we have been writing speeches. We have just completed our learning journey through the Tudors by analysing Elizabeth I’s famous Tilbury speech with the well-known line ‘ I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too’. We looked at how Elizabeth and other famous speech writers, such as Martin Luther King, used powerful phrases, repetition and emotive language to engage their listeners. Each member of the class then used these devices to write a powerful persuasive speech to stand for 5S’s Head Boy and Head Girl – we voted using a ballot box exploring the idea of democracy.

Congratulations to Megan and Ethan.


Our art this term has been based around Tudor Portraits and we spent a very interesting morning at the National Portrait Gallery discovering more about the portraits we had studied.


Look at the wonderful portraits we have painted…                                       

We are now creating self-portraits using the techniques that we have learnt from the Tudor portraits. Please ask your child how we are adding details to our self-portraits that show our personalities and passions.

Here is our learning journey for maths. We have learned about square, cubed and prime numbers as well as factors, common factors and multiples. Last week, we studied perimeter and this week we have been learning how to calculate area. Now we can find the perimeter and area of compound shapes which include shapes with missing measurements.

In term 3, we will begin working on multiplication and division so please keep helping your child to learn their tables as this knowledge is invaluable.

We now have a prayer book, full of the prayers the children wrote and decorated for homework. We have been reading out a different prayer every day just before home time and it has been lovely to see the children admiring the prayers of others and eager for theirs to be read. The book is a superb addition to our classroom. Thank you everyone.







The wheels on the bikes go round and round!

Welcome back to term 2.  As I am sure you are aware, the children will be cycling tomorrow and I am looking forward to hearing all about their adventures on the bikes.

Mrs Hollands (Miss Parfett) has left us to have her baby and therefore Mr Ed Grobel will now be taking 5S on a Friday. The children were introduced to him last week and I am sure that they will welcome him to St John’s.

This term we have been continuing our historical travels through the Tudor era. This week we started learning about Mary I and we are in the process of writing a balanced argument, to weigh up the evidence, for whether Mary I deserves to be called ‘bloody Mary’. Please ask your child what they think as we have practised our argument skills through debating and have begun to look at all the evidence so that we can write an argument that is balanced on both sides. I believe the children all now have an opinion about whether she deserved her nickname.


In maths, we have begun our learning journey towards multiplication and division by investigating multiple and factors. We had a vote as to what animal or vehicle should represent our class on our maths journey and we decided that a tortoise was the best, as we felt that sometimes ‘slow and steady wins the race’ enabled us to always be successful.


Father Robin and Father Matthew came into school on Wednesday and explained to Years 5 and 6 the ritual and the reason for Mass. We really enjoyed learning about this important occasion.

This afternoon, we have been making our annual Christmas cards for you to purchase if you wish to. They are all lovely!


Just a reminder that we are off to the National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday. Please make sure your child is in school on Wednesday by 8.45 am and brings with them their packed lunch.


Tudor Times

Welcome back to a new term and a new year group. It was lovely to see many of you at the meet the teacher meeting the other week.

We have started this term by embracing the Tudor period. We are using our historical learning of this era to discover and create Tudor portraits in art and as our English writing. So far we have written newspaper reports on the Battle of Bosworth; an explanation of why King Henry VII was a successful monarch and now we are writing fact files on King Henry VIII. The children are really enjoying both learning and sharing their knowledge of this period in time.

To re-inforce this learning, we spent the day at Knole House learning about how the Tudors lived at the House and the roles / jobs they would have undertaken. Everyone enjoyed dressing up and thinking about how their clothes were made to be suitable for the job they did. We walked around the House and marveled at the wondrous portraits and the King’s bed. Finally, we handled replicas of Tudor objects and learnt about how they are conserving the House from many enemies, especially light. The children will have brought home their own desimeters to measure light.




In maths, we have just completed our learning journey through place value and we are about to embark on the four operations, beginning with addition and subtraction.


Next term, we hope to visit the National Portrait Gallery in London to learn about more about Tudor portraits.



Term 5 comes to a sunny end

What a lovely way to end term 5! Glorious sunshine and a bright forecast for the week ahead. Not surprisingly, the children are ready for a break.

The term has flown by and we have been journeying along with Edward Tulane on hisIMG_2532 adventures. The children have enthusiastically embraced this text and empathise with the character as though he is real. Some have been bringing in clothing to add to Edward’s extensive, exquisite wardrobe. Edward, now “Suzanna”  adores his pink, frilly frock (for special occasions). Thank you, Issy!  Next term, we will continue exploring the text, writing poetry, letters and new chapters. There are plenty writing opportunities on offer to prepare the children for their transition to year 5 and we look forward to displaying these next term.



In science, we have been privileged to be able to contextualise our learning within Forest School, during which we have used classification keys to identify freshwater invertebrates (participating in a national OPAL survey of pond health) and to identify common trees using their leaves.

A visit to the church, supported us in learning more about St John’s church and why Christians attend church to worship. We asked the children to sit in silence in their own space as we arrived to reflect on how it feels to be within the sanctuary of the church. Many loved the time to sit calmly, however others, felt uncomfortable as they are always rushing about, busy and noisy. Not surprisingly, this quiet, still moment was appreciated by the adults, who took a rare moment to “breathe” within the bustle of the day. Being still – a skill we all need to practise, I think.

I wish you all very restful half term. Please do let me know if you do any of the activities mentioned in the Science Snippets Newsletter. There are several surveys to take part in, farms to visit and plants to grow. Have fun! See you in term 5.



Carroty Wood Adventures

What a fabulous way to begin term 5! And, what an adventurous 24 hours we have shared at Carroty Wood. Many challenges were faced, fears conquered, goals achieved and new skills and independence learned. The children will no doubt have much to tell you and I am certain that they will be needing an early night for the next few days after such great activity.

IMG_2294On Monday, we packed in heap of experiences: a rounders game, picnic lunch,making beds, high ropes, low ropes, swimming, dinner (including washing up), board/card games and finally bed time!

The High Ropes saw many children face their fear of heights by learning to trust the equipment, instructors, teachers and themselves.


Luckily for us, we managed to avoid having an icy hose down by successfully crossing the swamp without falling in – most of us! A few ended up with soggy socks – but all in all – not too bad! Many laughs along the way.You can see in the photo above, Adele showing compassion, lending a helping hand and giving much needed encouragement which helped Rebecca to conquer her fear crossing the swamp successfully.It was wonderful witnessing all the class encouraging one another around the course.

Lucky Lucy! I can’t imagine a more exciting way to spend a birthday. Happy birthday to you from all your friends who loved spending time with you on your special day. IMG_2384IMG_2287

Tuesday, we were awoken early by beautiful birdsong and glorious sunshine and did not stop! We showered, tidied rooms, packed bags, ate breakfast, washed up, packed our own lunches, attended an assembly with 4P on the importance of trust and how Christians trust in God. 4C then completed the Mission Impossible and learnt along the way: “Some challenges that seem impossible are made a lot easier if you ask for help” Tim shared the story ‘Facing the Fiery Furnace’ ( Daniel 3), where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were saved from the flames because they asked God for help and trusted in him.

We certainly had plenty of opportunities to ask for help and to trust during our time at Carroty Wood. Well done 4C! You have shown that you are independent, thoughtful, helpful, determined and polite individuals who show compassion and tolerance in all you do. I am very proud of  you!

As for the rest of the term…….. Forest School, church visits, clubs, outdoor science learning are only a few of the things we will be doing. A busy term awaits!






Well, yet another busy term has flown by. We have had STEM week, Literacy festivals, Mother’s day and Easter celebrations and Inter-house sports (to name just a few of the exciting happenings at St Johns).

The children loved making lip balm as mother’s day gifts and it provided an excellent opportunity to apply their knowledge of changing states of matter from earlier in year 4, as well as them seeing the use of science within the cosmetics industry. Even the boys loved it! So much so, they made me my very own pot of multi-coloured lip balm as a thank you! Thank you lovely boys!


We ended the term with an inter-house sports competition and were blessed with splendid sunny weather (hopefully it will last through the holidays too). Congratulations to all those who participated and well done to those who spectated and cheered on the houses. It was impressive to see such wonderful team spirit, sportsmanship and enthusiasm from all the children.

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Lastly, have a wonderful holiday and blessed Easter and return to school with renewed energy for another busy term of learning. Not long to Carroty Wood!

Varjak the hero and new learning lined up

IMG_2076This week we completed reading Varjak Paw. The children have absolutely loved the book and we already have waiting list of children wanting to read the sequel “The Outlaw Varjak Paw”. This text has inspired us to write across many genres; letters, diaries, descriptions and newspaper articles. Some of these you can read below and more examples will be put up on display outside Year 4. One thing’s for certain, I will miss the children’s grumbles and their pleading  for me to read more, when I have stopped reading at THE most exciting, crucial part (shows how much we loved the book!!). The next IMG_2077book we are working from is also one that won’t disappoint!

Our journey through the digestive system is well on its way. The children have learnt the names and functions of human teeth and have learnt how teeth in animal skulls can give scientists important clues as to the diet of the animal. We learnt to classify animals as herbivores, omnivores and carnivores using the animals teeth to determine their diet. Thanks Ollie Jones for bringing in horse teeth!).To learn the names of the organs involved in digestion, we created our own digestive systems. We will be looking at the process of digestion in future lessons (hands on and dramatic!)


In RE, we are learning to ask BIG QUESTIONS using creation stories as a starting point. I have been impressed with the maturity and respect shown for each other as diverse opinions and beliefs have been expressed. This topic has, without doubt, provoked interesting debate and discussion.

In Maths, we have been working on understanding decimal equivalence and being able to order and compare decimals. In a couple of weeks we will begin our unit on time. In preparation for this it would be helpful if the children could practise reading the time on an analogue clock, as this will provide a good foundation on which to build. In Year 4, we teach telling the time on a digital clock, 24 hour clock, reading timetables and calculating time intervals.

The big countdown to STEM week has begun with only a few days to go. We wait in anticipation to find out what exciting learning has been planned.




Little Romans Invade

Wow! This morning we were invaded by Romans, both rich and poor as they streamed excitedly in through the school doors in eager anticipation of their Roman-themed day. Thank you for the amazing effort with the costumes. It certainly added the WOW factor to the day.

In Maths, we unravelled a Roman recipe that was written in Roman Numerals and we cracked a few codes to decipher secret messages. We had a super playtime, charging around the “battlefield” reenacting battles between the Iceni and Romans, and rescuing beautiful Roman empresses and maidens, before attending our Roman workshop led by “Flora, the archeaologist” from Crew Education.PicCollage (1)

She had all the children engaged and interacting with props, artifacts and costumes. We learned about Claudius and his army, both what they wore and military strategies; the lives of wealthy Romans and their slaves and reenacted a battle against Boudica and her tribe.

The afternoon, was spent designing and making mosaics which we will be using in our maths lesson next term.



A new year and many new beginnings.

Happy New Year to you all and welcome back after a lovely Christmas break. The children seem well rested and eager to learn. Excitedly, we began reading our new book, Varjak Paw, and most children are enjoying it immensely. Varjak is currently faced with the dilemma to stay in the only home he has ever known, or listen to the Elder Paw and leave to seek help in the outside world. As always, classroom opinion is divided, with strong cases for both sides being argued by the children who have written persuasive letters to Varjak to help him with his dilemma.

PicCollage (1)In Maths, we have begun our new topic, Fractions! We have been making sure we understand that a fraction represents equal parts of a whole. We have done lots of paper folding and used the Numicon to create fraction creatures demonstrating our understanding. We have begun to look at equivalent fractions and will be learning to add and subtract them.

PicCollage (2)In science, our new topic is Sound. We began with a very noisy and active carousel of activities to help the children understand how sounds are made and how they travel.

Remember: Please have complete PE kits in school every day. Also, I have set some Mymaths homework for you all to have a go at. Currently, this is optional as we are trialing the system but do have a go as it will support your learning in class.