Year 6 Music 16th May

Great to see you all yesterday! Could you send me answers to my questions, for this and last week’s blog (with your names) to: [email protected]

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Hello Year 6, I hope you enjoyed my blog about children and music in the 1940’s.

The one thing I did forget to mention was the fact that there was always music making in the home at this time. My grandparents told me that everyone had a piano in their house, and they would play and sing together all the time….what a fabulous way to pass the time…..!

I really enjoyed looking at Mrs Gillhouley’s maths blog about coding and it made me realise that actually reading music is a form of coding if you think about it. Musical notation is a form of interpreting different lengths of sound.

There is a detective series on TV called ‘Morse’.

Inspector Morse Theme

The theme tune was written by an Australian composer called Barrington Pheloung, who used a Morse code motif (a short riff that is repeated throughout) for the letters that spelt the name M.O.R.S.E.

Sometimes apparently Pheloung’s music would even reveal the name of the killer in Morse code, or sometimes the name of another character (as a red herring).

Some composers and music writers have used it in their music, for example, Pink Floyd ( English rock band), used Morse code as backing in several of their songs.


Write down the Morse code for M.O.R.S.E., then try and clap this as a rhythm while listening to the theme tune above.


Finally, take your initials, for example mine would be J.H. (. – – –  . . . .)

See if you can clap or play the rhythm against another piece of music of your choice.

-If we applied Morse code to the ‘Doctor Who’ theme tune we looked at 2 weeks ago, which letters would it use….?


Through time, other composers have used a code to write their music, using the 7 letters of the musical alphabet.


J.S.Bach (1685-1750) wrote a piece of music for keyboard based on the 4 letters of his name.

B in German means Bb, and H is taken as B natural, so the notes he used for his theme, were Bb – A – C – Bnatural.  It’s a fabulous piece.


Edward Elgar (1857-1934) an English composer, wrote a set of variations (Enigma Variations) for orchestra using the names of many of his friends as motifs, but there is one variation that was a secret, and no one is really sure who it was.


An idea…..Maybe try and write a code into a rhythmic or notated phrase and send it to me…. It only needs to be very short……


KS1 En la granja – on the farm

¡Buenos días!

I hope you are all ok.

Today I have a lovely song about some farm animals. There is a video to watch and you can sing along with the words. I hope you enjoy it!

En la granja de mi amiga Clara,    On the farm of my friend Clara,

Hay muchos animales.      There are many animals.

Hay un perro,       There is a dog.

Hay un gato.       There is a cat.

Hay cerdos,         There are pigs,

Hay patos.           There are ducks.

Guau guau guau hace el perro.    says the dog.

Miuau miuau miuau hace el gato.   says the cat.

Oink oink oink hace el cerdo.     says the pig.

Cua cua cua hace el pato.        says the duck.

En la granja de mi amiga Clara,     On the farm of my friend Clara,

Hay muchos animales.         There are many animals.

Hay vacas,       There are cows.

Hay ovejas.       There are sheep.

Hay gallos,         There are roosters.

Hay caballos.     There are horses.

Mu u u u u u la vaca,       the cow

Be e e e e e la oveja,      the sheep

Ki kiri ki el gallo,      the rooster

Hi i i el caballo.         the horse


La vaca me da leche,        The cow gives me milk.

La oveja me da lana,       The sheep gives me wool.

La gallina pone huevos todas las mañanas.    The hen gives me eggs every morning.


¡Hasta luego!

Señora Hayes x

Celebrating STEM successes

If you have been looking at that 66 STEM ideas sheet and wondering if making a solar oven is even possible, I can now assure you it is. Thanks to this determined, ingenious engineer in Year 6, we have proof!

She built a solar oven, cooked an egg in it (sunny side up) and ate it! Apparently, it took 90 minutes for the egg to cook, so it would not be ideal if you were ravenous or lacking in patience but it does show you what is possible.If you would like to have a go yourselves and make some Smores, this website may help:

Remember to get an adult to help.

This website also shows you how the solar oven is used around the world to help people in  poorer countries. .

I have so enjoyed seeing all the STEM projects that you have completed in the class galleries. We are such a great bunch of STEM engineers at St John’s and we do love our science. In case you may be running out of ideas on your 66 STEM ideas sheet, here is the latest of the activity sheets with more ideas for you to try at home. You might want to have look at earlier blogs for the others too.

I do love seeing what you are up to and what you discover, so please do email me or post comments below.

Download (PDF, 532KB)

Solutions to Maths Challenges Week 4

First Challenge

Max S in Year 1, solved this puzzle.  He used flash cards with the numbers on to add with, along with a little help from the numicon. He then went onto find 3 other totals using the cards. Well done Max!

I was delighted to see that Aalim in Year 1, used the coloured blocks – this is EXCELLENT. Often something amazing happens when we solve problems in this way – the brain sees maths in a special way and our brain grows.

Rory, in Year 1, also solved the puzzle. He decided to use dominoes. He tried out the different combinations of numbers adding these up to see which totals he could find. He found that over time the more sums he did, the easier the sums became and the more quickly he could find the answers he wanted. Well done, Rory! Great puzzling!

Zach in Year 1 also solved this. If you look carefully you can see how he started with the number 8 and generated many of the answers using this as a starting base. Great thinking!


Junior Challenge

Aalim also enjoyed cracking the codes. I know this is very popular with many people – especially me! Starting with the four circles is key to this puzzle. From there it is possible to reason the remaining answers.

Teddy, in Year 2, took this on and solved it correctly. If you lok carefully you can see the TOP TIP! Thank you Teddy.

Jamie, in year 4 also enjoyed this and

Senior Challenge

Mikayla was quick off the mark this week with her solution. She quickly realised that no house number could be higher than 8 as it would take the total of all the eight house greater than 36. She also worked out which combinations could NOT go together. She used my suggestion of cutting up the paper squares and reasoning her way to the final solution. Thank you for sharing your approach – this really helps others to consider ways to solve problem like this. Congratulations.

Eloise in Year 6 solved this too. Well done!

Alex, Year 5, also attempted this. It is a tricky problem, so very well done, Alex. As you can see, this arrangement of houses is different from Mikayla’s and Eloise’s but still solves the problem correctly. As in life, there are often many ways to solve the same problem.

Very excited about tomorrow’s challenges. I am releasing them early as we have VE day on Friday! Might there be a link? Who can guess what it will be?

Friday 1st May

Good Afternoon Year 1.

What a wonderfully busy week of learning we have had! I have been amazed at your work this week especially your beautiful stories using super sentence openers! They were brilliant! You should all be very proud of your hard work this week! Here are just a few examples:

I hope everyone has received their letter from me this week. I was very surprised this morning when the postman bought me some letters! I have had 2 replies already! They really made me smile, thank you!


I’ve also had lots of lovely pictures sent to me of you busy with your learning at home, here a few to share with you.

Don’t forget to check the Year 1 Gallery to see more of your wonderful work!


I’ve been busy making lots of ‘Pocket Hugs’ for my family this week. They are little heart shape tokens that I will send to everyone in my family so they know I am thinking about them. Maybe you could make your own ‘pocket hug’ this weekend to send to somebody you care about?


Have a lovely weekend and I speak to you next week!

Love Miss Giles x

Friday 1st May

Good afternoon Year 6,

What a funny old week it has been, full of ups and downs. I have missed the sunshine but at the same time have been grateful for the rain. If I didn’t know it before, I now know, for sure, that I am not very good at being inside! I wonder who else is a bit like me?

The sunshine that you have provided in the form of your work has been incredible this week. It has kept me going when the grey clouds were looming. I have learnt about John Cena, Martin Garrix, Dove Cameron, seen excellent VE day work, creative and thoughtful character studies, read some fabulous stories and enjoyed your work immensely. Have a look on the gallery for some examples of these.

I have been particularly moved by the resilience and strength of our St. John’s families who have been managing the distance learning, the ups and downs that brings,  juggling work and various commitments. You are all remarkable. Thank you for your support, patience and ability to laugh and smile in the face of adversity. Let’s hope next week brings better weather and positivity.

Rather than highlight one or two pieces of work for the blog, I have chosen something that touched my heart. This is a letter from Iona’s Great Aunt Dorothy to her brother Bob (Iona’s granddad) on 7th May 1945, one day before the announcement of the victory in Europe. I include it as it has so many parallels to how we might be feeling now in lock down. Thank you for sharing this, it is both moving and inspiring. The full extract is attached at the end of the blog if you would like to read more.

Extract from a letter from Iona’s Great Aunt Dolly to her brother Bob (Iona’s Granddad) at the end of the Second World War.  Granddad Bob was called up to the Army when he was about 19. The house the family rented in London was bombed during the ‘Blitz’.

‘What a day it’s been waiting for the announcement today that it’s over, but it hasn’t come yet. People are still pretty calm but you can see they are simply bursting to cheer.

Flags are out on nearly all buildings and shops. People have little flags, rosettes and everything else that is red, white and blue pinned on their coats. I don’t think there were ever such times as there will be when the end is announced.

In my letter last week I said that wouldn’t it be nice if it was over by the time you got that letter. You may have it before it is, but I don’t think there is any doubt of it not being over by the time you get this one do you?

You could see people queuing for bread everywhere – we were told to get in extra bread because the shops will be shutting…. Everything is being got ready for flood-lighting and speeches, bells are going to ring to mark the finish of the war in Europe. All we are waiting for now is the word.

It doesn’t seem really possible does it Bob? I think that’s what has kept people so calm up to now because they can hardly believe it. I don’t know whether I will laugh or cry when it comes, but I think most people will do a bit of each don’t you? But the air is sure tense with excitement.’ 


Full extract:

Download (DOCX, 14KB)

With you in spirit

Hello again Year 5,

As we come to the end of school week 4 of lockdown, some of us might be experiencing a bit of lockdown fatigue?! I hope you’re all managing to stay in good spirits.

St. John’s spirit

Did you enjoy the loo roll video? I hope you’ve all seen it (on Mrs Quirk’s blog if not).

Now that we’re past the peak of the virus, it hopefully won’t be too much longer before we’ll be back together and you can be reunited as the brilliant Year 5 class you are, full of positivity, enthusiasm and kindness.

From the look of all the great work you’ve been sending in, you’ve certainly been productive and creative – keep it up! Mrs G and I would love to have heard from everyone by the end of today if possible.

Spirit of fun

First a riddle:

Where does Friday come before Thursday?

Answer in my next blog in two weeks’ time. The blog will only be weekly from now on (alternating Fridays between me and Mrs G).

Next, a clip which I forgot to post a month ago (Teddy getting his own back… just not on me!):


Is your spirit of fun alive and well? Maybe get your prank heads on to keep things interesting at home?! Nothing too serious though obviously…

Birthday spirit

Have you been tapping into the birthday spirit with COLONEL Tom? What a legend!

As a decorated soldier who fought in World War II, he also brings to mind the Blitz spirit, something of which has been evident these past few weeks in our national response to this crisis. No doubt Colonel Tom will particularly enjoy next Friday which is a bank holiday to commemorate VE day – more to follow about that next week.

Spirit of adventure

As you know, things are changing slightly next week with the new home learning timetable. Sometimes a change, even a small one, can help reinvigorate us; like the change in the weather…did anyone get out for a rainy walk?

On one of our walks earlier this week, I spotted a couple of monkeys – can you spot them?

And yesterday afternoon, I decided we’d been in the house too long and would embrace the rain. The boys weren’t massively keen but it’s amazing what adventures you can have when you just DO things…

Hill-running: PSLisu4ZS0yOAt0CMmoVIg

Wildlife spotting:


And hole-digging (also featuring new sport of root-wrestling!):

Having dug our hole (for no particular reason), we ended up coming home with bark-platefuls of clay ready for some sort of sculpting at a later date. All from what started as a rather aimless walk – adventure is out there!

Holy Spirit

Have a peaceful (but adventurous) weekend and may the Holy Spirit put wind in your sails as we continue to navigate these choppy waters!

With you in spirit,

Mrs G and Mr G

Maths Challenges – Week 4

Welcome to this week’s maths challenges. They have come out a little earlier than usual as next week is a 4 day week –  so feel free to get started!

Remember to send solutions to [email protected] by 3pm next Wednesday. 
Simply write the type of maths challenge e.g. First Maths challenge, Junior Maths Challenge or Senior Maths challenge in the subject bar.  
Tell me your class and if you are happy for your work to be published on the blog. 
I look forward to seeing your ideas and solutions.
If you can attach your work, that would really help!

First Challenge

Tricky one this week, my keen mathematicians. Try your best – stick at it.

Download (DOCX, 142KB)

Junior Challenge

I LOVE these kind of puzzles. I hope you do too. I hear Year 4 are very good at these!

Download (DOCX, 104KB)

Senior Challenge

I’ve picked a tricky one! As this is hard, house points and special mentions on offer.

Download (DOCX, 85KB)

Here are some great Science based activities for you to do at home. Today, the weather is bit rainy but there are still plenty of activities that could be done indoors today. Why don’t you have a go at the paper tower, make things move or musical glasses challenge or even design a waterproof roof for the three little pigs’ houses (It looks like they’ll need that today).

Have fun and do email me a photo of you doing one of these, so I celebrate your science learning and share it on the blog.

Download (PDF, 706KB)