In the Juniors we study a new topic each short term. We are currently using the ‘Cornerstones Curriculum’. The themes of our topics are varied, but usually focus around History, Geography or Science. We encourage cross-curricular learning and where possible make strong links across all subject areas, putting new skills into the context of each topic.
Our topic, which we will also focus most of our English lessons around, is Frozen Planet. The children will learn all about the polar regions, noting similarities and difference between the Arctic and Antarctica. They will learn about the different animals that are found in both poles and consider the way they are adapted to their environment. This topic will act as a vehicle for us to consider the impact of climate change and think of ways we can be kinder to our environment. The children will also learn about various explorers and their expeditions.
We will continue along the same theme as before half term and progress our understanding of living things and their habitats. This term we will look closely at food chains and food webs, with a particular focus on animals found in the polar regions. The children will create their own iceberg and observe how it changes over time, answering questions such as: What happens if you add salt to iceberg? Why do you think there are air bubbles in your iceberg? Which parts melt more quickly—the part above or below the surface?
The school day starts at 8:50am; however, children are encouraged to arrive at school when the door opens at 8:30am. Registration time provides a great opportunity for the children to make a positive start to their day. In the Juniors, children will go through their daily homework as well as complete morning activities which help to consolidate their understanding and build confidence in fundamental numeracy and literacy skills. This time is also an opportunity for the children to respond to any of their teacher’s comments in their exercise books.
At 9:05am we have collective worship together, singing, reflecting on religious, spiritual and moral issues and celebrating our achievements. For the rest of the morning we have a Literacy and Numeracy lesson, both lasting an hour.
Before lunch we make time for reading and support groups, working on meeting individual targets. After lunch we cover a range of subjects often taught as cross-curricular. These are: PE (including swimming), PSHE, RE, Topic (History and Geography), Science, Computing, DT, Art Forest Schools and Music.
We go swimming weekly (Wednesday afternoons) in KS2 and parents will be sent a copy of the swimming dates at the start of the year. Parents are encouraged to contact school if they are available to volunteer to help on the swimming rota. It is important children have their swimming kit (hat towel and goggles) with them each week. Parents are asked to ensure their children have their school PE kit in school at all times. At the moment PE is on Tuesdays; however, this can change due to the weather and other timetable reasons. Thank you!
We usually go on several visits a year providing opportunities for children to learn about some topics first hand.
We take our Year 5 and 6 on a residential each year, alternating between outdoor and adventurous coastal activities in Pembrokeshire and a city break in London. These trips provide amazing out-of-the-classroom learning experiences as well as being lots of fun and creating lasting memories! After an exciting trip to the capital in June, Mrs Poole, Mr Figg and the pupils are looking forward to a few days in Pembrokeshire during the summer of 2020.
Each Tuesday morning the children will have a ‘cold test’ where they will be asked to spell 16 (y3/y4) or 20 (y5/y6) words. The children will have neither seen nor practiced these words. They will then have 30 minutes to work in small groups and collectively as a class to look at spelling patterns/strategies that help them learn and remember the words on their spelling list, before sitting a ‘warm test’. The children will then take their spelling list home and continue to apply the strategies used in class (parents are encouraged to help children with their learning) ready for their ‘hot test’ during Friday’s registration.
Additional work on sentence structure, handwriting and grammar will also be carried out during Tuesday’s lessons for children who achieve 80-100% in their cold spelling tests.
It is hoped that encouraging the children to look closely at root words, prefixes, suffixes, spelling rules and patterns, as well as sharing different strategies, will improve their ability to retain and recall this information, not only during the Friday spelling tests, but also when writing independently weeks/months/years in the future. We are less concerned with their ability to score highly in weekly tests, as we are in their ability to become competent, no, excellent spellers for life.
Children are given one piece of homework (which should take no longer than 5 minutes) each night. Each piece of homework consists of 5 questions and will be aimed specifically at that child’s current needs. The questions will help to reinforce what they have been doing in class. It is hoped that by using the ’little and often’ approach, the children will become even more confident with their maths and grammar. Each child will have a homework book — parents should encourage them to show all their workings in these books. The children should be able to answer each question independently; however, if additional help is provided, this is highlighted by the supporting adult. This enables the class teacher the opportunity to provide further support at school to help them master that particular skill.
With strong links between reading and attainment, the children are given ample opportunities to read in school. However, they are also encouraged to read at home. Parents are asked to support their child’s development by listening to them; reading to them; and questioning them about what they have read. It is hoped that this will help to promote reading habits. Each child has a reading diary and in the Juniors it is their responsibility to fill it in each time they read, either at home or a school. Parents are also encouraged to write in their child’s reading diary – commenting on expression, fluency and understanding of the text.
IXL maths and grammar
School subscribes to an online maths and grammar website, which enables the children to practice all areas of the maths and grammar curriculum. Each child has an individual username and password, which enables them to access the site. This also provides their classroom teacher with a breakdown of what they have been studying, which provides the opportunity to monitor their progress. Occasionally, the children get the chance to use this site in school; however, it is perfect for any extra maths or grammar practice they may wish to do at home. If any question is answered incorrectly, the correct method and answer is explained to them. The site does have an app, which can be downloaded for free, or you can access the site by visiting the webpage: http://uk.ixl.com/