Year 6 is a challenging but exciting year with a curriculum that’s jam-packed with a huge range of exciting opportunities to learn new and exciting things and develop key skills.
Our English lessons are based on a book called ‘When The Sky Falls’ set in London in the 1940s when the Second World War starts to escalate and bombs start to fall. Joseph is charged with protecting Adonis the gorilla in this nerve-shreddingly tense thriller based on a true story. Through reading and engaging with the text, the children will develop their comprehension skills as well as using the story as a stimulus for their own writing across a range of genres including diary entries, reports and letters. In addition, children will develop their Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling skills in discrete lessons.
if your child is enjoying the text, these are two other stories Phil Earle has written which they might enjoy - don’t forget the library can order copies of books in for you.
Number and Place Value in Year 6
In Year 6 number and place value simply extends the learning earlier down in the school. Numbers get bigger – from two-digit numbers all the way up to 10 million and smaller – to thousandths of a decimal place; children are expected to be confident both in saying them out loud and in writing them down.
This is something you can practise with your child when you see numbers in the newspapers or even trying to read out part of a phone number or an electricity meter – it’s not as easy as it looks! One of the best tools for securing the concept of place value is this place value grid which is a cinch to make at home. Or you can try out these place value games and activities.
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division in Year 6
In Year 6 maths, the four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – are taught together rather than in pairs. Year 6 children learn about and use common factors, common multiples and prime numbers as well as indices. You will probably notice that your child’s mental calculations improve quite significantly during and they are able to perform much more complex maths in their heads. BODMAS and the order of operations rears its head so encourage your child to learn the acronym, whether its BODMAS or BIDMAS (I = indices). One of the greatest challenges in this topic is likely to be Year 6 long division and this guide for parents and kids on short and long division. This is the method which I will use to teach the children.
If your child ever finds maths overwhelming, just take a break from the school work and try to come at it from a different angle. Maths games are brilliant for such times. Take a look at these articles sharing a range of fun maths games, including KS2 maths games, and a set of 35 times tables games you’ll want to bookmark!
The Wider Curriculum
Science - Properties of Materials
In this unit, the children will learn how to compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and their response to magnets. They will observe that some materials will dissolve in a liquid to form a solution and use their knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating. Finally, they learn how to give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.
History - What was the impact of World War 2 in Britain?
During the term, the children will be extending their chronological knowledge beyond 1066 to learn about how World War II changed British society. They will learn about the different reasons why Britain went to war in 1939 and investigate the experiences of families during the Blitz. Using a range of sources which are new to them including video and photographs, children reconstruct the feelings of those living on the home front in World War II and consider how migrants helped the war effort. To immerse your child in the era, reading a historical fiction book from the time would be a huge advantage.
There are so many excellent books on ‘Books got Topics’.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Dover Castle Trip (TBC) - 3rd November 2023
World War II Experience Day (Dress Up) - 16th October 2023
PSHE - Being Me in My World
The children will discuss their year ahead, they set goals and discuss their fears and worries about the future. The class will learn about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and that these are not met for all children worldwide. They talk about their choices and actions and how these can have far-reaching effects, locally and globally. The children talk about their own behaviour and how their choices can result in rewards and consequences and how these feel.
PE - Tennis
In this unit children will develop their understanding of the principles of net and wall games. In all games activities, children have to think about how they use skills, strategies and tactics to outwit the opposition. They are given opportunities to work co-operatively with others as well as independently, they are able to lead and officiate showing honesty and fair play whilst abiding by the rules. The children will develop their tactical awareness, learning how to outwit an opponent when playing individually and with a partner.
Music - Happy - Pharrell Williams
All the learning in this unit is focused around one song: Happy, a Pop song by Pharrell Williams. The children will play games to explore the dimensions of music (pulse, rhythm, pitch) as well as singing and playing instruments.
ICT - Coding
ICT this term is a series of lessons involving coding. Children will follow the PRIMM approach they’ve learnt in previous years in which they: Predict... what a code will do. Run... the code to check their predictions. Investigate... to trace though the code to see if they were correct. Modify... the code to add detail, change actions/outcome and finally, get creative, and Make... a new program that uses the same ideas in a different way.
RE - Sikhism
Our RE this term will explore how far a Sikh would go for his or her religion. We will begin by thinking about commitments and how these are put into practice in our everyday lives. We will be looking at the key Sikh beliefs and then exploring them in the context of their beliefs in fighting in wars, putting themselves before others and how these are reflected through their ideals about The Langar and The Golden Temple.
How can I help my child?
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
If there is ONE thing you do to support your child this year, it is to hear them read. I know you’ve probably heard every teacher say this. But it really is true. Reading sits behind everything and unlocks so many doors - school based and beyond.
You’re probably thinking ‘my child can read’ and yes, by Year 6, most children have mastered the ‘nuts and bolts’ of reading and can successfully decode the words. But their deeper understanding of the text - the twists and turns of the plot and the character’s feelings, motives and behaviour - are key aspects we will be focusing on.
Here is an example question:
How would your child fare? Would they be able to identify key aspects of a character’s personality and find evidence in the text to support their judgements? This is an important skill we will be developing so discussions at home linked to characters in texts would really help. You could also make use of the characters in films you watch too - much rich discussion can come from exploring some of the onscreen characters.
Have a look at these questions to help guide your discussions:
However, for me, it’s not about mastering the comprehension skills but fostering a real love of reading. Reading is all about finding a book you love and disappearing into its pages, being transported by the words. Here are some books which might inspire you:
Finally found an author your child loves, but devoured them all? Try here to find similar authors that they might enjoy:
This website is also great for finding your next read:
The second thing that would be incredibly helpful to practise at home are times tables. Maths concepts in Year 6 pose a new level of challenge and it is essential for children know their tables facts. Learning complex new methods, like long multiplication or division and multiplying or dividing mixed number fractions, rely on the children having quick mental recall of these facts so any spare moments encourage the children to login to their Rock Stars account for some rapid recall or try some of these games.
Or, just as good, get into the habit of giving them a few questions as you’re going along in the car. Focus on the ones they’re finding hardest and encourage them to find methods to remember them; seeing patterns and links in the numbers and using related facts to help them is a key strategy we use in school. But we’re not adverse to a few mnemonics too!
This term - Term 1 - the children are encouraged to get into good learning routines linked to securing key skills. It would be amazing if you could support your child in these core areas.
I would like the children to read (at least) three times each week and log their reading on ‘Boom Reader’ and leave a short summary of the chapter. Not only does this ensure they’re developing key reading and comprehension skills, but it also encourages their independence and enables them to take ownership of their learning - a key skill in readiness for secondary school.
To help secure their Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling skills, I’ll also be setting challenges on Rollama for the children to play to reinforce their GPS knowledge.
Children will bring home their weekly spellings on a Friday so they practice them over the weekend. Games and activities linked to these words will be set on Spelling Shed.
In addition, I would like them to practice their KIRFs which this term link to Place Value so using some of the links and ideas in the section above would really help.
Fancy a Challenge?
Each week, I’ll set games and activities on Maths and Spelling Shed linked to work we are doing in class. This is optional for Term 1 and 2 but, to get the children into good learning routines for Secondary School, I will ask them to complete tasks on here each week from Term 3 onwards. Don’t worry - I’ll run a Homework Club one lunchtime so they can do it in school with my help if they prefer.
When I met the children for their taster session, there was lots of questions and concerns about SATs: what I said to them then, and will continue to reinforce as we go through the year, is that they are SO MUCH MORE THAN A SCORE. The tests that the children sit in May assess their Maths, Reading & Writing skills which, unquestionably, are vital skills and we will be working hard to ensure they make fantastic progress in these areas.
But, and it’s a big but, these tests do not show what fantastic dancers, artists, golfers, singers, gamers, Lego builders and chefs we have in our midst! The SATs assessments only measure a tiny part of the amazing person and variety of skills and talents they all have. So, while I want them to try their best to develop their core reading, writing and maths skills and understanding and do their very best in the assessments, I will also ensure they know that this is just a small measure of their all-round-awesomeness!
I will organise a parent workshop nearer the time with more information, but for the time being, just read lots (and don’t book any holidays in May, please!)
A Final - but VERY IMPORTANT - Note
To finish the first update of the year, I’d like to say that my priority is making sure every child is happy and enjoys coming to school. If they (or you) are worried about anything - big or small - please pop in and see me. I want to fill their last year of primary school full of fun, laughter and awesome memories! Learning only happens when children feel happy and secure so getting things right for them all as individuals is essential.
Thank you for in advance for your support with their learning. I’m really looking forward to working with you and your child this year.
Jess Addison and the Year 6 Team