Week beginning 27th March
Looking back at this term's blog, I can't believe how much we have managed to fit in! Well done to all of the children for displaying incredible commitment to their learning and for making so much progress. I am exceptionally proud to be their phase leader and hope that they, and your families, all have a lovely break over the holidays.
Please do take a look at our Sports Blog to hear news of our ever-brilliant footballers, and enjoy looking at some examples of UKS2’s work below from the last week of term.
We look forward to welcoming the children back to school on Tuesday 18th April.
Miss Kropman x
Topaz's Geography Lesson - Tuesday 28th March
Topaz continued to explore the Amazon today with a research task opening the lesson as they sought to discover the different terminology of the rainforest, basin and river. We also looked at the equator and which countries the Amazon encompasses. Working in small pairs, research slides were created about what life is like in the Amazon and its location, before map work commenced! We are now all confident about where the Amazon is situated and can discuss geographical features such as the climate and the area of land which is covered.
RE learning about Pesach - Thursday 30th March
As a fun, yet educational, treat, Topaz were asked to watch more clips from The Prince of Egypt in their RE lesson today. Following this, we learnt about the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) which many of our teachers and families will be celebrating next week. We explored what the word 'exodus' meant in the context of the situation in Egypt, and discussed the feelings and emotions that the Hebrews would have experienced when Moses led them into the promised land. Finally, we drew each of the symbolic items from the Seder plate and discussed what they represent.
Week beginning 20th March
UKS2 have had a fantastic week of learning, with Year 6 taking their turn at baking scones for DT! Further dancing and sporting fixtures have taken place (please see Sports Blog), whilst, during parent consultations, the teachers have enjoyed being able to let parents and carers know just how brilliant the Year 5&6 children have been this term!
Year 6 Design and Technology Week's Final Bake! - Thursday 23rd March
Year 6 have been working incredibly hard this week to first make and sample a wide variety of sweet and savoury scones. Following this, they were set a brief to design a scone that would be suitable to be consumed at the King's afternoon tea on his coronation day. A wide range of excellent and original sweet and savoury designs were submitted, and royal taste testers Mrs Fisher and Miss Kropman's palettes were tingling with excitement as Thursday approached! Please see below pictures of the amazing Year 6 bakers. They are now going to bake their scones and ask family members to be the lucky recipients of these. Rumour has it, an afternoon tea has actually been planned for the weekend: what a wonderful way to prepare for the real coronation in May!
Week beginning 13th March
UKS2 have, once again, had a fun-filled week at school! Whilst Year 5 have been busy with their DT unit (with Year 6 following next week), Year 6 have been hard at work in the core subjects. Additionally, our Year 6 Pupil Parliament members got to attend a special Commonwealth Service with HRH The King on Monday (see their separate blog and the super video below!), our dancers have been competing in a competition in Stevenage, and our netballers and football A teams have all been in action (please see Sports Blog). All of this, and it's still another couple of weeks until the holidays!
Topaz's descriptive writing about the Amazon - Wednesday 15th March
Topaz have been inspired by Eva Ibbotson's 'Journey to the River Sea' this week, writing some beautiful descriptions to coincide with Maia and Miss Minton's first experience of the Amazon in the second chapter of the novel. Here are just three of Miss Kropman's favourites:
Distinct amazement caressed our minds like velvet; we gasped as we saw the pure saturation of the florescent parrots and the rich green tone of the Amazon. Eagerly, I waved at the gnarly grey logs moving effortlessly across the water, dominating the river. I closed my eyes as the crunchy wet leaves massaged mine and Miss Minton's tired ears. Emerald green pervaded, stretching endlessly into the horizon. Looming trees embraced us with their long roots as the birds overhead sang their beautiful melodies.
It was truly amazing. Glorious trees were wrapping around me as I slowly travelled down the dark river. I felt like I could fall asleep in this unknown, undiscovered surrounding. Peaceful, calming birds sang, delicately weaving in and out of the trees above a river as dark as coal. Damp, moist leaves danced across the ground. The forest was alive.
Glorious trees wrapped calmly around us as we meandered down the river. Mythical-like capybaras majestically strolled along the banks, whilst the Amazon's lush canopy embraced me. Meanwhile, like a familiar melody, birds sang beautifully in the velvet sky above. As night fell, the Moon began to bathe the river in a silvery hue.
By Harry C
Year 6 Hockey session with Monk's Walk Partnership - Thursday 16th March
Mr Williams from our Sports Partnership came in this morning to run some hockey sessions with Year 6. After revising basic technique, we took part in some skills and drills practice. Following this, were some fun and competitive games! Mr Williams was using these sessions as the perfect opportunity to select a team for an upcoming hockey competition next term. Congratulations to the following children who were successful in gaining a place in the squad:
David, Ellis, Elsie, Evie, Francesca, Frazer, Jake, Jasmine, Lois and Luke
Week beginning 6th March
UKS2 have loved their learning this week! In addition to the examples shown below, please check out our Sports Blog to read about our wonderful footballers!
UKS2 learning about the Jewish festival of Purim in RE - Tuesday 7th March
Years 5 and 6 spent their RE lesson today learning about the festival of Purim, which began at sundown yesterday and is being celebrated by Jewish communities around the world today. We explored the story of Purim and experienced the megillah reading, along with the traditional drowning out of the baddie Haman's name (using untuned percussion instruments!). Working in small groups, many of us chose to role play the story to demonstrate our learning, whilst others opted for designing a mask to represent the custom of dressing up/hiding your true identity. We enjoyed looking at photographs of Miss Kropman celebrating Purim last night before reflecting on our learning with mature comments about what the festival might teach Jewish people today.
Topaz marking International Women's Day - Wednesday 8th March
As part of Topaz's termly additional art session with Miss Shaw, they were tasked with researching a significant woman of their choice (based around a particular interest) and creating an informative poster about her to share with their peers. Such was their enthusiasm for this task that they near BEGGED Miss Kropman to allow them to continue with their posters into the afternoon! She did, of course, allow this and was exceptionally proud of their finished work. Well done, Topaz!
Topaz debating the importance of Fair Trade produce in their geography lesson - Thursday 9th March
After reflecting upon last week's local field trip to the village and interviewing the local business owners, we then held a mature discussion about what Fair Trade means to us as consumers. At the end of the lesson, we played the Banana Split game to explore how the 15p average cost of a banana is split between the five key groups involved (banana workers, plantation owners, shippers, importers and supermarkets). We were each given a role play card representing one of these groups, and had to bid for an exact share of the 15p that we felt we deserved. Interestingly, we could not make this add up to 15p, however hard we argued our cases! The closest we got was 42p (see picture).
When Miss Kropman revealed the actual breakdown of the 15p (also pictured), there was much outcry throughout the room!
'I can't see how it is fair that the banana workers only get 0.5p!' declared Luke, whilst Finlay said that, 'I am outraged that the supermarkets, who do the least work, get the largest majority of the money with 6.5p per banana. That can't be right!' Upon reading further evidence of how Fair Trade would benefit so many of the key s,takeholders, Topaz firmly agreed that supermarkets should only be allowed to stock Fair Trade bananas. Jasmine argued that, 'This will help the farmers to be able to support their families much better.' Christopher also noted how they would have better working conditions, too, and be able to join workers' unions.
Well done, Topaz. You were absolute superstars this afternoon!
Week beginning 27th February
Another busy week in UKS2 with plenty of active learning once more. We hope you enjoy looking at some of this in action! Please also see the Sports Blog for news of the incredible boys indoor athletics team.
UKS2 Geography learning about Fairtrade in the classroom and then interviewing local business owners in the village - Tuesday 28th February
Years 5 and 6 furthered their understanding of Fairtrade this afternoon through carefully researching this using the Chromebooks. Upon submitting an accurate definition of this, they were then tasked to think back to their prior geography learning about where our food comes from. Working in small groups, they created a series of questions to ask local business owners in the village, such as:
Where does your produce come from? Do you consider your business' carbon footprint when ordering produce? Where is the furthest place that you order from? What happens to any food that is not sold?
We then took a walk down to the village green and spoke to a number of shop owners in order to source a wide range of data. On behalf of the phase, Miss Kropman would like to thank The Brookmans, Tealicious, Brookmans' Bakery and Brookmans Park Butchers for allowing us to visit their businesses and ask our questions. Thank you also to the CO-OP, who gave us permission to do a Fairtrade hunt along their aisles! All of the local businesses were very welcoming and gave us such an interesting insight into the importance of sourcing local and sustainable produce.
World Book Day in UKS2 - Thursday 2nd March
Years 5&6 had a thoroughly enjoyable World Book Day! Coming in dressed as a character from one of our favourite books, both staff and children enjoyed a photoshoot and fun assembly to kickstart the day. Local author, Steven Vinacour, read two chapters from his historical children's novel - Roman Rewind - in addition to talking to us about how he became an author. This was full of humour and really helped to inspire the workshops that Steven then held with each class. During this, we got to work collaboratively to produce a piece of creative writing. Year 6's was particularly unique (ahem!) with a fluffy pink unicorn and some dancers from Ohio! We then all got to ask Steven some questions about his job.
Whilst Year 5 began to plan their own piece of historical writing (with Year 6 tasked with this on Friday), Year 6 spent the afternoon completing a World Book Day quiz and a book scavenger hunt around the classrooms. After school, most of the phase then joined Steven on the playground for a live book signing session. This was a great day for all of us and we would like to thank Steven for spending it with us.
Week beginning 20th February
Welcome back to the second half of our Spring Term! This week, we have been working hard in all of the core subject areas whilst also enjoying some practical tasks within our foundation subjects. Please check out the Sports Blog for news of Year 6's Indoor Athletics competition on Friday!
UKS2 Learning about the Phases of the Moon in their science lesson - Wednesday 22nd February
Years 5 and 6 had a lovely afternoon today learning about the phases of the Moon in science. We explored how the shape of the Moon does not change, but that it appears to change as due to the differing part which is lit by the Sun. All of the children now understand that the Moon does not produce its own light, but rather the light that we see is the Sun's light being reflected off the Moon. The clearest way to practically demonstrate all of this was, of course, by using...Oreo biscuits!
Topaz's narrative writing - Thursday 23rd February
Topaz have been working hard to create exciting narrative writing over the past few weeks in English, closely linked to our class text 'Cosmic', by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Here are just a couple of super examples!
Mr Digby is the local nerd. He's tall and awkward; his arms and legs are as long as a giraffe's neck. His head is too big for his body and, where other people have short legs, he towers above everyone. His eyes are brown, but nobody notices these because he's too tall. Nobody has ever imagined what it would be like to see the world through Mr Digby’s eyes, but I have, because I am Mr Digby.
A sheet of golden mist lain over the Gobi desert, covering me in a pool of sand as I strolled my way over to the Infinite Possibility. Finally, I pulled the door to the capsule and clambered inside. T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…The rocket engine burnt into life, flapping with exhilaration as we flew through the atmosphere. Then, silence. A roaring silence engulfing me in calmness, with an unimaginable, illustrious feeling of freedom. I was in space, infinite space…
We reached our final orbit just at that moment things started to go wrong. The capsule started to rumble and I didn’t know where we were. All gravity had been lost, and we were spiralling out of control. My heart was beating. I had let my team down and panic had started to break its way through. I was going to die and all hope was lost. My phone had no signal and nobody would know where we were. We began to plummet towards an endless galaxy. We were lost…
My name is Liam, and I love space. Anything seems possible in space when the world is a million miles away. It’s dark and silent in the rocket, but, if I listen closely, I hear the beat, beat, beat of my heart. I hear the rumble and groans of the rocket’s engine. I hear Florida breathing gently in her sleep.
I slip out of bed and peer out of a window. From the view I have, the moon is full and bright as well as ginormous. It shines through the window and on to me. Some say that being tall is a curse and it makes you unlucky.
I turn around and I laugh.
“Go on then, curse me,” I whisper. “Why don’t you give me bad luck?”
I laugh again.
“Some people think that he’s already cursed,” I think.
Extract by Elsie
Week beginning 6th February
The last week of this half term has been our Feel Good Week, tying in with the national initiative to promote children's mental health. We have had a number of lovely activities to support our well-being, as detailed below, in addition to our amazing Girls Football A team being highly successful in the Watford FC tournament (see Sports Blog) and twenty of our most talented UKS2 singers performing at the Young Voices concert at Wembley Arena as part of Miss Kropman's choir (see Music Blog).
As we approach the holiday, we would once again like to thank the children for all of their hard work this term. They represent our school brilliantly both within and outside of the classroom and we are very proud of their progress.
I hope you all have a lovely week off. Please remember to keep up the reading, UKS2, and to spend some time looking through your SATS work, Year 6.
Miss Kropman x
Flip Drama Workshops for Feel Good Week - Tuesday 7th February
UKS2 were treated to a fantastic drama workshop today, led by Cheryl and Victoria from the Flip Theatre Company. This was designed to be a fun and interactive way to teach Years 5 and 6 some tools to look after their own mental wellbeing, linking to the 'five ways' that we have been exploring in assemblies. We also explored the concept of kindness linked to connections through various roleplay scenarios. During the workshops, we all got to participate in some acting and were completely active throughout. Miss Kropman thought it was lovely to see us enjoying ourselves and being so confident, and would like to say a big thank you to Flip for such a fun day!
Week beginning 30th January
This has been yet another jam-packed week of learning in UKS2, with our boys A and B football teams also in league action (see Sports Blog) and some of our talented Year 5 and 6 guitarists performing in an assembly (see Music Blog). A huge congratulations to Luke in Year 6 and Johnny in Year 5 for making the Hertfordshire squad for the national cross country event (once again on the Sports Blog!), and to the other 7 athletes who also took part in Saturday’s races.
Turquoise's excellent narrative writing - Thursday 2nd February
Year 6 have been working hard in their English lessons to explore building tension in their writing. Using a superb Harry Potter clip as inspiration, here are two fantastic examples from Mrs Fisher's class:
Harry slammed the door in his malicious uncle's face as fury raced through his veins. Harry stepped into the roaring silence. The ground was damp and the moonlight bathed its shimmering light upon the world. No sounds. No cars. No people. Harry had nothing.
Despite the playground ahead of him being deserted, the swings creaked and the see-saw crashed down independently. As the clouds began to cover the Moon, Harry heard a rustle in the bushes. He froze. He squinted. He saw a deadly shadow. The streetlight suddenly flickered out; it was as dark as a panther's black shadow swallowing the sky. Harry's heart sank down to the depths of his body. Goosebumps grew on his skin, making him shiver. Harry attempted to convince himself that it this was just his own imagination, but he knew better as night crept up the innocent street...
Ignoring his uncle, Harry marched out through the front door, where he found a deserted Privet Drive. Silence was collecting the night in its hands. With his trunk trailing behind him, Harry raced to escape his childhood horror. He stopped. He sat down. He realised. Behind him, was a playground coming to life...
UKS2 Live Q&A Session with Helen Sharman - Thursday 2nd February
Years 5 and 6 had a fantastic experience this afternoon, as they joined close to 100,000 children from around the world in watching a live stream with astronaut Helen Sharman. Helen was the first British person to walk on the Moon, and she shared her experiences and career path at the start of the session. We were fascinated to learn that Helen had to beat over 13,000 applicants in order to be successfully admitted to a space programme at the end of the 1980s. In her training, Helen learnt how to use various pieces of equipment in addition to creating mission experiments and also learning Russian in order to communicate with controllers back on Earth!
The majority of this session was spent with Helen answering questions. UKS2 made some brilliant notes to record their learning and, rather excitingly, were thrilled when Luke's question (submitted online the previous day along with 1174 others) was chosen to be answered! Luke had asked what it was like to experience zero gravity, to which Helen replied that it was actually very relaxing and felt natural.
We all very much enjoyed this afternoon's session. Thank you to Mr Neiman for organising this for us!
Week beginning 23rd January
Please see below some of the wonderful learning that UKS2 have been demonstrating this week! Year 6 have also participated in some indoor athletics (see Sports Blog) in preparation for a competition later this term.
Topaz English - Wednesday 25th January
This week, we have been exploring using ambitious vocabulary to create dramatic narratives. Using Malorie Blackman's 'Pig Heart Boy' as inspiration, here are two of Miss Kropman's favourite examples:
I am drowning. I feel like I have been trodden on by the water. I have been engulfed. My lungs are on fire and I feel sick. I'm going to drown. Terrified, I look up through the grey-white sparkling water to see the clouds moving fast. I need to breathe, although I know I will be inhaling water. Just one breath. Just one. My blood is roaring. I am paralysed. There is nothing but roaring silence. I am going to drown.
I am drowning.
I am going to die.
I am roaring for help.
Death is striking.
High above, I can see the sky opening up to heaven. I close my eyes. Is this the end?
I am drowning.
I hear myself screaming, but I am silent.
My heart stops.
Just one breath. One more.
Pain pervades my body. I open my eyes.
I am going to drown.
Topaz Rainbow Writing - Friday 27th January
In order to develop writing stamina across the school, we have introduced Rainbow Writing this week. This gives children the opportunity to express themselves on paper however they choose. Topaz began this today and Miss Kropman was delighted to read a selection of narratives, poems, explanation texts and even a rap!
Week beginning 16th January
A very chilly week has seen some excellent learning in UKS2 and an epic football tournament win from our mixed A team (see Sports Blog for details). We hope you enjoy seeing what we have been up to!
UKS2 Science - Thursday 19th January
Ruby and Topaz classes came together on the playground this afternoon to actively explore the relationship between the Sun, Earth and Moon. Ably directed by Mr Neiman, the children represented the Sun (remaining still) whilst the Earth (a small amount!) slowly orbited as a scaled year, whilst also rotating at the same time. Meanwhile, one of our (fastest) Year 6 girls represented the Moon orbiting the Earth every 24 hours. Back in the classroom, we then created card models of this before writing a paragraph to explain our learning. Finally, working in small groups, incredible videos were made to demonstrate what we had been doing this afternoon. Well done, Ruby and Topaz - Mr Neiman and Miss Kropman were so impressed with your excellent science this afternoon!
Week beginning 9th January
Our first full week of 2023 began with an awesome Explorer Dome experience as our Sizzling Starter to the Space topic! We have also enjoyed our DT shelters topic and plenty of additional learning too!
UKS2 Sizzling Starter to Space with the Explorer Dome - Monday 9th January
We were treated to an incredible experience this morning with the visit of the Explorer Dome to introduce our Space topic. Before entering the dome, we discussed some of the things that we already knew about our solar system and were shown how to safely use the tunnel to go in and out! Once settled on the floor, there were audible gasps of amazement as we viewed the beautiful night's sky projected around the dome. We were then shown close up images of each of the planets, which Ellie and Zack (the dome's guides) taught us about. They particularly focused on explaining why Earth is a 'Goldilocks' planet and why the other seven planets are not habitable. We also looked at the dwarf planet Pluto and learnt why it is now called this. Most interesting in this session, was gaining the knowledge that the Sun is the only star in our solar system, and the other millions of stars visible in the sky are actually outside of this. In the second half of the experience, we learnt about various different constellations and the history and stories associated with these. Zack particularly encouraged everyone to look at the sky tonight and make up our own ways to name and memorise what we can see.
This was a wonderful and different way to kickstart our learning about space and we would all like to say thank you to the Explorer Dome, Ellie and Zack for such a super morning.
UKS2 Design and Technology Space Shelters - Thursday 12th January
This week has seen Years 5 and 6 analyse, design, build and evaluate shelters! With our Space topic at the forefront of our minds, the children were tasked with creating a brief for their shelters at the beginning of the week (including the need for it to be sturdy, stable and providing cover) which they then had to stick to as they built their own design. They worked incredibly hard to measure and saw wood accurately and then join various pieces together to form cube or cuboid frames. Following this, they then created sides and roofs before adding further space themed aesthetics and then evaluating their successes. Please see below Topaz's finished shelters, which I'm sure you will agree look amazing!
Week beginning 2nd January
Welcome back to school! We began the term on Thursday with Year 6 practising their sawing technique ahead of designing space shelters in Design and Technology, and with a brilliant 'Get Back to Fitness after Christmas' PE afternoon led by Mrs Zerny!