Monthly Archives: October 2015

Try this: Puzzling peas!

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Angles in polygons

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 01.25.01We’ve done some really good maths investigation work this week finding out about angles in polygons using what we know about the angles in a triangle. We have discovered an interesting pattern that the number of triangles in a polygon is 2 less than its number of sides. We used this to find the sum of the angles in the polygon (e.g. a hexagon has 6 sides and 4 (= 6-2) triangles, so the sum of its angles is 4 x 180 degrees (= 720 degrees). If we had a regular hexagon, all six angles would be equal, so we could work out that they must be 720 divided by 6 = 120 degrees.

We enjoyed looking at the interactive polygon site and checking our ideas about angles in polygons. If you want to look at it, you will find it here.

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Homework and topic project (for Monday 2nd November)

As part of our topic work on WW2, we have been finding out about the evacuation from Dunkirk and about the Battle of Britain. Next week we will have a visitor to show us some of the equipment used by Spitfire pilots and talk a bit more about the war.

You have a challenge to complete with a partner (or independently if you prefer) to present some research on an area you are interested in in connection with these topics. You can make a model and annotate it, you could create a poster, make a powerpoint presentation, write a story, create an artwork and annotate it…. or use your own skills and imagination to create another idea. You need to show that you have found out something new to you about either Dunkirk or the Battle of Britain and you need to be able to share what you have found out clearly with the rest of the class. You should present your work as carefully as you can to make sure your information is clear and attractive to look at.


Some ideas of topics you might choose to research (and links to possible resources you could use) include:

  • Finding out about a ‘little ship’ that went to Dunkirk to rescue soldiers from the beaches.
    – The story of The Minotaur and the Sea Scouts – a short recount with some pictures of the Mortlake scout group and their boat at Dunkirk.
    – The story of the Naiad Errant boat at Dunkirk.
    – Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (link to site for owners of little ships which covers restoring and telling stories of little ships – links to other sites and images).
    – John Richards’ Dunkirk Revisited – history of Dunkirk – A detailed online book giving a history of the events of Dunkirk. Chapter 2, p.55 gives a summary of how the little ships campaign started, and there are stories of individual ships (and images) in this text.
  • Finding out about spitfires or hurricanes and the reasons for their success in the Battle of Britain
    Information about R.J. Mitchell and the spitfire
    BBC site – Why do we love the spitfire?
    RAF information on the Spitfire
  • The experience or lives of pilots – perhaps someone from your family, someone local, or someone famous (e.g. like Douglas Bader).
    Douglas Bader – introduction
    Douglas Bader – RAF Museum information.
    Pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain – list of all the pilots who flew in the battle of Britain (alphabetical search). This list includes Roy Marples DFC and Bar who you will hear more about at school.
    RAF Battle of Britain site
    Imperial War Museum – interviews and stories of pilots
  • Finding out more about the experiences of someone in your family – perhaps there is someone in your family who would be willing to share the stories they know? Perhaps someone was in the RAF, or at Dunkirk, or went in a small boat, or perhaps was involved in building spitfires at Castle Bromwich (Birmingham).
  • You can also choose a topic of your own that interests you.

We will be using our topic time next week for this project as well as homework time so if you need help with finding information, I can help you then.

Choose one topic area and share the work between you and your partner to make it as manageable as you can and so that you can investigate it in some detail and find out interesting information and present it in an interesting way.

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High Flight, John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Below is the poem that several of us enjoyed, written by a spitfire pilot during the Second World War.

Flight poem

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Declarations of war speeches, 3rd September 1939

ChamberlainAs part of our WW2 topic work, we have been listening to the speeches given by Chamberlain and by King George VI on 3rd September 1939. You can hear these by clicking on the photographs of Chamberlain and of King George VI. We imagined what it would have been like to hear those speeches over the wireless. We wrote our own short speeches thinking about the importance of giving some information and reassuring the population about the war.George VI

Here are some examples of our writing:

“I am talking to you to tell you that war has been declared between Britain and Germany. Due to the failure of Hitler to get his troops out of Poland, we declared war on 3rd September 1939. I understand that this is hard for you all, but England will fight and stand proud. We will win and the war will soon be in the past.” (P.R.)

“I am sorry to have to say this but despite our best efforts, Hitler has declined our peace. So I am sorry to say that this but I will, that the British people are officially at war with Germany.
      We are at war with Germany because Hitler is not moving out of Poland. Please can you stay inside at all times. While you prepare, just stay calm and stay strong. Hitler will not beat us. We won the past war.
     I want people to stay calm and not go outside until we are fully prepared. Stay in your air raid shelter.” (J.L.)

“People of Britain, I am sorry to inform you we are once again at war with Germany. Despite our best efforts, Hitler will not bring his troops out of Poland. I understand that this may frighten some people but there is nothing more we can do. I want the people of Britain to stay calm and prepare for another war. To get the war over quickly we need to follow instructions. Also we need strong troops. America have already agreed to help us in the war; twice the people, twice the power.” (D.B.)

“Despite our best efforts, Hitler has refused to sign a peace paper. I am now sorry to tell you that we are at war with the Germans. I know some of will have gone through this already in the previous war. Me and the King have discussed and are very worried that another big war will start. As prime minister of Great Britain, I will ask you all to stay calm and don’t worry. Just be aware of anything suspicious. Listen carefully to any radio announcement, as it will be extremely important.” (M.C.)

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Autobiographies as Mr. Tom

goodnight mr tomWe have been sharing the wonderful book by Michelle Magorian, Goodnight Mr Tom. We started to imagine how Tom must have felt at different times in his life and decided to create some autobiographical pieces, writing as if we were Tom Oakley. Year 6 have written very sensitively about Tom’s life. Here are a few to share:

Tom Oakley’s autobiography (HW)

I have lived in Little Weirwold since the age of sixteen when my parents moved to Australia. At the age of 21 I met the love of my life, Rachel. We were both born in the same year, 1874. Two years later I married her. As the years went by, Rachel gave birth in 1899 but neither of them came out alive. I would do anything to get her back and I always remember being a Dad for three minutes.

We loved to make beer, cakes and jam together but I can’t have them any more. Even painting makes a tear drip down my face. I can still see her everywhere I go. For the past forty years I’ve been alone in a small cottage; Sammy and I next to the graveyard. I suppose you could call me grumpy.

For forty long years I’ve been alone but now I’m a grave digger and, to me, when I pass Rachel and my son I feel more comforted than ever. When William arrived I insisted to turn my life around. He was a small, skinny boy who was very nervous. He always said, “But mother said if I get these dirty I need to take a beating”… Funny lad. Although it was strange, I still wanted to see what fathering was like.

He was sick twice and he wet the bed three times. But, as the days went  by, the boy changed and began to get used to the country and I suppose I was no longer grumpy. If I keep this up, and Willie keeps being not scared, I will be the best father: Tom, Willie and Sammy!

Tom Oakley’s autobiography (TH)

I have always lived in Little Weirwold, an idyllic village in the countryside. I was born here in 1869 in Weirwold and I met a lovely wife in the village too. I now live alone because sadly she died forty years ago.

When my wife died I was the saddest person in the world and didn’t want to be alive. Although my wife died, I still thought of her. When I got Willie, it made my house more homely.

After forty years of living alone, William thought that I was really scary. But, after a while, Willie got less scared and liked saying, “Goodnight Mr Tom” at bedtime. Every day I walked my dog to the church. In the church I met a person called Bill and his wife has died too. I got home and I felt normal.

Tom Oakley’s autobiography (JM)

I was born on the twelfth of December 1875 in Little Weirwold. Sixty-four years on I still live in the same town. I live on Merk Road, number 18, right next to the church. For many years I’ve been living alone, but the one time I wasn’t were my years with Rachel.

Rachel and I met in 1891 and married in 1892. We had a happy time together, me helping Rachel to paint and create. We would walk along the quiet streets and pop into the calm artist shop. We’d come back home and sit down peacefully. But now she’s gone along with my only son – only together for eight years and five months. It didn’t help to find out my parents died the same night. Buried under the old tree outside the window, I will never forget them.

After that, I’ve been living along for forty years being miserable and grumpy. I’ve been tired and have never walked into the art shop since Rachel’s death. In 1930 I bought a dog and called him Sammy. He has been the only thing in my life I could have called ‘company’ until, one day, I started living with another human again.

William Beech arrived on August 29th 1939 and is a very nervous child. He has bruises and is hard work but he is lifting me out of my misery. It’s nice to live with another human being, even if they wet the bed every night. We walk around town finding entertainment and we recently built an Anderson shelter. He is slowly getting more confident and I’m getting happier. All I hope for now is for Willie and I to be father and son for ever…

Tom Oakley’s autobiography (ME)

I have always lived in the peaceful Little Weirwold in the homely countryside of Yorkshire. I rather like it here but sometimes it can get too quiet. My wife, Rachel, died when I was twenty and my son died when he was born. That is the reason I accepted the request to take Willie in.

Before my wife died we would take long walks in the cool breeze amongst the rustling trees. When we arrived back home we would sit outside drinking beer in the romance of the sunset. I loved making jam with her and her smile was twice as sweet.

I loved her dearly; but now she’s gone. My heart still lives with her and she’s still alive in my dreams. I still hate things that remind me of her and our memories. But Willie is like my son now. I will look after him for as long as he needs.

The day I took up Willie was life-changing for me, life-changing in many ways. I knew there were evacuees in the village but I never, for one minute, thought Willie would be looked after by me. I was scared, petrified even, that a small child would live in my house. Things were different before; just me and Sammy taking long walks in the autumn rustle of the leaves on the floor. Sammy would skip through them panting for breath. I would throw a ball; he would bring it back. Now Willie would join in with our laughter and loneliness. I suppose it would not be so bad.

I have been through a lot with Willie, wetting the bed, being sick, also sleeping under the bed; I’ve never dealt with a child doing that before, probably because I’ve never had a child… I am excited, or should I say curious, for the years ahead. Just me, Sammy and Willie.

Tom Oakley’s autobiography (JL)

I have always loved living in Little Weirwold where I live today and always have, even though the town holds some bad memories. I was born here in 1874 on the opposite side of the town from where I live now. My Dad was a farmer so I grew up as one. Being in the countryside, my Dad owned lots of land so we were quite wealthy. My Mum stayed and home and died when I was six but my Dad died when I was eighteen. It was a sad time, but luckily I had found someone called Rachel and, with her parents’ permission, I lived at her house.

We married in 1895 at twenty-one, and we heard she was going to have a baby. I remember she loved painting and I loved looking at them. After a painting, we would go to the mill and make a new batch of beer. It was wonderful. For some strange reason she really liked jam on flapjack. I hated it; I liked jam, but not flapjack. In our spare time we loved to walk our dog Babby. In 1898 our luck ran out. She died in childbirth. I had no wife and no children. I was heartbroken.

After that, I never went to any paintshops or any painting places; I sold the mill, never had jam and moved back to the other side of town. I did not know what to do with myself so I went to church every Sunday and became a grave digger. For thirty five long, sad years that was my life but then I bought Sammy. He was a lovely dog and lightened up five years before William arrived in 1939. Even so, people thought I was grumpy, reclusive and boring.

Shell-shocked William seemed as he walked up the path to my house. I remember knowing about evacuees and not taking much notice; now I was looking after one myself!
“Hi,” I said, as I opened the door.
“Hello, there’s the boy,” she said in a witch-like, high-pitched voice. And she strode away without another word. I looked at William. He was thin and small and had many sores and bruises on his legs. He said nothing for the first few hours and looked so scared like I was about to kill him. At last, when I gave him a bacon sandwich, he said,
“Thank you.”



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Roald Dahl biographies

Dahl, BoyAs part of our work on biographies and autobiography in literacy, we have been finding out about Roald Dahl and especially researching his recount of the ‘Great Mouse Plot’.


Here are some examples of work written by Year 6.

The Great Mouse Plot (WS)

Mrs Pratchett’s sweet shop was by far the best sweet shop, but what put them off was its owner; Mrs Pratchett was a skinny, bad tempered lady with the grubbiest hands ever…

One wonderful day in the town of Llandaff in Wales, Roald Dahl and his friends were on the way to school when they popped into the sweet shop. When they walked in, there she was; the mean and grim Mrs Pratchett stood there.
“What do you want? You horrible lot!”
If they didn’t spend a sixpence or more than they would have their sweets wrapped up in a piece of newspaper. They hurried out of the sweetshop and jogged along to school. Exhausted and tired, they went into the classroom.

At the back of the classroom there was a loose floorboard which they had lifted up with the blade of a pocket knife…

Below the floorboard they kept their treasures and sweets. One day they opened it up and found a dead mouse. Although it was dead, it seed to say,
“Put me in the jar!”
They slipped into Roald Dahl’s pocket and headed over to the sweet shop. Thwaites ordered a sherbert sucker while Roald Dahl slipped it into the gobstopper jar!
“Thank you!”they all said and they trotted off.

The next morning they walked past the sweet shop and on the door it surprisingly said. ‘CLOSED’ in big letters. Shocked and worried, they peered in to see nobody there, the jar on the floor smashed to smithereens, and the dead mouse lying there with the gobstoppers surrounding it.
“Oh no!” they said. “What has happened? She’s not there!”

The Great Mouse Plot (JF)

The sweet shop that Roald Dahl, Thwaites and their friends loved was owned by Mrs Pratchett. Sweets were their life; they loved sweets more than anything, but they also hated Mrs Pratchett more than anything. Grubby and smelly, her hands plunged into the jars and the sweets came out smelling revolting.

With all the foetid things that Mrs Pratchett had done, the boys decided to come up with a plan to get their revenge. Under the floorboard in the classroom where the sweets lay, lay a putrid, dead mouse; they decided to make a plan… on Mrs Pratchett. Ronald took the dreadful mouse and stuffed it into his bag.

The next day, when the boys were walking to school, they passed the sweet shop. Excited and nervous, the boys headed into the shop.
“I w…w…would l-like a bootlace and a sherbert sucker p-p-p-please,” stuttered Thwaites. Whilst Mrs Pratchett was getting the sweets, Roald Dahl silently dropped the mouse into the gobstopper jar.

The next morning they were excited to see what had happened. So, when they peered into the shop, they saw the jar smashed and the dead mouse lying in the gobstoppers. They couldn’t stop for long because they were late for prayers so they ran the rest of the way. When they got to the school they headed straight outside because everyone else was there. A few minutes later, the head teacher, Mr Coombes, came out with an alive Mrs Pratchett! She started to inspect every child. When she came to Dahl and his friends she shouted,
“That’s them!”
Half an hour later Mr Coombes beckoned them into his office…

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Rembrandt’s painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Rembrandt 1In R.E. this week we looked carefully at this 17th century painting by Rembrandt to see how he represented themes from the parable of the prodigal son in his work.

We noticed that the right hand is painted much smaller than the left hand. We also looked at the feet of the son, his clothes, and the position and expressions on the faces of other people in the picture.hands

Here are a few of the comments Year 6 made about the painting:

“There’s a weaker hand and there’s a stronger hand because the Dad wants to protect him and to care for him.” (HD)

“His father is showing him forgiveness. I think one of his hands is God’s hand.” (CH)

“The symbol of the hands makes me think of family because the hands are big and strong and little and caring.” (PR)

feet“The smaller hand shows love and forgiveness. The larger one shows the strong side of him and possibly God.” (MC)

A poor old face brimming with tears. I think the poor man is so happy to see his little son.” (OD)

“I think he is poor because he has a dirty rag and his shoe is broken and he has a bald head because he is showing he is sorry.” (TH)

“The feet show that he is sorry and also show how far he walked for his Dad.” (SW)

This picture shows the youngest son being sorry for what he has done. I think this picture is sad because the youngest son is finally showing his caring side. Love beats hatred. Light beats darkness.” (JF)

“It shows that love is more powerful than hatred and you can love people if they have done bad things.” (JL)

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Homework due Thursday 15th October

We have been learning how to stay safe when we use mobile devices and work/play online. We have begun thinking about how best to present advice to other children (younger or our own age) or to adults (parents and grandparents) to help them remember messages about e-Safety. Over the next couple of weeks we will creating e-Safety cartoons and beginning to plan stories, films and songs to communicate e-Safety messages in an accessible and memorable way.

Can you think of ideas for your cartoon characters? Do you want to have an e-Safety superhero? If so, what would he/she be like? What superpowers could they have? Will you have an e-Safety team of characters with individual particular talents? What about ‘baddies’ in your film/cartoon? Without making the message too scary, how can you make it clear? Your homework is to create at least one idea for your e-Safety project, e.g. a drawing and a name with some character ideas that you will be able to bring in to start cartoon work and then group work next week.

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Homework for Thursday 8th October

SpyWe had some fantastic inventions for spy equipment that would let you see round corners without being detected! We even had a complete periscope!Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 13.02.34
If you would like to find out how to make your own periscope, try the ideas here:

Planet Science – make your own periscope

Milk carton periscope

If you don’t have small mirrors, you can try using pieces of old CDs, or sticking silver foil onto card and carefully polishing it smooth.

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