Emmaville Primary School

North America Yr 5 & 6

Welcome to the North America Year 5 & 6 Class Page.  Here, you can find out about everything that we've been doing this year.

Friday 13th March 2020

The sound of raucous laughing reverberated down the corridors from North America classroom this morning.  No, we didn’t have a visit from a comedian, we were actually doing English – more specifically, ‘word classes’.  The children had to work in a team to build a sentence using a word from the following word class in this order: determiner, adjective, noun, verb, adverb, preposition, determiner, adjective, noun.  The problem was that the children couldn’t see what their teammate had written before them!  When the completed sentences were read out we had some interesting (hilarious) results.  Most of the sentences I couldn’t possibly publish; however, here are the few I can.

The crazy cranberry ran quickly around the knobbly monkey.

Many colourful Boris Johnson’s gave way greedily in a hairy swimming pool.

The floppy door sucked continuously on a slimy window.

I think these photos sum up the mood in the class during our task!

Friday 6th March 2020

An action-packed week this week in North America class, with so many opportunities for our children to enjoy such a wide range of experiences. Here we go…

All of our Year 5 children are continuing to practise for the Ryton Music Festival, which is on Friday next week, and most of our Year 6 children are working hard to polish their performance skills for the Gateshead Dance Festival on the 1st of April. What a creative bunch of children we have at Emmaville!

Keeping with the creative theme, the children took part in a music workshop on Thursday morning which focussed on music from around the world.  We always get excited when we have Emmaville Music Workshops, but I think Thursday’s has to be one of the more memorable.  The children were active throughout, playing various percussion instruments to new rhythms taught by the musicians.  They also had to use their geography skills to locate different continents and countries on a giant globe - the origin of each of the pieces of music.

On Thursday afternoon our Year 6 children took a coach to ISKON Hindu Temple in Newcastle, an educational visit that our Year 5 children had taken part in last week.  The visit was a great opportunity for children to consolidate last term’s learning on Hinduism, and for them to show off their newly acquired knowledge about Hindu beliefs and gods.  We were so proud of the children for giving such excellent answers to questions posed by Kirtida, the priest at the temple. The visit also afforded the children the opportunity to consider some of the philosophy behind the Hindu religion.  Kirtida explained beautifully about Samsara: the Hindu belief that humans are in a cycle of death and rebirth and that karma affects that cycle, hence Hindu’s try to live a good a life as possible by being kind and doing good deeds for others.  The children listened intently and the music and prayers provided by Kirtida helped us all to feel calm and relaxed.  When Kirtida asked the children for feedback, one of our children said it was ‘the happiest they’d felt in ages’.

Well done North America, as always, we are so proud of you.

Wednesday 26th February 2020

We have been looking at ‘measure’ in maths this week, including length, mass and capacity.  Mr Harrison told us that his most memorable lesson at school was an experiment measuring lung capacity, so we decided to replicate the lesson.  We discovered that the average 11-year-old has a lung capacity of about 3 litres; however, we have some amazing sports personalities in our maths class, including some award-winning swimmers, so we were confident that we could ‘own’ (the children’s words, not mine) the challenge.  Here are pictures of some of our amazing mathematicians with equally amazing lung capacities, including Joseph who won the challenge with a lung capacity of greater than 3.5 litres.

Tuesday 25th February 2020

The children In North America class had a visit from the NSPCC today.  The NSPCC staff and volunteers are specially trained and visit primary schools across the UK with ‘Buddy’ (the school’s mascot).  Our visitors shared important messages in a fun, interactive way – helping children to understand what abuse is and who they can turn to for help if they need it.  They also talked to the children about the NSPCC helpline that they can call if they are worried or scared about something. Our visitors commented on how mature our children had been in their responses to the various scenarios that were discussed.  Well done North America.

Friday 7th February 2020

The children are thoroughly enjoying their English unit on suspense writing this half term.  We began by looking at a hook to engage them - even though suspense writing has to be one of their favourite genres of writing. Then we gave them a ‘cold task’ to allow them to demonstrate their prior learning. Next, we learnt our model text: Zelda Claw by Pie Corbett. This week we have been exploring our model text by ‘reading it as a reader’ – considering the impact it has on the reader; looking at the vocabulary; developing our comprehension and inference skills and examining language patterns.  We’ve also compared our text to similar texts we have read that create suspense such as Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver and Street Child by Berlie Doherty.  We went on to ‘read our text as a writer’ while annotating the text. These steps in our writing process helped us to create a ‘toolkit’ for suspense writing so that the children know the features they need to include in their own work to make it the best that it can be. By the end of the week, we had ‘boxed up’ (made a plan) for our own piece of suspense writing.  Photographs of some of the steps are below. 

I can’t wait to read the result of the children’s efforts next week when they write their own version of a suspense story.  They are fired up, and ready to go.

Friday 31st January 2020

In History this week, we looked at the impact of innovation and industry, during the Industrial Revolution, on Victorian Britain.  The children considered the impact of 5 areas of change over the period: population, transport, work, health and medicines and living conditions.  They considered the positive and negative aspects of the Industrial Revolution.  They then went on to write an explanation as to which area (of the five considered) they felt saw the biggest amount of progress during the Victorian Era, giving reasons for their choices. Below are some of their thoughts.

I believe the most dramatic change during the Industrial Revolution was population and transport.  I have chosen population because in 1750 there were only 11 million people living in Britain, whereas in 1925 there were 21 million people, and in 1900 there was a whopping 40 million people living in Britain!

Grace S

The population of cities increased so much because transport changed so much during the Industrial Revolution.  In 1750 people walked to get to their destination, or travelled by horse or boat. At that time, it would take 12 days to get from London to Edinburgh.  By 1825, lots of canals had been built and roads had been improved.  By 1900, many canals had been built and roads had been improved; it took 9 hours to travel from London to Edinburgh.

Selene M

I think that the most dramatic improvement was work because in 1750 people were mainly farmers but by 1825 people also worked in coal mines.  By 1900 factories were driven by steam power and hardly any industry used water wheels.

Bobby B

I was so impressed with the way the children backed up their opinions with facts and statistics from the lesson and from prior learning about the Industrial Revolution. Top job North America.

Friday 24th January 2020
Well done North America for your performance in our class assembly. You all spoke so articulately to ensure that your audience heard your message.  You were able to show to everyone there that maths is truly all around us and that enjoying your maths, and working hard, will ensure you will be able to achieve what you want to in later life. 
Your symmetry dance was also fantastic - well done for taking so much time during your lunch breaks to perfect it.

Friday 17th January 2020

In history this week, we have been researching the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, as part of our studies on the Victorian era.   This was a man who practically designed and built Victorian Britain single-handedly. He developed an understanding of maths from a very young age.  He understood how maths impacts the world around him.   We went on to have a class discussion about how we use maths in just about every subject we study at Emmaville.  I was so impressed with the mathematical connections the children could identify across our studies, that we decided to base our class assembly next week on this subject. 

We’ve even thought of the ideal person to play Mr Brunel! We hope you can join us.

Friday 10th January 2020

Our sea monster pictures, which we have been working on in art lessons, are now finished and about to be hung, in the corridor, outside our classroom.  The paintings depict our interpretation of improbable sea monsters which commonly decorated maps during the great age of maritime exploration. The children used a variety of techniques to create the pictures including colour wash for the sky and rag painting for the sea.  The children found that, as they added more layers, the texture changed and deepened.  They started with the lightest colours first, working gradually up to the darkest one.  We thought that the paintings looked more atmospheric if we made the deepest water dark.  The children also worked hard to develop their cutting skills while making a clean job of cutting out their ship and sea monster. Here is a small selection of the pictures.

Monday 6th January 2020

Happy New Year! I hope you had a happy and peaceful Christmas break.  I also hope you liked the beautiful baubles the children made for you.  I thought you might like to see a few photos of them, deep in concentration, creating their masterpieces!

Friday 6th December 2019

The children in North America are becoming quite proficient artists, so it was lovely to see them showcasing their skills this week during our bauble painting workshop.  The classroom looks so festive with them all in there.  We are hoping to make a decorative box this week to put them in.  A lucky member of their family is in for a festive treat!

Friday 29th November 2019

There has been so much debating in North America this week.  In English, our Year 6 children have been debating who they think was responsible for the death of Bess – the landlord’s daughter – in the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.  The children are pictured here doing some ‘flat chat’, arguing for and against the characters from the poem, as to who should shoulder the blame.

In RE the children also used their debating skills when they looked at two similar, but not exactly the same, versions of Jesus’ birth in Luke Chapter 1: versus 26-38, and Matthew Chapter 1: versus 8-2.  The children debated which of the versions was more likely to be true and came to the conclusion that, ‘Christians believe Jesus is the incarnation of God in a human body, so the Christmas story is true to Christians in different ways; it is Jesus’ teachings that are important to Christians’.

During a period where we see so much negative debating on our televisions, it is so refreshing to see that our children can debate while remaining respectful of one another’s views, and that they are able to take on board new information and change their views as they acquire new knowledge.

Well done North America

This week was also a busy week for our Year 6 children, as the Angels of the North concert that they have been preparing so hard for, finally arrived.  They started early on Thursday morning at The Sage Gateshead, for a full day of rehearsals with about 300 other children from schools from around the North East.  The weeks of practice clearly paid off, because the sound they all produced together was amazing, and by the evening performance, everyone had perfected  a variety of dance moves as well as the songs.  Parents, family, friends and teachers who were there agreed that the children put on a fantastic show - they did us all proud. 
Friday 22nd November 2019
Science this week was all about making predictions using our 'post-it note' prediction boards.  We used the knowledge we have acquired over this half term to predict what would happen to one component in a circuit when we change one variable.  Our lovely Erin decided to investigate what would happen to the brightness of a bulb in a circuit when the number of batteries are increased.  Erin recognised that her test needed to be a 'fair test' and therefore she would need to ensure that the other variable components (the bulb, wires and environment) remain the same.  This is Erin's prediction, "I think that the brightness of the bulb will increase when I add another battery to the circuit.  This is because there will be more energy pushed around the circuit; therefore, the bulb will be more illuminated."  We are looking forward to building our circuits and checking whether our predictions were correct next week.

Friday 15th November 2019

It’s been a truly ‘mathstastic’ week at Emmaville this week, especially in Year 5 and 6! Check out our scores on our Timestable Rock Star – Battle of the Bands competition which ended on Friday. A huge ‘WELL DONE’ to all the children for their amazing efforts over the last five weeks while the competition has been live. It has also been 'Maths Week England 2019' and the children have been looking at the daily maths problems hosted on their site.  In addition to this, we have also become a little bit addicted to our daily ‘Barvember’ problems.  Barvember is a series of puzzles posted on the White Rose maths site, throughout November, that gives primary school children across the country a chance to practice their problem solving skills, and use the bar model to help in finding the solutions. You can look at some of the problems by following the link below; there are also problems for adults on there! All-in-all, we feel that, with our fluency skills (how quickly we can recall number facts) so polished, and our ‘never say die’ approach to our problem solving, the children are thoroughly enjoying their maths lessons and are rapidly becoming confident mathematicians.


Friday 8th November 2019

Science this week saw North America class revisiting previous knowledge from Year 3 and 4 about electrical circuits; I was blown away by how much the children had remembered and how keen they were to build on their knowledge.  After a hands-on lesson building a variety of interesting and ‘novel’ circuits using motors, lights, bulbs and buzzers, we realised that when we are drawing the circuits that we have constructed, we must use universally recognised symbols for the individual component parts of our circuits.  The children rapidly became experts at recognising these symbols and drawing them to showcase their own circuits. Well done North America, you are complete superstars!

Wednesday 30th October 2019

This week, our Year 5 and 6 children were given the opportunity to take part in a new Home Office approved project. It is being led by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuiness, and Northumbria Police in partnership with Barnardo’s and Operation Encompass. The project, named Operation Encompass: The Next Steps, aims to educate children and young people about healthy relationships.

The children spent the afternoon learning about friendships, relationships, emotions and empathy, and rules and expectations, so that they can live and work together safely.

The sessions were led by our School Safeguarding Liaison Officer: PC Nicola Joicey, who also held a drop-in session after school for parents.  

We were so impressed by the children’s maturity during the sessions and their ability to articulate what respectful relationships and caring friendships look and feel like.  We feel so fortunate to have such kind, caring and respectful children here in our school community.

Friday 18th October 2019

We always look forward to Enrichment Weeks in Year 5 & 6; however, this term’s was especially interesting as our focus was North America (our new class name).  We started our week with a visit from the author, Adam Bushnell.  We planned stories about defeating a Manitoe – a Native American great spirit – using transmogrification!  The results were fantastic, if a touch gory.  We also found out all about the 23 countries that make up North America including some of their physical and human geographical features.  The children shared their findings with one another, and by the end of the week we had gathered quite a body of knowledge about our new, favourite continent.

Friday 11th October 2019

Over the last two weeks, the children in year 6 have been improving their division skills, using various different methods to divide numbers up to 4 digits by a two-digit number.  Their ‘never say die’ approach to their mathematics has ensured that they have become experts at using a ‘formal written method’ for long division.  The method may look a little time consuming at first; however, the children have become more fluent as the week has progressed, and their accuracy has certainly improved.  Here are our lovely Ella and Isla explaining just how it’s done.

Friday 4th October 2019
Our Science topic this half term - Earth and Space - has got the children absolutely buzzing about all things to do with our planet and the solar system.  They are becoming increasingly skilled at using scientific evidence to explain what they know. Can you imagine the debate then, when we looked at some of the thoughts of the 'Modern Flat Earth Society' - an organisation whose members believe that the Earth is flat! 
Here are some wise words from our lovely Martha who believes that the Flat Earth Society might want to 'think again'!

Wednesday  18th September 2019

We have been continuing our Primary Writing Project journey in our English lessons.  Our class reader (Holes by Louis Sachar), has formed the basis for our latest piece of writing: describing a setting where a character returns to their home town after a long absence, only to find that things have changed – for the worse.

The following 3 excerpts are a small sample from our budding authors:

This once lively, vibrant city that I called home all those years ago, is now a scene of utter destruction.  This is what happens when nature takes over.  Standing on this desolate landscape, these once tall and majestic buildings, like proud soldiers, are now decaying towering memorials of a great city.

I have never felt so alone.

Zoe K

This is not right.  The heartbeat of this land, now abandoned. An empty shell.  I cannot take this in. The river runs slowly, the only thing of beauty that remains.  I dip my fingers in but my friends are not beside me, laughing, splashing like they used to.  My home is extinct, but my memories aren’t, they give me the most pain I have ever felt, but not physical, not mental, what?  My heart.  I feel as abandoned as the landscape is with the trees slowly reaching their arms into anything they can reach.

Hannah C

As I approached the lake I used to play by, shock quickly filled my body.  The water flowed gracefully, the last remaining thing of beauty in this extinct land.  Swarms of insects buzz across the peaceful lake as majestic birds flee desperately from the abandoned buildings seeking shelter.  Why me?

Emily L

Thursday 5th September 2019
What a cracking start our Year 6 children have made in Maths this week.  We have been looking at large numbers (up to 10 million) and problem solving, including finding all possible solutions.  The tasks had the children testing their resilience and dogged determination, which they have in spades!  Well done Year 6 - I'm really looking forward to the year ahead!
Thursday 5th September 2019
A challenging start to our topic (Marvellous Maps) this term saw our budding geographers attempting to draw a map of the school grounds without the technology a modern-day cartographer would have access to.  The children quickly realised how difficult life must have been for early cartogrophers and how much technology could help their task.  That said, the children's resilience led to some very accurate free-hand drawings.  Well done New York!