Welcome to the Oceania Year 5 Class Page. Here, you can find out about everything that we've been doing this term.
Friday 31st march
Lots to celebrate this week, as we bring the Spring Term to a close. First up has to be the incredible performance at the Sage by our amazing dancers at the Gateshead Dance Festival. Sixteen of us, along with children from Antarctica class and some Year 2 children have been practising for the last few weeks, and all our hard work came to fruition on Wednesday evening. In front of a sell-out audience, we joined fourteen other schools and danced our hearts out to songs from Disney's Moana. The theme for the evening was 'Courage', and everyone on that stage showed buckets of it.
We also finished our Art unit on GuoHua painting, putting together all the skills we've learnt over the half-term. One of the defining principles of the Chinese brush painting style is that it is how we paint, rather than what we paint that matters. This has meant some very chilled and focussed Art lessons, as we have concentrated on every brush stroke, from bamboo leaves to dragon fly wings and sparrow beaks. As you can see, the end results have certainly been worth the effort.
Finally, here are our Easter decorated eggs. A lovely afternoon was spent painting, gluing and transforming our hard-boiled eggs. Well done to Cara, Elia and Riley, who have all gone home with well-deserved chocolatey prizes!
This week has been our Business and Enterprise enrichment week, and we started by taking part in a workshop with Zoe from 'As Creatives'. Through discussion, games and drama, we learnt about the resilience and brilliance of Katherine Johnson. She was a mathematician who helped put astronauts on the Moon, but had to overcome many set-backs along the way. It was a workshop that helped us to realise that hard work and determination will get you a long way in life.
Throughout the week, we have been working in groups to create, market and promote a product. We used skills learnt in a previous English unit on persuasion (remember our radio adverts?) to create a Dragons Den-style pitch. We needed to think about the persuasion toolkit (exaggeration, features and benefits, rhetorical questions and testimonial quotes), but there was a lot of teamwork skill development too, from co-operation and encouragement to trouble-shooting and turn-taking. There were some nerves about pitching our ideas in front of the whole of Year 5, but every single person did their bit and spoke clearly and with expression in front of our audience.
We finished our week with an exciting day of activities and learning brought to us by Alison Wilkinson of Enterprise World, who helped us to learn all about the skills and qualities needed for life in the working world. Teamwork, communication, problem-solving, organisation, initiative, resilience and confidence were all explored, using a variety of games and activities. We also practiced our financial capability skills by planning a community barbeque on a tight budget. Alison also brought Paula with her, a business enterprise partner, who works at HMRC; she gave us some interesting insights into her work at the tax office. The day ended with a final challenge that involved groups working together to buy beads, manufacture bracelets and sell them at the highest price. All of the above skills were there in abundance, with the winning team making over £700! It seems that we have quite a few budding entrepreneurs in Oceania.
After having learnt so much about the ancient Chinese Shang Dynasty in History over the last few months, we had a very exciting trip to Durham University's Oriental Museum this week. Not only did we get to see actual Shang objects that were three and a half thousand years old, we were able to handle artefacts, practise our Shang writing and acted out the story of how the last Shang king came to a grisly end.
Our guides, Michael and Paddy, were very knowledgeable and did a brilliant job of bringing the topic alive - we were zipped forwards in time and were made honorary Durham University undergraduates for the day, no less. As archaeologists and historians, we explored different features of Shang pottery and bronze vessels, and used these to expertly identify artefacts from throughout Chinese history that took their influence from our period of study. Just as in the classroom back at school, we had to use our detective skills to work out what the objects told us about their owners. Michael and Paddy were both super-impressed with our enthusiasm and questioning skills. Who knows - one day, some of us may well end up studying history at Durham University for real!
Our Shang Dynasty topic has also given us the opportunity for us to do some of our own research at home. The Shang people were the first to create a calendar that was written down, based on the lunar cycles, and they were also the first to develop a zodiac, based on a combination of astronomy, astrology, and mythology. The modern Chinese zodiac of twelve animals was developed from the early Shang zodiac; this assigns an animal (and its characteristics) to people, depending on what year they were born. We found out in which year a family member was born, researched their characteristics and made a model of their animal. As you can see, there were some very innovative models!
This week, the second of our recent Art lessons saw us practising our brush skills. We have been learning about the Chinese GuoHua painting style, which originated from the ancient art of calligraphy. The style very much focuses on the technique of producing lines, but it is the way the lines are created that is important, rather than the image produced. We practised how to create strong lines, in which the energy of the brush stroke is captured within each line. This was then developed into bamboo paintings. One of the main principles of GuoHua is to practise and learn from a master of the art, so we spent some time watching a video demonstration and trying out the technique for ourselves - the result was a very quiet and mindful lesson. As you can see from the selection of images, we make excellent pupils.
We were also lucky enough to welcome Rebecca from West End in Schools, for a dance workshop that also called on our drama skills. For the best part of an hour, we worked in groups and as a class to bring to life Roald Dahl'sThe Enormous Crocodile story.We worked hard on our face and body expressions, responding to musical prompts and counting beats. It was great fun, as you can see from the photos and video.
This week saw us fly into March and a new half term. Time seems to be going by so quickly, perhaps because we have been so busy. We've begun a new Science topic on Life Cycles and enjoyed getting the magnifying glasses out for a spot of flower dissection, to remind ourselves of what we learnt way back in Year 3; we are developing our reporting skills with a new English unit on newspaper reports; some of us have continued to refine our dance moves in readiness for the up-coming Gateshead Dance Festival, whilst others have been learning the ins and outs of netball; and we've been using our mapwork skills to identify features of our local area.
We also celebrated World Book Day by getting into costumes inspired by some of our favourite books, from Harry Potter to Little Women. During the day, we worked on a class book, which will soon be published, ready for purchase - our second published book in a term!
Another busy few days to complete our first half term of the year, with poetry performances, air friction science experiments, glockenspiel playing and more woodwork in DT. As a follow up to our wooden fridge magnet note holders, we used our sawing skills to cut four pieces of wood. We then joined the pieces together and decorated them, to create some rather fetching photo frames.
Our music lessons over the last couple of weeks have centred around the C major pentatonic scale. This is a five-note scale, consisting of the notes C – D – E – G – A. We tried playing some basic phrases on glockenspiels, and then composed our own simple melodies. Noisy, quite tricky, but a lot of fun!
We finished our week joining the rest of the school in supporting the Children's Heart Unit Fund, wearing red, decorating hearts and icing some biscuits. Which was nice! A well-deserved half-term rest now is just the ticket.
This Tuesday was Safer Internet Day, and, like the rest of the school, we marked it by discussing the positives, and potential negatives of the virtual world that we all interact with. We had some really interesting discussions around the online communities that we and our families are part of, and how we can stay safe when engaging with them; just as importantly, we also explored our own personal responsibilities. We concluded that it is so important to realise that we need to treat others online just as we would treat them face-to-face. Good manners, respect and consideration of others' feelings are qualities that are as vital in the virtual world as they are in our everyday real lives. Fortunately, Oceania class had oodles of all three.
Speaking of thinking about others, we were all shocked and saddened by the news from Turkey and Syria this week. However, we were very impressed and proud to learn that Harry in our class had made the decision to ask his mum to donate to victims of the earthquake, in place of one of his forthcoming birthday presents. When his neighbours (who have been collecting donations) found out about Harry's generosity, they invited him around to see what his very kind donation was used for. You can see from the photo how proud he was to be a part of the disaster relief effort. What a shining example and inspiration Harry is!
Friday 3rd February
We've had a very practical few days, this week, what with measuring in Maths, experimenting in Science and sawing in Design Technology.
On Tuesday, we carried out the fair tests that we had planned last week; these involved changing different factors in the chemical reaction that happens when water is added to denture tablets. The interesting part of our tests, was that the reaction (which releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles) happened inside small, sealed 35mm film cannisters, which resulted in lots of squeal-inducing explosive pops, as the lids gave way to the pressure. Some of us investigated changing the volume of water, others the temperature of the water, and some the amount of tablet in the tubs. Sometimes, just sometimes, Science can be about blowing stuff up...
We are currently exploring area of rectangles in Maths lessons, and have found that this can be calculated by multiplying the length of a rectangle by its width. Using rulers and tape measures, we found the area of pretty much every rectangular surface in the classroom.
Most of us had never had a saw in our hands before, so there was much excitement when we were able to learn how to cut wood accurately in our DT lesson. The end product was a fridge magnet note-holder, which you must agree, look fantastic. Now that we can handle a saw, we'll be moving on to designing and making more wooden products.
We've been looking at structures in Design and Technology this half term, with beam and truss bridges being the focus at the moment. After looking at some examples of bridges, we realised that one of the strongest shapes is the triangle. This week's challenge was to make a spaghetti truss bridge, which was definitely easier said than done! Working in small teams, we created different-sized bundles of spaghetti and used them to build the structure of the bridge. Next week, we will be moving on to the more conventional building material of wood.
It has also been a very sporty week, as many of us have begun practising for the Gateshead Dance Festival, others have been training with the girls' football club and eight of us did a fantastic job at the Thorp Academy Mini Basketball Tournament - Jake, Jasmine, Holly, Sarah, Cara, Oliver, Zac and Charlie played incredibly well with eight other children from Antarctica class against teams from other schools in the cluster. What makes their determination and team effort all the more amazing, was that all the other schools fielded teams of Year 6 children. Very well done to our valiant Year 5s!
Friday 20th January
Good grief, that week has gone quickly! Yet, we've still managed to squeeze lots into it, from using place value counters to nail our understanding of the 'short division' method in Maths and practicing some fun rock 'n' roll dance moves in PE, to experimenting with Newton Meters in Science and writing some very truthful letters home from the trenches to dissuade our younger brothers from signing up to the Great War. Of course, there was still time for a bit of mucking about in the snow!
A super first week back has seen us enjoying not one, but two visits to the school. The first was from author, poet and general bringer of excitement, Adam Bushnell. With his treasure-trove of sights, sounds and even smells from the First World War, Adam helped us to think and write about life in the trenches, enriching our knowledge and firing our imaginations on the way.
We were also treated to a visit from the Gateshead Music Workshop Team, who wowed us with music from the decades. Beats, rhythm and lots of toe-tapping tunes inspired us to dance and sing for almost an hour.
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