Emmaville Primary School

Oceania Year 5

Welcome to the Oceania Year 5 Class Page.  Here, you can find out about everything that we've been doing this term.
Friday 22nd December
Well it's on the up from now on - we've made it to the Winter Solstice, the point on our orbit around the Sun in which the Northern Hemisphere spends the least time facing the light, and so the days will only start getting longer.  Another reason to be happy this week is, of course, the completion of a very successful first term in Year 5; well done us!
Although this was a week of celebration and more relaxed activities, we did find time for a final Science lesson on the phases of the Moon.  A ride in a rocket to see the real thing would have been nice, but the next best thing was making craters in our own models of the Moon's surface and seeing how the impactors (rocks) made ejecta patterns and ray tracks, just like asteroids or meteors do on the real thing.  We then used Oreo cookies to make the different shapes of the Moon and order them in the four-week phase cycle: new Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full Moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, waning crescent.  
Our very final activity of the week (apart from our pyjama-and-board games party marble jar treat), was a spot of watercolour painting.  A simple snowman, but effective nonetheless. 
Have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year!
Friday 15th December
Our Enrichment week ('A Cover Is Not The Book, So Open It Up And Take a Look') was full of activities to get us reading in different ways.  We are a pretty enthusiastic class when it comes to reading anyway, but it's easy to stay in the comfort zone of a familiar author or story-type, so it was interesting to try out something different.  One of our activities was to read a book without words (Sector 17 by David Wiesner), which seemed strange and disconcerting at first, but soon turned into a shared adventure of words and ideas that we all enjoyed.  This was followed by a stint of story-telling based on the mysterious pictures of Harris Burdick.  These are a series of captioned pictures that were left by an author who was never seen again - or so the story goes - and so we worked in small groups to write our own stories to tell to the class.  Some were strange, some bizarre and one or two a little gruesome, but we all enjoyed listening to them!
Another lovely activity that we took part in this week, was paired reading with Year 2's Northern Ireland class.  Half of us toddled off down the corridor with a book under our arms, and half of the class of younger children came for a visit to Oceania.  Twenty five minutes of reading together and discussion about each others' books followed, and it was whole-heartedly agreed that we would like to do this more often. 
Friday 8th December
We welcomed back the Prayer Spaces team this week, who helped us to think about some of the important figures in the Christmas story, from Mary and Joseph to the shepherds and the wise men.  It gave us time to reflect on how each of them played their part in the events of Jesus' birth all those years ago.
We also gave a warm welcome once more to Adam Bushnell, who worked with us on Thursday morning.  He brought with him a Christmas-themed writing activity, but of course, being Adam, it was no ordinary session - Victorian ghost stories were the order of the day.  This led to some great discussion about settings and characters, resulting in some super suspense writing.  Everyone had great fun thinking of ideas, and the writing that we produced was fantastic. Charles Dickens himself would have been very impressed!
Friday 1st December
What a festive start to December, but a mite chilly out on the playground!  We were lucky to have just avoided the freezing conditions when we visited Durham on Tuesday this week, to kick-off our History topic of the Historical Heritage of Durham.  We began the day with a really interesting guided tour of the cathedral, finding all about how the monks of Lindisfarne first brought the sacred body of St Cuthbert to Durham.  It was here that they settled, building a church, and eventually the cathedral, which had so many fascinating features, like the world's first pointed stone archway, the cloisters used in some of the Harry potter films, monks' sleeping quarters and the tomb of St Cuthbert himself.  Our guide, Joseph, was brilliant, and we learnt so much.  
After lunch, we walked down the Bailey, past lots of university buildings, onto Prebends Bridge and then along the riverbanks up to the market place.  Map-reading and finding answers to a quiz kept us busy, as we discovered more about the city's history.  It was a fantastic day, and everyone had great fun learning about Durham.
Friday 24th November
It's been another busy week, yet we've managed to squeeze in lots of fun, from basketball to some role-play in Science.  Following on from last week's lesson on the Earth, Moon and Sun, we added the rest of the planets in our solar system, to find out how the whole show moves around in space.  It took scientists, philosophers and astronomers nearly 2,500 years to work out how the planets move, but it took us a few dizzying minutes to act out the spins and orbits of all eight planets (plus our Moon) around the Sun.  This is known as the Heliocentric model of our solar system, in which everything revolves around the Sun.  For many thousands of years, it was believed that the Earth was at the centre of things, be we know better than that now.  Check out the video below, and see if you can work out which planet is which!

We also went to the Vertu Arena for our special night at the 'Decade Concert' with Channy Thompson.  There were singers, dancers and, of course, our own star turn as her backing choir.  It was very exciting and we sang our parts with great enthusiasm and skill.  
Friday 17th November
We're deep into our English unit focusing on suspense, and this week, we have had lots of practice using adverbials and expanded noun phrases to ramp up the tension.  During the planning process for our own stories, we've chosen a setting and thought about the sort of creatures that might cause problems for our main characters.  Suspense, of course, is all about keeping the reader on the edge of their seats, and gradually introducing the 'threat'.
Here's a particularly good example from Leah for you to enjoy, with the adverbials underlined:

The jungle, at first sight, Jess thought, looked beautiful with birds twittering, occasionally swooping down into the sun-reflected river.  Rays of bright sunlight peeked through the green leaves, making patterns on the forest floor.  Different shades of blues and greens were everywhere; what a beautiful atmosphere it was.

Suddenly, clouds crowded overhead, birds flew away and disappeared everywhere.  The sky began to rumble, deep in fog.  It began to rain and mist.  The landscape was unrecognisable, with dark ferns, tall trees and silence. 

 Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, she heard a growl from behind.


We also had some fun in Science, deciding on the relative distances between the Earth, Moon and Sun, using a variety of different-sized spheres.  We found out that if the sun were shrunk to the size of a space-hopper, and the Earth to a small bead, they would have to be the whole length of the field apart.  Some of us managed to guess this correctly, but the actual distances in space are truly mind-boggling.

Friday 10th November

Getting back into the swing of things didn’t take long, as we began lots of new units of learning this week.  In Maths, we’ve started learning about negative numbers and quickly discovered that the trick to finding differences between numbers is that all-important zero in the middle;  our Science topic of Earth and Space started with an exploration of how evidence over thousands of years has helped us to form opinions about the shape of the Earth – there were some very well-written explanations that used the evidence effectively; the sound of balls bouncing in playground heralded a set of lessons of basketball, and many of us showed some pretty good dribbling skills; and in English, we have begun a unit on suspense writing, so watch out for some hair-raising stories in the near future.

 On Thursday, we received an exciting visit from Channy Thompson and her friend Jamie.  Both of them worked with all of Years 5 and 6 on the songs that we will be singing at her Decades Concert in two weeks’ time at the Vertu Arena.  It was great to hear all our voices together for the first time, and with her guidance, our performance was definitely lifted.  We can’t wait for the big night!

Thursday 26th October
Phew! What an extraordinarily long half term, but it's been nothing but brilliant.  We finished our last week with a lovely afternoon, that started with a trip to the Roving Bookshop.  There were so many books, that they took up the whole of the hall.  It was great to see such a selection of reading material, and there were lots of 'ooh's and 'ah's as we wandered around looking for something to buy.  Some of us also helped to choose some books for the classroom, which you can see below.  Can't wait to start reading them!
The bookshop was then followed by a session of computing, but not as students.  This time, we were the teachers!  After being taught how to use a branching database sorting programme (J2E Branch), each of us then used our skills and knowledge to teach a Year 3 child how to sort and classify various groups of objects, from animals to Hallowe'en items.  Apart from doing a fantastic job of tutoring our younger schoolmates, it was lovely to make some new friends.
Friday 20th October
On Wednesday, fifteen of us went to the Gateshead International Stadium, where we took part in a Year 5/6 Sports Hall Athletics event, along with team-mates from Antarctica class.  There were relay races and hurdles in the track events, and field events that included the standing long jump, soft javelin and speed-bounce.  We showed great determination and resilience, as well as fantastic support for each other, as we competed against what turned out to be mostly Year 6 teams.  Even though we didn't win, there were quite a few of the track events where we came in the top three.  It was a great afternoon, and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Our science skills are improving all the time, and this week we were able to carry out a fair test to find out the effect of the temperature of water on the rate of of sugar dissolving.  Before we started, we made predictions based on what we know about the particle model and dissolving.  Working in small groups, we had to ensure that our controlled variables (volume of water and amount of sugar) all stayed the same, while we recorded repeat readings to ensure accuracy.  It was a very busy lesson, and there was some great teamwork.
Friday 13th October
Firstly, a big well-done to all of us who put themselves forward for School Council on Monday; there were some very passionate and heart-felt speeches in front of the class, which is not an easy thing to do, but congratulations go to Mila and Nathan who were successfully voted in for this year.  They are bound to represent Oceania at the council meeting extremely well.
This week in Art, we have been completing our unit on propaganda posters.  These were used in WW1 by the government to recruit soldiers, keep morale high and to encourage people to join in the war effort back home in Britain.  We began the unit at the start of the term by looking at different examples of posters and identifying the main elements, including strong images, interesting fonts, rhetorical questions and imperative statements directed at the reader.  This then helped us pick out various features to design our own posters.  Along the way, we practised the skills of close observational drawing and cross-hatch shading. 
Here are a few rather effective examples of the finished product.
Friday 6th October
Well, that was a quick week!  Time certainly flies when you're busy, and we have certainly had a packed week,  from working on our football dribbling skills in PE and learning about the tundra biome in Geography, to developing our confidence with decimal calculations in Maths and practising shading techniques in Art.  
We continued our exploration of dissolving in Science, with a classic Skittles experiment.  We were first challenged, though, to work out our own Skittles investigation and make predictions based on what we knew about the Particle Model and dissolving - how bouncing water particles break down soluble solids into their smallest parts within a solution.  Our hypotheses were not all correct, but that did not stop us enjoying the rainbow.
We also spent the week crafting some beautiful poems, based on the Robert Macfarlane poem Raven.  After exploring his use of repetition, metaphor, simile and alliteration, we chose our own nature-based subjects and wrote acrostic poems that Robert would be most impressed with.  The poem below, Dandelion, was written by Grace, and it really is worth reading...
Friday 29th September
We had a fantastic debate about the whys and wherefores of the start of World War One in our History lesson this week, with ideas about the effects of various tensions in 1914 Europe being bounced around the classroom.  Some of us were convinced that the on-going arms race between different countries had to be the main factor in the beginning of the conflict, while others countered with the fact that empire-building had got out of control and many countries were afraid that others might invade and overtake them.  Still others made the point that various alliances had formed in Europe, which was why so many countries were dragged into the war.  It was a very lively, yet respectful, debate, after which, we learnt that the Great War was finally triggered by the assassination of Austria-Hungary's Archduke Ferdinand during a visit to neighbouring Serbia.
We then pretended to be news reporters, the day after the shooting, using our knowledge to speculate about the possibility of a war.  Lots of us did a very good job with our reports, but here's Mila's work.
Friday 22nd September
Firstly, congratulations to our very own Gateshead Libraries competition winner, Bea.  During the summer holidays, she completed the reading challenge, Ready, Set, Read at Crawcrook Library and is Gateshead’s overall prize draw winner.  Joanne from the library service wanted to make a surprise appearance for the presentation, so she popped into Oceania classroom early on Thursday morning and proceeded to set up a huge stack of books.  Of course, everyone put down their pencils and gazed on curiously, while the stack grew higher and higher.  We were all delighted when the competition winner was announced, and then a stunned Bea stepped forward to accept her amazing prize - her own height in books!
This week in Science ,we have been finding out how to separate insoluble materials (sand and soil) from water.  This involved using filter paper, funnels and measuring cylinders to filter the solutions.  This lead to some great observations and the use of the particle model to help explain how the tiny holes in the filter paper were able to allow the water particles through, but not the much bigger sand or soil particles.  Thee are definitely some budding scientists in our class!
Friday 15th September
A great start to our term's work saw us exploring figurative language (similes, metaphors and personification) in English, which resulted in some rather splendid short poems; learning the scientific language and properties of materials in Science; continuing our understanding of decimal numbers in Maths; and learning how to observe very closely when drawing in Art.  We were also able to finish our colourful personality swirls that we started last week, some of which you can see below.
We also considered our rights as children and citizens of the World.  There was some fantastic discussion about not only these, but the responsibilities that go with them.  Emma, in particular, though very deeply about this and went on to write about the rights and responsibilities that she considered to be the most important.  You can really hear the passion in her writing:
Education is a necessary right, to be able to get a job and support yourself, so it is extremely important to learn and not ignore your teachers, as they are trying extremely hard to help you. So be appreciative
Being heard is also important because if you are denied the right, it wouldn't be fair, as it's your life.  You should be able to make your decisions and no-one should control your life.
Friday 8th September
What an amazing first week back at school we've had!  The sun has been shining and everyone has been getting back into the rhythms of school life again.  With two new members of Oceania, we are proving to be a friendly, supportive and very hard-working class; there have been lots of nice activities this week, like making pop-up books about the continent of Oceania, creating artistic personality swirls and starting our class reader, Wolf Brother.  We have also been working hard to get our creaking brains back into gear after the long summer break, with super maths skills practice and some very impressive writing activities. 
Of course, the highlight of the week was probably the discovery by Daniel of a young hedgehog at the edge of the school field.  Being nocturnal animals, it's never usually a good thing to find one out during the day time, and this one didn't seem to be too happy.  One rescue operation and a few phone calls later, our hedgehog is now being cared for at a rescue centre for the next few weeks, until she regains strength and puts on a bit of weight.  Hopefully, she will be returned to us for release soon!