Emmaville Primary School

Toronto Yr 5 & 6

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

Friday 5th July 2019

We had a very special visitor in our assembly today: Liz Twist MP.  Liz was elected MP for Blaydon in 2017 and kindly arranged a visit to the Houses of Parliament when our Year 5 were in London earlier in the year.  Liz stayed with us after assembly to tell us all about what her life was like as an MP and answer lots of interesting questions from our year 5 children. Miss Armstrong was really impressed by the insightful questions our children asked, perhaps we have some future MPs in Emmaville.

Friday 28th June
This week, we've been working on some competition writing: reviews, to be precise.  The local charity, Bringing Words to Life, who regularly work with the children of our school to develop writing skills, are currently running a competition.  The children have been challenged to write a review about anything, so we had a look at a few examples of the genre first, and discovered that it's actually quite hard to write a good review.  The writer's toolkit that we came up with, included using a formal tone, including technical vocabulary and not making the writing too personal.  Doing all this makes us sound like experts who know what we are talking about.  As you can see from the following excerpts, some of us really do sound like expert review writers.
 
The track opens with gentle guitar riffs that carry on for the rest of the song.  This is just seconds before Ezra's strong vocals start singing a powerful folk song which doesn't waver for all the 3 minutes the song goes on for.
                                                                                                    Eva B, reviewing George Ezra's 'Budapest'
 
A game made to be a throwback to the original Sonic trilogy, introduces crisp graphics and great gameplay topped with outstanding level design.  Choose your character: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty or Ray.  They all have special abilities that can help them blast through the levels with iconic speed.
                                                                                                    Michael M, reviewing Sonic Mania Plus
Friday 14th June
Having had the week of their lives in France and Belgium, the Year 6 children returned to school full of memories and just a little more self-confidence.  There were many highlights of the residential, from sampling the delights of a traditional french market and gazing up at sharks and manta rays in Europe's biggest aquarium in Boulogne sur Mer, to taking a leisurely canal boat ride through the city of Bruges and spending a thrilling day at the Bellwaerde theme park.  However, it was the day at Ypres, spent deepening our understanding of the First World War and paying our respects to the fallen, that inspired some fantastic writing this week.  The children demonstrated their learning by writing in the formal style of a travel company leaflet about their experiences at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War cemetery, in the 'In Flanders Field' museum and at the Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate Memorial arch.  The work produced would certainly persuade any school to follow the same itinerary; well done to our writers.

Friday 7th June 2019

Our Year 5 children have been working really hard this week while their Year 6 friends have been in France.  To reward them for their efforts, we decided to end the week on a high with a little adventure to Clara Vale nature reserve and village hall.  The weather was glorious and we had a lovely relaxing time.

Friday 10th May
After weeks of very hard work, our Year 6 pupils spent an amazing day at Tynemouth Longsands beach for a bit of welcome chilling out, in preparation for next week's tests.  All week, we'd been suffering some particularly awful weather, but Friday dawned clear and sunny.  We expected a chill in the air, but it was actually pleasantly warm at times - at least once we'd dried off!  The highlight of the day was a surfing lesson, which (once those very tight wetsuits had been squeezed into) was the best fun ever, according to quite a few excited screams.  Everyone got to experience the thrill of riding a wave, and a few of us even managed to master the board standing up.  What a great way to prepare our minds.
Friday 3rd May
As promised, this week in our Science lesson, we ventured out into the school grounds on a lovely sunny afternoon, to collect data about some of the trees.  As scientists, we had to become confident with using quite a lot of new scientific language whilst collecting our information.  For instance, did you know that a leaf stalk is called a petiole? Or that leaves shapes can be ovate (egg-shaped), deltoid (triangular) or cordate (heart-shaped)?  We also looked at leaf margins, to see if they were smooth, serrated, or lobed, and we even observed the bark of the trees to identify texture, colour and pattern. 
This was all so that we could be very specific with our questions back in the classroom, when we were constructing our branching identification keys.  It was quite tricky, but everyone managed to create working databases that identified the trees correctly.  Here a some photos of us enjoying the sunshine, plus three of our identification keys.  Next time you are out for a walk, ask your budding scientist to give you a guided tour of some common trees...
Friday 26th April
Too old for Play-Doh in Years 5 & 6? No chance! This week, we've been using the stuff to model the layers of the Earth's crust in our topic lesson, starting with the inner core, then the outer core, the mantle and the crust, finishing with all the oceans and land masses of our planet. 
 
And after all the effort, the group work and the co-operation, we sliced them all in half!  That way, we could see just how thin the layer is that we are living on.  
 
We've also been playing with liquorice allsorts in Science; actually, they were used to construct branching databases, but the obvious characteristics of those brightly-coloured sweets made it easy to think of binary questions which sorted them into ever-smaller groups.  This was a preparation lesson for next week, when we'll be creating a much more complex sorting key that will enable anyone to identify some of the trees we have in our school grounds.  Keep an eye on our class page and you, too, could become an expert in tree-identification.
Friday 5th April
What an amazing end to the Spring Term for our Year 5 & 6 dancers!  After many hours of practice, the forty-two-strong dance troupe performed their hearts out on Wednesday of this week.  Before leaving for the iconic Sage for the Gateshead Schools' Dance Festival, the children gave each year group a sneak preview of their dance in the school hall; the only problem was that everyone cried for more, and so that's just what they got, with ever-increasing enthusiasm.  Of course, later that day, in one of the most state-of-the-art venues in the World, our stars shone even more brightly than ever, and each one of them made their families, friends and teachers so very proud.  
Friday 29th March
There are many talented people in Toronto Class - some have developed their skills as writers, mathematicians, scientists, historians or geographers; others have spent many an hour perfecting their artistic flair or sporting prowess; and some have been practising hard as musicians.  This week, we were treated to a mini-concert by the school steel pan group, three of whom (Conan, Louisa and Dylan) hail from our class.  The timing and tuning of the pieces that they played - Baby Shark and Happy Birthday included - were spot on, but what impressed me the most, was the fact that the whole ensemble played from memory: no written music was used at all!  A very impressive feat indeed.
 
 
Although it appears in the News and Residential sections of the website, we can't let the wonderful London residential trip pass without a mention on our Class Page.  Nearly all of our Year 5s participated, and without exception, they had an amazing time.  Of course there were fantastic sights to see and incredible experiences to be had, but it has to be said that more than a few of our group showed considerable bravery in leaving their families for the first ever time, and during the course if the three days, it was plain to see that their confidence grew so much.  Sometimes, we have to step outside of our comfort zones to realise how strong we really are.

Friday 15th March

The Gateshead Dance Festival will soon be upon us and many of the children in Toronto class have been practicing their moves very hard.  This year's theme is a celebration of the festival's 10-year anniversary, so the children have been working on a medley of dances pulled from Emmaville's greatest hits  Time has been quite tight this year, but this week saw a turning point, particularly in Friday’s practice session, where each group of dancers managed to master their timing and footwork.  The whole dance looks fantastic already and the polished show should be stunning when we perform at The Sage on the night of 3rd April.

Friday 8th March
There was a great show of fancy dress outfits in Toronto Class for World Book Day this week, with a variety of literary greats, from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter to Roald Dahl's Miss Spider.  It's always nice to celebrate the influence that reading has on our lives, and it was fun trying to spot all the wonderful characters buzzing around the school.
 
This week also saw the culmination of several weeks' singing practice, with the Year 5 children and the school's choir attending the Ryton Music Festival at St Anne's RC Church in Winlaton.  We had a sneak preview in the school hall on Friday morning, and everyone was so impressed, not only with the beautiful sound, but also with how well the children concentrated on Mrs Jarvis' conducting.  In fact, I'm very proud to say that the choir were awarded second prize in the Hymn Singing Class. 
Friday 1st March
All things green, during our eco-themed enrichment week, as we considered how we, as the next generation of citizens, are the real guardians of our planet.  We learnt about how we can reduce litter by recycling, re-using and refusing; looked at ways in which we can improve our own environment; considered how to reduce our plastic use; and though of ways to encourage animal diversity. 
 
No enrichment week is complete without a challenge, and our was to create an up-cycling masterpiece.  We collected tin cans and decorated them in a variety of ways to make fantastic pencil pots - one for our new classroom desk tidies and one for home.  
Friday 8th February
In art, we have been developing our drawing skills; after a couple of lessons that focused on close observation sketching and the use of lines,  we explored the variations in shades that different drawing pencils can make.  Creating tonal scales helped us to get a feel for the range of pencils, from 4H to 6B.  Did you now that 'H' stands for 'hard' and 'B' for 'bold' or 'black'?  A 6B pencil contains mostly graphite, which is soft and produces a very dark line, whereas a 4H pencil contains a lot of clay, making it much harder, so that lines are very light and fine.  Now, a tonal scale is all well and good, but using shades to create three-dimensional pictures is quite another challenge, so this week, we began the journey by having a go at reproducing some sketches of simple geometric shapes.  No rulers allowed, no rubbers and no starting again!  Even so, we were all able to create  images that looked liked real shapes and were left with a warm sense of satisfaction from a job well done. 
Friday 1st February
Our Year 5 School Buddies do a sterling job, making the playtimes of the younger members of our community more interesting and fun each day.  Their special training stands them in good stead, helping them to spot children who need help and giving them the confidence to organise games and activities in the Key Stage 1 playground; it always warms the heart when we see younger children being helped along by the older ones, but every now and again, some of our Buddies shine just a little brighter, and it's nice to recognise this. 
 
One such superstar is Toronto's own Max C, who for the past term and a half has been working tirelessly in his role as Buddy, so much so that this week, he accompanied Mrs Lawrence to the Newcastle - Manchester City game at St James' Park on Tuesday evening to be one of the ball boys.  There, he had a pre-match tour of the stadium, met the Newcastle legend and commentator John Anderson, gave an interview to press in the conference room and even shook hands with his City heroes.  Max has been a devoted fan of Manchester City since he was six years old, and even though the score on the night could have been better for him, he had an amazing time soaking up the unique atmosphere - it was a dream come true, as you can see from the size of his smile in the photos.   

Friday 25th January

This week, we completed our latest English unit with some rather brilliant writing.  We started by studying an extract from the book ‘Street Child’ by Berlie Doherty, using it to develop our understanding of how to create contrasting characters with their speech and actions.  Our Primary Writing Project skills were put to excellent use, adding to our ever-widening vocabulary, with short-burst writing and various focused grammar activities.  The end result was work that explored what it might have been like to be a child chimney sweep in Victorian times.

Here are just a few short examples of our writing, and we’re sure that you’d agree we have managed the art of characterisation extremely well:

 

It felt like Jim had been sat on the grim roof for hours, until the Master Sweep had finally stopped scrubbing his sore, calloused knees.  Jim’s vermilion blood was spilling onto the eves of the old house.  Suddenly, the Master propelled Jim into the twisted chimney with a shove, and the ebony darkness enveloped him in a world of fear. (Matilda B)

All I see before me is a shroud of darkness, trapping me, a sense of foreboding suffocating me!  The stony bricks close in on me, as my heart palpitates.  (Caitlin C)

“Get out of there, you filthy maggot! You’re trying my patience you know!  That’s it – if you don’t come down soon, it’ll be the orphanage for you! Let’s see how someone else can handle you!” the Master screamed up the chimney, his purple veins popping out as lines on his neck and forehead.  (Louisa H)

“I-I am going as quick as I can sir, I can’t do this any quicker,” I say, “Please can I have a rest – I’m brushing the chimney as quick as possible. (Sophie N)

 

 

Friday 18th January

Another great week’s work, but the most excitement was probably to be had in Science; we extended our experience of forces with an experiment involving water and fizzing denture tablets in sealed plastic 35mm film tubs.  The carbon dioxide gas given off by the sodium bicarbonate in the tablets builds up a fair head of pressure, which eventually causes the little tubs to pop, forcing them up into the air.  Aside from the obvious excitement, the point of the lesson was to develop our fair-testing skills – each group chose an independent variable to test (volume of water, temperature of water or number of tablets) and then worked to plan how to keep all the other elements the same (the controlled variables).  There was many a scream, but don’t worry, stylish safety goggles were worn at all times, so we all survived the experience!

Friday 11th January
Well, what a wonderful start to the new year.   We've had fun in Science, learning about gravitational pull and how everything is weighed in Newtons (not kilograms!); learnt the importance of close observation in drawing; and we've started a great new unit in English, based on the wonderful book Street Child by Berlie Doherty.  Prepare to see some fantastic work showcased on our class page in the next few weeks!
Friday 21st December
 
One final task before the holidays!  This was a fun one, though; we have been looking at military insignia, particularly medals and cap badges that soldiers would have worn during and after the First World War.  As a design technology exercise, this involved looking closely at medals from the War and how they were constructed using various shapes, emblems, symbols and mottos.  We then designed our own medals using as many of these elements as we could.  Paper templates were next, followed by card cut-outs, which were then assembled in layers and painted with metallic paint to produce some rather smart-looking embossed medals.  Here are a small selection of them.
Friday 14th December
We rounded off our topic on the First World War with some amazing report writing, the culmination of much hard work in English lessons.  After looking closely at a report text, we identified the main features and analysed how, as writers, we could use them to the best effect.  Both Dylan and Matthew made it onto the Writer of the Month board for their reports on 'Animals of the Great War' and 'How the First World War Started'.  
 
As you can see from the following two short extracts, not only have we mastered the art of informing the reader, but we have also learnt an awful lot from this fascinating topic.
 
Matthew:
How the First World War Started
 
Many people think that the cause of the First World War was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. However, this was only the trigger that caused the devastation of the First World War. It was a series of unfortunate events that were the main reasons behind the War.
 
Alliances
When an alliance is signed, the countries are known as allies.  The reasons behind this, is when one country is in trouble, the other has to come and help.  One of the two main alliances was the 'Triple Alliance', which was made in 1882.  Then 25 years later, Great Britain, France and Russia responded with the 'Triple Entente' in 1907.  They responded to this because Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy were allies, and at the time, Britain had no allies; they had a big empire, but no allies.  However, this was not the only cause that started the War.
 
Dylan:
Animals of the Great War
In the Great War, over half our country's men left to fight; however, did you know that over 16 million animals also left?  Different animals also included lions, dogs, pigeons and cats.  Most of them had been pets and were comforting in the trenches. 
 
Horses
One of the most helpful animals in the War was the horse.  Over one million horses were sent to France, and only 25% of them survived.  Ambulance horses played an important role; they carried wounded soldiers.  Alternatively, artillery horses carried weapons.  Horses had a 20lb grain limit, but if it was scarce, cavalrymen would give them sawdust cake.
 
 
Friday 7th December
On Wednesday morning, we explored Christmas-themed Prayer Space Stations, where we were encouraged to consider various aspects of the Christian festival.  We looked at different events in the Nativity story and thought about how they might relate to events going on in the world today, such as the plight of refugees.  We were also asked to think about our own hopes and ambitions for the coming year, how we might say sorry and ask for forgiveness for something and what items we would choose to take on a journey to Bethlehem. 
Friday 30th November
We've had a great time during 'Cracking Computers' Enrichment Week, teaching younger children how to code using Scratch, learning how to keep ourselves safe on the internet, thinking about rules for being a good 'digital citizen' and designing our own apps.  For the apps challenge, we worked in groups to create brand new app ideas, thinking about innovative features for a target audience;  these were then developed into video adverts, which involved scripts, props, costumes, rehearsals and some 'green-screen' filming.  The hard word certainly paid off, as you can see in the following entertaining adverts.  

Friday 23rd November
We have been receiving some gymnastics coaching from Grassroot’s Rachel Troke on Thursday mornings.  The children have been learning lots of different skills: from basic rolls, like the pencil and straddle; tricky balances, like the pike and frog; and on to more complicated movements, such as handstands and headstands.  There are a few of the class who do attend gymnastics clubs, but Rachel has been extremely impressed with not just the ability shown, but by the way all the children have tried their hardest and given each new skill their best efforts.  We are now working on using our skills to create simple gymnastics sequences.  I think there are some definite contenders for the future British Olympic team! 
Friday 16th November
What a busy week!  Everyone has worked so hard to get ready for today - first, a fantastic Class Assembly performed for the whole school and our families; then the Bring and Buy Sale in aid of Children in Need.  We've been beavering away all week, practising our lines and WW1 dance of course, but also making posters, selling Pudsey merchandise, sorting cuddly toys and advertising our fundraising event.  As you can see from the photos, there was a room full of goodies to start the sale off, but by the end of the day, it had been stripped bare; there's nothing like a class full of children clutching their money to clear a table piled high with soft toys...
 
Anyway, we managed to raise a magnificent £1715!  A brilliant end to the week.
Friday 9th November
Our World War One topic continues apace, with another fantastic opportunity to find out about the past from primary sources; a visit to the Discovery Museum and the Alphabetti Theatre (just across the road) led to some very interesting learning experiences.  We were guided around the 'Charge!' exhibition to research about different aspects of life as a soldier in WWI, took part in a drama workshop that explored the role of animals during the war, met two officers in a replica trench bunker and watched an amazingly moving play about Walter the homing pigeon and his adventures in the trenches.  So much knowledge!  But don't worry, we've been writing letters home from the trenches which are packed full of interesting facts that we've learnt, so it's all there in black and white.
Friday 2nd November
We were visited this week by three members of the Ryton and District War Memorials Project, Mick, Ian and Malcom, who are experts on all things World War One.  They brought an array of original war artefacts and a huge amount of knowledge with them.  It was amazing to be able to handle objects that had actually been used by soldiers in the war and to find out exactly what they were used for and how they affected people's lives.  The children were fascinated, asked some intelligent questions and gained such a lot of knowledge.  What a great way to start our new topic.
Friday 19th October
We finished our Chinese Hanging Paintings this week; once the colour washes were dry, we used straws to carefully blow black paint into the shape of trees and then added different shades of pink blossom.  They were finished off with our signatures, based on Chinese characters that look like letters of our alphabet.  I think you'd agree that they look fantastic, especially displayed together.
A special mention for Matilda, who had her finished story chosen for the Headteacher's Writer of the Month board, and then had it published in the newsletter this week! 
What follows is just the first page of it, but it really showcases how she has used her homework, which was to research her chosen setting, so that she could become an expert and make her landscape, plants and animals believable when she wrote her story.
 
It was dark when Lydia woke up in her tent. The terns were screeching, all of the Arctic wolves were howling and icicles hung above the tent, like shark teeth about to pierce someone’s skin. The ice plains were bare, and everything stilled for a minute. All was deathly silent.
 
Lydia opened the zip and sat next to a glacier to take a break. She heard a rustle coming from the Caribou Moss behind her. Lydia prayed it wasn’t a polar bear – Fa said it was the worst thing to come upon. In the distance, she saw a huge pack of seals. The caribou moss was still rustling. Lydia turned her head to see what it was. A fox. She then took a deep breath to calm herself. Terrified, Lydia walked back to her tent; a freezing wind swept loose bits of wing and snow away, grabbing her body in an icy fist.
 
Far away, Owl was flying through the spine-chilling wind, blowing the small footprints of the horses. In the distance, he could hear his sister’s heartbreaking cry. A piercing cry that pulled him in. Darkness started to fall onto the Arctic, but Owl loved the dark. The ebony sky intensified; hunting was easier to do and pray was easier to seek. The stars glittered in the inky sky.
Friday 12th October
What better way to test out our story-telling skills, than to read the finished narratives to the children of Edinburgh and Glasgow classes.  It was lovely to see the classroom full of enthusiastic authors, spinning tales of mysterious forests, steamy jungles and endless deserts.  After the session, some of the Toronto pupils revealed that their Year 1 audience had awarded them a token, or even a move up the star chart!
Earlier in the week, some practical Science got our questioning skills going, as we explored the process of filtration when separating soil from water.  Asking the question 'What if...?' is an important skill, and many of the children came up with some great ideas and explanations for what they observed, and how they could improve the process.  
Friday 5th October
The Toronto children ended the week with that real 'Friday feeling' in the school's new dance studio.  They worked in groups with Miss Rochester to learn some tricky hip-hop dance moves, and then performed them to each other.  There was some great determination as they perfected their fancy footwork, with plenty of hard work and bags of enjoyment all round.  If you're lucky, the children might demonstrate their new skills for you at home!
 
Friday 12th October
A little update on the dancing - we refined our moves this week, and the results were filmed.  Enjoy!

Friday 28th September
We have been busy in English this week, studying and learning the short text 'The Ice Forest' as part of our Primary Writing Project.  Short it may be, but it was still a challenge to create a story map for it; with some effective group work, bright ideas and some pretty good doodling, though, we managed to get all the relevant details and important phrases down.  Here's the completed version below, which most of us now know well enough to re-tell the story without any written words.  Of course, the fun bit will be using the story to write our own versions.  This week's homework is to research our chosen settings, so that we become experts in what lives and grows there, which should make our own stories all the more realistic.  
Friday 21st September
On Tuesday, we began a new Science topic - Properties of Materials;  a good scientist needs to be able to describe and explain what they see accurately, so we started by revising some familiar, and learning a few new, scientific words and their definitions.  We then worked in groups to use the complex vocabulary to link various different materials and describe their properties.  There was some great teamwork!  Here's a challenge for the children, though - how many of the words can you use in everyday life at home? If you need a reminder, use the link to download the word list. 
We've also started our paintings inspired by traditional Chinese blossom pictures - our first technique to master is a 'wet colour wash', which is a trick many painters use to create an effective sky with blended colours. You have to work very quickly, with horizontal strokes, and keep the paper wet.  There were some very promising practices; watch this space for the finished masterpieces!
Friday 14th September
We had a fantastic time at Durham Oriental museum this week, learning all about the Shang Dynasty and where it stands in history in relation to other periods we have studied.  We were able to use our investigative skills to find out things that had happened in ancient China through some of the artefacts we studied.  The staff at the museum were very complementary of the behaviour of our lovely Emmaville children.  What an excellent kick start for our new topic.
Friday 7th December
On Wednesday, we explored Christmas-themed Prayer Space stations, in which we considered the true meaning of the Christian festival.  There were several activities that encouraged us to think about the different events in the story from the Gospels, and we were encouraged to think about various aspects of the Nativity story and how they might relate to events going on in the world today, such as refugees and the tough conditions they may face.  We also thought about what we would take on a journey to Bethlehem, how we might say sorry for something we have done and considered our own hopes and dreams for the future. 
Friday 25th January
We finished our latest English unit this week with some pretty amazing writing, based on an extract from the book 'Street Child' by Berlie Doherty.  After using the text as a model, we explored how to develop contrasting characters through their speech and actions; our Primary Writing Project skills were put to full use, as we added to an ever-widening range of vocabulary through short-burst writing and focused grammar activities.  Our final pieces of work explored what it might have been like to be a child chimney sweep in Victorian times. 
 
Here are a few short examples of our writing, and I'm sure you'd agree that they show that we have tackled the difficult art of characterisation extremely well:
 
It felt like Jim had been sat on the grim roof for hours, until the Master Sweep had finally stopped scrubbing his sore, calloused knees.  Jim's vermilion blood was spilling onto the eves of the old house.
Suddenly, the Master propelled Jim into the twisted chimney with a shove, and the ebony darkness enveloped him in a world of fear.  (Matilda B)
 
All I see before me is a shroud of darkness, trapping me, a sense of foreboding suffocating me! The stony bricks close in on me, as my heart palpitates. (Caitlin C)
 
"Get out of there, you filthy maggot! You're trying my patience you know! That's it - if you don't come down soon, it'll be the orphanage for you! Let's see how someone else can handle you!" the Master Sweep screamed up the chimney, his purple veins popping out as lines on his neck and forehead. (Louisa H)
 
"I - I am going as quick as I can sir, I can't do this any quicker," I say, "Please can I have a rest - I'm brushing the chimney as quick as possible" (Sophie N)