Chestnut Curriculum Newsletter Autumn 2017

Chestnut Class Curriculum Newsletter - Autumn ‘17

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome back to another busy term in Chestnut Class - I hope you have all had a lovely summer break. Here is a snapshot of what will be going on in class this term.

In maths pupils will be focusing on place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division before half term and moving onto fractions, measurement and shape work after half term.

Regular practise of KIRFs (which will be sent home at the beginning of term) and times tables have a huge impact on your child’s maths and enable them to keep up with expectations in class. Pupils who do not have a speedy, confident recall of times tables are at a disadvantage in their learning. It is really important for KS2 pupils to know their times times and the corresponding division facts instantly. In Year 6 SATs the arithmetic paper requires pupils to complete 36 questions in 30 minutes - pupils who are confident in their tables have a greater chance of success not only in this test but also in their general maths attainment and readiness for high school. Pupils have regular weekly times tables tests.

Should you have any questions about the teaching of maths or how you can help your child, please do not hesitate to contact me. Parents often ask about how best to help their child with homework, in particular maths. I have previously recommended the Usborne Junior Maths Dictionary which can be used by adults and children alike. CGP study books have aso been used in the past by some Year 6 pupils. These are easily available on Amazon.

In English this half term we will be writing information texts which link to our geography study of the River Nile, persuasive letters following our trip to African Adventure, balanced arguments and travel journals. We will continue to build on our knowledge and application of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Our class guided reading text is the classic children's favourite ‘The Borrowers’.

To help your child at home with writing you could:

  • Encourage any opportunity to write - lists, letters, notes, reminders

  • Encourage using a dictionary and thesaurus to investigate the spelling and meaning of new words they might see or hear

  • Talk together about current affairs or other issues to help them to formulate and express their thoughts and arguments and to hear you modelling doing this

  • Make use of IT to help with editing and improving writing - time to edit and improve writing is particularly important in this age group

  • Encourage your child to keep a diary or scrapbook - regular short bursts of writing can be beneficial and is something lovely to look back on in the future.

To help your child with reading:

  • Allow regular time for your child to read (independently or to you) and talk about what they are reading. This is still incredibly important even when you feel your child is a fluent reader. Our expectation is that children read at home to an adult three times a week and that this is recorded in your child’s reading record. Reading records will be checked each Monday.

  • Be a role model yourself - make sure your children see you reading too!

  • Or, if they are not keen on reading, by listening to audiobooks they can still experience the richness of language, different sentence structures and characterisation etc

  • All reading is valuable - it doesn’t need to be a school reading book. Reading newspapers can help to engage and interest some children. In school we subscribe to First News (a weekly children’s newspaper) - this can  also be purchased by parents through their website

To help your child with spelling, punctuation and grammar:

  • Make sure they practise and learn spellings that are sent home - this includes weekly spellings and the half termly essential spellings.

  • When reading with your child talk about the punctuation in what they are reading

  • Play word games such as Scrabble

In science we are going to be learning about electricity. This will include building circuits from plans, using recognised standard notation to record circuits and investigating how components functions change including the brightness of bulbs and the volume of buzzers. We will be making simple wire loop games, traffic lights and burglar alarms!

Our history topic after half term will be Ancient Egypt which is always a real favourite with pupils. Preceding this will be our geography study of the River Nile. We will be looking at how the river affects the local population and economic activity, the range of landscapes it travels through and land use along the Nile. Your child will be bringing home a River Nile knowledge organiser to share with you - more details to follow!

Our area of study in Beliefs and Values for the first half term will be Christianity, with a particular focus on why the gospel is such good news for Christians. After half term we move on to look at Islam.

In French the children will be learning how to give directions, name shops and ask where places are.

Our art focus this half term is 3D sculpture. We will be using wire and modroc to create sculptures in the style of Alberto Giacometti and will also be using clay and tissue paper and PVA to produce other 3D forms. DT work after half term will be a construction unit of work linked to our history topic - pupils will be building an Egyptian shaduf!

In music our units of work are entitled ‘Keeping Healthy’ and ‘Life Cycles’.

In PSHE, we will start with some work relating to rights and responsibilities which includes rules, laws democracy and the role of parliament. This will be followed by a short unit of work about relationships which includes feelings and emotions and valuing difference.

Computing this term will include e-safety and cyberbullying as well as coding using the programme ‘Scratch’.

Finally, PE will be taught by Mrs Pratt (games) on a Thursday afternoon and Mrs Gray (dance and gymnastics) on a Friday morning. Please ensure children have full, named, kit every week. As the weather turns colder it would be useful for the children to have joggers as well as shorts and a change of socks in case the grass is damp.


Our collective worship value for this half term is ‘Wisdom’. We will be focusing on this area in assemblies and also other curriculum areas.        

As before, spellings will be tested on Fridays and times tables will be tested on Thursdays. Home learning will continue to be sent out on Fridays and it is important that this is returned by the following Wednesday. It makes it very difficult to mark and send out again if homework is handed in late. Please remember we have homework club on Wednesdays for children who prefer to complete this in school. As always, children should ask for further help from me if they are struggling to understand their homework.

Mrs Gray will teach the class on a Friday and we welcome her to the Chestnut team. Mrs Pratt will also continue to work with the class.

If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask.

Best wishes

Mrs Sharpe