Chestnut Curriculum Newsletter Spring 2018

Chestnut Class Curriculum Newsletter - Spring ‘18

Dear Parents/Carers,

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

In maths pupils will be focusing on fractions, area and perimeter before half term and moving onto decimals and percentages, multiplication and division (Year 5) and algebra and ratio (Year 6) after half term.

Regular practise of times tables has a huge impact on your child’s maths and enables 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 also been used in the past by some Year 6 pupils. These are easily available on Amazon.

In English this half term we will be covering a variety of types of writing which will often link to our curriculum topics.  We will continue to build on our knowledge and application of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Our class guided reading text is ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Philippa Pearce.

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 the Earth and space. This is a topic that pupils have previously found absolutely fascinating and we have some exciting work planned using our new ‘Developing Experts’ scheme. Pupils will be able to use the ‘Developing Experts’ website to find out more about the topics we cover and take part in quizzes - more information to follow about this. Pupils will be learning about the movement of the Earth, moon and other planets and finding out about how this causes day and night and the seasons. We will also be finding out about the first moon landings and modern day astronauts and space missions.

Our history topic after half term will be Vikings. which is always a real favourite with pupils. Preceding this will be our geography study entitled ‘Explore Scandinavia’. This is a new topic for UKS2 and one which I am really looking forward to teaching. This unit of work will include pupils locating the Scandinavian countries on maps and in atlases and finding out about the climate and physical features of the area. Your child will be bringing home a Scandinavia knowledge organiser to share with you and study as part of their weekly homework.

Our area of study in Beliefs and Values for the first half term will be Hinduism, with a particular focus on moksha and finding out the significance of this for Hindus. After half term we move on to look at Judaism.

In French the children will be learning how to name food items, days of the week and months of the year as well as talking about hobbies.

Our art focus after half term will be printmaking which we will link to our history topic on ‘Vikings’. DT work will continue our ‘Fairground’ unit where pupils will be designing and building a fairground ride with rotating moving parts.

In music our units of work are entitled ‘The Solar System’ and ‘At the Movies’.

In PSHE, we will start with some work relating to money matters and taking care of the environment . After half term work will focus on healthy lifestyle and keeping safe.

Computing this term will include digital literacy (word processing skills) as well as coding using the programme ‘Scratch’.

Finally, PE will be taught by Mrs Pratt (games) on a Thursday afternoon and Mr Brown (dance and gymnastics) on a Friday afternoon. Please ensure children have full, named, kit every week. 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 or the weather is cold.


Our collective worship value for this half term is ‘’Respect and Reverence’. 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. Maths (arithmetic) will continue to be sent out on Mondays and it is important that this is returned by Friday. It makes it very difficult to mark and send out again if homework is handed in late. As always, children should ask for further help from me if they are struggling to understand their homework. We have had very positive feedback to the new homework system which has streamlined tasks and ensured focus on spellings, times tables, arithmetic, knowledge organisers and reading. Please ensure that the schedule is filled in by your child during the week and signed by an adult before returning the pink book for checking on a Friday.

Mr Brown will teach the class on a Friday and we welcome him 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