Curriculum Newsletter Spring 2017

Chestnut Class Curriculum Newsletter - Spring ‘17

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome back to another busy term in Chestnut Class. Here is a snapshot of what will be going on in class this term.

In maths we 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.

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 pupils. These are easily available on Amazon.

In English we will be writing recounts including diary entries and newspaper articles. We will also be writing our own sci-fi stories and will be writing explanations after half term. We will continue to build on our knowledge and application of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

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 - regular short bursts of writing can be beneficial and now is the perfect time of year to start!

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

  • 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 after half term we are going to be learning about living things and habitats. I hope to include a trip to Banham Zoo as part of this topic. This half term, we will be learning about our amazing Earth in a topic looking at volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. It would be helpful if you could save plastic bottles in preparation for making some model volcanoes!

Our area of study in RE for the first half term will be Hinduism, in particular beliefs and questions. After half term we move on to look at Buddhism.

In French the children will be learning how to ask directions, give the time and say where they are going.

Our art focus this half term is drawing which will include scaling up drawings and experimenting with a range of media . We will also be creating own own portraits and looking at the work of well-known artists such as Picasso and Bacon. DT work will be a unit of work linked to our science topic - pupils will be experimenting with the design and construction of mechanical models.

In music our units of work are entitled ‘Growth’’ and ‘Roots’.

In PSHE, we will start with some work relating to money, jobs and the world of work. This will be followed by a short unit of work about volunteering and the role of this nationally and in our community.

Computing this term will include coding using the programme ‘Scratch’. This will include the skills of conditionals, debugging and efficient coding. This is a simple coding programme designed for children by MIT (Massachusetts institute of Technology) it can be used online or is available free to download from (we use version 1.4 in school). Children really enjoy using it and I am sure they would enjoy having a go at home. Junior Scratch is available as an app for ipads.

Finally, our PE focus begins with football on Mondays and hockey on Thursdays. This half term we are fortunate to be benefitting from an experienced football coach working with the class. Please ensure children have full, named, kit every week. In the cold weather 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.


Forest School will start again for our class after half term.

Our collective worship value for this half term is friendship. 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 Thursday. 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.

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

Best wishes

Mrs Sharpe