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Chestnut Year 5

Welcome to Chestnut Class 2020-2021



Welcome to our class page. Over the year, we will use this page to capture snapshots of our learning, progress and experiences - so keep checking in for updates! If you ever have any questions or would like to learn more, please get in touch with our class team (Mrs Ash, Mrs Atkins, Mrs Ramira) who would be very happy to help.


Updates - our PE days for Term 6 will be on Monday and Wednesday. Please can children come dressed in their PE kits for these days (please see our Parents Information Document for further details on PE kit).

In the case of self-isolation or further lockdown


In the event of your child needing to self-isolate, please use the homework website links above that your child can access for a range of subjects. 

In the event of our class bubble isolating, or a school closure lockdown, we will be using Teams Online. Your child will need their username and password to access teams (these have been emailed). 

Contact Us

Sports Day

Sports Day - Video 1

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Sports Day - Video 2

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Sports Day - Video 3

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Sports Day - Video 4

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Sports Day - Video 5

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Our Street Child (Victorians) Project Learning


We have been fascinated by our latest History-based project which is centred around the fantastic book 'Street Child'; a story set in the Victorian era, focusing on the plight of a young orphan called Jim Jarvis. 



In our English lessons we have been exploring the story together through joint reading; this has helped us to develop a range of our VIPER skills, from retrieval to inference, to explaining and discussing the effects of vocabulary. We have applied our inference skills to deepen our understanding of a character's thoughts and feelings and we used drama strategies to help with this, too. Having gathered our ideas, we then wrote in character as Mrs Jarvis (Jim's mum) with the intention of pleading to her landlord to let her and her family remain in the house (in spite of not paying their rent). 

Having organised our thoughts and devised our S2S for the letter, we put our writing skills to the test and these are some of our outstanding letters. Which of the S2S can you spot?

In our Street Child sessions, we've developed our inference and deduction skills to help us unpick complex situations and character perspectives. This has really helped us to write in role as you can see!

In History, we have used our knowledge of chronology to help us organise some of the main events that happened during the Victorian Era. These are some of our learning reflections and questions we wanted to investigate further:


  • The Victorian era started in 1837, when Queen Victoria became queen; she was only 18. I wondered would she have been happy to be queen or not?


  • I was shocked that children in the Victorian times had to go to work - they worked in dangerous places like the mines and would have not been paid much. 


  • I wondered why they introduced the Penny Stamp; what did they do before stamps?


  • I learned that the first FA cup final was in 1872 and we researched that one of the teams was the Royal Engineers.


  • I didn't realise that children didn't have to go to school but the Education Act meant they had to from 5 years old to 10 years old. 


  • I noticed there were lots of firsts that happened during the Victorians - were they very imaginative people?

In Art, we investigated a famous Victorian artist called William Morris. After retrieving a huge amount of information about his life and his art, we generated the S2S to re-create a Morris design. Morris loved nature and this inspired his designs hugely. 


Some of us tried using a grid technique to mark up the picture into sections; this helped us to scale the picture and ensure we had the position of each part in the right place, too. We used our mark-making techniques to recreate the details and textures of the pictures, for example the marks on the leaves or the feathers of a bird. 

In reading, we were so fascinated to learn all about the plethora of inventions that were designed and created in the Victorian era that we asked Mrs Ash if we could study them in more detail and use our sketching skills to recreate them in our sketch books. We also used the Ipads to choose and save the best image of our invention so that we could zoom in to see details. 


When sketching we decided we needed to focus on:


  • Size and position of the main shapes
  • Use shading to show the light and dark areas
  • Use mark-marking to create textures 

Victorian Day

Victorian Day - Learning By Rote

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Victorian Day - Learning By Rote (again!)

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Victorian Day - Star Bakers

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Chestnut Class Garden Transformation

Chestnut Class have been busy transforming the bare mud patch outside our classroom into a haven for wildlife (and children!). Our School Councillors, Gethin and Alicia, had the extremely brilliant idea that we could use our wealth of Practically Smart and Nature Smart talents to work as a team and renovate the space into an area that would attract and support local wildlife as well as being a calm, restful place for our class to spend their play and learning time.

The gardening was completely child-led; using our in-depth knowledge of the plants that we had brought in from home, we carefully considered the best place for each one based on its needs and the environment. For example, taller plants went closer to the walls so they didn’t block the sunlight of shorter ones; trailing plants were planted beside the trellis Gethin had affixed to the walls and Kaela planted her strawberry plants so that they could grow over the top of the planter.

Sam and Alicia used canes to stake their taller plants (cosmos and sunflowers) to give them stability and Jess learned how to gently remove a plant from it's pot using a squeeze; later, Alicia was really excited to find our first ‘wild’ resident of the garden – a snail.  Our next step is to use our Practically Smart skills to create some spaces for the minibeasts and birds to enjoy; watch this space.

Chestnut would like to thank Gethin and his family who have given up lots of their time and skills in the evenings and weekends to complete the groundwork preparations and the assembling of the planters and trellis. We would also like to thank families for their generous donations towards both the plants for the garden and building materials.

Garden Transformation - Phase 2

Our next phase in the garden transformation involved shovelling and laying bark chippings down on the mud; we learned about how this would benefit that garden:

1) It would prevent weeds growing because it blocks the sunlight (which plants need to grow)

2) It would also provide a blanket of insulation over the soil during very cold weather, helping to protect the roots of plants from damaging frosts and ice.


We used our teamwork to coordinate roles and communicated well to make sure the job went smoothly and that the chippings were evenly distributed (as we didn't want some areas to have to little and others too much).

Next we planted our last few plants which were kindly donated by Mrs Teles and her husband; we've now perfected our technique and these are our S2S for planting:


1) Use the pot to make a mark on the soil - this will show you how wide the hole needs to be

2) Dig a hole that is at least as deep as the pot - otherwise the roots will pop out and not get water or nutrients from the soil

3) Squeeze the pot to release the plant's roots and if needed, gently prise some of the roots loose. Gethin explained that this is called loosening (also known as teasing or tickling) and it will allow the roots to spread the roots out in all directions, so they will branch out in the soil and form a good foundation for the plant

4) Recover the plant with soil and give it a generous watering - we learned that rainwater is better than tap water because it has a lower PH level (to do with how acidic something is) and sometimes in hardwater areas like ours extra minerals are present in tap water which are not good for some plants

Finally, we got to work creating some seating areas. Jackson used his landscaping skills to dig out a fantastic, level trench which we then filled with Billy's sawdust (repurposed from his dad's carpentry business). Next, we worked together to find logs which were the same height to create the base (we quickly realised they needed to be the same so that it was level) and then put the planks on top to make a bench.


We wheeled over some more bark chips which we then poured and raked in a small gap between two walls which is now transformed into a quiet, shady spot for reading, writing or having a spot of lunch. Mr Smith kindly drilled the top of the table for us as, unfortunately, our drills weren't strong enough. 


We assembled the remaining logs into a circle so that we could have reading sessions or social chats together (we are currently trying to persuade Mrs Ash to let us have some campfire style marshmallow treats....we're pretty persuasive so this could be on the cards, soon!

After weeks of hard work, we are now reaping the benefits of our beautiful garden. 

Gardening (June) in the Soft Fruit Garden

This week in our Gardening session with Mel, we spent our time in the soft fruit garden. During the term, we have been trying to keep on top of the weeds during lunchtimes and playtimes but there were still a few that needed pulling up before we could start.


"We do weeding so that the plants we want to grow don't have to share the water, sunlight or food from the soil with the weeds."

"Weeding makes the fruit bushes grow better and it looks smarter, too."


Next, each team harvested the fruits from the different plants which included: gooseberries, redcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb.


"I didn't know that you have to leave some rhubarb in the ground so that it has energy until it starts growing again next time."

"I remember in Science we learned about the flowers being pollinated and then turning into fruit - it's cool to see it in real life!"

"I've never tried a gooseberry before, I thought it might taste like a grape but it was really, really sour."

"I hope the strawberries in our garden grow soon so that we can eat them, too."

Science - Properties and Changes of Materials

In Science, this term we've been developing our knowledge of materials and their properties. We've explored insulators and conductors by investigating which materials make the best insulators and keep Mrs Ash's breaktime coffee hot for the longest. Later, we learned about solubility (whether or not something will dissolve in water to create a solution) by investigating which materials would dissolve in water. 

Wallingford Archery Session

We had a fabulous day today at the archery - the children had a great time and made us proud with their listening and behaviour. We had a little competition at the end and we won as a school team with Bella achieving the highest score as an individual! They were super proud of their medals. 

Time To Shine Cricket - Session 1

We loved our first Time to Shine cricket session this week! 


To warm up, we played a game called 'Yes / No / Wait' which helped us develop our listening skills as well as learn key cricket concepts of running between the the 'crease'. We enjoyed it so much we practised it at playtime, too!


Next, we improved our fielding and catching through some drills. These helped us learn the importance of our standing positions when waiting for the ball - we practised having flexed knees, legs apart and hands as big as buckets ready to catch.  


Then, we applied these fielding skills with an addition of batters running between the crease. We tried to improve our clean catching and our progress was shown when we were able to reduce the number of runs the batters made in the time it took for us to pass the ball from one end of the fielding team to the other. 


These are some of our reflections from today:

"I've now learned to catch the ball faster"

"Clean fielding means you can pass the ball to the next person really fast and it means the batsman makes less runs" 

"Please can we play the 'Yes No Wait' game at break time, Mrs Ash?"

"Please can we get the cricket equipment out at lunchtime?"

"I want to join a local cricket club, now!"

Time To Shine Cricket - Session 2

Another fantastic Time to Shine cricket session this week with lots of progress. 


To warm up, we built on the game we played last week called 'Yes / No / Wait'. This time, we had to both watch and listen to the batsman as there was a batting action for each instruction. 'Yes' was accompanied by a strong hit which meant we would safely make the run. 'No' was accompanied by a miss which meant we couldn't run and 'wait' was a small hit which we had to creep for to see if it was safe to run.


Next, we improved our bat control through some drills. These helped us develop the skills of dribbling with the bat and bouncing the ball on the bat. 


Then, we learned a new skill - bowling. After learning the best way to stand and the right position for our arms, we practised releasing the ball  in a bowling action (this was different from a throw and we found it tricky to not bend our arms at first). Next, we applied this to a game where we had to bowl at the stumps - if we hit them, we could take a cone away and the first team to lost all 4 cones won the game.


These are some of our reflections from today:

"I found it really hard not to bend my arm when bowling but I got better after a few tries."

"My top tip is to think of bowling as being a bit like swimming the front crawl."

"I think I was good at bowling because I play darts - I kept looking at the stumps so that the ball would go there."

"I liked being wicket keeper so I could catch the ball and throw it back to the bowler."


Skipping Session

Our Extreme Earth Project 


We have erupted with enthusiasm for our latest Geography-based project, 'Extreme Earth'.




After collating our existing knowledge and generating lots of questions we wanted to investigate further, we dived straight into researching all about volcanoes.


In English, we used our retrieve skills to gather as much information we could from diagrams, text and videos to become expert volcanologists; we then applied our Word Smart skills to translate these into an information page for a book complete with:

  • labelled diagrams
  • a glossary to explain key terminology
  • eye-catching presentation. 

In Science, we applied our measuring skills when mixing together the ingredients to simulate our own volcanic eruptions. As we watched, we gave a commentary about what was happening inside the volcano using the key words we'd learned: eruption    vent    chamber   magma  pressure   explosive     effusive 


  • "I learned that there are 2 different types of eruptions"
  • "Effusive eruptions are fizzy like a coke bottle that has been shaken up and then bubbles over"
  • "I learned that an explosive eruption is more like a big bang"
  • "When we mixed the hot water with the washing up liquid and added the (Tartaric) Acid, it made an explosive eruption - it was so quick Mrs Ramira nearly couldn't get the lid on!"
  • "The bubbles in the lava push it out of the volcano from the magma chamber through the main vent"

Tom's Effusive Volcanic Eruption Experiment

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Tom was so inspired by our learning in school that he deepened his knowledge of effusive eruptions at home. This was brilliant and made us grin with pride on so many levels:

1) How self-smart he was to develop his knowledge at home
2) How he used his brilliant science and geography knowledge to explain the process of creating your own effusive eruption (words like 'solution' were so technical) and used equipment with care
3) How he applied his technology smart skills to capture this in an entertaining and fascinating video - we loved the details like a 'glub glub' sound effect for the solution going into the tube and the lightning for the eruption, too.

In English, we used a range of techniques to help us write our explanations of how volcanoes erupt. By boxing up (planning), we knew the stages of the process we were going to write about and the order of them, too. Next, we used lots of 5ws questions to help us recall the key information we wanted to say and we made notes of these key words/vocabulary and ideas. Finally, we acted out each step using actions to remind us of the key words, phrases and even the conjunctions (both time and causal), too. 


Once we were really confident with speaking and acting out each sentence out loud, we finally began writing! We were so proud with our finished explanations and we reviewed them using our class' S2S we'd generated from unpicking a range of published explanations in books. 

Our Explanation Writing Journey

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We learned actions to help us remember the steps in our explanations and to help us recall key technical language and even causal conjunctions. See how many you can hear/see in this video of us in action!

In Art, we've investigated a painting of Mount Vesuvius by Andy Warhol. We loved the vivid colours of the painting and used oil pastels to recreate these by blending and mixing colours along with trying to match the textures, shapes and movement of the original. These are a few of our brilliant versions:

Our Take One Tale Learning 



During our ‘Take One Tale’ project, Chestnut Class have enjoyed exploring one of the most famous Greek myths of all time – the tale of the Trojan Horse.



To develop our knowledge of this fantastic story, we using storytelling techniques including drawing story maps to helps us recall the events of the story and stepping the story out to deepen our own re-telling.



To develop our DT skills, we had the idea of making our own Trojan Horses. To be as Nature Smart as we could, we re-used materials that had been thrown away at home (card boxes, rolls, plastic packaging). We followed a clear process when making our horses:

  • Plan – What are we making? What’s the purpose of it?
  • Design – What will it look like? What materials will we use?
  • Method – How will we make it? What steps will we take?
  • Make – Use our measuring, cutting, attaching skills to construct our model.
  • Evaluate – What went well? How well did we meet our purpose? What would we improve? 


These were some of our learning reflections:

“I learned how to use a clamp to hold a tube l in place so that I could safely cut a roll to size using a junior hacksaw. It was fun to use a real saw!”

“I was really pleased I got my horse to roll using sticks and bottle tops – it took a few tries to work out how do it but I got there in the end!”

“I made my horse move using a motor I attached to the wheel rods, I was really happy it worked!”

“My horse’s legs were a bit wonky so I cut them to all be the same length and now it’s much better.”

Our Ancient Greek Learning


We've had another fascinating project in the Ancient Greeks this term; it's been hugely interesting to make links and comparisons to our knowledge of the Ancient Maya and we've enjoyed applying our historical inquiry skills to help us deepen our understanding of this hugely significant and captivating period of history. 


What do we know already?


To launch our project, we reflected on what we already knew about Ancient Greece. To helps us organised our existing ideas, we were challenged to  create a mind-map to reflect our knowledge – thinking about the 5ws and how (When, Who, Where, What, Why, How) to guide our thoughts as well as a series of topics such as 'Beliefs, Childhood, Food, Clothes, Buildings, Technology, Pastimes, Philosophy'.

We then generated as many questions as we could that we wanted to investigate further over the course of the project. These were some of our brilliant, inquisitive, ideas. 

History - When was the Ancient Greek period?


After reflecting on our current knowledge of the Ancient Greeks and generating lots of questions we’d like to investigate during the project, we turned our attentions to 'WHEN?'.


Our first challenge was to become experts in knowing where the Ancient Greeks fit into a timeline of World History; when we study a historical period, it’s important to know where they fit in with other historical eras so that we can think about comparisons, similarities and contrasts between them. 


First, we deepened our knowledge through a visual timeline of some major events and eras in World History. This helped us to consolidate our knowledge of where the Ancient Greeks fit into a wider historical picture and encouraged our questioning skills, too. After the timeline, we considered these key questions:  Did anything surprise you? Did you notice any patterns or trends? Did any of the events puzzle you?


We then applied our new learning to create our own timeline of world historical events, such as this one below which was created by Sam using his Technology Smart skills.

 History - what happened during the Ancient Greek period?


After we had deepened our understanding of where the Ancient Greeks fit into a timeline of other historical eras, we then explored how historians use timelines in history to get an overview of the key events from a period of time. To help us investigate some of the key events within the Ancient Greek era so that we could make comparisons and inferences about them, we learned to investigate and sequence events from Ancient Greece in chronological (time) order.


These were some of our S2S when creating our timelines:

  • When ordering BC dates, the higher the number, the longer ago the event happened, because we are saying it was x amount of years Before Christ e.g. 300BC is BEFORE 170BC

  • AD means Anno Domini (in the year of Our Lord) and refers to times after Christ was born


We applied our Maths skills here as our understanding of Place Value helped us to order the digits in the dates.  


Geography - where was Ancient Greece in the world?


After learning to sequence events from Ancient Greece in chronological (time) order, our next goal shifted away from a History focus and towards a Geographical one.


To help us have a greater understanding of some of the events in Ancient Greek history, their culture, customs, clothes and even their buildings, our challenge was to learn:

  • Where Greece is on a world map and some of its neighbouring countries
  • How to label a map of (Modern Day) Greece with the names of its islands, main cities and other human and physical features


We developed our Technology Skills by using digital atlases and tools within them to investigate these as deeply as we could; we then applied our new knowledge as maps, videos and sketches. 

Rosie's Route from the UK to Greece

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Rosie used her Geographical knowledge to plot a route from the UK to Greece; she then applied her fantastic Technology Smart skills to record this into a narrated video.

English - exploring Ancient Greek Mythology 


One of the areas of Ancient Greece that has captured our imaginations the most has been their storytelling and mythology. We have been entranced diving into adventurous tales of valiant heroes, monstrous beasts and the gods and goddesses (who both help and hinder along the way) and one myth we have explored in great depth has been the haunting tale of ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’.


During our exploration of the myth, we have applied our:

  • Retrieve and sequencing skills to help us clarify our knowledge of the 5ws and how of the story
  • Inference skills to help us deepen our insights into the motivations, thoughts and feelings of the characters involved
  • Vocabulary skills to help us explore the word choices of the author and the effect they create on us as the reader (we applied these to our own re-tellings of the myth, too)
  • Summarising skills to condense the story into it’s most important events (this helped with our comic strips as we couldn't fit all of the events in!)


We then applied our deep knowledge of the myth to help us create our own re-tellings in the form of a comic strip, complete with carefully constructed captions (using adverbial phrases), speech bubbles, thought bubbles and detailed illustrations.

Another Ancient Greek myth we have loved investigating has been tale of ‘Demeter and Persephone' - a story the Greeks used to help explain the natural phenomena of the 4 seasons. 


During our exploration of the myth, we have applied our:

  • Inference and deduction skills to explore each character's role, their relationships and their thoughts and feelings
  • Vocabulary skills to help us make vocabulary choices which had our desired impact on the reader; we also challenges ourselves to use adverbial phases to add details and punctuation to show how these link within our sentences. 

Art - Using collage to create Ancient Greek mosaics 


As a highly Picture Smart bunch, we have enjoyed investigating Ancient Greek Art and design. As well as investigating Ancient Greek architecture and buildings, with a particular focus on Ancient Greek homes (we were particularly shocked to discover the separate nature of rooms in Greek homes for the men and women of the house), we have explored how the Greeks used mosaics as a way to decorate the floors of their buildings whilst reminding them of significant mythological stories or figures. 

We applied the S2S for mosaics by creating our own designs to depict a key moment from 'Theseus and the Minotaur'. 

History - exploring Ancient Greek Homes


When we began our 'Ancient Greeks' project, one of the questions we wanted to investigate was 'what were Ancient Greek homes like?'. As we started our research, we were shocked to find that there were different rooms in Greek homes for men and women and that the female members of the family had fewer freedoms, such as not being able to visit the town on their own. 

World Book Day 2021

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To celebrate World Book Day this year, we have used our fantastic imaginations to recreate book characters using the humble spud! We hope you enjoy seeing our designs; in order to create these wonderful models, we used our DT skills to plan, apply and adapt appropriate materials and methods.

During the day, we reflected on our reading habits, likes/dislikes and shared recommendations of books with each other. We considered why reading is so important, how it helps us and how it can make use feel. We set ourselves a reading challenge for the next part of the year - from reading more often, to reading more newspapers, to discovering a new author.

Our online learning in Term 3 during lockdown


Our Ancient Maya Learning

We've loved investigating the Ancient Maya civilisation this term; we have strengthened our historical inquiry skills by using a wide range of sources (from videos, images, myths, online sources and written texts) and have applied our reading retrieve skills to locate and understand relevant information and have challenged ourselves to record, and consolidate, our new knowledge in a host of ways, as you can see below.

History and Maths - Mayan Number System


We were fascinated to learn about the Ancient Maya number and letter systems - we explored how they worked, tried them out ourselves and made comparisons between our own systems and theirs. These are some of our reflections about them:


  • "They had a 0 in their number system, like we do, but their's looks like a shell."
  • "The base 20 system is cool - I like how they use symbols to write their numbers."
  • "I didn't think I would be able to do it at first because it was so different to our numbers but once I got it, it was fun. I liked using my 5 times tables for the lines."
  • "I found a fun way to practice the 1-5 numbers by making a hopscotch grid outside. I kept practising and I'm really good at reading 1-19 now!"
  • "I liked playing Ancient Maya numbers bingo in our Maths session - now I can read up to 40 by counting the 20s first."

History and Art: Ancient Mayan Culture and Masks


We investigated Ancient Maya fashion and ideas of beauty; after researching more about their use of masks, we designed and created our own using our S2S and could choose our own media to make them from.


  • "I learned there were 3 types of masks - battle, celebration and death. The death ones were usually jade because this was very expensive."
  • "I designed a battle mask with a jaguar because the Mayas thought animals were really powerful. It would scare their enemy!"
  • "I used bright colours and feathers on my mask because it was a celebration one. The Maya loved bird feathers, especially the quetzal."
  • "I was shocked that the Maya would file their teeth to make them pointy and I didn't like the idea of flattening the babies heads or making them cross eyed on purpose!
  • "It took me ages to make my mask out of papier mache and I had to wait for it to dry - I'm really proud of how it looks now because I didn't rush it."

History and Geography: Farming


We learned about the Ancient Maya's farming techniques - we found this really interesting and it showed us about the Maya's problem solving and perseverance because they had lots of ways of overcoming the many challenges presented by trying to grow crops in a rainforest. These were some of our reflections:


  • "My favourite technique was the raised beds because I thought it was really clever to dig the soil up from the swamps to make an island. I like the idea of paddling on a boat, too."
  • "I thought the slash and burn way wasn't very kind to nature as it would damage the wildlife."
  • "I really liked the terraces because it was such good way of growing things on a steep hill."
  • "The Maya grew lots of crops but their favourite was maize (corn) which was 80% (8 out of 10 fingers) of their diet so they grew lots of it. If the rain didn't come the crops would die so they prayed to the gods a lot."

History and Geography and Art : Ancient Mayan Food


At the same time as deepening our knowledge of farming techniques, we also investigated the foods and dishes the Maya would have eaten and explored some of the meanings/importance of certain foods (like maize and cacao). We presented our new learning using our Picture Smart skills. Some of us even made a Menu for  a Mayan Cafe, too!


  • "I used watercolours to create a papaya - I got better at using blending to mix colours and using highlights to show the shine on the black seeds."
  • "I used pencil sketching to draw a tomato and I am pleased with the shading on it to show the dark and light areas, and the hatching too."
  • "I chose to draw maize because it was their favourite food. I used colouring pencils and tried really hard to show the textures of the leaves and each little bit of corn inside."
  • "My drawing of an avocado using colour pencils is the best drawing I've ever done. I used lots of colour blending to get the right colours and tried hard to make the stone look 3D with hatching and shading."

Art and DT : Recreating Ancient Mayan Art


We explored Ancient Mayan art in it's many forms (frescoes, sculpture, carvings, jewellery) and challenged ourselves to develop our Practically Smart DT skills to create our own pieces using the same style and skills, where possible. We linked our learning with exploring Ancient Maya Gods and religion and presented our new knowledge as a quiz or in top trumps cards.


  • "I got better at modelling with clay to create textures and carvings."
  • "It took me ages to finish my Mayan sculpture because I wrote gylphs onto it to look like carvings - I used what I had learned from the writing lesson."
  • "I learned more about Mayan jewellery and made a jade necklace using pasta and carved an amulet from clay. I learned jade was really special to them and showed off their wealth."
  • "I learned the Maya had lots of gods and the priests would shout and dance loudly."
  • "I thought it was interesting that the Maya had a creation story but in theirs, people were made from maize."
  • "I learned the Mayan priests had lots of power and they used their knowledge of astronomy (stars) to predict events and choose when to do things, like go to war."


English: Pok-A-Tok research and writing


We investigated the famous Ancient Maya ball game 'Pok A Tok' and created our own information leaflets to teach a beginner player. Some of us combined our new knowledge with our Technology Smart skills to recreate a court digitally. We also explored the myth of the 'Hero Twins' which was linked to the game; after listening to the story, we used our summarising and sequencing skills to order the main events and then retold the story in our own ways (e.g. comic strip, story map, video, story). 


  • "I made my court in a video game - I matched the size, shape and different parts using what I learned about Pok A Tok. The court was an I shape and had 2 sloped sides and 2 rings that they had to throw the ball through."
  • "I found it confusing that some historians thought the winning team would be sacrificed as a reward (so they'd go to heaven) and others thought the losing team would be killed."
  • "I liked that they made a ball using rubber from a tree - I didn't know that rubber came from a tree."
  • "I thought it was interesting that some courts were really small but others were bigger than Wembley.

Tom Hero

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Anya's Hero Twins Myth

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Term 3 - Our project for this term is the Ancient Maya

Our 'Take One Piece' Learning


Through our 'Take One Piece' project, we have widened our knowledge of famous composers and genres of music. Our piece, called 'Rhapsody in Blue' was written by George Gershwin, a trailblazer, who loved lots of different styles of music and sought to combine these in a melody which summed up his feelings about his beloved city, New York. Here are some snapshots of our learning.


After listening to the piece, we created a thought cloud to help us reflect on our initial thoughts and feelings. What did it make us think of? What pictures did it paint in our minds? What emotions did it make us feel? 



We all had lots of questions about the piece and the person behind it; these were a selection of our fantastic questions we wanted to investigate further:


Where was he from/where did he live?     What were his family like?                          How did he feel about music?
How did he learn music?                           What were his other hobbies?                    When was he alive?
Where did he work?                                  What sort of music did he enjoy?                What were some of his famous musical pieces?


Next, we thought about different ways we could present all of this information and decided we could choose from:


• An information poster full of facts and images
• An information leaflet with writing and pictures
• A biography of his life and achievements
• A video ‘documentary’ about him


Once we had chosen our text type, we then applied our technology skills (selecting relevant information sources from online) with our retrieval reading skills (scanning the page for information, using headings/subheadings to guide our reading, summarising information from a text and recording it into our own words) to deepen our knowledge of Gershwin and his life. Here are some brilliant examples of our new knowledge!


We explored the story behind 'Rhapsody in Blue' through a wonderful picture book called 'The Music in George's Head'. 


During our shared reading, we got better at:


  • applying our inference skills to read between the lines of the words and images
  • putting ourselves into character's shoes to explore thoughts and feelings
  • making links between different parts of the story (and even drawing comparisons with other stories and characters)
  • explaining the meaning of words and thinking about the effect of word choices

Lots of us asked if we could use our Picture Smart skills to create our own town/city scape inspired by Gershwin’s piece ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.

We had the choice to create a fictional city, a place we'd visited or somewhere we knew about; we could replicate the buildings of Wallingford, Oxford, New York, London, Cardiff or any other town/city. We had a free choice of media too, so could use paints, modelling, digital media, sketching or collage to create our cities.


These were the S2S we used to guide our creations:

  • Try to include some of the ‘iconic’ buildings from that place 
  • Consider the size, shape and textures of the buildings (as well as the surrounding environment e.g. water, hills, sky)
  • Think about the colours for your painting to tie in with the music (shades of blue would work really well!)
  • Take your time and plan, design and produce your work as carefully as you can
  • You can create this in any media you’d like (or a mixture of more than 1)

Oscar's New York City Building (made in Minecraft)

Still image for this video
Our learning in Term 2

Christmas Celebrations

During our class celebrations for Christmas, we learned:


  • How to say 'Hello' in 24 international languages - each day our advent calendar taught us a new language - 'San by noo', 'Keeora', 'Shalom' and 'Namaste' were some of our favourites!
  • To develop our Practically Smart skills in DT by creating paper decorations - Josie and Alicia modelled to the class how to create an intricate paper star using cutting and twisting techniques and Oscar challenged himself to follow a Youtube tutorial for making a Christmas tree which he then went home and modelled to his Mum!
  • How wonderful it can be to share Christmas greetings with each other during a community celebration - we loved having a Christmas lunch together and talked about our family traditions, too.
  • To explain the meaning of a Christingle through words and images. 
  • A bunch of new - and very cheesy - jokes from each other and from our crackers - we sent these into the Bishop of Oxford, too.

Term 2 - Gem Treat

As a result of our hard work and great choices, we earned a Gem Treat last week; we chose to bring in our ‘wheels’ so that we could enjoy spending time riding around together as this was something we’d been missing lately out of school. 


During our wheels session, we reflected that we got better at:

  • Balancing and coordinating on different surfaces
  • Sharing space safely and changing direction
  • Improving our fitness by riding around the track for as long as we could (we even tried changing gears to increase the challenge!)

Term 2 - Maths Day

Mrs Jackson, our Maths lead, challenged us to use Maths in as many different areas of the curriculum as we could during the day.


Being the Body Smart bunch that we are, we applied our Maths data handling skills in PE to record our team scores for variety of sporty challenges. We got better at:

  • Using tallies to record scores in a systematic way
  • Counting in 5s 
  • Adding totals together
  • Recording our data into an organised table


We linked our learning in RE about Diwali to Maths by creating symmetrical, geometrical Rangoli patterns. We learned about lines of symmetry, 2D shapes and using a mirror to reflect a pattern. 

Chestnut class have been full of enthusiasm for our latest, science-based, project ‘Out of this World’; we began the project by thinking about what we already knew about Space and then generated a bank of thoughtful questions we’d like to investigate further.


We used these questions to help design our homework learning menu, which has given us an opportunity to personalise our learning and develop our self-led investigation skills. Mrs Ash was so astounded by our first set of projects that we turned the morning into a mini-sharing museum where we got the chance to explain our new learning to each other. These are just a few of our amazing projects so far which have taken the form of models, movies, sketches, presented Powerpoints, collages, information posters (and even cake!).


During the project we reflected on our learning and progress and these are some of our brilliant ideas:


  • We learned about important events that happened during Space history by creating our own timeline - Oscar discovered that the first rocket to go into space was a German V2 rocket (which ended up being used by the US scientists!
  • We investigated the life and contributions of a famous British astronaut called Tim Peake  and used our new knowledge of his skills and astronaut training to write a biography  (with an amazing variety of sentence structures, technical vocabulary and a wide range of punctuation including () - - and ;)- Jacob was so fascinated by him that he ordered his own copy of Peake's autobiography which he has been avidly studying at home and at school.
  • We used a variety of sources (both digital and text) to explore the planets within our solar system; in Science we used our deep knowledge and understanding to create Top Trumps Cards and in Art we used a range of media to recreate their textures, shapes and colours - Billy S learned that there was only 1 star in our Solar System (the Sun) and Sapphire was so interested in the planets that she created her own model of them using her Picture Smart skills. As a result of our Science lessons, Imogen has learned that throughout history, there have been different theories of our Solar System (Heliocentric which is where the Sun is at the centre and Geocentric where the Earth is at the centre).
  • We deepened our understanding of the movements of the planets in our Solar System and learned to explain how these impact on our seasons and weather during the course of a year - Maddie can now explain why the Earth experiences day and night and Rosie has written a superb explanation of why the seasons occur (and how these vary between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere). 
Our learning in Term 1

Shakespeare Project 'Hamlet'

Term 1 - Learning about 'Forces' in Science