• Fir Tree Junior School

'Learning and Growing Together'

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Chestnut Year 5

Welcome to Chestnut Class 2021-2022


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 Benny) who would be very happy to help.


Our PE days for Term 1 will be on Wednesday and Friday. 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). 

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Term 1 - Our projects for this term are 'Take One Picture' and 'Hamlet'

Our Hamlet (Shakespeare) Project Learning and Reflections


As a wonderfully creative and imaginative bunch, we’ve absolutely loved exploring Shakespeare’s tragic, plot-twisting, tale, ‘Hamlet’.





In English, we’ve used lots of different drama strategies to help us understand the (often quite complicated) events of the story and to deepen our ideas about what the characters might be thinking and feeling. Through the term, we’ve worked hard to improve our whole body acting and changing the tone, volume and speed of our voices to match the mood of the character. 


One technique we loved was interviewing characters in the hot seat. After creating a series of open questions, we became reporters and interrogated the witnesses in order to build a picture of events and their feelings about them. Lots of us wanted to sit in the hot seat to be interviewed. 


These are some of our brilliant learning reflections:


"We got better at using our knowledge of the story to remember things about the character's moods and thoughts."


"To step in role properly, we had to make our own inferences about what they might say and how they might act."


"I loved getting the chance to play an evil character - it was fun!"


Can you spot which picture below shows that Ophelia, Gertrude and Claudius are utterly outraged at Hamlet’s revelation that he thought Polonius deserved to die for spying on him?

Drama - Hotseating

By acting out the events and performing them to each other as freeze frames, we helped the class to understand and remember what happened in the story as lots of us are visual learners who learn by seeing as well as hearing.


We also used these pictures to help us sequence the events of the chapter in order to plan our newspaper reports and by summarising them, we got the chance to rehearse our writing and improve our ability to use the 5ws to start our sentences. 


One of the freeze frames below shows Hamlet bribing the actors to perform a play with a twist in order that Hamlet can spot whether his uncle, Claudius, shows signs of guilt. Which image do you think looks like he is being surreptitious? (One of our new vocabulary words!)

Drama - Freeze Frames

Art and DT


In Art, we’ve investigated a symbol which would have been used to decorate Shakespearean theatres, castles and homes – the Tudor Rose. We’ve recreated the rose using our sketching skills (mark-making, shading and drawing to scale) and have also developed our modelling skills using clay.

Tudor Roses - Sketches

Tudor Roses - modelling with clay

Tudor Roses - our outstanding finished creations

These are some of our fantastic clay roses and our thoughtful reflections about our learning and progress:


“I got better at using different tools to cut, make textures and attach the pieces of the clay together.”


“I liked working out how to create the flower – it was a challenge to think about which pieces to make first and how to get them to stick.”


“I’m proud of how my petals curl up like real ones.”


“I’ve only made flat things in clay before – this was a big challenge to make something 3D.”


"I found it really difficult but I didn't give up. Clay is good to use because you can squash it back together and start again."

Our Take One Picture Learning and Reflections


English -


We began our project by exploring the images on the Willow Pattern plate and thinking about what story the plate was representing to us. As we studied carefully, we were looking with two different lenses:


1) Right there information -  what we could see and point to using the 5ws 


2) In between the lines - making inferences about what the images could mean, what they reminded us of and making predictions 


We tried to explain our ideas using words like 'because' and some of us even made links between what we knew about building designs and clothes from around the world. Cian noticed that the buildings were similar to the dojos he has learned about in his karate lessons and Alfie wondered if the 3 figures on the bridge were ninja warriors; Tayla linked onto this further with her prediction that the zig-zag fence could be showing two places that were at war with each other. 

We continued our exploration of the Willow Plate by reading a fantastic picture book together called 'The Willow Pattern Story'. Through the rich and detailed language and pictures on the pages, we were then able to learn about the meaning behind each of the images on the plates we had studied. We reflected after sharing the story that: "it was fun to make comparisons between our predictions and the story and to find answers to the many questions we had, too."



We developed lots of our VIPER reading skills during our exploration of the text:

  • "I got better at summarising the story by choosing the most important facts"
  • "I learned how to talk about the vocabulary of the story and what it shows."
  • "I got better at using my alphabet to find the meaning of words in a dictionary."


Later, we created some 'black out' poetry by working with a partner to select and retrieve the most significant words on the page and 'blacked out' the rest, leaving only the important words behind. 

Art -


In Art and Design, we have been developing our sketching skills to recreate our own Willow Pattern plates. First, we practised drawing some of the key images from the plates into our sketch books with the following S2S to focus on:


  • Scale - think about the size of what we're drawing 
  • Texture - how could we recreate the textures of the images using our mark making techniques
  • Shading - using light and dark to show the shadows and 3D perspectives of the images


When we were confident, we began to sketch onto our paper plates - with the extra consideration of where to place each part of the picture and how to create a border for the plate, too. 

To recreate our own Willow tree, we learned to plait and weave with tissue paper to represent the textures and colours of the Willow branches. 


  • "It was tricky at first to remember the order of which plait went next but having different colours (shades) of blue helped me."
  • "We worked together to make the weaving easier so that it didn't unravel."