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Sycamore Year 5

Welcome to Sycamore class 2020-2021


Welcome to Sycamore class. Our teacher is Ms Lloyd, and our teaching assistant is Mrs Stockley.

Over the year we will use this page to capture snapshots of our learning, progress and experience.

Please feel free to get in touch  if you have any queries. 

Keep checking our page to see all the exciting things we do in school!


Update -Term 6  our PE days for this term will be on Mondays and Wednesdays 

Please can children come to school in their PE kits for these days (please see our Parent Information Document for further details on PE kit)

Gardening sessions take place on Thursday afternoons and Forest School sessions are on Friday mornings

Children will be informed when the class has a slot for gardening, and an email from the office will be sent to parents notifying the day of the Forest School and information about wet weather clothing.

If the event of self-isolating or further lockdown

In the event of your child needing to self isolate, please use the homework 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

Reading Information and Book Ideas

Contact Us

Recognition of Achievement

Term 6 - This term our project is Street Child (The Victorians)


The class began our new exciting topic by exploring different events that happened during the Victorian era.

Using our skills of chronology, we then sequenced the events on a timeline

We also noted that many 'firsts' occurred during this period of history, such as the first ice cream

We discovered that there were lots of differences between a child living in the Victorian times and today. With a partner, we arranged statements and compared them. 

At the beginning of reading Street Child, we are introduced to the main character Jim Jarvis and were stunned to find out that he was a real person. He begins his story by explaining that he was rescued by a man who interviews him. His name was Dr Thomas Barnardo. 

We decided we would use our research skills to discover the work of this famous man and how the charity he founded helped so many street children such as Jim , and how his legacy continues today.

We also explored another influential Victorian called Lord Shaftesbury who changed the lives of poor children.

We used our S2S to research

  • type accurately and use appropriate language
  • use relevant and trustworthy websites
  • choose relevant information
  • understand your information
  • use your own words
  • Use sub headings/bullet points

We were amazed to find out that if a child committed a crime, they would be sent to prison with adults and would have to endure hours of hard labour

We used archived sources to examine some real life incidents involving child crime. Many poor children in the Victorian times resorted to crimes such as stealing and pick pocketing. We wondered if Jim Jarvis from Street Child would have committed these crimes. 

We decided to invent some cases of our own.

We discovered that Sir Robert Peel invented the police force, originally starting in London and then later around the rest of the country.

The police were sometimes nicknamed Bobbies or Peelers and could be recognised by the tall hats they wore, apparently to protect their heads from heavy blows.


Prisons were built during the Victorian times . These were harsh places where a prisoner had to endure hard labour. We researched the four main types

  • the crank
  • the treadwheel
  • picking oakum
  • the shot drill


This term's English is focused on a book called Street Child by Berlie Doherty. It is a story set in the Victorian times of an unfortunate orphan who finds himself without anywhere to live and therefore having to survive by living on the streets of London.


We started off by collecting clues from the front cover and the blurb on the back of the book.

We tried to think of questions as to why Jim, the main character, may be running. Here are just a few that we thought of :-


  • What is Jim running away from?
  • Where is Jim running to?
  • How old is Jim?
  • Why is Jim living on the streets?
  • Where does Jim live?
  • What has happened to Jim?

From the blurb, we pulled out the information that was a fact (Right There Information) and using inferences (Reading between the lines) we tried to predict what the story was about and what might happen next.

Next we drew inferences about a character's feelings. in the next chapter of the book, Jim describes how he buys a pie for his family, using up their last shilling. He shares it with his 2 sisters but can't persuade his mother to eat any as she is tired and sick.

We thought carefully about the senses that Jim would be using , and his thoughts and feelings as he buys the pie and races home with it.

We then found S2S for writing a letter:-

  • sender's address
  • greeting
  • introduction
  • paragraphs
  • conclusion
  • your faithfully/yours sincerely
  • your name at the end
  • written in the first person
  • include emotive/persuasive language
  • include causal conjunctions

We wrote letters to Jim's landlord begging him to allow the Jarvis family to remain in their rented house

Using our retrieval and inferences skills, we used the text to explore the feelings of Jim's 2 sisters and how they felt at being left by their mother to work in a grand house. Using this information, we stepped into the character's shoes to have an imaginary conversation about their emotions. We then wrote a note to Ma describing these.

We then decided to use our discussion skills to debate about whether Jim should stay put in the workhouse or take his chances by escaping.

Together as a class we generated S2S for writing a discussion. We wanted to include agreeing and disagreeing conjunctions to show a balanced view of opinions. We also tried to include sequencing and causing conjunctions too.



Our exciting science topic this term is all about properties and changes of materials

We started off by thinking about our previous knowledge about materials and their properties.

We then brainstormed lots of examples of different materials and compared and grouped then according to their properties. We thought about how we could test these properties out.

We decided to test for :

  •  flexibility
  • permeability
  • hardness
  • magnetism
  • transparency

We compared materials and sorted them into thermal conductors and insulators. 


We then decided that we wanted to explore what a therrmal insulator is and how we could test out which material makes the best one . 


In order to plan and carry out our investigation scientifically, we applied our learning from Term 5 science and set out our work as follows:-


  • question to investigate
  • prediction
  • resources
  • variables
  • method
  • results
  • conclusion



We discussed what dissolving  and melting meant and the differences between them.


Then we thought about the scientific word solubility 


Next we decided to test the solubility of different materials by mixing them in water.

We thought about the following variables:

  • controlled
  • dependent 
  • independent

We worked in groups and added the solid to the liquid, deciding on the number of stirs


We recorded our results in a table as well as comparing them to our original predictions.


Finally we explained our results.


From this investigation , we thought of how we could change the variables to see if this would alter our results

We wanted to ;

  • change the temperature of the water
  • use solids that had the same mass
  • time how long each solid took to dissolve
  • change the speed at which we stirred the mixture
  • time how long we stirred each mixture

Miss Lloyd had accidently mixed up some solids and liquids. She needed our help in trying to explore ways of how we could separate the mixtures.


The mixtures were :-

  • rice and paper clips
  • sand and water
  • flour and raisins
  • salt and water

As a group, we discussed which scientific processes we could use. We found the trickiest one to think about was the sand and water


We decided to use the following processes to separate the mixtures :-


  • rice and paper clips = magnetism
  • sand and water = filtration
  • flour and raisins = sieving
  • salt and water = evaporation


n 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. 

Sports Day

Although we couldn't have Sports Day as in years gone by, we were still able to enjoy our own class Sports Day on Monday 5th July

Before we began, we worked together to create S2S


S2S Sports Day

  • Have fun
  • Work as a team
  • Participate fairly
  • Be gracious and a good sportsperson
  • encourage others
  • always try your best
  • Persevere


As a class, we participated in 8 events :-

  • netball shoot out
  • standing jumps
  • beanbag throw
  • track run
  • Hockey dribble
  • long jump
  • Hurdles
  • standing jump


We ended the session with a fun obstacle race, as well as a relay race.


NSPCC Assembly

In school assembly, Ms Khan talked to us about the work of the NSPCC and  about their very important message to Stay Safe Speak Out.


From the video she showed us, we learnt 4 essential things. 

  • stay safe speak out
  • speak to a trusted adult (someone 18 and over)
  • abuse is not ok
  • childline number 0800 111 111


We designed posters to convey this very important information

Following on from the Speak out Stay safe assemblies last week, Fir Tree  supported the NSPCC Childhood Day on Friday 11th June. Children were invited to come to school in  non uniform for a £1 donation. The theme of Childhood Day was play and Sycamore spent part of the day playing board games in class. 


On Thursday 24th June Sycamore had their gardening session.

Mel and Jenny asked us to pick broad beans and peas from the allotment and showed us how to pod them

The vegetable pods were bursting

We can't wait for Siva to cook them in his delicious lunches.

Forest School

On Friday 25th June, Sycamore had their Forest School session. 

They cut branches into small chunks to make wood cookies, which they then decorated colourfully.

As well as this, the children enjoyed

  • playing in the mud kitchen
  • checking on their bug hotels
  • building dens
  • dancing in front of the forest TV



This term, our class are so lucky to benefit from 6 weeks of cricket led by the organisation Chance To Shine

Each week, we will  build up our cricket skills of batting, catching and fielding and then use our expertise to engage in a cricket game.

We quickly realised from our very first lesson how important communication is and that working as a team is paramount.



We were finally able to spend time in our beautiful library. It has been over a year since we have been able to use it due to Covid restrictions.

We greatly enjoyed taking some time out to relax and read a variety of fiction and non fiction books in a wonderful tranquil space.


It has been so wonderful to be able to resume our singing practices with Sandy on one Friday each month.

Today we started to learn a new song called  'Consider Yourself' from the film Oliver. 

We discussed the similarities of Jim in Street Child and the artful dodger being kind to Oliver when he ran away form the workhouse.


Term 5 - This term our project is Extreme Earth

This term is a Geography/History led project all about Extreme Earth, including exciting phenomenon such as earthquakes, volcanoes ad tsunamis.


We started off by exploring what we already knew about these strange events, as well as thinking if questions to investigate and further develop our knowledge.  



We quickly wanted to investigate the structure of a volcano with such questions as :-

  • how are they formed?
  • How many different types are there?
  • Are they different shapes?
  • How often do they erupt?
  • What are the different parts of a volcano called?

We were excited to discover some examples of volcanoes around the world and where a lot of these can be found.

75% of the world's volcanoes are located around The Ring of Fire



Next we wanted to investigate a famous historic volcanic eruption. 

In 79AD there was catastrophic eruption which destroyed a whole city in Italy . This eruption came from Mount Vesuvius. 

We used world maps to locate Italy then used chronology to sequence the events of the famous eruption on a timeline

By using our Drama skills, we stepped in to the shoes of someone who might have lived during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

We brainstormed different characters such as :-

  • child lost from his/her family
  • a Roman soldier
  • a parent
  • Pliny the younger 

Concentrating on our 5 senses helped us to imagine the feelings and emotions experienced by these characters.

To consolidate our learning, we wrote an explanation text to describe to the reader how a volcano erupts.

We created S2S to structure our work and planned our work 

S2S  Explanation Text

  • title
  • opening statement
  • simple steps
  • present tense
  • technical words
  • causal conjunctions
  • paragraphs
  • sub headings
  • time connectives
  • diagrams
  • summarising paragraph


In our Art lessons, we recreated Andy Warhol's 'Erupting Volcano' using oil pastels.

We were each given half of the picture and were challenged to create the other half

We used our S2S to help us:-

  • use fairy lines
  • use a variety of techniques such as scrumbling, hatching and cross hatching to create texture
  • blend colours
  • explore shapes

We have also worked hard in Art lessons to create a scene for Wallingford's Carnival.

This year's theme is Musicals and Fir Tree have chosen songs from Mary Poppins

We watched various clips from the film and created a famous scene above the roof tops.



Our science lessons this term have been focused on working scientifically.

  • to understand the steps of carrying out an investigation
  • to identify the different variables
  • to plan a science investigation
  • to conduct a science investigation


We decided to carry out an investigation to test out whether the size of a paper aeroplane affects the distance it travels'




In our RE lessons we have been exploring the importance of a mosque to Muslims.

On 11th/12th April, Muslims around the world began a very important event on their calendar, that of Ramadan.

During this special time, they fast meaning they go without food.

To celebrate the end of Eid, after one lunar month, all Muslims celebrate Eid.

This is a time for great celebration :-

  • family and friends get together
  • everyone visits the mosque to pray
  • people dress up in new clothes
  • people decorate their hands and arms with henna patterns




During one of our PE sessions, we were lucky enough to have a skipping expert join us for a skipping workshop.

He taught us many skills to help us skip individually as well as part of a small group.


We have continued developing our music skills this term with Miss Hogan's expert guitar lessons, in which we have been learning to play as an ensemble. 

Forest School

On Friday 14th May, Sycamore were very excited to have their Forest School session,  involving so many interesting activities .

The children collected leaves and made beautiful prints by hammering on to a piece of material, which produced a perfect imprint. Lots of bugs were collected and investigated using a selection of super non fiction books. These also helped the children to identify the difference between nettles and dead nettles. Great fun was had building dens and using the mud kitchen. The highlight was when the children spotted some blue tits nesting in the bird box high in the trees.




In our gardening session this term, we planted some flowering plants in the sensory garden as well as spending lots of time digging out all the weeds in the vegetable patches.


Term 4 - This term our project is Ancient Greece

Sycamore are excited to start learning about a new topic : The Ancient Greeks

We started by looking at our current knowledge and then created questions to explore and to deepen our understanding of this amazing civilisation.

We focused on the 5 W'S to create exciting questions. Here are some of our examples:-


  • Where are on a timeline do they fit into world history?
  • Where in Greece did they live? is that place still there today?
  • What are the Greeks most famous for?
  • What interesting things did the Greeks invent?
  • What did they eat and how did they cook?
  • Did they have any wars?
  • Who were their enemies?
  • How long did their civilisation last for?


We then sequenced events chronologically on a world timeline to see where the Ancient Greeks fitted in .

We knew that dates before Jesus was born use BC which means Before Christ. Dates after his birth use AD meaning In the year of our Lord.




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.

We loved learning about Theseus and the Minotaur so much, that we were keen to read other Greek myths and legends


We listened to the story of Demeter and Persephone

Demeter was the Goddess of corn . Her daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades , the King of the Underworld.

Only being allowed to return the Earth for half the year, Demeter was so sad that she stopped all the crops growing, This caused Autumn and Winter.

Delighted when her daughter was allowed to return, she then allowed the crops to grow, thus causing Spring and Summer


We chose to present our learning in the form of Drama freeze frames

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'. 

Using our research and retrieval skills,  we were eager to find out what it might have been like to grow up in Ancient Greece.,

We explored the toys they used to play with, the games they played and we compared the education of a child in Sparta and a child growing up in Athens.

We then wanted to present our learning as a non - chronological report.

Before writing this, we identified the S2S that would enable us to present our knowledge in an expert way


S2S - Non - Chronological Report

  • Title
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Questions to hook the reader in
  • Paragraphs
  • Sub headings
  • Fact boxes
  • Punctuation
  • Written in the 3rd person (CL,! ? .......... , .)
  • Pictures and illustrations with captions
  • Technical language
  • Past tense (historical report)
  • Fronted adverbials
  • Formal tone
  • Summarising sentences

Science - Living Things and Their Habitat

Our topic this term looks at living things and the environment in which they live. We will learn about :-

  • How to describe the differences in the life cycles of mammals, amphibians and insects
  • describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals


In our first lesson, we consolidated our own previous learning in Year 3/4 about parts of a flower. We learnt some new parts to label and that they all play a very important role in the scientific process of Pollination



Here are some of our reflections :-

It was amazing to see what was actually inside a flower

I could see the ovary that contains all the ovules

The stigma has to be a bit sticky so that the pollen sticks to it

The pollen rubs on to the bumble bee and then it's transferred to another flower

We then investigated mammals and the 4 qualities that they all share:


  • They all feed off mother's milk
  • They give birth to live offspring
  • They are warm blooded
  • They have hair or fur


We were surprised to learn that there were 3 types of mammals :-





We then represented the life cycle of a mammal by sequencing the events in order








We have then focused on investigating the features of  mammals, insects and amphibians and in particular the process of metamorphosis

Having chosen to explore the life cycle of a frog, we were overjoyed to discover that we had frogspawn in our school pond. 

It was bulging with tadpoles about to hatch and in fact some already had. 

'we found out that a tadpole develops into a froglet before becoming a fully formed frog' (Bella)

'I know that frogs grow their back legs before their front legs' (Jasper)

'it takes up to 25 days for the tadpole to hatch' (Toby Smith) 


On Tuesday 16th February, it was Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday. This is a day when traditionally Christians use up all their rich fatty foods such as butter, eggs and milk and make pancakes. This is in preparation for Lent that begins the next day on Ash Wednesday. 


We explored how Pancake day is celebrated around the 4 countries in the UK as well as some other countries in the world.

Here are some of our reflections:-

  • I learnt the story of the woman who lived in Olney. As she was late for church, she ran there, still wearing her apron and bringing her frying pan with her.
  • I remember watching the annual pancake race in Wallingford and now I understand why people toss a pancake whilst running along
  • I learnt that Scottish people have a slightly different pancake to ours, called Drop pancakes


We learnt that Lent lasts for 40 days and represents the time that Jesus was alone in the desert. Whilst he was there, he was tempted by the devil 3 times. During Lent, Christians give up something that is important to them to remind them of the sacrifices that Jesus made.

Lent leads up to Easter and finishes on Easter Sunday.


In our group online sessions, we brainstormed ideas of what Christians may decide to give up for Lent. Here are some of our ideas:-


  • electronics
  • mobile phone
  • sugar
  • games
  • play station
  • chocolate
  • unhealthy snacks
  • plastic packaging
  • you tube
  • fizzy drinks
  • coffee
  • television
  • lego
  • the internet
  • meat


We discussed that during Lent, Christians practiced three very important elements in their lives :- Fasting    Giving   Praying

We understood that Lent is a time when we can think about acts of kindness.

We discussed in our online groups and thought of the following ways we can be kind to others :-


  • giving to a charity
  • being supportive with a friend
  • sorting out friendship issues
  • asking 'how are you?' and 'how was your day?'
  • being helpful around the house
  • respecting other people's choices
  • opening doors for people
  • cheering someone up by paying a compliment
  • being polite
  • giving someone a hug
  • putting others before ourselves
  • lend someone something
  • spend time with someone
  • helping my parents go shopping





Lottie's Power Point about Lent

World Book Day

On Thursday 4th March 2021, it was World Book Day.


Despite still doing online learning at home, Sycamore class were still very excited to celebrate World Book Day


To celebrate World Book Day this year, we have used our fantastic imaginations to recreate book characters using the humble potato. 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.



International Women's Day

On Monday 8th March 2021, we celebrated International Women's Day.

This is an event that celebrates amazing things done by women.

It is a way to show how women have, and continue to influence the world because they are outstanding at what they do.

Sycamore used their research and retrieval skills to investigate different women who have achieved great things, even when faced with big challenges


PE - Cricket

In our first week back after online learning, we were lucky enough to have a super PE lesson led by  Chance to Shine Cricket

We practiced our team game skills to play in a game, developing our batting and fielding skills.

We are looking forward to extending our experience after Easter when Chance to Shine will return to deliver more lessons .

Our PE days this term are Mondays and Wednesdays

Our online learning in Term 3 during lockdown


Take One Tune

Our Take One Tune is 'Storm' by Benjamin Britten, who was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a very well known 20th century figure in English music and as well as opera, he was also famous for his vocal music and his orchestral and chamber pieces.


Storm is a musical piece taken from the opera Peter Grimes. The opera is about a local fisherman called Peter Grimes, and the community in which he lived. The music is reminiscent of Britten's life in Aldeburgh, the small town in Suffolk, where he spent most of his life. He loved the sea and walked along the beach every day. A lot of his music was inspired by the sea, how it looked and how it sounded.


Firstly the children listened to the piece and thought about:

how it made them feel

what the music might be about and the story behind it.


 They were asked to apply their musical skills in identifying the different types of instruments they could hear playing in the piece, as well as exploring the musical features. in particular they focused on:

Tempo : the speed of the piece

Pitch -  how high and low the music was and whether it remained the same or changed throughout the piece.

Dynamics : the volume of the piece and how it changed.


Secondly the children were curious and wanted to find out more about Benjamin Britten. They applied their Steps to Success in using the internet to research and deepen their knowledge and understanding of this famous composer



During our Reading session, the children enjoyed reading a poem called Storm at Sea by Alexander Rakic.


This poem was packed with figurative language. Identifying examples of these language features enabled them to consolidate their knowledge and understanding . Here are some of their favourite within the poem:


Similie ; it is as loud as a firing gun at the start of a race

Metaphor : it is an enormous earthquake

Onomatopoeia : whoosh, bang, crash

Personification : the thunder is furious at the world


Using a template of Rakic's poem, the children recreated their own version of the poem. 

To complete their Take One Tune work, the children listened to the musical piece again, and whilst doing so, they created a piece of art work inspired by the image the music evoked in their minds. They used different mediums, including paint, pencils and crayons.