Welcome back to a new term. Our topic in Diamond class for the Spring term is going to be 'Mexico'. We shall be using maps and atlases to locate and find out about the country, and shall locate and name bordering countries, oceans and seas, as well as analyse the terrain and climate using terms such as Tropics, Polar Regions, Latitude, Longitude and Equator. We will be finding out about the history of Mexico and compare it to that of the UK. We shall then look in more depth at the concept of trade. This will involve investigating the UK trade market, and comparing that to Mexico and El Salvador, which will then lead us to find out about the Fairtrade process. We will also learn about the global economy and how trade has changed throughout history. After half-term, we shall learn more about Mexican food, traditions and festivals including the 'Day of the Dead'.
Throughout the term, we will look at the book 'Crossing the Wire' by Will Hobbs and use this as a basis for much of our writing. The book describes a boy's dangerous journey in an attempt to 'cross the wire' between Mexico and the United States so he can find work and send money home. We shall be writing diaries, missing paragraphs and scenes, play scripts, and summaries of chapters relating to the book, but will also write for different purposes relating to our Mexico topic. All children will be expected to choose a reading book within the first week back and will need to read at least four times per week to develop their fluency and reading stamina. Please help your child to keep their reading record up to date as this forms important evidence of their engagement with reading.
Our creative work will be linked to our Mexico topic. We shall learn about the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and create our own portraits by analysing her style. We shall learn painting techniques and understand the properties of different media before exploring how to use acrylic paint to achieve the vibrant colours characteristic of her style. We shall also learn about Mexican food and learn how to use different cooking techniques to prepare a Mexican dish. In Music, the children will learn about the history and features of Mexican music.
In Science, we shall learn about living things and their habitats. The children will learn to describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals, and give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics. We shall also learn about evolution and recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago. Additionally, we shall look at how living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents, as well as learning to identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution. To further support our Science learning, we shall be visiting Newcastle-under-Lyme College to take part in a science workshop in their own laboratories. We shall also visit their Lego Innovation Studio to learn about programming and building Lego robots. This trip has been fully paid for by the college for the second year running, so we are very pleased for their support.
PE will be taking place on Wednesdays and Fridays in the short-term. These dates may change later this half-term but you will be informed once the dates are confirmed. Please ensure that your child has a full PE kit suitable for outdoors and indoors. This should consist of black shorts, black leggings or joggers, a T-shirt in their house colour and trainers. Long hair should be tied back and earrings and watches should be removed. Earrings may be covered by your child if they bring in a suitable cover such as plasters or medical tape.
In RE, we shall be reflecting on the question, 'How & why do Hindus show respect for all living things? and also think about why Muhammad is an important role model to Muslims. We shall then consider how our own role models influence our lives. We shall also be preparing for our Easter service.
Throughout this term, the children will be working on their understanding of fractions, decimals, percentages, factors, multiples, prime and square numbers. We shall be learning how to simplify, compare and order fractions as well as how to add, subtract, multiply and divide with fractions which have different denominators. We shall then move on to converting fractions to decimals and how to use long division with decimal answers. We shall then learn how to convert fractions to percentages, how to find percentages of amounts and how to calculate a percentage increase or decrease. Booster letters have now been sent out via Parentmail and with your child. These will take place on Mondays and Thursdays. Due to the dodgeball competition on Monday 20th January, any child who would normally attend booster on a Monday is welcome to attend Mrs Bird's Thursday booster instead.
Please feel free to contact me via the school office by email, through your child's home/school diary or in person before 8.45am or after 3.15pm.
Homework due in on Wednesday 22nd January 2020:
English — reading comprehension. Please read text and answer all questions (11 questions).
Some children have also been provided with some handwriting exercises to complete by Friday. Maths will be given out during the boosters on Monday, to be completed before the following Monday.
Spellings (please see below)
All children should learn the words for the group they have been assigned, but may aim to learn more words from the other groups. They will be tested on the words they have been assigned but may choose to be tested on words from the other groups, if they have learned them.
Group 1, 2 and 3:
Group 2 and 3: