After planning our Secondary Week for the Year 6’s a while ago, I was looking forward to it with excited anticipation. I’ve never planned anything like this before, and I hoped that it would be a great transition stepping-stone for the class on their journey to starting Secondary.
I asked teachers,SLT and TAs throughout the school to volunteer to teach a lesson to the class (giving them free choice of which subject they most wanted to do!). Everyone really got on board with the idea, leading to us extending the Secondary Week to just under a fortnight of different lessons!
Our school has a really supportive atmosphere anyway with a great attitude to teamwork, but even so, I was really (pleasantly!) surprised that so many people offered to do lessons, as well as cover a range of subjects.
I’m hoping to show, and share, with you the lessons my Year 6 class were lucky enough to be taught during this time.
W/C Monday 10th June – our ‘unofficial’ starting week.
This week was used to ease the children in. It was explained to them that they would receive homework (with a range of hand in dates), detention slips (to show them when/how often this could happen) and also commendation slips for children who worked extra hard in their lessons, or were being role-models around school. All the children understood what was happening and were really excited to receive their timetables!
Martial Arts/Dance –
We spent the morning with outside instructors from @MattFiddesUK to do a martial arts class, followed by a session of dance.
After lunch, our headteacher took the class for a drama lesson! It had lots of little activities:
- First, we played ‘123’. With a partner you take it in turns to say 1 – 2 – 3. Which sounds more simple than it ends up being! After you master this, you replace 1 with a clap, and 3 with a knee bend! A really fun warm up activity.
- Next, the children had to be in an ‘Imaginarium’. Stood in a circle, they were told a scene – for example, a haunted house. One by one, children state what they are, then act it out inside the circle ‘scene’.
- Finally, the children had 4 chairs next to each other in a line – a bus stop. Behind it were a range of hats. Children, up to 4 at a time, took a hat, sat on the bench and had a conversation in character. Some of the hat choices were fantastic and provided really great opportunities for interaction and teamwork!
Next, a member of our SLT completed a maths activity with the children, based on probability. It was an activity which I hadn’t seen before, where children had to ‘race’ horses – and bet which would win – based on rolling a dice. They did this in pairs and were really enthusiastic (and, no surprise in my class, very competitive!).
The last lesson on our first day was music, with our Deputy Head. He decided to focus on the Haka, looking at rhythm and beat. The children had to spend time exploring this, using performance to understand more about both of these features. Once they had looked at this, they then compared it to a different song – what was the difference in rhythm? What about beat? How did that make them feel? Promoted some really fantastic discussion!
This lesson was with me! With a focus on writing, we looked at creating a ‘100 Word Story’ for the Young Writers ‘Ancient Adventures’ completion using some ambitious vocabulary. After creating a class shared write, the children focused on their own 100 word stories, thinking about amazing vocabulary they could use! A simple lesson, which all the children enjoyed.
Miss McNally (my brilliant PGCE student – @missmcnally1) created a lesson around pie charts, incorporating our termly topic of Twisted Tales. First they recapped working out the degrees of pie charts.
Next, the children developed their own pie charts from scratch using data that they generated by asking the class questions. They came up with questions like: ‘who was the greatest villain?’
Jo, my 1:1 TA (@jo_plumridge), created a brilliant lesson based around local maps. First, there was elicitation around what children already know about maps. Then, they had to find, using the map key, what different symbols referred to. Finally, they had to locate, on a local map, where each of those symbols could be found and use co-ordinates to explain.
I loved teaching this lesson (as seen originally on twitter by @mrsbteachy). We discussed the language of experiments to check children were secure with the technical terminology we were using (great chance to see progress from September!) to begin the lesson. Next, the fun part! In pairs, children were given a petri-dish, a swab and a toilet location in the school. Each pair needed to take samples and see where was the least or most hygienic.
We’re hoping to see some fantastic, clear results!
Next up was Miss Lafford (my PGCE student from Oct – Dec, who came back to our school for her final placement! @miss_lafford). Her grandad was in the trenches during World War 2, so she planned a lesson using inference and enquiry to discover more about who their (at this point mystery) person was!
This included a range of genuine artefacts from the war including: a will that had been written in the trenches; medals he had won; photos and belongings that had been passed down. The children were really engaged with the learning, especially when they found out the personal connection!
‘Digital Schoolhouse’ visited us from New College Swindon, with some activities to help children better understand coding, algorithms and how computers worked. In one classroom, children had to use ciphers and other means to decode information.
Whilst in the room next door, groups had to investigate how information is stored on servers.
Digital Schoolhouse has been a really great project that the college have provided, in order to upskill us as teachers, while providing great computer learning opportunities for the children!
This is my ultimate favourite subject to teach (closely followed by English!) so this lesson is my favourite I’ve done…so far! In this subject, we began with each child having a section of an Aztec timeline. They sorted themselves into chronological order and briefly discussed key events…most importantly the building of a temple. After this, we looked in closer detail at the gods that Aztecs worshipped in their temples. What animals were they influenced by? What areas of life had a god?
The children really enjoyed learning what they were worshipped for (and attempting to pronounce the names!) before then using their knowledge to design their own ‘god’ based on what they have learnt. Here is the design we developed first as a class. Standard teacher comment: I’m not an artist.
@MissMcNally1 taught another really interesting lesson! Earlier in the year we completed a heart dissection, so when she told the children that this time they were dissecting flowers, they were equally as excited. Using Freesia’s, Rosella went through the parts of flowers and explained that they have both male, and female parts. She produced a beautiful example for them, before the class worked in pairs to create their own.
I won’t give too much away here, but we did some fantastic writing for @reading_realm! I am SO excited to use this app more within our classroom. It has some really great features (which work on not only reading, but spelling and grammar!) so the class were thrilled to have an activity to complete!
With a STEM focus, our Y4 teacher & assistant SENCO had the class making solar robots! They were more challenging to make than the children expected them to be, and we are now waiting for some very late summer sunshine to appear to test them properly!
Our brilliant nurture TA, Anna, did our PSHE lesson. We use Jigsaw in school, and she’s currently building up to our SRE lesson which I have the pleasure of delivering soon!
Mrs Phillipon is our lovely French TA, who covers MFL within the school! She created an interesting lesson where children focused on body parts. First, the class sang head, shoulders, knees and toes. The main activity was to create their own ‘weird creature’ by rolling the dice to give it different body parts.
(Template from CPP Middle School)
Our PE extraordinaire – @sam_wood93 – started preparing Year 6 for sports day with javelin and sprint trials. After learning the key skills, children had challenges to complete in order to be ready for the big event!
This is already a mammoth blog, so come the end of this week I’ll post the second half, with all the other inventive and creative lessons the fabulous team have come up with during the second part of our secondary week(s).
I am so grateful to all the people at school who have helped out with this week and helped to make it happen!