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Year 6

A final farewell…

Dear Year 6,

So the time has finally come. Your days as Hartsbourne students are at an end and in six short weeks, you will embark on the wide and wonderful world of secondary education. At the end of the day yesterday, stood outside with you on the playground, the atmosphere was unique. I think Maddy summed it up best: “I don’t want to go… well I do… but I don’t.”

In many ways I feel like the analogy of birds flying the nest for the first time is particularly suitable for you leaving our small, intimate school and moving on to places which are six, eight or even ten times as big. We work hard at Hartsbourne to try and create a safe, nurturing environment in which you will always feel valued and looked-after, and for the most part, you have one teaching team per year of adults who experience everything with you: constantly checking and assessing how happy you are, whether you’ve understood the lesson, whether you’re sick or well, whether or not everything is okay on the playground, or even at home… the list goes on. The word ‘mollycoddle’ has negative connotations but on my part I think we do as much as we can to look after you.

The very nature of secondary school and the variation in classrooms, teachers and daily routines means that a certain element of that warm and cosy environment will be lost. You will be expected to be more independent, to know where you’re going and what you’ll need, to seek out help or advice rather than wait for your problems to be discovered – to chart your own course. At some point, I am sure you will look at your new surroundings and feel ever-so aware of how different your life has become. 

But you know what? It’s a good thing.

As this term has inched closer to its conclusion, I have felt more than ever that you are ready to leave. Despite my constant protestations and reminders that you were still primary school children, I could feel that you had outgrown us and were ready for the next step. Sometimes parents ask if we can’t create a Year 7 classroom and keep you for another year! The idea is always tempting, but the reality is that for you to become the people you are meant to be, you need to spread those wings, shuffle your little bird feet to the edge of the nest, teeter and wobble for a moment whilst you take in the magnitude of what you’re about to do, and finally, magnificently, swoop into the air and fly. And that’s what you’ll be doing in September – flying; to new adventures, to new experiences, to the beginning of the rest of your lives.

So with that in mind, I would like to leave you with five pieces of advice which I hope will serve you well in the future:

1 – Know who you are, and be true to yourself. Spend time reflecting, alone, quietly, on what kind of person you are right now. There are aspects of ourselves that we can and should try to change, but there are other aspects that make us feel comfortable and confident in our own skin. Never compromise those. There is no perfect formula for what kind of person you should be. Be you, and be proud.

2 – Choose the right friends. Even if you are moving on with someone that you know and trust, secondary transition is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and forge new friendships. Find people you feel comfortable around, people who you feel that you can confide it, people who you trust to stand by you if needs be. Don’t let fear force you into social groups that make you feel like you need to perform or pretend. Good friends will challenge you when they feel like you are in the wrong, but above all, they will accept, like, even love you for who you are, and not expect you to be someone else.

3 – Work hard in everything you do. Hard work is good for the soul – the satisfaction of achieving something which has been hard-earned is a unique and glorious feeling. Education isn’t about sailing through lessons without a worry because the work is so easy you could complete it blindfold. Learning often requires struggle, perseverance and resilience. It may be hard. It should be hard. But I promise you, the results will be worth it.

4 – Education isn’t the be-all and end-all in life, but it will provide you with more opportunities to do what you want. Okay, so the number of people using Pythagoras’ theorem in their every-day lives may be small (although I once used it to work out the diagonal length across a swimming pool in Corfu – in your face, nay-sayers), but the GCSE grade which you will receive for having learned it may be pivotal in deciding what you are able to do next. I don’t believe in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ jobs, much like I don’t really believe in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ schools – if a person does something for a living that makes them happy and provides for themselves and their family, then they are a success regardless of their education. But one thing is true beyond doubt: the better an education you get, the more doors will be open to you and your future.

5 – Look after your health, both physical and mental. Find a form of physical exercise that doesn’t make you want to die (and please let me know when you have found it), and do it regularly. Exercise is good for the body but also good for the mind and soul. However, your mental health is just as important, and to look after that, you may have to look away from Instagram or the X-Box once in a while (I know!) and do something crazy like going outside. There is nothing wrong with social media or computer games, but variety truly is the spice of life. Read. Go for walks in the woods. Spend time with your family without any screens turned on. Look after someone or something – a pet, a younger sibling, even a plant! Fill your life with rich and varied experiences and memories, and don’t feel bad if you don’t seem as interesting as that viral Instagram model. You are at your most amazing when you’re living your own life, rather than watching other people’s.

So now, finally, it is time for me to conclude your last ever lecture (!) and let you go out and become amazing, special people. Thank you for my overly-generous gifts on these last days, particularly my amazing video which I will treasure forever! Thank you for making my job easy and for making me laugh so many times. Thank you for working so hard and achieving the kind of results and progress that make me feel like I must be doing something right, but also for turning into wonderful 11 year-olds who are a credit to your parents (and thank them for their support throughout the year too!) I will be sad when you don’t come bounding through my door again in September, but I hope to see you again both next year and in the future, and wish you luck, health and happiness in whatever direction life takes you.

Mr Harper 🙂

Friday 14th July 2017


Only one week left… 😥 

We have cracked on with the play this week and taken our rehearsals to the stage. I’ve been really impressed with the progress the class (or rather cast!) have made and hopefully we’ll be in good shape for our performances next week! We also filmed and edited our vlogs, investigated the effect of changing circuits in science and played another brilliantly exciting game of rounders, but the highlight of the week has definitely been the play, so here is a sneak preview of the stage:

Next week is quite the busy one! We have costume rehearsals on Monday, and Top Golf after school; looking forward to seeing you all there! Tuesday will be our dress rehearsal to the rest of the school, Wednesday is crazy hair and ice-cream day before Thursday evening is our big performance! And then no need to tell you what’s happening on Friday…! It’ll be a busy week but hopefully, if we all stay relatively (!) calm, it will be a good one too.

Have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you all next week – one more time! 🙂

Friday 7th July 2017

Good afternoon!

It was lovely to see so many of you at the summer fair last weekend. The whole event was a great success and left many of wishing that it could have lasted for longer! Thanks to all members of Year 6 (past and present!) who came and helped with the bottle tombola – I was practically surplus to requirements by the end!

This week we have inevitably been focussing on our end-of-year play, which has come along really well and elicited some fantastic performances from within the cast. Hopefully the children have brought their scripts home this weekend to learn their lines and it would be great to start seeing some costumes next week as well! Besides the play, we planned and rehearsed our vlogs in computing and music, learned about the importance of protecting our ears when listening to music in PSHE and had a visit from the Watford Trust who came and delivered a secondary school transition workshop, involving some rather interesting activities based around the importance of teamwork:

Next week we will be building the stage and moving rehearsals from the classroom to the hall, at which point everything becomes really serious! We’ll also be filming and editing our vlogs, investigating what happens when we make certain changes to electrical circuits, and more than likely playing another fiercely competitive game of rounders! (The phrase ‘it’s only a game was very relevant this afternoon, but I am pleased to see that the children have such a desire to be successful!)

Children – by now I’m sure you will have read the reports and seen your SATs results. Please know that as your teacher, I think you have ALL done brilliantly this year. I was delighted by your results as a class and think that you rose superbly to the challenge of tests on a curriculum that has become markedly more difficult since you started Key Stage 2. I will be happy to sit and discuss anyone’s report or results with them next week, but please remember that nothing in that envelope will hold you back one iota next year. You get out of school what you put in, and if you have the right attitude, nothing can stop you being a great success at secondary school and beyond.

Better sign off before I start welling up! Have a fun weekend and I’ll see you all next week 🙂

Friday 30th June 2017


The weeks are really starting to pass quickly at the moment, which is always a shame in this class at this end of the year! Fortunately I see lots of happy children day in, day out, so I’m sure many a happy memory is being created!

This week was ‘Butterfly Week’, during which we released our butterflies on to the world, wrote some highly entertaining diaries about their experiences from the point of view of some particularly interesting characters (cynical butterfly was probably my favourite), created information posters about the life-cycle of butterflies, and finally designed and pitched a brand new technology product called ‘The Butterfly’ as part of our child-chosen topic ‘Enterprise’. As well as this we combined our detective and mathematics skills on ‘Murder Mystery Maths Monday’, published our French paragraphs and spent this morning helping to prepare the bottle tombola for the summer fair tomorrow – I’m sure you’ll agree from the picture below that it was a mighty effort from all involved:

Next week we will be pressing on with our end-of-year play, so please make sure you’re learning your lines and have taken note of the costumes letter I posted on ShowMyHomework. We’ll also be starting to (finally) record our vlogs, investigating what happens when we make changes to electric circuits and definitely playing more rounders! Don’t forget the book fair will be running until Wednesday, so pop in and grab yourself a book – they’re all on a ‘3 for 2’ offer and the school benefits with each book you buy!

Hopefully I will see all of you at the summer fair tomorrow, but if not, have a lovely weekend and I will see you next week 🙂 

Friday 23rd June 2017

Good afternoon!

We have had an excellent sports week this week! It was lovely to see so many parents at sports day on Thursday, and I know the children appreciated your enthusiastic (VERY enthusiastic in some cases!) support from the sidelines! We have really focussed on our running this week, jogging on the field every morning and consistently trying to push ourselves to get further than the day before, which culminated in some great progress today when we re-ran the Premier Sport Fitness Test. I don’t have the exact figures at this point as I need to check mine with Coach Amie, but needless to say I was impressed by how hard everyone worked. Beyond our sporting endeavours this week we have also learned about probability in maths, including creating our own games of chance this morning, drew some very accurate circuit diagrams in science, and cracked on with our Mayan masks in art and history, which I’m sure you’ll agree look brilliant:

Next week we are kicking off with ‘Maths Monday’, in which we will be completing a range cross-curricular lessons all with a mathematical/problem-solving theme. Beyond that we will be pushing ahead with play rehearsals, making scientific predictions with circuits and (finally) starting to record our vlogs, which I know the children are particularly looking forward to! 

Have a well-earned rest this weekend and I will see you all next week! 🙂

Friday 16th June 2017

Hello there!

It’s been another busy and productive week in Year 6!

In literacy this week we completed some author studies, culminating in presentations to the rest of the class this morning. We have also been blocking (fancy theatrical term alert) our end-of-year play, but in the slightly unfamiliar location of the nature reserve – making the most of the good weather! We learned about Alessandro Volta and the invention of the battery in science, completed a first fitness assessment with Premier Sport in PE, and started designing some fantastic looking Mayan masks in art and history, as you can see below:

Next week is sports week and we look forward to welcoming you all on Thursday morning for sports day. We will spend most of the week in our PE kits and endeavour to be outside and active for as long as possible! We will also be starting to plan our vlogs in computing and music, learning about probability in maths, and starting to learn about circuit diagrams in science, as well as pressing on with play rehearsals of course!

Have a great weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 9th June 2017

Good afternoon!

As first weeks back go, this has certainly been a full one! 

We dived head-first into science week and have completed some great practical work. We investigated air resistance by creating paper helicopters, learned about density by making eggs float, and made slime with Mr Stevenson in order to deepen our understanding of changes of state! Alongside this, the majority of us also completed cycling proficiency this week, and I have to say how impressed I was that the children were able to cycle successfully in a week where it feels like we have had all four seasons of weather! Beyond science and cycling we also started reading our end-of-year play, began to learn about the Mayan culture and took a trip down memory lane this afternoon, heading down to the nature reserve to talk about memories of Hartsbourne and what we will miss when we leave:

Next week we have an exciting start to the week on Monday when we will be taking part in CPR training with a member of Watford Fire Service! Beyond that we will be completing an author study in literacy, filming and editing our e-safety videos in computing and starting our athletics unit in PE. I’ll also be casting the play over the weekend and letting the children know their parts on Monday – remember that the show is about the performance of the many, not the few, nor the individual.

Have an enjoyable weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 26th May 2017


Another half-term has come to an end, and we certainly saw this one off in style with a brilliant PGL assembly this afternoon! The children worked hard all week devising, writing, editing and rehearsing their individual parts of the assembly, and I’m sure those of you lucky enough to have made it will agree that they did a fabulous job. I echo Mrs Hudson’s comments about feeling proud of this class; today was yet another example of what a super group they really are! I will make the photos from today’s assembly, as well as the ‘best bits’ video, available towards the end of the academic year, but for now enjoy this snap of (almost) all of us together with our group leader Michael (this was taken on Friday morning so some of us were very ready to come home!)

Alongside rehearsals this week, we have really been challenging our brains with all manner of puzzles as part of ‘Logic and Reasoning Week’. The children demonstrated a lot of problem-solving abilities, team-work skills and a great ability to reason and explain their thinking; all skills I am sure will serve them well in the next step of their educational adventure. We also learned about the scientific benefits of exercise on our bodies, evaluated our silent moves in music and computing and completed geographical comparison studies about the UK and North America based on all the contrasts we have learned about this term. A great week without a doubt!

Half-term project homework has been set and is on ShowMyHomework, so I look forward to seeing all the marvellous things the children produce! Until then, have a lovely and well-deserved restful week, and I will see you all in June! 🙂

Friday 19th May 2017


We have had yet another fantastic week this week! Our topic for the week was ‘Under the Sea’, and we have completed all manner of different activities around this theme. We plotted global bodies of water on maps, wrote some aggressive poetry from the point of view of a shark (none of which were as gangsta as mine, son, but never mind), completed fact-files, investigated the rising temperature of the ocean and how we can do our bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and today, created some weird and wonderful sea creatures of our own, which you can see below:

Next week our child-suggested topic will be ‘Logic and Reasoning’, so we will be spending the mornings solving different kinds of puzzles and problems. We will also be creating and rehearsing our PGL assembly, and look forward to welcoming you all next Friday for a 2:30pm start. On top of this we will be translating some French sentences using the verb ‘etre’ (apologies for the missing accent but I don’t know how to add it here!), learning about how diet and exercise can have positive effects on our bodies in science, and sharing and evaluating our completed silent movies, which I am certainly looking forward to!

Have a relaxing weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 12th May 2017

Good afternoon!

The SATs milestone has finally been passed! I must say, that I felt extremely proud of how well the children acquitted themselves this week. The tests, as ever, provided a good level of challenge (both through demands of time management and the standard of the questions themselves), but this class focused, showed great courage and resilience, and, I believe, knocked them out of the park. I have been accused of being too confident this week, but if I am, it is purely because I believe that these children took the tests seriously, gave every one of them 100%, and will emerge out the other side with a fantastic set of well-deserved results. If nothing else, we can all at least celebrate the fact that they are DONE!

Beyond SATs, we have had another great week of learning. We explained the various processes that make up the digestive system, including the most brilliant scientific description of ‘going to the loo’ I have ever heard (ask the children!) We also created some simple yet effective mimes which will be recorded and transformed into our silent movies next week. We applied our understanding of grammatical conventions in French in order to translate sentences, and were delighted to complete our fabulous pencil cases in DT, which you can see below:

Next week our learning topic (as suggested by the children in a previous homework task) will be ‘Under The Sea’, and I am very excited by all the opportunities we will have for some fun and creative lessons. We will dive back into ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ in order to find out just where Polly and Digory DID end up after jumping into that magic pool (again you’ll have to ask the children!) and we’ll be conducting a scientific investigation into the effects of exercise on our pulse rate, so I wonder if you could perhaps spend some time this weekend helping the children to find their pulse? It will make my job a LOT easier!

A final congratulations to the class for a brilliant effort in SATs; have a lovely weekend and I will see you all next week! 🙂

Friday 5th May 2017


It may only have been a four-day week but it was still a busy and enjoyable one here in Year 6.

We completed our final round of practice papers ahead of SATs tests next week (!) The children have worked really hard on developing their reading, grammar and maths skills as well as their test technique, so whatever next week brings, I am very proud of their efforts, both over the last couple of weeks and the year as a whole. In science we created some role-plays to further embed our understanding of the circulatory system, in PE we played our second rounders match, with some definite improvements on show in the fielding department, and in geography we plotted major landmarks in the UK and North America, which you can see below:

Next week is, of course, SATs week, so please make sure the children get a good night’s sleep on Sunday! We start with reading on Monday, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary on Tuesday, and maths on Wednesday and Thursday. I’m confident that all of our preparation will pay off handsomely and that the children will sail through, providing that they focus, heed the targets that they have set themselves and apply all of the learning they have done so far this year. Beyond SATs, we will also be learning about how the digestive system works in science, rehearsing our silent moves in music and computing, and continuing our work on grammar in French.

Have a peaceful weekend, an early night on Sunday and I’ll see you all on the other side of SATs week next Friday 🙂

Friday 28th April 2017

Good afternoon!

Our first full week back has certainly been a productive one! We completed some practice papers in reading, grammar and maths, with the children carefully analysing the mistakes they made afterwards and setting themselves some targets for the following week. SATs tests always come with a certain amount of anxiety but I am quietly confident that we will achieve some excellent results. In science we learned about the circulatory system, in PE we switched things up and started off our unit of rounders with our first class match, and on Tuesday we were lucky enough to take part in the K’Nex Challenge! Congratulations to Prathm and Elena who were our winning engineers:

Next week, after enjoying our bank holiday, we will complete one final round of practice papers before SATs week begins! In science we will be creating some role-plays to embed our understanding of the journey that blood cells take around our body, in DT we will continue to design our own pencil cases (watch out Smiggle) and in music and computing we will start putting together ideas for our silent movies. An action packed week for sure!

Have an enjoyable long weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 21st April 2017

Welcome back!

I trust that you all had a relaxing Easter break and that the children recovered from their exertions at PGL!

This week we have been learning about simple, perfect and progressive forms of the past and present tense in literacy, as well as learning a new way to calculate percentages of numbers and applying it when solving a variety of problems. In science we started a new unit on humans and health by learning about the life of William Harvey, in guided reading we read the first chapter of CS Lewis’ ‘The Magician’s Nephew’, and in geography we compared the political features of North America and the UK, as you can see here:


Next week we will be completing some practice papers in literacy and maths, as we only have two more weeks until SATs exams! Fortunately the children have made great progress this year, so we just need to sharpen up on our test technique and revise one or two tricky areas. In science we will be learning about the circulatory system, in music and computing we will begin a unit of work about silent movies and in PE we will kick off our athletics units with some sprints – hopefully the field will be dry enough for us to use!

We also have the K’Nex Challenge (along with Year 5) next Tuesday, which is always a fascinating spectacle and one I’m certainly looking forward to!

Enjoy your weekends and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 24th March 2017

Hello and happy Red Nose Day!

It’s been yet another great week in Year 6, and whilst PGL may have dominated many of your conversations at home, I was delighted to see unwavering focus and commitment toward our literacy and maths assessments. School is not all about tests, but I can’t help but feel extremely proud when I see the effort and subsequent progress so many children have made this half-term. This week we have also designed our own classification systems in science, which was one of those lessons I went into with trepidation, then sat back and wondered what I was worrying about having seen the excellent end result in books. We performed some beautiful re-written songs in music, made some excellent learning posters about spreadsheets in computing and played a fiercely competitive football tournament today in PE.

Today of course was Red Nose Day, and may I just say how staggered I have been by the level of donation from all of you. We set a target of £200 thinking that would be roughly the same amount we would raise if we followed the traditional route of the children all bringing in a pound, but that has been entirely obliterated by your generosity. Currently the total stands at £720, which is fabulous; however if you would still like to contribute please follow this link: https://my.rednoseday.com/sponsor/hartsbourneprimaryschool. Every little makes a difference for a worthwhile cause, and the children certainly enjoyed their talent show this morning. Here is a look at our brilliant performers:

Next week of course is the much anticipated PGL, so there is not really much I need to say, other than the fact that I am CERTAIN this year’s class will enjoy it every bit as much as every class I have taken. Please make sure that your children are involved in the packing process, check the weather reports, make sure the children sleep well on Sunday night and have had breakfast and lunch before coming to school at 1pm on Monday. Drop your big bags in the coach, bring small bags down to the hall where we will all congregate before heading off, and don’t forget that all money and medicine must come to myself or Mrs Suji.

I am really looking forward to it and I hope you all feel the same. Have a nice chilled weekend and I will see you all next week! 🙂

Friday 17th March 2017

Hello and happy St Patrick’s Day! (I can hear the distinct sound of fiddle music coming from Miss O’Sullivan’s classroom as I write, to be sure!)

It was lovely to see so many of you for our PGL meeting this week. It’s fair to say that both the children and myself are really looking forward to the trip, and I hope what was said in the meeting went some way towards reassuring anxious parents (!)

This week we planned, drafted, edited, improved and published our discussion texts, and I must say I was really impressed with how diligently the children wrote this week. They really took the task seriously and I look forward to reading their finished pieces. In maths we spent the week adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions; another lesson in which the children have all worked extremely hard and should feel proud of their efforts. I even saw some ‘personal best’ arithmetic scores today which made me feel very happy 🙂 In PE we worked on our defensive positioning and awareness in football, in computing we used spreadsheet software to calculate averages and in science we classified a host of weird and wonderful vertebrates, which you can see below:

Next week we will be doing some end-of-term assessments in literacy and maths, as well as developing our own systems for classification in science, using the power of questioning and flow-charts! In music we will be performing our re-written songs (which I am a little bit excited for!), in art we will be creating our tapestry to re-tell the story of Boudicca and the Iceni, and in French we will be attempting to write a complete paragraph about ourselves. Mon dieu!

Next Friday is, of course, Comic Relief, and we will be spending the morning completing a number of sponsored events. The children gave me lots of ideas this afternoon so I’ll put together a plan and let them know everything on Monday. If and when you decide you would like to sponsor them, we have registered with the Red Nose Day website and you can donate at https://my.rednoseday.com/sponsor/hartsbourneprimaryschool. Please note that this is the only way we will be accepting donations this year, so there is no need to bring in cash on the day.

Have a beautiful weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 10th March 2017

Good afternoon!

PGL draws and closer and closer, but fortunately we have been able to keep our minds on our work and had another brilliant week! It was also lovely to see everyone who attended parents’ evening this week (children please take note of the plural possessive noun I have just used!). It may be a couple of long days for us poor, bedraggled teachers (sympathy vote anyone?), but it’s also a unique opportunity to talk about children’s learning, which I honestly enjoy 🙂

This week in literacy we started a new unit of work about discussion writing, and as well as debating the issue of whether or not primary school children should be able to choose the subjects they learn or not, we did a lot of work on apostrophes. In maths we spent a couple of days using Roman numerals and then a couple of days learning about ratio and applying it to solve problems. In science we classified a whole host of invertebrates, in history we learned about Boudicca and the Iceni revolt against the Romans, and in computing we used Microsoft Excel to create some weird and wonderful graphs, examples of which you can see below:

I’m not sure they all came out exactly as intended, but I thought they looked cool 🙂

Next week we will be planning, drafting, editing, improving and publishing our discussion texts, as well as doing some revision of maths topics which the children suggested they would like to recap. We’ll also move on to classifying vertebrates in science, work on some defensive footballing skills in PE, and start the process of re-writing some song lyrics in music, so please can the children remember to have a think about some songs they would like to use over the weekend!

I’m also looking forward to welcoming parents to our PGL information meeting on Tuesday at 3:30pm. If you are unable to attend I can provide copies of everything discussed. Hopefully I can clarify any misunderstandings and help everyone to look forward to what will be, I’m sure, another fun and successful PGL week for our school 🙂

Have a chilled weekend and I’ll see you all next week!

Friday 3rd March 2017


It was lovely to see the children dressed up to the fictional nines on World Book Day! I am always impressed by the efforts to which our children go to celebrate this annual event, and this year was no different. Choosing two ‘best dressed’ winners was almost as hard as choosing just one ‘half-term homework of the week’ last week; these are nice dilemmas to have as a teacher, but dilemmas nonetheless.

This week we planned, drafted, peer marked and published our persuasive letters in literacy, learned about the difference between micro-organisms, plants and animals in science, and practised our dribbling skills in PE. We have also been continuing to learn how to speak about ourselves in French, explaining what we think makes a successful monarch in history, and doing some lovely artistic work on reflections, rotations and translations in maths, as you can see below:


Next week we will be starting a new unit of work about discussion texts in literacy, and starting a unit that I affectionately refer to as ‘Maths Bric-A-Brac’ in maths, which will pick up a few odds and ends and hopefully give us a chance to go back and fill in any gaps we’ve encountered along the way this year. We will also be classifying invertebrates in science, creating graphs in computing and re-writing the lyrics to a well-known song in music. I’m also looking forward to welcoming you all to parents’ evening on Tuesday and Thursday; please remember that in Year 6 the children are encouraged to come along as well!

Have a lovely weekend and I will see you all next week  🙂 

Friday 24th February 2017

Welcome back! I trust you all enjoyed a well-earned rest over the half-term holiday, and I must say the children have all been refreshed and raring to go in our first week back.

This week we have been working on persuasive writing and debating the motion ‘Should Children Be Able To Bring Technology Into School?’ It’s been an interesting week with lots of lovely sentence writing and an excellent debate today, after which the class voted with a slim majority of 13 to 10 against the motion. In maths we have been identifying and plotting co-ordinates in all four quadrants, in science we learned about the life of Carl Linnaeus and his binomial system of classification, and in RE we learned all about the Christian festival of Easter. The children have been bringing in their half-term homework and I am very excited to be marking this treasure trove at the weekend:

Next week we will be drafting and publishing our persuasive texts in literacy, making transformations, rotations and reflections in maths, learning about micro-organisms, plants and animals in science, continuing to discuss families in PSHE&C and practise our football skills in PE. Also don’t forget World Book Day on Thursday; I hope to see lots of colourful outfits and fictional characters roaming the school all day.

Have a restful weekend and I will see you next week 🙂

Friday 10th February 2017

Happy half-term!

It’s been ‘Take One Book’ week at Hartsbourne this week, so the whole school read a book called ‘Changes’ by Anthony Browne and taught a week’s worth of lessons across the curriculum all linking with a theme of change. In guided reading we read the book, discussed the plot-line and used our inference skills to make statements about the protagonist Joseph Kaye backed up with evidence. We also shared some of our worries about the BIG change coming for all of us in September, and wrote re-assuring letters to ourselves to open and read before we start at our new schools! In computing we created function machines on spreadsheets which can perform a multitude of changes, such as multiplication operations or converting units of measurement or currency. In music we listened to some songs about change and discussed the meaning behind the lyrics, in DT we explored the changes that bread goes through during baking, and in art we created pictures of trees using coloured leaves to represent seasonal changes. On top of all of this we also did some assessments! A hard-working but productive week, and next time you’re in our school hall, make sure you check out our poster AND our tangrams display board  🙂 

The final change for us this week was bidding “adios” to Yago; he may only have been with us for five weeks but we’ve loved having him as a member of our class and I think everyone has benefited from his outstanding volleyball skills!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the half-term projects the children come up with this week, but for now make sure you have a restful and relaxing week off and I’ll see you all again when we come back 🙂

Friday 3rd February 2017

Good afternoon!

We’ve had another great week in Year 6! In literacy we planned, drafted, edited and published our short stories inspired by ‘Cider With Rosie’. The children worked really hard during the peer marking session this week and I think their final stories are all the better for it. In maths we have had a brief blast through properties of shapes, area, perimeter and volume, with some very challenging multiplications required to find the solutions! We learned about how shadows are formed and how mirrors manipulate light in science, read and discussed the lyrics of ‘Cats in the Cradle’ by Harry Chapin in music, and finished off our stained-glass windows in RE, which I’m sure you’ll agree look fantastic:

Next week is ‘Take One Book’ week, in which every class will read the same story and then complete a number of lessons across the curriculum linked to the book and the themes that come from it. It’s the first time we’ve done a week like this so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the children produce across the whole school! We’ll also be completing some assessments, playing a little more volleyball AND baking our bread on Thursday; please remember to send your children in with a mixing bowl, apron and any extra ingredients they want to add to the basic bread recipe.

Sadly we’ll also be saying goodbye to one of our number next Friday, as Yago will be leaving us to return to Spain (although given the weather I’m not sure he’ll be that devastated!)

Have a relaxing weekend and I’ll see you next week 🙂

Friday 27th January 2017


The weather may have been cold this week, but the fires of education have been burning just as brightly here in Year 6 (those two weeks of poetry have really paid off…)

This week in literacy we started a brand new unit around an extract from the famous book ‘Cider With Rosie’. We have written some formal and informal speech, formed multi-clause sentences, written sentences with colons and semi-colons, and most enjoyably of all today, spent the morning writing school-based puns. Here are some for your amusement (HEALTH WARNING: your sides may indeed split from the hilarity you will shortly be gripped by):

Elsewhere in the curriculum we have finished our maths unit with some work on mass, and it was clear to me that the children have gone from strength to strength with their conversion skills. In science we explored the anatomy of the eye, in guided reading we wrote about the benefits of travel and in PE we began to play some small-sided games of volleyball, where again I can see the progress in the children’s technique.

Next week we will be starting a new unit in maths about geometry, planning and drafting our versions of the extract from ‘Cider With Rosie’, investigating shadows and the effect of reflective surfaces on light and continuing our work on spreadsheets in computing.

Have a peaceful weekend and I will see you all next week  🙂 

Friday 20th January 2017

Good afternoon!

We are well back into the swing of things now, and it’s been another great week in Year 6.

In literacy we concluded our unit of work by writing poetry in a number of different forms, including haiku, kennings and limericks. In maths we have been measuring, converting and solving problems concerning capacity, as well as learning how to convert between litres and pints (you may find your children more interested in the milk bottle label than usual!) We tasted various gluten-free breads in DT, calculated population density in geography, and learned about light sources and how we’re able to see things in science, as you can see below:


Next week we will be starting a brand new fiction unit in literacy, concluding our unit of work about measurement in maths with some work about mass, and looking at the anatomy of our eyes in science (not literally…well we literally will be looking…but not inside our own eyes!) We’ll also be continuing to learn about spreadsheets in computing and explore the meaning behind the lyrics of various songs in music. Not a week to be missed so stay warm and healthy over the weekend!

Have a relaxing one and I’ll see you all next week 🙂

Friday 13th January 2017

Happy new year!

It’s been our first full week back at school and we certainly have got right down to it! In literacy we have started a unit on poetic form and technique, which has involved reading and responding to a number of poems, before using simile, metaphor and personification to write our own examples. We wrote some personification riddle poems today; I wonder if you can guess what these are? 









In maths we have started a new unit on length, mass and capacity, and even investigated the ‘golden ratio’ Phi in an attempt to determine who was the most ‘golden’ among us! (Obviously it was me…) In science we have started a new unit about light by learning about Augustin-Jean Fresnel and his invention that revolutionised lighthouses, in DT we’ve started to learn about bread (please see the e-mail about tasting next week!) and in PE we have started to learn how to play volleyball with some interesting results!

Next week we will be exploring different poetic forms including kennings and limericks, learning about capacity, exploring natural and synthetic sources of light and continuing our work in population and trade in geography. An exciting week I am sure, and I look forward to seeing you all again next Friday  🙂 Have a relaxing weekend!

Friday 16th December 2016

Good afternoon!

It’s been  week like no other this week, owing to cramming in of last-minute Christmas play rehearsals around everything else. However, as usual, the children have been excellent in their handling of the timetable changes and were able to concentrate really well for all of the assessments they completed. I know I may have seemed like a bit of a grinch making them do assessments this week, but I have been delighted to see the progress they have made over the course of this term and feel we are in a really strong position to achieve even more from January onwards. I was also delighted with the children’s performance in the Christmas play, especially the strength of their singing during ‘Vive le Vent’.

I won’t be doing an update next week so all that remains for me this term is to thank you all for your support so far this year, thank your children for being a brilliant Year 6 class so far, and wish you all a restful holiday and a happy new year. I look forward to seeing you all again in January  🙂 

Sunday 11th December 2016

That’s right, I work on Sundays  🙂 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Hartsbourne, and we have been hard at work rehearsing the Christmas play, which is sounding terrific and not looking bad at all given the limited number of rehearsals we have had as a key-stage. Besides this however, we have also been hard at work in literacy: planning, drafting, assessing and publishing our explanation texts. We’ve also revised our knowledge of mean, median, mode and range in maths, as well as creating paper slide presentations in science about how animals are adapted to their environments. Our DT controllable vehicles are taking shape nicely and in PSHE&C we wrote some excellent poems about how to deal with negative situations. Here are some examples:

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Next week we are obviously looking forward to welcoming you all to our Christmas play on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening. Please remember on Thursday that the children need to come back to school at 5:30pm, doors will be opened for the audience at 5:45pm and the show will start at 6:00pm. As well as the show we’ll also be doing some assessments in literacy and maths, as well as completing and evaluating our vehicles, finishing and sharing our World War II presentations and of course, performing our integral role as Hartsbourne elves delivering all of the Christmas post!

Have a relaxing weekend and I’ll see you all at our performances next week 🙂

Friday 2nd December 2016


Apologies for a lack of update last Friday; my only defence is that after our visit to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery I felt so relieved of worldly worries and obligations that I completely forgot! Spiritually enlightening but memory relieving, it would appear.

This week, despite being a short one, has been full of hard work as ever. In literacy we have started our final unit for this term which is explanation texts, and have drawn on learning about evolution and natural selection in science as well as global biomes in geography, whilst also explaining the importance of punctuation. This picture in particular sums up some of our conversations this week:


In maths we have been drawing and interpreting line graphs and pie charts, the latter requiring us to apply our protractor skills from the previous week, which I am happy to say the children did ably. It was a real week of graphs, as in science we created bar graphs to show continuous and discontinuous variation; I wonder if your children can remember what this means? Geography saw us take a walk around our school grounds to map vegetation, DT saw the motors get added to our controllable vehicles and we even managed to squeeze in some Christmas singing. Our rendition of ‘Feliz Navidad’ was particularly…..memorable.

Next week we will be bringing our literacy unit to a conclusion by publishing our own explanation texts, and ending our maths unit with some work on mean, median, mode and range. In science we will be creating paper-slide presentations on animals in their habitats, in computing we will be diving back into our WW2 presentations and in PE the children will continue to strut their considerable stuff with the help of Candice Conway.

Apologies that homework has only been uploaded today but it is now live on ShowMyHomework. Have a lovely long weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂 

Friday 18th November 2016

Good afternoon again; it was lovely to see so many of you at parents’ evening this week!

It has been another excellent week in Year 6, as evidenced by the house-points which no longer fit on the chart! In literacy we have started a new unit on non-chronological reports about fantasy creatures, and learned all manner of things about the little-known Bug-Eyed Dragon. It’s fair to say I’m looking forward to reading about the creatures which the children create next week! In maths we brought our unit on fractions, decimals and percentages to an end with some lessons on fractions calculations, and I was delighted not to have to print any ‘blue level’ worksheets this week! We shivered our way down to Bushey Library today for an excellent session with the team, and I’m hoping that some of us feel inspired to use it more often (I’m certainly looking forward to getting into my new Dan Brown novel!) Finally in science this week we have been learning all about natural selection; I wonder if your children can tell you how this picture explains the fact that giraffes nowadays all have long necks?


Next week we will be creating our fantasy creatures and writing our non-chronological reports, as well as starting a brand new unit of maths which is all about measurement and statistics. In geography we will continue with our work on global biomes, in science we will be learning about how fossils helped to prove the theory of evolution, and in DT we will be continuing to construct our controllable vehicles. Please remember as well that next Friday is our trip to the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, so ensure your children have warm clothing, walking boots/trainers, a packed lunch in a named plastic bag and any food offerings you wish to make to the monks, who do not charge for our visit and may only eat food that has been donated to them. 

Have a peaceful weekend and I will see you all next week  🙂 

Friday 11th November 2016

On this day of remembrance and reflection, it seems only fitting to first mention how impressed I was with not only the children from our class who contributed to the assembly, but the research and care that all children put into their presentations on Sir Hugh Dowding. Our World War II topic may have ended last half-term but it is clear that our trip to Bentley Priory Museum and all the history lessons completed this year have had a lasting effect on the children. We value life-long learning here at Hartsbourne and I believe we have achieved it on this particular subject.

This week I have also been really impressed by how hard all the children have worked in maths, particularly percentages. It is clear to me that this is an area of maths where some of us feel a lack of confidence, but two hard working lessons later and I have seen good progress from every child. I hope that we can maintain this work ethic and determination for the rest of the year!

I was also delighted to mark all of the fabulous half-term projects last weekend, and found it extremely difficult to choose ‘Homework of the Week’ winners! I must admit though to being blown away by the efforts of Maddy and Paige in their Disney project, and Jasmine’s family tree, both of which you can see below:

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Next week we will be starting a new unit of literacy on non-chronological reports, which I promise will be far more exciting that it sounds! We’re also going to revise our learning on evolution and move on to natural selection (and yes, I am regretting imparting the knowledge that according to evolution, we are all related! I am NOT ‘Uncle Harper’!) Finally don’t forget that it’s our trip to Bushey Library on Friday, so please either send in completed membership forms or existing library cards next week to enable the children to get the most out of the experience.

Enjoy a relaxing weekend and I will see you all next week 🙂

Friday 4th November 2016


It’s been another hard working and productive week in the wonderful world of Year 6 🙂

We have started a recount writing unit in literacy so have been practising skills such a passive sentences, writing in the past tense and using colons to prepare us for writing a recount about our trip to Bentley Priory Museum next week. Speaking of which, we spent the first part of the morning today researching the life of Sir Hugh Dowding and creating a presentation about him, one of which will be shared during Remembrance Assembly next Friday. In maths we have started a new unit about fractions, decimals and percentages and I have been really impressed with the work ethic and commitment of the children in solving increasingly complex problems. In science we learned about the life of Charles Darwin, in computing we have began to create our interactive presentations about World War II and today in geography we have started to learn about weather and climate. Finally we completed our art projects on containers today, and you can see the finished articles here:


Next week we will plan, draft, edit, improve and publish our recounts (all in one week!), find fractions and percentages of given quantities, learn about evolution and natural selection and continue to create our dance routines! A busy week but one I am already looking forward to.

Have a great weekend and I will see you here again next week; same time, same place 🙂

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