09 May 2015
This week, our homework is to revise for the SATs which begin on Monday.
Children have been encouraged to use their revision guides to help them remember aspects of Maths and English that they feel less confident with.
There is no expectation to record anything in homework books.
I’ve reminded children that, although the tests are important, we don’t want anyone worrying overly about them – all we ask is that they do their best. Year 6 have all worked very hard over the year and should feel proud of how much they’ve improved and what they’ve achieved. I am!
01 May 2015
This week’s homework is creative.
I can show something from an unusual point of view.
We’re about to write fairy tales from an unusual point of view: Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf’s point of view or Humpty Dumpty from the King’s Men’s point of view.This homework is designed to develop the ability to think from an usual perspective.
We came up with lots of ideas in class of how to show an unusual point of view. Here are a few:
- a different fairy tale
- a comic strip from the villain’s point of view
- a diary from a pet’s perspective
- a news report on a famous story (eg The Big Bad Wolf in Three Little Pigs?)
- a story board of a well known tale from an unusual point of view
24 April 2015
This week’s homework is Practice Makes Perfect.
I can write a paragraph using impressive language, sentence structure and punctuation – VCAP.
We often discuss VCAP in class and now I’d like children to write a paragraph about anything to really show off some of their most impressive writing.
They could write about anything that interests them, but make sure that they show the following:
- Vocabulary (word choice and techniques like metaphors, similes and personification)
- Conjunctions and connectives (words that join sentences or link ideas – because, when, although, despite or However, Nevertheless, Consequently,)
- Add-ins (extra chunks of meaning – subordinate clauses or phrases – that make the sentence structure complex and sophisticated – ‘Slowly opening the creaky door,’ ‘Trying not to laugh,’)
- Punctuation (fancy things like : ; – ( ) and … or important things like ! ? , ‘)
Children who are doing the level 6 Spelling Punctuation And Grammar (SPAG) test in SATs week need to be aware that they will be asked to do this task to show a level 6 standard of SPAG.
More important than anything listed above, children should read their work back through and make sure that they have all of the basics:
- Full stops in all the right places
- Capital letters for proper nouns (names) and the start of every sentence
- It makes sense all the way through
27 March 2015
The homework this week is creative and is due on Wednesday 01 April:
I can show what I’ve learnt during curriculum week.
This week at school, it’s been a themed curriculum week where each day has been a subject and then on Thursday and Friday your child has moved throughout the school in mixed classes from Reception to Year 6, learning some new subjects like Mandarin and Urdu.
The homework requires your child to show what they’ve learnt in a creative way. Ideas could range from:
- a diary recounting each day
- a jigsaw where each piece makes up each subject
- a news interview describing the week
20 March 2015
This week’s homework is Talk Time and is due in on Wednesday 25th March.
I can use time connectives in instructions.
This homework is designed to help children with writing in the next few weeks: we’re going to be writing lots of instructions. We often find instructions in recipes, games and even flat pack furniture. Children should practise using time connectives (they know what these are!) to start their sentences.
Here are some examples from a recipe for my dinner:
- First, set your oven to 180 degrees.
- Before you do anything else, chop your vegetable to the correct size.
- After that, fry the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic.
- Meanwhile, brown the mince in a separate pan.
- When the onions and garlic have softened a little, add the carrots and continue to cook for 10 minutes or so.
- By the time the carrots have softened, it’s time to add the browned mince, celery and tinned tomatoes.
13 March 2015
This week, children have two homeworks.
I can improve my spelling.
Your child has been given a copy of a previous SATs spelling test to practise at home with an adult. They have one sheet with words written in spaces, and one with gaps in it. To practise as it will be in May:
- read the sheet aloud all the way through to your child without pausing
- repeat this, but pause at each underlined word and repeat it twice, giving children plenty of time to write it (it’s not a time-pressured test!)
- ask if they want any words repeating at the end
We also have creative homework:
I can design an invention of the future.
We’ve been learning about inventions throughout history and now children need to come up with an idea themselves. What would they create if they could? What problem needs solving? Children should draw a picture or make a model of their invention and include a name, description and labels for it too. We want to put all of these on display if they’re presented well!
06 March 2015
This week, we give children a choice between two creative homework activities. They have a strong cultural or spiritual link and are due in on Wednesday 11 March.
I can respond to a book.
As it’s recently been World Book Day, we’d like children to respond in some way to a book. Your child can be as creative as (s)he likes! Here are a few ideas:
- A book review – a summary of the plot, characters, who it’s suitable for and why they like it
- A comic strip version of the book
- An alternative ending
- A character description of the main villain
- A new front cover
- A model of a scene from the book
or, your child might prefer this homework:
I know the importance of religious books.
We invite children to respond to the sentence above. Holy books are a key feature of different world religions. You may want to research the importance of one, two or all of these religious books and discuss the ways they are regarded, handled and read by members of faith groups. You might also consider the traditions associated with these holy books.
The holy books might include:
- the Christian holy book, the Bible
- the Jewish holy book, the Torah
- the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an
- the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib
Time to learn your times tables
Practising times tables at home is really important. Knowing times tables facts really helps your child to feel confident in Maths, and enables them to make progress in areas such as calculating, fractions… even shape work can involve times tables – when we think about angles, for example.
The National Curriculum sets out expectations for times tables knowledge:
- Year 2: recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables, including recognising odd and even numbers
- Year 3: recall and use multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4 and 8 multiplication tables
- Year 4: recall multiplication and division facts for multiplication tables up to 12 × 12
If your child is in Year 5 or 6, they need to know all the tables facts so they can start thinking about prime numbers, factors etc. Knowing the tables facts (including division) means having rapid recall – being able to say the answer within about five seconds, not counting through the times tables to work it out.
Each week, your child is asked to learn a particular times table. We might also work on a pair of tables which are related, such as x4s and x8.
Please make sure your child practises as home: in the car, in the bath, on the way to school, straight after school as a matter of routine. Your child needs to know that something like this involves effort and there aren’t any easy solutions!
It’s really helpful to test them two or three times during the week to make sure their ‘score’ improves, and also try to build in some multiplication and division games and references:
- play ‘tables ping-pong‘, where you and your child counts through a times tables forwards and backwards, alternating the counting: 0, 4,8, 12, 16, 20…
- look out for arrays, where you see a grid of something: eggs in a carton is a simple 2 x 3 or 3 x 2 array, and there are arrays on your mobile phone (to log on to mobile phones, you might see a 3 x 3 array – a square number), on buildings (the window panes of a block of flats are useful for larger numbers), tiles in your bathroom, chocolate and other food products…
- download an app to practise on a phone or tablet (there are loads of free ones)
- talk about when you use times tables knowledge
27 February 2015
This week’s homework is Practice Makes Perfect:
I can convert measures.
Year 6 still need to improve their confidence and speed with converting measures. They have a worksheet to complete to practise this skill.
We also have Creative homework:
I can write narratives.
Children are learning about writing narratives in English lessons at the moment and this is a chance to consolidate these skills. I have asked children to write a short section of narrative rather than a whole story to concentrate on quality, rather than quantity. Requested things to write are a:
- setting description,
- character description,
- action sequence, or
- section of a story (like an opening, build up, series of events)
- vocabulary (Why not use this week’s spellings? All writing needs adjectives and adverbs!)
- conjunctions and connectives (because, if, when, where, although, despite)
- add ins (different starts to sentences, complex sentence structures)
- punctuation (! ? , : ; – )
Supporting your child’s maths at home
This article is a thought-provoking read, and might inspire you to support your child in different ways; in it, Professor Jo Boaler sets out this list of top tips for parents who want to support their child in Maths:
- Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games at home. Anything with a dice will help them enjoy maths and develop numeracy and logic skills.
- Never tell children they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. There is always some logic to what they are doing. So if your child multiplies three by four and gets seven, try: “Oh I see what you are thinking, you are using what you know about addition to add three and four. When we multiply we have four groups of three…”
- Maths is not about speed. In younger years, forcing kids to work fast on maths is the best way to start maths anxiety, especially among girls.
- Don’t tell your children you were bad at maths at school. Or that you disliked it. This is especially important if you are a mother.
- Encourage number sense*. What separates high and low achievers in primary school is number sense.
- Encourage a “growth mindset” – the idea that ability changes as you work more and learn more.
- For younger children, the ‘five-ness’ of five and then the ‘ten-ness’ of ten is really important: five fingers, five toes, five displayed on a dice, five split into 4 and one more, five split into three and two…
- For older children, if they are asked to add up 27 and 16, when they have number sense they can break the numbers apart and use them flexibly – take three from the 16 and add it to 27 to make 30, then add on the remaining 13 to make 43.
Number sense is not something you can get from simply being given an extra worksheet for homework – it develops from play, discussion and observation of number in the world around them.