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This week in Year 6, we have continued learning about fractions in maths. The children are doing really well in this subject and are often able to reason about their ideas and express their thoughts verbally to convince me of their understanding.

In literacy we have been learning about balanced arguments. We began by debating the suggestion that all children should be allowed to bring a pet to school everyday. We had great fun discussing this but I must reiterate — for Mr Eaton's sake — that we WILL NOT be going ahead with this proposal! The class have been asked to think of a subject for a balanced argument as homework.

We have looked closely at our Wolf Brother text this week and the children have been trying to sequence chopped up chapters. They learnt that good writers 'glue' sentences and paragraphs together by linking ideas, using pronouns well and introducing paragraphs and sentences with adverbials. This technique is called 'cohesion' and we will be trying to use it in our own writing over the next few weeks.

A week ago, I went on a 'Year 6 Readers' training course that was led by a lady who marks Year 6 SATs. As well as introducing some new and exciting ways of teaching reading, she gave us a real insight into the way the test is marked. As a result of this, I have been teaching the children a set way to answer inference questions (those that require you to look for clues implied in the text and read between the lines). This is the 'formula' we have been using:

Give your opinion drawn from your inferences about the text:
Mrs Francis was hot.

+

Use this set phrase:
I think/know this because it says...

+

State the evidence in the text that backs up your opinion:
'her cheeks were flushed' and 'she asked Mrs Clarke to open the door'.

This is something you could try at home if you read together. Some children found it tricky to distinguish between inference and evidence. For example, they might say: Mrs Clarke opened the door. I know this because it says 'she asked Mrs Clarke to open the door'. Some children were also not quite drawing the correct inference but using the correct structure. For example: Mrs Francis was embarrassed. I know this because it says 'her cheeks were flushed'. In this example they are not using all the available evidence to draw conclusions. This is something we will continue to work on over the coming weeks.

Some parents have recently asked me for a year 6 reading list to support wider reading at home. The recommendation is that you try to encourage your children to read a wide variety of material from stories, non-fiction and poetry. There is no doubt that reading widely increases children's knowledge and vocabulary and gives them great ideas for writing. I haven't come up a definitive list but here are some suggestions to try:

€ Look up the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards online.
The archive shows all previous winners of the award and there are some excellent, and beautiful books to choose from. Although many of the books are picture books, they are often for older children and address some important issues.

€ Search some of the medal winning books on Amazon to read the reviews. Amazon will give you suggestions for other, similar books or books by the same author. Beware of simply searching Amazon for 5 star books — this will give you the most popular books but not necessarily the quality texts that will improve your child's reading.

€ If you are able to get there, a great place to visit is the Madeleine Lindley bookstore in Oldham. It is a large education bookshop purely for children and has all the best and newest fiction and non-fiction books. The staff are very knowledgeable and can guide you to some great choices.

€ Online searches can bring up some good reading lists that suggest a range of classic and modern texts. Try looking at 'The School Reading List', 'Booktrust — 100 Best Books', 'Sunday Times100 Best Children's Books' or 'Telegraph 100 Best Children's Books'. You will find a lot of crossover between these lists.

I hope this is helpful. Happy reading!

Now that swimming has finished for Year 6, Mr Sargent will be taking the class for an additional PE slot once a week. It is likely that this will be on a Friday afternoon but I have suggested to the children that they keep their kits in school all week if possible as the timetable can vary. They will still be going outside despite the colder weather so long-sleeved tops and jogging bottoms are a good idea.

This week we will be working hard to prepare for the Christmas Fair on Friday. The children have all added their names to the rota to help on stalls in Base 5 — let me know if they will be unable to attend.

I look forward to seeing you on Friday evening.

Mrs Francis

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