Year 5





Autumn Term


This first half term, Year 5 will be joining Dr Who on a perilous journey back in time! Having already written letters applying to be Dr Who’s assistant our next step was to write a letter to our Future me! For our BIG BANG we then buried our  time capsule ready for the end of the year. Will the children achieve their hopes and dreams this year? In July we will find out.

We then joined Dr Who in the tardis and arrived back in time, to the year 1606, to the Tudor times. We met with a fictional William Shakespeare and asked him about the book he was writing at the time – Macbeth. The children have already started to read the story and have used some drama techniques to improve their performances.

Our English work will focus on this tragic story, along with ‘ Clockwork’, written by Philip Pullman.  We will soon be holding a Tudor day where the children can come to school dressed as a Tudor, rich or poor! Cooking a Tudor meal will be just part of the activities planned for the day.

In art this half term we will be creating Tudor portraits and in our geography we will zoom in on Stratford upon Avon. Our visit to Stratford will help us to develop our understanding of the great bard, our local Tudor buildings and develop an understanding as to why people come to Stratford, with an emphasis on tourism in the local area. We will be opening a tourist information centre in school towards the end of the term. Look out for the details of these  events coming. Must dash the tardis is flashing ready to move on! Bye for now. See you in another galaxy!!

Hitting the ground with a bump

This week Year 5 have come down to earth with a bump as they investigated which type of parachute would fall most slowly as part of our learning about Forces. After a lot of fabulous teamwork and practical testing we discovered that the best parachutes to transport the soldier were ones with a larger surface area to increase the air resistance. Great work Year 5!


Using our inference skills we write letters from Lady Macbeth to Macbeth just before Burnham wood came to Dunsinane. Read Sati’s letter:


Summer Term

This summer term, Year 5 have been on a journey of exploration into the rainforest.

We have really been enjoying our class novel Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson in which the orphan Maia journeys deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest to start a new life with some distant relatives. Accompanied by her stern and forbidding governess Miss Minton, life in the Amazon does not turn out quite as Maia planned it but results in some wonderful adventures.  The book has inspired some wonderful reading and writing from the children. We have also looked closely at the physical geography of rainforests: why do some animals only live in the canopy? What would you find on the forest floor? What are the effects of deforestation?

We have continued our rainforest theme in Art and DT in which we have been creating some rainforest pop-up books in Art and DT and have made our own South American dream catchers.

In Science we have been looking at life cycles of living things and studying the different stages of human existence. We have looked at different types of plants and dissected some flowering plants to discover what they are made up of.

In maths we have been looking at data and statistics, drawing our own line graphs and interpreting data from line graphs and diagrams. We have been using our knowledge of fractions, decimals and percentages to solve problems and are practising bar modelling to help us represent and solve a maths problem.

We have also been working hard on our mental maths. Our daily knock-out games include quick fire questions involving decimals, multiples of 10 and multiplying by factors. Mrs Hopkins says we have the best mental maths skills of any Year Fives she’s taught!

In PE a coach from Stratford Hockey club has been coming in once a week to teach us hockey skills. We have really improved our ability to pass, receive and mark each other and are now regularly playing matches and small tournaments in the session.


Our Year 5 children are a sporty lot and have been working incredibly hard this term to make sure that sport at Henley is in fantastic shape.

Children from our class have been taking part in athletics events, cricket competitions and even Henley’s first triathlon. Within school the children are encouraging others to get active and try new sports through the Young Leaders scheme. Our Young Leaders are ambassadors for sport at Henley and worked hard to make sure that when Olympic hero Mark Lewis-Francis visited for a morning of sport and activities,  it all ran smoothly!

Spring 2: Chocolate

For the second half of the Spring Term Year 5 are getting their teeth into all things Chocolate. We will start by travelling to Mesoamerica to learn all about the ancient Maya (who loved chocolate so much they used cacao beans as currency). As well as finding out about Maya homes, religion and diet we will have a go at playing the ancient Maya ball game pok-a-tok where the losing team were sacrificed to the gods (no children will be harmed in the teaching of this topic). We are going to make step pyramids from clay to create our own ancient Mayan city.

We will also be brushing up on our biography writing skills as we look at the life of George Cadbury – the great philanthropist and driving force behind the legendary Chocolate company. We are going to find out the secrets of his chocolate success and why he decided to build an entire village to house his workers in Bournville.

To further our non-fiction writing skills we will be looking at advertising: what are the secrets behind a really great advert? How do you persuade someone to buy your product? We will study slogans, logos and packaging and create our own chocolate products complete with packaging and advertising.

In maths we are focussing on fractions, decimals and percentages: how to calculate them; how they are linked and how we can use them in problem solving. We are also continuing our mental maths practice, focussing particularly on the division element of times tables. If you’re not using Times Tables Rockstars regularly at home we recommend you get onboard! It’s making a huge difference to our recall speed.

The high point of our topic is our planned trip to Cadbury World where we will learn all about the history of the company, look at how advertising and packaging has changed through the decades and hopefully get to sample a few chocolatey treats along the way. We will be setting some Do What You Like homework based on the Chocolate topic and can’t wait to see what you all produce!



Spring Term

Our topic for this half term is Time Travel.

We have started off by travelling through the wardrobe into the world of Narnia with our class novel The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. This wonderful classic work of literature has already inspired some fabulous writing and art work and we look forward to even more as the story unfolds. We are also doing lots of close reading of texts to improve our inference and deduction skills. A piece of reading homework is being sent home each Tuesday. Please make sure it is handed in the following Monday.

In maths we are working on our fluency in number and the four-rules. We are using practical equipment and real life problems to help deepen our understanding of multiplication and division and are learning how to find and work with fractions, decimals and percentages. We are practising our times tables on a daily basis and competition in our class “knock-out” game is really hotting-up so please keep working on your times tables speed at home to be in with a chance of victory.

In science we are learning about Changing Materials and their Properties and are doing lots of experiments to find out what happens when materials are mixed, heated or changed in other ways. We have already discovered how to make raisins dance and how milk can “clean” a bottle of cola. We look forward to sharing more of our scientific findings with you as the term progresses.

In geography we are working on mapping skills and are looking at how Henley has changed over time. We would be very grateful if anyone has any old photos of Henley they could share with us.

In PE we are doing sports hall activities and football.

In PSHE we are beginning a new (and highly recommended) whole school scheme of work called Jigsaw and we are celebrating RE with a special World Religion day in January.

Autumn Term

For this first have term in year 5 we have been immersing ourselves in all things Greek. The children have worked very enthusiastically to learn about life in Ancient Greece: about the birth of Democracy, the rise of the City States, the battle of Marathon and life in Sparta versus life in Athens.

We had a fantastic Greek day where our superbly dressed Greeks made and painted clay vases, re-enacted the Trojan war and had a mini-Olympics on the field. We also played an ancient board game called Petteia which was designed to help teach Greek children battle strategies.

In English we have read several Greeks myths and written our own versions of Theseus and the Minotaur. We have written persuasive arguments arguing for or against the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece and looked at writing complex sentences with embedded clauses.  We have done a lot of work on improving our inference skills in reading and used text annotation to help identify effective features of writing.

In maths we have been “mastering” place value and are deepening our knowledge and skills in addition and subtraction. We have done a lot of work on our mental maths to improve fluency and the competition in our daily “knock out” games is red hot! We have also been learning about the properties of rectangles, measuring and reasoning about angles and calculating area and perimeter.

In Science we have been looking at forces: at how, without friction, we would be unable to pick up a pencil or even sit on a chair. We have explored the difference between weight and mass and discovered how much we would weigh on other planets. We looked at which shapes move fastest through water and why and discovered how a falling apple sparked Isaac Newton’s greatest discovery.


Summer Term

Our new topic, Ancient Egyptians, is proving a big hit with the children. The variety of ‘Do What You Like’ home-learning projects that they’ve bought in has been amazing – thank you to all!

During the term, we are going to study several books including our core text, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, as well as ‘Stories from Egypt’ and ‘The Egyptian Cinderella’. These books, in addition to our non-fiction collection, will provide inspiration for the children’s writing where we will be concentrating on action-narrative plus the powerful use of dialogue to convey character and advance plot.

Our forthcoming class trip (with Y6) to Birmingham Museum looks set to be a super exciting day out for all the children. I know that they will find looking around the Ancient Egypt gallery absolutely fascinating (not to mention the Romans, Greeks and Staffordshire Hoard galleries). They are particularly looking forward to the ‘Mummification’ workshop – I just can’t think why…

Finally, our ‘Ancient Egyptians’ class assembly is on the morning of Friday 23rd June.  Accordingly, the children will be asked to research and create costumes after half-term – many thanks in advance for your support with this. We hope that you will be able to join us for this fun and entertaining journey back through history!

Spring Term

Book Week

Tudor Day

Our new topic for this term is Kings and Queens and the children have already been tasked with their DWYL projects which we’re really looking forward to sharing in February. Complimenting this “history” topic is our new core text, Treason, by Bertie Doherty. Set in Tudor times, it’s a story about a page boy to Prince Edward (son of King Henry VIII) who, as the King’s favourite, gains many enemies in Court. The boy’s enemies convince the King that his father has committed treason, so he embarks on a great adventure to set his father free from imprisonment and possible death… The children all rated their last core text, The Girl of Ink and Stars, 4 or 5 stars out of 5 so I hope they all love this one just as much!

Another book that we have recently enjoyed immensely is The Crow’s Tale by Naomi Howarth. Inspired by the beautiful prose, the children wrote and developed their own poems/prose, incorporating many different language features such as metaphors, onomatopoeia and personification. They are on display, so please enjoy reading them when you next visit.

In maths, we are exploring fractions and the children are having fun investigating equivalents etc. using Lego, cubes and Cuisenaire rods. Later on in the term, we will study decimals and percentages, as well as how to convert from one to another. Of course, Big Maths continues with great excitement, determination and pride.

In Science, we are moving on to Animals including Humans which examines the life-cycle of a human being from birth to death. Likewise, we will be discussing and debating some life and death concepts in RE, including the Christian festival of Easter next half-term. In PE and PSHE, the children are learning about respect, teamwork, leadership and how to resolve ‘issues’.

Autumn Termpow

Superheroes and superheroines in the classroom every day! So far, the children have loved designing ‘Maths Superheroes’, exploring appropriate materials for superhero costumes in Science and composing prepositional superhero poems in English. They have compared comic-book superhero theme tunes and studied the song/video ‘Titanium’. In addition, they really enjoyed the opportunity to ‘bring and share’ a photo/object about someone who is their very own ‘superhero’. It transpires that their parents and grandparents – and, yes, even some of their siblings – are an inspirational lot!

Going forward, we will move from modern-day mythical and legendary characters to those of old. In particular, we will focus on some of the famous Greek myths such as Icarus, Medusa and Pandora’s Box. Throughout the term, we will be reading together ‘Girl of Ink and Stars’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, using this core text to develop the children’s reading and comprehension skills. For their termly DWYL home-learning, the children will be asked to complete a project on Ancient Greece. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!