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Great Totham Primary School

Enjoy Respect Achieve

01621 891091

Headteacher: Miss S Vass

Welcome to Year 5 2017-2018

Phase Leader Mr Quilter
 Year 5 Teachers Teaching assistants  

Mrs McCarthy (5M)

Mrs Pyman (nee Griffiths) (5G)

Mrs Byford

Mrs Hedgecock

Curriculum information
Curriculum Jigsaw (whole year overview) click here  Useful resources or information

Autumn term curriculum
overview (Autumn 2017)

Spring term curriculum overview (Spring 2018)

Summer term curriculum overview (Summer 2018)


Welcome to Year 5

We have got an action packed term in front of us and can’t wait to learn more about the rainforest during this topic. See our curriculum letter to find out what else Year 5 are up to this term…

First week back

The first two days back were packed full of team building exercises.  We had a task to build the tallest tower out of 2 pieces of A3 paper. We could win more resources by answering questions given to us by out teacher, these could have been Maths, English or Topic based. The tower had to be self-standing and hold two pieces of multi-link.

Here are some pictures of us completing this task...

Our teachers then asked us to reflect on this activity using our Great Totham learning values – getting stuck in, persevering, learning from our mistakes, taking responsibility and being a problem solver. We thought about which values we did well and which ones we could have improved on. This has now become our target for this term.

Colchester Zoo

At the end of last half term, year five went to Colchester zoo. We had such a brilliant time looking and learning about all of the animals we have been studying as part of our rainforest unit of work. The children had an educational talk during the day, where they consolidated their knowledge of the rainforest and had the opportunity to touch and feel different rainforest materials.  

Thursday 9th November 2017

Year 5 Outdoor learning

On Thursday 9th November, Year 5 had their outdoor learning day. Our outdoor educators, Sarah and Paula, came into the school to instruct, organise and supervise the activities performed.

Classes 5M and 5G took turns to do their two hour activities. During the day, both classes experienced time in the school den and out on the school field. Sarah ran activities in the den, we made tortillas and tried Mayan stew and made hot chocolate to fit in with our topic work. Paula taught the classes how to make Mayan headdresses and sculpt clay faces. All of the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

At the end of the activities, the children performed a spirited and traditional Mayan dance, which was enjoyed by all who saw or even HEARD it, as there was a lot of chanting involved. Outdoor learning in Year 5 was a HUGE success this year.

By India Scholey and Martha Harvey   

Spring Term


This term we have had lots of fun experimenting with the properties of materials and how they change. We have investigated materials that dissolve and have discovered whether the changes are reversible or irreversible.

Here is a picture of our most recent  ‘Giant’s Hand’ experiment where we proved that when changes are irreversible a new material is always made.


During our music lessons this term we have been learning how to read and write music whilst also learning more about recorders. We have improved so much this term and have made great progress reading music. We will be continuing to develop this skill next term.


We are learning to be kinder to one another so that we can develop positive relationships and healthy friendships with our peers. Before the end of last term, we watched a video about little acts of kindness and how they can impact on others.

We want to know what acts of kindness you have done, or if someone else’s kindness has brightened your day?

We have a board in our classroom where we can recognise our classmates and say how they have been kind. Our hope is that everyone will show an act of kindness, which will then encourage us to pay that kindness forward to someone else…


Last week we started getting really excited about our new topic and talked about size and distance of the Sun, Moon and Earth.

We scaled them down and talked about the relative distance between them if the Sun was the size of beach ball, the Earth was the size of a pea and the Moon the size of a small bead. Then we measured the distance out on the field.

Everyone enjoyed this lesson and we are looking forward to finding out more about space!


Since being back at school we have been investigating shape, focusing mainly on 3D shapes. We have been making nets and investigating if they work and why.


We have some really exciting art projects this term using lots of different media – we will update our blog to reveal what we are doing as the term progresses. We started our unit of work by going out onto the field and sketching. We had to think about our technique and how we could improve next time, as we will be sketching an object from our minds based on our class book ‘Phoenix’.

The big Debate!

In year 5, we have been looking at debates and balanced arguments. We have completed debates on 2 different subjects: whether is war ever right and if we should be allowed mobile phones in school. We planned our arguments so that whatever side we were on we had a reasonable point on that particular subject.

We completed the World War 2 debate first (which was very exciting). We were split equally into two separate groups, one side was for war and the other was against war. The debate started off by one of the two sides expressing their point of view to the Jury. Then, we each argued our own point of view. It was all very exciting to hear everyone’s separate opinions put forward and argued.

We discussed as a year group what went well and what we could have improved on for our next debate. When we debated whether or not mobile phones should be allowed in school, our debating skills were much better the second time round. After the debate we then wrote a balanced argument about whether mobile phones should be banned in school.  We all had fun during the debate and we had lots to include in our writing. We all came away feeling proud and successful.



Year 5 have been doing some really fun, unusual art in the long jump pit using the sand to create sculptures. Their first task was to create a leaf in the sand - this was to have a go at sculpting with no resources except their hands. They also had a go at creating a 3D human face, which was hard to get the detail in the eyes and hair.

We linked our class book ‘Phoenix’ to our art work because we had to draw the astrolabe that is described in the book. Once we had drawn it in our sketch books, we then went to the sand pit to sculpt our designs. Have a look at their wonderful creations below. The children have work very hard on them and thoroughly enjoyed their art lessons.



Our Space unit of work has led to many fun learning experiences. The last few weeks we have been learning about different types of forces. We have learnt about Isaac Newton and how he discovered gravity. We then went on to find out about air resistance. We discussed as a class what it is and how it can act. Then we went to experiment with it. We went onto the field and tried to feel the effects of air resistance using a variety of plastic bags and parachutes.

The children enjoyed this lesson and got a practical understanding of how air resistance works. We will be going on to design and make our own parachutes.