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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

Junior School Curriculum News

The weekly Junior School Newsletter, emailed to parents, outlines some of the exciting work taking place each week in the Junior School. Snippets from recent newsletters are shared below.

Reception - Graphemes, Phonemes & Digraphs
Do you know what a grapheme is? What about a phoneme? Or a digraph? Reception PhonicsThe children in Reception can answer all of these questions and have been working very hard to learn all these different things in phonics. We have already learnt 30 sounds this term and we all enjoy the multisensory approach to learning our sounds: we say the phoneme, look at the grapheme and also have an action to go with each sound, so our phonics lessons are always noisy, interactive and fun! As well as being able to recognise the graphemes, we have been learning to write them using cursive handwriting - some of us are even trying to join two letters together! We have also been blending letters together to read words and segmenting sounds in words to write them down. We are all very proud of our achievements so far.

Year 1 History
What a fun day out Year 1 had going ‘back in time’ at the Milestones Museum. It was a great finale to our history topic this term learning about old toys.

Year 1 Science  'Living Things'living things y1
So far the children have looked at body parts, the senses, classifying animals and animal movement. This week we started looking at ourselves and the changes we go through. This was highlighted through our 'Guess the baby' competition, where children had to guess which baby matched with which child - or in some cases, adult! The children used various strategies to support them with this, including looking at the style of picture "It's grey, so it must be old." (Francesca) 

Class 2S – The Great Fire of London

Fire of LondonYear 2S have been busy learning more about The Great Fire of London, including reading The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Feeling inspired we have been writing diaries of our own from the perspective of Vlad the Flea, who is a character from the book ‘Vlad and The Great Fire of London’. Vlad lived between the ears of a scruffy 1666 rat called Boxton and witnessed the start of the fire in Thomas Farrier’s Bakery. To get into the mind-set of Vlad, Viya and Isla courageously took on the role and were interviewed by the other children. All of this information helped the children write fantastic diary entries which not only included key historical facts but the emotions that Vlad went through during the ordeal. The next task will be to have a go at using a quill and some ink to write our diaries just like Samuel Pepys did. 

Alongside our writing, in textiles, we have been making our very own Boxton the rat hand puppets using felt, pompoms and string. We have been using our puppets to help us with our storytelling and the children have used them to decorate the class’s Pudding Lane.

Year 2 Computing
In Computing, Year 2 have been learning to use a graphics package, Textease Studio, to recreate some famous abstract art. They have learnt to use a variety of mark making tools including line, shape, and flood fill to produce works of art in the style of Mondrian, Matisse and Paul Klee. Through these vibrant pieces of artwork the children have consolidated their learning on primary and secondary colours, as well as learning how to create different tonal hues. They now know what colour is produced when adding the three primary colours together (red+blue+yellow) Do you?

Year 2 thoroughly enjoyed this Graphic Art project and are very excited at the prospect of printing out their work to create an Art gallery in the ICT room.

3S Science – Materials

3s ScienceYear 3 have been learning about the different properties of materials and thinking about why certain materials are used for specific objects. They have been putting their knowledge to the test by designing a boat. They have been given a list of materials to choose from and were asked to design a boat that will float and hold weights.



Year 3S English – Autobiographies
Year 3S have been continuing their exciting work on autobiographies within the topic ‘All About Me’ by thinking about their own autobiographies, with particular attention to the information that they want to include. The focus for this piece of writing (a diary entry) was to use the past tense and the first person narrative. As an extension, the children were asked to try and include some adverbs and adjectives to make their writing more exciting, pulling together the learning from recent grammar lessons. Soon they will be moving onto writing their autobiographies in Keynote form. The children have loved talking about the exciting events in their lives and have equally enjoyed writing about them, with some impressive pieces of writing.

Year 4 PSHE Healthy Living 
Animated discussions about getting enough sleep, exercising and the importance of trying to have a positive approach to life have been followed with activities looking at creating Food Group posters to show our knowledge of carbohydrates, proteins and so on, and the role they play in our diet. An interesting and surprising fact for some, was how many food groups dairy products fall into. Avocados are similar - if there could only be one food available, this would be a good choice!

Year 5 Science - Light
Year 5 have been learning that light is a form of energy and is emitted from natural and artificial light sources. The pupils imagined what it would be like to live in a world without light. To help them they put some black out goggles on to see what they could see. For us to see anything in our environment light must reflect off it and enter our eyes. They soon discovered that in a world without light we would all be completely blind. We then moved onto how shadows form looking at the different types of shadows created by opaque, translucent and transparent objects. We used the sundial on the square lawn to look at how shadows change through out the day and how this can be used to tell the time. Next, we will be looking at how shadows created by the Moon and Earth make solar and lunar eclipses happen.

Food TechnologyFood tech Juniors
Years 3 and Year 5 have been busy in the kitchen this termmaking a range of dishes such as, pasta salad, pizza, apple crumble, fishcakes and scones to name a few. We have also been looking at sensory analysis of food – tasting fruits and vegetables, to try unfamiliar foods and discover new favourites.

Both year groups have demonstrated a good understanding of the importance of hygiene when preparing food and have become expert washer / driers and tidy uppers – a skill we hope has made its way home!​

Mandarin Chinese

Year 1 are working well on the topic of greetings, whilst Year 2  studied body parts  before half term and start the topic of food and drink after half term. Year 3 are working on numbers, they have just started writing Chinese characters and practising the four tones of Chinese Pinyin. 


Ballet lessons in the dance studio are up and running with the children making progress in leaps and bounds! Children who attend ballet lessons on Wednesday mornings have been developing their posture and learning to stand tall and extend their legs. Reception class are working hard at the pre-primary Royal Academy of Dance syllabus as they work on their pointy toes and rounded arm shapes. Year 1 are learning the Bouncing Ball Dance as part of the Primary syllabus and they show lots of energy as they perform this fun and exciting dance. Year 2 are learning the Snow Dance as part of the Grade 1 syllabus and are developing their control and confidence. Years 3 and 4 are really starting to develop their grace and poise in the Hide and Seek dance for Grade 2.