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Gamston Church of England Primary School

Be the best you can be


Special Mentions - week ending 10 July 2015

Special Mentions - week ending 3 July 2015

frownWelcome to Bannisterfrown

We have been very busy in Bannister this year.


Year 6 have all worked really hard and have risen to the challenge of their tests this week.



Spring Term

In Maths so far this term we have looked at place value. We have enjoyed playing a variety of games to help improve our knowledge and understanding of place value. We have recapped how to round numbers to the nearest 10, 100, 1000 and the nearest unit. Bannister have learnt how this can help us to add and subtract mentally. We've improved our skills of answering word questions as well as our techniques to add, subtract, multiply and divide. We learnt about negative numbers and how to answer temperature worded problems. We have looked at different graphs and scales to read the temperature and have used this information to answer questions. Bannister have developed their knowledge and understanding of data handling. We are now learning more about shape including: properties of 2d and 3d shapes, symmetry, nets, angles, reflection, rotation and translation. The children have learnt how to solve time problems and have looked at timetables. Please practise telling the time at home if you are not yet confident.

Summer Term

We have covered fractions, percentages and decimals. Bannister class are currently recapping area and perimeter of composite shapes. 

Year 6 have been super busy revising and recapping EVERYTHING in Maths this term to prepare them for their SATs tests. Well done for working so hard on all the different areas of Maths. 

Next we are going to refocus on the four number operations and how to answer word problems and puzzles.


Sharing our strategies and improving our explanations

Every week in Maths we spend some time solving Maths problems, puzzles and investigations.we enjoyed an investigation about the Simpsons characters and a seating plan for dinner! Over the summer term we will be completing more investigations and mathematical problems to help increase our problem solving skills. We have had fun with Tangrams recently, trying to make pictures with a set of seven shapes and match the pictures on the board - it was trickier than it looked! We also spent a lesson working out the amount of fencing needed for some pesky pigs! Some of the class managed to spot a pattern and were able to make predictions. Our next step is to spot a pattern and then work out the rule using algebra.

Group Maths Problem Solving

The class worked in groups to design a question and collect data

We investigated Tangrams



We have studied the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. We worked out what all the funny words were and watched some different readings of the Jabberwocky, comparing each one. Bannister Class have worked in groups to perform the poem and focused on their expression and actions to make the poem come alive. 

We have written some of our own monster poems. Please find a selection below. 

Bannister Class have enjoyed learning about different writers tools such as similes, personification and metaphors. We have tried to use these in our own poetry.

My Monster poems using similes

Weather poems using similes and personification

We have been looking carefully at the story Rose Blanche which fits into our topic. We have learnt more about what life was like in Germany during World War Two. Bannister Class have done lots of work on this book, including writing a description, a dialogue and inferring information from the visual images in the story. Next we have focused on biographies. We started by looking at lots of different examples and working out what the features of biographies are. Bannister Class have written their own superb biographies about the little girl Rose Blanche. Please feel free to come and read your child's work.

Next week we will be starting to write our own autobiographies so remember to collect some dates and anecdotes that you would like to include.

Looking for features of biographies

We have written beautiful stories based on a short video clip called 'The Piano.' We have focused on making our writing interesting by using a range of sentence openers, exciting adjectives and interesting description. 

You are very welcome to come into class and read your child's story - they would be very pleased to share it with you.



We read the story of Ahmed and used this text to learn more about different recounts and how to write in a range of styles. We discussed how different life was for Ahmed, and what he had to work towards as a child. We compared our lives to Ahmed's and thought about the different climates, houses, child labour and differing expectations.


Journalistic writing


After looking at a range of newspapers to identify features, we entered the newsroom. Bannister class took notes as an exciting news story developed. We received e.mails, text messages, news bulletins and phone calls from a variety of sources to update us on the developing situation. A tiger had escaped from the zoo! We then worked hard to create a newspaper article, focussing on using the main features. 



Story genres


We have enjoyed identifying different genres in children's fiction. We spent time reading different extracts, blurbs and looking at front covers. We used evidence from the text to help explain what genre the text was. We read an extract from 'The Mystery of the London Eye' which whet our appetite and we learnt how to build up suspense. Next we planned some of our own suspense stories which we had fun writing and sharing with each other.



Balanced arguments


Bannister class have read and written balanced arguments on a range of topics. We have improved our use of connectives and language of debate, using reasons to support each point we make. We have worked on making our arguments more sophisticated and developing our vocabulary.

Bannister class held a super debate in the hall about keeping animals in zoos. Several children read out speeches for and against the motion and then the debate was opened to the floor. Every child joined in and came up with some amazing points and questions for the opposing sides. Well done Bannister!


Advertising and persuasive writing 

We have identified the key features of adverts. Bannister class have enjoyed watching different adverts, identifying what makes each one effective. We have also examined a range of print ads and listened to radio adverts to help us plan and write our own adverts about our own invented toys. We may see some of them on Dragons' Den in the future!


We have developed our persuasive writing skills by writing letters. The class have written to Mr F. We have also written complaint letters to a restaurant and a shop. We were inspired by short video clips and our own experiences to help us focus on the main features of a polite letter of complaint. Some children had to pose as the managers of the shop in order to appease their customers in their replies to the letters of complaint.





Design and advertising project


Year 4 and Year 5 have been working on a very special project. They have worked in groups to create and design a new product. Each group has had to carry out market research, decide on a product, create and design appropriate packaging and a marketing campaign. Each group presented their work to the Year 6 children who decided which product was their favourite and which advertising campaign was most successful.


This week we are looking at the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Lord Tennyson. We have looked at paintings depicting the event to help us piece together what happened and what it must have been like for all the cavalry. Bannister class read an eye witness account and read about the Crimean War and the Charge of the Light Brigade. We have learnt some new vocabulary through reading the poem. We looked closely at the techniques the poet uses and the impression he tries to give of the 600 cavalrymen who entered the 'Valley of Death.' We worked in groups to practice and perform the poem, thinking carefully about the rhythm and beat of the poem. There were some great performances - well done!

Bannister have also written their own verses in the style of Tennyson, using a range of writers tools. Despite being interrupted by a fire alarm drill, the children quickly got to work and produced some fantastic writing!

Writer of the Week


We have a new award at school...Writer of the Week!

Every week then one child from each class will receive a certificate for outstanding writing. 


So far the winners for Bannister have been:









We are looking forward to seeing who will impress with their amazing writing this Friday!

Gamston News (School newspaper)


Every term then the Newspaper team from Bannister publish a newspaper. The Christmas and Easter editions were excellent - please ask Mrs Hitchcock if you would like a copy. We are looking forward to the summer term publication. 

Editing Team

Art and poetry


Our first topic this year is World War Two. We have been working on improving our investigation skills and have focused on using evidence and a range of sources to find out more about WWII.

When learning about the Blitz we have listened to sound clips, watched video clips and looked at photographic evidence. We have heard recordings from survivors telling us more about the Blitz. We have learned about the different shelters that were used, and have designed our own modern shelters. We have also read extracts from various books like 'Goodnight Mister Tom' to tell us more about building shelters and what life was like for people during the Blitz. We have created our own chalk and pastel silhouette skylines of the Blitz. 


Bannister Class have learnt more about evacuees. We have worn our own labels and acted out what it would have been like. We have watched a clip of 'Goodnight Mister Tom' showing the journey and moment the evacuees arrived at their new home. We have unpacked an evacuee's suitcase and imagined what we would pack ourselves. Bannister Class have written their own diary entries and letters home, imagining that they were evacuated in WW2 and have studied the difference between living in the town and living in the country.

Photos of evacuees being picked for their new homes

Mrs Hitchcock brought in a suitcase filled with items from World War Two which an evacuee might have taken with them. The suitcase included a stamp from 1939, cigarette cards in special collecting books, a letter written on a typewriter in 1942 and a well loved teddy bear (among other items). We all enjoyed looking at all the different things and working out what we would have packed if we were evacuated.

We have enjoyed looking at different propaganda and working out who it was aimed at and what the message was. Through the propaganda we worked out more about life during WW2 and we found out about people who volunteered to join the forces, and those who were conscripted. We have looked at a range of evidence from World War Two to find out more about life at home in Britain. We were able to examine the changing roles of women before, during and after WW2. We found out more about rationing, children, gas masks and lots more by looking at lots of different sources e.g. magazines, ration books, bus tickets, war leaflets, newspapers, posters and medical notes.

World War Two evidence

We discussed what happened during WWII throughout Germany and other parts of the world. We have found out more about Anne Frank and Ghettos. We drew our own secret hideaways and thought about what is most important to us. We wrote letters and a diary entry. 


Bannister Class examined the events of the evacuation of Dunkirk. We looked at evidence and researched this event. We listened to Chuchill's famous speech and investigated the effect this had on England and everyone's resolve, and the impact this had on the war as a whole. We read two amazing books 'The Little Ships' by Louise Borden and 'My Uncle's Dunkirk' by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom. The children wrote newspaper articles, poems and diaries about the heroic rescue.


Everyone looked at an atlas to find out more about Russia. We found out about the climate and size of Russia and the impact this had on German and Russian troops. We read about the siege of Leningrad and discussed what it must have been like. Several children took the part of survivors and answered questions. We wrote interviews of the survivors.


Bannister Class have found out more about the Enigma Machine, code breaking and Bletchley Park. They have worked in groups to de-code messages and crack different codes. They have made and used a code-breaker and have created coded messages for each other to solve. Bannister Class have learnt about the importance of coded messages and code breaking during WW2 and the effect that this had on the war.


Finally we have learnt about D-day and how this helped to end the war. We studied photographs and interactive maps of the event. We listened to recordings from various people involved in D-day explaining what happened and how they felt. Bannister Class used this evidence to write their own piece of writing, as one of the characters involved.

Frozen Kingdom


We have started our new topic of Frozen Kingdom. Bannister Class worked in groups to investigate ice. Each group created their own questions and then used the equipment they needed in order to investigate and answer their questions. 

Ice Investigation

The Titanic


We have been finding out more about the Titanic. We have used different sources and texts, as well as the computers to find out facts about the Titanic and the disaster of its sinking. We have watched clips and listened to recordings of survivors. 

Bannister class have enjoyed turning their research into a non-chronological report. We have also acted out a scene and have each written a play script. The children have imagined they were a passenger and have written a diary entry of their day on the Titanic, some from the day of the disaster, and some imagining what it was like before this. We have finished by writing a newspaper article of the sinking of the Titanic.


We have also enjoyed improving our sketching skills, creating coloured pencil drawings and pastel drawings of the amazing ship.

Arctic and Antarctica


We've improved our research skills when finding out more about the Arctic and Antarctica. We compared and contrasted these areas, using atlases to look at the geography and landscape. In Science we have learnt about how animals have adapted to survive in their habitats. We chose different animals to research and identify and explain their adaptations. Next we created our own creatures which were adapted to suit these harsh environments.

We have spent time improving our writing skills. We focused on engaging the reader by making our writing exciting. E.g by using different sentence openers, adventurous vocabulary and different descriptive techniques. Bannister class all wrote their own adventure stories about polar bears. We watched clips of polar bears which helped us to choose vocabulary carefully based on what we saw the polar bears doing.

We watched part of 'March of the Penguins' which developed our understanding of different creatures and we learnt more about the South Pole. We discussed the features of film reviews and then wrote our own review of the film. We enjoyed sharing our opinions and using examples to help explain our thinking.

Bannister have enjoyed finding out more about the Northern Lights. We have painted pictures, written descriptions and diary entries and learnt about Haiku poems. The children have written their own brilliant Haikus about the Northern Lights. 

We have found out more about Robert Falcon Scott and his failed expedition to the South Pole. Bannister class have written diary entries explaining and describing what it might have been like for him after reading and discussing some extracts from his real diary in groups.

Elle's opening to her Polar bear story

Sam's Arctic homework made from delicious cake!

Examples of Arctic homework

Peasants, Princes and Pestilence!

Bannister have started a new topic. We have enjoyed learning about the Black Death and imagining it as a character: Pestilence. We have written amazing descriptions and poems to describe the character. The children have looked at art and written accounts from the period to find out more about the Great Plague and what life was like. We have designed our own cures for the Plague, writing instructions and adverts to sell our cure. The class have also written persuasive letters to the townspeople encouraging them to try our cures.

Bannister have learnt about micro-organisms. They know the names of different microbes and whether they are harmful or useful. The children have watched science clips and answered quizzes and cross words to cement their understanding. In Art we have created our own microbe and have used a variety of different materials and techniques. 

Leah's Diary entry as a victim of the plague



In Art we have been looking at Impressionism. We have looked at a number of different works of art and have chosen our favourite paintings and impressionist artists. 

Looking at impressionist techniques

We have learnt about Expressionism and have looked at a variety of pieces of art. We looked closely at 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch and have created our own Nonet poetry and self portraits based on this painting.



We looked at pictures of the Northern Lights and discussed the phenomenon. We used watercolours to create different effects in our own paintings of the Northern Lights.




This term we have been considering right and wrong. We have found out more about how Christians make moral decisions, have come up with some solutions to different dilemmas and have discussed what is the right or wrong reaction in given situations. We have looked carefully at the Ten Commandments seeing how this fits into today's world as well as how we can use the teachings of the Bible today. Bannister Class have come up with their own suggestions of rules for society and 10 commandments for keeping our school a happy learning environment. Bannister Class have also discussed and investigated rights and responsibilities. We have talked about the rights of children, have considered children from different countries and backgrounds and have seen the difficulties that different children face. We had a discussion (and some disagreement) over what are our wants and what are our actual needs. We have worked well together in groups and know how to work well as part of a team.


We took part in a debate, working in groups to prepare our side of the argument. We considered what would happen if a famous football team boycotted the World Cup after finding out child labour was used to sew footballs together. Each group had to think about the views of a section of society. E.g the children, local charities, the football company etc. Some of us were surprised about the complexity of the issues, and by the end of the discussion we had a better idea about the interconnected elements.

Over the last few weeks Bannister Class have been learning more about Advent and the Nativity story through Godly Play. We have enjoyed sharing our thoughts and responses to the sessions. Here are some of our responses to the Godly Play sessions.

Bannister class is very lucky to be working with Jacqui again this term. We have enjoyed all our 'Godly Play' sessions, learning more about Jesus, Lent and Easter. We have enjoyed our reflection time, and working together as a class. It has been interesting to share our different ideas and celebrate our thoughts and reflections. 


We have now completed our sessions on Godly Play and will be sharing some of our experiences in the Easter Service at the end of term.

Please see below information about the topics we will be covering this year


This year Year 4 and 5 have been swimming weekly through the autumn and part of the spring term. In P.E lessons we have covered: Hi fives, netball and tag rugby, football, athletics, some gymnastics, basketball, rounders and cricket.


Well done to both the boys and girls football teams so far this year. They have both performed well and worked superbly as a team. 


We enjoyed the Athletics tournament at Tuxford Academy and are proud of the achievement and behaviour of our children. Well done.


Twelve members of our class went to take part in a tag rugby tournament on Wednesday. They worked well as a team, despite playing against some very keen teams, and did really well. 


Well done to all of Year 4 and all of Year 5 who went to play Hi fives. The children were very well behaved (as always) and represented the school well. They completed a training day and then a match day to follow.


The cricket season is now beginning.





Sports Day


Other Activities


Leah and Elle enjoyed performing a gymnastics routine in assembly.


Singing at Farthings

Bannister Class enjoyed their visit to Farthings Residential Care Home where we sang some Harvest songs.

Hagg Farm

We had a super time at Hagg Farm this year. All the children were very well behaved and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Please see below a large selection of the photos we took, showing all the fun that we had!

Singing in the community

Thank you to the choir who sang at Bassetlaw Hospital.

Well done to everyone who performed in the special Guitar Assembly.



Bannister class have been busy in the garden trying to cut back the number of weeds! We worked in groups to weed the different beds and water the flowers and vegetables which have been planted.

Bannister gardening

Improving the library

Bannister have been hard at work re-organising the library, ably led by chief librarians Amelia and Izzy. The children have made sure the books are neatly on shelves, in alphabetical order. Some of the shelves have changed positions so that the books can be more easily accessed by the children, and to enable more books to be presented in an appealing way.


Harvest Festival


Well done to everyone in Bannister Class for working so hard towards the Harvest Church Service. Lots of children contributed ideas, prayers and poems towards the service and they were all very loud and clear. Well done!


Other services:


Christmas Service

Well done to the Year 6 children for leading the end of term Christmas service. The children spoke loudly and clearly and retold the Christmas Story which the whole class had helped to write.


Easter Service
Thank you to Year 6 for another great service in the church. We were very proud of how well Year 6 led the service. Well done to children in other classes for their art work which we shared at the church, and thank you to the rest of Bannister class for writing prayers and poems. Class Bannister sang particularly well.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Easter Craft Evening.

Turning on Christmas lights in Retford


Thank you to all the children in the choir (and their parents and carers!) who joined us in Retford for the Christmas lights ceremony. All the children behaved superbly and were a credit to the school. Well done. They sang four different carols and enjoyed playing in the snow! 

Children in Need


For Children in Need day we raised money by dressing up and selling biscuits. Year 6 wrote poems, songs  and raps about Children in Need and performed them to the rest of the class. A performance was shared in Gold Book Assembly.


Christmas Craft Activities

On Wednesday 3rd December we had a very exciting afternoon/evening where children and parents came back into school to enjoy making Christmas crafts in the classroom. We had a number of different activities and lots of beautiful decorations were made by both parents and children

Making Christmas decorations


Bannister Class were very lucky to have a visit from Mrs Patterson who kindly offered to make Christmas plant arrangements with the children. We had a lovely time and were very impressed with our creations! (See photos below). The children were extremely grateful for the wonderful items that they could choose from and for the time and expertise that Mrs Patterson offered. Thank you.


We have also enjoyed designing and making our own Christmas cards as well as snowflakes to decorate the classroom.


Every week you will receive homework. This will be given to you on either a Wednesday or a Thursday and will need to be handed in on TUESDAY. If you are away from school then it is your responsibility to make sure you collect your homework and have checked that you understand what you need to do. If you finish it early then you can put your completed homework in the homework tray before Tuesday. Most weeks you will get a piece of Maths and English homework. You will also be expected to learn your spelling words (spelling tests are on Thursday) and read for at least ten minutes every day (sometimes this could include reading a few pages/chapters of your guided reading book. Remember guided reading is on Monday so this will need to be done for Monday). Sometimes you might have a project which might take longer than a week, or a piece of work from a different subject.