Hapazome: Outdoor Learning inspired by Japanese art

In Outdoor Learning, to tie in with our art topic about dying materials, we learned the Japanese craft of hapazome.  The Year 6s collected fresh leaves and safely used mallets to bash the colour onto triangles of cotton material.  Some children made their own tools out of chunks of bark and stones to hold down the material in the wind.  They discovered the lighter they tapped with the mallets the more detail their prints revealed.

Quite literally meaning ‘leaf dye’, hapa-zome is the Japanese technique of smashing flowers and leaves into fabric. The plant matter is often arranged into a mandala, but you can create any pattern you like. Be sure to use fresh, juicy plants though; these will leave the best imprint.

If you type ‘Hapazome’ into Google you could find some inspiration to try this over the weekend!

Maya: Ancient to today!

Across our subjects we have started our new Topic: the Maya. In Art we learned about the importance of art in Mayan culture and how they were prolific storytellers, and one of the reasons we know so much about this ancient culture is because of their frescoes and sculptures.

The Maya used lots of repeating patterns and symbols in their architecture, sculpture and artwork.
They often represented the real creatures in the jungles and grasslands around them, as well as demon figures and mythical figures.

In History, we looked at where the Maya live today, what sort of climate and landscape they live in, and then detailed what we already know and what we would like to know.

We practiced our mapwork skills by filling in all the countries of Central America.
We discussed what we had already learned in just two days, and what else we would like to learn by the end of the unit.

Levers and Fulcrums!

In Year 6 this week we have started our Design and Technology unit for this term. In this unit on ‘Mechanisms’, we have started by learning about levers and fulcrums. We learned that Archimedes discovered this concept that we can adjust how much weight we can lift by pivoting on a fulcrum. We learned how changing the distance of the ‘effort arm’ from the fulcrum can make a big difference to the weight we can lift.

During the lesson, we talked about the examples of levers we can see in our everyday lives; seesaws, nutcrackers, hammers, bottle opener and balancing scales. Using a fulcrum doesn’t make the item lighter, it just changes how we can apply pressure to lift the weight. Maybe you can have a go at home building your own lever systems. Send some photos if you make anything!

Can you fill in the blanks?

Maths Investigation

We have completed our first Maths investigation of the year. This time we had to work to find all solutions to The Ladybird Challenge. It is always interesting to see the creativity with which children approach these challenges, as they are very different from arithmetic questions. This is about trial and error and sometimes fumbling your way through and collaborating with each other to find out new ways of thinking and recording.

The children worked on their problem solving skills and used our school crowns “grit and determination” and “curiosity”. It was lovely to see all of the children engaged and enjoying building on their knowledge and understanding.

What happens after..? Reincarnation?

Year 6 have been delving into their own personal beliefs, and learning about those of other religions, when it comes to the presence of a soul, the possibility of an afterlife, and what’s the deal about karma? It has been truly fascinating discussing all the different things that might happen to us after we die, and the adults have been very impressed with how the children have handled these discussions with respect and curiosity. There are many religions, faiths, and personal beliefs represented in Year 6 and across our school. There have been many conversations about ‘what goes around comes around’, and big philosophical questions about why we should treat each other with respect and kindness throughout our lifetimes.

Today, we have talked about the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, as well as the concept of Karma and reincarnation. We designed our own visual ‘Wheel of Life’ images, and thought about what we would choose as our areas for reincarnation and enlightenment.

Wheel of Life

Remembrance Assembly

Thank you to all those who joined us for Remembrance Assembly this morning. I think we can all agree that the Year 6’s presented themselves with the utmost respect and decorum for this special occasion. They have been working hard to learn their lines off by heart and deliver them to a huge audience with confidence and clarity. Year 3 pupils also created their own poppies and our school canteen kindly created special poppy cakes in recognition of remembrance day.

Well done Year 6 for bringing a tear to many an eye this morning! You should be very proud of yourselves.

In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Romeo & Juliet: A Prologue!

We have started studying Romeo & Juliet this half term. We watched a performance of the Prologue and dissected Shakespearean language and translated it into modern day English. We also looked at all the fun phrases we still use that come directly from Shakespeare; ever “worn your heart on your sleeve” or “been in a pickle”?

As part of the first week, we re-enacted parts of the prologue in small groups and created tableaux stills (“living pictures”). The children did amazingly at learning the lines and dramatising them for their peers. Watch this space for more theatrical fun!

African Drumming and Dance workshop

Year 6 were treated this afternoon to a bespoke session of African dancing and drumming with the PanAfro Band in honour of Black History Month. Every single child had an incredible time learning the patterns and rhythms, and the smiles were so huge they lit up the room! It was a joy to see everyone moving and enjoying themselves and experiencing this wonderful style of music and dance. Feel free to look them up online to enjoy some more at home!

Perfect and the PanAfro Band

We also did research projects where we looked at influential Black people; Chadwick Boseman, Kadeena Cox, Ashley Banjo, Oti Mabuse, Mo Farah and John Boyega. We looked into their achievements and contributions and why they have inspired people across the world with their work and their amazing approaches to life.

Throughout our school year, we are committed to celebrating diversity across our curriculum and in all of our learning and so this is just an opportunity to extend the already wonderfully diverse curriculum we have here at Queens Hill.


Across our afternoons in Year 6 we have been learning about a plethora of things! In RE, we have been learning about ‘non violence’ and what this means in Hinduism; non violence is known as ‘ahimsa’ and refers to the idea that all violence against any living creature is prohibited because all living creatures have souls. Within Hinduism, there is the belief that if one causes suffering, that person will then have suffering in their own life later on.

“True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all!” Ghandi.

Maybe this week you can spend some time thinking about the compassion that you cultivate in your own lives – how do you help those around you feel loved? How do you like to feel loved and appreciated? What can you do as an act of kindness this week for family, friends, a stranger?