An ancient Mayan visits Year 5

On Friday, Year 5 had a visitor from ancient Mayan times, called Big Nose, to tell us about what life was like in those times, including: their beliefs; how they invented maths; the foods they ate from the rainforest; and lots more.

After a learning the Mayan numbers to 10 (complete with a competition of boys against girls, including a teacher round with help from good listeners), we sacrificed 5 children in different Mayan ways to please the gods. This included: decapitation, heart extraction, drowning, buried alive and shot by arrows.

Some children got to dress in Mayan clothes, and to find the most important person for a feathered headdress, we had to find out who could cross their eyes the best – since this was a sign of importance and beauty.

Next, we tried Mayan foods. However, we learned that many of the foods we eat nowadays made up a lot of the Mayan diet, such as avocados, peppers, corn (maize), beans and butternut squash. As well as their greatest export: chocolate. However, it was not chocolate we are used to – no milk. It was 85% cocoa. There were not many fans of the almost pure chocolate bar. 6 lucky (or unlucky) individuals got to try 100% pure cocoa beans – they were not fans either. The teachers also got to try some, but did not get that ‘chocolate fix’ from milk chocolate. It was described as bitter, salty and textured like nuts or sawdust.

After play and lunch, the year group was split to take part in drama sessions. They were split into a further 6 groups, then the children were given different situations to dramatise and deliver to the other groups. Each person needed to have an active role in the performance, no matter how quiet they were. We were told to be as funny and cheesy as possible to deliver the information to the rest of the groups, as we learn more when it’s fun.

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To end our day, we took part in another drama session, this time including the teachers, to learn about the Mayan creation story. The teachers played the parts of the gods (Kuklukan and Hurrucan), where we played the different animals, trees and people that were created by the gods.

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Writing workshops with Anjum Malik.

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In Year 4 and 5, we welcomed the well-established poet and scriptwriter, Anjum Malik. Anjum has worked with our school before, at Arvon’s Lumb Bank, where she inspired a group of Year 6 children into writing some amazing poetry.

She was looking forward to working with Harton Primary again, and led workshops in Creative Writing, and Writing Monologues over the course of two days.

Year 4 started with some Indian dance, then were shown how a simple scarf could be transformed into just about anything! The scarves inspired the children to role play a scenario, then write in any genre. They really had a great time.

The Year 5 children attended a ‘read through’ of Anjum’s playscript Monologue, just like real actors do. The monologue was about a Bangladeshi family’s experience of racism in a different culture, and finding a place in that society.

Year 4 and 5 came together to perform their work – there were some very well written and original pieces. Well done everyone.




Comparing cultures through Literacy

In Literacy, Year 4 read ‘Gregory Cool’, about a young boy who found it difficult at first in adjusting to a different culture when he visited his grandparents in Tobago. The children wrote similarities and differences between British culture

and Tobago. They also wrote their own stories set in another culture – a tropical island.

Year 5 have had the honor of hosting a visit from a Mayan warrior this week. Each class had a full day to learn about the Mayan people and traditions before we start our history unit. This visit also allowed us to produce a piece of literacy writing in the form of a recount. To tell you all about the visit, here is one of our recounts:

“On the 27th of April, a Mayan came in and told us about the Mayans. He said his name was Nohoch Ni’, (which means Big Nose), but his real name was Robert, and he told us how to say ‘My name is’ in Mayan.


Firstly we learned how to count 1-10 in Mayan, for instance 1 was oon and 10 was la-oon. Then we played the sacrifice game, but nobody got killed for real. In the game, Big Nose shouted some numbers in Mayan and if we didn’t get into a group of that number we would get sacrificed. Kurtis and myself won the game.


After that, he told us that you are more likely to get a boy or girl friend if you have a big head and crossed eyes. After play Mr Forster and Miss Winter did the Mayan ‘Creation Story’ and everyone thought that they were funny. They had some people get up and do drama too.


Eventually we tried cocoa beans and Mr Forster said that Kaitlyn should do it, because he never sees a reaction out of her. When she her face was so funny! As well as that, Anna had her hands covering her face when she tried.


After dinner, we finished our drama then did some more drama about the Gods. When we were doing the God drama, I was the God and Jamie and Sam were the men we killed and Kaitlyn, Marley and Sienna were the servants.

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Finally, I thought our Mayan visitor was funny, because he was making the facts about olden days into lots of fun activities for us. I learned that they had more than 150 Gods. I recommend that years 2 and 4 should do it, because year 2 learn about Mexico and year 4 will be coming into year 5 next year.”


International Mascot Mayhem!

Year 4 have been awarded Toffee the Attendance Award bear two weeks in a row now!

Y4S and Y4R have loved having Toffee’s new pals in their classroom as well – Baba yaga from Poland, and Norton the turkey…from Turkey! In assembly, Miss Chipchase read the whole school a traditional tale about Baba yaga the witch, from Polish and Russian folklore.

We’re going to try to learn a little bit of Polish and Turkish so we can greet the whole school in another language. Hopefully, we won’t forget what to say when we link by Skype, with a  school in Turkey!

Where will our next mascot come from?