South Brent Primary School

South Brent Primary School

Current assignments

Friday 27th April


Today you are going to do some reading about plants and in particular weeds.  Mrs Faulkner has been pleased to be able to do a bit more weeding than usual in this lovely weather. 


There are three PDFs below, from 1-3.  Number 1 is the least challenging whilst 3 is slightly longer and has more challenging questions (2 is in the middle!) Ask your parents/carers to help you choose the most appropriate one for you.  Some of you may be able to print off the question and answer sheet but if you can't, write the answers in your home learning journals.  The answers are on the final page.  


Have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you over on Seesaw on Monday.


Thursday 23rd April


Good morning - the examples of 'the power of three' from Varjak Paw are in the 'Answers to previous assignments' section.  Did you spot all six?


Today we would like you to make sure that you are up-to-date with the story, whether you have a copy at home that you are reading or if you are listening to the YouTube video clips.  We would also like you to have a go at drawing Varjak.  There are quite a few online videos and step-by-step guides to drawing cats.  There are two PDFs below which show you how to draw a cat.  The first one is simpler than the second so you might want to start with that and then try the harder one when you have got used to following the steps.


Good luck and we look forward to seeing your pictures of Varjak at some point.  Mrs Faulkner and Mr Turner


How to draw a cat - step-by-step guides

Wednesday 22nd April


Your first task today is to listen to chapters 10 and 11 of Varjak Paw.  Chapter 10 is another dream chapter.  Varjak will learn a new skill in this chapter which he may need to use in chapter 11.   


'The Power of Three'

In both fiction and non-fiction, authors often write in threes. This is called ‘the power of three’.  Some of you, particularly Year 4s, may remember this phrase. 


The three might be three similar events (like goldilocks trying out three bowls of porridge and three chairs), three characters (the three pigs), three adjectives in a row, three words that start with the same letter (alliteration) or three sentence in a row that start in the same way.  This can add a good rhythm to writing and can also be done for emphasis (to make something stand out) 


Have a look at some more examples below: 


  • The three blind mice in the nursery rhyme 
  • Having three wishes in a fairy tale. 
  • The Olympics motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger. 
  • Morning, noon and night. 
  • It rained and rained and rained.  
  • He leapt from roof to roof, wall to wall, balcony to balcony. 
  • “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the streets and the fields” – Winston Churchill 


The author S.F. Said often uses ‘the power of three’ in his writing.  Your task today is to find some examples of ‘the power of three’ in these extracts from Varjak Paw (see PDFs).  Please copy any examples that you find that contain ‘the power of three’ into your home learning journals - see if you can spot the extract that has two examples.



Tuesday 21st April


Good morning - we hope that you have all managed to catch up with the videos of Miss Christer and Mrs Faulkner reading Varjak Paw.  We understand that a few of you now have copies of the book and are reading it yourselves (or might have a parent/carer reading it to you).  That's great - but try not to get ahead of the class as sometimes you might be asked to predict what happens next.  Your parents/carers will be sent an email with chapter 9.  Please listen to this before you complete today's task.  


Today you are going to practise punctuating direct speech. You spent a few lessons getting really good at this before the holidays.  Here are a few pointers to remember:


1. The inverted commas contain ONLY the words that are being spoken and the first word of the speech needs a capital letter. 


"How are you?" asked Mrs Faulkner.


2. You must have some punctuation before the second pair of inverted commas.  This might be a comma, an exclamation mark, a question mark or a full stop (only if it's the end of the sentence). 


"It's the next road on the left," said the passenger. 

"Hello!" she exclaimed.

"Are you happy?" he asked.

She said, "I want lunch now."


3. You need to use a reporting clause to tell the reader who is talking.  This can go after the speech or before the speech.  Some of you have also practised putting it in the middle of what the person is saying.


AFTER - "It's lunchtime?" said the boy.

BEFORE - The teacher replied, "It's lunchtime when I say it's lunchtime!"

IN THE MIDDLE - "When I have finished, " said Evelyn, "where shall I put my book?"


4. Finally, remember that you can tell the reader more about the person talking and how they are feeling by using adverbs or another verb 'instead of said'.


"I am not sure if we should go in," Jake stammered.

"Oh come on," replied Sam excitedly. 


Please re-write the sentences in the PDFs below with all the correct punctuation. There are two documents.  If you are feeling confident with the rules above, go for number two.  If you want less of a challenge, go for number one.  


Good luck!





Direct speech sentences PDF and direct speech guide (same as text above but as a PDF)

Monday 20th April


Good morning - we hope you all had a lovely weekend.  We have had a look at the YouTube views and can see that some of you may not have had the opportunity to listen to the story up to the end chapter 5.  We know that everyone is in different circumstances at the moment and everyone has a different amount of free time to do their work.  Don't worry - the most important thing for us is that you enjoy listening to Varjak Paw being read aloud.  If you need some time today to listen to the story, just do that.  Miss Christer has read chapters 7 and 8 and your parents will be emailed links to these.  It would be lovely if everyone could catch up to end the end of chapter 8. 


However, if you are up-to-date, there is a task we would like you to complete.  Once you have listened chapters 7 and 8, imagine that you are Varjak after his first day Outside (in the book, the word outside starts with a capital letter as it is a proper noun, the whole world outside the Contessa's house).  Write a short postcode from Varjak to his family explaining what has happened to him since he last saw them. Do you think Varjak will tell them the truth about what happened in the garden?  What will Varjak tell them about Outside?  At first Varjak is happy to be Outside and excited to be able to help his family and prove he is a real Mesopotamian Blue.  By the end of the chapter he is cold, dirty and frightened.  When he writes the postcard, do you think he will be be honest (tell the truth) about how he is feeling?  


If you have a printer, you might want to print off the PDF postcard but you don't need it - just write in your home learning journal.



Varjak postcard template

Chapter 7 vocabulary

Cinammon - a spice

Dates - a sweet and sticky fruit

Harmlessly - without doing any harm or damage

Frustration - being upset or annoyed that you can't do something

Goade - to annoy someone to make them do something

Half-hearted - when you don't put all your effort or thought into something 


Chapter 8 vocabulary

Moisture - dampness

Broad - wide

Procession - a long line of something (usually people walking) 

Grimaced - to have an ugly look on your face, usually to show that something is revolting you



Friday 17th April


We hope that you enjoyed chapters 4 and 5 of Varjak Paw.  At some point during the day, your parents will be sent the email link to Varjak Paw, chapter 6, to listen to over the weekend.


Today's task is to complete a reading comprehension.  There are three different texts and we would like you to look at them with your parents and decide which one/s you think are most suitable.  Number 2 is the easiest and number 4 is the hardest.  We would like every child to complete the questions for at least one of the texts.  However, if you know you are someone that works quite quickly, challenge yourself to do two (eg 3 and then 4 or 2 and then 3).   Watch out - the answers sheets are attached to the documents so don't peak.  


Note for parents


VIPERS refers to the different skills the children use when answering reading comprehension questions:


Vocabulary - to find and explain the meaning of words

Infer - to make and justify inferences using evidence from the text.

Predict - to predict what might happen

Explain - to explain patterns, themes, language

Retrieve - to retrieve and record information 

Summarise - to summarise the ideas and stories they have read



Thursday 16th April


Good morning


Your new Spelling Shed spellings will be on the Spelling Shed website today.   Both Year 3 and Year 4 are onto spelling list 23.  Some children will find they have a slightly different set of spellings.  


Before you begin today's work, please look at the Answers to Previous Assignments section of the English page to find the answers to yesterday’s questions about chapter 1.


Yesterday, you listened to Miss Christer reading chapters 2 and 3 of the book. You can listen to the clips again and pause them if you need to.


Your task today is to summarise the story so far (up to the end of chapter 3).  You need to imagine that you are explaining the story to someone who has not read any of the book (imagine that one of the other children in the class missed being read the first three chapters).  You will need to explain and describe the setting (the Contessa's house).  You will also need to explain who the main characters in the story are and how they relate to each other as family members and also how they treat each other.  Once you have set the scene, you can describe what has happened so far (the plot).  If we were in class, we would expect you to write two or three paragraphs in order to complete the task fully.  Write as much as you can.  Underline any spellings you are unsure of and ask your parent/carers for help to correct them. 


Miss Christer has read the next two chapters (4 and 5) and the links for these will be sent out this morning.  Please listen to her reading them.  The plot thickens...


Here are some words that might help you in chapters 4 and 5:


Chapter 4

Devastating (green eyes) – amazing, dazzling

Scorn –hatred

Apologise – to say sorry

Humiliation – feeling of shame or embarrassment

Massive – huge and tall

Thrilled – very pleased

Foul –  a disgusting smell or taste

Fragments – tiny pieces of something


Chapter 5

Concealed – hidden

Lethal – dangerous enough to cause death


Tomorrow's English work will not be about Varjak Paw but Mrs Faulkner has read chapter 6 for you to listen to over the weekend - next time she will make sure her camera is landscape not portrait!


Have a good day!


Mrs Faulkner and Mr Turner


Wednesday 15th April


We hope that you enjoyed the first chapter of Varjak Paw.  Today, we would like you to answer a few questions about Chapter 1 - you can read it again if you need to.


1. Who is Jalal?

2. How is Varjak different to the other Mesopotamian Blue cats?

3. Who do you think is the head/leader of Varjak's family?

4. Why was Varjak so surprised when the man and two black cats came to the house?

5. What is your opinion of Elder Paw?  Why? (Your opinion means what you think, there is no wrong or right answer but you need to explain your answer).

6. Why do you think the gentleman and the cats are at the house?  


Next, we would like you to listen to Miss Christer reading the next two chapters of the book.  Your parents will be sent a link later in the morning.


Here are the definitions that might help you when you listen to chapters 2 and 3:


Chapter 2


Identical – exactly the same as each other

Scorched – burnt

Hesitated – paused before doing something

Groomed (fur) – clean and well looked after

Insisted – keep on saying something (eg He insisted that he had done his teeth)


Chapter 3


Absurd – stupid/ridiculous

Impressionable – believing things easily

Menacing – looking like you’re going to do something bad (eg The thief had a menacing look in his eye)

Threadbare – old and tatty (used to describe things made of fabric)

Tuesday 14th April


This term we are going to read the book Varjak Paw by S.F. Said together.  We used this book with our classes two years ago and some of the children in Y5 and Y6 still talk about it to us.  We hope that you are going to enjoy it as much as them.

Sometimes you will read a chapter by yourselves or with the help of your parent/carer. On other occasions, we will send you a private YouTube link so that you can see one us reading the book to you. 


Usually, when we read a book together in class, we talk about the characters and plot.  We also spend time helping each other work out the meaning of words that might be unfamiliar to some of the class.  This will be harder when we are not all together.  However, for each chapter we will provide a list of words that you might not have heard very often or be confused by and include a definition of what the words mean.  You can also ask your parents/carers for help or look words up in a dictionary.  If you don’t have a dictionary in the house, don’t worry – you can look words up online.  The Cambridge Dictionary is a good one to use.  There is a link below.

Varjak Paw by S.F. Said

Before you read the first chapter, look at the front cover.  What do you think the words 'This cat must learn to fight' mean?  What does this sentence tell us about Varjak Paw and what might happen to him?


Next, read the writing on the back cover.  There is a small excerpt from the book at the top in which Elder Paw describes three of the Seven Skills in 'the Way of Jalal' to Varjak.  During the course of the book, Varjak Paw (and you!) will learn the four other Skills.  


Finally, you are ready to begin chapter 1.  You can read this to yourself or get your parent/carer to read it to you.  Sometimes it's fun to take it in turn; you could read a paragraph or page each.  


You may read chapter 1 in one of two ways: there is a link to the publisher's website below or alternatively  you could open up the PDF.  The PDF has the illustrator Dave McKean's gorgeous illustrations.  


Happy reading!



Ancestor – someone from your family’s past (probably from before the time your grandparents were born).

Warrior – a brave soldier or fighter.

Mesopotamia – an ancient region of Western Asia (now the land that was Mesopotamia forms parts of the modern countries of Iran, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey).  Say it slowly: MES – O – POT – AMIA.

Restless – unable to relax.

Pedigree cat – a pure breed animal.

Contessa – an Italian countess (the wife of a count, a rich and important person).

Strode – walked with long steps.