At last... you are able to see some of the fabulous videos the children have made. The Viking movies are from the Autumn Term but I know that the children will be highly delighted to see them on their class page.
Today (6/3/15) the children had a superb experience creating a dance inspired by The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. We have all loved the story, the wonderful language and so this dance workshop really was the 'icing on the cake'. The dance culminates in the final thrilling fight between the Iron Man and the dragon. Of course the Iron Man is victorious and so peace reigns across the world. Amazingly, this dance was created in the space of only 30 minutes and the excellent delivery and concentration is testament to the children's engagement with the activity. I am sure it will come as no surprise to hear that the children want MORE!
February 2015 - Half Term Holiday Homework
Well despite being in Yenworthy this week I haven’t forgotten to prepare a little homework for the half term!
You will all remember writing the chapters for The Iron Man that Ted Hughes never got around to writing. So your homework is to create an illustration that is appropriate for your chapter. I also want your illustration to be in the ‘Pen and Ink’ style of the bookmarks you made – a little like the picture above. Your design needs to be on white A5 size paper (half A4) and neatly done, so ensure you take pride in your work and presentation. I will then scan these into your chapter before I make your work into a class book.
The homework will need to be returned on Monday 23rd February – NO excuses!
In addition, don’t forget to continue to read daily, learn the times tables you find tricky and practise your spellings.
Have a lovely break from school and look out for details of our trip and workshop on our web page (when I return).
Spring Term Information Letter
Happy New Year!
Magical mechanical marvels
We live in amazing times, don’t we? But just how much do we really do for ourselves and how much do we let robots and technology manage aspects of our daily lives?
Year 4 will spend this term looking at ways in which automated inventions over the years perform many of the functions of society and, in turn, reflect on some of the issues that we humans face and with which we have to deal. So, in English, we will be using a wide range of multi-modal texts to engage and illustrate these themes. Remember Pinocchio and the Iron Man? Both stories contain issues and dilemmas that crowd our everyday lives. Reviewing and debating these will allow us to establish the boundaries of our own developing moral compass in determining right and wrong as well as kindness and compassion for our friends and colleagues.
All of us have been captivated by the creativity contained within the Wallace and Gromit stories. Wallace’s clear scientific skills encompass a positive attitude towards recycling as well as a healthy respect for the potential which lies within electrical circuitry, forces and friction – not to mention the faultless system to ensure that even the sleepiest of us can get out of bed on time! In science and history, we will consider some of these amazing developments in greater detail and see how they have shaped the modern world. More cheese, Gromit!
Our skills in art and design will be used to record and reflect the thinking and planning which lie behind some of the advances in science and technology. We will create artistic effects through printing, pen and ink and even pin-hole photography.
This topic will enable the children to engage in so many opportunities to learn about the increasingly technological world around them and perhaps even inspire them to become a designer or inventor of the future.
Continuing the practice begun in the autumn term, the children will be set homework tasks that support, extend and reinforce their learning across the curriculum. This will be set in addition to daily reading which is vitally important to their long term literacy and comprehension life skills. As I am sure you will know by now, some tasks will be completed in their school books and others may be project or research based. It is increasingly important that pupils learn to motivate themselves at home, learn to manage their time and most importantly - have a go! On average, children in year 4, should be completing 30 minutes of homework each night but there will be times that no homework is given or that projects are set to be completed over a period of time – so please be flexible.
I have already sent a separate letter outlining how we will approach spelling in years 3 and 4 and would like to reinforce the fact that the objective here is to improve and develop strategies in order to engage in the lexical study of words, look at meaning (dictionary work) in greater detail and find synonyms and antonyms which will broaden vocabulary. The accuracy and vocabulary choice will inevitably improve their writing.
Once again, practice certainly makes perfect when it comes to learning number facts. The expectation is that all children will know their times table facts to 12x by the end of year 4. These will be assessed (usually on a Thursday) in the form of a multiplication grid where anyone who has practised can win! It has proved a fun exercise and ALL the children have improved over the last term – so I hope that the coming term will lead to further progress. Children should find a way of learning that suits them whether it’s reciting, writing, chanting, looking for patterns or racing against the clock or even against mum and dad! Anything goes…
Mental Arithmetic books are also on-going and may be sent home for the children to continue working on, when appropriate. These books are challenging with concepts that the children may not have been taught, with calculations or methods that they may be unsure about or have forgotten, so please don’t panic if some reflection is needed beforehand – this is expected, and any issues or difficulties will be picked up with the individual in class.
At the start of year 4, I introduced a ‘Maths Whizz’ homework book. This has proved to be an extremely popular homework activity, and one which children have been keen to share (indeed some parents have been disappointed when a ‘maths whizz’ activity was not sent home – so for those keen parents, I hope the Christmas ‘whizzy’ activities will have made up for that!). I have been amazed by the different strategies the children (with or without help) have used to solve these brain-teasers. The proof as to whether or not they have really understood the process is if they can explain to the class how they arrived at their solution - and they can and do so with enthusiasm! So, if your child worries that they ‘can’t do it’, please encourage them to have a go and even have a go yourself.
Reading Journals continue to be an integral part of their English curriculum, designed to develop comprehension skills and encourage children to read, interpret, analyse and evaluate a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. They may be given questions to answer linked to our class reading book (‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes) but they will also be expected to ‘respond’ to books and texts they read independently at home and at school. A positive attitude and a genuine love of literature can often be hard to instil so the Reading Journal provides a real insight into reading habits and preferences that, as teachers and parents, we can use to support children in broadening their literary horizons!
Fitness is an incredibly important part of developing an all-round ‘healthy child’. To enable your child to fully participate, please ensure they have their complete kit in school at all times. All children will be expected to participate in sport lessons, but if your child is unable to take part in ‘active’ sport due to injury, they will still need to change into kit but will be given a role/responsibility within the lesson so they can still access the teaching and learning.
I cannot underestimate how important having a full and correct kit is. Without it children will not be able to take part. Please help your child to ensure the kit is in school for TUESDAYS (outdoor) and WEDNESDAYS (indoor)
Correct kit should include:
As is usual in PE during PPA time (Tuesdays), the children will be outside whatever the weather and, in addition to the timetabled PE activity, we will be swimming on Monday mornings (a separate letter has already been sent) so please ensure they are equipped to do so.
With all the sporting activity throughout the week and in an attempt to minimise our ever-over-flowing lost property bin and ‘ripe’ smelling (possibly even damp swimming kit!) cloakrooms - PE kits will be sent home on a Friday, ready for return on Monday! However, you may wish to provide a second T-shirt and shorts/joggers available for use as and when. Thank you…
Home Link Book
The ‘Pink Books’ are an valuable tool for communication. As you know, the mornings are always hectic but I do appreciate that there may be times that you need to see me. It is imperative, therefore - that any messages, questions, or requests to see me, are noted in the book, so I can arrange appointments and value comments. Books should also be signed each night by you to confirm they have read or completed a homework task. If the book is not signed and there is no evidence of the child having read, or had a go at homework, then they will be expected to make this time up.
In light of safeguarding requirements and health & safety standards, the procedure for children’s arrival in the morning across Key Stage 2 remains the same. The children will be expected to wait, supervised by a parent or carer, in the playground until 8.45am. At this time, the bell will be rung and the children will line up in designated areas ready to be collected by their class teachers and led into school. Any child who arrives after 8.55am will have to be accompanied into school through the main entrance and signed in as teaching will have begun and exterior doors, locked. Please note that any school play equipment (including the ropes course) is not to be used.
Our year 4 cloakroom is extremely snug and awkward – so please keep PE and school bags to a modest size. For a space so small, it never ceases to amaze me how much goes missing!
Birds and ponds!
Sparrows, Blue Tits, Robins, Blackbirds, Starlings, Thrushes and even a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. In Year 4, we continue to feed, watch, monitor and survey the wild bird population in our front garden. We are the only class in the school with such a magnificent opportunity! We have already done our first ‘data catch’ (autumn) and the second (winter) should be done by the end of the second week back to school. We are already registered to take part in the annual RSPB Survey in early 2015; and if previous years are to go by the children will need eagle eyes (no pun intended) and excellent, accurate counting skills – maths in action!
At last, the pond-building project we started in year 2 can begin in earnest although we will ensure the winter weather has passed first. Both these projects fit in very well with our science throughout the year and so the cross-curricular learning has a real hands-on dimension.
Our spring Parents Evening is already on the school calendar, 24th February (3:15-5:30) and 25th February (4:00-6:30). Should there be any issues or concerns from you (or me), however, these should be communicated and appointments made so they can be addressed promptly.
Year 3/4 Musical Production
Our production is diarised for 17th March at 6:00pm. No details just yet, but suffice to say it promises to be a very exciting project … so watch this space.
During the spring term we will be hosting a PGCE student from Oxford Brookes University although I have no further details at the time of writing. I know the children will give a warm welcome and are sure to be an excellent class for a teaching student.
Visit to the Think Tank Museum in Birmingham – date TBC
My Continuing Year 4 Expectation
This will continue to be a fun-filled but hard-working year! We have already had an excellent and productive start in the autumn term. The children know what I expect from them and are making enormous efforts to show me just what they can do and achieve. I have no doubt that this term will be no different, we will have fun, work hard and succeed!
Together with my assistants, Mrs Elaine Yeatman and Mrs Suzanne Keyte, I am looking forward immensely to teaching and learning with the class this term! Finally, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Watch our superb 'Viking' movies!
We worked very hard on producing filmed reports of the Viking attack on Lindisfarne in AD 793. The scripts were written and performed by the children with no adult input whatsoever - which at times was frustrating, but I think you'll agree the final results are fabulous. And I can say that a lot of fun was had by all. Don't forget to watch the outtakes too!
Our film of the Rafting experience was the culmination of building rafts in teams (on the River Nene) to understand what Vikings (and other seafarers) had to understand in buoyancy, floating, sinking and propulsion in water. It was a really exciting and hands-on experience that we all enjoyed.