Friday, 30 September 2016

It is the end of September, which means Class 4 has been together for an entire month now. Where does the time go?

We've started a new unit in English on Discussions, which has led to an exploration of what a discussion is, especially the idea of taking a side of an argument. So we had a conversation about what an argument is (it's not a fight) and how a person would take a position on an argument. Then I had each child make an argument to the Intergalactic Council telling them why they would make the best superhero in the class.

We looked at different vertebrates and invertebrates in science, exploring the differences between different birds and how their feathers work, and then having a go at drawing some creepy-crawlies like worms and beetles.

This week was all about Ancient Egyptian creation myths and gods in History. We had a look at two competing myths from Upper and Lower Egypt and compared them. Then we looked at some of the most important Egyptian gods of the pantheon and why they were important.

We finished up our Esio Trot artwork for St Leonard's church (please drop by and have a look, but we only had room for some of the artwork in the display). We then started on blending colours together and looking at different types of shading.

Please remember that Spelling and times tables tests are every Thursday, and the children should practise every night. Also please remember to fill in the reading logs. Let's give the children credit for the reading they are doing.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Week three and it is officially autumn as of yesterday. It has helped a tiny bit with our sweltering room.

Our science and English merged this week when we used our knowledge of the natural world to write about the changing seasons and the different strategies plants and animals use to manage changes in weather. We then imagined ourselves shrunk down to the size of an ant and figured out what we would want to eat, where we would sleep, and how we would deal with encounters with mini-beasts like wood lice and worms. We even interviewed Miss Roberts (the TA), who spent much of her summer shrunk to the size of an ant, and we found out how she coped with it. We then used all of that knowledge and imagination to write a story about our adventures when we were ant-sized.

In PE we made up our own Haka moves with a partner, working especially on doing work in unison and action/reaction moves. They also went out to work with Mr Clark playing football, although we are behind because many of our class are having trouble following directions sometimes.

In art we are finishing some lovely tortoises for the harvest festival based on the Roald Dahl story 'Esio Trot'. The children are enjoying the story and making some good tortoise parts using paint and textures. We will put them together next week when everything is dry.

And finally, this week we explored how Ancient Egyptian people lived their lives, investigating the roles of women in that society, and looking at how the rich and poor live. We compared the Ancient Egyptians to the people of modern day Britain and saw that many things were probably quite similar.

Next week will be half way to half term already! Where does the time go?

Friday, 16 September 2016

Week 2 is over and we've plunged headfirst into the curriculum.

We spent the week looking at time in maths this week, both in reading the clock in terms of 'minutes past' and 'minutes to' the hour, and it translating that into digital time (e.g. 3:45). Whilst a lot of the children were pretty good with the digital time, saying it in words has proven harder for them. We spent the last two days working on word problems involving different measurements of time to round off the week.

In English, we're continuing with our unit on 'stories with a theme.' For the last two weeks the children have been using an exciting story about a young boy saving a girl from a kidnapper to explore using emotional language, telling stories in order, and most recently learning how to write a story at the most exciting place and then filling in the start of the story using 'flashbacks.'

In science we're looking at the scientific classification of living things, and we've spent time now on different types of plants and fungi. We're exploring the different ways that life forms work, how they produce seeds or spores, how and where they live. We've also been developing our 'scientist's eye,' learning to describe and draw what we actually see, rather than what we expect to see.

We've been exploring Ancient Egypt in our Topic work. Last week we looked at Egyptian artefacts and pictures of daily life and used the clues to tell us about Ancient Egyptian civilisation. This week we looked at timelines and why they are important and useful in keeping historical ideas sorted in our heads.

In PE we've been learning the Haka with Mr Thompson and football with Mr Clark.

In Art we celebrated Roald Dahl's 100th birthday by reading Esio Trot and working on some artwork related to tortoises and their special language.

So it was an eventful week, and the kids were real troupers during the very hot weather.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Week 1 - Welcome back!

Welcome all new Year 4 children to Mr Thompson's class! I am excited to begin a new academic year with a fresh set of faces. We have already spent a week together and I am getting to know all of the individual personalities.

A letter should have gone home on Friday giving details of the class schedule, but here they are again as another reference. We will have PE on Tuesdays and Thursdays: dance on Tuesdays with Mr Thompson and Football with Mr Clark on Thursdays. Please remember to have PE kits washed and ready to go for Tuesday afternoons. As it is especially hot right now, the kits may need to be washed more than once a week.

Spellings: The children will go over a list of words for a week, then be given that list the following Monday. They will then have a test on those words on the following Thursday, so they will have four days and three evenings to study their words. They will copy the words into their orange homework books and I will send a printed-out copy for the parents in case any words got transcribed wrong. They will be given opportunities to study during the daily routine, so make sure they have their homework books in school every day and at home every night. On Thursday I will collect the books to mark the tests and return them on the next Monday when they will get a new set of words. We may have a week or two near the end of the term when there are no spelling words because of the chaos that is the Christmas season, but otherwise expect words every week and expect to see the homework book every night.

Children who get more than three words wrong will be sent home with a note in their books to that effect so that they can take a make-up test the next week. It can be difficult to study for that many words in one week, so the best able you are to stay on top of it, the better.

Times Tables Practice: The children will also get tested every Thursday on the times tables they are currently working on. They will have three minutes to fill in a sheet of times tables problems and will be considered to have passed if they get most of them done in that time. They will keep testing on that group of times tables until they pass, then they will move on. The goal is to get all children in the class to have memorised all tables up to 12 and simple division of those same numbers. When they pass that point, they will be given a weekly maths puzzle to complete by Thursday.

On Monday I will have put the maths and spelling scores from the test into the homework books for parents to monitor. I may send other notes/concerns as well so that parents and teacher can remain in touch about the homework.

Project: At the end of December the big research project will be due. If you have not seen the details on the Class 4 letter please check your email or a printed copy can be provided to you.

Another potentially confusing thing is the door leading into the classroom. In the mornings, for various reasons, we will have that door closed and the children will need to enter around the other side of the building to enter the classroom. At the end of the day, however, I will open the class door and look for parents to dismiss the children.

We are learning about classification of living things in our science lessons for this half-term, and then we'll move on to digestion and teeth. We will spend a lot of time looking at living things whilst the weather is still cooperating.

Our history topic for this term is Ancient Egypt, which is always popular and captures children's imaginations.

One other quick note: This year we will do show-and-tell only about our topics or science subjects. We have a lot to do and can't spare a lot of time for show-and-tell, so if it is related to science or history right now, don't hesitate to bring it into class, but otherwise, please keep it at home.

I look forward to meeting all parents/guardians over the next few weeks. I have high ambitions for the upcoming year, so we are hitting the ground running.