Friday, 21 October 2016

Apologies for forgetting the Class 4 blog last week. Certain events took me away from my desk on Friday afternoon and by the time I was finished it was time to go home and the blog passed out of my mind until about four o'clock on Sunday afternoon. So I now have two weeks to catch up on.

Last week we looked at black sports figures as part of Black History Month (which is in October over here). After doing some research on all sorts of sporting 'pioneers', we settled on studying Jackie Robinson, the first black man of the 20th Century to join a Major League baseball team. We discussed the idea of segregation in the American south and the idea of "separate but equal" that was entrenched in US law at the time. We researched how Robinson was treated by fans, other teams, and even his fellow players in the first few years. We then wrote a formal letter to Robinson asking him about how he managed to persevere and even help the Dodgers win several championships.

We carried the baseball theme over to art last week when Mrs Pearcy helped us cut out silhouettes of baseball players and painted them to look like they were moving.

The whole thing culminated in assemblies yesterday when they whole school got together and showed off the work they were doing. Class 4 re-enacted a famous scene where Robinson was helped during one moment when the fans were being especially abusive and a fellow player, Pee Wee Reese, came over and put his arms around Robinson, hushing the crowd. We read out one of our letters and showed off some of our art. The work that the school did will be compiled into a portfolio so that people can see the work that Sandridge produced.

We finished up our science topic on classification of living things over the last two weeks, the children becoming quite adept at making branching databases for finding similarities and differences between life forms. Then they did their own research on the different classes of animals and presented the information to the other students.

We explored mummification and pyramids in our Egypt topic, looking at the ways they changed over hundreds of years. We learned the proper procedure for creating a mummy and what a canopic jar is for, and then we looked at the history of their tombs, angled buildings called "mastabas" that became the pyramids we all know today.

We also finished up our work on the Haka dance and improvising moves to go along with it. We will switch to a new type of dancing after the half term that should allow us a bit more freedom to try out some interesting moves. With Mr Clark, they just finished of playing football, and the class really came together in the last game and started working well as teams! Here's to hoping that trend continues in all other endeavours.

So, we will meet up again after a much-needed week off. As a quick reminder, there will be no spelling words until we come back, but the kids can always practice their maths, and the week-long break may be a great time to catch up on the big project, which is due in five weeks!

Have a good half term break!

Friday, 7 October 2016

This is the first week when it has really felt like autumn outside. We can't say the same thing for the classroom!

This week the children delved into the up sides and down sides of Ramesses II's long and glorious reign in a cross-curricular unit overlapping with History. They were learning how to discuss both sides of an idea as part of the Discussion unit. They are learning how to form opinions and back them up with evidence--one of the first steps towards critical thinking skills.

We explored more pharaohs and their symbols this week in History, and the children gave themselves pharaoh names like "Foremost son of Ra, noble lord of the sky." This we translated into Egyptian, so the name would be "Hat Sa Ra Neb Pet," and this would be put into a cartouche.

In science we began to look at decision trees and how they can help us to distinguish amongst many types of life forms that might be very similar to each other. A decision tree only allows a 'yes' or 'no' answer, so it allows small differences in things to distinguish them. We also looked a little bit at Carl Linnaeus and his system of classifying life forms by giving them descriptive Latin names.

We worked on dancing at different levels in PE, refining our version of the Haka war dance to include steps near the ground, kneeling over and standing up straight. The children especially love to make intimidating faces and shouts.

Next week we will be looking at Black sports figures in English as part of Black History Month, so if you get a chance to tell your child, perhaps they can think about who they might like to research and bring it with them on Monday.

Also, just another reminder that each child should be getting a new list of ten spellings every Monday in their homework books. They have until Thursday to study for it, when they will have a test. If your child arrives home on a Monday without spellings, it is not because they weren't given any.

We will probably not give out any spelling works in the last two weeks before Christmas break due to the hectic nature of that time. Other than that, expect a new list of words every Monday.

See you all next week!