Friday, 27 January 2017

In an amazing reversal of fortunes from last week, we are now three weeks into the term with two weeks left to go. Of particular note for next week is the Year 4 sharing assembly, which will be on Friday, for parents. Come in and see what we've been up to for the last 17 weeks. We may ask that some of the children bring some of their Egyptian projects back in to show off.

We started our English unit on story settings, and I've started them out describing a fantasy location they are mostly familiar with and using as many adjectives, adverbs and figurative language as they could to paint the picture with words. Next week we will begin to use settings to develop a mood or atmosphere.

In science we explored solids that act as liquids, and then did an observation of melting some chocolate, butter and wax in a microwave to see how fast each one melted. Unfortunately, when we melted the butter we also melted the plastic container that was holding it, so that ruined the experiment a bit. But we soldiered on anyway.

We took a good look at India in Geography this week, exploring where it is in the world and looking at its various climate zones. The children are becoming much more expert at reading a map and several of them figured out what population and elevation maps look like.

We're dealing with the excuses we give ourselves and others for not trying our hardest in PSHE. In PE, we're continuing to learn different gymnastics moves and combining them into sequences. They are also learning hockey with Mr Clark. We're continuing to learn about Sikhism in RE and comparing it to the more familiar traditions (for many of us) in Christianity.

We've got a lot of practising to do for the assembly next week, so hopefully we'll be all polished and ready by Friday. Hope to see many of you there.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Two weeks in and only three more until half term! Where does the time go?

First and most importantly, we welcomed a new student from abroad into class on Monday. It's a girl, which helps redress our large boy-heavy classroom. She is a native French speaker with little English knowledge, which has been a challenge for me, whose High School French was far too long ago and far too limited to carry on any meaningful conversation. But just as I am working on more French phrases, she is immersing herself in an English environment, which will be what makes her learn our rich but often difficult tongue. It's great practise for the other children, too, as they are learning French with Mme Allin.

This week we did lots of work with fractions in maths, learning how to add and subtract them, turn them into decimal fractions. We also learned how to count up and down in tenths and hundredths, and are starting to explore the 24 hour clock.

Next week we'll focus much more on column method addition and subtraction and look at one- and two-step problems. We'll then look at multiplying and dividing larger numbers, and then decimals.

In English we just finished up our unit on writing and performing plays. The children adapted the fairy tale of Goldilocks and wrote a play about the bears entering their ransacked home. We hope to perform one at the Year 4 sharing assembly in a couple of weeks.

We'll be starting a unit on story settings that will probably take us to half term. We'll be stretching our descriptive muscles to see how vivid we can be.

In science we are looking at solids, liquids and gases. This week we explored solids that can act like liquids and the gases that comprise the air. We also looked at the space left between particles and how that allows us to compress things, especially gases.

In geography we spent a lot of time looking at maps and how they work, how to read them and how to find the cardinal directions. Next week we'll be looking at our target country in detail: India. I expect we'll have a lot of fun with it.

In RE we began looking at Sikhism and their beliefs and symbols. After a long discussion about what a symbol is and what it can mean, the children designed their own symbols for things that were important to them: pets, family, X-Boxes and football teams, mostly. Some of them were quite clever and would make good corporate logos somewhere.

We are continuing on with gymnastics, and Mr Clark has introduced them to touch rugby now that it's not snowing.

Also, I believe the letters with this term's curricula have gone out, including the long-range homework assignment. The results from the Egyptian project were so amazing, I'm quite excited to see what they come up with this time.

Friday, 13 January 2017

With another term underway we are starting several new topics. We are working on playwriting in English, which will include formatting the story properly, writing with the proper audience in mind, and then performing the piece. In Science we have just started a new unit on States of Matter, in which we will explore the different properties of solids, liquids and gases. We've started gymnastics in PE, and belonging and Sikhism in RE.

In Geography we are starting a unit on the sub-continent of India, pointing out where it is, who lives there and what the various cultures and peoples are like. We will also be looking at identifying the different features of maps and how to read them, and we may even do a bit of orienteering if time and weather permit.

This is a shorter term than the last one, which means that it will be more intense and tightly packed. So the children will be stretched in their abilities and attention spans.

As A quick heads-up, spelling tests will resume next week, and the letter with the term's long-range project will be finished and sent out in the next week or so.