Your class teacher is Mrs Parks-Connolly* and your TAs are Mrs Denton, Mrs Wilkinson and Mrs Cox.
*The children call me Mrs Parks still
Our topic this term is Roman Britain. Naturally, our question is.... "What did the Romans do for us?"
We are starting with looking at the foundation of Rome, what life was like for Romans and how they built their massive empire before exploring life in Britain before and during Roman rule.
Here are some of the examples of the fantastic homework we have been seeing this term!
Useful things to know
We are encouraging children to take responsibility for their own organisation and learning behaviour through metacognition. The children are being encouraged to practice their spellings and times tables independently at various times in the week as well as at home.
On Thursdays the children will be working with Premier Sport. On Wednesday, they will be doing PE with me.
Please ensure your child's PE kits are in school every day. Sometimes time tables change or need to be moved around and your children need to be prepared for any eventuality!
Here is a reminder of the expectations, when learning multiplication tables:
By the end of year 2, they should know their 2x, 5x and 10x table.
By the end of year 3, they should know their 3x, 4x, 6x and 11x table
By the end of year 4, they should know their 7x, 8x, 9x, and 12x table.
Please, please help your child to learn their times tables. Knowing these by heart and being able to recall them quickly is invaluable to their learning. It helps them to progress more quickly with problem solving and multiplying and dividing larger numbers.
In 2020 a national times tables test will be introduced to year 4, to ensure that these expectations are being met.
Knowing their times tables means being able to answer an out-of-order multiplication question without thinking very long, such as: 5 x 5 = 25. 9 x 10 = 90. If your child is only able to count up in jumps of 2 or 10, make sure that they begin to apply each jump to a finger, and that they are aware that they are counting multiples.
It also means that they are able to solve the inverse, such as: 90 divided by 10 is 9. There are five 5s in twenty-five.
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December: We have been focusing on multiplication and division using models and images to aid our understanding of 4 x 5 being 4 lots or groups of 5. We use arrays, cubes, beadstrings and bar model diagrams to help us consider what we've been asked to do - though the children are aware of the commutability of multiplications.
They have started to solve some problems using their knowledge of products and factors and are becoming more adept at calculating multiplication and division problems, even if they don't necessarily know that times table by heart yet.
November: We have covered a lot of our calculation unit! We have been adding and subtracting mentally, using a written columnar method and using more than one operation to solve multi-step word problems. The children have enjoyed playing "Countdown" on Thursdays - particularly when the goal was to make 750 and the cards they'd chosen included 7, 100 and 50! Far too easy! In all the other games, though, I have been very impressed by the confidence the children are beginning to show manipulating larger numbers.
September: We are starting the year with work on place value and mental strategies. Ask your child to round numbers to the nearest 10, 100 and 1000. Ask them how they know whether to round up or down. Practice number bonds to 10 and 100. Discuss the patterns. Discuss the value of digits within 4 and 5 digit numbers. Ask them to add/subtract multiples of 10, 100 and 1000. A little bit every day will help to consolidate their learning.
Our class book is currently Storm! by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Kestrels have been working with 'Fly, Eagle, Fly!' an African tale with a powerful message. This book has wonderful descriptions of the countryside in Africa and is the story of an eagle that has been raised as a chicken by a farmer. A friend of the farmer tries to prove the bird is an eagle by encouraging it to fly with his mantra: "You belong not to the earth but to the sky".
We have written letters as the friend, to his wife, explaining how we feel about keeping the "King of birds" being kept as a lowly chicken. This week, as a our last piece of work with the book the children have retold the story from the point of view of the friend.
Come into the classroom to see our eagle wing display. Everybody wrote what they thought the message of the story was on a feather and then, responding to Desmond Tutu's foreward in the book, what they'd like to do when they're older to "reach sublime heights".
Spring 1: Classifying Animals and Plants
The children have been learning about the 7 life processes (MRS NERG) that all living things do and how scientists have grouped living things into The Plant Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom. So far we have been exploring groups of invertebrates and are beginning to work out how to classify vertebrate animals into fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals.
They are getting rather good at using classification keys now and are able to describe the differences and similarities between fish and amphibians.
Autumn 2: The children are going to begin their investigations into 'light'. They will conduct experiments to discover in ways light travels, what light is, which surfaces are reflective and how shadows work. Thank you very much for all the box donations! We shall have a lot of fun with it!
The children have so far discovered that: "Darkness is the absence of light"; light travels in straight lines; with just enough light, one can begin to make out bright colours as these reflect light well while dark colours do not; that some materials, such as glitter or even clear glass, can reflect light.
All this while aiding DI Harris with a low-profile jewellry heist at The Grand Theatre in Harrowgate - during a dress rehearsal, no less! The children are coming up with loads of theories as to how and 'who dunnit' and have been communicating these with DI Harris, though me.
Autumn 1: The children are focusing on "Cycles" in nature; weather cycles, seasonal cycles, life cycles and the water cycle. So far we have discussed how nature is affected by the seasons, how seasons are caused and why the equator does not have seasons in the same way we do; the life cycle of a plant from seed to seed and the life cycle of a chicken with a focus on the development of the chick inside of an egg. The children ended the cycles unit with the life cycle of a frog - looking into how exactly a tadpole morphs into a froglet, then a frog - and the water cycle.
Don't worry, parents, we have established that the eggs bought in shops are unfertilized!
Art and Design & Technology
The children will have an opportunity to improve their already amazing sculpting skills. They will be using the terracotta army of the first Emperor of China as their stimulus, creating our own mini army of figurines out of clay.
There will also be an opportunity to design, prepare and make a Chinese style soup.
This term, Kestrels have been studying the work and style of Georgia O'Keeffe, focusing in particular on her macro paintings of flowers. We discussed the bold colours she used and how she focused one a small detail of the plant and then painted it "blown up" so that it was huge, making viewers consider flowers differently.
We have tried using pencils, pastels and watercolours - which was a bit tricky to get right as we had to consider how much was "too much" water! Today the children had their first go at both sketching and painting their own "blown up" flowers. They were given a viewing window to help them focus on a small section of a flower and then drew larger rectangles in their books to help them size up proportionately. It's a very tricky thing to do, especially when your impulse to draw small details is to draw tiny intricate details!
They have done very well with their first attempt - I've taken some photographs of some of the work as it stands. I hope to graduate them onto some lovely thick watercolour paper, where they can do a series of smaller, but no less bold and beautiful, pictures.
Past English Work
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The children have adored studying this book, so far. We have been reading one to three chapters at a time and responding to the story through discussion, writing in-role, poetry and lyric writing. I highly recommend buying this book for children to revisit (and you parents to enjoy!) at home - but please wait until we have finished the unit, so that the story is not spoiled for them!
I strongly suspect that this book will be heavily featured in our class assembly.
Edward - and the children - has now experienced love and loss! He is a changed rabbit. As the story reaches its conclusion, the children have written 1st Person Narratives from the perspective of one of those that loved Edward and they have explored the concept of imagery and symbolism in Edward's first-ever dream. They have produced their own impression of the dream, using colour to convey mixed feelings of freedom, despair and heartbreak in the dream.
I have been very impressed by how well the children have not only engaged with this complex book but also the way they have managed to keep track of everything that has happened including small details that are tricky to recall without pictures.
Kestrels and I will feel quite bereft when we finish this book!
The children have explored the first two pages. They have responded to the initial image, making connections and predictions based on what they know of other stories. I've photographed their thoughts for you to see. They then heard the narrative that matched to the picture.
They have also responded to the second page by painting their own pictures and then annotating them with gold / silver pens, in the style of the illustrations in the books. We have discussed how the author has chosen to write a paragraph full of descriptions, using similes and metaphor to build a picture of Jub's world in the readers' heads.
The children have written poetry and discussed the common settings of fairytales and why woodlands are so prevalent.
This week they have broadened their subject knowledge about two woodland nocturnal creatures that seep into pop culture and literature: owls and bats before exploring traditional non-fiction writing styles and the child-friendly 'narrative non-fiction' as expertly used by author Nicola Davies.
The children were extremely excited to find out the title of our book! After some very good suggestions as to what the title could be - "Jub and the Happy Endings", "Jub's Adventure" - they were none-the-less enthusiastic and in agreement with Carol-Ann Duffy over "The Lost Happy Endings".
This came after having read a page describing a new character in great detail, focusing on her physical traits as well as outlining her despicable behaviour. The children explored the idea of tropes and "Goodies" and "Baddies" in books. They then had a go at creating what they imagined the "old woman" looked like using clay. I was so very impressed by their focus, imagination and modelling skills. It's hard to know whether to let the children paint them or to simply glaze them!
The children have written diamante poems, diary entries and their own version of a fairy tale, with an Unhappy ending! It was lovely to hear the children's ideas as to what could happen that not result in a Happily Ever After. Some were simple and effective, others were creative in circumventing the otherwise happy ending - including the Evil Queen infiltrating Snow and Charming's castle and replacing the fruit in the fruitbowl with poisoned apples!