Term 1 Update
During the Autumn Term, Year 4 focused on the transition text ‘Croc and Bird’ by Alexis Deacon. This touching picture book portrays the unusual brotherly relationship between a crocodile and a bird. Children learnt to put themselves inside the story and empathise with characters and their issues and dilemmas and develop characters, dialogue and plot through drama. Children responded to the text by writing setting descriptions using language tools like fronted adverbials, adjectives selected for impact and noun phrases to create interest in their writing. In Art, children engaged with the beautiful illustrations throughout the picture book and explored the added layers of meaning they gave to our interpretation of the text. They were inspired to produce their own artwork using a range of media and proudly presented their work in good work assembly. In PSHCE, they debated whether the characters should follow nature’s course or allow the behaviour they have learned from each other and the interdependency of their early lives to influence what happens.
Our core text this term is the Enid Blyton classic, ‘The Island of Adventure,’ published in 1944. Pre-learning for the text involved researching information about the geographical locations of the coastal regions of Cornwall and looking at popular beaches in England during the early 20th century. Children looked at features of the beach locations such as minefields, smugglers caves, taverns, piers etc. as these are mentioned in the setting descriptions of the text. This equipped children with the background knowledge they needed to access the text with a deeper understanding of the time and setting. In writing, children produced menus for an ‘Enid Blyton Picnic’ by looking at how Enid Blyton always includes a picnic in her stories for her characters and how the author has a knack of making picnic food sound delicious, with’ 'lashings of hard-boiled eggs’, along with tomato sandwiches, slabs of ginger cake, ginger beer etc. Pupil immersed in the text by setting up an Enid Blyton Picnic in their respective classrooms, dressing up in clothes styles from the 1940s, raising questions why the choice of food for the picnic was limited and making links to when the text was written (during the food rationing period).
Pupils experienced making videos and posters for their home learning tasks. They have enjoyed role-playing and hot-seating several scenes from the book and transporting themselves from Craggy Tops where the characters live to underground sea tunnels and caves filled with smuggled goods. Thereafter, they wrote diary entries in the role of Jack, recording his thoughts, feelings and impressions of other characters and events he faces in order to solve the mystery of the Isle of Gloom. The next step is to write a narrative in the style of the author, by focusing on an event of the text. The sustained writing pieces will be on display in book corners for all to access.
Handwriting and Spelling:
Children complete handwriting practice in their handwriting books, focussing on forming correct proportional letters and regularity of the size of letters as they consolidate joining groups of letters. Some supporting activities involve tracing and copying, copying tongue twisters and instructions. They improve their handwriting by practising the spelling words on the year 3/4 statutory word list. Those children who need further consolidation may receive handwriting practice for homework and are supported during the ‘Soft Start’ session each morning. Handwriting sessions are timetabled three days a week, the teacher modelling first, followed by independent practice.
In spelling, children are taught a range of spelling strategies that they are beginning to use in their writing across the curriculum. All children are given a list of weekly spelling words to learn as part of home learning and then tested on these words at the end of the week. They are also supported in using a range of word resources such as dictionaries and thesauri. The Spelling Bee Competition was a popular event for our children, which will be held at the end of every term.
Children in Year 4 have focussed reading sessions every day in their Reading Sets, using a text selected for their reading ability. Children have been exposed to a range of narratives this term; lessons target a range of key reading skills and assessments will be made at the start of term 2. Year 4 teachers will analyse the data from this reading assessment, making adjustments to the reading groups and consider their next steps. All children are encouraged to read at home every day with an adult and reflect on any aspect of their reading in their reading journals.
The focus in Maths has been on counting larger numbers in multiples of 25, 100 and 1000 in order, place value to 4 digits by linking numbers in numerals and in words and using their knowledge of number and place value to help complete number patterns. One of the greater focuses was on rounding numbers to the nearest 1000, 100 and 10 where children applied this knowledge to approximate, total and find the difference. The use of Anchor Charts have been a strength in all classrooms, consisting of a chart created by the teacher to model what the outcome of the Focus Task might look line in the children’s Maths Journals. The children are encouraged to think laterally and dig deeper into their thinking so that they can present answers in different ways. It appears that the challenge is great for all learners as work must be represented by using concrete objects, and then pictorially in books. Pupils have also learned to add and subtract with numbers up to 10 000 by using the column method for addition and subtraction, as well as developing effective mental methods for these calcuations. They are encouraged to think about when is the most appropriate time to use each method. They will use the methods taught to solve word problems: visualising the problems using the bar model. In addition, children are able to access weekly tasks set by their teachers on MyMaths for Home Learning.
The science unit in Term 1 was about ‘Living Things and Their Habitats.’ In this topic, children learnt to group living things in a variety of ways using information gathered from research, video clips and information books. They explored and used classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment, recognised that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things. On Tuesday 16th October 2018, Year 4 had a visit from The Exotic Zoo Encounter. They came with some exotic animals as a part of our Science topic. We saw a skunk, a Burmese python, two meerkats, a tarantula and a tortoise and learned some interesting facts about each animal. It was a stimulating and exciting experience for all learners (and adults) to feel and stroke the animals. To watch the pupils faces light up and be so excited after touching the animals gave a huge sense of satisfaction for us and everyone in the room.
R.E and British Values
During RE, children were given the opportunity to reflect on different aspects of their identity and on ideas about what is distinctive about them and what they share with others and the world around them. There was an opportunity for children to bring in a special item or a religious object that is special to them. Following this lesson, the children will go on a church visit and discover other special objects used at special times. British Value strands are covered with the unit and during our collective assemblies.
The PE focus in Year 4 in Terms 1 and 2 is swimming, which is a statutory part of the National Curriculum, with the aim that by the age of 11 all pupils should be competent and independent swimmers.
This term, our computing unit focussed on ‘Online Safety and How to be Respectful online.’ In our computing lessons, children talked about the rules of responsible IT use, the key online safety 'rules', discussed what may be unacceptable behaviour, and keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies. They role played different scenarios and provided sensible solutions to each problems. This unit is also covered in PSHCE.
In Year 4, our geography focus is the Rainforest. Children learnt to locate rainforests across the world using atlases and maps, name the countries the rainforests are in, use a key to highlight the rainforests, identified the features of rainforests and the animals and plants that live there. As meteorologists, they researched the weather and climate in the rainforests, and generated weather reports via videos, PPT and written reports. In addition, they also discussed and looked at what rainforests used for – logging, homes for people and animals, villages, conservation, and the issues facing the rainforests today – deforestation, logging, the effect on the global environment, global warming, farming, etc. This was linked to PSHCE where children debated for and against the use of rainforest wood.
This session covered aspects of our Science and Geography units. Children explored how we can reduce, reuse and recycle the way in which we use a range of materials, wood and its associated products and the impact it has on our environment. They talked about how we can protect our environments/rainforests/ woodlands/etc and the future of rainforests.
Art and Black History Exhibition
As part of the Black History Month Exhibition, children in Year 4 have learnt and written biographies about the life of George Washington Carter, an American botanist and inventor. The children researched background information about him and the time period and the racial inequality using sources like media clips, old newspaper reports from Espresso, and websites and information books. Using his work as an inspiration, children produced very detailed and exquisite art work using a range of media. Children in each class exhibited their work as part of our Black History Exhibition and Class 8 shared learning with their parents as part of their Good Work Assembly.
In Year 4, the expectation for all children is to read daily for at least 20 minutes and complete their Reading Record 2/3 times a week. Weekly homework is given which includes English and Maths homework linked to that term’s taught skills, differentiated where necessary to cater for different groups of children and their needs. Extra weekly spelling homework consists of 10 weekly spelling words, alongside a list of common exception spellings to learn. The weekly spelling words are derived from the spelling focus that week and are tested by class teachers. Termly topic based homework varies and includes a choice of a written element, research or creative activity.
We have provided extra curriculum clubs for Year 4 children – cheerleading, football, Indian dance, G&T Sports, cricket, chess and homework club.
Parent Information Evening
During this event, parents had the opportunity to find out the expectations of the year group in terms of learning and expectations in Maths, English, Homework, Reading, e-safety and educational visits. The turnout across the year group was good and the feedback from parents was very positive.