Friday, 22 September 2017

Making a great start to Year 4

We are now settled into Year 4 and the children have proven themselves to be true Meerkat learners and excellent role models in displaying this month's value of responsibility.

We have today finished reading The Iron Man and were all gripped to hear whether or not the Iron Man would manage to prove himself stronger than the space-bat-angel-dragon. We have been looking at how effectively Hughes uses language to show us the actions and feelings of the characters. Next week we will be trying to emulate (I think that might have to be a word of the week)his writing.

In maths we have been focusing on rounding and are moving on to adding and subtracting both mentally and by written methods. Our maths lessons have been very active as we have been trying to think mathematically and consider "why" and "  what if" in order to get a greater understanding of key mathematical concepts.

In RE, we have looked at the stories of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph in order that we might better understand where we come from and what the stories from the Bible teaches us. We will now go on to read the story of Ruth, consider Solomon and look at Jesus' own family of Mary and Joseph.

In science, we have explored solids, liquids and gases and we will now start to consider how they can change and in History we have looked at what actual historical evidence there is about Boadica.The children have one piece of writing to interpret as homework and I look forward to seeing what they think Boadica looked like from the small amount of information we have.

In Art this week the children produced some impressive sketches and I am now looking forward to seeing the portraits they will go on to draw.

The children have been greatly enjoying their Game On PE and have impressed Mr Simmonds and I with their focus whilst we have been developing sequences in gymnastics. We will now build apparatus into our sequences.

We have begun to think about our class assembly today and I have asked the children to share any personal stories of relatives who have dedicated their lives to the service and protection of our country and it would obviously be lovely if you can help the children with this.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Welcome to 4K 2017

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for not posting this last week but I've had a few issues with accessing the blog which I have thankfully now resolved!

Our first nine days have been busy but a lot of fun and it has been lovely to witness the fantastic attitude towards learning this class has. We have spent some time getting to know each other and have started on our new topics.

In maths, we have been exploring place value in a very practical way to ensure that this very important concept is secure. Our brains were buzzing today as we tried to write calculations where the answers were the numbers 1-20 - but we could only use the digit 4! Through teamwork and by thinking creatively, we succeeded! We are going to continue with our work on place value and will be rounding and using numberlines to explore the magnitude of number. Following this we will be looking at adding and subtracting mentally. We will be trying to improve our times table skills throughout the year so please encourage the children to use Timestables Rockstars.

In English, we our reading Ted Hughes' The Iron Man and the children have created some very imaginative and effective similes to describe their own monsters.

In RE, as you know from this week's homework we are studying family trees as we begin our look at how Jesus had a human family and search for an answer to the question 'Where do I come from?'

In history, we had an exciting lesson working out why the mighty and powerful Emperor Claudius decided to invade the comparatively uncivilised Britain in AD 43. Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore more aspects of Britain ruled by the Romans in order to understand how our country changed as a result of the occupation.

In Science, we have begun investigating materials and have learnt that whilst solids and liquids have specific properties, there are some materials which challenge the 'rules'. When asked whether jelly and shaving foam were liquids or solids, one response was, 'Why do you do this to us?' We learnt that even scientists don't have all the answers!

A couple of amendments to the information I gave you at the parent meeting last week, apologies I got myself a bit confused - our indoor PE day is Thursday, not Friday and the Parent Consultations are on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th October.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Farewell and some long anticipated photos...

Well, we have made it and what a term this has been! I feel like I have hardly had time to draw breath so I'm sure you must all be glad of the upcoming break. Make sure you all take time to rest, relax and recharge the batteries so you are ready for Year 5.

Firstly, I'd like to thank you all for the lovely gifts and cards. I shall enjoy them over the next few weeks as I take some time to be with my family. I hope you all enjoy your holidays and have lots of fun adventures as well as wonderful family time. Thank you for lending me your children over the last year, it has been busy and there have been many highlights and lovely memories that I will take with me. 

This week has been particularly busy, starting with our trip to Hazard Alley which although it only took place on Monday, seems a lot longer ago. Of course there have been many special moments when we have surprised Mrs O'Brien and shared some final moments and traditions with Year 6.

A couple of last reminders. I have sent a list of Year 3/4 words home today, this is the statutory spelling list that all children are expected to learn and I would encourage the children to practise a couple every day. Similarly, the children can continue to improve their Times Table Rock Star statuses - I have sent their avatars to their new classroom so they will continue to work on this throughout next year. May I also remind you how important reading is and the long holidays are an ideal opportunity to get lost in a book - the library challenge has begun and it would be great if the children joined in with that. I have also sent home their library logins in - you should have received a Parentmail about this.

Last but, definitely not least, I have now found and downloaded the photos from 'Let Loose'! Have a great summer!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Time to Let Loose!

I am struggling to believe that we are now in our last half term of the academic year and that our production is less than a week away. This week has been filled with rehearsals and Art but we have managed to fit in a some maths, RE and English. I have told the children that we are having a real focus on handwriting over the next weeks and if they want to continue this at home, I am happy to send some sheets home for them. I have also asked them to practise their timestables using the new Rock Stars program - please encourage them to use this at home. The children's banner on Self-control looks amazing - you will get to see this at Celebration Evening.

Next week, we will obviously be rehearsing and performing but I hope to begin to return to a full timetable as the week plays out. We have been having some lovely discussions about building bridges in RE, have been revising prepositions, adverbials and apostrophes in English and we had fun trying to master Roman numerals and area in Maths. Next week, we will continue looking at area, perimeter, 2D and 3D shapes. We will begin our next English unit on The Spiderwick Chronicles, complete our RE work on Reconciliation. 

I will see you all on Thursday and have a good weekend.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Just one week to go...

Where has the time gone? In just one week's time, we will breaking up for the last break before the children move up to Year 5!

Rehearsals are coming along. We will be sending home costume letters and a letter about ticket allocation on Monday. The stage goes up on Monday so it will all start to feel much more real. 

Today, we were joined by three of our governors throughout the morning and the children impressed them with their knowledge and understanding of the Shang dynasty. They also commented on their awareness of thoughts and feelings when we discussed the significance of building bridges and how this linked with Reconciliation - this is our new RE unit which we will explore over the next few weeks.

In Maths, we have been looking at fractions and dividing by either 'chunking' or using chunking on the numberline. We have also been thinking about the importance of carefully reading the question and especially checking the operation for every calculation. They have a sheet which gives some ideas for how to practise times tables. I cannot stress how important it is for the children to have a good recall of their times tables as it comes into so much of the maths we do.

In English and Topic we will complete our reports on the Shang dynasty.

Swimming is going really well, we certainly have some talented swimmers and they all really enjoy the session. Please encourage the children to take responsibility for their swimming kit - all the way from the house to school, we have had children leaving kit in cars and even their bag ending up in another class's cloakroom...

Hopefully we have our share of rain and the weekend will be bright and sunny so that we can all get outside.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It's a wonderful life in 4K

Here we are half way through the half term and there is definitely a theme of life in our learning. In English and Topic we are learning about life during the Shang Dynasty and how some important inventions made by the Chinese are still being used by us today.

In RE we are discussing Pentecost and how we can all share in Jesus' new life if we live our lives in a Christian way. In Science we are learning about classifying animals and looking at how animals adapt to live in their environment.

In Maths we have been busy exploring 1- and 2-place decimal numbers, negative numbers and this week are practising multiplication. We are trying to think how we can use the skills and knowledge we have in Maths to help us solve unfamiliar problems. Once again, the children are realising the importance of knowing their times tables and we are trying to incorporate practising tell the time into our day.

The children have impressed the swimming instructors with their ability in the pool - could we have some budding Olympians?

And finally, our production is coming along - we are now eagerly anticipating the stage going up so we can really bring our characters to life, which brings me nicely back to where I started...

Friday, 21 April 2017

Welcome back.

Since our return on Wednesday, he have been busy rehearsing script and songs for our production 'Let Loose' which promises to be a lot of fun, but is only six school weeks away! Thank you for helping the children learn their lines, the sooner they know them by heart the sooner we can focus on the acting. The children should have brought home their songs to start learning them - if they could focus on knowing the first two songs by next Thursday and continue working on their lines, please. 

We have begun our new RE topic on New Life and had an interesting discussion on this yesterday. We will be reading scripture and thinking about what we learn from the stories whilst addressing the question 'What's important about new life?'

As we will be spending time rehearsing this half-term, we are going to combine our topic (The Shang Dynasty) with our English lessons. We will be learning about this ancient Chinese people and asking 'did the Shang Dynasty really exist?'

In Maths we will be looking at decimals, fractions and then negative numbers and in Science we are studying Life Processes and Living Things.

If I could ask that you return the Swimming slips as soon as possible because our first session is next Friday.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Another busy term nears the end...

It's hard to believe we only have one more week of the term left - the term really has flown by. It was lovely seeing so many of you at our class Mass last week - the children conducted themselves beautifully.

Last week was also Science, Maths and Engineering week and we enjoyed many workshops and activities throughout the week. We also had a fascinating visit from Mr Rickett who told us loads of interesting facts about World War 2.

That was last week... this week we have been busy preparing for today's fundraising - thank you for supporting the children with this, they did a great job and raised over £40.
In our 'normal' lessons over the last fortnight we have finished Friend or Foe and began our story about two evacuees today. We are going to have to be quite disciplined with our writing as we have another busy week ahead but I'm looking forward to reading how the children have considered what life during World War 2 would have been like.
In Maths we have been doing lots of problem solving and using strategies to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Next week we will look at time and I'm hoping we will do some practical Maths as part of an activity I'm planning to do when we have our World War 2 Outreach day next Thursday. 
As well as our visit by historians from St Albans Museum on Thursday, we are having a visit from an ex-St Dominic pupil (from before the school moved to its current site) and we will learn how the war ended.
In Science we have been looking at evaporation and condensation and will look at the water cycle to complete our Changing States topic.
In RE we have been doing a lot of our unit through practical activities - during our preparation for Mass we considered how difficult it is to be self-disciplined when fulfilling our Lenten promises. We have also being living in God's way as we raised money at our fundraising today. Next week we will consider the Easter story and we will be doing some art work as well as taking part in the Be Spirited activities.
In Art the children are sketching images based on Henry Moore's tunnels images. On Wednesday they role played and took pictures as if they were in the underground tunnels sheltering from the Blitz - they look amazing on our Michael Morpurgo wall and I'm sure the actual sketches will reflect the sentiment the photos portray.
Finally, if anyone has any Cues Ed questionnaires or forms and donations for our Outreach session could you please return them as soon as possible.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Read all about it...

Last week was feeling good week and this week we celebrated World Book, so we have cetainly got this second Spring Half Term off to a flying start.

4k really enjoyed the drumming workshop and I was impressed at the variety of sounds produced and rhythm maintained after a mere 45 minutes of tuition and practise.

On World Book Day, we were very lucky to have a packed day with lots of visitors, some of whom you probably recognise, sharing their expertise. After our 'parade' of book characters, Mrs Jones talked to us about the process she went through when she wrote her book. We were amazed and impressed at the amount of time and effort that went into editing and proof reading -especially when we heard that she only had 6 weeks to write the actual text!

 Then we had another parent, Mrs Vicente share a story and some Catalan traditions. It was lovely to hear a different language and we recognised the story of St George.

The children are really enjoying learning about World War 2 and certainly have an impressive amount of knowledge already! They are also working hard at understanding Friend or Foe and have written some wonderful letters or diary entries  that show they have empathised with David. 

In Maths we are looking at money and will move onto measurement next. As telling the time is still proving a challenge for many in the class, please encourage them to wear, and use, a watch.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Half term news

As half term has arrived, I just wanted to update you on what we have been doing in 4K and share some of the things we will do during the next few weeks as we prepare for Easter.

As ever, we have been busy over the last couple of weeks. We had a lovely trip to Harpenden where we looked for things that had changed over the years. We learnt that the railway had a big impact on our town and saw many things that had changed as a result of its arrival in the 1860s. This trip was linked to our study of Changing Environments in Geography - thank you for sharing your knowledge with us by completing the children's questionnaires. It is great for the children to experience local geography and history - it makes it so much more real when they hear first hand accounts.

We concluded our news reports by writing about the sport we each thought was the world's most incredible sport and the children also used their news report writing skills to write a report on changes they saw in Harpenden. We have also spent some time looking at poetry. Next week we will begin our unit on Michael Morpurgo's Friend or Foe and this will link with our History topic on World War II. 

In Science, we concluded our work on Sound by making screeching balloons and a sound map of our school - unfortunately(!) the school was rather quiet during our investigation so we are going to measure the decibels in the dining room and on the playground during Break and Lunchtimes so we can get a greater range of sound levels! Our new Science topic is Changes of State and we will be examining liquids, gases and solids and investigating their properties and how they change.

In RE, we have begun our Giving and Receiving unit where we will look at the Eucharist and ask what is more important - giving or receiving? The children have already made some interesting reflections on this and I look forward to seeing their holiday research on giving and receiving in the community. Thet should have brought a questionnaire home which will hopefully stimulate discussion and thought. I would then like them to record them in any way they choose - either simply by recording the answers to the questions or by using these to create a presentation of some kind about their ideas. 

In Art the children will be looking at the work of Henry Moore. In Computing we will complete our weather jingles and use them when we present a weather forecast based on research using the data loggers we used to record sound levels. 

Have a great break and see you all on Monday!

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Happy New Year (slightly belatedly) or as the children keep wishing me, 'Happy January!' 4K have got off to a busy start of the year. This term is fairly short so we've tried to plan activities and topics that link together. 

In English we are busy learning about sports that are 'incredible' and began with an interesting discussion about what the word means. We have been practising interviewing, discussed the features of newspaper reports and considered the impact these features have on the reader. This week we will be writing our reports, having looked at the reports they sent in for homework (thank you for facilitating this - they will be most useful as models for the children to use).

In Maths, we have already looked at place value, addition, subtraction, learned the seven times table, practised doubling and halving as a strategy for working out how to multiply by 4, 10 and divide by 4 and 5 and revised using the ladder method for multiplying (there are videos you can watch either alone or with the children on the way we teach them to do these methods). We have also been learning about decimals related to money notation.

Next week we will use mental multiplication and division strategies; find non-unit fractions of 2-digit and 3-digit numbers; find equivalent fractions and use them to simplify fractions (halves, thirds, quarters).

In RE we had a lovely visit from Father Michael who came in to talk about community. The children responded with interest and made some reflective comments. Following his visit, we have been making leaflets about all the ways we can take part in a parish community. We are going to spend the next two weeks looking at the ministeries by considering how Jesus chose people to work with him and then we will learn about some of the symbols of a funeral mass.

We are studying changing environments in Geography this half term and have looked at how storms result in flooding in Glenridding. We are now going to look at changes in our own environment and will us the results from the questionnaires that the children have written and brought home as homework to see what changes have happened in Harpenden.

We have been learning about sound in Science and know that sound is created by vibration and we formed our own 'ear' to show how the parts of our ear work by passing on the sound waves to send a message to our brain.

In PSHE we are lucky to have Cues Ed with us running our sessions for the next couple of months and we look forward to learning how we can take care of ourselves physically and emotionally.

In Computing we are busy creating a sound 'jingle' for a weather forecast which we are going to create based on using dataloggers to record weather trends. In PE we are developing our dodgeball skills and playing hockey with Mr Simmonds on a Wednesday. In D and T we are making purses and Mrs Luckhurst has asked for any willing volunteers to assist with this on a Wednesday morning. Please get in touch if you think you could help for an hour between 11 and 12.

Enjoy your weekend!