Dolphins & Starfish (Year 4)
Teachers: Mrs Brook, Miss Cooper, Mrs Rowsell
Teaching Assistants: Mrs Slack, Mrs Hunt, Mrs Fox, Miss Finch
Welcome to the year 4 pages on the school website! We are Dolphins (Mrs Brook and Mrs Rowsell) and Starfish (Miss Cooper).
The First Half of the Autumn Term
We started this year with an amazing clip of the Big Blue Whale and discussed different creatures found in the sea. The children researched their animals and presented their work in various ways. We thought about the attributes demonstrated by the creatures and how we could behave in certain ways to increase our learning. This also provided an opportunity for us to begin to extend our learning about research / note taking and looking at the features found in non-fiction texts. We also enjoyed the lovely book, ‘The Big, Blue Whale,’ by Nicola Davies.
To start our exciting new topic, entitled Hocus Focus and Hulabaloo, we spent a day in the Wildlife Area with Kevin Cotter. The children had to make an entrance into a strange world. We had tunnels, dens, doors and many interesting ideas which the children, working in teams, decorated and made special and quite unique. During the day the children made shadow puppets out of card and natural materials and created a short sketch in teams. Tasty soup was also prepared by the children, which was shared with the parents at the end of the day. With great enthusiasm, the children performed their sketches using the screen and sunlight. It was a fantastic day, enjoyed by all the children and to conclude the day an amusing story was told by Kevin Cotter - see pictures here.
This day also introduced the Core Learning Skill of Learning Together which is an important life skill, the children have considered the benefits and challenges of working in pairs, groups and teams and how we can make the most of these opportunities and build good cooperative skills to support them in their learning.
We have also been visited by a few parents who have offered the following (see photos):
Matthew’s Mum, who is a doctor came in to show the children models of the eye and the ear, talking to them in detail about how they work.
Amy’s mum is an optometrist and she came to teach more about the eye and how she looks after people’s eyes. The children were really interested and learnt a lot from both of these visits, becoming really enthusiastic about their topic.
Emily’s Mum came in to teach us about the origins of Gum Boot dancing and teach us some steps and sequences. We have since been practicing and hope she is pleased with our efforts when she returns to help us put the finishing touches to our routine!
During the Autumn half term we were very lucky to have weekly sessions with two handball coaches from Exeter Football Club. The children learnt different skills and were able to practice these in small team games. We were very grateful for the chance to benefit from their expertise and learn a new game.
During our RE lessons, we have looked at ‘Big Questions’ in relation to the main unit of work, ‘Where is God?’ The children were encouraged to reflect about the importance of prayer and think about where Christians pray.
So it was an exciting and eventful first half of the Autumn term.
The Second Half of the Autumn Term
This term we have been learning about the Romans as part of the topic ‘Why were the Romans so successful?’ We had a craft day which gave the children the opportunity to create all sorts of Roman related art work – shields, swords, picture frames, volcanoes and collages. We studied the beautiful book ‘Escape from Pompeii’. The children wrote their own versions of the story and presented them beautifully. At the end of term the children presented the learning they had done both at home and at school to their classmates. We have been so impressed by the children’s enthusiasm and the effort they have put into their learning. Towards the end of term we were visited by the roman soldier ‘Claudius Maximus’! He taught the children the meaning of the word ‘discipline’ in Roman times and what life was like as a Roman soldier. The children had a great time reenacting a battle in the playground. They were glad to put the shields they had made to good use!
Children responded to the question ‘Why is Christmas important for Christians?’ They looked at Nativity scenes painted by various artists around the World and thought how the Christmas story is relevant to us today in the 21st century.
The First Half of the Spring Term
We began the term learning the poem ‘View from a Railway Carriage’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. We practised and performed the poem in groups. We thought about trains of the past, the present and the future and created our own designs. In music Dolphins have been learning to play the violin while Starfish have been learning some new songs. We are looking forward to swapping next half term. After half term the Dolphins will perform the pieces they have learnt to play to their parents and the Starfish will be performing at the end of the term. We have also been swimming every Friday this term and have been pleased to see the enthusiasm, enjoyment and determination of our children! Some children who were anxious and nervous at the thought of swimming lessons have made some great progress in their confidence and swimming skills! We are very proud! We are grateful for the expertise of the swimming teachers.
Our RE learning so far this term has centred around learning about the Jewish food laws and what foods are ‘Kosher’, which the children have found really interesting. We will be moving onto learning more about Shabbat and Pesach. We are looking forward to our visit to the Synagogue on Tuesday 9th February. As part of our focus on ‘Improving our own Learning and Performance’, in Core Learning Skills for this half term, we have explored what sort of learning styles we think we might prefer. We will go on to investigate how we can use this knowledge to help us in our learning. We have just begun our new topic ‘Choca-doodle – doo’, sharing our prior knowledge and thinking about what we would like to learn about chocolate, where it comes from, how it is made and focussing on persuasive writing in advertising and letter writing. We are looking forward to designing, making and taste testing some chocolate creations next half term.
The second half of the Spring Term
This half term, we continued with the topic ‘Choco- Doodle- Do’ which was certainly a favourite amongst the children. As part of their learning, they worked in groups of 3 to design a questionnaire to find out about the consumption of chocolate across the school. They then worked to analyse their findings and used this information to help them design their own recipe for a new chocolate bar.
This linked well to our work on persuasive writing where the children designed a persuasive advert for their new brand of chocolate bar. They worked hard to create snappy slogans and intriguing questions as well as writing a descriptive paragraph to entice people to buy their product. They looked fantastic on display and received many positive comments from visitors to our classes.
During our school open evening, Parents and friends were invited to sample our chocolate creations and provide feedback on the taste, appearance and texture of the pieces. The children loved reading all of the comments the next day!
Our learning during this half was enriched by various visitors such as Truly Scrumptious where the children had the opportunity to create their own chocolate bars and lollies. We also enjoyed an informative talk by Emmie’s dad who spoke about his family’s cocoa bean farm in St Lucia.
As part of our class reading, we read Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which inspired our creative art morning. The children worked in groups across the year group to design and build a machine for Mr Willy Wonka’s inventing room. We were overwhelmed with Parental support and enthusiasm during the morning.
To end the topic, the children presented their independent learning to the class. We enjoyed seeing and listening to a range of original ideas about topics such as fair trade, the history of chocolate manufacturers and the process of making chocolate. Thank you to all of those who baked chocolate goodies to share with their peers!
In RE the children revised the Easter Story and then considered the question, ‘What is the importance of Easter for Christians?’ We studied the powerful painting ‘Forgiven’ by Thomas Blackshear and children were encouraged to think and share their thoughts and feelings around forgiveness. We also looked at what the Bible teaches us about forgiveness and did some drama work related to this theme.
The first half of the Summer Term
To follow on from our fantastic chocolate topic we began a new topic called ‘Inside Out’. This encouraged the children to think about what happens inside their bodies. Once again we received lots of parental support to further enrich the learning of the children. We were visited by a physiotherapist, a diabetes nurse, a doctor and a community nurse, who offered their time to come and share their expertise with the children. The children were fascinated to learn about how their body works and had lots of interesting questions.
As part of the computing curriculum, the children have worked in pairs to prepare a Power Point about the following: the skeleton, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the muscular structure or the circulatory system.
During Literacy, the children wrote persuasive letters explaining the importance of leading a healthy life style and presented tips for keeping healthy. We also studied the famous scientist, Edward Jenner who invented a vaccine for smallpox. The children were thoroughly engaged in writing Edward Jenner’s Biography. All of us enjoyed finding out the gruesome facts and were relieved to discover that smallpox has been eradicated.
In PE, we have been busy learning May pole dances / country dances and have continued learning the violin in order to perform at the Royal Garden Party in honour of the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
This half term we have looked at the Jewish Passover and thought about how Jewish people show their commitment to God. The children experienced a Passover meal and discussed the importance of each item on the Sedar plate. We also looked at the ceremonies of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah and noted the importance of these for a Jewish person.