Autumn Term 2

Welcome back! I hope you had lovely half term break and you feel ready to dive into our brand new topic. We have lots of exciting things planned starting with a Victorian themed day where we will turn into Victorian school children who experience a 19th century themed day. I can’t wait to see what creative costumes Y4 come in on the first day back!

Collective Worship

Collective worship is a special time for us all. We all gather together and listen to a reading from the Bible. We listen and respond to God’s word and consider how this relates to our lives. We reflect on how we can learn from the Bible and what choices we should make going forth. Together we like to pray, listen to songs and sit quietly to remember how lucky we are to be part of God’s beautiful creation!

Our class worship table looks lovely after the children have dressed it themselves. They chose different artefacts for the table. Mary was especially important to the children as our topic in RE is trust in God and they wanted to remember Mary’s trust in God’s divine plan for her life.

Year 4 enjoyed creating some fantastic poppy prints on Remembrance Day. We chose and wrote down some Bible Scriptures about love and peace. This served as a small, simple reminder of those who have done so much for our country and those who continue to do so today. We linked our RE to our history learning through a discussion about Armistice Day and we also explored why poppies are worn in November and what the different colours – red, purple, black, white – mean. Following this, the children could decide how they wanted to remember those who have lost their lives in war by printing the poppies in their colour of choice. As part of our artwork, we also included examples of how we can stand up for what is right in our lives.

Some comments the children had:

“It was nice to choose different colours for the poppies.”

“Remembering is important every year.”

“I know what to do when somebody is getting hurt.”

Year 4 also had some fun as they listened to the “Peace Like a River” song and practised some dance moves together!

We have started preparing for the arrival of Jesus as we began our Advent celebrations. The children created a lovely hand-made Advent wreath that we displayed on our worship table. We also got our small but adorable Christmas tree that lights up our days in class. Our days have been filled with happiness, joy and excitement around school as we began our Christmas countdown.

Year 4 has been busy opening their Advent calendars. We read a new Scripture every day from our collective worship calendar to prepare ourselves for the special Christmas time that is quickly approaching. We revisited the parable of the lost sheep and then created our own Advent promises. We discussed how everyone is important and what we could do to show each other that we are special. We linked the Advent promises to our PSHE wellbeing focus and the children came up with some truly thoughtful ideas.

Some of the Advent promises the children wrote down were:

“I will be kind to others by sharing, playing with them and being fair.”

“My Advent promise is to be kind and respectful to others. I will also include them in my games and treat them how I want to be treated.”

“My advent promise is to be nice and the best I can be.”

We displayed our promises on our collective worship table.

 

RE – Trust in God

In RE the children will learn about Jesus’ teaching on how important it is that we trust Him. The children will explore the importance of trusting God as well as the difficulties it brings through the stories of Zechariah, Mary and Joseph. We will be reflecting on the importance of having trust in each other and making promises.

We are so pleased that we are able to provide the children with the opportunity to celebrate their Sacrament of First Reconciliation. The children had already completed their preparation to receive their First Reconciliation before school closed back in March when they were in Year 3 and now we took time to reflect and we have recapped over this preparation. We had a lovely discussion about the journey and we shared thoughts around this Sacrament, focusing on life, love, joy, peace and forgiveness.

We found some key words as part of our Burn2Learn active learning activity. It was great fun trying to collect the list of important words linked to the Sacrament of First Reconciliation. We had to stick with our partners and work as a team to record the words outside on the playground.

 

The children who were preparing for this, received the Sacrament of First Reconciliation. The children were truly beaming after asking for God’s forgiveness and receiving His grace. What an extraordinary couple of days we had!
The children made the following comments after their first confession:
“I felt happy before my first confession because the others were cheering me on.”
“I was nervous but also proud of myself.”
“I felt happy to be free of all my sins.”
“I was happy and excited after my first confession.”
“I felt confident because I just finished my first reconciliation and everyone cheered for me.”
“I felt nervous first but now I feel relieved that I did it.”
“I was a bit nervous about what I was going to say but also excited because I would be
blessed by God.”
“I felt good because I have taken another step on the path of God.”

We started our topic of trusting God with trust exercises outdoors. Trust-building is an important component of teamwork at any age. Developing trust within Year 4 can help build bonds, teach children to work together to meet a shared goal, and improve communication and cooperation skills. We tried various activities that helped us understand what it means to trust each other and to be trusted.

We did a bit of hot seating as we asked and answered questions about the story of Jonah. We reflected on Jonah’s actions and discussed the lessons he has learnt by the end of his journey. We reflected on God showing love and mercy even when we make mistakes. God forgives, protects and blesses us as we place our trust in him. The children then wrote a letter to their chosen friend to tell them about Jonah’s adventures and how trusting God is important in everyday situations as well.

Year 4 has been busy learning about important Bible stories where people trusted God. As Advent is approaching, we have been discussing how Mary and Joseph showed that they trusted God and how they in return received their blessings. We discussed and compared how they felt and how the birth of baby Jesus changed their lives and ours too. We reflected on how Mary and Joseph showed faith and how their actions can serve as an example for all other Christians. We also explored that trust sometimes does not come easy and what challenges they also had to face. Our most rewarding discussion in class was about the blessings Mary and Joseph received as a result of their faithfulness.

As the year 2020 is coming to an end, we also reflected, as part of our RE and PSHE learning, on how our lives changed and what we learnt about ourselves during this year. We discussed as a class what gave us hope this year and what we are hoping for the next year. We filled our Jar of Hope with things that we are missing doing at the moment. This way, when the current situation passes, we can look into the jar and celebrate being able to do things again!

 

English

In the centre of our Victorian topic is our class text, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. We will be exploring the classic novel and use Oliver’s story to learn more about the history of Victorian England. We will look at the vocabulary used in the book and work out the meaning of words and phrases from the context. The children are beginning their learning journey by becoming reporters and interviewing various characters from the story of Oliver Twist.

To kick-start our new Victorian topic on the first day back, Year 4 took part in a 19th century style themed day. To get into character, we dressed up as Victorian school children. We experienced what a Victorian school day would have been like as we had to obey strict rules, write on slates, use impeccable handwriting in our copy books, read old fashioned fables and find the moral of the stories.

What part of the English learning was most memorable and why? Some comments the children had after the day:

“I found writing with my back straight and head up hard.”

“The most memorable things was reading the fables and answering questions about them.”

“I couldn’t put my hand up even if I knew the answers.”

We started to introduce our new class text by exploring some worthy words from Oliver Twist. We ventured outside for a Burn2Learn to find the words. We had to keep active and keep up with our team mates as we tried to move quickly around the playground.

As we are further exploring the story of Oliver Twist, we also started thinking about how we could report on the various events that occur in the book. We started by pooling our knowledge together as a class and making links to our prior knowledge and learning about newspapers. We read a newspaper article WAGOLL about Oliver, who was suffering under the torturous workhouse conditions. His courageous act of asking for more gruel left us in shock! We focused on what features are there in the articles and how they help us understand the stories better.

We have been keeping active as we were learning about verbs and adverbs. We went for a Burn2Learn hunt around the classroom to find the verbs and adverbs in sentences. We then worked on choosing effective and appropriate adverbs to make our writing about Oliver Twist even better.

To deepen our learning about adverbs, we used our Beachball Bonanza Burn2Learn to come up with as many adverbs as possible, answering the questions how? where? and when? Our teams were noisy, active and incredibly enthusiastic!

As we keep exploring newspaper reports, we had a go at investigating the correct punctuation of direct speech. We listened to a fun song about direct speech and we came up with hand movements to actively act out the places of the punctuation marks. Beware! The song is way too catchy! Then, children had to work with their partners to solve the sentence puzzles. 

Practising spellings, grammar and punctuation is embedded in our English learning journey. As a fun, active way to consolidate our knowledge and understanding and to apply our skills in different contexts, we went for a Haunted House SPaG escape the classroom game! The children enjoyed working in teams to solve the clues as they were moving around the classroom, trying to figure out the code to be able to escape!

Y4 has been really busy working on their newspaper articles. We wrote our lead paragraphs with the 5Ws, also including how events played out. We wrote about the unfathomable events that unfolded as Oliver Twist was chased down the streets of London after Mr Brownlow’s wallet and silk handkerchief have been stolen. We reported on the pickpocket’s journey and edited and improved our writing. We gave each other supportive and constructive feedback as we peer assessed the paragraphs. The published pieces of newspaper articles are well thought out and all the children are proud of their work.

Maths

At the start of this half term, children will further develop their understanding of addition and subtraction using the column method. Later on in the half term, we will be learning more about making accurate estimations and using various checking strategies to check our answers are correct. As we explore length and perimeter calculations, the children will be converting between different metric units of measurements. We will learn and practise all our times tables up to 12×12 by the end of half term.

To kick-start our new Victorian topic on the first day back, Year 4 took part in a 19th century style themed day. To get into character, we dressed up as Victorian school children. We experienced what a Victorian school day would have been like as we had to obey strict rules, write on slates, chant our times tables and solve arithmetic problems related to Victorian money.

How was learning Maths different in the Victorian times compared to modern times? Some of the children’s comments were the following:

“We had to use chalk and write on black slates.”

“I learnt 20 shillings made a pound.”

“We chanted our times tables.”

To practise our KIRFs we use Finger Fit to answer quick-fire addition questions with our partners. This Burn2Learn activity is a great way to get our bodies and minds active! We focused on mental calculations to aid our addition and subtraction when we are using column methods. The quicker we can recall the facts, the easier it will be to work through the place value columns.

To demonstrate how the rule of commutativity works, we acted out scenarios where we could show the rule as an addition number sentence.

Year 4 has been working hard on their addition and subtraction skills. We used the column method to help us solve calculations with many exchanges. As we have been developing our skills, we used a fun and active way to challenge ourselves with an escape the classroom game. The children had to work in groups to solve the tricky clues and unlock the secret passcode to be able to get away!

We carried on our learning by converting between different units of measure. We converted kilometres to metres and metres to kilometres. Measuring and calculating length was fun in the classroom. The children used their rulers and had to carefully measure the length of the sides of their shapes. As we developed our ruler skills, we then used millimetres and centimetres to calculate the perimeter. We used our ruler and measuring skills in Art and Science too. In Art, we had to measure correctly to the closest centimetre to create our printing blocks the correct size. In Science, we drew accurate and clear diagrams of circuits.

We used our ruler and measuring skills in Art and Science too. In Art, we had to measure correctly to the closest centimetre to create our printing blocks the correct size. In Science, we drew accurate and clear diagrams of circuits.

Towards the end of term, Year 4 has been busy working on their multiplication skills. We found some quick and fun ways to practise our multiplication KIRFs. We used ‘Finger Fit‘ in a new way where we had to show a number on our fingers in the style of rock, paper, scissors. This way, we were sure to show the numbers at the same time and we had to quickly say our answers before our partner. Knowing the key facts helped us build on our prior knowledge as we explored how to multiply and divide with multiples of ten and by using all the other multiplication tables too.

Working out tricky multiplication questions also brought the need to explore division facts and use our maths knowledge and number facts to help us in making links to fact families. We worked on our fluency with multiplication facts and we also explored various representations as we solved questions. Our reasoning skills were also put to the test as we figured out how function machines worked and how we could use them to manipulate the numbers.

 

Science

This half term we will be learning about electricity. We will discover how electricity is generated and what the dangers are relating to electricity. The children will investigate which appliances run on mains electricity or batteries. They will construct their own simple circuits and identify its basic parts.

To explore the scientific vocabulary relating to electricity, we started by exploring the words and their meanings. We solved word searches, looked up the meaning of words and used the words in sentences to show we understood what they meant. We also discussed what appliances we can find around the house and we used our maths skills as we places the appliances in a Venn diagram. We sorted electrical appliances whether they used mains electricity, battery, both or neither.

Year 4 had a practical lesson on building electrical circuits. We learnt about complete and incomplete circuits and built our own, using batteries, wires and bulbs.

Some comments the children made:

“Ours lit up on the first go.”

“We had to switch our battery out because it wasn’t working.”

“We used double batteries so the bulb was very bright.”

Year 4 has been investigating what materials are conductors or insulators. We had to make sure our circuits were complete before we tested the different materials. We also used our maths knowledge of shapes and ruler skills to sketch circuit diagrams.

Art and Design

In Art and Design, we will begin to develop our printing skills. We will learn about the work of the Victorian artist William Morris and use his art to create designs in a similar fashion. Taking inspiration from our natural and built environments, we will make our printing blocks out of cardboard. After creating our printing blocks, we will be experimenting with repeating and rotating patters, various layers of print and different effects.

We celebrated Remembrance Day by creating poppy prints. We used plastic bottle tops to create the shapes of the poppies in red, purple, black or white. We linked our learning to history as we discussed the importance of Armistice Day and to RE as we read Bible Scriptures about love and peace.

Year 4 has been learning about William Morris’ art. We commented on artwork, using visual language and evaluated art whilst we expressed our likes and dislikes. After we made comparisons between various patterns, the children created their own design in a similar fashion. We took our inspiration from nature like William Morris.

We have been creating a design for our printing blocks to be able to print our own patterns in the style of William Morris. The children used large shapes with simple natural patterns to make sure their printing block will cover a 10×10 area of the printing paper. Some children made the following comments about their choices:

“I chose a flower because I liked its shape.”

“I wanted to make a wallpaper pattern out of tulips.”

Our designs has been turned into cardboard printing blocks so we could create our repeating patterns. The children used their maths measuring skills to create a 10×10 base for their blocks and they cut their designs out carefully.

After we created our printing blocks, Year 4 has had the chance to practise their printing skills. We used a template to make sure that the prints are clearly in repeating patterns. We had to be careful not to use too much paint and to lift the blocks off the paper carefully to create the same patterns.

Our finished pieces of artwork took a shape of repeating printing patterns. After the children created their work, they spent time evaluating the art. We made comments on what went well, what we liked about the artwork and how proud we were of the outcome. Following a growth mindset, we then discussed how we could make our work even better and what we might change if we had to print again. We also evaluated whether our designs were suitable enough and how we had to adapt as we created the printing blocks. We compared using bottle caps and cardboard and came to a conclusion about which was trickier to work with.

Design and Technology Workshop

Year 4 participated in a workshop-style day with creative topic discussions based on the Victorian era and the growth of industry and mechanisation. We learnt about famous automatons and the use of levers, winding mechanisms, pulleys and gears that have been used to create various products.

The children had to draw and measure accurately and then cut their cardboard pieces carefully, fit to purpose.

The children all created their own automatons inspired by the caterpillar from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. We worked with cardboard, hole punchers, plastic, wood, double sided tape, glue and we used pompoms to decorate our creations!

Afterward, we evaluated our work. We answered the following questions:

  1. What did you enjoy most about making your automaton?
  2. What did you find most difficult in the making process?
  3. How did you overcome the problems you had?
  4. How pleased are you with how your automaton looks and how your moving mechanisms work?
  5. What would you do differently next time?

Even though some of the automatons were not working perfectly by the end of our workshop, the children were incredibly resilient and they spent a considerable amount of time problem solving as they tested their moving mechanisms. 

Our growth mindset was evident from the children’s comments they had after they were finished with their creations:

“I overcame difficulties by not giving up.”

“Next time I will use bigger holes so it moves better.”

“I enjoyed most when we got to create the moving parts.”

“I overcame my problems by trying my best because practice makes perfect.”

Computing

This half term, we will be working on our presentation and algorithm skills using Keynote. The children will work with algorithms to create a maths quiz of their own. We will be asking open and closed questions as part of our quizzes. Debugging will play a big part of our learning. When we test each other’s maths quizzes, we will be able to fix links, images that are out of place or other animations.

Internet safety plays an important part in our Computing curriculum. This term, Year 4 discussed how keeping personal information secure is truly important and how we can tackle cyberbullying to keep ourselves safe online. We put great emphasis on Stop! Block! Tell! The children worked together on a reading comprehension task to find out even more about the importance to keeping safe online.

We linked our Computing to Maths this term. As a start to creating our maths quizzes, Year 4 discussed the difference between open and closed questions, also building on their English knowledge. We wrote down all of our own tricky maths questions that we wanted to create as a Keynote game.

After we worked on the different maths questions we wanted to ask, the children had time to work on Keynote and deepen their understanding of the features available. We had to create a quiz that used various slides and links to navigate. The children worked hard and created their own games for others to test.

Year 4 has been busy at work creating their maths quizzes. They spent time testing each other’s games. Following the top tips, they checked whether all the slides, links and other features worked. After spending more time adding more content, fixing slides, links and animations, the children evaluated their maths quizzes. Growth mindset is really important and so the children used self assessment and gave themselves a star, writing down what they were proud of. They also gave themselves a brick, reflecting on what they could add next time and how to make their quizzes even better. The children had to choose their favourite slide and explain what features they have included and what made them proud of their work.

Geography

Our focus will be on developing our map skills in Geography. The children will use the eight points of a compass to mark the directions of cities on the UK map. We will also use the grid lines on the maps to locate things on various maps.

Year 4 started their Geography learning by making connections to their own previous experiences. We previously learnt about the United Kingdom and its countries, counties, cities and towns. We discussed what experiences the children had. Where have they travelled when they went on holiday in the UK? Have they visited the coast? Which town or city have they visited most often? The children listed some key words to note down some of their experiences. Various weather phenomena played a great part in what the children could recall about their experiences and therefore we deepened our English knowledge and further explored various synonyms for the different weather words.

Previously, we used atlases for our learning as we explored different types of maps. But it was time to find out even more about maps. Therefore, we decided to do some reading around our Geography subject. The children chose some interesting non-fiction library books about maps and they recorded interesting facts and key subject specific vocabulary as part of their research.

We carried on with our learning about maps by exploring four-figure grid references. We learnt what the eastings and northings numbers are and where they can be found on a map. We then used this knowledge to find whether our animals lived inside or outside the borders of the country on the map.

History

Our topic is linked to History this half term. To kick-start our new topic on the first day back, Year 4 will take part in a 19th century style themed day. We will experience what a Victorian school day was like as we dress up as Victorian school children. We will deepen our knowledge and understanding about the lives of children throughout the Victorian times.

To kick-start our new Victorian topic on the first day back, Year 4 took part in a 19th century style themed day. To get into character, we dressed up as Victorian school children. We experienced what a Victorian school day would have been like as we had to obey strict rules, write on slates, chant our times tables and solve arithmetic problems related to Victorian money. We also had to use impeccable handwriting in our copy books, read old fashioned fables and find the moral of the stories.

What questions would you ask Queen Victoria? Some of the children’s responses were:

“Why did Queen Victoria wear black?”

“What did she think when she got the crown?”

“Did she like posing for paintings?”

Year 4 enjoyed drawing comparisons about Victorian and modern schools. We used our English descriptive skills to write creative expanded noun phrases to explain how teachers, school rules and punishments were different. To collect our ideas, we held a class brainstorming session to make links to our previous knowledge and experience of a Victorian school day.

Year 4 has been finding out what life was like for poor Victorian children who could not attend school. We read about what it was like to work in the mines, sweeping the streets and chimneys, working in big factories. We deepened our understanding on how hard labour affected the children. We used our English P.E.E. skills where we made our point, explained it and used evidence from the text to back it up.

Point – I think the worst of the jobs was working in the mines.

Evidence – The text says there could be cave-ins and explosions.

Explain – This suggests that children could get trapped under the rubble.

MFL

This half term, as part of our French learning, we will be exploring the world around us. We will be finding out about the geography of France and we will be comparing it to the UK. We will also research other French-speaking countries and see what interesting information we can find out about them.

We had some valuable practice of introducing ourselves and saying where we are from in French! We talked to our partners and then confidently shared our introductions with the class.

We learnt how to pronounce the different countries of the United Kingdom and their capitals in French.

Some comments the children made:

“Belfast is easiest to say.”

“I could match all the flags to the right country.”

Practising our translation skills was also important this term. The children read conversations in French that they had to translate to English. We learnt about how we can say which country of the Untied Kingdom we live in. We worked more on our pronunciation as we linked our learning to our Geography topic of the UK.

We carried on deepening our understanding of French sentences. We checked on a map whether we can mark the capital cities of the UK on a map in French. We had to be careful to spell the cities with capital letters and appropriate accent. Following this, we had to ensure our sentences make sense and the word order is correct.

 

Music

At the start of the half term, we will listen to musical pieces composed by Antonio Vivaldi. We will explore Vivaldi’s music that was designed to remind listeners of places and things in the world around them. The piece of orchestral music that we will take our inspiration from will be ‘Winter’ from ‘The Four Seasons’. We will then create our own ‘programme’ music to tell a story.

To make links to our previous learning relating to musical knowledge and skills, we tried to come up with a word or a phrase for each letter of the alphabet. The children were really creative and extremely pleased that they knew a fitting word that started with ‘x’!

As we were listening to Antonio Vivaldi’s Winter, we listed wintery weather words that described the music. We discussed what dripping icicles or the blustery wind might sounds like. We then moved the discussion on and reflected on how we might be feeling in the cold weather and what we might do to keep warm outside. Vivaldi’s music inspired us to write our winter poems with some lovely descriptive language.

We also created a dance moves to the music. We imitated the snowflakes falling, the blustery wind blowing and the icicles dripping with various movements.

Carrying on with our winter theme, we had great fun using body percussion to keep up with different rhythms and make our own music. Our dance routines are also getting better and better as we lose ourselves in the Christmas tunes!

PE

In PE, the children will be developing their skills in playing ball games. They will be exploring the different rules in sports like hockey, football, tennis or basketball. They will also learn about the importance of timing and being able to read game situations correctly.

Drill was the Victorian term for physical exercise. As part of our Victorian themed day, linked to our History learning, we did drill practice. We carried out a series of formal exercises such as marching on the spot, arm swinging, trunk bending and skipping. It helped us follow instructions, improve coordination and health. The lesson was led by the class teacher.

Some comments the children had:

“I thought we would play but we just did some marching.”

“Copying moves was fun.”

Our hockey skills were put to the test as we learnt more about the importance of rules and why rules exist in sports. We made sure to abide by those rules to keep ourselves and each other safe.

The children had fun practising ball games, especially dodgeball. They had to aim well by judging the distance and the speed of others. They also needed to use appropriate power to throw the balls and get a score.

PSHE

In PSHE we will explore the topic of identity, society and equality. We will discuss what it means to live in a democratic society and how laws are made. The children will vote for their school council representatives and learn about the work of their local council.

For our daily wellbeing check ins, we use four zones. The children choose and explain why they might be feeling blue, yellow or red and our aim is to get ourselves ready for learning and into the green zone most of the time!

We started with a written wellbeing check in as we came back to school. The children had to choose a blob and explain what their feelings were and how the blobs depicted those feelings. We had a lovely class discussion about emotions as a class as we tried to come up with an emotion for every letter of the alphabet. Needless to say we were unhappy with the letter x.

Some comments the children had:

“Can I leave ‘e’ off excited to get one for x?”

“Finding emotions starting with ‘a’ was easy.”

As we continued our lessons on friendships, we explored the positive attributes of friends and what it means to be a good friend. We discussed desirable and less desirable friendship traits, then we put them in order of importance using a diamond 9 shape. We also reflected on how we can become reliable, trustworthy and kind friends. As we completed our friendship flowers, we focused on what qualities we bring to our friendship groups.

Year 4 has been discovering the UK Parliament. We read about what parts the Parliament is made up of, how many members there are and what they do. We discussed how important debates are held in the House of Commons and how laws are also discussed. We looked at the House of Lords and how life peers are chosen. We learnt that the Monarch and the Prime Minister regularly meet.