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!

 

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.

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 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!

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!

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 and 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!

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.

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.

Computing

This half term, we will be working on our coding skills using Scratch. The children will work with algorithms to create a maths quiz of their own. We will be coding quiz questions and debugging our programming as we upgrade our coding with animations, effective sounds and catchphrases.

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.

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.

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.”

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.