Class Teachers: Mrs Whyte
Teaching Assistant: Mrs Jung
Click to download the Year 4 curriculum: Year 4 curriculum letter autumn 2019
Have a look below to see what we have been up to!
Wow what a start to Year 4. It was a pleasure to meet many of you at parents’ evening and to talk about your child and how they are doing in Year 4. Read all about some of the things your children have been doing and learning about below.
History – The Romans
On Monday 24th June Year 4 spent the day at Cranborne Ancient Technology Centre as part of our Topic learning on the Romans. We spent time in a Celtic Roundhouse, learning about a variety of ancient technologies such as fire-lighting and making and using animal hides. We also learned about weaponry and how Celts and Romans would have hunted for indigenous animals like boar and deer. Throughout the day children learned how to make cob-bricks which were used by the Romans to build their houses; they mined the clay, crushed it finely with a tamper, mixed it with sand, grass and water, before placing it in a wooden mould. They also learned how to use a bow and arrow to kill a boar for food and their hides – we have some budding archers in our midst with many making the 10 point shot! The adults even had a go though they weren’t quite as good. Their third activity was to turn their hand to blacksmithing. Each child took a turn working the bellows and then used the hammer on an anvil to work a piece of iron into a Roman knife. Before we left the site for the coach journey home we made sure we expended any final energy the children had left by putting them to work on a Roman water wheel, lifting water from the river and into a receptacle (as well as over some of them). Again the children were insistent that the adults have a go and laughed lots when they all got soaked. All of these activities were very physical and needed much attention, teamwork and effort. It was a wonderful day with lots of smiles and good fun and we can quite safely say that our children would have happily survived in ancient times as they worked with much effort so would have been a useful addition to any Iron Age or Roman settlement.
Enterprise week saw Year 4 using their many and varied talents to take a £40 investment from the PTA to make a profit that will be reinvested in school.
After brainstorming many ideas and carrying out market research Year 4 decided on decorating biscuits. Throughout the rest of the week we worked on many business skills such as costing, budgeting, purchasing, design and technology, marketing, production and sales. We successfully decorated and sold 190 biscuits, selling out way before the end of trading. We were also very lucky that Finley donated a beautiful plate to Year 4 that he had hand painted, and we raffled that off. All children had a fantastic week and were able to draw on many talents to make a profit of £81.60 which went towards the whole school profit of £487.97 after repaying the PTA their original investment.
It was wonderful to see the children rising to the challenge and being so enthusiastic to make our venture a success. They worked cooperatively and supportively to make it a week to remember.
With a gap in the rain this week Year 4 took maths outside. Working in pairs or threes, children had 20 questions to find and 20 minutes to answer them in. Questions covered many topics including fractions, decimals, ordering, division and multiplication. All collaborated really well showing good teamwork and maths skills. This was a wonderful revision activity of some key learning prior to our assessments next week.
Music – Ukulele
Our 10 weeks with Pili learning the ukulele was such fun and really showed a side to many children we had not seen. Children learned to play the ukulele (remembering the names of the strings and the different ways to make sound), they composed their own piece, learned about rhythm and their learning culminated in a concert where they all performed wonderfully, with many children introducing the pieces they played to their audience.
Science – States of Matter
Science continued last term with experiments. Children were looking at various solids and liquids in groups to discuss their properties and see if they could identify what was what. They touched, poured, smashed and smelt many items including vinegar, pasta, metal, milk, honey and wood. At the end children shared their thoughts on the properties of solids and liquids and they were using some very scientific terms to do this. We then looked at the changing states of matter and children made some lovely observations about water in its various states starting with multi-coloured ice cubes and ending in gas / water vapour. We also had lots of fun taking the temperature in different places in the classroom.
History – The Romans
We kicked off our new Humanities topic, The Romans, with an amazing VR (virtual reality) session where we explored Roman life from a Roman’s eye view. We learned about life as a Gladiator, what their homes were like (many children were astute enough to identify that their life was not so different to ours despite the fact that they lived in Britain over 1700 years ago), what kind of building technology they used and how they traded (in shops and markets like we do today).
Quotes from the children:
“It made me feel like I was inside the world of the Romans.” Charley
“You could see catapults and weapons up close.” Joseph
“It was wonderful seeing what Roman houses were like, the food they ate.” Hollie
“I was kind of scared because it was so high on the aqueduct!” Naya
“In the gladiator bit one of the swords was right in my face, it was really scary!” Shay
“At first, it’s weird but when you get used to it you can see all round.” Alice L
Reading in Year 4
In Year 4, as in every class across St Josephs, we are having a real focus in helping children to improve their reading. One main focus is to increase the frequency with which children are reading. All children are silently reading a book of their choice, 2 or 3 times a day. Mrs Jung and Mrs Groves (our lovely class volunteer) are trying to hear as many children read out loud every week as possible and we have class reading time where one of the class adults reads to them. We have just finished, and loved, Stormbreaker, where we heard of Alex Rider’s adventures. We stopped regularly to talk about the vocabulary being used and what predictions we can make about the next page / chapter.
We have created a cosy reading corner in our classroom where children can go and have a look at our books and take 5 minutes out of the day to read in comfort. Demand is high so priority goes to our ‘Stars of the Week’!
We are really grateful of your support at home in hearing your children read and have been so pleased with the number of children who have access books and completed quizzes on Oxford Reading Buddy. The number of returned book marks is a sign of their love of reading and also the love of competition to see who can get the most green cards for home reading by the end of Year 4. Currently, Alice is our top home reader. If you are looking for some new authors and titles to broaden the range of books on your bookshelves at home the following website has a good selection, some familiar titles and some newer. I will be trying to get hold of some of these for our lovely new reading corner.
Professional cooking demonstration and hands-on session
On 31st January we welcomed Mary Reader and her team, Ian, Susan and Gilly, into St Joseph’s to work with our Year 4 and 5s. Our morning started with a demonstration from Ian who made a delicious looking, smelling and (most importantly) tasting lamb and rice dish while Susan was making some yummy sugar free biscuits (I know what you are thinking but all of our children loved them!). Three kitchen stations were set up in the hall, each for a different meal from around the world.
At the first station children were making Spanish omelette and a tomato and pomegranate salad; the second station saw children making an Asian pork stir-fry and the final station was for a sea-bass tagine from Turkey. Children got the opportunity to cook at all three stations which involved them chopping ingredients (some familiar some new to them – like dill and pomegranate), adding them to the pans and stirring their ingredients thoroughly. The most fun part of the morning for us all was the tasting of the 3 dishes they cooked. Most loved the new dishes and wolfed down their servings – a few were unsure of the new tastes but all tried everything and were very discrete if they didn’t enjoy the flavours!
Throughout the morning Mary and the chefs were educating our children about the different food they were eating and the food groups they fell into. We also learned about the importance of a balanced diet and for vegetarians we talked about some sources of protein to ensure their muscles and bodies could grow properly. They were also learning about the different vitamins in food and how they are all beneficial to our bodies in different ways.
I was very impressed with the level of food and nutrition knowledge many had and they were answering some tough and challenging questions from Mary. Many also asked very interesting and pertinent questions of the team about the foods they were handling and the techniques needed to chop food up safely.
All in all it was a fantastic morning that engaged and enthused every single child and adult involved. I was immensely proud of year 4 and would like to thank those parents who gave up their morning to support us and help with chopping and washing up!
Please see the recipes for the dishes the children created here: Primary School Cookery Days 2019
In R.E., during the period of Advent, the children have been retelling the story of some of Jesus’ different ancestors and looking at his titles and exploring their meanings. Please see below some great examples of work from Year 4 pupils:
Art – Egyptian masks
Please see our pictures of the wonderful Egyptian masks Year 4 have made in our art classes.
Wow what a nativity we put on for you all. Hope those of you that got to come to a perfomrance enjoyed watching it as much as the children enjoyed putting the production on for you. If you are anything like us you are still humming the songs now! All of the classes involved did St Joseph’s proud – and made us laugh.
As part of the ‘Children Fit for Life’ campaign Year 4 have been involved in trying to ‘Run to Paris’. Every day we run laps of our playground, record our scores and then see how close we are to getting to Paris. The children love this part of the day and it is clear we have some great runners – so keep your eyes peeled at Sports Day in the summer or you will miss them. Even children with injuries or who are not great runners take part and jog / limp their way around at least 2 laps to be part of this whole school initiative.
Maths – times tables
Our key focus in Maths in Year 4 is the mastery of our times tables. Therefore, we are doing lots of different activities each week to ensure that we know all of them and that we improve our recall speed. We have a weekly 3 minute test, children love playing ‘Times Table Bingo’, we have sung songs and played many games. The children have also made wonderful posters for the wall in class and at home.
Science – Living Things and Their Habitats
Science has started with us all being very active. We have been outside on a bug hunt to locate some invertebrates and discuss their habitats, they have completed branching database to understand the kinds of questions scientists have to ask to classify animals. This week we looked at the work of microsculpturist, Levon Biss, and have made some large scale drawing and paintings of invertebrates. These are currently on display in our classroom.
Act of Worship
October is the month of Mary. She is also known as the untier of knots. In the first week of the month we talked about worries that people may have across the world. We then looked closer to home with every child writing down something they are worried about. We each took a ribbon and tied it to our fence outside in the hope that Mary to symbolise Mary taking our worries away from us. We all said the Hail Mary together to take our prayers to her.
P.E. – Rugby
Year 4 have been lucky to have a team come in from Rippa Rugby come into school this term to work with us during our outdoor rugby module. The children are really working hard on improving their skills with specialist rugby teachers and. They are also having so much fun running around chasing Mr Curran in a ‘Hula Hula’ skirt (aka a tag belt) whilst wearing their own ‘skirts’.
Our first swimming session was on 18 September. All children remembered their swimming bags and packed lunches (thanks to all at home in your help with this) and we boarded our coach full of excitement. The first lesson was an assessment and when not in the pool all children behaved beautifully. Week 2 saw the proper swimming lessons start and we are very impressed with the efforts of the less confident swimmers to master their strokes and in the natural ability of some (there may be a call up to the England swimming squad for a few). We are really looking forward to seeing the progress over the remaining lessons.
Literacy – Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
Year 4 received an email from Miss Tharme in Year 2 telling us about how some of the children in her class were scared of wolves because all of the stories they had read were of them always being big and bad. So we decided to investigate further to see if this was the truth. The children found out some amazing facts about them and decided that we should always respect them as one of God’s creations and not fear them because actually they are not really that mean to humans! To share this with Year 2 we have created some wolf Fact Files which we will be presenting to the Year 2’s soon. Over the next 2 weeks we will be looking at some of these traditional tales from the other side, and children will be writing the Three Little Pigs story, but will tell the story from the wolf’s side. The children have been so engaged and enthusiastic about this topic that they have done some fantastic homework pieces on wolf facts and have produced some wonderful drawings.
Art – Egyptian Masks
Last week was the very messy, papier mache start, to making our Egyptian death masks. We first looked at the process of mummification that Egyptians carried out and talked about the purpose of Egyptian death masks (so that a spirit was able to find the correct body and re-enter it after death). Then was the making… lots of balloons, glue and strips of paper later we have the building block of the masks. Photos will follow over the next few weeks.
RE – Creation
This RE module has been creation where we have revisited the creation story and we reminded ourselves of the importance of looking after God’s creation. Year 4 came up with some wonderful ideas to protect the world, which I hope they are following through on at home – ideas included: turning lights off as they were leaving a room; not leaving rubbish at the beach; switching taps off when the water is not needed.