Welcome to Class 4M–
Miss Mather’s Class
Spring Term 2019
Welcome back after the Christmas break. I hope you have had a well-deserved break over the half term and are ready for the exciting half term ahead. I can’t believe we’re into Spring Term 1 already! We have lots to look forward to during this half term so hope you are all ready to get stuck in!
The Autumn Term has been a busy one with lots of children working hard and really beginning to develop a very positive work ethic. We have enjoyed our most recent class text ‘The Dancing Bear’ by Michael Morpurgo and we have been thinking about how different characters might react in different situations. Whilst it is a challenging text, all children have engaged well and we have had a real focus on some of the adventurous vocabulary, thinking about how different characters might react in certain situations.
The term kicked off with a great History topic where we found out all about what it was like to live in the Stone Age, including role play activities, imagining we were the characters in the story. We even wrote our own ‘modern day’ sequel to the story! Our Art topic was linked to this theme and we discovered how Stone Age people created their cave paintings using natural materials – we even used these materials (berries, mud, sand and charcoal) to create our very own cave paintings. We even found out about modern day artists who have used similar techniques to develop their own paintings!
Our Geography theme was all about finding out about the United Kingdom, its human and physical features and culminating in a very ‘wet’ visit to Liverpool and Formby, where we were able to compare the different features at first hand. We were even fortunate enough to meet some of the rare red squirrel population of Formby – they were certainly out in force on that day – rain or no rain!
On the run up to Christmas we have worked very hard towards our Parr Hall performance, which is always a very special time for the children to be able to perform on stage and make their friends and family proud. We are certainly very proud that we can always rely on them to represent our school so well. Well done one and all!
A BIG thank you to you all for making sure that you continue to support your child with their reading at home – our reading challenge is proving to be a big success and the children are keen to make sure they read at least 3 times a week so they can be entered into our weekly reading raffle. Congratulations to everyone who has won prizes so far. Keep up the hard work!!
A big well done to anyone who has also been chosen so far as our ‘Handwriter’ or ‘Star’ of The Week. Keep trying hard and, if you haven’t been chosen already, your time will come! You are all stars in our eyes, so keep showing resilience and ambition and you will achieve all the things you want to achieve.
Our topics this term are:
- Science – States of Matter
- Art – exploring different printing techniques
- Geography – rivers and the water cycle
- History – Ancient Egyptians
- DT – levers and linkeages
- Computing – continuing with coding and looking at writing for different audiences, as well as using Logo
- RE – Judaism and Christianity (Easter)
- PE – Tag Rugby (with Warrington Wolves) and Dance
- MFL: Parts of the body, ask how you are feeling / exploring illnesses//jungle animals/weather
Our main core texts for English will be non-fiction texts about the Egyptians. These texts will also be used for our Guided Reading text. In addition, we will also be using ‘The Scarab’s Secret’ by Nick Would. Unfortunately this text is now out of print, but it is a super story and so we have decided to use it to base our English work on since we have previously achieved some great writing from it.
Your child will be provided with a school reading book which is banded according to their assessed level. It is important that they read this book at home because it allows us to carefully track their progress through carefully banded levels. However, we also encourage children to read other books/materials for their enjoyment and to further develop their skills and experiences of reading a wide range of books.
We expect everyone to read from their school reading book regularly- a minimum of three times per week. Also, please make sure that you update your planner when you have read. Any reading you do at home must be signed by an adult. This includes personal texts such as non-fiction and magazines as well as any Reading Plus tasks for those children using this intervention program. Children are expected to record the amount of times they have read every week on our class Reading Chart. Each week the children get the opportunity to win a prize for their reading efforts during our ‘Reading Raffle’. Thank you with your support with this.
Parents/carers: In order to develop your child’s understanding of their reading, it is advised that children are asked questions about their book. In the back of their planners is a list of questions that you can ask your child in order to help develop their comprehension skills. If you require any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
We will spend some time at the end of each week reflecting on what the children have achieved and setting a new target for the following week. Planners are to be signed weekly by parents/carers also. If parents/carers wish to send me a message, please put this in the planner and ask your child to alert me to it so that I may respond. Planners should be taken home and returned to school each day. As the year progresses, there are expectations that children will become more independent with this and they will be expected to remember the end of the day routines, such as putting their planners and Maths in Minutes books into their bags at home time. Please let me know if they are forgetting to do this.
Maths is taught in sets across the year group and homework is set by maths teachers. This half term, we will be covering multiplication and division and also fractions and decimals. If you would like a copy of the National Curriculum coverage for the year in maths, please just ask and I can sort this for you. It outlines all the objectives we aim to cover across the year and is helpful when you may want to support your child at home. The children will bring home their ‘Maths in Minutes’ tasks each night (not on Friday). Please support them with this task but let us know if there are any areas that they are struggling with so we can help them in school. These tasks should literally take no more than a few minutes each night and we will go through the tasks each day in school. Your child’s maths teacher will check the books regularly, although the children will self-mark during the lesson.
As ever, we continue our regular focus on the four operations (+, -, ÷ and x) during our ‘4 a Day’ morning maths activities that the children complete when they enter class. These activities are self-marked but checked regularly by the teacher.
Please ensure that your child continues to regularly practice their times tables – they are vitally important for fluency in all areas of mathematics. In year 4 the expectation is that all children will be able to recall all multiplication and division facts up to 12 x 12 by the end of the year! We have now purchased an online times table program that the children can access called ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’. This is an engaging and effective program to help them to learn their times table facts. More information about this and how to access it should already have been sent out. Please note: In 2019 all Year 4 children will be expected to take a statutory times tables test to assess against this expectation.
Year 4 children will initially have an English or Maths homework task set every week (alternately), usually on a Friday and due in on the following Wednesday. Spellings and spelling homework will also be sent out and we expect children to write a sentence for each spelling so that we can ensure that they understand how to use the particular word that they are learning to spell. These will be tested on Fridays and marked by the teacher.. Occasionally, children may be asked to complete a short activity relating to topic work or research a particular subject at home. In addition, we will send home a particular times table to learn each week which will be tested on Thursdays/Fridays.
It is very important that PE kits are in school every day. They should bring it in on Monday and take it home to be washed on Friday. We are timetabled to have two PE lessons per week but, as you can appreciate, timetables have to be flexible so the days may change. If your child wears their PE kit to an after school club, please ensure that they bring it back in the following day. If for any reason they cannot partake in our PE lessons, they are required to bring in a note of explanation from home.
We appreciate that there will be times when you want to speak to us, beyond the usual ‘chit chat’ at the door. Please can you ensure that if this is the case, you make a separate appointment since during morning times we are very busy meeting and greeting all the children and settling them independently and quickly into the school day. Registers also have to be completed by 9am prompt.
We would absolutely love to have parent/carers helping with reading – perhaps as one of our highly treasured ‘Better Reading Partners’. If you can spare the occasional half hour, please do get in touch!
I look forward to developing strong partnerships with all parents/carers and believe that this relationship is key to the success of your child at school. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or worries… or even if you have any questions.