Year 4

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We have made a very positive start to our Springwatch topic since returning from the half-term break.  Pupils are enjoying making observations about the first signs of Spring appearing in our school grounds and monitoring the weather.  We all enjoyed a wonderful session this week with the librarian from Elson Library, who came into school to share a book called 'The Lost Words' which has really engaged the pupils' imaginationsSome of our finished 'Lost Words' poems will go on display in Elson Library over the Easter Break.  In English we have been finding out about single-use plastics and how plastic pollution is affecting our planet.  The children have written some very good argument texts explaining the issues and what can be done.  We have also been reading 'The Wild Robot' and hope this will inspire them to write creative robot stories over the next few weeks. 
In Maths, the children have presented their weather data on Bar Charts and Line Graphs, and discussed the patterns shown - 'the weather has been very changeable' seems to be the commong view.
This term, Year 4 have been loving learning about their Romans and Celts topic and why the Romans wanted to invade Britain.  We have learned how both sides fought in battle and what weapons they used; how to form the Roman Testudo (tortoise) defensive formation and how to march like a Roman (dexter, sinister - right, left!).  Year 4 had a fabulous trip to Fishbourne Roman Palace, where the Celtic leader Togidubnus lived in great splendour, ruling for the Romans.  We were able to explore the museum containing the richest collection of mosaics in a domestic building in the UK, and a hypocaust (the hot air underfloor heating system the Romans invented0.  We also walked around the formal and medicinal herb gardens to get an idea of what the Romans ate while they were living in Britain.  During the workshop, the children made us extremely proud, eagerly and thoughtfully answering questions and demonstrating what they had learned in school.  They also had the chance to engage in several different activities, such as playing Roman games, solving Archimede's puzzle, writing using the Roman alphabet, mmaking mosaics, dressing up as Roman slaves, building a self-supporting arch with just stones and grinding wheat into flour between two heavy, rotating stones, ready to use in their 'cooking' in a mock up of a Roman kitchen.
In English we have written an interview with a Celtic girl, based on the book 'Cuda of the Celts', to learn all about her life.  We have also written a letter home in role as a Roman soldier, the night before a major battle with the Celts.  Currently we are exploring inspirational speeches using Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe as a model.  In Maths, we have refreshed our addition and subtraction skills in the context of length and now we are refreshing our division and multiplication skillis in the context of fractions.  We will finish off the term wiht Roman numerals, which the children have already shown an interest in.  In Science, we have been exploring what is meant by a healthy diet and studying our teety with our tongues!  We now know about different types of teeth and their functions.  We will be working with Mrs Hoskins to compare animal teety with human teeth shortly. 
In year 4 this half term the children have enjoyed learning to teach an alien how to make the well-known tasty earthling snack, a jam sandwich.  We were discovering everything that can go wrong if you're not specific enough with your instructions!  They made their own sandwiches, first in pairs to practise giving and following instructions using imperative (bossy) verbs and appropriate adverbs, and then wrote instructions for an alien.  Using a film clip called The Lighthouse, we have started our next unit of English work, acting out the scenes from when the lighthouse light goes out in a storm and a vast ship is approaching the threatening rocks.  In maths, we have been learning to tell the time, to the nearest minute, and to calculate time intervals.  This is tricky for children in this digital age as many of them are used to just reading digital clocks - please practise this at home if you have an old-fashioned analogue clock as it will reinforce their learning.  Our topic this half term is light and, so far, we have learened all about how Hindus celebrate this festival of light.  Pritesh, a lovely Hindu priest, came to visit from a Southamton Hindu temple to show and tell us how local Hindus celebrate.  We realised the way they celebrate is quite similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas; cleaning and decorating the house, having a feast , giving and receiving gifts, singing songs and lighting little lamps.  The children designed, built from clay and decorated their own little diva lamps to keep.  We will be learning about Hanukah and Advent next.
As the term progresses, the children have completed some lovely, creative writing based on the beautiful book 'The Mousehole Cat'.  They have used alliteration and similes and learned how to vary their sentence starters, which makes their writing even more interesting to read.  They have written a short diary entry based on their chosen part of the story, from the viewpoint of one of the characters; really imagining how they might have felt and acted in response to the events in the story.  Continuing to use their creative writing skills, they have enjoyed producing some fabulous winter senses poems, incorporatin rich description.  In Maths, the children have continued to work on their calculation skills and have been introduced to decimal numbers.  They have also learned how decimals and fractions are connected and can now add and subtract fractions.  Finally, they have learned how to plot coordinates on a Christmas version of the famous battleships game.  In Design and Technology, the children have designed and embroidered their own Christmas decoration using running stitch, laced running stitch and blanket stitch.  Although some children found sewing tricky to begin with, they showed great perseverance and determination to complete the task.  In Science, the children have been learning all about electricity.  They have learned how to make an electrical circuit with a range of components (bulbs, switches, etcc.) and can explain how a circuit works and some reasons why it might not work.  Many of the children enjoyed the pre-learning tasks about electricity, set for homework this term.
This term the children have enjoyed designing and painting their own dragons and have completed non-chronological reports about them.  Continuning our dragon topic, they are currently enjoying wirting an extract from an adventure story in which the characters have to catch their own dragon - based on our class reader 'How to Train your Dragon'.  This topic has involved lots of drama and work on rich vocabulary.
The children have loved their sessions with our Pompey coah, who has been teaching them new tennis skills.  In Science, we have been learning about materials and their properties through practical experiments and drama, such as acting out the water cycle.