Year 4 - Beech & Elm
Welcome to Year 4!
18 March 2022
Year 4 have been getting Greek this week, as we introduced our ancient Greece topic. It was great to see how much some of the children already knew about Greek myths and gods. We spoke of the importance of Greek vases and how they told stories. The children then designed their own after some fun retelling the story of Theseus and the Minotaur with drama. In science, we tested which materials were the best for conducting or insulating an electrical current by making our own circuits and swapping out the materials. Unsurprisingly to some, the paper clips were the best conductor, although the children discovered that the more they added to the chain, the weaker the current got. In English we had great fun writing poems about the moon and we were really impressed with what the children managed to come up with. Some magical metaphors were included, like the moon being a shining pearl or a guiding light.
3 March 2022
Flying the Flag
Last week saw Year 4 end their diversity topic with a parade to celebrate their uniqueness! We were inspired to do this because of our reading of the book Pride which is the story of how the pride flag came to be. Each child had a flag which displayed various symbols that meant something to them. They also wore badges that showed similar themes. As we marched along the children sang along to Proud by Heather Small. It was a great occasion and a reminder that the best way to celebrate your individuality is with others!
During STEM week we were charged with investigating the origins of the hot air balloon. We designed and tested our own in class, evaluating how to improve our designs with each prototype created. The children also learnt about Sophie Blanchard, a famous balloonist who pushed the boundaries of safety to reach for the sky!
11 February 2022
Year 4 have started a new topic last week called Pride. We are using the book Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag as inspiration for our diversity topic. So far, we have read the book to better understand the dream that one man had for a better world: that everyone should have equality, love, hope and pride. We have thought about this message whilst listening to True Colours by Cyndi Lauper and completing some mindfulness colouring of these four words.
We have looked at the range of flags associated with the LGBQT+ community. This has led to us designing our own identity flags which celebrate our individuality. We will make these after half term and then fly them at our parade around the school grounds at the end of our topic.
While Elm class have been swimming, Beech class have also started learning a dance routine to the song Together by Sia. We are trying to copy the dance in the music video, which is choreographed by B-Wild from Vietnam. It is fast but very fun to do!
Lastly, we have started composing some music with instruments for our parade using rhythms based on words associated with our topic. The children generated these through discussion about the mood we wanted the music to create in our listeners and what mood would be appropriate for a parade that 'celebrates being me'. Some of these included: joyful, unique and accepting. We will also be learning the song Proud by Heather Small to sing at our parade too.
21 January 2022
Music and Melting
Year 4 have been licking their lips this week in science as they discovered the melting point of chocolate. First the children looked at the effects of their own body temperature on the chocolate before conducting an experiment with water at different temperatures to see when the solid turned liquid. Luckily for all involved we had some chocolate left to taste test at the end too!
In English, we have been exploring the picture book Arthur and the Golden Rope, which has given us lots of opportunities for writing but also acting and exploring characters too. The children have created freeze frames representing the villagers’ reactions to an attack on their home, have had interviews with the characters and have also learned more about Iceland, where the story is set. Music has played a big part in our week since the children returned for the new term, with the genres of Irish folk, opera, circus music and flamenco listened to and appraised. So far, the firm favourite is the Irish folk music, although we do have some opera fans as well!
21 December 2021
Year 4 are certainly feeling festive after Decoration Day! The children did a great job of creating mini-bobble hats and woollen Christmas trees to hang up on our school tree and take home. In English, sides were taken as we wrote about five different European cities, with the aim of the children being to persuade people to go to their city over any of the others. In the lead up to Christmas we have also been looking at another religious celebration, Diwali, as part of our whole-school Interfaith Week. Learning about the five days of Diwali, writing poems about them and making lanterns was great fun. Finally, it was great to be able to go and sit with the children for Christmas dinner and chat about what plans they had over the holidays. We look forward to seeing them in the New Year, but for now, Merry Christmas!
3 December 2021
Our new question for this side of the half term is 'Which Capital city in Europe would you most like to visit and why?'. To answer this question, in English we have been writing a persuasive leaflet, convincing the reader they should visit and explore the attractions in London. We have looked at features such as emotive language, alliteration, idioms, and exaggeration. As a part of our creative curriculum, in art the children have each chosen an iconic landmark from around Europe to create a silhouette of, and then will be designing a beautiful background to accompany it. In geography we have been working with the atlases to identify countries in Europe, their capital cities, and their flags. It's been wonderful to hear from the children in the class who have family from across Europe and to get their input into the difference in culture. We look forward to doing this more in the build-up to the Christmas holidays and into the new year!
12 November 2021
Stortford Time Travellers
Year 4 travelled back in time to kickstart this half-term, with a visit to the South Mill Arts Complex and the Bishop's Stortford museum. There they learned all about the history of the town, with a focus from the 1800s up to the present day. Comparing how things have changed through time and the reasons for that, as well as listening to stories about influential figures in the town's past helped the children to discover what made Stortford the town it is today. It was particularly interesting to see how the town had grown over the last 90 years and to see which old buildings still stood. They then embarked on an afternoon stroll around the town, playing the part of history detectives as they looked out for signs of centuries past. The Corn Exchange, The Black Lion and The George Hotel all had stories to tell, and it was fascinating to hear them. The children will now be using their facts in a presentation to show what they learned, and we look forward to sharing this with you at the end of the topic. The children were very well behaved on the trip and represented the school well.
In science, the children have started to learn about how sound travels from its source to the ear using soundwaves and vibrations. In English, we are studying and writing newspaper reports, based on the book The King Who Banned the Dark, complete with quotes from angry locals, pictures and a focus on 'who, what, when, where and why/how?' We look forward to completing these over the next week.
22 October 2021
We have been doing lots of writing in Year 4. We have read the dilemma story, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, which was all about a man coming into the rainforest to cut the Kapok tree down. All the living things that inhabit the rainforest whispered reasons for why he should not cut down the tree that might persuade the man to change his mind. Inspired by this, we did some drama and thought of our own reasons why he should not do this, based on our learning about the rainforests. We then wrote our own versions of this story. Some of us even changed the dilemma, based on the other threats to the rainforest that we have found out about this half term. To test our persuasion skills even further, we have also written a letter to the man, in-role as one of the creatures that lives in the rainforest, giving our top three reasons why he should not cut down the tree. Our persuasive skills have become even better as a result of doing this work, so watch out parents!
In the last newsletter, we told you about our upcoming end of topic presentation. We have now completed our Newsround-style report using green-screen technology. Each presentation demonstrates what we have learnt about the importance of the Amazon to the future of our planet. These recordings are now on Seesaw for parents and children to view together.
To end our first half term, we have had Arts Week, themed around nature. To begin, we found out about a famous artist called Andy Goldsworthy who uses nature to make art. After doing some research, we then planned our own artwork before going out onto the field. We worked in groups to make our own art using the things we could find around us and built it on the same site we found them, just like Andy Goldsworthy. You may even still see some of it on the field now!
We have also explored different poems with animal themes. At the end of the week we will be performing the poem ‘Dog’ by Ted Hughes using different performance techniques such as actions, varying the number of people saying the lines and repeating certain lines. We also explore the poem ‘The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog’ by Allan Wolf and compared it with the poem ‘Dog’. We noticed the rhyming structures and used these poems as inspiration to write our own poem with an animal theme.
The Year 4 Team would like to take this opportunity to thank the children for all their hard work this half term and the parents for their continued support. We wish you all a safe and restful half term break and look forward to seeing you all in November.
1st October 2021
Since the last newsletter, we have been very busy in Year 4. In geography, we have been learning all about the different types of rainforests in the world but our focus has been on the Amazon, a tropical rainforest. We have explored the different layers, both what they are called and the types of animals that live there. We are very pleased with our ‘lift the flap’ work that presents what we have found out!
To complement our learning about the layers of the rainforest, we have explored why the rainforest is so vital to the world. We have found out that the Amazon is known as ‘the lungs of the Earth’ due to how much of the world’s oxygen it produces, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and other nastiness in the air. Very clever and important functions! Unfortunately, we have discovered that there are also many threats that the rainforest faces, particularly deforestation. We have discussed ways we can protect the rainforest and written promises on leaves to add to our classroom kapok tree display. Next, we will be using this information in our end-of-topic presentation by creating a Newsround-style report using green screen technology to show what we have learnt about the importance of the Amazon to the future of our world.
In art, we have been inspired by Dina Farris Appel’s watercolour jaguar, which shows a reflection of a forest fire in its eye and a tear falling. We wanted to recreate our own version of it, so to begin,we practised our sketching techniques of different animal eyes by looking closely at the shapes and the patterns of the fur or skin around the eye. Then we selected our chosen animal and sketched it onto watercolour paper, before adding colour using watercolour pencils and water. We now just need to add some green leaves to make it look like the animal is hiding in the bushes, peering out at the forest fire. We are very proud of our work so far and hope you are too.
17 September 2021
'Me in a Bag'
The Year 4 team have been very impressed with the way the children have started settling into Year 4. So that we could get to know each other, the children were asked to bring in a bag with three items that represented them. Then, they showed their class these items and explained what they meant. The children then wrote about their items and have presented this beautifully for display in the classrooms.
The Amazing Amazon
At the start of our first full week back, we received a letter. We were very excited and speculated that it might have come from Father Christmas! We decided however, that it was more likely to be connected to our new topic, ‘Why is the Amazon Rainforest so vital to the world?’ As the envelope opened, we could see a logo and the top of the letter said,
It looked very important and we listened carefully as the letter was read to us. It gave us a mission, if we were concerned enough to accept it – we decided that we were! We would like to tell you about the mission we were given by the Planet Protector Academy and how we are going to complete it… but we fear we may have said too much already! All we can say to the people that want to harm our planet is HANDS OFF!