Another whirlwind three weeks has passed by with Seals contending with a very hot classroom; they have been extremely understanding and resilient in the heatwave and subsequent monsoon-like humidity and rain. It helped consolidate our earlier learning about the water cycle!
Our English text, Sugarcane Juice, has proved very fruitful (no pun intended!) and the children have enjoyed learning about Pakistan and its culture. We have written mini playscripts and used drama and mime to enact some scenes, and the children are writing alternative endings to the adventure.
In Maths, we are learning about Geometry and Space, moving from angles to shapes - regular and irregular polygons - and have been making a range of different shapes with straight sides while exploring the properties of shapes.
Our Science has moved on to the amazing work of scientists themselves. Having previously looked in depth at SIr David Attenborough's work on conservation, we then learnt about Gerald Durrell's work in Madagascar, helping to save many unique species. The children have a wonderful curiosity about how the natural world works and we often discuss how to keep it safe; this was also the theme of Science Week in which they had fun coming up with ideas and making posters of their questions for Professor Sir Brian Cox.
We also finished our Electricity unit with a bang - making light bulbs and buzzers work in simple circuits. Building on this we explored the life and work of Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and worked to improve communication for deaf people. We have learnt a little sign language so see if the children can remember how to sign 'Please' and 'Thank you!'
Building on our work on Living Things, we have been making art inspired by insects and are completing some beautiful mosaics based on Roman ones.
Once again, a thank you to everyone who is hearing their child reading (aloud please), practising spellings, times tables, number facts and number bonds with them. All these really help fluency and proficiency in Literacy and Maths. There is always so much to say about our lessons and often the children remember things that have happened incidentally - it is all learning and your interest and involvement is vital to helping them become independent and confident learners. Finally, we have been thinking and talking a lot about leaving Year 4 and going up to Year 5; looking at their work from September and reflecting back, the children are amazed at how much they have actually learnt in such a challenging year. Be very proud of yourselves, Super Seals!
The second half of term has gone in a flash, and as we approach the final term of the year, the children cannot believe how fast it has gone. They love their learning and are often surprised it is the end of the day!
In English, we continued to work on the wonderful text, The Iron Man by the poet Ted Hughes. We created a character description, an advert and a persuasive letter, as well as group work predicting endings and alternative scenarios. We have acquired many POW words and improved spelling greatly through this rich text. Finally, we made a beautiful collage of the Iron Man and the Space-bat-angel-dragon.
Maths has continued our decimal learning, with all children making good connections with fractions and money, which has supported their understanding. Next term we will be working on geometry and position, shape and space.
Geography has been a highlight as the Seals have loved finding out about their local area by looking at a topographical Ordnance Survey map of the Gravesend area and also a road atlas of Kent. They finished off this unit by drawing their own map of the settlement of Singlewell and decided it is very well resourced with all amenities very close by - a lovely place to live!
Every day is full and fun, but we also manage to do French - learning how to say what we like to do - and RE, in which we have learnt more about the colourful and joyful Hindu religion.
Computing has seen us gaining editing skills, using word to make posters and tables.
In PE, many children are showing what good team members they can be. Please can you check your children's PE footwear and kit over the break as a number have been arriving in non-uniform kit and/or without proper trainers or plimsolls. Slips and trips can occur without the correct footwear. You can check the school website for PE and uniform requirements.
I know parents are often very keen to support their children's learning at home, and apart from the upcoming Maths learning, just a gentle reminder about reading aloud every night (to ensure they are reading with expression), and practising key number facts and skills like times tables, number bonds and practical Maths in measuring, cooking, shopping and other daily activities.
As we head into half term, there may finally be some warm weather on the way, so make sure that children are prepared with a hat and apply sun cream before coming to school.
As always, it is a real pleasure for us to be on the learning journey with your children, and I hope you all have a lovely, happy, safe and refreshing break.
See you in June, Super Seals!
Once again we have had a busy and happy start to a new term after a lovely Easter holiday. The Seals returned after a restful break, as the previous three weeks after the end of lockdown had been surprisingly tiring! However, we are now all used to early starts again, a full day of learning with friends and our fingers have got used to writing again. Well done Super Seals!
So far this term the children have been learning about decimals in Maths, which they have taken to really well, building on their knowledge of fractions.
In Science we have been learning about living things and classifying animals, while finding out about their habitats. Did you know that humans are the only species which can adapt to live anywhere on earth?
Computing has been great fun as the Seals have mastered the QWERTY keyboard, practising their typing skills, and also finding out how to edit a poster - changing font, size, colour, alignment, and inserting pictures. The poster was advertising a cake sale, which they all want to do soon!
Geography has been all about Settlements, and everyone was amazed to find that we are so close to a brand new town, Ebbsfleet, established in 2014. Having learnt that many of the villages, towns and cities in the UK had been founded by invaders, whether Roman, Anglo Saxon, Viking or Norman, they discovered how to identify these by place names.
In RE, we have been discovering all about the beautiful and colourful traditions of Hinduism, while an entirely new regular subject is French. Seals have learnt how to talk about their school, their classroom, and their pencil case, in French, with lovely accents!
However, the highlight for everyone has been reading The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The children have really loved making 'Wanted' posters, writing and illustrating his capture, and writing a letter of apology from the little boy who lured him into a big hole. Mrs Couchman and I have really enjoyed looking at all the fabulous work - it has been such fun!
Finally a mention about the fabulous resilience all the children showed about doing their assessments; everyone was so sensible, calm and mature and managed to cope with three days of quizzes. The Bank Holiday was a well-timed rest.
Once again, thank you to all the parents who are working so hard to help the children catch up and consolidate their learning. Reading at home is as always so crucial, and it is also important to do the homework, which helps reinforce their classroom learning. It would be great if you could also help the children to tell the time. Perhaps they could also use Maths as they help you shopping and look at receipts to see decimals in action.
Well done Super Seals, keep up the brilliant work!
None of us can believe that we are still in March and we only returned to school just over three weeks ago. We talked about this in class and the Seals said they think we have been back for ages, which means that they have settled back into routines and behaviour for learning really quickly.
In this half of term, we started learning about fractions in Maths, which the Seals have really enjoyed and have become very good at - we are now working out fractions of sets of objects.
In English we have had a fun new unit: The Bogeymen and the Trolls Next Door, which is a long narrative poem. After reading it, we performed and recorded it as a class, then wrote character descriptions and finally, our own sequel to the story. The plot involved the children from the poem setting up a band and suddenly a catastrophe occurring; some super clever Seals invented a story line about an electrical failure, bringing in their Science learning.
In History, we have continued to find out about Victorian life and one of the most shocking facts was that children as young as four were sent to work. Find out more fascinating facts from the Seals.
In RE, we have been learning about Christianity and the Easter Story, while in art we have been preparing for Easter with mindfulness colouring and design, and also made a piece of land art using flora from the landscape. The children have been very observant about sticky buds, smooth bark, petal colours, leaf shapes and birdsong.
This is what one Seal wrote in their Thinking Journal at the end of the week:
I learnt how to add fifths in Maths and in English I wrote a story but still need to edit it. The skills that I gained were how to subtract and add fractions. When I wrote my story, my narrative skills came back again - to think about it, I am quite good at story telling! I found out that anything is possible if you try. Just say "I can do it" and you will be able to do it.
I discovered that I can be hard working by trying my best;
I say "Try my best and forget the rest."
It is wonderful to see the Seals understanding how they learn and feeling proud about their achievements and effort.
We are noticing many Seals becoming much better at multiplication facts and applying them in Maths - please keep practising the times tables, especially the 6, 7, 8, 9, 12s. Quite a few children also used Lockdown to read more and some have told us about strategies they have found useful for remembering what they have read, like summarising each page, or chapter, after they have read it, or looking up new words in a dictionary as they find them. Again, your support in reading with the Seals is invaluable, so please always make time for that precious half hour with a story book and remind the children to ask you to sign their Reading Record booklets.
With the recent hot weather has come a reminder that sun hats, sun cream and water bottles are really important. Only water in bottles and please apply sun protection at home. Summer uniform dresses and shorts are comfortable and cool, and it would be great if you could check the PE kit conforms to uniform regulations and is not inappropriate. Now that shops will be re-opening, we expect everyone to be able to obtain new shoes and clothes if required.
As ever, Mrs Couchman and I have had great fun learning with the Seals and thank you all for your support for the children's learning. However, we too are looking forward to a break, and want to wish you all a very happy and safe Easter holiday, hopefully re-uniting with family and friends.
We're back! The whole class, adults and children, were so excited to see each other on Monday 8th March after, in some cases, over three months! Mrs Couchman and I, and of course Mrs Brown and the other teachers, were all so amazed at how tall and grown up the Seals are now! It was really lovely to see the positive changes as well - you have all become more mature, patient, resilient and independent while working at home.
Boxes of Home Learning was brought in and it has been a delight to look at it all. As much as possible of this will be put on display. Once again, a huge and heartfelt 'Thank You' to all the tremendous home teachers who have supported Seals superbly through this difficult time.
In the last two weeks of Home Learning, we began to prepare for coming back to school, and while online, met a new pupil joining Seals this term. We worked this term on statistics in
Maths, as you all learnt how to make beautifully drawn and labelled line graphs, bar charts and pictograms. Presentation in Maths has really improved and we hope this will last!
We also learnt about narrative poetry in English, doing a series of shorter poems about everyday life, and then a much longer Victorian one. Once again, you made wonderful story maps of Hiawatha, bringing into them all your Geography learning about landscapes, rivers, lakes, mountains and forests.
In Science, we have started learning about electricity, which was first invented and developed in the Victorian era. We have tried to do a lot of cross-curricular learning, linking English and Science to our current History topic, the Victorians. We have already discovered what a tumultuous era it was, with great wealth, numerous inventions and discoveries, and yet a lot of poverty and cruelty, sadly even to children in school.
Finally, back at school with a huge sigh of relief, we are all settling in again, having welcomed our new friend to the class. Everyone has had fun re-establishing friendships and making new friends whether their best friend left school, a new person arrived, or we discovered how much we like the class 'next door' - the Sea Otters! Behaviour for learning has been fantastic and people have been so kind to each other; many have already received Pupil of the Day, or other achievement certificates.
In our first week we have started Fractions, which everyone is enjoying, a new unit of English, The Bogeymen and the Trolls Next Door, and we have been doing a project about Global Warming. One of the strangest facts we found out was that even making a cup of tea can damage the ozone layer! The first week has been tiring and towards the end, a few weepy moments, but overall, being back to school is extremely cheerful and productive.
Welcome to the last Seals news update - phew! You have made it to the end of Term 3. As you all know, it was totally unexpected that we would be learning online the whole term, but how fantastic you have all been! Both children and parents have risen to the challenge magnificently, with enormous good nature to ensure that your learning continues to take place.
It has not been easy for any of us, and yet you have all logged on to Purple Mash daily, checked what work you have to do, and done your very best. Most of you have had the generous support of mum, dad and other adults to explain, print, check work, and generally motivate you, while some have had to work very independently. I have seen you all maturing in your attitude to learning and I am also really impressed by the quality and quantity of work.
It's really encouraging that all of you have found things to appreciate about your learning - everyone has told me when submitting their work that they liked it, had fun, or really enjoyed it. For me, Mrs Couchman and the other teachers, that makes it all worthwhile because learning should be fun now and then you will become lifelong learners.
You have also all become experts at presenting your work, responses and feedback in different ways. We have overcome the teething troubles of uploading work. Some people have been sending video or PowerPoint presentations in addition to photos and documents, or also using the templates in Purple Mash under 2Publish. You have all become professional at muting and unmuting yourselves and following protocols in Zoom meetings, and have shown great patience when things do not always go quite as they should.
So here are some highlights of the learning you have been doing, whether the wonderful writing from Into the Forest, or the creative river models in Geography, or the biographies of famous inspirational people which you all like writing, and of course, you all having fun in the beautiful (but disruptive) snow days we have had.
Have a wonderful half term, be kind to your adults as they have been working hard too, and enjoy Chinese New Year, Valentines Day, and pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I and Mrs Couchman miss you all and look forward to hopefully seeing you all soon. Stay safe and well Super Seals!
What a start to the year! Mrs Mellen and Mrs Couchman were so upset not to welcome all our super Seals back after Christmas; at the start of a new term, we really looked forward to seeing you all again and hearing all your news. It seems a long time ago now, but we hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year despite the restrictions.
Luckily we are all getting used to the new online way of learning, although we know it is totally different from learning face to face and collaboratively from each other. You are all so good at sharing your own and listening to each other's ideas, that is something we cannot replace with our learning portal, Purple Mash.
You have all been working incredibly hard with your parents, despite distractions at home and your adult’s caring and work commitments. You have shown great resilience in just 'having a go' and not giving up. The Maths videos and worksheets seem to be going well, and you did great learning with multiplication and now division. Keep on practising number facts like times tables and number bonds.
In English, I have been very impressed with the effort many of you have made in handwriting; much neater with letters formed correctly, nice tall ascenders and descenders hanging below the line. Everyone enjoyed “The Firework Maker's Daughter,” and then the series of non-fiction text comprehensions. Remember to use evidence from the text, answer in full sentences and read between the lines.
You have also been doing wonderful water posters in Geography, and in RE you have written some very thoughtful reflections on Martin Luther King Jr and other inspiring people. You are still showing us your many talents in Art and PE. We have still had our “Pupil of the Day,” which is awarded when people go above and beyond their usual effort and achievement. It has been lovely to see you all and share some news in our Zoom meetings, which will now continue through the term.
Here are a few moments from the learning you have shared with us; keep up all the great work, Super Seals!
Please login to your Purple Mash account each day to find your Home Learning tasks from now on. Each day there will be new activities for you to complete and hand in. Contact your Class Teacher if you need help with any logins for Purple Mash, Mathletics or Reading Eggs.
A big 'Hello!' to everybody from Mrs Mellen and Mrs Couchman. We are missing you all since Seals went into isolation on Thursday 3rd December, but we know that you are safe, working at home and being good, sensible Super Seals in the last couple of weeks before the Christmas holidays.
Before we left, you all did an amazing job of writing a non-fiction explanation text for an alien about Christmas all over the world. You should all be very proud of how much and how well you can write now compared to when you first came into Year 4; give yourself a pat on the back and shine up your medal!
Those fascinating facts you discovered about what children put out for Father Christmas (shoes, stockings) and who helps him (a witch, a saint, elves) and how he travels around (reindeer, sleigh, horseback) and what he likes to eat (mince pies, nuts and oranges, milk, carrots) have found their way into your writing in Purple Mash. Remember to do as much as you can, written in paragraphs - not just one line sentences! Don't forget punctuation and 2A sentences as well.
We are so pleased with how you are using Purple Mash and watching the videos which I, Mrs Couchman and other teachers are putting up there for you. Do as many as possible, and remember there is no need to return the video to me. Parents please follow the suggested links for PE on the class page.
As we may not all get to see the all-important Christmas panto at school until the New Year, look out for many other free seasonal entertainments online such as:
Maybe you could find and watch the wonderful traditional Christmas ballet 'The Nutcracker' about a little girl, Clara, who receives a nutcracker toy soldier who comes to life... Here's one of the whole performance https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=Nutcracker+ballet#id=3&vid=54c20bce0ce2dc4fea5e7d7346a29fdb&action=click
Remember you can contact me by email and I will try to help however I can. Stay safe and be happy learning Seals!
Another two weeks of learning has flown by for the Seals; quite often the children are so immersed that they are surprised when 3.00pm comes and it is time to go home.
In Maths, we have moved on to 'Length and Perimeter'. We have been learning how to use equivalent units, how to add and subtract length of objects and also distance. At home it might be good to measure heights of children and adults, and work out the differences between them in metres and centimetres.
In English, we completed our unit on poems after having thoroughly enjoyed reading and writing a variety of poems in different forms. We decided to start thinking about Christmas with our new text - after all it is just one month away and many people have their trees up at home. The story, which you can watch with the children on Youtube, is called Coming Home. It is about a plucky little robin and his epic journey home.
We have learnt all about robins - ask the Seals for top facts - and also drawn and coloured a beautiful bird's eye view of his flight. We still enjoy spotting different things in the natural world on our walks and the children were fascinated by the 'mackerel' sky one day.
As PE takes place with the coaches outside in the MUGA, weather permitting, please ensure your child has a thermal vest or t-shirt on underneath their uniform on Thursday as it can be a little nippy! Children should also have their winter PE kits in school, which could consist of tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie of any colour. A beanie hat is also a good idea as we lose most of our body heat through our heads.
Celebrating success is so important and we want to share the wonderful art work Year 4 did for their display, with biographical writing about Keith Haring and images of his famous jelly baby people breakdancing and having fun. Another fun art activity was designing odd socks to remind ourselves of Anti-Bullying week.
There have also been several new ways for individual success to be recognised. In addition to the well-known Star of the Week, we now have Pupil of the Day in Seals class. This is awarded for someone who impresses the adults with their learning and social behaviour in and out of class. An award which is very popular with the children. In the playground, the Midday Meals Supervisors now award positive behaviour with a Lunchtime Award. Finally, in Seals class, several pairs of pupils are finding out how to be a learning mentor by being a Seals Buddy. This aspect of collaborative learning has been incredibly successful for both parties and is something we will develop in the future.
Well done all the Seals for your continued enthusiasm and hard work - we are really proud of you! Also a huge thank you again to all parents and carers for supporting your learning with reading at home and exploring Mathletics, Reading Eggs and Purple Mash. As always, we are here to help and if there is anything you think we can do, please let Mrs Couchman or myself know. Have a happy two weeks.
We hope you enjoy our pictures of the frost we found on the playground.
After a relaxing half term, Seals were soon raring to go. They must have missed school! They love writing about their weekends and holidays and seem to have done lots of exciting things over the break, so thank you to all the adults for keeping them interested and active.
We have been reading and writing poetry in English and the children have really enjoyed experimenting with form and language. They understand that a poem paints a picture and expresses emotion and have composed some very powerful poems themselves. They have written a Haiku, which is a Japanese form with strict rules, and a free verse poem, which has none.
In History we are developing our knowledge of Ancient Greece by investigating their myths, looking at stories like Medusa, Icarus, Pandora and others. There are many films on these themes, which are often helpful to a broader understanding.
In Science we are learning about Animals including Humans, focusing on how animals digest food. The children can say - and even spell - some quite tricky words like oesophagus! They are very interested in what happens to food when it leaves the fork and enters our mouths, so please talk to them about it.
We marked Remembrance Day by reading some war poems and wrote a poem about what a soldier would put in a Magic Box, and also observed the two minute silence at 11 am. You would have been proud of how seriously the Seals took this solemn moment.
In Computing we are continuing our work on coding - writing little programs for games - and also exploring the many learning opportunities on Purple Mash. Together with Mathletics and Reading Eggs, these are very important platforms for learning outside school, and the Seals have been discovering how to access tasks and send them to me online. All the logins have been sent home, so please make sure they are all in a safe place ready for use whenever you need them.
Finally, we fit in some little mini lessons like how a spider makes a web and the children love to find them covered in dewdrops like a crystal necklace.
Stay safe and happy Seals and families!
It's nearly Halloween and the Seals can't believe how fast the term has whizzed by. In the last couple of weeks we have secured Place Value and moved onto Addition and Subtraction in Maths. The children love racing Mrs Mellen in column method calculations and are very good at it - so challenge them parents!
In English we have focused on an international heroine of courage - Harriet Tubman. The Seals can tell you her inspiring story because they have written a biography and Harriet's own story. Absolutely everyone in the class has made progress in writing and their work is very impressive. Seals are collecting new words, using the dictionary and ‘magpieing’ from their reading. Handwriting has improved and the hands don't get tired so quickly!
We celebrated Black History Month by drawing portraits and making maquettes of Harriet Tubman, and British Values Day by looking at Individual Liberty.
As it has got a bit chillier, we still do PE outside but the hardy little Seals run around to keep warm and their coach has awarded certificates for resilience (keeping going when it's tough) and great participation. Please send jogging bottoms for PE and wear a vest on cold mornings.
Last week, we ran the Race for Life and had a lesson about what we were helping and positivity, writing some beautiful Happiness poems. We have also learnt about how food affects mood and how to stop negative thoughts with positive ones.
Again lots of reading raffle tickets have been awarded and almost all Seals are continuing to impress us with homework, and some are doing extra projects like writing stories and creating artworks.
Finally, we have marked the new season with poems about Autumn and I'll just share one with you all –
A beautiful leaf
Under a tree
Trees filled with colour
Until winter comes
My spirit filled with joy
No one sad anymore!
Have a lovely Half term and don't eat too much pumpkin!
Over the last two weeks, Seals have continued their brilliant learning with work on four digit numbers in Maths and counting up to 10,000! In English, we completed a story about a dilemma set in a funfair, and made a display of our writing and colourful pictures. We are also very good at using prepositions and time and place conjunctions (but need practice on a or an).
In Science, we have carried out investigations about how sound travels by making pan pipes and cup telephones. We had an exciting lesson logging on to the new computers and found out about a website with free e-books to use at home, Oxford Owls.
The children have also received laminated cards with their Mathletics and Reading Eggs logins and both websites offer challenges for achieving fun activities at home. Reading is still going well with over 40 tickets in the raffle and we have started our Times Table Challenge.
Thank you all, parents, for continuing to support our super Seals with all their learning, we are so proud of our children and families.
The Seals have been working really hard for the last two weeks as we all get to know each other and make friends again back at school. It's been hard work but we've had fun - drawing round our bodies on the playground, trying out the new MUGA (multi use games area) and going for sound and nature walks. We've discovered Henry Moore in art and have a few budding artists in the class. Everyone has been reading at home and ten people have already had reading raffle tickets! Parents and all your adults are proud of your progress, keep it up Seal cubs!
Our two Stars of the Week were both for brilliant settling down, while our two PE stars were for great listening and following instructions, and this week, for enthusiasm. (11.09.20)
Welcome back to your new year group
Year 4 Seals!
Mrs Couchman and I were both so excited to meet all the new Y4 Seals this week, and couldn’t believe how smart and grown up they looked in bright uniform and shiny shoes, beautiful plaits and haircuts. The new Seals immediately showed us how ready they were to return to school and were eager to start learning and having fun with their friends.
This week the Seals got off to a good start with writing and illustrating booklets about themselves, doing place value number games, making a class rainbow and practising their speaking and listening skills. They also wrote their own and evaluated the school’s Golden Rules.
We are enjoying a class novel, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, and in the next few weeks will be reading and writing stories about dilemmas in English. Other exciting topics are Sound for Science, learning about how music is made and how we hear, and Ancient Greece, learning about the art and architecture, people and how they lived. And, of course, we are also finding out about seals and how they live in the harsh habitat of Antarctica.
Although the world has changed since March, the children have taken this in their stride, due to the wonderful support of all their families at home. The Seals have quickly and sensibly adapted to changes in the classroom, such as new seating, hand washing and sanitizing routines, and socially distanced seating in the dining hall.
It’s been a busy and productive week settling in and we are all looking forward to the rest of term and all the fun learning we will have together.
Thank you all, Seals and families!