Week 8 was indeed great! It was action packed with amazing learning in all areas of school. We also had pictures this week, as well as some rather rainy days! Never a dull moment at school. Year 4 had their first Year 4 Wellbeing assembly on Monday of this week and we focused on how we are connecting with each other. This might come in the form of inviting a friend to play a game during break time or understanding that our actions might have hurt someone’s feelings and therefore, apologising. The Year assemblies will be held every Monday before sport and this will be a time when we reinforce some of our school expectations. In particular, Year 4 will be looking at how we Connect, Strive and Flourish together by highlighting our actions. Parents would have also noticed that this is a key component of our homework as well. During our assemblies, the teachers will also be having a ‘shout out’ for certain learners who have showcased connecting, striving or flourishing at school. The aim of the ‘shout out’ is to demonstrate to everyone the kinds of actions we can all take to support the school values.
This past week has seen the classes expanding their measuring skills to include both perimeter and area of shapes. A key element of the work we have been doing has also been to work on our estimation skills. By having lots of opportunities to measure objects, the learners start to create mental images and length which results in their estimation skills getting stronger. This is a skill that we as adults do all the time when we look at the height of windows to buy curtains or the rough size of a room in order to consider certain pieces of furniture.
One of the ways that we introduce a topic is by having a provocation activity where the students are shown something and then the concept is teased out of them. For example, in order to introduce an area, we can simply drop a book on the floor and be amazed at what it is doing. People reading this will likely say the same thing that the children did, “it’s not doing anything!” However, that book is indeed doing something quite amazing, it’s covering up some of the floor. From this we can launch into how to measure what part of the floor or carpet is being covered up. This visual provocation helps the students ‘lock in’ the concept of area right away and the teacher never once said, ‘Today we are going to learn about area.’
The units for measuring area are also a bit of a challenge as the idea of a square centimeter or square meter can trick students because they think that it always has to be a square. In fact, once we are clear on the definition of area, we know that an object can be any shape and it will cover up space. Thus, in groups the students created a square meter and then cut it up to make interesting designs which all had an area of one square meter. None of which looked at all like a square. The creation of these shapes was also a fantastic way for the students to work collaboratively and develop their mathematical language skills. It was also lots of fun!
This week in English we have been reflecting on our cultural retellings of Cinderella and looking for ways we can make improvements. We explored the 7 major story plots (Overcoming the monster, rags to riches, the quest, voyage and return, finding tale, warning tale) and sorted stories we know (Little Red Riding Hood, Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Land of Roar etc.). We are just beginning to brainstorm ideas for our own cultural retelling of another fairy tale ready to get started putting our ideas on paper next week.
Year 4 students have also continued to read A Friend for Grace which has been a perfect way to integrate literacy with our History unit. Through the novel, the children have been able to deepen their understanding of what life was like for convicts being sent to Australia. During reading times, we also discuss different strategies which help support our comprehension of a text. This might be through making connections or trying to make predictions while reading. Teachers might have these discussions as a whole class or during small group sessions.
During our History lessons we have moved our focus away from life in Britain to researching life on The First Fleet. Students will use an interactive website that allows them to explore what one of the convict ships looked like from the inside, the size of the sleeping quarters for the convicts to the captain’s quarters. We will begin to explore what the trip looked like through the eyes of a convict and the living conditions they endured over the course of the nearly 8 month journey. Students will then put themselves in a convict’s shoes and imagine what it was like when they arrived in New South Wales, what their thoughts may have been upon encountering the indigenous people for the first time and how their lives were going to change.
Following the excitement of recreating the rock cycle with chocolate, students inquired into weathering and erosion. For this line of inquiry, the provocation was photos taken of Cape D’Aguilar Marine Park in Hong Kong. Students were asked: How were these rocks formed? They then collaborated with their classmates to hypothesise possible reasons. Some were very close! Students then explored the impact of weathering and erosion and how this connects to the rock cycle. The experiment this week involved…more sugar! Students recreated weathering using a jar, sugar cubes, a permanent marker and some elbow grease. Ask your child about this experiment and what they observed. What happened to their sugar cube? Next, we move on to land reclamation as a human activity that changes the Earth’s surface. This concept will conclude the unit, and we look forward to sharing our final project with you in the coming weeks. How can you support learning at home? This link is an interactive map that you can explore with your child. Have fun looking at Hong Kong’s changing coastline from 1842-2020!
Mr Bruce Home (Head of Year 4), Mr Bruce Home, Ms Kirsten Beecheno, Mrs Neander Walsh