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Year 4 - Otters

Welcome to the Otters' Class Page!

Welcome back to the Summer Term! Our topic for this half term is 'All Things Bright and Beautiful', which is our Science topic for this term - we have lots of fun at Forest School to look forward to! The Year 4 Curriculum Information Letter for this half term can be found below. 

 

 

MiniHay Festival - Mini Grey at MiniHay!

MiniHay Festival - Outdoor Library!

Friday 28th April 2017

 

The Otters have launched themselves into our 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' topic for this half term with such energy and enthusiasm! Linked to our Topic, the wonderfully interactive pop-up book The Colour Monster by Anna Lennas has been at the heart of our learning in English. See below for some examples of the amazing paper engineering! 

Over the next few weeks, the Otters will be creating their own adaptations of The Colour Monster to share with Year 1. Applying what we are learning in Topic, they will be choosing a woodland animal to star in their own adaptation - I have overheard some very animated discussion on the playground this week about 'colour hedgehogs' with colours rumbling and tumbling through their spikes, 'colour spiders' with feelings swirling and twirling into their colours and 'colour deer' with colours dancing and prancing inside them! It is so lovely to hear the children excited enough about their writing to be discussing their ideas in their own time! 

 

After sharing The Colour Monster, we have enjoyed lots of playing with language as the children work towards writing their own adaptations. We have had lots of rich discussion about different feelings and colours that might represent them and worked together to generate vocabulary for the children to use in their writing. This included lots of fun thesaurus racing, splatting synonyms on 'Feelings Splats' and decorating 'colour jars' with different shades of each colour. 

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We took our 'colour jars' out into the school grounds for a 'colour hunt', finding as many different coloured 'natural treasures' as we could to inspire our writing. Fortunately, we had resident flower and plant identifier Mrs. Holloway with us! 
For our Big Write this week, the children wrote the most fabulous first drafts of their adaptations of The Colour Monster, drawing on all the ideas and vocabulary that we have generated over the past fortnight with such creativity and imagination. I feel enormously proud - and choosing Writing Goal Scorers has been an enormous challenge! I can't wait to see them turning their writing into pop-up books and sharing them with Year 1 in a few weeks' time!
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In Maths, we have had great fun at the movies this week, developing our problem solving skills in 'Maths at the Movies'! The children worked very creatively and hard to create their own word problems by finding the Maths in Paddington, rising to my challenge of creating problems linked to as many different areas of Maths as possible. Please do come and have a look at our new Year 4 display in the Hall, which went up on Friday, and see how many of the children's problems you can solve! 
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Wednesday 19th April 2017

 

This afternoon, the children had their well-deserved treat for earning twenty class stars! Pyjamas, onesies, pillows, teddy bears (or, in Sunny's case, a giant leopard!), popcorn, Alvin and the Chipmunks and lots of happy faces! 

Wednesday 15th March 2017

 

Thank you so much to everyone that joined us for our Spring Term 'Learning Together' this afternoon - what an eggs-hilerating, eggs-iting afternoon we all had tackling the Egg Drop Challenge (although it perhaps wasn't quite as eggs-iting for the eggs being dropped from the roof of the school!)! As ever, we were amazed by the creativity, imagination and immense problem-solving skills that you all brought to the challenge - an eggs-ellent effort all around! 

Friday 10th March 2017

 

Our class trip to North Norfolk as enrichment for our 'Go With the Flow!' and 'Commotion in the Ocean' topics! A more detailed update will follow from the children but needless to say, they made me feel extremely proud to be their teacher! They were beautifully behaved, showed awesome awe and wonder throughout the day and we saw great resilience from those of them that ended up with wellies full of water (which included Mrs. Gower!).

 

Thank you to the 'famous and fabulous' Sweaty Betty and Eagle Eye from Aylmerton Field Study Centre, who created so many magical moments - the children learnt so much without even realising that they were learning! 

Racing ducks down the River Glaven!

Fighting the tide - the sea defence game!

Hunting for fossils! "WE ARE FOSSIL HUNTERS!"

Exploring the beach at West Runton!

Thursday 2nd March 2017

 

World Book Day! We had a wonderful day listening to local author, Eline Stoye, talking about her recently published book, Beyond the Hedge, hunting for Where's Wally and sharing stories with staff that had just stepped out of a book across the school! 

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Wednesday 22nd February 2017

 

To celebrate National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, we will be working on a 'Fractured Fairy Tale' project in English over the next fortnight, which we launched at Forest School today! We will be working with the wonderful Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Matthew Myers!

In Battle Bunny, a child called Alex takes a pencil to Birthday Bunny, a sweet book about a rabbit's surprise birthday party and turns it into a story about an evil bunny's plot to take over the world! At Forest School, we created a 'story path' of the original story through the forest to familiarise ourselves with the structure before we explore how the original story is fractured in Battle Bunny. We will then be taking a pencil to and fracturing other well-known fairy tales in the same style! 

Thursday 9th February 2017

 

The Otters have been showing so much 'St. Andrew's Superness' that they have already earned the twenty class stars that they needed for their next class treat! They voted for a 'Great Otters' Bake Off' and Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Toms very kindly let them descend on the kitchen yesterday and worked with them to bake gingerbread men, which they thoroughly LOVED!  Today, Mrs. Thompson and I 'became' Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, at the children's request, as they each decorated their gingerbread man ... choosing a winner has so far proven impossible! Such a well-deserved class treat, Otters - keep up the incredible work!

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Thursday 26th January 2016

 

We have lots of Mini Grey fans in Year 4 (nothing to do with the fact that their teacher is one of Traction Man's biggest fans, I'm sure!) - I love seeing the children enjoying dipping in and out of what is almost the entire works of Mini Grey on my bookshelf and we enjoyed sharing The Pea and the Princess as a whole class before Christmas. The Pea certainly inspired some wonderfully entertaining, lively writing from the perspective of Christmas puddings, mince pies and all other manners of Christmas food! It is therefore with much excitement that we received and read the following message from Mini Grey this week! Our very own 'Egg Drop Challenge' from the one and only Mini Grey - how lucky are we?! 

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I am already hearing lots of discussion about super-powered sling shots and jetpacks designed specially for eggs - I can't wait to see what else the children come up with! In English, we have been learning how to write explanation texts, using the wonderful picturebook Until I Met Dudley to inspire our own writing. Once the children have invented their own 'Cracking Contraptions', we will be building on what we have learnt about writing explanation texts to create a class encyclopaedia of all the whacky, wonderful contraptions that they come up with! 

 

Imagine a dream ... when your whole class completely astound you with their poetry writing! Except that wasn't a dream, it was reality! Inspired by the picturebook Imagine a Day by Robert Gonsalves and Sarah L. Thomson, we wrote our own Imagine a Dream poems by the light of the dream jars that we've made. I was completely blown away by the children's creativity, imagination and perseverance experimenting with a new poetry form and I hope they feel as proud of themselves as I feel of them!

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The children each then chose their favourite stanza from their own 'Imagine a Dream' poem to contribute to our whole class dream jar, which shines its way brightly through each and every day in Otters' classroom!

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Tuesday 8th November 2016

 

What an exciting day today has been at Otters headquarters! 

 

​By break time, two parcels had been delivered by Otter Mail ... and they were met with glittering eyes and gasps of awe and wonder as we opened them to discover that they were from the incredible Gill Lewis! The most beautiful poem, inspired by an encounter that Gill had with an otter one frosty, moonlit night last year, and the most stunning doodlings, which I will most definitely be having framed to take pride of place on our classroom wall! As well as enjoying the poem and doodlings together, our curiosity was sparked by Gill's accompanying message, which included lots of fascinating facts about otters that we didn't know and these words of wisdom:

 

They are forever curious. They want to explore the world around them. Maybe they sound a bit like you? So as you make your way up the school and then into secondary school ... remember ... you were once an otter ... stay curious ... always.

 

Wise words indeed, which definitely mirror our 'Imagine' learning behaviour! We have also enjoyed returning to some of Gill's books this morning, most of which can either be found on my bookshelf or in the Accelerated Reader boxes and which the children are, of course, welcome to borrow. Having said that, they have all been so enthused today that I'm not sure there are any left! Marney was still engrossed in Scarlet Ibis when she was lining up at the end of lunch time! Further information about Gill's books and some fabulous writing tips can be found on her website:

 

http://www.gilllewis.com/web/

 

        



 

This afternoon, we finished writing up our letters from the trenches on aged-effect paper and our art, which are now displayed in the classroom. A real reflection of the effort, hard work and imagination that the Otters have shown over the past fortnight - do come and have a look! 

Thursday 3rd November 2016

 

This week, our learning across the curriculum has been focused on World War I as part of a whole school themed week - and, as a class, we have had focused in particular on the Christmas Truce of 1914. We began the week by watching War Game, a film based on the children's novel by Michael Foreman, and the Sainsbury's retelling of the Christmas Truce. After discussing whether the war would have felt different at Christmas and whether that day would would changed what the soldiers thought of the enemy, we created 'Emotions Graphs' to explore how the soldiers might have felt at different points in the lead-up to, during and after the Christmas Truce. We read The Best Christmas Present in the World, by Michael Morpurgo, which also tells the story of the Christmas Truce through a letter from the battlefields of WWI found by chance in an antique desk. Blown away by how vivid and emotive the story was, we returned to it as writers and explored how Morpurgo has used language to paint such a vivid picture. 

 

Clicking on each of the images below will take you through to the texts that we shared as a class:

 

    

 

For our Big Write this week, we wrote in role as soldiers returning to the trenches following the Christmas Truce ... which we recreated at Forest School! Having split into two armies, we created two parallel trenches separated by No Man's Land. We sang Silent Night in our trenches, Theo H waved the white flag from the German trench before walking across No Man's Land towards the British trench, hand outstretched. Followed by their armies, he and Brook met in the middle and shook hands before the football was brought out! We didn't have grey greatcoats to dump in piles to make goalposts but our jumpers did the trick! Once the game was finished, both armies drifted back towards their trenches to write letters home to tell their families about what had just happened ... and what incredible letters they wrote! You made us so proud today, Otters! 

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Thursday 13th October 2016

Wednesday 21st September 2016

 

Inspired by There Is A Tribe Of Kids, which is the latest picturebook by Lane Smith depicting a colourful adventure through nature, the Otters have been busy writing and illustrating their own adaptations - colourful adventures along a river! They do, of course, feature otters! We have enjoyed researching animals that can be found in river environments, which included discovering some very unusual collective nouns, and lots of playing with language! Congratulations to our Writing Goal Scorers - it was an incredibly difficult decision this week! 

Below is a snapshot of the children illustrating their river adventures, which can be read as a book but also unfold into one long journey! The Otters loved the detail in Lane Smith's illustrations (they kept pointing out details that I had missed!) and have cleverly woven elements of these into their own adventures. They are stunning! Each otter will be choosing one of their animal encounters to recreate on a giant class river adventure mural - watch this space!

 

Thank you, Mrs. Holloway, for cutting up and sticking together 280 pieces of A5 paper for us! 

Tuesday 13th September 2016

 

On their first morning as Otters, the children arrived to find a present on each of their tables! Each table unwrapped a book featuring a fictional otter, which revealed the team name of each table. Each table then worked together to collage their otter for our class display in the Hall, with the challenge of exploring their book in detail to identify defining features of their otter! I was so impressed by how well the children all collaborated and worked together; they have plunged into life in Year 4 with great enthusiasm! 

 

Next time you're in school, have a look at our display and see if you can use the clues to work out which book each otter features in! For those of you familiar with Winnie the Pooh and Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the mouth organ and pearl necklace are a big giveaway!  


 

Tuesday 6th September 2016

 

Burrowing into our 'Book Burrow' to enjoy the otterly brilliant books we chose today! 

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