Welcome to Wrens. We are a Year 4 class who love to learn. We have huge imaginations and thoughful, inquisitive minds which makes teaching us great fun for our teachers: Ms Parks (mornings and one afternoon) and Mrs Hamblin (four afternoons). Take a look at our curriculum, at the link above, to find out more. You can find our timetable here too.
Keep an eye on our webpage to follow our journey in learning and see how much we can grow our minds in one year. Don't forget to check out Red Kites class webpage to see what we do in the afternoons.
Today, the Wrens led our whole school assembly addressing the challenge: if Year 4 ruled the world.
We used lots of the concepts and ideas we have been learning about in science over the past two weeks and made links between habitat loss and the impact on living things. Our focus was on how the production of palm oil impacts on the habitats of orangutans in Borneo and how the choices we make could make a difference. All the children in school now know how to look at ingredients labels to spot palm oil as well as looking for sustainable palm oil logos.
If Year 4 ruled the world...habitats would be protected by humans making good choices.
The Wrens enjoyed learning outdoors at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre (SCEEC) today. iN the morning, we looked for evidence of living things such as feathers, chewed leaves, bones, droppings and webs as we walked through the grounds and then we focused on a small area. The children were surprised to see how much evidence they could spot and they used keys to help them identify what the evidence might be. They also found different examples of habitats (including micro-habitats) and discussed what types of living things they might find living there.
In the afternoon, we did some pond dipping. We had to be extra careful because there were Great Crested Newts living in the pond which are an endangered species. There were some incredible creatures living in that habitat - take a look at the photos to see what we discovered.
What a lovely day to start the new term! The weather has been glorious and the Wrens have been enjoying developing the scientific knowledge and skills in our Forest School area.
We started the day looking at the nature 'story' sticks that the children made as homework over the holidays. They collected natural things they found on a walk or outing and attached them to a stick using wool. Some children even wove them. There were stones, shells, feathers, flowers, leaves, coral and even lama wool! The children shared their story about where they had found each of the items. They clearly had some wonderful outdoor adventures during the holidays.
Before play time, the Wrens thought about what they already know about living things and their habitats and wrote down some questions that they would like to find the answer to during our science lessons. They had some brilliant ideas.
Next, we learnt about living things and discovered that there are seven life processes that all living things do. We learnt the acronym - MRS GREN. I wonder if the children can tell you what each letter stands for and explain what it means?
We carefully searched our Forest School area looking for examples of living things - we found one straight away as Cessy came too. Look at the photos below to see some of the things that we found. Don't worry, we carefully returned them to their natural habitats before we finished our lesson.
As Spring turns into Summer and the landscape blooms, we recognise how lucky we are to live in a rural area surrounded by fields and woodlands and to have such wonderful grounds in our school. We will be making the most of these over Term 5 as we delve deeper into the natural world looking closely at living things and their habitats. We will be considering how and why environments can change due to human impact and learning what we can do to preserve them for ourselves and future generations. Nature will be inspiring our writing, artwork, music and more. We look forward to sharing our learning with our family and friends at our Poetry Cafe. For more details about our curriculum this term, please click on the Class Curriculum link above.
The Wrens love using technology to support their learning and today we have been using the Internet to help us research birds for an information text that we will be writing. They are excited about finding out about magpies, kingfishers, ravens, herons, larks, starlings and wrens (all words from the Lost Words book) and writing notes into their Twitcher's Handbooks.
Safe use of the Internet is always of up-most importance and so the children are using carefully screened webpages that have text that is accessible for their age group. For advice on keeping children safe on-line, whilst also enabling them to access a wonderful world of information, please take a look at our E-safety webpage http://www.suttoncourtenayprimary.co.uk/e-safety/
It's World Book Day and the Wrens have come to school dressed as some of their favourite book characters. Even Ms. Parks is dressed up today and Cessy is claiming to be Hairy McClary from Donaldson's Dairy (though she isn't wearing a costume!). Take a look at the photos to see if you recognise who we are.
As our World Book Day theme is dictionaries, we've had fun usinging them in different ways. We explored the letter 'D' and tried to find all of the words we thought we could associate with a dandelion. We'll be using these words to write a poem so watch this space...
We've been trying out blackout poetry today. We took a piece of text from our book and circled all of the words that we especially liked. Then, we deleted all the other words. We wrote our chosen words onto Post-It notes and played around with the words to create poems.
Spring has most definitely sprung in the Wrens classroom as our displays have had a yellow and green facelift and our holiday homework flowers adorn the walls. This is perfect environment for learning because in Term 4, we will be immerse ourselves in the natural world - discovering the world around us. We are lucky to live in the countryside and be able to enjoy the natutral playground it offers and right now, our classroom makes the most of nature too.
To inspire us, we will be using a gorgeous book (the children made oohs and ahhs this morning when they saw it!) Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris which will also support our learning in English. Today we started by reading the simple preface and ended up with poetry! Find out more about the book at this link https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/company/blogs/the-lost-words--one-year-on/
This work will also compliment our learning about living the things and their habitats in Science.
In history we will be investigating how our village and school has changed over hundreds of years and will be making the most of old photographs, census returns, log books and villagers who can share their experiences with us.
A detailed overview of our curriculum for Term 4 can be found at the link above.
Our third investigation of the week helped us to learn about evaporation. We asked the question: Does temperature affect the rate of evaporation? The children set up a comparative test using three pieces of fabric which they dampened using a carefully measured amount of water. They hung the fabric in three different places around the school (which definitely confused some of the staff) and looked at it after 24 hours to see if the materials had dried.
Today, we used what we have learnt about particles in states of matter and how states change when heated or cooled. The children have become experts in explaining what happens to the particles and used this knowledge to help them understand the water cycle process.
Now we can't stop singing the Water Cycle song today - feel free to join in!
Changing states and moving particles is what it is all about in Wrens today as we learn about the imapact of heating and freezing different materials. Needless to say, we had to test out our theories by melting some chocolate - which was a great excuse to learn to use thermometers, plan investigations, make predictions and use our observation and recording skills. However, we have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy our chococolate crispy cakes that are currently changing state in the freezer!
It's Science Week in Year 4. We are learning about states of matter - solid, liquid and gas. Today we compared different matrials and decide how to classsify them into solids or liquids. Some of them (like jelly and shaving foam) were pretty hard to decide. We think Ms. Parks tried to trick us!
Take a look at the photos of us pretending to be particles. Can you work out when we are a solid, a liquid and a gas?
The Wrens have been busy writing their Journey story today. They are using everything they have learnt about developing sentences to create a picture in the reader's mind. We can't wait for our parents and carers to come and read our stories at the end of next week.
Our very special new friend joined us for their first day at Sutton Courtenay School today. Cessy had a wonderful morning and was exceptionally well behaved. She was excited to see everyone and was keen to say hello but settled down for a nap whilst we focused on our learning. She even joined in some circle time with us. We can't wait to see her again next week.
Today, we have been exploring Christianity in our whole school RE Day. The Wrens (and Redkites) focused on the Gospel and thought about two key questions
1. Does everyone need the same things to live a happy and fulfilling life?
2. What would Jesus do?.
We started the day by exploring a gorgeous frieze which represented different parts of the Bible. The children were quick to spot references to Bible stories that they know and to make connections between the images and the themes they represented.
After break, the children were challenged to build a bridge using art straws, masking tape, wool and paper. Everyone had a fantastic time and there were some truly wonderful examples of teamworking. The purpose of the activity was to encourage the children to think about foundations. We watched a short video telling the parable of the Wise Man and the Foolish Man then the children looked up the two recounts in Matthew and Luke. The children confidently gave thoughtful responses as to why we were learning about this story and what Jesus was trying to tell us through it.
Next, the children thought about what they need for a happy and fulfilling life (yes, XBoxes were in their lists!) then we tried to decide what we really need. We worked together to sort these things under Maslowesque headings (Essential, Safety and Security, Love and Belonging, Self Esteem) then compared this to what we thought our friends at Kabubu school (in Ghana) would need and we made links with our school values of ready, responsible, respectful.
Finally we considered which of these things are key themes from the gospels and what Jesus would do and want us to do to ensure we, and others, have a happy, fulfilling life.
Its been a crazy few weeks in Wrens as we have thrown ourselves head first into learning so we can make 2019 our best year in school, yet!
Journeys are a key focus for our learning as we are studying Modern Europe in our humanaties lessons. We've learnt about the countries in Europe and were surprised to find these included Russia. As a result, we've learnt the difference between Europe and the European Union and had some lively discussions about Brexit. We used a brilliant on-line website to learn the locations and borders of the different countries (follow this link to practise at home http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/European_Geography.htm) and have been, most recently, exploring the mountain ranges and key rivers. We've also been inspired to explore Europe by looking at the Eurorail website which helped us to think of ways to write promotional travel guides and detailed lists of what you need to take (we now know why and how to use semi-colons in lists)
In our English lessons, everyone is loving Journey (Aaron Becker) as a springboard for our writing. We are focusing on developing setting description using noun, adverbial and prepositional phrases and powerful vocabulary. The children's descriptions of the forest were stunning and so I am looking forward to reading their city descriptions.
In maths, we have been perfecting subtracting using column methods and have started to multiply using column methods too! We have been investigating different ways to mentally multiply and divide (e.g. Multiply by 5 by multiplying by 10 and dividing by 2) and are moving on to fractions.
Our art lessons are also helping us to explore Europe as we look at the works of Gaudy and use natural forms (plants, shells, leaves etc.) to design buildings.
Welcome to 2019 Wrens. We have an exciting term ahead, oodles of learning to do and...we will be having a very special friend joining us in the classroom - I hope you are ready to help train her.
This term will be all about journeys. In English we will be using the stunning picture book Journey by Aaron Becker (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxUs41jB4Ts), our class reading book is The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7lCzmS9GhI) and our humantities lessons will introduce you to a wide range of countries across Europe including Russia.
Wrens, if you have any photographs or pictures of places you have been that you'd like to share, please bring them into class for our display.
Take a look at the curriculum overview (link above) to find out more about what we'll be doing this term. Where will our imagnations take us?
We had a fascinating time at the Ashmolean museum today. We started with a workshop where we became Egyptian detectives and used questioning and analysis to solve clues about life and people in Ancient Egypt. We then visited three different galleries in the museum (Greek World, the Cast Gallery and different sections of the Ancient Egyptian rooms) where we searched for evidence, answered questions and did sketchings. We could have happily spent many more days exploring the rest of this stunning museum.
There has been a huge amount of learning taking place during our Science Week and it's not over yet as we will be looking at the results of our 'eggcelent' enquiry into tooth decay and learning about food chains next week.
From the photos, you will see that the Wrens covered hard-boiled eggs in different drinks to find out which one would cause the most decay - answering the question: does sugar cause tooth decay?
The children also learnt about the digestive system, learning the names and functions of all the parts then working in teams to make a giant poster, with some interesting outcomes! To further develop their understanding the children initiated their own learning by looking at books, the Internet and by drawing pictures.
We've had a brilliant morning as a start to our latest Science Week. This term we are learning about Humans including Animals and we are investigating teeth, the digestive system and food chains. After looking at a giant mouth, the Wrens are now experts in naming the different teeth and explaining what the function of each type is. They compared human teeth to animal teeth and discovered the similarities and differences between herbivore, carnivore and omnivore mouths.
The children thought of some fantastic questions that they wanted to answer as part of this topic which they know helps them to be good scientists.
After breaktime we talked about the importance of cleaning our teeth and watched a cute video that helped us learn how to brush and floss well - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDZXSMU2lAk
We had a go at cleaning our teeth and then use plaque disclosing tablets to show us where we still had plaque on our teeth. There was a lot of pink so we cleaned and flossed our teeth to turn them (but not our tongues!) white again. Take a look at our photos.
It's Takeover Day in Wrens today and Miss Hawkins and Miss Hamilton have had a busy morning. First, they took the register and made sure they had carefully recorded the lunch options. Nobody wants to go without lunch! After that they listened to six of the children reading and wrote comments in their Reading Records. They then led a brillian lesson on how to draw a dragon and showed us a YouTube clip to help us understand. They had adapted the idea so that we were able to use finger painting to create scales on our dragon's body. Everyone had a brilliant morning, especially Ms Parks who was able to join in the drawing and painting.
The teachers learnt that they need to be clear exactly what they expect the children to achieve and how they can reinforce positive behaviours in the classroom and in the playground.
Speaking and listening has been a big theme of the week for the Wrens. Our new anti-bullying ambassadors held a whole school assembly to tell the other children what they learnt on their training and to introduce class Worry Boxes.
Lots of the children had a chance to read aloud to the class from our novel (How to Train your Dragon). The book encourages the Wrens to use lots of expression and different voices for the different characters.
We also had a presentation from Val all about his trip to New York to watch his dad in the New York Marathon. We learnt about the geography on the USA, New York State and New York City. Val showed us some important landmarks which prompted an informative discussion about 9/11 and extremism. The children were in awe of the number of people who ran the marathon and were super impressed by Mr Marlin's marathon time. He came 830 out of 52, 808 runners! Well done Mr Marlin. At least four of the Wrens are now inspired to run the New York Marathon one day.
The Wrens are absolutely loving our learning about dragons in our English lessons. The wonderful books 'How to Train your Dragon' and 'The incomplete book of dragons' by Cressida Cowell and 'Tell me a dragon' by Jackie Morris are so full of rich vocabulary and imagery that they are fully inspiring our writing.
We started this learning with 'Tell me a dragon' and used the beautiful pictures to help us thing about a dragon's world. We then worked as a whole class to create a fabulous mural of our own fantasy dragon land that is now proudly hanging on our walls. This activity encouraged lots of chatter and discussion which led to the children sharing vocabulary they already knew.
Using our mural, we were able to write detailed instructions explaining how to find a dragon's lair. We used prepositions to help describe the exact locations e.g.
Walk along the gem path through the firtree forest.
Find the hidden lever on the side of the rock that is next to the cave entrance.
Under the rose bush, there is a hidden doorway. Go though it.
Next, we used Cressida Cowell's book to learn about different dragons. We labelled a dragon's anatomy and wrote sentences about the different parts. Then, we created our own Top Tump cards that told us more about the dragon's personality, habitat and special skills.
This week we have been learning about the Viking characters and drew pictures based on the information we found about some key characters in the book.
The children have done some fabulous writing that we are sure parents and gurdians will enjoy reading at Parent's Evening next week. We, on the other hand, are just looking forward to learning more about dragons!
There is myth, magic and mystery in the air this term.
Look what I found, Wrens...
We've been having a super science week in Wrens classroom. The children have been learning all about electricity so being based close to Didcot Power Station has been a bonus. We've learnt about the different ways in which elecrticity is generated and have debated the pros and cons of fossil fuels verses renewable sources. We worked in groups to sort appliances into electrical or not electrical. There was a lot of discussion about some of the appliances that we know could be both such as a coffee grinder. Once they had done this, the children sorted the electrical items into mains powered (using alternating current: AC) or battery powered (using direct current: DC). We drew our own tables and diagrams to present our findings. The Wrens have even learnt to wire a plug!
Today, the Wrens have been investigating circuits and had a wonderful time making the bulbs light and the buzzers buzz. They learnt about conductors and insulators and tested a wide range of materials.
This week is Science Week so the Wrens will be using their investiging and scientific working skills to explore electricity. We will be discovering the different sources of electricty and identifying items which need electricty to work and which materials conduct electricity. The children will be drawing and building simple circuits to switch on lights then developing these using switches. We will need to know the symbols and use the correct names of the parts of a ciruit. We'll even be learning to wire a plug! The Wrens will need to use English and maths skills to present their data and report on their findings.
We hope you can come and see what we are learning during open classrooms on Thursday. We'll be playing the mandarin songs we have learnt and you can also see the poems and fables we have been writing. The Wrens would love to read them to you.
Wrens, check out this website to learn all about electrical safety in your home - http://www.switchedonkids.org.uk/electrical-safety-in-your-home
The Wrens have leapt into the den building challenge and have been busy making cosy and decorative dens at home. Val made a PowerPoint with photos and we all enjoyed his presentation. We learnt how his den needed to be strong enough to survive his little brother! Laila made a den with cushions and tinsel for decoration. Her pet dog was extra keen to go inside once she had put the toys in. The children asked lots of questions about Rudie's den and were impressed that he had taken a torch light inside. This led to a thoughtful discussion about the dangers of having lights and electrical items near materials.
Hopefully we will have some more presentations next week as the children were keen to get building over the weekend. As one of them said, "It's much more fun that playing on my tablet all night."
The Wrens were really proud of the Den they built in our construction area at playtime today. They now have a challenge to build dens at home so expect to see chairs, blankets and cushions used creatively (messily!). Photos or drawings of the dens can be brought into class so we can share our ideas.
The Wrens are working hard on their English this morning. We are learning all about fables and today we are discovering how we can extend single clause sentences using conjunctions.
Fox saw some juicy grapes when he looked up.
He wanted the grapes but he couldn't reach them.
There was some fantastic pair working in the classroom.
Our English lessons for the next few weeks will be based on Aesop's fables. We had a lovely morning listening to a few via BBC radio and trying to decide what the moral of the story was. There are 40 five-minute fables at the web link below. Why not listen to then at home during dinner or at bedtime. Can you guess what we can learn from each story?
Wrens may be little birds with loud voices but our little flock can be very quiet indeed when they are concentrating. Check out the video below to see them focused on their learning.
The Wrens have made a flying start to the year. They worked hard in maths to find number bonds to 100 and some of the children tried to find out how many pairs of numbers they could making using the digits 1 to 9 (but not 5!), that add to make 100 e.g. 29+71. They couldn't use the same digit twice in an addition sentence.
In English we learnt about similes and wrote a class poem together:
The reader of this poem is...
As mysterious as another dimension,
As naughty as Cessy sat on the table, (the Wrens can explain this to you)
As cunning as a white fox in the snow,
As clever as Ms Parks,
As old as the world,
As loud as a fog horn when it's foggy,
As fancy as a fair,
As silly as a monkey,
As bossy as my dad,
As beautiful as my dog,
As crazy as the Mad Hatter,
As sharp as a mamouth's horn
As happy as a chinchilla rubbing their back in the dry mud.
This afternoon we talked about China as we are going to be learning Madarin this year! We made dragons, koi carp and cherry blossom for our classroom display. We hope you will come and see it when it is finished.