Welcome Back Year Four!

Dear parents,

If your children’s writing is anything to go by it appears that you have had fantastic summer holidays. The class have arrived refreshed, excited and full of energy. Some of them have changed an awful lot since the last time they were in my class, and some are the same, just a little bit taller! We have got off to a flying start and it’s great to see how organised and independent the children have become. The last time I had these children in my class I had to remind children what the number five looked like and had to spend time looking for lost teddy bears! No longer do they need to hold hands with Mummy or Daddy in the line in the morning, leave our water bottles in the dining room every day and forget which clubs we’re going to – it’s time to start looking after ourselves!

In order to transform our stark classroom walls into a more vibrant place of learning we have already begun our art project for the year, working on charcoal portraits. We have a class of talented artists who have mastered proportion, scale and even worked pretty hard on capturing the lighting. Their work will soon be hanging on the wall in the classroom.

Once our art project is finished we will begin cracking on with our half term topic – Romans. A quick chat informed me that the scope of the children’s knowledge ranged from “they’re from Rome aren’t they?” to “I think they fight”. So there is plenty for us to get our teeth stuck into!

We will meet Julius Caesar, embrace our violent side whilst indulging in some gladiatorial combat, excavate the remains of a Roman villa and probably end up feeling quite grateful to live in the twenty-first century.

In maths we will be working on place value and the number system to get us started. There is the expectation that all children leaving year four should know, by heart, all of their times tables up to 12 x 12. We will start with a recap on the easier tables and work our way up as the year progresses. Whilst this is something that we shall spend a long time working on in the classroom, it is always the children that practice regularly at home that become the times tables masters. There you go – something to do on a long car journey!

Our Science lessons will be taught by Mrs Graham who is lending her expertise to the class on alternate Tuesday mornings. There will be lots of poking, shaking and thinking to take place as we try identify exactly what it is that makes a substance a solid, liquid or gas. An excellent excuse to microwave chocolate and play with ice cubes.

Religious education will be taught by Mrs Hallsworth on a Thursday afternoon. This term the children will be learning about the Hindu faith. The lessons will focus on understanding different ways of life in order to encourage respect and tolerance. I know that this class enjoy a philosophical chat as much as I do but Thursday afternoon will also be the time for practicing times tables. As ever – there’s a lot to squeeze in!

PE will take place on Friday and Wednesday afternoons so please make sure that your child has PE kit in school that will accommodate both indoor and outdoor activities. It can get cold, wet and muddy out on that field. I have plenty of tournaments and races lined up for this half term so the more practice team Willow Brook gets the better!

I have heard every child in the class read at least a small section of their book. As before, your children will be able to choose their own reading book provided it belongs to a certain band. You probably don’t need me to tell you how important reading at home is but I am going to tell you again. Nothing makes more of a difference to your child’s education than enjoying a book together at home, as often as possible. As the class are getting more competent they will also often read alone. They should record their evening (or morning) reading in their new fish books to keep track of what they have done. Whenever you can hear your children read, or share any book together, please make a note so that we know.

I will also run weekly guided reading sessions in class and will record their progress in your child’s fish book. Therefor I shall see the book at least once a week if not more often – it is a good place to leave messages for my attention. If we could both sign the books on a weekly basis, it keeps the lines of communication open!

E Safety is of course, a growing concern for schools, parents and children alike. I very much believe that it is essential to equip our children to live in an increasingly digital world. Whilst I have planned a lot of exciting computing based projects which will teach the children to code, debug and program effectively, we will begin the year with lessons on E Safety. We will learn about how to enjoy an evermore connected world in a safe and fun way. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to come and ask me.

Homework this year should be quite varied, a mixture of maths and English work with a little bit of the odd surprise thrown in. Homework usually consolidates what we have been learning in class and should give you something of an insight into what we are learning. Please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me if any problems or concerns arise. I endeavour to set homework on a Friday which should be handed in by the following Thursday. The earlier it is handed in the more time I have to mark it and the more elaborate the smiley faces will become!

Your child’s ability in spelling is to be closely monitored. Weekly spelling specific sessions will take place to help equip your child with the rules they should need to tackle most words. To support this, lists of spellings to learn will be sent home on a Friday along with their homework. Any help you can give your child in learning these spellings is invaluable. There will be spelling tests each Friday afternoon.

Please do come and see me if you have any concerns or queries. I do love a good chat!

Mr Jones