April over, May in full force!

Celebrating our end of the Economy unit with a trip to Tencent was an excellent learning experience for the students to see their discussions on import, export, profits etc come alive in a real life example. But the real highlight of the day was the trip to the ice skating rink to launch our Energy topic (and have lots of fun, and some bruises!)

Students showed the learner profiles ‘risk taker’, ‘collaborator’ and ‘communicator’ as well as being ‘caring’ to those who were new and needed assistance. Experiments were created by the students based on what materials they had and they theorised and tested some hypotheses about friction, force and push and pull (including one that meant Ms Ferguson had to be pushed on a plastic dolphin…)

As we race towards MAP testing and then very quickly onto the end of term, we are reflecting about our learning and looking at areas we may want to visit in maths and language. Freckle has been a useful tool to help us assess our own areas of need and, after the success of our Read Theory party, new targets have been set for the next celebration; this time with a maths focus!

I look forward to learning and growing together over the coming weeks, and looking forward to continuing great learning experiences in Grade 5!

Teacher Update 1st March

Another week has flown past in the blink of an eye it would seem!

4D have been lapping up the information they are discovering and discussing on structures of living things- each morning starting with them choosing which area they would like to discover that day. This week we had the urinary system, the brain, hair and the immune system. Working in Classcraft teams to remember key facts helped to build team spirit and earn points while learning all about what is happening every day inside our own bodies.

Unit of Inquiry continues with our Central Idea ‘Living Things process and respond to information in different ways for survival’. Combining our non-fiction information text writing with our Unit of Inquiry the students have been working on developing their chapter on our first line of inquiry ‘Structures of living things’ and moving onto our second line of inquiry ‘Systems sense, process and respond’ by studying our very own survival modes of flight, fight or freeze and ending the day barefoot in the grass.

By the end of both units each student should have a fully developed information chapter book, which they are well on their way to developing.

In reading we are continuing to look at historical fiction. We have been reading Wishtree and The Wishing Tree to make connections and have put up our very own wish tree in the classroom using both the Irish and Chinese techniques of making wishes. We’ll see if any come true!

In Maths we have begun our fractions unit. This week we identified and investigated what both parts of the fraction means and their real world applications. We have created our own fraction walls and will continue to look at relationships between fractions including equivalence, lowest form and fractions of amounts. Talking with your students about fractions you see and use in everyday life is a way to really help make those connections from school to the real world, whether it is using a recipe, working out how much of the film you have watched or checking discounts at stores, it all helps!


Teacher update 15th February

Xīnnián kuàilè!

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s been a really great week in 4D, with more and more people getting involved in class discussions, particularly linked to our morning meetings videos where we have been watching some of the ‘Born Different’ series and making connections and talking about empathy.

In Maths we are continuing with our Geometry unit, particularly focussing this week on looking at angles in polygons and how we can use protractors to work out degrees but also by using their properties and known facts to check our work. We will continue to work on protractor use as well as drawing angles and properties of shapes.

In writing, we are doing informational texts and working on note taking and research skills, whilst linking this into our PYP unit which began this week. We also wrote a newspaper article detailing our provocation, using quotes and pictures with captions to attract our readers.

Our PYP unit began with a bang this week when we watched some interesting and exciting videos that showed various animals in the wild. This started our unit with the central idea “Living things process and respond to information in different ways for survival”. We discussed how humans have certain responses and will continue to look into animals and plants, beginning with their specific structures then moving onto the systems they use.

In reading we are continuing with historical fiction whilst also looking at the way we respond to questions. We have used Read Theory to use context clues for working out new words and unknown phrases. As well as this each guided reading group has their own book that they are studying, as well as two of the groups going with Ms Gibson for more focussed EAL teaching of reading English.

Our overnight stay is coming up soon- meeting is on 19th February at 4.20pm and it promises to be an adventure the students won’t forget!


Happy New Year

Welcome back after a (hopefully) relaxing break. We have a few weeks of wrapping up from our last units on Migration (don’t forget the Refugee podcast the students can listen to) and on multiplying and dividing.

We have MAP tests coming up so please ensure students are rested and have fully charged iPads with the NWEA app downloaded.

Then we will be concentrating on our new units of lines and angles in maths, historical fiction and information reading and writing and our PYP unit about Life Structures.

It has been a great first week back, and first week for three of our students- I look forward to a fabulous 2019 together!

Teacher update- Wow, November, what a month!

As I write this on the last day of November, I can not believe how much has occurred this month!

We have completed our unit on How the World Works, with some students showcasing their projects on saving a town from erosion at the Maker Faire in Shekou. We have hit the ground running with our new unit on Migration, discussing the numerous reasons people would migrate to new places. Push and Pull factors and learning about refugees and immigrants helped the students use drama to display their knowledge so far and be creative in showcasing it!

In writing and reading we have continued to grow in our understanding of non-fiction writing. Essay topics have ranged from details about the skin, why the construction should end outside Jingshan to why cats are cute and facts that prove a certain little brother is annoying! (Clearly they were free to choose their own subjects!) As we near the end of this writing the students are preparing some final pieces to share at the Publishing Party!

In maths, multiplication, division and area and perimeter are everyday vocabulary! Discussions and investigations into prime, composite and square numbers have been engaging and interesting. Seeing children argue their theories and then use evidence to show their beliefs is quite something, and makes maths facts more memorable in the long term.

As well as the standard learning, we have celebrated International Week, with many fabulous talks and activities- thank you to all who gave up their time to help! In art the students had a trip which got them seeing how design works in the real world day to day. And of course we had a big celebration of reading once every student in the class reached 1000 knowledge points on Read Theory and as a class we topped 1000 books on Epic. They also played a game during the day to get over 1000 points in Hit The Button as a team (linking back to square numbers!)

Finally Kindness day was a big highlight, where each child created a card for a randomly chosen classmate- which was added to randomly twice more through the day. With that and the support classmates gave to those in the drama club play, it is no wonder we won the Golden Sneaker PE award for Caring.

Great job 4D! I look forward to our last few weeks of 2018, and bring on 2019!!IMG_6960-1zo072h IMG_6750-1kul2rl IMG_2534-17jlnio

Teacher update October recount- Looking forward to November

October has come and gone and what a great month full of activity and learning!

Our unit on Culture was completed and celebrated with a trip to Windows of the World where the children recognised and enjoyed many aspects of culture, whilst mixing with children from different classes. Halloween was a big celebration (unusual for my personal culture) but the children engaged in activities throughout the day, learning how Halloween and various different celebrations were celebrated across the world. They then created their own celebration day and thought about how they would celebrate it, as well as using some maths and research skills to cost out the day.

As we enter November we are well into our Landform unit- looking at how patterns in nature affect the Earth’s physical features and the children have been learning about weathering and erosion in detail and how various landforms are created over thousands of years. They are currently exploring ways to prevent erosion and trying to save houses that might fall into a fast flowing river! Using models they are using the design cycle to try ideas and work on improving their techniques through ‘failing forward’.

In maths we have moved forward from measurement to looking at area and perimeter and working on important multiplication facts and techniques. There were some interesting discussions and discoveries on square numbers and factors, and hands on activities creating arrays with cubes to show our understanding.

In literacy, non-fiction is still the focus. Opinion essays have been ongoing in writing, thinking about creating strong reasons and evidence in the standard essay style to support and deliver our ideas. Posters around the room encourage vocabulary that will help to strengthen their argument and raise it to a higher standard than previous years. In reading, essays about non-fiction topics of our choice are helping us really solidify the essay structure of main point and supporting details. I’m glad to say we have some interesting topics- and we came up with the acronym BOW for finding information using Books, Online books and Webpages. Citing sources is also part of this unit.

We are hoping to start Genius Hour next week too. This was done in Grade 3 by one of the classes so the students from that class did a presentation to introduce what Genius Hour is to the rest of the class. The idea is to encourage the students to ask questions, research, create and then share on a topic they are interested in. They get an hour a week (for us it will be Thursday) and that time is used for whatever area interests them. I hope to be able to call on parents if they have any areas of expertise that could help students!

It really has been a wonderful month and especially these last few weeks have felt like we are really bonding as a class. Nearly time for a class party as the students get closer to their goal of each achieving 1000KP in Read theory and having read 1000 books on Epic! Keep it up!

Thanks for your support!

Teacher Update 12th October

This week in writing we have started a new unit! We will be studying opinion writing and argumentation. Students will learn to use graphic organizers to plan and write five paragraph essays independently. We will start slow with a guided essay about a topic we all know. Next, students will be given creative control and develop their own ideas with well thought out reasons and details to support them. Let’s see where this brings our group.

In reading we have started to explore non-fiction texts and how to pick out the main features and what is important information. Reading non-fiction can be seen as a challenge but actually it is all around us- right now you are reading non-fiction! Non-fiction often exposes us to lots of new vocabulary, so students will learn ways to comprehend the texts through note-taking and conversation.

Who We Are  Unit,  focusing on our Central Idea: Our Cultural backgrounds shape our beliefs, values and actions.  We shared our interviews with relatives and discuss cultures with others.  Students presented a New Culture of their own design and ideas including some wonderful houses, clothes and food ideas, as well as what the values and governments of these cultures were made up of.

In maths we began our new unit on Measurement, focusing on metric units and how metres, litres and grams all use the same basic structure to convert between milli-, centi-, and kilo-. Khan Academy videos and work should be completed to consolidate this learning at home.

Weekly update 14th September

This week in reading students have been focusing on studying characters in their story books and using academic language to describe  what they see and hear. This is linking in with their own story writing that they are working towards. 

This week in writing we focused on planning and writing our drafts. It was great to see the students put the characters they’ve been working on into stories and watch the stories come to life. We’ve been focusing on using different openings to hook our readers in. Ask your students about their stories! 

This week, students in Grade 4 wrapped up the first half of their Unit 1 Module. They have gained a deeper understanding of place value, the Base-10 system, ordering, and rounding using number lines. We will now move into fluently adding and subtracting whole numbers.

This week in our Cultural Unit we explored other cultures in our classroom as well as own culture with interview questions.  Identifying what culture is and what it means to others, introduced unit vocabulary. Students should conduct their interviews with family over the weekend.

Well done to Brooke for being selected as STUCO and a big thank you to Eric, Marcus, Dorothy and Bubu who all worked hard too! And congratulations to Angelina, Gwanwoo and Jack who were ESLR winners this week as our class’s Global Citizens. Angelina and Gwanwoo were chosen for helping classmates without being asked, whilst Jack was recognised for his contributions to the class community. Every student should be proud of their efforts to show empathy to each other! Well done!

Who We Are

As we launch into our Unit of Inquiry Who We Are students had a busy morning looking at various pictures from different cultures around the world and think about what they can see and any questions they had. These are just a few! Students were encouraged to be Inquirers and make connections with Knowledge they had. They needed to be Open-Minded as they walked round the classrooms and Communicate effectively through their writing.

It was a great start to the unit and has got us all thinking and sharing! Great work 4D!