Spotlight on: Year 3 & Year 4

Spotlight on: Year 3 & Year 4

Our Year 3 and Year 4 teachers on their year group's activities this term

Year 3 – Mrs Fiona McWilliam

It hardly seems possible that we are now completing week five of the Autumn Term. Just a few months ago the girls were enjoying the delights of the Pre-prep Coach House and now they are thriving in Acton House. I have been so impressed by the way the Year 3 girls have seamlessly transitioned through the school and I am delighted with the progress that everyone is making. The girls have a settled routine and appear at home right next door to Mr O’Reilly, who frequently pops in, and is equally delighted with all that is going on.

We have recently celebrated National Poetry Day and there has been a certain buzz about the girls writing their own poems; some rhyming, others descriptive, some frank, and all original! Girija’s poem, named ‘Our Head’, is now displayed above Mr O’Reilly’s desk and everyone has a poem, which they have typed up, now on display - please come and see them!

The girls are all excited about the trip to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford on Monday 9 October, and everyone got into the aviation mood by welcoming Mr Kennedy into school – father of two of our Junior School pupils and a helicopter pilot and paramedic who works for the wonderful emergency service, Magpas. Mr Kennedy enthralled the girls with fascinating stories. During lessons the class has been considering the first ever flights in America, and the daring and brave Spitfire pilots who knew they were near to England when they spotted the huge white cliffs of Dover. The girls have also learned about how an aeroplane actually manages to take off and land; flying may never be the same again…

In Mathematics lessons the girls are focusing on patterns, and tricks to help them solve sums. Everyone is focused on improving their recall of times tables and the girls are using the inverses of the rules more confidently. In STEM sessions the girls have been learning about light, sorting materials into opaque, transparent and translucent (which was harder than it sounds), measuring shadows and plotting the results. The next challenge is to make a rose window and then a dodecahedron lantern - quite exciting!

Mr Andrew Severy, Computer Science co-ordinator, continues to inspire and teach the girls computer skills and coding, and we now use the iPads more regularly. Everyone is becoming more independent and confident over the tasks set.

Our school day is incredibly busy with excitement and learning, and everyone has a favourite lesson or time of day Amongst other things, some of the girls have highlighted netball and the thrill of playing ‘team games’. I am delighted with the enthusiasm for sport and look forward to a very successful season!

The girls have written some super comments about life in Year 3 and I hope these positive vibes continue. I am certainly thrilled with the girls’ work so far and I look forward to sharing our further updates in the Year 3 class assembly.



Year 4 – Mr Daniel Taylor and Miss Elise Hickey

During the first part of the Autumn Term Year 4 pupils have been reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and linking elements of the book to other subjects, such as STEM, Art and our topic work – on the origins of chocolate.

In English lessons the girls have looked in depth at the language used in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to engage readers. They studied Roald Dahl’s use of figurative language as well as his ability to create suspense and excitement, and have also looked at character analysis and discussed how the key figures interact, which has brought much enjoyment to the girls. They have also built on their understanding of how a longer text, and a longer story, builds. The girls even had a go at writing their own chocolate river poems, using rhyming couplets and some brilliant figurative language.

Year 4 pupils have been using the Abacus scheme in Mathematics lessons; a valuable tool to support the teaching of the subject. Abacus houses many different resources we use daily to teach mathematical concepts, and it is packed with fun games and activities that help reinforce what Year 4 is learning.

Through the programme pupils have been learning about units of measurement, fractions, and clockwork. Beyond demonstrating their knowledge of large number bonds and multiplication facts, the girls have been diving more deeply into addition and subtraction facts, learning various methods to solve 3 and 4-digit problems.  Overall, the girls have shown a keen interest, and will continue to pursue mastery of concepts by utilising the many supports through Abacus while maintaining the integrity of the learning process.

The girls have been learning about electricity in Science lessons, and are going to design and make an everlasting gobstopper run incorporating a circuit and a switch. During STEM lessons the girls have learnt about circuits and switches, and are now designing their machines.  The gobstopper runs are created so that a candy gobstopper will roll down several ramps and drop into a small bucket activating a switch the girls created, which turns on a set of fairy lights!

The girls’ book study also links to Geography and History work: the group has been learning about the origins of chocolate in terms of where it came from and its arrival in Europe.The girls have conducted an in depth study into the history of chocolate, and have begun creating their own scripts to re-enact the story of the famous meeting between Montezuma II and Heran Cortez in 1519 using Puppet Pals. Further, the girls will be working on their own end of half-term project focused on independent research into how the Mayans and Aztecs used chocolate, the history behind how it came into the hands of the Spanish and eventually how it came to Britain.

Continuing the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme, the girls were keen to study Quentin Blake’s illustrations in the book, and how to create Mayan inspired stamps. In Art, the girls had a go at Quentin Blake’s fun, relaxed style of drawing, with no rubbers allowed! The girls then created their very own stamps using Mayan and Aztec designs as inspiration. Using these stamps the girls created many wonderful pictures. Next week, Year 4 will get a visit from experienced professional illustrator, Debbie Bellaby, who will challenge them to attempt their own versions of some of their favourite Quentin Blake characters.