This week in Year 4

Our second week back and the majority of our students and families have now safely returned to school and are settling back into class and school routines.

The children seem well rested, refreshed and happy to see each other and their teachers again. We have revisited the on-going Year 4 expectations of responsibility, commitment and independence and discussed the importance of supporting each other as we learn and grow together.  Sharing time with our younger year level buddies this week also added to our gratitude for our return to our LIS community.  

For our How We Organize Ourselves unit we had more guest-speakers, Ms Avin who spoke of the work being done by the FOLSCO organization (Friends of Luanda Street Children and Orphans) and Ms Georgina who shared her volunteer work experience with the Lighthouse Relief Organization, which helps refugee/resident communities in Greece prepare for taking up residence in countries throughout Europe.  Our students have been making connections to our lines of inquiry as well as developing their listening and questioning skills and extending their vocabulary knowledge to find out the definitions for key words relevant to their inquiry.

For Math we are continuing to look at multiplication and division strategies.  With students building their understanding of how these operations work, how they are connected to each other (inverse operation, fact families, equal groupings) and how they can be used to find the answer to unknown facts and every day related number word problems.

In Language we have reviewed the structure of a narrative text in both reading and writing lessons, looking at text features of characters, setting, plot development, problem and solution, sequencing and vocabulary choice.  Using the writing process students are developing narrative and persuasive texts to share and read aloud.

Welcome back and Happy New Year!

This week year 4 students began inquiring into our fourth unit for the year.  You will find the learning outcomes for this unit here: HOW WE ORGANISE OURSELVES.

We have looked at definitions and examples of some key vocabulary – organization, service, impact, cooperation, respect and responsibility.  We have also had guest speakers to talk about the organizations they work with to help students tune in to the unit.

For Math, within the unit, we will look at data handling – more specifically writing survey questions.  As a standalone unit, we are introducing the concept of multiplication and the inverse operation of  division.  Later we will move on to various strategies to understand and solve multiplication and division problems.

For language within this unit, we will learn about persuasive writing – students will look at exemplars of this text type and analyze the language features and the structure of persuasive writing.  More about this in a later blog post.

Busy times in 4.3

Students have been developing their thinking skills (one of the approaches to learning) how to acquire, comprehend and synthesize knowledge.  They have been practicing  these through learning about the six simple machines and how they make work easier.  The students completed their research, made posters and  then the rest of the class used their  (the expert group’s) research to deepen their own understandings. 

 In writing sessions , our young authors are  drafting, revising, editing and publishing their realistic fiction stories, which they look forward to sharing with their classmates and buddies.

 In Math students have been working on the jump and split strategy for subtraction and solving a variety of single step word problems for both subtraction and addition problems.



Making work easier.

Simple Machines are tools used to make work easier. In science, work is defined as a force acting on an object to move it across a distance. Pushing, pulling, and lifting are common forms of work. A force is any push or pull that causes an object to change its position (movement), direction, or shape.

This week students explored new vocabulary connected to the unit (e.g. friction, force, pulleys, work etc.).  We also discussed the concepts:

Form – what is it like?

Function – how does it work?

Students have formed groups to explore simple machines – they will research to become “experts”  about one of the following –  wheels/axles, pulleys, levers, wedges, inclined planes or screws.

They are using books and various websites to complete their research.   Students will share their learning with the whole class and in the next few weeks they will use the scientific understandings gained to create their own inventions to move and lift objects.

Here are photos from learning engagements this week:




How the world works

This week year 4 students began inquiring into our third unit for the year.   You will find the learning outcomes for this unit here: HOW THE WORLD WORKS

As a provocation to spark wonderings and curiosity amongst the students, we watched the video below:


Here are some of our introduction and tuning-in learning engagements for this unit –


Students will develop their knowledge and understandings of scientific principles through exploring simple machines and how they make work easier. We have planned in collaboration with Ms. Hannah, in Art, to ensure the students develop an understanding of the Design cycle which they will use when they create and innovate.

Next week we will start a stand-alone unit on realistic fiction. Our next blog post will explain more about this. For this unit we will consolidate students’ understanding of the explanation text type.

In mathematics, all year 4 classes have been introduced to the split strategy and tidy numbers for addition. Building on their understanding of place value, students are making connections on how to use these strategies to solve addition problems.


Sharing learning processes in Year 4

It’s been a short but intensely busy fortnight back! Students reflected on their approaches to learning and set SMART goals, which they shared in their 3 way conferences. It was a challenging and in-depth process but the students persevered and were very principled about how they see themselves as learners and where they needed to improve. Thank you for attending the conferences and being a part of the support to help the students achieve their goals.

The students spent time planning, drafting, revising, editing and posting on our  student class blog.  They also responded to posts from their classmates. This was part of the How We Express Ourselves summative assessment task (making quality posts and responding appropriately to another post). Please spend some time looking at the students’ posts. (link youtube clip)


Students have been busy planning which learning engagements to share for their walk through assembly. They practiced and spoke confidently to a broad audience consisting of peers and adults.  Students were engaged in explaining the process of their learning


In Math we started to look at addition and subtraction strategies. Students completed a pre-assessment task showing their prior knowledge.   In the weeks coming we will learn and practice the following – compensating, split and jump strategy. More about these strategies in another blogpost.


Digital citizenship and Poetry

We are learning about our roles and responsibilities in a virtual environment – we looked at ways in which we can have a positive digital footprint. We also discussed the similarities and differences between a physical and virtual environment, using venn diagrams to organize our thinking.

As part of our new unit, How We Express Ourselves unit, year 4 students have started exploring different poetry genres this week. We started the week looking at a senses poem. We chose an emotion and compared this emotion to the five senses. First we examined the language features and the structure of an example of a senses poem and made a checklist. Then we planned, drafted, revised, edited and published our own senses poem. Some examples of our poems can be found HERE

Students also analysed simile poems and noticed that the poems described something or someone by comparing it to another thing using like or as (as noisy as a monkey, it had teeth like daggers). Together we started a plan and started a draft of a simile poem about 4.3, which the children were invited to finish on their own.

As we continue our learning in this unit the students will be exposed to more genres of poetry including cinquain and kenning poems.

Please feel free to share some of your favourite poems when talking with your children or commenting on this post.

How we express ourselves.

This week year 4 students began inquiring into our second unit of inquiry for the year. You will find the learning outcomes for this unit here – HWEO

Here are some of our introduction and tuning-in engagements for this unit –

Students will develop their knowledge and understandings of digital communication tools and their roles and responsibilities as digital citizens.

We have planned in collaboration with Ms Hannah to ensure the students develop an understanding of responsible and safe digital communication and expression through the Arts.

We collaborated with our information technology specialists, Mr Oscar and Mr Brian and introduced our students to setting up their own student blogs. With our students we will develop a class checklist for purposeful, appropriate and responsible use of blogs.

Our language links will include gaining knowledge of writing different types of poetry. Students will develop their knowledge of the elements of poetry, the use of figurative language and poetic devices.

In mathematics, all year 4 classes have been introduced to the online Mathletics program in class lessons. Students have their passwords and are able to work on tasks at home.

We have started to tune into and develop the student’s conceptual understanding of place value, (see details in our place value blog post). This week we also used data collected from surveys about communication tools and represented our findings on bar graphs, which we then interpreted and used to further our thinking.

We look forward to hearing about any action the children may take as a result of the learning in this unit.