Realistic Fiction

Year 4  students are learning how to write realistic fiction; it’s a standalone unit that will run for several weeks.  Students are exploring  story elements –  characters, problems, and settings.  In addition they will learn more about  punctuation and various literary devices  such as similes and alliteration. The videos below  further explains the text type.

In class students have been reading and analyzing  a range of  mentor texts (examples of realistic fiction that will help them write their own stories). They used this prompt, “what do you notice the writers doing?” while exploring various realist fiction picture books. Students worked in groups  come up with a list of real life problems and realistic solutions.  They are using these  ideas in their own writing as they plan and draft their  own stories.

Fábrica de Sabão – Field Trip

Thank you for the donations for our field trip.  The students had an excellent day and made many connections to the learning in the  How the World Works unit  – innovation, creativity and design.  As students move towards unpacking the design cycle, they will be encouraged to use their understanding from the field trip to inspire their creations.

Here are some photos from the day….

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.


Visual Arts: Digital Citizenship

In visual arts class, students art inquiring into the same central idea as in their homeroom class: digital communication changes the way in which people interact with each other. Students are being assessed on the visual arts learning outcomes: responding (phase 3) recognize that different audiences respond in different ways to artworks and creating (phase 2) identify the formal art elements of an artwork.

For this project, students will be creating their own public Instagram account. Students are inquiring into the elements of art using photography.

Students reviewed and inquired into the elements of art: line, color, shape, form, texture, value, and space. They took pictures of the elements of art using a composition paper frame and then completed a photography scavenger hunt with a partner:

Students are now developing their own Instagram agreements. They are thinking about at the lines of inquiry: our roles and responsibility in virtual environments and how digital communication tools increase our opportunities to connect with others. Here are the agreements they decided on to keep themselves and each other safe:

Currently, students are learning tips and tricks of photography. They are following their Instagram agreements and taking picture around the campus. Soon they will sort through their pictures, edit them using the Photos app, develop captions for the pictures, and their photos will be posted to a Year 4 Instagram account.

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.