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Opal (Year 4)

Welcome to Opal Class! smiley

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Week beginning 16th October 2017

This week, we are covering the following topics:

Literacy – writing our own recounts

Spelling – -ed endings 

Maths – formal written methods for subtraction 

Science – Light and Sound

PSHE – understanding feelings, exploring what it is like to feel new

Topic – how to build an Ancient Egyptian pyramid and sources of evidence

RE – the Sikh Amrit ceremony 

French – parts of the body

PE – Swimming and Gymnastics

Week beginning 9th October 2017

This week, we are covering the following topics:

Literacy – learning about the features of recounts and planning our own

Spelling – contractions for missing letters e.g I’ll, we’d, can’t, wouldn’t

Maths – formal written methods for addition

Science – Light and Sound

PSHE – understanding feelings, exploring what it is like to feel new

Topic – learning about the Ancient Egyptian gods and designing our own canopic jars

RE – exploring how Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi and what Sikhs today can learn from this festival

French – parts of the body

PE – Swimming and Gymnastics

Teamwork makes the Dream-work!

Our Trip to Gobions Wood!


We went to Gobions Wood to find out more about habitats for our Science topic. On arrival, we set off for a walk around the lake and the forest in search of creatures and their homes. We found lots of different types of insects and admired their habitats whilst discussing the conditions and features that made them suitable. It was important for us to be careful not to harm the creatures' homes in any way, so we didn't touch or remove anything from them. Whilst in the woods, we enjoyed searching for leaves to use for a leaf identification lesson when we were back in school. 

Years 3 and 4 had an inspiring beginning for the topic of Ancient Egyptians. We all enjoyed a visit from ‘History off the Page’ speaker David, who brought Ancient Egypt to life for us . We took part in writing on papyrus using hieroglyphics, we plaited our own mini versions of Egyptian bread, we made mini clay pots. We enjoyed a wonderful feast in the afternoon, served to us by Egyptian slaves! The slaves worked hard and served spiced wine (Ribena parents, do not worry) and bread and cheese and fruit. We think we have a better idea now of what Egyptian life was like.

Sports Week

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What a great week we've had!


Over the week, we have taken part in at least one sporting event each day.


On Monday, we had a visit from a lacrosse coach.  He began by teaching us some skills and then split us into teams of five to play a match.  We learnt a lot very quickly!


On Tuesday, we took part in the Super Schools sponsored event and had a talk from an Olympian who told us the inspiring story of how he became so good at his sport.


On Wednesday, we had an orienteering challenge.  We had photographs to look at and then had to find these spots around the school to collect the letters.  We just about found some of the trickier ones.


On Thursday, we had our House Handball competition.  This is an exciting game similiar to a combination of football and netball.  In the exciting final held on Friday morning, Earth team were narrowly beaten by Air team.


Finally Friday arrived to bring the excitement of the Race for Life.  After two laps around the block, Miss Mitchell was a bit pink in the face, but she wasn't the only one!  All for a very good cause!


Thank you very much to Mrs Zerny for organising such a fun and energetic week!

Scientists from Centre of the Cell


Today, Opal class were lucky enough to have a visit from 'Centre of the cell' scientists.


In the first session we learnt about the roles of cells, muscles and bones. We learnt how our skeleton changes as we age and problems that can occur with our bones.


In our second session we found out about how the body fights off harmful invasions. Our snot collects harmful bacteria and viruses to stop it going into our bodies. Apparently our bodies produce 250ml of snot every day! 

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Designing and Making Bread

On Wednesday, Opal Class made bread and added their own ingredients.  They made plain dough first in groups of three.  Then added their extra ingredients and put them on a tray to bake.  At 2 o'clock the rolls had risen and were ready to go in the oven.  After much anticipation, at five past 3 the children received their finished bread to try.  Some took theirs home and some decided to tuck in immediately!


Most of us enjoyed our bread and when we evaluated our work the next day, only a few decided on minor adjustments to their design!

Line Dancing

In PE this term, we have been practising our cowboy moves, but creating our own Line Dancing sequence.  We've really improved our co-ordination and have worked brilliantly as a team.  Our dance music was 'Cotton Eye Joe' if you want to have a demonstration at home!

Golf Taster Session

This afternoon, we were lucky enough to have a taster session with Broookmans Park Golf club.  The children were extremely enthusiastic and had a great amount of fun.  Some budding golfers, I think!


Science and Technology Week

What a great week we have had!


Early in the week, we started our Design and Technology unit of bread making.


Opal Class tasted different types of bread. We tried some breads which had toppings and others that were plain. Also, some of the breads used wholemeal flour and others used white flour. About half of us preferred breads with something added on top. Overall, the class preferred the white flour bread over the wholemeal flour bread.


Our bread-making went ahead on Wednesday.  We kneaded, proved and shaped and managed to produce bread rolls along the way.  We hope you enjoyed tasting the finished products at the end.


We were also lucky enough to have a forces workshop on Wednesday.  We learnt some interesting tricks that can be created using forces.  Has anyone tried the 'magic hat' trick at home?


Today, we had a fantastic drumming workshop and created some amazing pieces of music with different drums and percussion instruments.


A great week and thank you to Miss Brace, Science Co-ordinator for leading it!

Monks Walk Sports Partnership event

Opal Class were lucky enough to have a visit from Monk's Walk sports leaders.  They introduced us to some new indoor sports activities.  We particularly enjoyed learning to use curling equipment.  We are hoping we may be able to borrow the equipment to use in school in the Summer term.


Thank you Monk's Walk, we are very grateful for your visit!

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The start of the Spring Term...

The children have made a good start to the year.  In History we started learning about the Roman invasion of Britain and the impact it had on the way Britons lived.  We were lucky enough to have a trip to St. Albans Verulamium to start the topic.  Verulamium was an important town during Roman times, being a model for other towns around the country to be based on.  It was also the location of a Celtic rebellion led by Boudicca in AD60.


In Literacy, the children have been learning to write Roman myths.  We learnt about Roman gods and goddesses for our class assembly and used these as characters in our stories.


In Art, the children have created sketches, mosaics and art based on Roman gods and goddesses.  They clearly enjoyed make god and goddess 'poses'!


In RE, we have been learning about Islam.  The children have really found it interesting to discuss the religion and to ask and answer questions about the beliefs and customs of this and other religions.  This subject seems to really grasp the interest of the class.


In French, we have started learning body parts and colours and now we will move on to clothes.  Eventually, we may be able to describe our clothes and say where we are wearing them!


In PSHE, the children have discussed what makes good relationships.  We are trying to understand that we have got to think of how other people may want us to behave, but then make our own choices about whether or not this is right or wrong.  Peer pressure and stereotyping have made interesting discussion points.

Investigating Shapes

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In maths, we have been learning about the properties of shapes, including different types of triangles and quadrilaterals.  In problem solving, we worked as a team to investigate the different shapes we could create using string.

Investigating Habitats

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In Science, we are learning about the different habitats and how they are effected by the seasons.  We thought of scientific questions to investigate about woodland and pond habitats in the Autumn.  Then we went out to find some answers!

Cave Art

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In Art this term, we have been focusing on cave art, linked to our History topic of Stone Age to the Iron Age.  We have created shoebox art using different kinds of media and also painted on stones.

Writing Newspaper Reports

In Literacy lessons this week, we have been starting to write our newspaper reports.  We are pretending that we are reporters at the discovery of the Stone Age village, Skara Brae on the Orkney Isles of Scotland.  The village was discovered in 1850, but had been hidden for several thousand years before that.  Over the unit, we have been learning to recognise the style of writing in newspaper reports and begin to use it ourselves.


Today the children were using the 'hot-seating' technique to put themselves in the place of key witnesses, residents of the local area or archaeologists.


We have now written our opening paragraphs and next week will go on to write the rest of our articles.  Hopefully we'll have an exclusive!



Flag Fen Trip

Opal class had a fantastic experience this week at Flag Fen. We began the day by making pots in the style children may have made in the Bronze Age. We then had a tour of the Flag Fen site. 


After lunch, we handled artefacts found locally. The oldest artefact was a 7,000 year old piece of Stone Age flint. We tried to be very careful with that! 


Our final activity of the day was a storytelling session in a Bronze Age roundhouse. We were captivated by the story which may or may not have been a dream! We finished by making a wish upon an enormous sword which matched the description of the magical one in the story...


A grand day was had by all and we owe a great big thank you to all the staff at Flag Fen! 

Roald Dahl Week

This week we have been enjoying Roald Dahl activities to celebrate his 100th birthday.  In Literacy we have been busy learning a poem from George’s Marvelous Medicine.  Our challenge has been to learn the poem by heart and perfect it to a performance standard.


Roald Dahl Problem solving

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In maths, we completed a problem-solving task to design a new waistcoat for the BFG.  We were allowed to use four different colours and had to create symmetrical patterns.  There were 24 possible designs.  Could you find them all?

Roald Dahl Drama Workshop

On Wednesday, Opal Class attended a Roald Dahl drama workshop.  We created scenes from the BFG land of giants.  The children worked in groups to create the landscapes and performs dreams.  At the end of the day, we performed some of our activities to the the whole school.

Roald Dahl Poetry Recitation

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Well done to Daryl and Lucy who were put forward to represent the class for the school Poetry Recitation competition.  The gave a lovely performance, working hard to learn the poem and give a confident and engaging performance.

Parents' Information Meeting

Thank you to all of you who attended the parents' meeting last night.  It was lovely to meet you all.  If you want to check any information we shared, please see a copy of the Powerpoint presentation below.