In Gecko class, we believe that respect and kindness are key. Looking after the classroom and each other is very important to us as it allows us to keep a welcoming and tidy classroom.
We want everyone in our class to be safe and happy, and we will achieve this by looking after one another and following the school values.
The children in Year 3 and 4 enjoy the opportunity to work with new children outside their usual year group. This not only enables them to develop new friendships across the school, but also gain new skills as they collaborate with children of a different age.
During the year we aim to offer the children a broad range of experiences, both in and out of school, and develop their independence and responsibility for their own learning. This is vitally important as they prepare to move into upper key stage 2.
The Year 3/4 teaching team is:
Mr O'Dowd - Class Teacher (Geckos)
Mrs Simpson - Class Teacher (Chameleons)
Miss Taylor - Class Teacher (Iguanas)
Mrs Simmons/Mrs Cook/Mrs Compton - PPA cover
Mr Bagge - ICT
Mrs Slominski (LSA support - AM), Mrs Buttwell (LSA support - AM), Miss Higson (LSA Support - AM)
Homework for Gecko class will be set via Google Classroom - It will be available from Fridays and is due in on the following Wednesday.
Library Time : Friday
Reading Diary: Please bring in your reading diary on Mondays so I can give out house points!
P.E.: Games/PE time is with Mr O'Dowd on Thursday afternoons. The children in Year 4 will also receive swimming lessons later in the year. Please ensure that all PE kits are in school at all times as the timetable may change.
If there is any aspect of your child's school experience that you would like to discuss in private, please call the school office to arrange a virtual meeting or a phone call.
Outdoor Learning Day!
Today was a very busy day in Year 3/4!
Despite the horrid weather, we fully embraced the spirit of outdoor learning day and went outside for every session!
We started off doing our Longitudinal Study, looking at how the temperature affects the number and type of animals living there. We found loads today! Lots of tadpoles, some bloodworms, a few dragonfly nymphs and even a newt!
Then in maths – we headed to the woods to see if we could apply our knowledge of the clock to represent different times using sticks to show the minute and hour hands.
Finally, in the afternoon we made our very own Olympic themed mascots from natural resources! We learned about the history of the Olympic mascots – the Geckos were particularly interested in Wenlock and Mandeville from London 2012.
What a great day!
Over the last few weeks in art, we have been exploring ‘Pop Art’ to go with our theme of comics and superheroes.
We studied the pop art made famous by Lichtenstein, and used some of his techniques, including using primary colours, as well as using Ben Day dots.
We made some onomatopoeia words using Ben Day dots and we are currently working hard on our very own pop art self-portraits – stay tuned for the grand reveal!
Investigating Money in Year 4 Maths
Today in maths we looked at how to use money in a practical situation.
We have been exploring the topic of money, and have looked at how to add and subtract amounts of money.
Today we planned a party with a budget of £25! We looked at what we needed for our parties, and how much we could afford. We then took our shopping lists and worked out how much change we should get back as well.
Great job Year 4!
Our new science topic is ‘Light’
We explored light by shining torches – and we discovered that light travels in straight lines!
We also discovered that you can change the direction of a light beam by bouncing it off something shiny – this is called ‘reflecting’
We have started our new English book – ‘Electrigirl’!
We had a go at using drama to help us come up with ideas for hoe the main character got her electric powers!
Ideas ranged from a science experiment gone wrong, to drinking a magic potion, or being struck by lightning!
Can you guess what the Geckos are acting out?
Mr O’Dowd J
We made our own simplified models of the ear! We made a cone to represent the pinna, a tube to represent the ear canal, a balloon to show the ear drum, a straw which represents the cochlea and the inner ear, and then a cup of water to show the brain!
The vibrations are picked up by the pinna, travel along the ear canal and hit the ear drum. The cochlea and the inner ear send the vibrations to the brain, where they can be translated into sounds we can understand!
STONE AGE ART!
Our topic for this term is the Stone Age – we have been learning all about how this is a time so long ago that we call it ‘prehistoric’, meaning all we know is from clues discovered by archaeologists!
One type of clue that they discover is cave paintings – so we had a go at making some!
We knew that Stone Age people couldn’t just buy paint – so we went to the woods and made our own colours using natural resources!
Then, we came back to the cave (also known as the classroom!) where the lights were turned off and we painted on paper stuck under our desks with only torches to help us see – just like in caves!
(We didn’t use fire because for some reason Mr O’Dowd didn’t think that would be safe…)
You’ve all been absolutely amazing over the past couple of months – I am so proud of each and every one of you! Whether you’ve been learning in school, or learning at home – you are all superstars and I couldn’t be more impressed!
Wow what a day! Well done everyone! We made shields, feasted, practised battle formations and made mosaics! A fantastic end to our Roman topic!
Mr O’Dowd J
For DT today, we baked bread! We followed the recipe, mixing the dough and then kneading it!
This bread will then be a part of our ‘feast’ for Roman Day on Friday!
Well done Geckos!
(PS – Sorry if your child came home covered in flour today, baking is a messy business!)
Mr O’Dowd J
In maths, we have been looking at the properties of shape! We have explored triangles and quadrilaterals, as well as what makes a shape 3D! We then attempted to make our very own 3D shapes using a ‘net’ of 2D shapes!
We used dice to help us with spelling today, whatever number you rolled gave you a different task to try with your spellings! Maybe you had to use it in a sentence, spell it out loud or even write it using different colours!
Today in maths, we headed down to the woods to explore angles! Angles are measured at the point when two lines meet, and we explored four different types of angles; right angles, acute angles, obtuse angles and reflex angles!
We wrote down everything we have learnt so far about Queen Boudica to see what we could remember!
I was really impressed! Well done for listening and remembering so well Geckos! J
Today in spelling, we played battleships! We used our spellings as ships and then in partners guessed where our partner had placed their words on the grid. It was loads of fun and helped us with our challenge words too!
Our longitudinal study this year is going to be;
‘Does the temperature of the pond affect the number and type of animals that live there?’
We came up with this question as a class and made some predictions!
Today we went down to the pond and did some pond dipping to see what we could find.
We found some dragonfly nymphs, and some water-boatmen, and even a bloodworm!
On returning to the classroom, we discussed that maybe as the temperature gets warmer, more animals will come out of hibernation for us to find!
Outdoor Learning Day!
Today for ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’ we took our English outdoors!
We spent some time thinking about description, and how we could describe a setting. We used our senses to describe what we could see, hear, feel, smell and even taste! We then took our books outside and went to the woods, where we used our senses, along with lots of adjectives to describe our surrounding.
Prefixes in English!
Today in English we looked at prefixes – a small group of letters that go before a word to change its meaning! We discussed the prefixes ‘un-‘ and ‘dis-‘ and then in groups came up with as many as we could!
We had some great examples, and thought about how they changed the meaning of the original word – for example ‘kind’ became ‘unkind’ and ‘honest’ became ‘dishonest’
Now let’s see if we can bring these into our writing!
Gecko Class have worked so hard this half term, and because of all the wonderful work, fabulous friendship and brilliant behaviour so far, they managed to hit their target of 600 Dojo Points to earn their first Star Party of the year!
We had a class vote and it was decided that we would watch ‘Inside Out’ which links really well to all the work and discussion we have been doing about mental health. We also had some popcorn! Yum!
A brilliant start to the year from a truly wonderful bunch of kids – I can’t wait for the rest of the year!
Mr O’Dowd J
In RE we looked at the story of creation, and recapped the sequence of events that is set out in the bible story. We played a game where we only had a few seconds to look at the story, and then we had to go back to our group and try to remember what we had seen to write it down, before sending up the next person.
We discussed how important this story is to Christians, and how Christians believe that God made the world and everything in it, so as people that God made, it is up to us to look after God’s marvellous creation.
We then spent some time designing posters and books for younger children to help them understand the creation story.
Spellings in English!
Before starting to write our newspaper reports, we looked at the Year 3 and 4 spelling list and chose some suitable words to include in our writing!
We did this to help us ‘level-up’ our work, and it also helps us practise spellings! J
It has been a whirlwind start to the year for maths, we’ve been absolutely whizzing through the topics!
We recapped place value, looked at rounding to the nearest 10, 100 & 1000, remembered how to find more and less than a number and then used our knowledge of rounding to help us make estimates! Phew!
The children have been taking ownership of how they learn as well, with the addition of the ‘Maths Toolkits’!
These allow children to have easy access to a range of maths resources at all times, and so far I’ve been so impressed by the maturity and confidence with which the children are using these concrete resources to help them.
Well done mathematicians!
Mr O’Dowd J
Romans on the Rampage!
In history, we have been learning about the Romans, and how and why they invaded Britain!
We also put together a human timeline in order to help us visualise how long ago this all happened!
I have been so impressed by how engaged and enthusiastic the children are about this topic, and their ability to recall facts and knowledge that they have learnt is blowing me away!!
Keep it up guys!
Mr O’Dowd J
English – Letter Writing using Conjunctions!
In English, we have been reading the story ‘I Am Spartapuss’. It is a story told from the point of view of Spartapuss – a cat in Roman times.
In the story Spartapuss has been sent to prison by the mad ‘Catligula’ for a crime he didn’t commit!
We brainstormed ideas for a way to communicate with the outside world, and came up with writing a letter!
We identified the key parts of a letter, such as who it’s from, who it’s to, where you put your main body of information and how you open and close a letter.
We then wrote a letter to Katrin – our friend on the outside – who will hopefully set us free!
Science - Forces and Magnetism!
In science we have been looking at forces – both contact and non-contact. We learned that a contact force is anything we can do to an object while touching it, such as pushing or pulling it. We experimented with the different ways we could move a toy car around our tables.
We then learned about magnetism, a non-contact force! We hypothesised that magnets would only stick to metals, so we experimented and tried out magnets on loads of different objects around the classroom! We discovered that while magnets did stick to metals, they didn’t stick to every metal!
Stay tuned to find out more about our scientific discoveries!
Mr O’Dowd J
A huge well done to everyone who came down to Southampton University over the weekend for the performance.
Your hard work over the last several months paid off massively, and I’m so unbelievably proud to be your teacher!
A big thank you to adults at home for all the help practising and helping out on the day as well, we couldn’t have done it without you!
You are all absolute superstars! Well done!!
Mr O’Dowd J
World Book Day!
Wow! Your costumes were amazing!
We had an action-packed World Book Day, starting with a crime scene in the library! We used lots of detective skills, pieced together evidence and looked at witness statements to figure out who could have been our culprit!
Can you figure out who it was?
We also were lucky enough to have a visit from a real life author and publisher! They came to talk to us about their new book ‘The Firestone’ and then we workshopped loads of ideas that they’re going to use to create a real book!
The week has flown by!
We jumped straight into ‘Spring into Fitness/Wellbeing Week’ and we have been learning about loads of ways to keep healthy, both physically and mentally!
Today we took part in circuit training to keep our bodies healthy and learned about all the benefits that keeping physically fit can provide, both for our physical and mental health!
Mr O’Dowd J
WOW!! I am absolutely blown away by how amazing the children’s projects have been! They have been so creative and so brave as well to stand up in front of the class and show off their hard work and all that they have learned over the past half term. I am so so impressed and cannot wait to see the rest of the projects throughout the rest of the week.
Thank you so much for helping out your children with their projects, you should all be super proud!
All the best,
Mr O’Dowd J
The children got creative today and, using their knowledge of a Jewish place of worship, constructed models of synagogues including key features such as the Torah, the Ark, the Everlasting Light and a Bimah.
Very well done to the children, particularly with how they worked together in twos showing wonderful collaboration to create their synagogues.
Mr O’Dowd J
This morning in Gecko class we took part in the RSPCB organised ‘Big School’s Bird Watch’.
We made use of our school’s wonderful outdoor classroom ‘The Owl’ which is something the children have feedback that they want to use much more.
We went down as a class and put out two different types of bird food – seeds and mealworms, as part of our longitudinal study.
We then took it in turns to keep watch and see what we could spot while the rest of the class worked on with some artwork.
The children were amazing and spotted loads! Pigeons, robins, magpies and blue-tits cropped up most commonly.
The children were truly inspired by the natural beauty around them, and showed this by creating some lovely artwork!
An amazing way to start a day!
Mr O’Dowd J
I hope you’re all well after loads of festive fun, the kids certainly seem to have had awesome winter breaks! Thank you so much for all your generosity, I was truly blown away! I still don’t think I’ve finished all the chocolate!
We’ve dived straight back in to work, getting stuck in to learning about habitat destruction, and receiving secret missions to create presentations (if you have any questions about that, please come and ask!). We’ve started a new book in class for English work ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes and have been using it to help us look at a story from lots of different perspectives.
It’s been so busy since returning, that this week in our ‘Flexi-Friday’ time we took the opportunity to relax, and used the laptops to practise on Spelling Shed, Times Table Rockstars and Splash Maths! If you have any questions about any of these please catch me as always on the playground before or after school!
Mr O’Dowd J
Election Day! Cast your vote!
Today in KS2 we had our own Otterbourne election! We reviewed the key policies for the Green Party, Conservative Part, the Liberal Democrats and Labour. We discussed the pros and the cons of each manifesto, and the impact that each party may have on our country if they are voted in. We then cast our votes on a voting slip and popped them into the ballot box to be counted and revealed tomorrow!
The General Election is of huge nationwide importance, so we thought it would be really beneficial to do this activity, and allow the children a bit of an insight into what’s taking place around the country today!
SON Workshop with Ricky #2
This week we were once again joined by spoken word artist/beatboxer/musician Ricky, who once again inspired the children to write raps about electrical waste. This was an incredibly flexible process, and it ended up going in the direction of a giant recycling monster made out of electronic waste! We will be joined by Robin, the SON project director, again next week to tie all the work we have been doing so far together, and star to work on performance and refinement!
In RE, we have been looking at the concept of ‘Holy’ through the story of the Nativity. We studied Mary, the mother of God, and discussed the ‘Annunciation’, where the angel Gabriel came and told Mary that she was to bear the child of God. We looked at how Mary is depicted in churches round the world, and the children were particularly drawn to images of stained glass windows. We responded to this by creating our own stained glass windows depicting Mary by using cellophane.
It was great fun but took quite a lot of cleaning up!
Mr O’Dowd J
The next phase of our joint venture with the SON project took place on Monday, and wow! A songwriter/rapper/beatboxer came in to work with the children, and they managed to write a song about getting a new toy for Christmas, and how that so quickly after getting a new toy, it can become outdated and gets chucked away. Then in the afternoon, we wrote raps all about broken plastic products getting thrown away.
What an amazing opportunity this is turning out to be, and the children are so excited to keep going, as am I!
Our first visit from the SON Project was today and wow, what an afternoon we had!
The SON project are an orchestra who hope to change the world by creating music about waste, and this ties in perfectly with our topic! We are lucky enough to be working with them lots over the coming months, so stay tuned to hear more!
Robin Browning, conductor for the Turner Sims orchestra arrived this afternoon with a team of people including Anka (a violinist), Ian (Professor of Science), Alice (a scientist), Molly (videographer) and Ollie (education and aural specialist).
We learned about the aims of the project, and even created a song from nowhere!
We can't wait for their next visit!!!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, my door is always open.
Mr O’Dowd J
The children have been working incredibly hard over the last couple of weeks to finish off writing their scripts for a news report. We have begun filming some using a green screen and hopefully will have them all finished and ready to show off to the class by the end of the week! It has been amazing to see how dedicated and enthusiastic the class has been towards this, hopefully we can keep this kind of enthusiasm throughout the whole year!
Mr O'Dowd J
During our topic time this week, we carried on learning all about plastic pollution. A big thank you goes out to Mrs Cox, who came in to talk to us all about her job as a landscape manager and how she can help the environment with her work.
We also discussed plastic, and learned that while it can be bad for the environment, without plastic the world would be a very different place! Following this we had a class debate where we discussed the pros and the cons of plastic.
We will keep learning about plastic and how it affects the world around us, so stay tuned for more as we are producing news reports which we are going to film and edit to look like Newsround reports!
All very exciting stuff, as always if you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to catch me before or after school for a chat!
Mr O’Dowd J
We concluded our theme of Vikings by putting together a day of fun activities! We made dragons like the ones talked about in Norse myths and legends, we carved runes into clay, just like the Vikings would have! We found out all about Viking sagas and we made and decorated Viking longships as well!
It’s been a crazy, fun-filled half term, and I want to extend my thanks to all the children and you at home who continue to help me settle in and who have made this the best start to teaching I could have possibly imagined!
Have an amazing half term break!
Mr O’Dowd J
The Power of ‘Yet’
This week in our class assembly we discussed the power of yet. This means we can transform our thinking from ‘I can’t do this’ to, ‘I can’t do this… Yet!’
This one word can change the whole meaning of a sentence, and over the course of the year we will be trying to develop a ‘Growth Mindset.’
The children all wrote down some things that they felt they weren’t very good at, or that they found really difficult. Then, through the magic power of yet, we looked at how they could change that, what they could do to improve and how they were going to be determined!
The children responded incredibly thoughtfully and I was amazed to see how they were able to change their thinking and be resilient, and I hope that’s something that will continue!
All the best,
Mr O’Dowd J
Setting and Atmosphere!
We went outside with our books, and children were encouraged to see beyond what was actually there, but to use their imagination to create a magical world, and then to describe this place using their senses! A bird singing became the sound of a nest of baby dragons, a car going by became the rumble of a hungry dragon’s belly, and the smell of lunch being cooked became the scent of the dragon’s breath.
Some absolutely fantastic description was produced by the children, and we will use these skills to paint the image of a story setting!
We used roleplay to get inside the mind of the King, who has a very difficult decision to make regarding a dragon outside his castle! We split into groups so everyone was able to ask questions and think of replies, and then some children sat on the 'throne' and addressed their kingdom!
After this, we wrote diary entries using the understanding of how a character may feel to show the King's thought process and the decision he might make!
We are looking at a poem called 'The Grateful Dragon' and will be writing our own stories based on the poem!
Watch this space!
Mr O'Dowd :)
Mysterious Eggs Found On Playground!
This week in Gecko Class, something mysterious happened… Eggs were discovered on the playground outside our classroom! These weren’t just the type of eggs you have for breakfast though, they arrived in an ancient chest, with a note that read, ‘Please look after this for me!’
We thought that they looked like dragon eggs due to the scales all over them, and decided we have to report this to the world in the form of a newspaper report!
Stay tuned for more.
Mr O’Dowd J
Welcome to Gecko Class 2019-2020!
Hello everyone! I am so excited about welcoming the children into my first ever class this year after an awesome couple of days at the end of last term getting to know them. Some of you might remember me from last year, when I was here on placement, and I liked it so much I had to come back!
We have kicked off the new year with a bang, and welcomed Erik Erikkson into school on Tuesday to teach us all about the Anglo Saxons and Vikings. This was a fantastic way to start our new topic 'Let the Battle Commence', which focusses on the Anglo Saxon and Viking period. They were all very well behaved and super polite when questioning Erik about all the fascinating artefacts he had brought with him, and were very inquisitive when it came to asking questions.
So far, I have absolutely loved the first few days getting to know everyone, and I am super excited about the year we have planned together. If you ever need to chat, you can find me in the mornings outside, or grab me after school and we can get something sorted.
Looking forward to the year ahead,