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Otterbourne C.E. Primary School

Excellence for All in Every Way

Year 3/4 (Geckos)

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/Nicky Compton - PPA cover

Mr Bagge - ICT

Mrs Slominski (LSA support - AM), Mrs Buttwell (LSA support - AM), Miss Higson (LSA Support - AM)


Homework Rota: 

Homework for Gecko class will be set via Google Classroom - more info to come! 


Library Time : Friday


P.E.: Games/PE time is with Mr O'Dowd on Tuesday 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. 


We’re finally back! It’s been so surreal getting back into routine, but I couldn’t be more pleased to be back!



We have had an amazing first few days back together and it’s been so fantastic seeing how the children are adapting to being back at school. They are a lovely group of children and I know we are going to have a fantastic year.


We’ve certainly been busy! We’ve been dropping eggs (photos to follow!), decorating the classroom, sorting out lockers and getting to know each other! It’s been a whirlwind of activity, but the children have handled it wonderfully, and I’m so excited for the rest of the year!


Please do let me know if you have any concerns or queries, and I will always do my best to help wherever possible.


Mr O’Dowd J

The Egg-cellent Egg Drop!




SON Project

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!

World Book Day Investigation and Workshop Photos

Welcome back!

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

Circuit Training!

Homework Presentations!

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

More Presentation Photos!

Photos from home projects

Shoebox Synagogues!

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

Shoebox Synagogue Photos

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

Birdwatching Photos

Welcome Back!

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!

Election Day

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!

Workshop #2 Photos

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  

RE Art Photos

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!


Mr O’Dowd

SON Workshop Photos

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

SON Performance

Still image for this video

SON Pictures

Script Writing!

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

Viking Day!

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,

Mr O'Dowd