Checkendon CE (A) Primary School

Checkendon CE (A) Primary School

Respect, integrity, courage, compassion and hope

Willow Class Blog 2023/2024


Term 5 Week 5

In English this week we wrote shipwrecked letters as if we were King Alonso from The Tempest.  We used similes to describe the tempest and Prospero's island.  We enjoyed writing them up on 'old' paper!  In maths, we began our work on money by converting between pounds and pence and adding and subtracting money.  We used cardboard, paper clips, split pin and bulldog clips to make our own switches in science before conducting an investigation to to see which was the quickest and easiest to break and reconnect.  This week there has been a lot of country dancing practice.  We look forward to showing it to you next week.

Term 5 Week 4

We had a wonderful, sunny trip to Ufton Court on Tuesday.  First, we went to the farm, learning skills Tudors would have used to keep warm: spinning wool, creating a spark with flint and steel and creating willow fencing.  After that, we learnt about writing in Tudor times.  We fashioned our own quills, made our own ink and had a go at writing a letter using our quill and ink - it was not easy!!  After lunch, we made our own bow and arrows from willow before practising our shooting skills.  Thank you Matt for a great day- we learnt a lot and had great fun!

Term 5 Week 3

This week, we started reading a children's version of William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'. After we read the dramatic opening where Prospero uses his magic to conjure up a violent storm, we created similes and metaphors to describe the tempest.  See our ideas below - they are very creative. We also recapped how to use apostrophes to indicate possession and we created maps of Prospero's island with all the key landmarks included.  In science, we tested different materials to discover which were conductors (and allowed electricity to flow through them) and which were insulators (and did not allow electricity to flow through them).  It was great fun testing and we discovered the metals (we tested steel, copper and aluminium) were conductors.  

Next week, we are looking forward to our class trip to Ufton Court on Tuesday.  Please remember to dress according to the weather (no school uniform) and bring a packed lunch and water bottle.

Term 5 Week 2

We continued our work on the Tudors by learning about Tudor clothing and the differences in clothing between the rich and poor.  The children drew some wonderful labelled diagrams.  The children also wrote some fabulous descriptions of King Henry VIII in English.  In maths, we learnt to divide numbers, including decimals, by 10 and 100 by moving the numbers one or two places to the right.  There was great excitement in science as everyone learnt how to make a complete circuit and make a light bulb light!  

Term 5 Week 1

Welcome back after the Easter holidays!  Our overarching topic this term is 'Tudor Times'.  Please see the curriculum newsletter on the Willow Class information page on this website which outlines the learning for Term 5.   We jumped straight in reading our new class book, 'The Queen's Token' by Pamela Oldfield.  We thought about the the characters introduced in the first chapter, ordering them from rich to poor.  This developed into a very interesting conversation into the meaning of the word 'rich'.  The children also wrote some fantastic dialogue between characters, ensuring a good balance of speech and dialogue.  In maths, we continued our work on fractions and decimals with a focus on hundredths.  We practised converting between fractions and decimals.  We began our work on the Tudors by exploring the Tudor monarchs and working in pairs to create the Tudor family tree.  We are all excited about learning more about this interesting period in history.

Term 4 Week 5

We made the most of some spring sunshine this week by getting outside and continuing to improve our tennis skills.  We practised our forehand shots,  hitting over the nets.  We learned more about  of the features of a balanced argument in English including using conjunctions such as 'additionally' and 'on the other hand' to link ideas.  In maths, we learned how to find a fraction of a number, drawing bar models to support our understanding - do ask your children to demonstrate!  We explored the question 'which material is the best for muffling sounds?' in science by planning and conducting a fair test.

Term 4 Week 4

This week was assessment week and all the children worked hard and tried their best - they should be really proud of their efforts.  We also began learning about our final writing genre for this term - writing a balanced argument.  We began by listening to statements including: 'homework should be banned', 'weekends should be 3 days long' and 'all children should have mobile phones'.  The children had to decide whether they were for or against the statement, giving a reason.  Everyone made up their own mind and made some excellent points.  I am excited about the writing to come!  We continued our work on fractions in maths, adding and subtracting fractions including subtracting from whole numbers for the year fours.  We explored changing the pitch of a sound in science.   First, we explored using musical instruments and then used what we learnt to make our own straw flutes.  It was great fun!

Term 4 Week 3

We have had an amazing science themed Writing Week!  Our first piece of non-fiction writing was a biography about the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.  First we used different fact sheets to research, we discovered lots of interesting facts about Bell's childhood, adult life and inventions.  Next, we learnt the features of a biography and wrote our first draft.  Finally, we worked really hard typing them up on the laptops before adding pictures.  We explored the invention of the telephone by making our own string telephones out of paper cups.  We had great fun discovering the science behind how they work.  On Wednesday, Sparks the scientist came to school and we did lots of fantastically fun science experiments including making slime!  We also conducted some of our own science experiments exploring static electricity.  We made a balloon stick to a wall and a tin can roll across the table using static charge.  It was very exciting!  Our final piece of writing was a science explanation text explaining how this worked.

Our amazing writing is now on display in the school hall so do come and see it if you haven't already!

Term 4  Week 2 

We continued our poetry unit by looking at the poem, 'The Magic Box' by Kit Wright.  We wrote our own versions by mixing magical ideas with sights, smells, tastes and feelings and memories special to us.  The finished poems were amazing and all so unique.  In maths, we learnt to measure area and perimeter and created robots to help us do this.  As a reward for two weeks of 100% attendance, we had a lovely session of extra play which was enjoyed by all.  Excellent work Willow Class!  We also very much enjoyed our bonus cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows to help keep us warm.  Thank you Mrs Hiller!

Term 4 Week 1

We started our new learning project, 'Good Vibrations' by looking at poems about sound.  First, we explored the patterns in the  poem 'Sounds' by Irene Rawnsley before writing our own creative rhyming couplets (see photo below).  We then looked at 'The Sound Collector' by Roger Mc Gough.  As part of planning our own version of the poem, we went on a sound walk around school.  We were amazed at how many different sounds we heard when we were silent! In science we learnt how sound is made through vibrations.  We explored this using different musical instruments.  We have started to calculate the perimeter of shapes this week in maths and we will move on to calculating area next week.

Term 3 Week 5

We have been busy completing all our work about Oxford this week.  We wrote, edited and published our persuasive leaflets, which look and sound great.  We also turned our sketches of Oxford's buildings into a print by tracing over them and then digging the image into a polystyrene tile to create our stencil.  We have started looking at measuring length in maths; converting between millimetres, centimetres and metres.

Wishing everyone a happy half term

Term 3 Week 4

After our trip to Oxford, we decided to write leaflets to inform and persuade others to visit.  This week, we have learning about different persuasive techniques such as using alliteration, rhetorical questions and the 'Power of Three'.  We look forward to using these techniques when writing our own leaflets next week.  In geography, we explored OS maps of Oxford, learnt about some of the symbols and followed a treasure hunt to read 4-figure grid references.  Printing is our focus for art this term.  This week we sketched some of buildings we saw on our trip, which we will use to create our printing stencil next week.

Term 3 Week 3

This week we finished our work on the book 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' by showcasing our skills and writing a first person narrative description as if we were Lucy travelling through the wardrobe and meeting Mr Tumnus.  We are now enjoying listening to the rest of the story each afternoon.  In maths we used our times tables to multiply beyond 12 using the short (column) multiplication method and we have now moved onto division using the partitioning (or chunking) method to divide larger numbers.  We learnt about the invention of toothpaste, and what makes a good toothpaste, in science. After that, we created our own which we tested against three well-known brands.  Many groups found their own toothpaste  invention was actually the most effective!  

Term 3 Week 2

We had a fun-packed trip to Oxford on Tuesday.  Mrs Hillier was our amazing tour guide pointing out all the important landmarks and even showing us the  lamp-post that inspired C.S Lewis.  Our first stop was the Bodleian Library where we learned about how books were printed, and created our own print using Lego -pieces before using the historic printing press.  After a quick lunch stop at the Quaker Meeting House, we made our way to The Natural History Museum where we enjoyed a very interesting workshop about bones before exploring the museum ourselves.  We were all so proud of the children who were great ambassadors of the school.  We were also very grateful to Moulsford School who dropped us off and picked us up in their minibus.

Term 3 Week 1

It was lovely to see everyone back and refreshed after the Christmas break. 

Our new geography learning project this term is called 'The City of Spires' and we are learning all about Oxford.  This week. we discussed what counties are and found Oxfordshire and its surrounding counties on a map of the UK.  We also found Reading and Oxford and thought about the difference between a village, town and city.  In English, we started reading 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S Lewis.  We wrote descriptions of the wardrobe and the fur coats inside and of Lucy's journey through the wardrobe.  In maths, we continue to focus on multiplication and division.  We looked at multiplying 3 numbers, working methodically to find factors of numbers and year 4 looked at multiplying a 2-digit numbers by a single digit number by partitioning.  The children are doing really well learning their times tables and should continue to practice little and often.  

Next week, we are looking forward to our trip to Oxford where we will be visiting the Bodleian Library, The Natural History Museum and finding the lamp-post that inspired C.S Lewis!

Term 2 Week 8

This week we have been busy with lots of Christmas activities!  We have been making Christmas cards, finishing our Christmas decorations, solving Christmas problems in maths as well as enjoying our school Christmas dinner. We also completed our Ancient Egyptian learning project by completing our canopic jars.

Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas break.

Term 2 Week 7

We edited and published our newspaper reports on Purple Mash this week.  We typed them up and added pictures and backgrounds.  They look very professional and I hoped you enjoyed reading them at home too!  We also got stuck into our D.T project making canopic jars.  First, we created a jackal or falcon head shape using scrunched up newspaper and masking tape and then we got very messy by covering it in modroc!  When the modroc dried, we painted our canopic jars and added hieroglyphics.  We just have a few details to add before they are finished.  As part of our science learning, we enjoyed a visit from two dentists from Byways Dental Practice.  They discussed good oral hygiene and answered our many tooth related questions!

Term 2  Week 6

Willow Class had a wonderful time participating in a Sportshall Athletics tournament with other local schools this week.  Thank you to Mrs Thomas for organising it and to Mrs Thomas and Miss Gomm for accompanying the children.  We wrote our newspaper reports about discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in English and we look forward to publishing them next week.  In history we had fun writing our names in hieroglyphics and then writing words and messages for our friends to decipher.  We also had time to start creating some Christmas decorations.

Term 2 Week 5 

We have had a busy week doing our end of term assessments. Everyone worked really hard and should be proud of all their efforts.  In the afternoons, however, our lessons continued as normal.  The past few weeks in French, we have been learning to say numbers 1-20. We consolidated our knowledge this week by playing a game of French number dominoes.  We learnt about Ancient Egyptian past times in history and played a variation on the Ancient Egyptian game of Senet.  In Science, we discovered the results of our experiment.  We were shocked at how the orange juice had affected the egg shell!  

We are looking forward to our Sportshall Athletics at Langtree School next Wednesday.

Term 2 Week 4

We learnt about why, how and where ancient Egyptian pyramids were built this week before constructing our own square-based step pyramids using sugar cubes!  We also learnt about Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and wrote diary entries as if we were Howard Carter  exploring how he might have felt making this hugely important archaeological discovery!  We continued our science work on teeth by planning and setting up an experiment to investigate the effect of different liquid on teeth (although we used egg shells rather than actual teeth!)  We look forward to discovering the results next week.  On Wednesday, some of the girls went to a football tournament at Langree School. Mrs Thomas was so proud of their hard work and teamwork, which resulted in a win!

Term 2 Week 3

In Science this week, we moved on to learning all about teeth!  We learnt about the different types of teeth in our mouth and the function of each.  We then described the teeth of different animals and thought about why they need the teeth they have. We look forward to a visit from the dentist in a couple of weeks time. We finished writing our Egyptian Cinderella stories in English before peer editing them to add some corrections and improvements.  Everyone is working so hard learning their times tables in maths.  Great job Willow Class- keep it up!

Term 2 Week 2

This week we continued our work on The Egyptian Cinderella in English.  We thought about the ending  and whether the ending was a happy one.  We made points for both sides of the argument and then held a class debate.  There were excellent speaking and listening skills displayed.  We also planned our own versions of the Cinderella story by acting out our ideas.  

We learnt about the functions of the digestive system in science, and demonstrated how it works using bread, orange juice and a pair of tights! (Ask the children about this one!) In maths, we learnt how to multiply and divide by 10 and 100.

On Wednesday the boys took part in a football tournament with other local schools.  Mrs Thomas was very proud of their teamwork and resilience. The girls will take part in their own football tournament in a few weeks time.  While the boys were out, the girls enjoyed creating Egyptian silhouette artwork.

Term 2 Week 1

A new term and we started our new learning project, 'Egyptian Treasures'.  We looked at when and where the Ancient Egyptians lived and created a timeline of significant events in this period.  We also used ipads to research why the River Nile was a gift to the Ancient Egyptians.  We began our new science learning, naming the parts of the human digestive system and were amazed a how long the 'small' intestine actually is! (Thank you, Harry!)  In English, we began our new book, 'The Egyptian Cinderella'.  We wrote diary entries to infer how a character is feeling.  We started thinking about multiplication in maths and worked on our football skills in PE.


Please see this term's curriculum map in the Willow Class page on the website.

Term 1  Week 7

We finished our art work with Mrs Lovegrove this week.  They are all wonderful and all so different!  We also completed our slideshows on the River Thames and shared them with our partners.  For our second Big Write of the term, we put all our non-chronological report learning into practice by researching and writing an independent report either about otters or swans.  We loved discovering that otters often hold hands and that swans mate for life!  After learning about the different netball positions, we had a great match.  Everyone was having so much fun, no one complained about the drizzle!

Wishing everyone a great half term week.

Term 1 Week 6

We started our learning on subtraction in maths this week.  We recapped drawing number lines to count up and find the difference and then looked at column subtraction.  We used Base 10 to explain how, when and why we exchange.  We also wrote paragraphs of our non-chronological report thinking about using topic sentences to introduce each paragraph, varying our sentence openers and ensuring we used a capital letter for all the proper nouns.  Once we had written  the first draft, we edited them before producing our final drafts complete with pictures and captions.

Term 1 Week 5

We continued our work learning about the water cycle by making terrariums out of plastic bottles.  They will recycle the water inside, just like the water cycle does on Earth!  Our final English unit of this term is to write a non-chronological report on the River Thames.  We worked in partners to identify the features and started our research using ipads.  We have moved on to addition in maths.  We used our place value work to mentally add and subtract and we are now learning to add 2, 3 and 4-digit numbers using the written column method.  We continued our art work with Mrs Lovegrove- our pieces are looking amazing!

Term 1 Week 4

We learnt about the water cycle this week in geography and revised the term evaporation, condensation and precipitation.  We created storyboards to describe each stage and we worked together to create a water cycle display too!  In maths we completed our place value unit by rounding numbers to the nearest ten and hundred and the year 4s rounded to the nearest thousand too.  We continued our slideshows in computing and learnt how to add animations and transitions between slides.  We enjoyed a sunny afternoon playing netball.  There was some great team work on display! 

Term 1 Week 3

We wrote our first Big Write of the term in English this week: an action sequence based on our class book, 'The Journey'.  We discussed choosing powerful verbs and including some short sentences for drama.  I very much enjoyed reading them all.  In our place value work we worked on adding and subtracting 1, 10, 100 and 1000 to and from numbers.  We started our batik squares in art with Mrs Lovegrove and we look forward to adding to them in next week's art lesson.  We even managed to get outside between the rain showers and enjoy a netball match!

Term 1 Week 2

Our river work continued this week with a geography lesson using 'follow me' cards to revise the features of rivers and then using atlases to find the main rivers of the U.K.  We had a wonderful art lesson with Mrs Lovegrove looking at the patterns made by water before creating a collaborative piece of river art which looks amazing in our outside space.  Our English lessons focused on the book Journey by  Aaron Becker.  After looking at the first few pages, we used our inference skills to predict what might happen next,  we wrote dialogue between characters and we planned  and wrote a setting description.  In maths, we did lots of work placing, ordering and estimating numbers on a number line.  

Term 1 Week 1

Welcome back!  I have been so impressed with the way the children have settled back to school and are all ready to learn!

We got stuck straight in with our new topic, 'A River's journey'.  We explored  the journey a river makes from source to sea, learning lots of geographical language on the way.  We looked at two different river poems in English and wrote our own poems using metaphors to describe the river.  We had a lovely, sunny PE lesson learning about different passes in netball and we had our first go at shooting practice. We also had our first swimming lesson of the year at the Oratory.  Everyone said the pool was very cold but also very refreshing!  

On Wednesday next week is our class parent information meeting at 9am in Willow Class.