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Oystercatchers - Mr Prior

We are a mixture of Year 4 and 5 pupils taught by Mr Prior. Mrs Staff is always close at hand to provide extra support! Miss Hutchinson teaches us PE on Wednesday afternoons, while Miss Roberts leads our weekly drama sessions (also on Wednesdays). Mr Hawkins will lead the second PE session on Thursdays. Many other friendly faces from our great team of staff may also help us from time to time!


The overall focus for the first term will be based on themes surrounding ‘Who are we?’ (this will link into many of the other subjects up until the end of the year). In this unit we shall look at events leading up to WW1, how it affected our ancestors and its legacy. ‘War Game’ by the children’s author, Michael Foreman will launch our project at the start of the term and themes from the story will form much of the English scheme to improve reading and writing. This will reach out to inspire learning across the whole Curriculum. This includes History and Geography (which will focus on ‘life’ in Britain during the Great War). This will be supported through other subjects such as ICT, Art, Music and Design Technology. We look forward to our production in November (look out for the date!).

Reading Books

We should have our reading books and book records in school every day and endeavour to read at home as often as we can; the new ‘Reading Dogs’ Booklets allow us to chart every time we read during the week for any period of time exceeding 15 minutes. This can be either alone in a quiet place, or to an adult – either way we must make sure we have written down the date in our booklets! Please test your child’s understanding by using the ‘Reading Dogs’ question prompts found in the booklets once a week. This can be such an enjoyable way to continue strategies taught and connect with your child through reading for pleasure! The school library is accessible every day to change reading books – ideally, this should be done first thing in the morning, directly after lunch or at the end of the day. As we’ve already said, our main class text will be ‘War Game’ – in addition will, of course, also look at a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts during Shared/ Guided Reading sessions and comprehension exercises.


We are given opportunities every day to develop our reading, writing and communication skills. We will learn about different genres (text types) throughout the year, so that children understand how to adapt their styles of writing for different purposes and audiences – this will allow us to experiment and become really creative, once we have learned about the different characteristics and techniques!

The essential English objectives are:

Reading: Read words accurately and understand a variety of different texts. Skim and scan to pick out specific information quickly (more information can be found in the Reading Records – Reading Dogs!).

Writing: Draft, edit and present pieces of writing; set work out neatly, spell and punctuate correctly; construct sentences and paragraphs carefully; write with a purpose, use imagination and organise ideas appropriately; adapt style and presentation to suit the purpose and appeal to the audience for which it is intended.

Communicating: Listen carefully and understand what is being said; Develop a wide and interesting vocabulary; Speak with clarity, developing expression to sustain interest; Tell/ re-tell stories with structure; Hold conversations and contribute ideas. Our PATHS Curriculum (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) will also serve to improve communication skills, as well as help us to think independently and solve problems.  


During Maths, we will be consolidating and revising methods covered so far, focussing on the four operations, known as arithmetic (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing). In line with the new curriculum, Maths is organised into units of work. Sections are revisited each term so we can practise and improve throughout the year. We have access to lots of different equipment to help us develop skills in:

  • Number and Place Value

  • Addition and Subtraction

  • Multiplication and Division

  • Fractions

  • Measurement

  • Geometry – position and shape

  • Statistics


Regular mental maths, arithmetic and ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’ make sure our mathematical skills are kept sharp. Our teachers assess the extent to which areas are understood, as well as concepts needing further learning or practice.


Nutrition (including wartime recipes)

During this unit, we will learn that a balanced diet contains the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to maintain good health: Good health involves drinking enough water and eating the right amount of foods from the different food groups.

We shall also compare eating habits and recipes from 100 years ago with today’s food.


We shall also be looking closely at materials and their properties. In particular, what materials were available for various purposes during WW1 (shelters, houses, appliances, etc!).

As always, we will work scientifically, asking and answering our own questions. We will conduct fair tests and investigations, understand variables and make/record detailed observations using labelled and annotated diagrams. We will show data in a variety of ways (including tables and graphs to present results). We will identify patterns and draw conclusions and repeat measurements to ensure consistency.


We should have our kit in school every day. We need shorts and our t-shirt (House Team colour); we use our field all year for PE, so tracksuits are useful (even essential) on cold days! We need plimsolls for indoor games and some dance activities, however bare feet is best for gymnastics. Trainers are essential for outdoor activities as well as lunchtimes when we can sometimes play on the grass. We MUST make sure we have our full PE equipment! Remember Yellows are now Purples (in an attempt to stop those pesky insects from being attracted to the yellow material!).

HomeworkMaths and/or English homework will be set each Friday and should be handed in the following Friday. This allows a weekend and several evenings to be able to complete the tasks. Homework can be done over part of a lunchtime if we need extra time or help (just catch Mr Prior, who will be happy to assist). In addition to English and Maths, we will receive a set of spellings rules to learn (again, given out on Fridays for a test the following Friday). Other pieces of work may be set for us to carry out at home, relating to on-going learning for us to earn bonus ‘Dojo points’!


Over the course of the year, we will be given opportunities to:

  • Use a computer to sequence short pieces of music using a small selection of pre-record sounds
  • Independently record video for a range of purpose, paying attention to the quality of the video capture
  • Take photographs for a specific reason or project and/or find appropriate images on-line
  • Create a video out of still images
  • Understand computer networks and internet safety
  • Use ICT to investigate basic programming procedures (algorithms)
  • Use the computer to perform photo edits and create a range of digital creations using photos
  • In addition, we will be able to use ICT to research information and create our own PowerPoint presentations.

As ever, we shall be looking to enhance learning through local educational visits ... Duxford Air Museum is in the pipeline … watch out for the newsletter (and Class Dojo) for more details!


Finally, thank you for all your wonderful support!

Remember to check Mr Prior’s Class Dojo blog for regular updates ...