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Oystercatchers - Mr Prior

Welcome to our Oystercatchers Class Curriculum Newsletter!

Our class are a mixture of Year 4 and 5 pupils taught by Mr Prior. Mrs Duncan 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). Many other friendly faces from our great staff team may also pop in from time to time!





The overall theme for the spring term will broadly focus on ‘Time Travel’ (and this will link into many of the other subjects up until Easter). In this unit we shall discover different aspects of time and travel, finding out just how important time is (and has been) to all people. The wonderful book ‘George’s Secret key to the Universe’ by Lucy and Stephen Hawking will launch our project at the start of the term and aspects from the story will form the basis of most English work to improve reading and writing. The time travel theme will continue to inspire learning across the Curriculum. This includes History and Geography (which will focus on North America) to be supported through ICT, Art and D&T. We look forward to ‘show-casing’ some of our learning when we invite our parents to join us for our Class Assembly at the end of the unit (watch out for the date!).

As ever, we shall be looking to enhance learning through local educational visits ... again, watch out for the newsletter (and Class Dojo) for more details!


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 yellow Reading Record 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! The school library is accessible every day to change reading books – ideally, this should be done first thing in the morning or directly after lunch. As we’ve already said, our main class text will be ‘George’s Secret Key to the Universe’ – in addition will, of course, also look at a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts during Shared and Guided Reading sessions.



We should have our kit in school every day. We need shorts and our House Team coloured t-shirt; 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 go 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 fabric!).



Maths and 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 in class for us to earn bonus ‘Dojo points’!



We are given opportunities every day to develop our reading, writing and communication skills. Opportunities to learn about different genres will be plentiful throughout the year, as children learn to adapt their styles of writing for different purposes – this will allow us to experiment and become really creative, once we have learned about 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.

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 new PATHS Curriculum (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) will also serve to improve communication skills, as well as boosting our self-esteem! 



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 develop our skills throughout the year. We have access to lots of different equipment to help us with:

  • Number and Place Value
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Fractions
  • Measurement
  • Geometry – position and shape
  • Statistics

Regular mental maths 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.



The Earth, Sun and Moon (including the planets)

For the first part of the term, we will: Look at how the apparent position of the Sun changes over the course of a day; learn how shadows change in length and direction over the course of a day; prove that shadows are formed when light is blocked; understand the compass directions north, south, east and west and present data in tables and bar charts.


After half term, we will: Look closely at forces, using a forcemeter to interpret the scale correctly; understand that several forces may act on one object, representing the direction of forces by arrows; learn that when an object is submerged in water, the water provides an upward force on it, again use tables to present results; identify patterns and draw conclusions; repeat measurements to check them; investigate how much an elastic band stretches depends on the force acting on it and represent data in a line graph and use this to identify patterns in the recorded information.

We will work scientifically, asking and answering our own questions. When opportunities arise, we will conduct fair tests and investigations, understand variables and make/record detailed observations using labelled and annotated diagrams.



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.

Finally, thank you for all your support in our mutual effort to provide the best all-round education to benefit the children of Oystercatchers! Remember to check Mr Prior’s Class Dojo blog for weekly updates and photographs ...