Year 3 & 4 Group News
What a fantastic first five weeks we have had in Year 3 and 4, bursting with inquiry, exploration and fun! Our groups have been working hard to build positive relationships, with one another, establish classroom routines, and sink our teeth into some seriously deep learning. Here’s a glance at what has been happening in our busy, exciting and evolving learning hub!
Gardening and ICT
Friday mornings: a time to build gardening and ICT skills back-to-back! With Hannah, the students enjoy a hands-on experience out in the Penbank veggie patch (A.K.A The Penbank Patch). In these sessions, we focus on science, life cycles of plants and insects, the issues and solutions around sustainability, paddock-to-plate style cooking, and of course the how-to of gardening. Each session will see us busy in the garden doing one or all of the following tasks: sowing seeds, planting seedlings, mulching, weeding, watering, and harvesting! With so much to do, we welcome any parent or grandparent to come along and share in the fun. Gardening runs from 9:30-11:00, meeting in the Year 4 room. We hope to see you in the Penbank Patch soon!
Alternatively, the students spend time in the classroom with Justin and learn about eSafety and other aspects of ICT. Students in Year 3 are becoming familiar with their laptops, including email, Finder, trackpad gestures, eSafety, navigating their laptop and the Internet, downloading and saving files, and more. Year 4 students are researching eSafety tips, so they can create learning resources for Year 3 students. As both groups are brushing up on eSafety, it is a timely opportunity for parents to talk with children about the various tools and approaches that they use to stay safe online. As with the Penbank Patch, please feel free to join us in the Year 3 classroom to brush up on your ICT skills!
Unit of Inquiry Update
How we organise ourselves
Thinking routines are being used to build and share students’ understandings of lines of Inquiry. A current favorite in Year 3 is called ‘Chalk Talk’. Despite the name, students write down their ideas about various topics using coloured markers. They roam the room and respond to a range of prompts, moving from one to the other, reading others’ ideas and adding their own. As students become more familiar with this routine, their responses become more relevant and detailed. It is a great way to establish students’ level of understanding at the beginning and end of a Unit of Inquiry.
Many classroom routines - and routines that bridge home and school contexts - have been developed with input from the students. These include creating a set of Year 3 expectations, establishing classroom jobs, use of diaries and computers, setting up for the day’s learning each morning, involvement in School Meeting, preparing independently for PE and Friday Afternoon Sports, and looking after students’ belongings in the classroom.
Systems are a key component of being organised. Subsequently, students have been looking at time as a system which is used to help keep us organised. They have been learning about lapsed time as a period of measurement. For example: If we arrive at school at 8:30, and leave at 3:45, how long have we spent at Penbank? Looking at the number of hours in a day and placing each hour on a timeline has allowed some students to link current understandings of telling the time to 24-hour digital time. For students across both year groups, car journeys are a great opportunity to estimate time measurements. Check the time when you leave, estimate the travel time to your destination, and then calculate the approximate arrival time. (e.g. “It’s ten-past-two now. It will take us about 25 minutes to get to the cinema. What time should we arrive?”).
Who we are
The Year 4 have been inquiring into their own and others’ wellbeing and the choices that affect their lives. The group began by sharing their knowledge of wellbeing which was vast and varied. This led us to explore the different areas that make up a happy and healthy life; including mental and physical health. To summarise and represent our newfound understanding that multiple things contribute to our health, we constructed a wellbeing wheel, complete with colors and images to match each area. Students then wanted to look beyond our classroom walls to find out what the rest of the school understood on the topic. Constructing a series of survey questions, the Year 4 set about interviewing the Years 3 and 6.
Feeling very pleased with their results, the children are now in the midst of collating, graphing and interpreting their data. We’re all looking forward to the information report each pair puts together and shares with the group in the upcoming weeks.
Building Positive Relationships
It is wonderful to see how naturally the students in the middle years have developed relationships with one another. The Year 4 students are fantastic role models for Year 3. Without even realising, they demonstrate exemplary behaviours that are in turn modelled by the younger students. Camp at Phillip Island this week will be a prime opportunity for the students to further consolidate relationships through shared experiences. At all times, Woodleigh’s 3 R’s (Respect for self, respect for others, respect for the environment) underpin students’ positive involvement at school and beyond. Furthermore, at Penbank we strive to be safe, fair and kind. These simple guiding principles have profound benefits for all students and teachers in building and maintaining positive relationships.
Initially an opportunity for students in Years 4-6, there was an overwhelming show of enthusiasm from Year 3 students to take part in Penbank’s recent Swimming Carnival. Despite grey skies and rain, the spirits of the swimmers and supporters were not dampened. Well done to the children for their support, good behaviour and involvement in the events. Thank you also to parents who were able to come along and offer their support.
It’s great to see students bringing their diaries to school each day. Throughout the week, we diarise important dates and talk about how upcoming events relate to the children and the school community. Students learn about the days, weeks, months, terms, and holidays and seasons. Mathematical concepts relating to time are developed through routine use of diaries, and students become familiar with interpreting the calendar format. The school diary allows students to demonstrate their home reading progress. It may also be used as a communication tool by parents to share information with teachers. We encourage parents to consult and discuss the diary with their child to help develop literacy and organisation skills.
A huge thank-you to the students and parents who are reading at home as often as they can. We are noticing as the days go by that more and more students are also remembering to log their reading in their diaries so we can check it off. Well done! Reading at home not only increases comprehension and reading fluency but also improves spelling and writing skills. Please remember that our school library is a fantastic book resource to bolster up the home reading material.
Fortnightly spelling words have begun to come home in student diaries, and we encourage children to build on their word knowledge at home. Although we don’t want this to become a laborious home task, it is a fantastic opportunity to consolidate knowledge taught during spelling sessions. A fast and simple way to do this is to recite and write spelling words.
Cultural Diversity Week
During Week 8, we will be celebrating how special diversity is when we live in a community of many cultures. The focus for School Meeting will be around the importance of living in harmony with one another. Thursday will see us come together and celebrate the official Harmony Day with the Harmony Day Twilight Picnic. Hope to see you all there!
We look forward to a busy, exciting year full of caring, sharing and learning.
HANNAH, JUSTIN, GAYLE and SALLY