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Years 3 & 4 Group News

Hello everyone! So begins another busy term - a term most unlike any we have ever experienced. Whether you are a teacher, student, parent, or grandparent, it's a new environment for us all, and somewhat challenging. Hang in there!

As we grapple with the most effective way to delve into the curriculum, there is one certainty: technology is the essential driver of our work. For some, this brings opportunities and excitement. For others, difficulty, confusion, and dread! During these times, our main message is to 'stay calm.'

As teachers, we are now exploring new frontiers when covering the curriculum. Consider the following under Self-Awareness and Management in the area of Personal and Social Capability:

Identify how persistence and adaptability can be used when faced with challenging situations and change. 

Source: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/

In a typical school day, challenging situations can arise from social disagreements and issues with friends, occasional unexpected changes to class routine, or challenges with learning tasks and activities. Teachers seize upon these moments (and often anticipate them) to help children develop persistence and adaptability. In the current learning environment, it is difficult to do so.

This is true for many curriculum areas. Subsequently, it is essential to remember a few key points:

  • As with real-time, face-to-face teaching, students will sometimes misunderstand, be confused, and feel unready to engage with learning. Work with this in mind, and don’t swim against the current. If something is not going to work, take a break, change tack, and STAY CALM.
  • Resilience is developed by facing and overcoming adversity. Even if we could remove all challenges for students, it would not help to build resilience. Problems and difficulties should be seen as a normal fact of life.

As Michael Norman (former Woodleigh Principal) eloquently put it:

"We ought never to do for young people what they, with a struggle, could be expected to be doing for themselves. With our encouragement, our urging, and our insistence, they can learn to manage."

So with all of the above in mind, accept that problems will be encountered. It is vital to persist with difficulties and understand that we each need to adapt to unusual circumstances together. 

Maths

In Year 3, students are practising measuring, comparing, ordering, and estimating objects using metric units of length. We are discussing formal units of measurement, and looking at the relationship between millimetres, centimetres, metres, and kilometres.

In Year 4, we have been inquiring into all the possible addition and subtraction strategies that are used to solve calculations and problems. We have been most impressed with the confidence of children when using the microphone or drawing tools to explain their strategies. Recognising and then teaching strategies is often a challenging but essential step.

We have also been looking at finding the perimeter of our garden beds or a square or rectangle shape. It has been wonderful to see children getting hands-on for maths by using measuring tapes and rulers to find the length and width of shapes. 


English

We have been focusing on the structure of informative texts, including features such as headings, diagrams, tables, graphs, illustrations, captions, etc., and how paragraphs are used as an organisation tool for conveying information.

We have also been watching "Behind The News," a weekly children's news program, and sharing our opinions on current issues. It's terrific hearing how the group feels and thinks about what is going on in the world today. They have also been looking at the news from different perspectives, choosing to describe what someone else may be thinking and feeling about an issue. Their ability to walk in someone else's shoes can be a challenging skill to acquire sometimes, but this group is genuinely able to step into it and will help them in the future, I'm sure.


Unit of Inquiry 

The transdisciplinary theme for Year 3 is 'Sharing the planet.' Our central idea is, 'Living things are connected to the environments in which they live.

The lines of Inquiry are: 

  • Environments and their features
  • The interdependence between living things and the environment
  • Human impact on the environment and living things
  • Solutions and actions we can take to maintain and restore environments and living things

Year 4 have been inquiring into: 

  • Does how we respond to the attitude and actions of others influence the harmony of a relationship?
  • What can cause conflict?  
  • Are there different perspectives in conflict?  
  • How is body language used as a communication tool?  
  • Are there more ways than one to deal with conflict? 
  • What are the features of a harmonious community? 
  • Can conflict be used as an opportunity to grow and learn? 

It has been a pleasure inquiring into these units with our groups. These are some interesting points for discussion. We are looking forward to engaging in further inquiry as the Term 2 unravels.

We want to thank you all for your support with the Continuous Learning Platform as we try our best to navigate learning online during this difficult time. It is important to celebrate small successes with each other as we together climb this steep learning curve.

We are grateful that if something does not go as expected, we can pause, take a breath, and try again as best we can.

Take care and stay safe, 

HANNAH & JUSTIN 
Year 3 & 4 Classroom Teachers