How we organise ourselves

Another maths strategy, teamwork challenges and becoming responsible Digital Citizens!

Posted by kimward

Another Mighty Mental Maths strategy…

Following on from an earlier piece about some of the mental calculation strategies we have been teaching the students, we would like to share another one, as feedback from some parents was extremely positive and many remarked on how useful it was to see how the students have been shown how to solve questions.

Bridging is another strategy that has been shown to the students as a way of solving addition and subtraction. To use this strategy, the students MUST know and be confident with their number bonds to 10, and to ‘ten’ numbers.

It involves making a ‘ten’ number, then adding or subtracting the remainder to find the final answer. See examples in the photos below:


Team work challenges

This being the penultimate week of our current unit of inquiry “How we organise ourselves”, we have been getting down to some design challenges to further strengthen the students’ ability to participate, co-operate, communicate and encourage their peers. Over the past 2 weeks, the students, within their teams, were encouraged to follow the design process to research, design and build the tallest newspaper tower and the widest newspaper bridge they could with only one newspaper and a roll of masking tape. This proved to be a great exercise in trial and error and strategy, as well as building upon the character strengths and skills that this unit of inquiry has been focussing on. On 27th November, we will begin our third unit of inquiry: “Where we are in place and time”. This will be a History focus, as we will inquire into explorers and their motivations and achievements.


Digital Citizenship Training Commences

Over the next few weeks, all four of the Y3 classes will be taking part in a three part training programme taught by our Digital Literacies Coordinator, Joe Leithhead, and one of his assistants. He has devised a series of age appropriate lessons teaching the students how to be safe on-line, how to manage their digital footprint, and about the effects of cyber bullying. This is in preparation for releasing their school email addresses to them in the new year. There will be a parent information session in the theatre next term to explain how this will work, so watch this space for more news on that!




Camp Reflections…

Posted by kimward

This morning, during a class discussion, I mentioned to my students that exactly one week ago, they were all just going into the dining hall at camp to have their breakfast! It seems amazing that another whole week has passed. This week, the students and staff have been reflecting on the camp experience. The staff were so proud of all the students for their courage and willingness to be risk-takers as well as the excellent behaviour throughout the duration of camp. It was so satisfying to have all the children fast asleep in their beds on Thursday night in the confidence that they had had an exhausting but amazing first day. I’m sure you all enjoyed the photo gallery posted by Mr. Boon on the first evening.

Friday was also a wonderful day of exciting activities. Many children mentioned that ‘The Amazing Race’ was a huge highlight for them. They were practising their teamwork skills as they faced a number of challenges spread out around the campus. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch and then time to leave!

I would like to extend a special thanks to ALL parents and staff for their part in making the Year 3 Camp 2017 a huge success. To those of you who were not able to attend, thank you for preparing your children so well for the event both emotionally and in a practical sense (bed-making skills may need further practice!!). To the parents who did attend: Dane Warwick, Matthew Bentley, Lisa Tsang, Nancy Trueman, JoElle Scott, Mariana Grigorian, Adam Nichols and Steve Chitty, you were all a fantastic support for the staff and students and many of you performed well above and beyond the call of duty. To the staff who attended, Year 3 teachers and EAs and Mr. Jason Boon, along with Shann Anderson, Alice Bisley and Chris McLeay, thanks for your inspiration and your energy before, during and after camp. It is true that an immense amount of planning and preparation goes into this major event of the school year, but it totally paid off as the camp ran smoothly and was enjoyed by all! Enjoy these final photographs.

Kim Ward


Focus on Maths and getting ready for camp!

Posted by kimward


At the beginning of the year, we have been focusing on place value. The students have been encouraged to explore numbers in different ways, for example ordering a group of numbers, looking at greater than and less than, rounding to the nearest ten, hundred and thousand, as well as using MAB blocks to model numbers. This has helped them to get a good sense of what numbers are ‘made up of’.

Recently, we have been investigating different mental strategies for addition. We have used ‘Number Talks’, which is a way of encouraging the students to think about their own methods of solving addition problems in their heads, then sharing their ideas with the class. This improves their number sense as they begin to manipulate numbers in different ways, deepening their understanding of the value of numbers and how to add them using the most ‘efficient’ strategy. So far, the classes have looked at ‘partitioning’ which means they separate the tens and the ones, add them separately and then add the two parts (which makes an easier calculation to do mentally).


e.g. 27+12

20+10= 30 (add the tens together)

7+2=9 (add the ones together)

so 30+9=39 (add the two totals together)

We have also looked at ‘friendly numbers’. This strategy is used when one of the numbers they need to add has a 9 or an 8 in the ones (units). They ROUND that number up to the nearest 10 to create an easier calculation (‘ten’ numbers are ‘friendly’ because they are easy to add), then subtract from the other number to balance the equation.


e.g. 39+17

39+1=40 (making a ‘friendly number’)

17-1=16 (subtract one from the 17, as we added one to the 39)

then 40+16= 56 (add the two totals)


We have most recently been teaching the JUMP STRATEGY, which involves the students using a number line to add numbers. The photographs below will show you how this works.

So when your child is telling you they solve things a different way to the one you expect, you now know what they are talking about!



In just two weeks we will be at camp and everyone is beginning to get excited about this major event in our school calendar! We are busy preparing the students in school by fostering teamwork as well as independence and we hope you are doing the same at home. NOW is the time, if you haven’t done so already, to organise those sleepovers and get your child used to the idea of sleeping away from you for one night. This will alleviate any fears they (or you) may have and make the camp experience much more enjoyable for all!

Today, a comprehensive letter has been sent home which details the equipment that they will need to bring and also the itinerary for the two days.

There are still a few families who still need to sign the e-notice on Gateway, and we also request that you ensure that any health or medical issues including food allergies are fully updated on Gateway.


We are looking forward to meeting most of you next week at the upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences, on Wednesday and Thursday. If you have not already done so, please visit Gateway and take this opportunity to make yourself an appointment with your child’s class teacher.

Some questions that you might want to think about to help you prepare for the Parent Teacher conferences include:

  • How do you feel your child has settled into their class?
  • Parents are their child’s first teacher –  what do you believe are your child’s strengths?
  • What do you believe are your child’s areas for further growth?
  • What motivates your child?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share which may be helpful in supporting your child’s learning? (previous history, likes, dislikes etc.)

Kind regards,

Year 3 Teachers