Term 1 Comes To An End

Posted by annasherriff

What a term it has been! We have wrapped it up with a new team, Book Week, two Year 4 assemblies and the start of our new unit, Migration.


Unit of Inquiry

Central Idea: Human Migration involves challenges, risk, opportunities and change.

Throughout this unit, we have been looking at:

  • perspective
  • empathy
  • the effects of migration

Students have had the opportunity to read real-life migration stories and grow their understanding of the challenges and risks people take. In the new year, children will look a bit more closely at their own migration stories, and those of their parents and families.



We have finished the year inquiring into time and how to read and write it to the minute. Students have also been learning a range of strategies to help them solve addition and subtraction problems mentally. The strategies they have been focusing on are:

  • Jump Strategy
  • Split/Partition Strategy
  • Compensation/Friendly Numbers Strategy


In writing, we have been looking at Poetry and our focus has been on the writing traits of

  • Ideas
  • Word Choice
  • Voice

Children have been learning how to create rich imagery in their writing by using linguistic features like similes and metaphors to create an image in the reader’s mind.

We are looking forward to what Term 2 will bring, in particular, the adventures of camp! The new dates for Year 4 Camp are February 3-5th.

As well as this, students are being sent home with their stationery bags, please can you help them check that they have all their stationery ready for Term 2.

For now, thank you for all of your support and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

The Year 4 Team

New Unit in Year 4

Posted by year4

Peaceful Communities

This week we began a new unit.  The focus for this unit is Peaceful communities, but throughout it we will be exploring the following concepts:

  • peace and conflict
  • fairness and equality
  • perspective and empathy

Through these concepts the students will have an opportunity to better understand the causes of conflict and how they are able to use specific strategies to resolve any conflict situations they are in.  They will be doing this by learning in cooperative situations that will require them to resolve conflicts, by reading stories that help them better understand how peaceful communities can be maintained, and by furthering their understanding of Peace Talks and how they can be used to resolve conflict.

We will also be changing our focus in language and mathematics.



For the next few weeks in math we will be learning about fractions.  These are the outcomes we will be covering:


Students will continue to retell stories orally and in written form for the next couple of weeks.  After that we will begin unpacking a new comprehension strategy: inferences.

We usually begin by understanding what an inference is and then by making inferences about pictures before moving on to short texts and eventually longer and more complicated stories.  We generally want students to make inferences this way:

In other words, in order to come up with ideas about a story that the author hasn’t actually written, students will need to connect the clues they find in the text (or what they see in the pictures) with what they already know about a situation.

In writing, students will also be working with narratives.  The focus will primarily be on the organisation of a narrative, but we will also be exploring the best ways to get ideas for writing, and how to write long and short sentences (simple and compound) more accurately.



Year 4 camp is right around the corner on November 13-15.  There will be more information coming to you over the next month, but in the meantime please check out the Camp page.  There you will see the kit list as well as a general schedule for our three days.

Reading in Year 4

Posted by year4

By the time students get to Year 4 they have had a lot of experience with books and are often interested in making more of their own reading choices. Sometimes parents are happy with those choices and sometimes…not so much. Their desire to be more independent is one of the reasons why we try to provide students with as many different options as we can for reading. Those options include when to read, what to read and for what purpose to read.

In Class

During class time students will spend a lot of time learning strategies to better comprehend what they are reading. To do this teachers will often have a range of different short texts for students to interact with. This may include making inferences about poems, retelling stories, or researching about specific topics using nonfiction texts.

Students will also have time to enjoy some quiet reading with books of their own choosing. Often teachers will encourage students to discuss their book with others using prompts that connect with strategies or skills we are learning at that time. For example, right now we are focussed on improving how we retell texts. Using success criteria for retells, students will have opportunities to retell parts of their book in partner and/or group situations.

At Home

We ask that students read at least 4 times per week at home. For most students that will mean reading a book they have taken from the library or one they have at home already. Some students are continuing to develop their decoding and fluency skills so they will choose colour coded books similar to how they did it in Year 3. Each day they will go to the coloured tubs of books in the shared area and choose a book at a specific level as directed by their teacher. If this is the case with your child, the class teacher will discuss it with you.

How Can Parents Help?

There are many ways parents can support reading at home. First of all, it is important to encourage reading as an enjoyable activity. We believe that allowing children to have choices is an important part of enjoyment. If you are finding this difficult, these links collected by our Library will lead you to some suggested book lists.

Book Trust – 100 Best Books


American Library Association

As well as keeping the reading experience at home enjoyable for your children, here are some other ideas:

  1. Encourage them to read by buying or borrowing books. Model reading books as an enjoyable experience. If children see you reading books for pleasure, they may follow suit.
  2. Remind them to fill in their diary each evening so their teacher knows they are reading too.
  3. Continue to take opportunities to read with and to your child (they’re never too old for this!)
  4. Discuss the book. This could mean asking questions or, alternatively, you could get your child to ask you questions. Here are a few examples that might help:

Y4 Parent Information Night

Posted by year4

Thank you to those parents who were able to come to our information sessions. If you were not able to make it, please browse through our slideshow.

What a Great First Two Weeks!

Posted by year4

We have had a fantastic start to Year 4.  The students seem to be  settling in well and already trying to be ‘Better Than Before’  Mostly we have been focussed on ensuring students are happy, establishing routines and expectations, and giving the students opportunities to feel empowered in the classroom so that they have some control over their learning.

Hopefully we will get to meet all of you on Thursday 29 August at the Parent Information Evening.  In the meantime, can we please encourage you to ensure your child has all the necessary stationery items. 

Smart Cards

Today your child received their Discovery College Smart Card. This is a really exciting ‘rite of passage’ that all Year 4 students look forward to. With this card your child will be able to independently borrow books from the library and also sign in each morning when they arrive at school.  Over the next few weeks the Year 4 teachers will be reminding students of this, but the expectation will quickly be that students remember to do this on their own each day.

This weekend we would appreciate you helping your child find a safe place to keep their smart cards. Most students use some sort of wallet that is kept in their backpack so they can easily access each morning.

Contact Us

If you want to contact your classroom teacher please use the following email addresses:

Kris Stanhope  (4KSE) – kris.stanhope@dc.edu.hk

Kevin McDavid (4KMD) – kevin.mcdavid@dc.edu.hk

Mak Steed (4MSD) – mark.steed@dc.edu.hk

Anna Sherriff (4ASF) – anna.sherriff@dc.edu.hk

Home Learning

Posted by year4

Dear Year Four Parents, In light of the announced closure of schools from tomorrow until the end of the Chinese New Year Holiday, the Year Four team will be setting appropriate work for students to complete over the next week, as highlighted in the overview below. Year level teams will communicate your child’s learning through this blog over the next week. The tasks set are ones that can be meaningfully carried out in the home environment and will include Mathematics, Language and Unit of Inquiry activities. The work provided is intended to maintain your child’s learning during this unexpected break. Teachers will be in work as normal should you need to email them for additional information.  

Daily Learning Tasks



Thursday 8 February

1 – Thursday 8 February Home Learning (1) Y4 Drama Home Learning

Friday 9 February

 2 – Friday 9 February Home Learning

Monday 12 February

 3 – Monday 12 February Home Learning

Tuesday 13 February

 4 – Tuesday 13 February Home Learning

Wednesday 14 February

 5 – Wednesday 14 February Home Learning

Thursday 15 February

6 – Thursday 15 February Home Learning
Chinese Home Learning:
All Chinese home learning can be found on Ding! under the Chinese subject tab, then Year level and then by clicking the Chinese class teacher individual page. Please go to this page to see the learning expectations, as per normal Chinese homework. 

What’s Happening in Year 4

Posted by year4

The Year 4 students have come back from the Christmas holiday rested and ready to learn!  We have been really pleased with the level of engagement, the interest shown in our current unit and how enthusiastic everyone is, in general.

Thank you to all the parents who were able to attend and take part in the Three Way Conferences yesterday.  We had a great time and hope you not only enjoyed yourself but also learned a lot about your child.


What else has been happening?

We have started our fractions unit in earnest now.  Students have been using a variety of equipment to grow their understanding of fractions, and to investigate about improper fractions, mixed numbers and equivalent fractions.

Aside from that, we are primarily  focussed on our unit of inquiry and getting ready for the Celebration of Learning which will take place on Thursday 8 February.  Students have been researching about ailments, learning to determine importance when  researching, and practicing for their final written report.  They have also been unpacking science experiments and how to ensure they are kept ‘fair’.

Please keep Thursday 8 February free so you are able to attend our celebration of learning.  We should be starting at approximately 10.40am, but  we will confirm the exact time at a later date.


What’s Happening in Term 2

Posted by year4

It has been a wonderful term for all of Year 4, and the students definitely deserve a break.  When we return in January, we will be continuing with our focus on the Body Systems in preparation for our Celebration of Learning on Thursday 8 February.  That is when all parents will be invited in to see our learning from this unit.

As well as the body systems, we will be focussed on collecting and displaying data, researching for information using a variety of sources, and writing an information report.  We will also be starting our unit on Fractions.  Below are the outcomes we will be focussed on:

Have a wonderful holiday.  See you in January!



Kris Stanhope .    Sarah McDavid .    Mark Steed .    Anna Sherriff



Year 4 Science Stations

Posted by year4

This morning Year 4 students took part in a variety of activities aimed at provoking their interest in our new unit, and to get them wondering about the systems of the body.  They measured their heart rate, counted taste buds, looked in microscopes and completed a number of different experiments dealing with their bodies.  The students had a great time and are now very excited for the upcoming unit.

A special thank you to all those parents who were able to come in and help us out.

Take a look at some of the action from today:

Year 4 Body Systems Unit

Posted by year4

The Year 4 students are working hard this week to prepare their food system presentations and finish their explanations.  It has been a great unit with lots of learning happening.  In particular, students have done a great job in their first unit of the year that required them to research.  Next week we will begin our new unit focussed on the systems of our body.

The Unit

Central Idea: Our bodies are made up of interdependent systems, which need to be maintained for healthy functioning.

Lines of Inquiry: 

  • The systems of the body and how they function 
  • Ways in which these body systems are interdependent 
  • How to maintain healthy body systems 

Concepts: Function, Connection, Responsibility

Math: Throughout this new unit students will be completing a number of experiments connected to the body.  From these experiments they will be collecting data and learning to interpret it.  They will be inquiring into the best ways to represent the data which will include bar graphs, line graphs, tally charts, pie charts and pictographs.

Language:  Students will continue with their focus on research as they inquire into the systems of the body, how the systems are connected, and how they can be responsible for maintaining them.  Students will be using teacher-selected websites and non-fiction books for their research, while learning to ask effective questions and determine importance while they are researching.   This research will culminate in action as students aim to educate others about how to maintain healthy body systems.  This action will require them to write an information report.

Celebration of Learning

At the end of this unit parents will get the opportunity to come in and see all that their children have been doing.  You can look forward to taking part in science experiments, learning about body ailments and how they are connected to the body systems, and participating in physical exercises designed by the students to support healthy body systems.

This celebration of learning has been tentatively booked for Thursday 8 February from 10.30am – 12.30pm.  More information will be provided in January.