Caterpillar Class 2016-17
I am very much looking forward to the year ahead teaching Caterpillar Class. I am joined by Mrs Horsford, and Mrs Richards (who will teach on Wednesday afternoons) in welcoming you – once again or for the first time – to Caterpillars. The beginning of term is always busy and so please read this letter carefully to find out what is happening in class over the coming months.
Our class topic for this term is entitled ‘Out in the cold’ and refers to the Polar Regions, and their exploration. Out in the cold will combine aspects of Geography (human and physical), Science, English and ICT. This topic will touch upon subjects such as the weather and habitats (including flora and fauna) of the Polar Regions, climate change and polar exploration. You can support your child by doing research together at home using books and the internet, or simply discussing what they have learnt so far at school. In due course you will also find out more about this term’s class outing, which will be to the Scott Polar Museum in Cambridge on 6th October.
Independence and reading
In Caterpillars Class we try very hard to help children become independent learners. Your child should be responsible for bringing their own lunch box, water bottle and book bag into the classroom and hanging their belonging on their peg, or putting them in their drawer after the bell goes.
Being an independent reader is an important part of life in Caterpillars. We make sure that your child is reading a book that is appropriate to their level and consequently that they will enjoy reading independently. Alongside this, we also encourage children to persevere with their chosen book for a reasonable period, even if they start to find it less enticing. Your child will have the opportunity to read with an adult at least once a week. Please encourage your child to read at home. Then they can both write what they have read in their reading record at school and write a comment about the book of their enjoyment of it. Importantly, these comments encourage children to engage with the text. For example, if your child found a particular part funny or scary they ca write a brief sentence such as “I found it scary when the monster roared at the mouse.” This will help them to look carefully at the spelling of words in the text as well as to help them remember aspects about the book when asked. Higher level comments include inference about characters’ feelings and motivations, as well as prediction about what might happen (and why they think this).
We will check each child’s reading record weekly during guided reading sessions. If your child has read three or more times during the week they will be awarded house points.
A really positive aspect of increasing independence in Caterpillar Class is children having their own pencil cases.
The suggested contents include:
- HB pencils
- Pencil sharpener
- Small ruler
- Pritt stick
- Colouring crayons
- A geometry set
- Handwriting pen (when a pen licence [see below] has been issued). The school provides a rollerball pen, but we encourage the use of a fountain pen. We have a stock of fountain pens in House colours, which may be purchased for £4.00 (via Agora or by cheque or cash to the Office).
It is helpful if all the items are named. Pencil cases also need to fit into the children’s drawers, so they should not be too big.
You will notice that the list does not include a rubber. We do not want to encourage the routine rubbing out of possible errors, as the visible correction of these is a sign of learning rather than a ‘blot on the landscape’.
In Caterpillar Class we aim for high standards in the presentation of our written work. As such pen licences are only issued when that standard has been attained and sustained throughout the curriculum. Although some children can find it harder than others to begin with, we expect that all children will be awarded their pen licence before they leave Caterpillar Class. You can support your child by practising joined-up handwriting at home with a pencil. They must know how to join any letter to another and do this as a matter of course in their writing to gain a pen license.
On Mondays we will be developing our PE skills, focussing on indoor sport, such as gymnastics. On Fridays, tag rugby will take centre stage in our outdoor games session.
It is written in the school P.E. Policy that children get changed into P.E. clothes and shoes for all lessons. Children who do not have adequate P.E. clothing and footwear will not be allowed to participate.
Religious Education and Ethos
As a Church of England school we invite the children to participate in daily prayers at lunchtime (Grace) and end of the day prayers, as well as worshipping in assemblies. We have a great Christian ethos throughout the school in which we encourage the children to be polite and respectful when moving around the school, at lunchtime as well as when speaking to each other and adults.
Our R.E. this term will be centred on the themes of Harvest, Saints and Christmas. Over the course of the year we will study and reflect upon key aspects of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Ideally your child should practice their spellings and times tables, as well as read to you each day. In class each child will be working towards a thorough knowledge of their times and division tables (1-12) by the end of Year 4.
Year 4s have the additional responsibility of completing their Mental Maths weekly test at home. Children need to spend no longer than twenty minutes of their weekend doing mental maths, though they may spend longer if they wish! You are warmly encouraged to support your child by discussing questions with them or showing strategies that they may find helpful. This homework is due each Thursday, when we have a review in class.
Year 3s will be expected to bring their Mental Maths books home after Christmas.
Occasionally, children may be asked to do some research on a particular topic for homework. They would be expected to spend 15-20 minutes (more if they wish!) on a task of this nature.
If you have any questions or queries about life in Caterpillar Class, please come a talk to me.
Dr. Mirrington and the Caterpillar Class team