Handy Holiday Tips

Over the holidays it is really important that the Year Four students continue to read (and sometimes out loud to an audience would be even better).  I would love to see some completed Reading Challenges.

Other things that could be done:

  • Quick writes – set the timer and see how much you can write
  • Begin to practice joining handwriting
  • Write a short narrative – find an interesting picture as a prompt and remember the main elements needed
  • Practice all the addition and subtraction strategies we focused on (the YouTube clips are shared in your Maths folder on your drive to refresh your memory
  • Practice working out elapsed times
  • Grab a supermarket catalogue and practice adding items and making change from $5, $10, $20
  • If you have a piggy bank or a coin jar, practice counting money and making the same total using different sets of coins.
  • Collect seeds for your Seed Writing Book
  • Get a head start on learning your time table facts…
  • Be kind!

Reading Strategies: Visualisation

We really enjoyed the book “Sahara Special” and it generated some really rich discussion.  Throughout each chapter we practiced predicting, summarising, inferring and visualising – all things that great readers do.   Once we had finished the book, we re-read pages that described Miss Pointy, a teacher from somewhere else and took what we visualized and turned it into an illustration.  The students created portraits of Miss Pointy – they could be abstract or Miss Pointy-ish.  I loved how they turned out…

Check them out on our classroom sliding door on the day of our Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences.

You may also like to check out this website: http://www.planetesme.com/saharaspecial.html 

Sahara Special Writing Challenge

We have almost come to the end of our third shared novel “Sahara Special.” Apart from the fact that the chapters are REALLLLLY long, we have been loving this novel.

The story is set in a Grade Five class which has a very interesting teacher, Miss Pointy.  Chapter Twelve is called “Name calling” and the students are invited to share the story of how they got their names.  The main character shares what she wrote in her journal and the way she tells the story if her name is breathtaking.

I wonder if you would like to write the story of your name?  Many students seemed to know a little bit about where their name came from but perhaps it would be necessary to have a chat at home and go deeper into the reason, inspiration or story behind how your parents decided upon the name you carry every day.

Will your writing be sticker worthy?

Maths: Subtraction Unit

Over the next few weeks we will be revising, exploring and extending our thinking around efficient & different strategies to solve problems involving SUBTRACTION.  Having automatic recall of facts under twenty will be very helpful in this work.  It would be great for your child to be practising their recall of subtraction facts.


We will also be ensuring that we understand how to apply strategies we used to solve addition to subtraction – we will need to carefully rethink a few of these.  A favourite will be using empty or open number lines to use the jump strategy.  This is a great way to demonstrate how to think flexibly about numbers.  It is also a great way to encourage mental calculations.

Leadership Homework

Students are bringing home a Leadership Homework sheet.  The discussion generated at home, to complete the tasks will support our Inquiry sessions in Week 7.  The sheet, being sent home, states that there is a minimum of three questions to be answered.   Responses need to be detailed, thoughtful and descriptive.

Completed work needs to be returned by Monday the 29th of May and students need to be ready to share their homework with classmates during the week.

We look forward to seeing what the students produce.



Who runs our world? The Common Good

As we begin our second inquiry area, we explored the call to all Catholics to participate in the Common Good.  This is one of the pillars of Catholic Social Teaching (which we also had to find out about).

The Common Good focuses on family, community and participation and forms the foundation of our new inquiry into understanding the role of the government & democracy (broadly and then very locally).

On Friday we started a discussion about the RULES, LAWS and CUSTOMS that are part of our daily living.  We firstly defined each.  For example:

Custom: A tradition that people follow in a particular society. For example: Giving Easter eggs.

We then brainstormed examples under the three terms.  We had a few questions about if something was a rule or actually a law.  How could we find out?  How many laws are there in Australia? I wonder if anyone can answer those questions or give us some advice about how we might find our for ourselves?

You may like to further this discussion at home.

Can you create a column chart listing rules, laws and customs that you follow in your daily living? Rules, laws, customs

I’d loved to see the list you generate with the help of mum or dad…

Happy Easter to all the 4MC families.

What is Easter really all about? The Easter bunny & chocolate eggs? They are symbolic of the empty tomb & new life.  Easter is about so much more for us as Catholics…


Happy Good Friday.  I hope everyone has been having a great holiday.  How are you going with collecting ideas for things you are interested in writing about in your seed (glad) bag?  I look forward to everyone arriving back at school next week with bags full of interesting “seeds”.  These seeds will be being used as we begin to write in our very own “Seed books” or writer’s notebook throughout Term Two with Mrs Ciavarella.


I came across this little chart that might give you a few more ideas of things that could be being added to your bag…

Addition Strategies

As we finished Term One we were consolidating and extending our understanding of a variety of strategies to solve addition equations.  We reviewed the use of the jump strategy and the split strategy.  These strategies involve us using lots of different thinking.  By the end of Year Four it is expected that students can : apply place value to partition, rearrange and regroup numbers to at least tens of thousands to assist in calculations and solve problems

The jump strategy uses an empty (or open) number line.  To use this strategy students must break one of the addends into parts to make it easier to add.  This strategy really encourages students to think flexibly about numbers and is a stepping stone to mental calculations.

The Split Strategy also requires students to think about place value.  One or both of the addends needs to be decomposed into useful parts to make them easier to add to each other. It can look like these examples…

Split strategy 2









Our focus has been on exploring strategies that allow for students to come to a solution in a way that makes sense to them – with many steps or fewer steps.  There is no one way to get to the answer.

Being able to add tens or hundreds onto a number is a really important skill for both of these strategies to work.  You might like to practise doing this quickly.  For example: 23 + 10, 56 + 30, 67 + 20, 123 + 100, 345 + 200, etc.

Here a few fact sheets that explain these two strategies to mums & dads:

Split Strategy-1r745tm

Empty Number line-2ch7qbl

Jump Strategy-2m02zk2

Can you show mum and dad how you can use these strategies? Which one do you like most? Which one do you think you need more practice with?