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?


The Victorian Curriculum states that Year Four students need to be able to model, represent and order numbers to tens of thousands.  For the last two weeks this has been the focus of our Maths lessons.

We have had some great sessions using interactives to help consolidate and extend our understanding of place value.  We have focused on understanding that each digit in a number holds a place and has value:

We have also been practicing writing numbers in three forms:

Some students are finding it tricky to remember that at times zero has a very important job at holding a place despite having no value.(Zero as a place holder-1b3ql7d).  This is especially important as we read and write numbers that have 5 digits and more such 80 123 or 45 604.  It would be good to practice reading, writing and expanding these numbers at home.

A fun thing we did in class was watch a YouTube clip like this one:

Then randomly I would press pause and the number that was on the screen, students had to read and record the expanded notation for. Have ago at home…

You might also like to use some of these websites for further practice (especially if you are having trouble with Studyladder)

Our next unit is focusing on ADDITION Strategies.  You could practice up on your quick recall of basic number facts like 4 + 5, 9 + 9, etc.

🙂 Miss Morse

Homework March 21 – March 28

We have had a number of questions about Studyladder.  It would appear that through this site, there is now a limit of completing three tasks a day.  This means if Mrs Ciavarella is allocating more than three tasks in a week that you can complete, you can’t complete them all in one sitting.  There will be tasks set to complete this week.

Other homework expected this week, is five nights of reading.  Your nightly reading is to be recorded in your diary.  Parents please remember to sign the diary each week.

On the page facing the weekdays, there is a scripture (bible) story to read and then some activities to complete to help understand it.  Please make sure this week you are completing that page by Friday.

Can you please collect and bring to school some “Take away” menus (from local restaurants or maybe even from businesses that use a leaflet style brochure to promote the various services they offer)?  We will be using them as a mentor text in part of our Inquiry learning.

Hopefully students are also sharing with their parents, discoveries and interesting strategies we are exploring that can help them manage their physical, emotional and social wellbeing.  There has been lots of great discussion happening in class time…

Have a great week 🙂