Welcome to Year 4 2019-2020

Welcome to Year 4

We are delighted to say that the children have settled into their new classroom routines and are familiarising themselves with new learning expectations for Year 4 with a positive attitude and determination to do their best! In only a few weeks, we can already see an increase in independence and motivation. We are currently focussing on improving our listening skills.

It has already been a very busy term. In literacy, we have been exploring Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Lost Happy Endings’ which is full of gorgeous descriptive language and beautiful illustrations. We have been developing our inference skills and were surprised to find out how much we can learn about a character from a simple illustration. Our writing has included character and setting descriptions, diamante poems (to help consolidate grammar terminology)  and this week, we have written diary entries as Jub, showing her disappointment and despair after having had the endings stolen by an evil, old woman. We are amazing, talented authors when we are in our author “bubbles” and we have produced some gorgeous writing (being excellent magpies of ambitious vocabulary and beautiful descriptive phrases). Some of our work is on display in the corridor for you to read.

Our learning journey in Maths began with consolidating our understanding of place value in numbers to 10,000. We have learned to add and subtract 10, 100, 1000 and developed our rounding skills. Next week, we begin a new journey developing our formal written methods in addition and subtraction.

In Science, we have been exploring states of matter, using drama to help us understand the   properties of each state.  This week we investigated the question; “Do gases weigh anything?” and “Which chocolate melts the fastest?”. Ask your children what they discovered and learned.

In RE, we have been looking at the Creation story and what it tells Christians about the nature of God and also humans.  We will be exploring the “fall” of Adam and Eve and considering the role of temptation in their demise. I am sure the children will recognise how difficult it can be to resist temptation and we will most certainly have interesting discussion and debate on this matter.

In Geography, we have been learning about the journey of a river in preparation for our Horton Kirby river trip next week and we are expecting a water workshop too. In DT, through our “Bridging the gap” topic  we have been investigating different types of bridges. In preparation for building our own bridges, we have explored different joining and strengthening techniques and next week we hope to use our new construction kits and have a go at building a suspension and truss bridge.

Mrs Hollands and I are looking forward to working in partnership with you and watching your children develop maturity, independence, resilience and confidence over the course of the year. A busy year it will be, we assure you!


Week 5 Summer Term

It is definitely feeling like summer especially on Saturday at the fair. It was lovely to see so many of the Year 4 children attending and helping on their parents’ stalls.

This term has been very busy with many highlights.  We have been learning about Anglo Saxon times and the children have particularly enjoyed learning about their beliefs in many gods.

One of our highlights was Healthy Mind;Healthy Body week. During this week, we learned how we can keep our minds and bodies well.  Each day we did a run around the track and we spent a bit of time meditating and being mindful.This was a very calming experience and one which I hope children will continue to develop and use when they are worried, stressed or need focus..

We learned about sun safety, and through our science investigations with UV beads, we explored the importance of wearing high SPF sun-creams to protect us from damaging UV rays (even on a cloudy day). Children generated their own questions to investigate :

“Which sun-creams reduce the effect of UV rays the most?”

“Are more expensive brands more effective than cheaper brands?”

“Which materials are most effective at blocking UV rays the most?”

We made sun safety bookmarks and attached our UV beads to remind us of our sun safety rules:

Slip – on a T-shirt

Slap – on a hat

Slop – on sun cream

Seek – shade

Slide – on sunglasses

AND drink plenty of water.

The following day we attended Sports day where we showed excellent sportsmanship and supported our peers with words of encouragement and praise.

Additionally, we began to learn about the Five Ways of Wellbeing.  Connect, Give, Notice, Be Active and Keep Learning.  Through a range of activities we explored each of these areas and hopefully the children will now adopt some of the strategies in their own lives. We learned how to sign our names as part of our learning a new skill. We loved this!  

On Friday, we ended the week with  a focus on healthy eating . The children created their own overnight oats in a jar – a very healthy alternative to sugary cereals.

Year 4 played in the annual music concert demonstrating how far they have come in learning their stringed instruments. A beautiful recital Year 4. Well played!

We have many many words to learn for the summer production so please remember to keep practising at home. It will be well worth it, as the production promises to be spectacular!









Spring is in the air!

This term, we have begun reading the text “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo. Although we have not yet read very much, we are already totally enamoured with Edward, feeling like he is real rabbit and we are already empathising(and occasionally despairing) with his behaviour. He is quite a pompous, vain and arrogant character ( much like the Paw family and the Gods we have read about earlier in the year). The children have particularly enjoyed writing in role as Edward in his pompous tone using his vocabulary, such as “excruciating”, “grotesque”, “specimen” and “maw”  (to name just a few).

Finishing off from last term, we published our newspaper articles and many of these are on display.

Thank you for the outstanding science homework submitted. We enjoyed playing our instruments together in a junk orchestra as well as testing the ear defenders for their sound insulating properties.many children have fed back that the homework was “fun” and they enjoyed doing it.

This term, we begin our living things and their habitats topic in science. We have had one of our forest school sessions during which the children have learned to identify and classify trees as well as pond invertebrates. Mrs Quirk’s new pond is thriving!

In maths, we begin our new learning journey learning to take measurements, read scales and convert between different units of measure.  The more practical use of measures at home in baking, gardening or DIY the easier it is for children to develop a good understanding of this topic and the everyday application of this maths skill. So, get them helping and measuring!

Progress in learning times tables has been fantastic with the majority of children beating their scores weekly in the Wednesday times table challenge! Please keep up the regular practice to increase fluency and speed of recall. Who will be joining the 100 club next?

Hinduism is our new topic in RE and the children are thoroughly enjoying learning about the Hindu belief system. We have explored “puja” and Aishvene, from year 5, came and shared her knowledge with the class, bringing in objects from her home too. We have compared duties, responsibilities and “Dharma” with the Ten Commandments. Additionally, we have learnt about reincarnation, good and bad karma, and we have created our own Moskha Snake and Ladder board games.


Great news! Two of our pupils won the science poster competition which was judged by staff at Sevenoaks School. Both came from Year 4 and were awarded THE most amazing prizes for their efforts.







Adventures in Year 4

Term 4 has been packed with exciting learning opportunities and fabulous adventures.

Firstly, Term 3 ended with a Roman Day during which the children, all dressed in Roman attire, invaded St John’s and took part in several activities: mosaic making, maths with Roman numerals, and constructing Roman chariots. It was an exciting way to end of their History topic.




As part of our Science learning, we visited Sevenoaks School to watch a science show about Sound. Becky from “Science Made Simple” demonstrated how sounds are made, travel and how the pitch and volume can be altered in her entertaining show. This science show was enjoyed by all and St John’s pupils happily and confidently participated in both asking and answering questions. We learnt a lot about sound and wrote some TripAdvisor reports about our experiences.

Book week was fantastic thanks to Mrs Grimble. We loved receiving our envelope every morning containing a poem to be shared. Additionally, we have become HUGE fans of the author Catherine Doyle, who visited our school and several copies of her book “The Storm Keeper’s Island” can been seen scattered around the classroom. They absolutely love it! The children tell me that the descriptions are so effective and detailed that they think it would make a great text to use in year 4 to learn with. Great idea!

To our surprise and delight, a package arrived from Greenwich University. We had long forgotten the optional robot design homework we had entered into a Robot Wars competition. Everyone who entered a design, received certificates from Greenwich University for their fantastic effort.

Recently, we have entered the Primary Leaders Award by inventing something to help solve an everyday problem and we wrote persuasive pitch letters to accompany our designs. These will be sent to the engineering team at the University of London and we will wait in anticipation to find out how well we do. Personally, I thought the children came up with amazingly creative solutions to everyday problems. One particular design would help me tremendously as I am always losing my keys, purse and at school – my pens. I am delighted with the work the children did on this project. Thank you for your support at home.

Last but by no means least, our trip to Carroty Wood which has always been highlight for the children and adults accompanying them .Not only do the children learn a lot about the themselves and one another, the teachers love to spend time getting to know the children outside the classroom too. Through the use of different challenges like: High Ropes, Low Ropes, Archery and the Maze (not to mention the many team sports we played), we have watched children overcome their fears, support each with kindness and encouragement and challenge both themselves and others to set their goals high and strive to achieve them. It is hoped that they will hold onto the feeling of overcoming fears and the power of self belief throughout the rest of the school years and beyond.

Amazingly, children challenged themselves to try new foods. Many will come home telling you how much they love Vegetarian and Hawaiian pizza now. “If you don’t try it – you’ll never know”. These words were heard spoken around the table with some children feeling very pleased with themselves that they did try and now love it!

You can tell how much fun we had by the pile of dirty washing (apologies). It was rather muddy this year. These are a few photographs of our time spent at Carroty Wood.

Sumdog competition – Get playing!

Welcome Maths Enthusiasts. I have entered the whole school into a Sumdog competition against other schools.

All you need to do is log onto Sumdog with your usual username and password then enter the school code sjs3 to help us gain as many points as possible. The competition started today and ends next Friday 14th February at 8am.

How do you earn St John’s some points? Simply play! The more you play the more we earn.


Good Luck children!


Mrs Gillhouley

Term 3 begins

Firstly, I wish to thank you all for the lovely gifts and cards received for Christmas. I hope you all had a restful break. It certainly took a while for all of us to get back into routine, but now that we have, we are working as hard as ever and the children have returned with renewed energy and determination to do well.

During Term 3, we will be consolidating our division methods and applying these to both problem solving and reasoning tasks. Later in the term, we will begin a new learning journey where we will explore fractions and decimals. The children are continuing to learn how to tell the time on both analogue and digital clocks as well as converting between 12 hour and 24 hour times. Further practise at home would benefit many of the children to help them  become familiar with their daily routine and the times at which regular activities happen.

Varjak Paw has already made a hugely positive impression in class, with every child loving the story and really enjoying sharing the reading as we now have a class set of books. Writing produced thus far includes persuasive letters, diaries, setting descriptions and free verse sense poetry. Additionally, we hope to complete some artwork to accompany our writing.

In science, we began another exciting journey: journeying through the digestive system. Looking at human teeth, we have identified their types and functions and have begun to make links between teeth and diets, with the children posing the question,” Do animals have the same teeth as humans?” which we will be investigating as well as exploring their digestive systems. It’s all very exciting!

Romans is our topic in KUW and the children will be looking at Roman invasions and what impact the Romans had on Britain.

TTRockstars is having positive impact on the progress children are making learning their multiplication and division facts.Please continue to encourage your child to use this platform as well as practising in other fun ways.

Your support at home in learning both times tables and spellings is appreciated.

Over the last two weeks, Year 4 have been able to attend Gamelan workshops at Sevenoaks School. They have thoroughly enjoyed playing a variety of instruments and we are grateful to Jackie Hendry and Mrs Hughes for organising this enriching experience for them.








Term 2 – Power, products, plastic and plenty perseverance!

As we head rapidly towards Christmas, we continue to provide plenty of wonderful learning experiences for the children. Far too many to mention them all but here are a few highlights. In science, we have been learning about electricity and building circuits. We are about to test different materials for their conductivity and insulating properties and then we will apply our knowledge to designing “Christmassy circuits”.

In maths, we have continued our learning journey through multiplication with a strong focus on times tables, finding the product and using factor pairs. Additionally, we have secured written multiplication methods. The children are persevering with TT Rockstars and are determined to better their individual times as well as work as a class to turn our “heatmap” green! Keep practising year 4. We can do it!

Pompous, vain and arrogant are new words we have discovered to describe the idle gods in our text: Mouse Bird Snake Wolf. We have written balanced arguments and proud proclamations. Thank you for your wonderful creature creations in preparation for our creative writing sessions next week. As always, a high standard of work was produced which I am certain will inspire us to write beautifully too!

We have had South East Water in to lead a workshop about the water cycle, water conservation and also engineering. The children were able to work in teams to build pipelines to carry water along a route in a mock town. This was fabulous fun and a great opportunity to use  teamwork as well as develop skills in using co-ordinates in map reading.

Drastic Plastic Day came and went in a flash. During the week, we wrote persuasive letters to Malabar cafe and we were surprised (yet delighted) to receive a letter in response to ours assuring us of steps being taken to reduce plastic in their shops. This topic certainly has enthused our class and they are making changes daily to reduce plastic waste.

The countdown to Christmas continues, with still much learning to be done!









Congratulations Table Tennis Squad!

On Wednesday 14th November, the St. John’s tables tennis squad competed in the Kent School Games. We entered two teams and each team played with the usual St. John’s balance of gritty determination and keen sportsmanship. Despite valiant efforts in the group round, the B team played magnificently coming away with a draw and a loss. The A team managed to win all their games in the group stage and went on to the final against Amherst. In the end, Amherst were too strong for St. John’s claiming an 8:0 victory giving us silver medal position. The competition gave the squad an opportunity to play at a higher level and compete against other schools from across Kent. They tell me they have learnt a lot from the experience which is so good to hear. We were complimented several times on our positivity and attitude to sport. Thank you to Georgia who supported us and helped with scoring.

Well done to all. I hope you are inspired to play more table tennis and even consider playing for a club outside school. If you would like to know more details about how to do this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Jane Gillhouley

Welcome to Year 4 2018

Welcome to Year 4! It was lovely to meet so many of you at “Meet the Teacher” this week. As you may have heard from your children, we have had a very busy start to the year, getting to know each other, establishing new routines and learning to be increasing independent and responsible. Although taking a bit of time, we can already notice the children becoming familiar with the expectations in their new class.I have been so impressed by the children’s positive attitude to learning. They are thoughtful, supportive of each other and work very hard to do their best.

In Maths, we are consolidating our understanding of place value and will soon be exploring the negative number system. We have been revising and securing our times tables learnt in year 3 and we will continue to do so most of this term. Please do practise with your children as rapid recall of both multiplication and division facts enables the children to apply these in many other areas of maths, with greater confidence and accuracy.

We have been reading Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Tear Thief”  to support us in our grammar learning and we will soon be ceating our own stories based on the book having an opportunity to apply all the new writing techniques.

We have begun to learn about rIvers and we will be undertaking our river study in a few weeks at Horton Kirby. We will learn about the water cycle; investigating condensation and evaporation and applying this knowledge to understanding the river system.

Please ensure PE kit is in school daily and that all items are clearly labelled.

Our spelling and times tables tests are on Wednesdays and as always we are grateful for any help you provide in supporting your children to learn these at home.

You should have received an information sheet detailing our class routines whether by hand or by book bag. Should you not have received this, I have included a link below for your information.

Download (DOCX, 17KB)

Thank you for your support.







What’s happening in year 4 this term?

What a super way to end term 5! A trip to Butser Ancient Farm followed by Interhouse Sports.  The trip was a wonderful way for the children to experience some of what life must have been like in the Iron Age, Roman and Saxon times and to be able to see how each time period brought about new changes in the way people lived. Having sat in the smoky Iron Age round house to learn more about this period, the children decided that they’d rather have been living in Roman or Saxon times as their homes were far more comfortable.

Shortly after arriving,  we were put to work to make wattle fences, weaving hazel rods between stakes. This was harder to do than we thought and it took a lot of strength to bend the hazel. Teamwork was essential. It made us realise how tiring life would have been making enclosures for vegetable beds and to keep the animals secure.

Following on from this, we sat outside the Saxon house to sew Runes on to card. Each symbol represented a letter in the alphabet. After lunch, we turned our hands to making  bracelets, having first made nettle strands into cords- a process called cordage. The majority of us enjoyed the chalk carving the most. Using sharp flint we carved patterns into chalk, staining it with ash and green dye from leaves. Surprisingly, this was the most relaxing of pasttimes!

This term, we complete our journey with Edward Tulane. There have been many highs and lows for Edward as he learns to love “for there can be no happy ending without love!” Pelligrina would say. We have wriiten diaries, letters and dabbled in a bit of poetry too. The children, moved by the trials and tribulations of Edward,have written poems to capture Edward’s feelings about people he had loved and those he had despised. Here are a few extracts from Iona, Dylan and Bailey’s poems:

If I had wings, I’d fly into the loving arms of Abilene;

I would drift back to her rather than fall in to the deep ocean;

If I had wings, I’d swoop back to Nellie and Lawrence,

to sit in Nellie’s kitchen to smell the sweet cinnamon buns and listen to stories of those she’d loved and lost;

to rest on Lawrence’s shoulder to learn more about the constellations.

If I had wings, I’d break free from the wires that bound me,

and soar off the pole into the sky and watch Lolly stare in awe, curiosity and amazement.. 

If I had wings, I’d soar into the heavens to join Sara Ruth’s constellation 

with the memory of her golden-flecked hazel eyes to comfort me. 

This term, in Science we investigate the impact humans have on the environment: both positive and negative. On Wednesday, we had an unexpected  visit from representatives from CountryStyle Recycling, who taught us more about the 4R’s (Respect, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). This linked perfectly with our new science topic and helped us learn more about what we can do to make a positive impact.

We are continuing our learning about the Anglo-Saxons and Viking invasions and in RE we are exploring  ” why some people say life is like a journey” comparing different faiths.

Please remember to have your PE kit in school daily as this term is always a busy one with summer production rehearsals, sports day preparations and the inevitable timetable changes.

Continue to practise your spellings and times tables to be tested on Wednesdays. Let’s see if we can reach our target of 100% in both of these. You can do it year 4!