Our Current Topics
Autumn Term 2 – Curriculum
English – Read to Write
Writing outcome: Outsider Narrative
Non-fiction: Information Text
Unit 3: Multiplication and division
Unit 4: Interpreting and presenting data
Chemistry – Rocks (skill: data handling)
Who were the Ancient Maya?
Festivals & Celebrations
How are key birthdays celebrated in the major religions?
SEAL/Philosophy for Children
Getting on and falling out
Design and Technology
Materials – Tie Dye
How can we upcycle our clothes?
Gymnastics / Dance
Multiplication Tables Check
As some of you may be aware, the DFE have confirmed that all schools will be expected to administer a multiplication check to their year 4 pupils in the summer term of 2021.
Firstly, we want to reiterate that we love maths at Greenbank. It’s an awesome subject to learn and to teach. Also, Maths is a big subject and we appreciate there’s more to it than times tables and there’s more to times tables than learning them off by heart. However, a lot of the rich, interesting maths is all about the multiplicative relationships and these are hard to fully grasp without fluent recall of the tables. For that reason, learning the tables is fundamental – they are a key facilitator to the maths that sits on top. We’ve always believed that.
Why has the check been put in place?
This multiplication tables check has been designed to help ensure that children in primary school know their times tables up to 12 off by heart. This is included in the national curriculum (2014) statutory programme of study for mathematics at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. The national curriculum states, ‘By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised their multiplication tables up to and including the 12 multiplication table and show precision and fluency in their work’. As well as being critical for everyday life, knowledge of multiplication tables helps children to solve problems quickly and flexibly, and allows them to tackle more complex mathematics later on in school.
Although the MTC is all about remembering the multiplication facts, that doesn’t mean we’ll forget all about the concepts, patterns, structures and relationships in multiplication. As a school we will continue to learn those too, partly because they go hand in hand with excellent recall.
How will the MTC be carried out?
Children will be using an on-screen check (on a computer or a tablet), where they will have to answer multiplication questions against the clock.
This will be the first time that the DfE has used computerised checks in primary schools. Calculators and wall displays, that could provide children with answers, will be removed from the room the MTC is taking place in.
The MTC will last no longer than 5 minutes and is similar to the Times Tables Rock Stars programme we already use in school. Their answers will be marked instantly.
Children will have 6 seconds to answer each question in a series of 25. Each question will be worth one mark and be presented to the child in this format:
n1 x n2 = ____
Questions will be selected from the 121 number facts that make up the multiplication tables from 2 to 12, with a particular focus on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables as they are considered to be the most challenging. Each question will only appear once in any 25-question series, and children won’t be asked to answer reversals of a question as part of the check (so if they’ve already answered 3 x 4 they won’t be asked about 4 x 3).
Once the child has inputted their answer on the computer/device they are using, there will be a three-second pause before the next question appears. Children will be given the opportunity to practise answering questions in this format before the official check begins.
The six-second time limit per question has been decided on by the DfE because it should allow children enough time to demonstrate their recall of times tables without giving them the time to work out the answers to each question.
How will the results be reported?
Pupils’ individual results will be made available to schools, and the Department for Education will report national results to track how they change over time. As a schools will report the results to you as parents or carers in the end of school year report. There’s no pass or fail, there’s just a score out of 25 marks (or 20). They’re not to be used to compare children, they’re for us to reflect on so that we make the most of our provision. We’re actually looking forward to seeing how well we do.
What happens if my child does not score very highly on the test?
There will be no “pass mark” (expected standard threshold) and no child will “fail” the MTC. Multiplication facts will be the only things checked (there will be no checking of children’s knowledge of division facts or problem-solving in the MTC).
The purpose of the check is to help us as teachers to identify which children are falling behind and target areas where they’re not being given a chance to succeed.
How can I help my child:
Times tables are learnt best when learnt regularly and in short bursts. Here at Greenbank Primary School we use Time Tables Rock Stars as an online and paper support. You will find your child’s login details in their Home-School Link Book.
We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that tests in themselves don’t cause anxiety, it’s the perceived cost of not doing well. For that reason, we will actively downplay the checks with the pupils. The only thing that will stress the children is if we repeatedly refer to the checks in class or at home, even casually in front of them when they’re not supposed to be listening.
Below are some other ways children can be supported as we approach the MTC.
Below you will find information relating to Year 4 life…
In Literacy, we develop our reading and writing skills through stories, drama, poetry and exciting, first- hand experiences. Enjoyment of reading and a love of books are encouraged through individual and shared reading activities – we encourage the children to read every day at home, too!
In Mathematics, we take part in activities involving number, shape, space, measure, and problem- solving. We work alone, in partners, in small groups and as a class to improve our Numeracy skills and relate them to real-life situations.
Our afternoon includes History, Geography, Design Technology, Art and Computing and these subjects are taught through topics and key questions. The children also have weekly sessions of R.E., Music, Science, PSHE and P.E. More information on these can be found by clicking our Curriculum Overview button above or head to out school curriculum pages here.
As a school we use SEAL materials to supplement our P4C and PSHE curriculum. Our aim is to develop the underpinning qualities and skills that help promote good mental health, positive behaviour and effective learning. It focuses on five social and emotional aspects of learning: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills. Through this, we help our children to develop skills such as understanding another’s point of view, working in a group, sticking at things when they get difficult, resolving conflict and managing worries. They will build on effective work already in place in school that pays systematic attention to the social and emotional aspects of learning through whole-school ethos, initiatives such as circle time or buddy schemes, and the taught personal, social and health education (PSHE) and Citizenship curriculum.
4C have P.E. session on Mondays and 4P have their P.E. session is on Tuesdays. The children take part in athletics, dance and gymnastic activities and need to wear their P.E. kit on the appropriate day.
Your child will also have the opportunity to take home a home reading book, which they can read by themselves. They will be able to change their home reading book when they need to, and put it into their book bag. They will be reminded to do this when they get to school. If possible, please write the date and book title in your child’s reading record with a short comment to communicate with us in school that you have heard your child read.
The children have a home-school link book. This book is designed for you to share all the lovely things you and your child do inside and outside of school. This book will be sent home with your child on Friday to be returned the following Wednesday. Each week you’ll find some of things we have been doing in class as well as what’s coming up, spellings to learn and an activity for you to do at home with your child. As a school we also use the app Seesaw to help keep us connected and for home learning purposes. Please sign up to this app, as Home-School link sheets will be loaded up to it weekly. Your child can respond to the tasks set in the Home-School link book and return it to school as stated above or capture the learning on Seesaw and we will respond to it there. If you need a paper copy of the Home-School link sheet to come home weekly for whatever reason please let your child’s class teacher know. Likewise, if you need your child’s Seesaw details please contact a member of the Year 4 team we will be happy to help with this.
If you have any questions about Year 4, please speak to a member of our staff on the gate at home-time or contact us via Seesaw or leave a message with the school office.
This week, we have learned why we celebrate Black History Month, looked at a timeline of Black History in Britain and started researching about famous black musicians. Here are some pieces we have created with vocabulary we relate to Black History.
In 4C, we have been reading ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers. We were inspired by some words and an illustration about how we are all different. We created our own illustration and a social contract together, which we all signed.