Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Writing exciting sentences - cats in the city

We're preparing for some Varjak Paw-style writing in Year 4. The cats are prowling through the city, hungry, fearful of the dangerous gangs of cats, fearful of the Vanishings. The look, listen, sniff the air...

To help us with this writing we've done a number of things.

Firstly, we've wandered through Marseilles a little. This has helped us to imagine the scene in more detail.

We've also looked at using exciting sentences to make our writing more varied and interesting.

Look at these two sentences:

Can you see the pattern?

Sorrow, graffiti, darkness - why was the city so cruel?
Rubbishy, smelly, old - what type of disgusting place is this?

They're called 3 bad - (dash) question sentences.They start with three bad nouns or adjectives - are followed by a dash - and then a question. (Of course, this can be varied).

Have a look at some of our practice Emotion word, (comma) sentences and 3 bad - (dash) question sentences, plus some of the images we used:

Once again, thanks to Alan Peat for his taxonomy of exciting sentences!

Mr Patrick's Treasure

Mr Patrick shared a treasure today, and his treasure was - the natural world - especially as experienced in his garden!

Mr Patrick read us from a book by another man who treasured Nature, Gilbert White. Here's a page on earth worms:

Mr Patrick has grown to like snakes
The log with a woodpecker's hole in it

Counting cars 2

After doing the traffic survey in class, we went out into the open to do it live today:

We had two minutes to see how many vehicles of each colour passed by.

You can see the videos of the cars going past (maybe not the most exciting videos ever!) here and here.

This is a summary of our data:

The first time

The second time


It was great to see Isabel again!


Following our gel-ball experiments, we discussed the changes that happen to jelly when you make it.

Pouring in boiled water

The jelly melts and dissolves
Stirring helps
All mixed up

Add a bit of cold water to make more of it
And here it is after it set in the fridge:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Counting cars 1

We started out by watching this video of cars moving past IST:

Then we counted the different colours of cars.

It was quite difficult sometimes to decide whether a car was white or silver, or blue or black. So we didn't all get exactly the same counts. We took the median frequency in each case, that is the middle one.
We used Education City to help us present the data:

a bar chart
We thought up some questions that could be asked about the data. Here they are:
And here's the data presented in some other ways:

a block chart
a pie chart
This last, the pie chart, also gave us the percentages of cars passing by.

Tomorrow we go out to do it live in the open air...

Stade Toulouse beating Brive

Last Saturday we went to the rugby match. It was a big top 14 match, exciting but with lots of breaks in play. The people that were playing were really big and could kick the ball really high. The Toulouse crowd of supporters were doing the Toulouse songs and Toulouse won the match.

For Toulouse there was a person dressed up as a Lion and he was showing off and pretending he was really strong. For the other team's animal was a cow, and I made a joke about that and I said I bet they were drinking too much milk because they had white shirts as well !

Build with Chrome: Lego

I recently discovered Build with Chrome:


It lets you build something in Lego somewhere in the world.

Year 4s - first you sign in to your @intst.eu account and then... build!

My first experiment was a very small house in Paris:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Did you Know?

Did you know Horses can smile and pull funny faces?


Yes! Horses can!

Did you know pigs can swim?

Yes! Pigs can!

Did you know dogs can be bigger than humans when they are sitting?

  Yes! Dogs can!

That's the end of the Did you know quiz today! I'll have some more soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

In the city

Distant cars
Low window
With metal bars
Lonely neighbourhood
Trashed street
Blue neon sign

A ramp
Creep out
Shades of grey
Fighting and yelling
Old posters


Class wordscape inspired by Varjak Paw and  Night Walk in Marseilles

Lost cat news

Reading Varjak Paw, we've discovered a lot of cats have gone missing. In response, we've created our own news stories about missing cats.

Click here to read 4B's news.

Click here to read 4G's news.

Some "lost cat" posters 4G created before writing the news:

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Vanishing Cats Part 1

Chapter 1, The Return 

Pat, Pat, Pat, Pat

I woke up. What was that noise? I started following the sound, it sounded like a cat was going to Shamrock's room. When I arrived at his door, I saw a black and white cat with only one eye. She was edging near Shamrock, who was sound asleep. Her claws were out, and she looked like she was going to rip Shamrock's ears and tail off.
"Sally Bones?" I whispered, in disbelief.
It couldn't be, Varjak Paw had defeated her long ago, making her fall to her death.
The cat heard me, swore and then, before I could catch her, she ran silently ran away, accidently knocking Shamrock's vase on to the ground.
"I'll be back, Varjak Paw, I'll be back!"
"Sally Bones!" I yelled at the top of my voice, which I nearly never did. "She's back! She was never dead!"
Every cat who heard started panicking manically.
"What will happen to us?"
"I don't know!"
'Smart idea, Jade, smart idea' I thought. 'Totally clever of you to make everyone panic'
Captain, our leader rushed in.
"What are you talking about, Jade?" he asked. "Sally Bones is dead"
"But I saw her!" I protested. "She was black and what, with only one eye!"
"Sally Bones' daughter, Holly Bones, is back" he said, eyes flashing. "
You must stop her. She will avenge Sally Bones, and Varjak's closest relative right now, is me, I am the son of Varjak Paw and Holly"

A night walk in Marseilles

What might it have felt like to be the cat Varjak Paw as he walked around town at night?

We could get some idea by having a stroll round Marseilles at night time (open this in Chrome):


Here are some of us exploring: