Houghton Primary School

"Working hard to achieve our best"

Kestrels (Y4)


Kestrels' Class are our Year 4 group. They are taught by Mrs MacLennan  who is assisted by Mrs White and Mrs Garrick.

Please click here to find out more about the curriculum for Kestrels' Class in the Autumn term.

Please click here to find out more about the curriculum for Kestrels' Class in the Spring term.

Please click here to find out more about the curriculum for Kestrels' Class in the Summer term.

Latest News


We've had great fun this week designing and making our own periscopes, as part of DT week. The children really embraced the idea of taking a classic design and making it their own. They came up with some fantastic ideas, limited only by classroom resources; there's only so much masking tape and cardboard can do! Although some real design talent was at work in the classroom this week- well done everyone.

We used squared paper to make a prototype to help visualise our ideas.

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We recorded our ideas on paper, thinking about the how the periscope would look as a net, a cross section and the finished design.

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Once we had our design and a prototype we were ready to go ahead and make the finished article. 

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Many of the children decided to paint their periscopes with a camouflage pattern to maximise stealth potential. 

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This week we have been extremely busy rehearsing for our Feast Week concert, which will be held on Monday afternoon. Our class song, (I'm sure the children have already let you know!) is The Yellow Submarine by the Beatles, and is a great fun song to sing. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Monday afternoon. Next week, we are looking forward to cultural day on Wednesday, when the children will be working in their houses, each focusing on a different country from around the globe! Followed by our Sports' day due to be held on Friday morning, weather dependent! 


What a busy week I can't believe half term was only a week ago! We have had a really fun week in school with lots of hands on activities.

We 3D models of stonehenge using building blocks and lego. The children recreated Stonehenge as it would have looked 3000 years ago. They had ensure they used the correct number of standing stones, an altar stone, five arches to form the inner horse shoe and 4 station stones on the perimeter.

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We also created some lovely silhouette art inspired by Stonehenge.

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We have also learnt about what fossils are and how they are made. We made salt dough to create our own instant fossils.

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Making salt dough, together. 

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Throughout the week we have been doing a lot of group work, requiring the children to take turns- being patient, share, listen to each other and respond appropriately.

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What a lovely week to end the half term. We were so lucky with the weather for our trip to Flag fen on Monday and had an amazing day.

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Story time in the roundhouse.

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Making clay pots.

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Investigating Prehistoric artefacts. 

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Enjoying a picnic lunch in the sun!

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Trying out a form of Iron age transport.

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Viewing 3000 year old boats found at Flag fen and currently being treated with wax for preservation. 

In maths we've continued to look at fractions. We have used cussinaire rods to explore numbers; including fractions and decimals and their relationship to each other. 

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Don't forget about our school trip on Monday. The children should wear bottoms and shoes suitable for outdoor work, jogging bottoms or leggings which can get a bit mudd, would be ideal and ordinary school jumpers. Don't forget the packed lunch! 

Another fantastically jam packed week in school. We had a lovely visit on Tuesday from a representative of a synagogue in Cambridge. We were very luck with the weather this week for our outdoor learning day on Thursday and actually got to enjoy some sunshine. Today we enjoyed a fun performance from a drama group about E-safety. Our bloggers this week are Edward and Millie and here are their thoughts about this week. 

On Tuesday a Jewish lady came to teach us a bit about Shabbat. Which is what Jewish people celebrate with their families, from Friday at sunset until Saturday at sunset. She also got us to try some Matzo, personally I LOVED it!

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On Thursday we did outdoor maths on the field. We were doing work on fractions. We had to collect objects equal to the fraction Mrs MacLennan gave us. It was good to have a lesson outside.

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For outdoor learning we also spent a session investigating rocks.

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Sorting rocks by observing their different properties.

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Getting up close and personal!

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The acid test!

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Testing for permability.

Today, we had 2 different schools join us because we had a visit from some people, who presented a play to us about E-safety. It was excellent and very funny.

By Edward and Millie


We have been extremely lucky in year 4 to have received several weeks of cricket training, which the children have thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately, our last session will be this Monday. However a team of 8 has been selected to play in an inter-school tournament, on Wednesday afternoon at Houghton Cricket club, we wish them all the best and hope they have a lot of fun along the way!

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This term we are finding out all about prehistoric Britian. We have begun at the stone age. We have been reading the book "Stone age boy", this inspired our big write, about a travelling back in time as well as our art lessons and  the creation of some fantastic cave paintings. We created our own cave paintings using earthy coloured pastels on brown paper. 

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We have also looked at the type of shelters they may have made for themselves. This inspired our own creation of a stone age settlement on the school field. The children had to make a tepee style dwelling using materials avaliable in the stone age ( we swapped animal skins for tarpauplin).

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What an amazing week! I know you'll all agree that the children's performances this week was outstanding, their enjoyment and enthusiasm shone through.

We began the week with a PE session with a local cricket coach and although the weather was a bit "nippy" we soon warmed up with a round of non-stop cricket. Ending the week with red nose day and our special Mother's Day afternoon was the perfrect round off to the week. 

"This week we performed a play of "Charlie and the chocolate factory", it was very fun! Also we made amazing mother's day cards. We also did a very fun PE lesson." By Jessica and Dylan

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In maths this week we have been using our work on area and perimeter to investigate the shape, size and dimensions of Oompa-Loompa houses given specific criteria to fulfil. In art we looked at traditional Mayan crafts and the importance of weaving. We used lolly pop sticks and lots of colourful wool to weave gods eyes, they were a bit tricky at first but looked really impressive when finished.

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On Friday morning, we had an amazing visit from Mexicolore it was really exciting when we went into the hall and they had lots of lights and we all learned a chant. Some of us got to wear beautiful feathered headdresses, I also held a torch and lead a procession around the hall. Meanwhile some others were beating out rhythms on the drums. We learnt that not just chocolate but other foods such as pineapples and tomatoes come from Mesoamerica. Also we learnt a lot about their gods, (they had lots of gods!)

“ My favourite bit was all the amazing musical instruments they had for sounding like the rain or the wind, they were clever and fun.” (Daniel Bridges)

“I liked learning about Pok-a-Tok, a ball game the Mayan people used to play. They played with a hard rubber ball made from tree sap and they weren’t allowed to use their hands or feet! They had to use parts of their body. The ball had to go through a really small stone hoop which was 4-5 metres above the ground. It looks like a really difficult game to play.” (Sam)

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We have had a very exciting week!

We have been doing an eggsperiment, using eggs, cups and certain liquids. The eggs were our tooth enamel.  The liquids we used were milk, water, sprite, orange juice, blackcurrant squash and vinegar. In maths we have been learning about perimeter and area. Also, we have been practising very hard on our year 3/4 production of Charlie and the chocolate factory.

By Orla and Aiden

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As part of our E-safety work, we have been investigating how we can use the internet to communicate with others in a positive and constructive way. To give the children a real purpose for communicating using the internet I have handed over the responsibility for keeping our class blog up to date to them! So here is the first instalment their first blog has been written by Felix C and Paige,

This week, we have been practising the parts for our play, Charlie and the chocolate factory. We were all very excited when we got our parts. We also learned some of the songs, my favourite is the “Candy man”.

For our big write we wrote our own play scripts using the story of Charlie and the chocolate factory. I chose scene 4, about Mike Teavee and the television-chocolate room. As well as that we did some very hard maths work.

On Monday morning we had a librarian come in to show us some books, he also came last year. The books he brought are part of a competition. They are the first books the authors have published. They also illustrated the book as well as wrote it. My favourite was the Hippopandamouse!

By Felix C and Paige 


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What a fabulously creative and imaginative week! Our classroom became  Willy Wonka’s invention room , the children had some amazing ideas and there is no end to the wonders of their imagination!  We have written original recipes for our chocolaty creations, we have also investigated the shape, structure and designs of the packaging. We then designed and made our own packaging for our chocolate inventions. In English we wrote persuasively to encourage people to try our chocolate using lots of lovely descriptive words such as; luscious, velvety, scrumptious and tantalising.

Emma Cope from Hotel Chocolate visited us on Tuesday and told us all about the process of making chocolate at Hotel Chocolate: from the beans grown on their Cocoa farm in St Lucia, to the marketing of their chocolates in their shops in the UK. 

I hope you all have a fanatsic half term!

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We've been very busy this term with our fabulous topic: CHOCOLATE! We have been tasting different types of chocolate blindfolded! To test our tastebuds. We have been discovering where chocolate comes from and how it is made. This week we have been investigationg our school's favourite chocolate bar, which for our children was the good old Kitkat! Whilst the adults in school prefer a Cadbury's fruit and nut bar. Next, we will be inventing our own chocolate bar recipes!

We have been luck enough this term to be visitied by Claire Davids, who organised a fun morning of team building skills for the class. The children had to work together to achieve team goals; including the finish-line photo and the drain pipe challenge

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We have loved reading "Charlie and the chocolate factory". We have been inspired by the inventing room and the children created their own junk model inventing machines, which inspired our musical compositions "Mechanical machines". This week, we also wrote our own decriptions of the inventing room, focusing on some ambitious descriptive words. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be becoming Willy Wonka himself and turning our classroom into the invention room, creating our own unique, mouth watering, chocolatey inventions!

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The final day of term has arrived! What a wonderful time of year, so many special events and activities.

Kestrels got together with Wrens class (year 1) and did a smashing job of helping the younger children develop some tricky scissor skills. Together they made very festive hats, for our school Christmas dinner, last Thursday.christmas 1

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The children worked really hard to learn the words and melodies for our Christmas songs this year and it paid off! With two beautiful performances this week for the carol service and Christingle service to finish off the term.christingle 1

The final day of term, has seen us working hard to finish off our flags but there was also time to enjoy some well earned recreational activities. 

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I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a fabulous holiday and I look forward to seeing everybody in January. 


Thank you for all the amazing research the children completed in their learning logs, this week.  They were able to use it to support their “Big Write” on Tuesday. I believe this helped their confidence about what to write and their work was stuffed full of fascinating facts!

On Wednesday, we all had a lovely time working in our houses on several mini projects throughout the day. Being the teacher in Twickenham house, I had the pleasure of  making mini gingerbread houses with approximately 120 children- a bit sticky, but great fun and delicious!

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The children also had the opportunity to learn about the tradition of leaving shoes out for St. Nicholas, making traditional German star decorations and writing letters for Father Christmas with traditionally decorated envelopes. 

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The children have worked extremely hard this week to complete their Christmas baubles, in the style of traditional German baubles. They have painted beautiful snowy scenes with little wooden houses and fur trees, all in time for the Christmas fair. The door looks amazing and very festive. Next week, the children will enjoy our cultural day on Wednesday, when we will be working in our houses, learning all about a traditional German Christmas. We do hope you can join us on the Friday when the children will be sharing their learning with you, not just about the cultural day but about all we've learnt in German so far...


We have had a fun day taking part in the activities organised by Year 6, to raise money for Children in Need.


This week the children have been imagining, planning and writing their own adventure story; based on the book Swallows and Amazons and the idea of their own secret island. They have designed maps of their island, given it a name and a flag. We hope to be able to turn their designs into real flags in school. Due to the amount of fabric required we would like to request that your child brings in a plain white pillow case, which they will then turn into their flag and will eventually be sent home. If the pillow cases could be sent into school by Monday 21st November (with your child’s name on it) so that we can begin making our flags that week would be greatly appreciated, thank you. 

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Welcome back I hope you all had a lovely half term, we were very lucky with the weather and I’m sure you were all very busy enjoying it.

This week our clay poppies were returned to us ready for glazing. The children were very excited to receive their fired poppy in its own individual box for safe keeping. They carefully painted the poppies with the ceramic glaze. The poppies have now gone back to be fired once more and we will receive our completed poppies in school next week ready for remembrance day.

We have also created some beautiful watercolour paintings of the poppies which will be going on display in the hall next week.

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Our week got off to a super start with a trip to the mill. Lynda and Steve turned the water wheel on for us and showed us around inside the mill. We paid particular attention to the mechanisms that allowed the mill to operate, following the transfer of movement energy from the wheel, to the shafts, to the cogs and finally the mill stone. This was particularly clear for the children when they were able to “play” with the interactive models at the end of the tour.

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The children took this knowledge back to school with them, where they applied their understanding to designing their own water wheel.  We looked at existing designs of homemade water wheels and investigated the effectiveness of various materials. The children worked in pairs to combine the best features of their designs, continually modifying and adapting their wheel to create their most efficient water wheel.

Creating our water wheels

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Testing our water wheels

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Some of the finished designs

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In maths this week we have been investigating equivalent fractions using a fraction wall and diagrams

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School trip: Monday 17th to Houghton Mill; we will be leaving at 9:20 and we will be back by lunchtime. Please ensure your child brings a coat to school. Thank you.


What a busy week we’ve had preparing for our class assembly. It was lovely to see so many parents there on Thursday morning and the children thoroughly enjoyed the chance to perform and share their work.

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We were very lucky this week as a local artist came into to school to work with us on a, Remberance day project.  Working in clay the children made some delicate and stunning poppies. The clay poppies have been taken away to be fired in the kiln and will return to school to be finished off after half term.

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We have also been looking at forces, in particular how water has a force and can push against gravity enabling things to float. We used tanks of water and blu-tak to see if we could make a ball of blu-tak which sank, float instead. This is a great challenge,  and for most still a work in progress!

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Next week, as part of our Science and DT curriculum looking at forces and mechanisms, we will be taking part in our water wheel challenge; to create a working water wheel using the resources we have in school. As part of this challenge we will be visiting Houghton Mill on Monday morning to see a working water wheel, paying particular attention to the forces and mechanisms involved.

Last but not least, thank you for all the lovely home learning that came in this week, some of those Kennings really kept me guessing! 


Welcome to the new Kestrels' class page!

Following our amazing trip to Stibbington last week Kestrels are now working on planning and producing our class assembly. We hope you can come to share our assembly and see what we got up to at Stibbington! Our assembly will be on Thursday 13th October at 9:00, we hope to see you there.  


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Photos: Alastair Grant www.bokehphotographic.co.uk

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