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HD Beijing School

The Problem with Plastic

2018 - 12 - 19

Plastic pollution in the oceans is a terrible part of modern life. There is a global disaster happening right now and Grade 4 have decided to take action!

As part of our Habitats learning, we have been looking at the shocking effects of pollution across our oceans.

Did you know that 100,000 marine animals are killed every year as a result of it?

Our topic this term has been Habitats; one of the whole school over-arching themes for the year. Throughout this programme of learning, every lesson has been focused on a different aspect of Habitats.

We explored different types of vertebrates and invertebrates, and we have discovered the varied locations in which they live. We felt it was important for children to discover the beauty of the natural world before we looked at ways to protect it.

This learning journey has been both emotional and fantastic!

Our English learning journey has followed this approach, starting with a unit based on the amazing novel “Kensuke’s Kingdom,” by Michael Morpurgo. For the first 3 weeks we focused on story writing. We learned about bringing stories alive through character and setting description, whilst further developing our English vocabulary.

We then moved on to writing messages in a bottle from a desert Island, followed by writing more formal letters to drinks’ companies; persuading them to find alternatives to plastic bottles. We also made sculptures out of plastic bottles to raise awareness of the problem.

Our English unit culminated in the making of our epic movie, ‘A Sea of Plastic.’ The children were responsible for planning, researching, writing, filming and directing this documentary. We hope that everyone enjoyed it, as much as we enjoyed making it!

Throughout our Habitats’ topic, children produced some outstanding work. We loved using theme-based learning and in this seven-week unit, every child in Grade 4 managed to produce two stories, a message in a bottle from a deserted island, a persuasive letter to the head of a company persuading them to reduce their plastic production, and they all starred in a documentary, which they themselves designed, scripted and directed.

How amazing is that? With a different focus for every lesson, we used the English National Curriculum to guide our learning journey.

We are extremely proud of the Grade 4 teams’ learning achievements, and they have shown great empathy and responsibility.

The parental premier was a great success and we would like to thank parents for taking time out of their busy schedules to be involved!

Remember, it only takes one person to make a change; be the change you want to see in the world!  

Grade 4 Curriculum Commentary

by Emmanuel Alexander

International Curriculum Coordinator

One of the goals at HD Beijing this year, is to teach a curriculum that engages and supports the academic development of our wonderful children and this is a job I have been tasked with as the International Curriculum Coordinator.

I have taught the English curriculum for 9 years and developed my own ideas through research and successful implementation. I managed and created a curriculum for one school previously and with the team work of our excellent teachers I plan to support the implementation of a fantastic one here.

The Grade 4 focus on plastic pollution during their ‘Habitats’ learning epitomises the new curriculum approach at HD Beijing this year. The topic links together both, English and Science, and provides a real-life context to support the children’s understanding of the international world we live in.

The aim of the curriculum is to teach the children key skills in a context and provide the opportunity to express their learnt skills through specific writing genres.

In this case: story writing, letter writing, and non-chorological reports (manifested in their fantastic film). The aim is to promote innovation, creativity and skill application in a meaningful way and this unit represents all of the above.


This unit of study is just one example of many of the exciting, interesting thought-provoking things the children will learn, and is representative of the structure of our curriculum this year. If any further details are needed about our curriculum in general, please feel free to come and see the class teachers or myself.

Well done Grade 4 for your hard work and the successful outcomes you have achieved through this unit.