Thursday, 1 May 2014

May News

Please add the date of our next ACE award assembly to your home calendars. It will be on May 30th at 9:00am in the gym.

Open House: This Monday night at 5:30-7pm. The students in our class will be exhibiting their very first published storybook! We will also have some recycle themed art on display. This is a great opportunity for you to come engage in your child's educational experience. You can come together and have your child read the story aloud and tell you about the some of the things we are learning about. Feel free to look around the classroom and have students explain some the things posted around the room, or to show you their problem solving math journals. I look forward to seeing you there!

The Curriculum This Month....

Reading: We are using our knowledge and understanding of fluency to practice Reader's Theatre! Each child works with a group to put on a play where they need to get in character and read the lines in their particular part. We will be working on collaborative skills and will talk a lot about working in teams and how to be an effective group member with your peers. Students will be assessing themselves on how they worked with their team, how well they performed their part and how well they think they were able to listen during other children's presentations. This self reflection is an important skill to develop early in life. The kids love this kind of literacy.... they get to make props and costumes and perform for other classes in the school! I can't wait to see the completed products!

Writing: We will focus on creative writing concepts and eventually work toward writing our own reader's theatre scripts. If you are ever unsure of where your child should be by the end of year, please stop by and come chat with me. I would be happy to sit down with you and show you examples of student work expectations from the Ministry of Education for the end of grade one. Writing is a skill that often comes after reading abilities have developed and the pace at which each student progresses is different. Many child will show tremendous growth in this area during their grade one year while others may really begin to shine during grade two. As long as you are seeing progress with your child over the year, no need to panic, lets celebrate how far they have come.

Math: We have been working hard learning about probability and chance. Students have been using their math journals to answer open ended creative questions. These kinds of questions allow children to really think outside the box and show what they really know. Children may have one correct answer or...... 10 correct answers that show how they can answer a question in different ways. The focus in our class to work on organizing our work so that our thinking is most effective. This is a developing skill in grade one, as many of our ideas are expressed orally. We spend a lot of time talking about our thinking with myself providing feedback to each student orally and supporting them with how they can improve their work, while celebrating their wonderful efforts. Here are examples of the kinds of questions we look at......
" There are two coins. If we flip them several times, what might happen? What might show up?"
" A teacher is asked a question and gives the answer "maybe". What might the question have been?"
" If we spin a spinner that has equal parts red, yellow and green ten times, what might the outcome be?"

Social Studies: We continue to work on mapping skills. Kids will be going on a school scavenger hunt and practice following directions!

Science: We will begin to explore energy in our lives and in the world around us. We will look at how the sun is a source of energy along with wind and water. We will do some fun experiment's to complement our learning.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Please note, the correct date for the theatre auditions mentioned in the previous post is the 19th and not the 10th.


April is finally here... although it doesn't feel like spring yet! Our co-op student, Jasmine has been working hard helping the children with one on one and small group reading activities and extra support for math and science concepts. She plays an active role with various theatre groups in the community and has asked me to pass along the following information:
Brant Theatre Workshops will be holding auditions to anyone who is interested on April 10th. They need both children and adults for their next productions of Peter Pan and Robin Hood. If your child is one who might be interested in something like this, you may wish to contact the company.

A big thank you to Ms. Dawson and Mrs. Ferguson for continuing to come in each week to read with the children as part of our Home Reading Program.

SPCA trip is coming up next Wednesday. If you have not already sent in your child's form please do it ASAP. If you can volunteer, we would greatly appreciate that too!

The Spring Food Drive, led by parent volunteers, begins on the week of the 14th. Please give generously if you are able.

The Curriculum This Month.....

Reading and Writing: We will be focusing on reading a variety of literature that will engage, captivate and challenge the students. I believe that choosing quality books and stories can make reading come alive to children and help to transport them to world's they never imagine before. As a part of our rich literacy program, we use texts that encourage children to ask questions about the world around them, explore different points of views and important ideas and themes that come up in the books we are looking at. In our writing, the children have begun to work through the writing process. We are learning about pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing of stories. They have been working hard to create their own fiction story to publish and share with others. I cant wait to see the finished products!

Math: We are finishing up our unit on fractions and will soon begin to work at a new unit in Data Management called Probability. This is a fun unit of study, because children can explore the likelihood that certain events will occur. For example, if we design a spinner for a game and one half is yellow and the other half is green, what is the probability that the spinner will land on yellow? If only a small portion is yellow and the rest is green.... what is the likelihood now? Children will also look at dice and various games and will have the opportunity to create their own devices that allow them to creatively demonstrate their knowledge of probability. If you are playing board games or other activities at home, this is a great opportunity to chat about the likelihood of certain outcomes.

Visual Arts: We will continue to explore various artists style and form while we produce our own. We are also completing some spring and Easter art activities for fun too! Children will examine and create some symmetrical artwork in conjunction with our math concepts and continue to explore how the principles of design are used in creating meaning in their own and others artwork ( e.g. using warm colours in a beach painting etc).

Science and Social Studies: As our unit on Life Systems comes to a close, I can tell you that we have had a lot of fun learning about animals, insects, body parts, and plants. The children are experimenting with bean plants in our class...... we will see if they can grow in a paper towel using water and sunlight. The outcome  is still a little uncertain..... lol. We will begin a new social studies unit on mapping next week. Children will learn all about cardinal directions and  how to read and create basic maps.

Thanks again for taking a few moments to read this blog! Remember, if you ever have any questions or concerns, I am always available to meet with you or to chat on the phone. You can send a note in your child's agenda and I will promptly get back to you. Have a wonderful month.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


March break is fast approaching..... if you and your family are planning to be away from school for any days other than the holiday, please request a temporary absence form from the office. Regardless of whether you choose to venture on a family vacation, take day trips or just relax at home I wish you all a restful, happy and safe holiday.

Co-op Student: I am so pleased to announce that we have a new co-op student who will be working in our room from now until the end of the year. She has been helping out with our home reading program reading with children and also taking some extra time to support children with special help in math and other programming if students happen to struggle with a concept on a particular day.

The Curriculum This Month.....

Storytelling/ Oral Communication Skills: Our children have been doing a wonderful job! I am so impressed with their storytelling abilities. The last day for presentations will be Tuesday and then we will pick the winners to go onto the final competition in the gym on Thursday. This has been a great exercise for developing our oral and visual skills.

Reading: Children have continued to practice their fluency strategies and skills by reading books at their level orally to themselves and to others.  We are working on exploring a variety of genres of texts and will begin to look at various components of non-fiction texts in correlation with our new unit on living things.

Writing: We continue to develop our writing skills. I am expecting more of the kids at this stage in the game. We will be doing some St. Patrick's Day writing about a pesky little leprechaun that sneaks into our classroom and causes trouble! We will also be looking at procedural writing ( e.g. How to plan a birthday party, How to ride a bike, How to make an ice cream sundae).

Art: We have been studying the works of different artists. The kids really impressed me with their portrait drawing creations. If you happen to be in the school, take a quick peek at our artwork posted in the hall. You'll never believe that grade ones created them. We have some incredible artists in our midst!!! I could see the pride in their faces as they watched their work be hung up for all to see.

Math: We are just finishing up our unit on money. Please do help your child to continue to practice counting coins as it is such a valuable life skill. We will be moving onto a unit in measurement studying time. Children will learn to tell time to the hour and half hour. We'll have some fun times doing "Munchie Math" and exploring both digital and analogue clocks and how they work. If you have any old clocks that you would like to send in...... and not receive back....... we would love to take it apart and have a look inside!

Science: We are studying living things and the kids have indicated, by vote, that they wanted to learn about horses, dragonflies and insects, and the venus fly trap. Students will explore the components of living things and hopefully we can sneak a field trip in that will reinforce all their great learning! Details to come....

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


First of all, thank you all so much for your kind words of congratulations to our family. We are so thrilled to be expecting our second child at the beginning of July. The kids have been so sweet and excited to hear about the baby. I promised them that we would have a pool to see who chooses the correct gender... and 17 out of 20 children were convinced it's a girl. They were right indeed! Some reminders.... Candygrams (hershey kisses I believe) are on sale. Students can buy one for a friend and then it will be delivered on Valentines Day! They are 1 for 25 cents and 10 for two dollars. Report Cards- If you have not already done so, please send in your child's signed report card (last page). Its a great opportunity for you and your child to sit together and dicuss goals for the rest of the year. Also, I do need to file them in each child's student record. Thanks so much. Container Donations: It would be so greatly appreciated if you would consider doing a small job for our class. We are always in need of little containers such a yogurt cups, fruit cups, margerine containers etc for our painting and craft projects. If you could please wash them and send them in throughout the rest of the year, it would be a wonderful help. It saves me from washing a million paint trays and its a good way to recycle your trash! Supplies: I ordered an abundance of pencils for the children before the year started, however the quality was not what I expected and the kids have become frustrated with how frequently they are breaking. To save us from living at the pencil sharpener this year, please consider sending your child with some new pencils of their own. Thanks :) The Curriculum This Month: We will be starting a new project that will need some support from home. The primary division will be holding a storytelling competition. Children will be choosing a favourite book and will have a chance to re-tell the story to the class in their own words. We will be choosing winners from each class to go on and tell their story in the gym with the other winners. I had some grade ones and twos who were incredible last year! I will be working hard with the kids to teach them important elements of a good re-tell and we will even be watching storytellers online who have done a good job, and a not-so-good job. This is an excellent way to develop oral communication skills that are so important in life. I know that it can be a bit scary to children the first time, but I will do everything I can to encourage and support each child. We will have opportunities to practice ahead of time and only children who feel confident enough and would like to try to go on to the gym competition will do so. There will be a letter coming home soon, so please keep an eye out in your child's agenda. It should provide you with greater details of the assignment. If you still have further questions, send me a note in the agenda and I am happy to discuss it with you. Math: We have been working hard on addition and subraction skills. An important area of focus for each and every child is further practice in solving word problems and challenges that are open ended. Here are some questions that you can do together at home. They are excellent at building problem solving skills: 1. ?+?+?=19 What could the missing numbers be? How many answers can you give? (Alternate with a new sum) 2. There are 10 cows on a farm. How many cows did they once have and what could have happened to them? Write subtraction sentences.... 3. Make up different ways to add 8 and 5 in your head. How many ways could you think of? 4. The answer to a subtraction question is 5. What could the subtraction sentence look like? Money: We will begin a new unit on money this week. Children will be adding coins and learning valuable life skills. We will be "playing store" to help children practice some of the pricipals. If you have a play cash register you would like to send in, we would love to borrow it. A great way to support your child through this unit would be to encourage them to count change at Tim Hortons etc. Science: We have be learning about the 5 senses and will begin to explore a new unit on living things and life systems. Children love to learn about plants and animals. I am hoping to take some kind of field trip soon where we can learn more about various creatures! The expectations of this unit are that kids will learn investigate characteristics of living things and needs of plants and animals to survive. We will look at what might happen if we lost species of living things(e.g "what would happen if we lost all the cows, all the insects etc"). The class will have a chance to explore characteristics of different plants and how some produce flowers while others do not. Finally we will invesigate parts of the human body (our hands have thumbs that help us to carry things, our ears are shaped like cones so that we can hear better). Art: We will be choosing an artist to study and create specific works based on the style and principals of that artist!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a relaxing and festive Christmas. We're back into the swing of things now- working hard and having fun. Report cards for term one are fast approaching. I will begin writing them this weekend as they will be sent home in a few short weeks. You will see letter grades beside each of the subjects and then specific comments about children's learning. If you ever have any questions or concerns about the content of the report card, please do feel free to write me a note in the agenda and we can set up a meeting to discuss it. Each and every child has made tremendous progress and should be proud of their accomplishments so far this year. Remember, each child learns at their own pace, in their own way. If you are seeing the growth, regardless of the report grades, that is certainly something to celebrate.

The Curriculum This Month.........

Language Program: We are working on a unit all about Media Literacy. In this day and age, the amount of information that is available to us is increasing at a rapid rate. We are surrounded with media everywhere we we look. Children are growing up with the internet and ever changing technology at their fingertips. So it's important that we spend a little bit of time creating awareness about the media messages we are exposed to everyday. We will be critically examining various forms of media and therefore better equipping the students make decisions about the true meaning of messages. Some examples of media around us are....
- billboards
- movies
- internet
-paintings and photographs
-video games
- radio
- menus etc
The children will have an opportunity to examine commercials and ads that are targeted towards a specific audience like adults or children and then we will be looking at what the implied and hidden messages are. For example, why do kids Happy Meals look different than an adult meal? Why do they show older kids playing with younger children's toys? etc.... This unit is a great way for us to think critically about what we see in the media. We will be incorporating our reading, writing and oral communication into this unit but we will also continue with our traditional levelled guided reading groups and literacy centres.

Math: We didn't get time before the holidays to begin our unit on 3D geometry so we have started now. Please see December's post for more details about what children are learning. They are having a great time exploring the attributes of different 3D shapes through building and sorting activities. If you would like to support your child with the concepts from this unit, here are some ideas:
- play "I spy" in your home or on a walk if the weather ever gets warm enough to go outside. Look for shapes that are rectangular prisms, cylinders, sphere's, cubes etc.
- have a race to see who can locate and collect the most of one shape in your shape in your house ( ie. I found a board game, cereal box and tissue box and they are all rectangular prisms!)
- play a sorting game- collect objects that all have something in common ( ie. they all roll) place them in  one pile and then another pile with things that cannot roll. Have your child guess what the sorting rule is

Social Studies: We are creating a mini city of Brantford in our classroom as kind of a fun way to recount what we have learned during our community helpers unit.
Science: We will start a unit on Structures and Mechanisms. Children will discuss different materials used to make various structures in our homes, classroom and outside environment ( park equipment, cement, metal for our chairs etc) and learn why and how structures are created ( ie. a stop light is tall so that people can see it and made of metal so that it can withstand the weather etc). We will look at structures in nature and structures made by people. We will even explore various famous structures around the world.... Colloseum, Leaning Tower of Piza, CN Tower etc. Finally, at the end of our learning, students will demonstrate what they have learned by creating their own structure!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

December News

Time is racing by and it's almost Christmas! The class has been working very hard on our song for the concert. Many children in our class have also joined the primary choir and will be performing additional songs for the concert on the 18th.
I have to take a moment to share how proud I am of the children in this class. We have come such a long way since September in our reading and writing. They continue to amaze me each and every day. I can tell you wholeheartedly that I feel very blessed to be their teacher. We are having such a wonderful year together!
 Hopefully you and your child have had an opportunity to check out the raz-kids online reading program. Some of you are already familiar with it from previous years. I apologize that it was so late coming. The original account that was set up for our class wasn't working so we had to wait on approval for another and Mr. Ouellette just received it a week ago. I know that its a wonderful tool for those who do have computer and internet access. We will also be using the school netbooks to practice in class later in the year. Remember that students can write each raz-kids book on their reading log and it will count as a book read for our reading competition throughout the year.

The curriculum this month will be centered around the theme of the holiday and Christmas season. We will be exploring some beautiful literature as a class and we will continue to work on our reading comprehension strategies and skills in both small groups, partners and as a whole class. The kids are working at remembering to stop and think while they read. They have special bookmarks that we made that help to remind them of the special kinds of questions they should ask themselves as they read to improve reading comprehension.
In writing, I have special news...... our letters to Santa have been answered! He delivered them right to our school today..... they even arrived ice cold!! Our writing this month will be writing in response to reading activities. In math, students continue to complete the unit on measurement. We have just begun to learn about area. We will hopefully have a little bit of time to begin learning about 3D geometry where we study the attributes of shapes such as spheres, rectangular prisms, triangle based pyramids etc. We have lots of fun in this unit because in order to explore we get to do some fun building! In social studies we will continue to explore our local community of Brantford. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all the parents that have given us their valuable time to come in speak with the children. What an amazing opportunity it has been for us.

If I don't see you personally before the holidays, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully you all have some time off to rest and relax and enjoy family time.

See you in 2014!