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Nov 29

Dear Parents, 

The fourth author that we are focusing on this year is Leo Lionni.  He was an award-winning children’s author and illustrator of more than 40 books.  Some of his books include Inch by InchAlexander and the Wind-up Mouse, and Swimmy.  The students noticed that his books are similar in style to Eric Carle’s in how he uses collages for illustrations.  Some students suggested that his books are not as funny as Mo Willems’ or Robert Munsch’s books, while others thought that his books have a beginning that introduces the characters, a middle that tells us there is a problem, and an ending where there is a solution.   

Since we started exploring different addition strategies in Math several weeks ago, we have covered strategies such as “count on”, and “make ten”.  This week, we discussed how we can add by using “double facts” or near doubles.  The students rotated through various math centres to reinforce their addition skills using the iPads, worksheets, and games. 

In Bible, we reviewed the ways that Moses and Joshua trusted God and asked the students to reflect what they have learned from them.  We will be looking at the birth of Jesus over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas.  It is our hope that students will understand the true meaning of Christmas and what a precious gift God has given us.   

In our Inquiry unit of Patterns in the sky, we examined how spring and summer affects the clothes that we wear, as well as the things that we can do and see.  The students thought that we need to wear light jacket, pants, and long sleeve T-shirt during spring; while we need to wear shorts, short sleeve T-shirts, and sandals in the summer.  They also noticed that we can see flowers and plants bloom during spring and lots of sunshine in the summer. 

Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at medical conditions that are relevant to young children, such as the common cold and flu, allergies, and asthma in Health. This week, we talked about what happens when you lose a tooth and the difference between the baby teeth and the adult teeth. We also learned about our mouth: teeth, roots, gums, and jaw.    

Report cards will be made available online next Monday, December 2.  Do take some time to go over the report card with your child.  Let them know what they are doing well in and what are some areas that they need to work on.    

A reminder that your child will need to bring a small bag (about a quarter of a cup or enough to partially cover two gingerbread cookies) of nut-free candy to decorate their cookies during our annual gingerbread cookie decorations next Friday during our family group meeting. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Message from the library: 

During the last couple of weeks before the Christmas break, we have a few after school library closures. These are in addition to our regular Wednesday afternoons. 

The library will be closed after school on: 

Tuesday, December 3rd 

Thursday, December 12th 

Friday, December 13th 

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Nov 21

Dear Parents, 

In Language Arts, we reviewed some of the observations that the students have of our featured author, Robert Munsch.  They noticed that his books are always about young children, that there is usually a repeating pattern and that he makes children laugh by being silly.  We also contrasted some of his books and found that some can leave us with a surprised ending (e.g. The Paper Bag Princess) and some can leave us a bit sad (e.g. Love You Forever).  

In Math, we continued to explore different addition strategies, such as Count On (e.g. What is 3+2? I count from 3 then 2 more) and Make Ten (e.g. What is 9+5? I can take 1 from the 5 and add it to the 9 to make 10, then add the 10 to the 4) using math tools, such as the number line, ten frame, fingers, and 100chart.  They were given a chance to apply those skills with math (word) problems to solve.  The students also completed the December calendar by putting in dates that are important to them.  Again, please help your child place the calendar in a location where he/she can see and make plans for the week.    

In Bible, we continued to look at the message of trusting God.  This week, we reviewed the story of Moses and looked at the life of Joshua.  We discussed how God spoke to Moses and chose him because of his faith to lead his people into Canaan.  We learned that Joshua was initially hesitant to lead the Israelites after Moses died, but trusted that God can lead them to a victory over the Canaanites.   

In Health, we continued to look at common illnesses and medical conditions affecting young children.  This week, we talked about the causes of asthma and ways that we can control it. 

In our Inquiry unit of Patterns in the Sky, we examined how winter affects the clothes that we wear, as well as the things that we can do and see.  The students thought that we need to wear clothing to keep us warm, such as thick jacket, pants, boots, mittens, scarves and hats.  They also noticed that we can go skiing, play in the snow, and see birds migrating during this season. 

1C will be celebrating Christmas with activity centres on Wednesday, Dec 11 from 9:00-10:30.  We are asking for parent volunteers to come and run different centres, such as games in the small gym, bingo, and crafts.  If you could help, please email me by December 6.  Thank you in advance for your help.   

Have a restful weekend! 

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Nov 15

Dear Parents, 

Today, we celebrated different kinds of heroes.  Biblical heroes, comic book heroes, and community heroes.  We talked about how heroes sacrifice themselves for others.  Whether it is by helping others, serving others, respecting others, or loving others, we all have a hero within ourselves.

We introduced the reading strategy of visualization to the students this week.  Visualization enables students to be more aware of the descriptive languages that good writers use in their text.  We practiced a simple visualization exercise by me calling out a single word and asking them to make a picture in their heads.  We decided that some words (e.g. objects) are much easier for visualization and other words like “the” or “at” are more difficult to visualize.  We discussed how we could use our different senses when visualizing the text.   

In addition to the “c vs. K” rule that we talked about two weeks ago, we introduced another spelling rule to the students called “Buzz Off Miss Pill”.  When students try to spell a one syllable word with a short vowel and ends with “z, f, s, l”, the last letter should be doubled (e.g. frizz, stuff, less, bell).   

We continued to read books and watch interviews online by Robert Munsch.  Students noticed that his books are like Mo Willems because they are humorous and encourage children to read aloud together. 

In Math, students rotated through Math centers to work independently on different math skills related to number sense and addition.  Students are grouped during this time based on their specific math needs.  The groupings are flexible and can be changed depending on what we are working on that week.  There are four centers that the students rotate through every 15-20 minutes.  At the iPad center, students work on a specific app to enhance their number sense.  At the Game center, students play math games related to addition.  At the Practice Work center, students work on math drills or worksheets to reinforce their addition and subtraction skills.  At the last center, students work with me and practice articulating their mathematical thinking through various math tasks.  This week, we explored the ways that we can add numbers, such as counting all and counting on by using tools such as the number line, ten frame, fingers, and 100chart.  It is our intent to move the students from the counting stage to the reasoning stage of addition and eventually to the mastery stage where students can do addition mentally without the aid of manipulatives. 

In Inquiry, we introduced the big idea that patterns help us understand our world.  This week, we began to explore the idea that seasons affects all living things.  We will be looking at why we have seasons, and how they affect our daily lives.  Students were asked to brainstorm some questions that they would like to find out more about.  The students wondered why the days are longer in the summer, why does the earth spin, and why does the sky change?  We also found out that we have seasons because of how the earth tilts towards the sun.   

I came across an interesting TED Talk video by Sir Ken Robinson, an author, speaker, and educational advisor, on creating an education system that nurtures creativity – one of the core competencies in our new BC curriculum.  The video is about 20 minutes long.  

We will be visiting the Vancouver Aquarium as part of our Inquiry unit on Animal Adaptation on Tuesday, February 11.  Please email me if you can volunteer to be a group leader that day.  You will be taking care of a small group of students around the aquarium.  We will be requiring your assistance from 8:45 to 2:45.   A special admission fee will be charged to you unless you have a season pass at the aquarium.  There will be spaces on the school bus for parent volunteers. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

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Nov 8

Dear Parents,  

Today, we talked about the meaning behind the poppies that people wear during Remembrance Day.  The students discovered that this is a day where we remember all the heroes and soldiers who have made sacrifices for our country.   

We started the week by featuring a new author, Robert Munsch.  He is a best-selling Canadian author of over 70 books.  The students watched a video interview on him and discovered that he finds inspirations in his stories through interactions with real children.  Some initial impressions that the students have of him are that there seems to be a repeating pattern within his books and that he writes to make children laugh.  

In Math, we explored Ten Frame Mania and Num Tanga Junior on the iPads, to give the students more practice on their subitization skills.  We did practice work (e.g. worksheets) using the number line, as well as using it as another strategy to show how students get their answers when solving math problems. 

In Bible, we finished looking at the life of Joseph.  The students responded in their Bible exercise book about what they have learned from his story.  Some students said that you need to trust God even when things are hard or unfair, and that we need to follow God’s plan.   

We completed our Inquiry unit of Me to We by asking the students to contributto a book about ways that we can help in a classroom.  Some students said that we can help 1C by being caring to others, solving problems when they arise, listening to instructions, and modeling good choices to their friends.  

In Health, we continued to explore some common illnesses that young children may encounter. This week, we talked about what is an allergy and some of its causes, as well as what happens during an allergic reaction and ways that we can prevent it.   

Have a restful weekend! 

Message from Mr. Paul: 

Boom! Zap! Pow! Put on your capes, because November 15th is RCS Elementary Hero Day! Come dressed up as your favourite hero — a Bible hero, a comic book hero, or a community hero, the possibilities are endless. This is your chance to get creative and honour all the superheroes in our lives — both fictional and the real-life. 

 

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Nov 4

Message from Mr. Paul:

Dear Parents,

This Friday, Chapel will be focusing on Remembrance Day. Each student will be given the opportunity to wear a poppy. These poppies are from the Royal Canadian Legion and a small donation is encouraged for the Legion that supplied RCS with these poppies. We encourage you to talk with your child about Remembrance Day and its significance. If you desire, please have your child bring a small coin donation for the poppies that they will be receiving on Friday. We look forward to supporting those that have sacrificed in a meaningful manner for our freedoms as we honour our veterans.

 Please visit this page for more information: https://www.legion.ca/remembrance

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Nov 1

Dear Parents, 

In Language Arts, we continued to reinforce some of the reading strategies that we have introduced to the students so far while reading aloud books by our featured author, Mo Willems, as well as during our weekly individual reading conferences.   

We also discussed that in our writing, we need to place a period at the end of an idea or sentence.  When writing, young students need to attend to forming letters, leaving finger spaces between words, spelling, and deciding on the content.  Quite often, however, using punctuation may not be something that they place a high priority on.  In addition, we discussed how to choose between the letter “c” or “k” when spelling an unknown word that begins with a hard “c” sound.  The students discovered that we use “k” with a stick vowel (e and i) and “c” with a round vowel (a, o, u).  For example, kit instead of cit, cap instead of kap.   

In Math, we continued to model how to use the number line to add and subtract numbers.  We explained that the number line is one of many tools that we can use to add and subtract numbers along with the ten frame, 100 chart, fingers, or mental math.  As well, we introduced to the students to the proper usage of the iPads and further their understanding of subitization with the introduction of the Ten Frame Mania apand Num Tanga Junior.  They also played various math games aimed to develop their number sense.  

In Bible, we will be examining the lives of Joseph and Joshua and how they trusted God.  This week, we looked at the way that Joseph trusted God even when he was sold into slavery by his brothers.   

In our inquiry unit of Me to We, we continued to work in small groups to come up with ways that we can contribute to our church community.  Some students said that we can keep the church clean, pray for others, listen to the speaker, and follow the rules.   

In Health, we will begin to look at some common illnesses or medical conditions related to young children, such as asthma, allergy, cold and flu as well as losing their teeth. We hope that students can understand more about their bodies through these topics. This week, we discussed ways that we can prevent ourselves from getting a cold or flu, such as getting enough rest, getting regular exercise and consuming a healthy diet to improve our immune system as well as washing our hands regularly. 

Individual photo retake is scheduled for Thursday, Nov 7.  If you wish for your child to retake his/her individual picture, please email me or write in the Back and Forth book to let me know. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Messages from Mr, Paul

We hope that you will join us on Thursday, November 7th at 7:00pm for our Elementary Deeper Learning Parent Night. This will be an important evening of learning and information that we encourage parents to attend. 

We kindly request that you use this link to RSVP. We want to ensure that we have prepared sufficient materials for those in attendance.

Please note that there will be no childcare provided and that the evening is not suitable for children.

If you would like more information about the evening, you can watch this video.

We hope to see you there!

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Oct 25

Dear Parents, 

Since the start of school, students have been writing in their writing books about one interesting thing that they have done over the weekend.  Keeping their writing focused and exploding a small moment (adding details to one event) are skills that we will continue to reinforce this year.  We also read several books written by Mo Willems, our featured author, and contrasted his different stories.  The students reflected and thought that the Pigeon series and the Elephant and Piggie series have fewer words and are funnier than his Knuffle Bunny books. They also thought that Knuffle Bunny could be based on his own experience as a dad and that writers can get ideas from their own experiences.   

We introduced two reading strategies this week that some students probably already use when reading: Back up and Reread and Eagle Eye.  With the first strategy, students are encouraged to reread parts of the text that they may not understand to improve on their comprehension of the story.  On the other hand, Eagle eye is a strategy that encourages students to use the pictures to confirm or decode unfamiliar words.  If possible, when reading with your child, you can use the same terminology that we use to describe the reading strategies that we have covered. 

Our school’s book fair is scheduled for Oct 28 to Nov 1.  If you are interested in buying books for your child, you can visit the fair at these times:  

Monday 9:30am-6:00pm  

Tuesday 12:00am-8:00pm (Closed between 5-6pm) 

Wednesday-Friday 8:30am-3:15pm  

You are also welcomed to purchase books for our classroom library.  A wish list will be compiled by next Tuesday.    

In Math, students worked on different activities to develop their number sense this week.  They made their own number line to reinforce their understanding of number sequence.  Being able to see and work with a number line enhances their mental math strategies for adding and subtracting numbers.  We will be referring to this tool throughout the school year.  Students also filled in and decorated their own November calendar with dates that are important to them.  We will be completing a monthly calendar each month going forward.  Please help your child put the calendar in a place where they can see and make use of it to reinforce the concept of time. Some suggested that they would like to tape it to their doors, inside their room or on the refrigerator door.  We discussed how the calendar can help us organize our routines.   

In Bible, we continued to review the stories of Noah, Abraham and Isaac and discussed rules that we need to follow in school and at home.  Some of the students said that we need to follow class rules such as putting their hands up before speaking, staying on task, and cleaning up their desk after completing a task.  Some also suggested that they need to obey rules at home such as not jumping on their beds and keeping their room tidy.  We talked about how these rules help to keep us safe and help us learn in school. 

In our Inquiry unit of Me to We, we continued to look at the different groups that the students belong to and how they can contribute to them.  Some students suggested that we need to be caring, cheer for and listen to our friends when we are part of a sports team.  They also suggested that you can help your family by doing the laundry, taking care of their brothers and sisters, and setting the table at dinner time. 

As there is no school next Tuesday, our library class will be moved to Wednesday.  Please help your child bring their library books and library bag that day. 

Have a good weekend and I look forward to meeting you next week during our Parent-teacher conferences!  

More Book Fair information from Ms. Huber: 

  • The library will be open for book exchange on Monday, Thursday and Friday as per usual (no book exchange on Wednesday) 
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Oct 18

Dear Parents, 

The author who we will be focusing on over the next few weeks is Mo Willems.  He is known for the Piggie and Elephant series, and the Pigeon series. We read a few of his books this week and watched video interviews of him to learn more about his writing process.  The students said that they enjoy the humour that is in most of his books and the familiarity of the characters in his stories.  In addition, each child should have received their home reading package this week.  The package needs to come back to school on the day of the week specified on the bag so that your child can exchange for new books.   

We introduced two new reading strategies to our CAFE menu, Ask someone and Check for understanding.  Ask someone is a reading strategy where students can expand their vocabulary by asking someone (usually an adult) to define words that they may not have seen before.  As you read with your child at home, when reading books that are above their independent reading level, try to point out several words that your child can use naturally in their writing or oral speech.  Challenge your child to use those words for the rest of the week.  On the other hand, we check for understanding by pausing several times during a read aloud and retell what we have just read in our own words.  I will continue to model these strategies when I read with the students. 

This week, students played various games to help with their number sense using dominos, ten frame cards and playing cards.  They continued to work on math problems that reflect their application of some of the skills that they have learned throughout the week in Math.  

In Bible, we continued to look at the story of Abraham and Isaac to learn how we are blessed when we obey God.  The students reflected in their Bible workbook about what they have learned from Abraham.  We continued to study our memory verse 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and the students will have a chance to recite the verse next week.

We began our new Inquiry unit of Me to We.  The students will be exploring the roles that they have at home, in school, and in their community and how they can contribute to the groups that they belong to.  This week, we defined the groups that we belong to (e.g. family, school, class, sports team, etc.) and talked about ways that we can help 1C.  The students worked in their table groups and contributed to this question.   

In Health, we discussed why we need to take care of our teeth.  Some students suggested that we need our teeth to eat, speak, and smile.  We also talked about ways that we can take care of our teeth, such as getting regular checkups, brushing and flossing our teeth daily, and consuming a diet rich in calcium to strengthen our teeth. 

Have a great weekend! 

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Oct 9

Dear Parents,  

In Language Arts, we continued to listen to video interviews and read books written by David Shannon.  We learned how good writers need to write each day.  We also discussed how we can find books written by authors we like in the library by looking for the first three letters of the author’s last name.  Walking into the library can often be an overwhelming experience for many young children.  Thus, over the course of the year, I will be introducing different authors to the students in the hope of giving them some names to look for when they walk into any library.    

We will begin our home reading program starting next Tuesday, Oct. 15. 10 Students will begin and bring home their reading package (in a large Ziploc bag) on Tuesday, 5 students on Wednesday, 5 students on Thursday, and 5 students on Friday.  The expectation is for you to read with or read to your child one book each weeknight.  However, we do understand that all households are busy, and you may miss a night of reading from time to time.  For more information on how you can help at home, refer to the yellow handout in your child’s home reading package.  For your convenience, you can simply place the home reading book package inside the clear plastic pocket at the back of the Back and Forth book.   

One of the key focus in primary math is on the development of students’ number sense, their intuition about numbers and their relationships.  Number sense is something that grows and develops over time as a result of exploring numbers, visualizing them in a variety of context, and relating them in ways that are not limited by traditional algorithms.  The ability to manipulate numbers and see them flexibly (e.g. 8 can be a 5 and a 3 as well as a 4 and a 4) will eventually help students see the relationships in higher math (e.g. algebra, calculus, etc.).  In order to help children grow their number sense, we will be focusing on four aspects of number sense:   

  1. Subitization (recognizing a small number of objects at a glance) 
  1. The concept of one more, two more, one less, two less than a given number 
  1. 5 and 10 as anchor numbers  
  1. Part-part-whole relationships  

All the activities that we will be introducing this year, whether it is an app on the iPad, practice work, math puzzles, and games, will be based on the above four principles. 

In Bible, we reviewed the importance of obedience in the lives of Noah and Abraham.  The students played “freeze frame” to reinforce what they have learned from Noah and Abraham.  We introduced a new memory verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.   

We concluded our Inquiry unit of Matter Matters by discussing how the properties of matters contribute to its function.  The students brainstormed how we use solid, liquid and gas at school.  They also created a Wonder Wall display outside our classroom with questions that they still wonder about matters.  The idea of the wonder wall is to impress on students that learning is a lifelong process.   

As we continued to examine ways to be well in Health, we discussed how germs can get into our body through our eyes, nose, and mouth as well as the importance of washing our hands.  Students suggested ways that we can prevent the spread of germs such as throwing used tissues in the garbage, sneezing or coughing into the back of our hands, and staying home to rest if we are sick. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Oct 4

Dear Parents, 

This week we focused on where writing ideas or topics come from.  We watched a video interview of children’s author David Shannon, who we have been featuring, and found out that ideas come from things that we know well.  We brainstormed some topics that we know a lot about such as our hobbies, interests, families, friends, as well as places that we have been to. Students continued to write about their weekends and shared their writing with the class.  At the end of the sharing, the audience was given a chance to ask the writer three questions regarding their journal writing.    

After reviewing capital letters last week, we switched our focus to reviewing the proper formation of numbers and lower-case letters.  We began by looking at lower-case letters that are the same as or like their capitals such as c, o, s, v, w, t.  As well, we continued to reinforce proper stroke order, sitting position and pencil grip while the students are practicing their handwriting.   

In Math, we explored the idea of equal sets, one more, two more and one less or two less – concepts that are important for algebraic thinking and number sense. Young children tend to grasp the idea of “more than” much more readily than “less than”. Therefore, it would be helpful to incorporate the language of “less than” when you are sharing some math concepts with your child at home.   

I came across a video by Jo Boaler, a professor of mathematics education at Stanford University, that argues for providing multi-dimensional tasks for students to learn mathematics over repetitive drilling while using the same algorithm in class.  She suggests that numerous researches support the use of mathematical tasks that allow for deeper thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, as well as giving some students more time to think.  If you are interested, the video is about 20 minutes in length. 

In Bible, the students reflected on things that they are thankful for by creating their own Thanksgiving turkey displayed on our outside bulletin board.     

In our Inquiry unit of Matter matters, we invited a scientist/instructor from Hightouch Hightech to come in to reinforce and explore the concept of matters.  She performed various experiments to illustrate what happens to a molecule when it is in a solid, liquid or gas state.  The students mixed vinegar with baking soda to create gas and made their own oobleck (cornstarch, food colouring, and water), a substance that acts like a solid when still, but a liquid when stirred.   

A reminder that student individual photo orders are due on Tuesday, Oct 15 instead of Oct 8 (as stated on the package).  Life Touch will return on Nov. 7 for retakes if you were not satisfied with the first photo proofs.  In addition, there is also no school next Thursday and Friday as teachers from the school will be engaged with professional development on those days.   

We have an iceskating field trip to the Minoru Ice Skating Rink and will be requiring volunteers on that date.  We have scheduled them on Tuesday, Jan 2and are looking for volunteers from 10:30-12:00 to help students put on their skates.  You are welcomed to join in and skate for free that day.  I will be sending out more details closer to the actual skating dates. 

Have a wonderful weekend!