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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! 

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Sep 30

Dear Parents, 

It was great seeing so many of you last night!  Literacy is a key component of learning for young children.  It is truly a partnership between home and school.  We hope that our sharing gave you some insights into how young children learn to read and write, and how you can help at home.  If you were not able to attend last night, the information covered will be included over time in my weekly blog.   

There are several components to our writing program: ideas, organization, word choice, and conventions.  This week, we asked the students where writing ideas come from.  Most students recognized that we get ideas from people, places and things that we know as well as experiences that we had.  We talked about how we are all “experts” of ourselves – similar to our featured author, David Shannon who wrote about himself when he was young (e.g. No, David) and his dog (e.g. Good Boy, Fergus).  Students continued to write about their weekend and present their writing to the class. 

In Math, we completed our unit on Patterns by asking students to explore geometric (growing) patterns, translate patterns, and discover environmental patterns in the classroom.  Here are some things that the students said they learned: “the core/unit in a pattern repeats”, “patterns are everywhere”, patterns can be found in colour, numbers, shapes, and sound” and “patterns help us be prepare”.  

We followed up on the idea of trusting and obeying God by looking at the life of Abraham.  The students learned how Abraham obeyed God when he was asked to move to Canaan and had to sacrifice the son that he had at an old age.  He trusted God even though he was asked to make tough choices.  Next week, students will have an opportunity to recite their memory Bible verse (Isaiah 40:31) to me from Monday to Friday.   

In our inquiry unit of Matter matters, we defined matter as something that takes up space and is made up of three groups: solids, liquids, and gases.  Solid is something that takes on a definite shape, a liquid is something that you can put your hand through, feels wet, and takes on the shape of the container that it is in, and a gas is something that you can also put your hand through but may not feel.  We practiced sorting different objects into these three groups.   

In Health, we continued to discuss ways to improve our wellness choices.  This week, we explored how regular exercise can help make our body stronger, sleep better, improve our moods and our immune system to fight against germs.  We also talked about how we can exercise safely by drinking water, wearing the appropriate protective gear and warming up before we play.   

Our Chapel has been scheduled for Friday, Mar 13.  Please mark that date on your calendar and come to support 1C on that morning (8:35-9:05). 

Have a restful weekend! 

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Sep 20

Dear Parents, 

This week, we started our printing program called Handwriting Without Tears.  We reviewed the capital letters that the students were exposed to last year as well as the correct way to hold a pencil.  Each student practiced printing in their own exercise book after we go over the correct stroke order as a class.  We also continued to focus on the first reading strategy of connection.  As I read aloud different stories to the students, they were asked to tell the class the connections that they have made.   

In Math, we asked the students to create and extend patterns with 3 or 4 elements and record them onto paper.  As well, we started to expose students to word problems.  We discussed how it is useful to re-read the question to ensure that we understand the question.  We also talked about how we need to persevere when working on math problems and not give up so easily.   

I came across a TED Talk video by Dan Finkel, the founder of Math for Love.  In this video, he discusses the five principles that he believes make for good math teaching which can be applied at home as well.  It’s an interesting way of thinking about math.  If you are interested, the video is around 14 minutes long.   

In Bible, we reviewed the story of Noah and the Ark.  Students reflected in their Bible book as to why Noah obeyed God.  Some thought that Noah was obedient because he trusted God even though others thought he was silly, while others thought that Noah knew the one true God.  We made a rainbow to decorate the front of the Bible book to remind the students of God’s covenant with us and Noah.   

We started Health this year by focusing on healthy lifestyle choices.  Students will explore ways to maintain proper hygiene and positive wellness choices such as the importance of diet, exercise and sleep.  This week, we discussed why we need to eat healthy foods and organized them into different categories such as healthy, unhealthy or in between (food that we can eat once in a while).  Most children suggested that pop is unhealthy and ice cream is more of a treat! 

In our first inquiry unit of the year, Matter Matters, we will be exploring the big idea that “everything is made up of matter”.  Students will inquire into the properties of matter (how something acts, feels, and looks) and how they affect its function.  We launched the unit this week by introducing the topic to the students.  

A reminder that our Literacy Night is scheduled for Thursday, September 26 at 7 pm.  We will be discussing our literacy program and ways that you can help your child at home.

Have a fruitful weekend!

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Sep 13

Dear Parents, 

Thank you for taking time out to come to our Meet the Teacher Night.  It was great to be able to touch base and share my teaching philosophy and approaches to teaching with you. 

The students are beginning to adjust to the routines and expectations of the class.  We continue to encourage students to take risks and play with new friends during recess times as well as be problem solvers and communicators. 

We started our reading program this week.  Students were introduced to the reading strategy of “making connections” which can help with their reading comprehension.  For the next few weeks, we will be focusing on making connections to what we read.  A connection is something that the story or text remind us of.  We read No, David, Grow Up, David, David Goes to School, and David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon and students were asked to make connections to the different things David did in the story.  To reinforce this strategy, you can ask your child about the connections that he/she makes as you read with them at home. 

In Math, we began our unit on Patterns. This week, we discussed how patterns are embedded everywhere, from our calendar to the 100 chart.  Students suggested that patterns are a way to help us predict what will happen next, like the days of the week.  They also asked their friends to guess the different patterns that they made with unifix cubes and pattern blocks.  We will work on creating and extending patterns up to four elements (e.g. ABCDABCD) as well as translate patterns from one representation to another (e.g., red, yellow, orange, white to ABCD).  Understanding patterns help children build a foundation for algebraic thinking.  

In Bible, we reviewed the story of Creation.  Next Monday, I will be sending home a letter explaining more about our Memory Verse Program in your child’s Back and Forth Book.  Please be sure to check out our self-portraits in the hallway to celebrate how God has created each one of us uniquely. 

We had our first Library class with Ms. Huber this Tuesday.  She introduced the library routines and explained how to use our library keys.  Please continue to help your child to develop a habit of bringing in a library bag (something that can protect the library books in case of linkage in your child’s school bag) each Tuesday to promote their sense of independence.   

A reminder that students will be taking their individual photos next Wednesday, Sep 18.  Please help your child dress accordingly.   

Have a great weekend! 

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Sep 9

Message from office:

There are so many great reasons to sign up and be paid to be at RCS. This year we have switched when we need Parent Volunteers to ONLY be at Morning Recess.

Why is that so great? It is great because Parent Supervisors have less students at one time to supervise because we have two 15-minute morning recesses. The first recess from 10:30-10:45 and has the Kindergarten to Grade 3. The second recess has only the Grade 4’s and 5’s. Our deep hope is students and supervisors will have greater success during these distinct playtimes. What a great way to be connected, help the school and get some Starbuck’s money on the side.

We are looking for at least 15 parents who speak English and can commit from September to June for at least one time per week during the 10:15-11:15 time period. Currently we have our busy and over committed teachers covering the morning recess supervision in addition to their before, after school and lunch supervisions.  Please email at rteodora@myrcs.ca or call the Elementary Office to sign up and become involved as a Parent Recess supervisor.

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Welcome to 1C

Thank you for visiting our blog!  This is where you will find weekly updates regarding your child’s learning in our class.  In order to consolidate what your child has learned in class during the week, you may wish to converse with them and find out more about what they know over the weekend.  Enjoy!  Mr. Chan