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Jan 24

Dear Parents, 

This week was Dance week and students had a chance to learn some dance moves from our instructor Nando.  Here are some pictures and videos of our young dancers!

Dance Week video 1

Dance Week video 2

During our literacy centres this week, the students reread some of the books that we have read this year and tried to find interesting first sentences that made them want to read on.  We compiled these into an anchor chart for the students to refer to when they are writing.  We also introduced two reading strategies, Ask questions and Skippy frog, to the students.  We talked about how asking questions can help us understand the text better and that there are two types of questions, quick and deep-thinking questions.  Quick questions are quick to ask, quick to answer, and is right there in the book.  While the answers to deep-thinking questions are not directly in the book and are more inferential, help us think beyond the story, and the answer can differ from one person to the next.  As for Skippy frog, I have included a short video to illustrate this decoding strategy: 

In Math, we discussed where we can use our subtraction skills (e.g. helps us when we are shopping) and introduced some math vocabularies to help us describe a subtraction number sentence such as minuend, subtrahend and minus.  Most students have suggested that you can use manipulatives (e.g. fingers, counters) or count back on a number line to subtract numbers.  We worked on a few questions using these methods and asked the students to apply them on their math worksheets.  It is our goal to move students from the counting stage to the reasoning stage (students can explain with reasons how they got the answer) and eventually to the mastery stage (instant recall of answer) over the next year or two. 

In Bible, as we continued to look at the Book of Judges, we examined the story of Ehud and how he led the Israelites to defeat their oppressors, the Moabites.  We played Freeze Frame to reinforce the story. 

In our Inquiry unit of Amazing Animals, we looked at two adaptations that animals make to live – migration and hibernation.  The students found out that animals migrate to find food, water, and shelter.  They also learned why animals hibernate and how they prepare themselves beforehand. 

As we continued to discuss ways to be safe in Health with the students, we examined the topic of bullying. We defined a bully as someone who says or does hurtful things repeatedly to another person.  When being bullied, we should not feel embarrassed and tell an adult immediately.  We can also tell the bully how you feel calmly or stay with friends who can help us.  When seeing someone being bullied, we should help by telling an adult about what happened.   

A reminder that we will be going ice skating next Tuesday, January 28.  We will be leaving school at 10:15 (student will have a quick snack before we go on the school bus) and begin skating at 10:45. The skating session will end at 11:45 and we should be boarding the school bus at 12:00 so that we can come back for lunch.  Please either email me or make a note in your child’s Back and Forth book if you can come and help.  If you are available, meet us at the Minoru Ice Rink by 10:30.  You can skate with us for free, but siblings will not be allowed to go on the ice. 

Wishing you and your family good health this Chinese New Year! 

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Jan 17

Dear Parents,  

It was another week of settling into our new Literacy centers routines and expectations.  It is quite amazing to see how quickly the students were able to work independently on different literacy tasks ranging from word study, writing, handwriting, listening to stories (iPads), and reading to self at the class library.  This week, we continued to reinforce some of the word work concepts that we have covered before Christmas.  As well, we learned more about Kevin Henkes and some students notice that a lot of his stories tend to teach us a moral lesson (e.g. Waiting teaches us to not be impatient and being a flexible friend).  

In Math, we reviewed the different addition strategies that can be used to help us add numbers. The students shared their ideas as to which strategy may be more efficient for a given set of addends (e.g. using double facts may be more efficient for 7+6).  As their number sense continued to develop, it is important for young children to discern addition strategies that are most efficient to use to solve a given problem.  When possible, continue to ask your child to solve authentic math problems involving addition (e.g. we had 3 oranges at home, now we have 9 in total, how many did we buy?) over the weekend.  Over the next few weeks, we will switch gears to learning about different subtraction strategies.   

In Bible, we continued to look at the recurring cycle in the Book of Judges.  This week, we learned about Othniel, the first judge that God had sent to deliver the Israelites from the king of Aram.  Students drew a picture in their Bible workbook to illustrate this cycle of disobedience.   

In our Inquiry unit of Amazing animals, we inquired into ways that animals adapt to their environment by using mimicry and camouflage.  We found out that animals use camouflage to either hide from its predator or its prey.  Animals change colour to blend into their environment (e.g. chameleon), stay in places that looks like them (e.g. leaf insect), or travel in groups to confuse their predators (e.g. zebras). 

Next week will be Dance week.  All specialist (Music, French, PE) classes will be cancelled.  Students will be attending 30 minutes dance classes taught by a dancing instructor from Monday to Friday.  Please note that Library will be moved to Wednesday!

Have a fruitful weekend! 

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Jan 10

Dear Parents,  

It was nice to see the students come back from the holiday refreshed and readied to begin the second term.  The students reconnected with their friends and exchanged stories of what they did over their Christmas break.  As well, here are some pictures that we took for today’s Pajama Day: 

A reading strategy that we introduced this week was “Chunky Monkey”.  When a student sees a longer unknown word, he/she is encouraged to look for a chunk of the word that is embedded within that unfamiliar word.  The following video illustrates this strategy: 

The author that we will be looking at for the next few weeks is Kevin Henkes.  He is an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 30 children’s books and novels.  This week, we watched a short video interview with Kevin Henkes discussing his writing process with books like Chester’s Way, Kitten’s First Moon, and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.  Some students noted that he likes to use mice as his main characters and uses lots of sentences to describe his characters at the beginning of most of his stories.  

In Math, we reviewed some of the addition strategies that we have covered before the break such as “count on”, “make ten”, and “near doubles”.  I also introduced the “up and down” strategy (e.g. the traditional way of adding the numbers from top to bottom) for addition but I cautioned the students that this is only one of the many ways to add numbers.  In order to develop our number sense, we need to be flexible and be able to use many different strategies to add numbers.  The vertical algorithm or “up and down” strategy tends to be more mechanical and may not enhance young children’s number sense.   

Over the next two months, the students will be looking at the lives of five judges: Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon and Samson.  They will be learning about the recurring cycle in the Book of Judges where the Israelites forget their covenant with God, oppress by their neighbours, and plead to God for a deliverer.  This week, the students were introduced to the role of a judge, the cycle of disobedience, and our new memory verse, 2 Corinthians 6:16.  Just for your information, 1C will be presenting Chapel on Mar 13, the last day before Spring break begins. 

We started our new Inquiry unit of Amazing Adaptations.  Students are expected to learn how animals adapt to their environment to meet their basic needs.  This week, we launched the unit by introducing the big idea to this unit: animals adapt and change to live.  We also discussed what animals need to survive.  The students suggested that animals need shelter, food, water, and air to live.   

In Health, we will be looking at ways to stay safe while we are at home, school or out and about. This week, we explored how we can prepare for a fire, and what are our emergency plans at home and school.  

A reminder that Club begins next week.  The following students are involved this term (Jan 14-Mar 1):  

Monday Hockey Club (lunch): Aaron, Kyler 

Monday Origami Club (lunch): Anique 

Tuesday Basketball Club (lunch): James 

Thursday Throwback Club (lunch): Aiden, Bevelyn, Eden, Jasmine, Pelec 

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.   The cost of the admission fee is $16, unless you have a season pass at the aquarium.  There will be spaces on the school bus for parent volunteers. 

Have a great weekend! 

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Dec 13

Dear Parents, 

We had a small Christmas celebration in class this Wednesday.  Students rotated through a craft, bingo, games, and card making centre in the morning. 

In Language Arts, we talked about being aware of using periods to end a sentence and beginning a sentence with a capital letter.  For most young children, writing is a very cognitively intensive task that entails forming the letters, leaving space between words, thinking about how to spell a word properly, what to write, and knowing the audience that they are writing for. Therefore, we often see children forgetting to use their capital and punctuation marks, and it is something that we will continue to work on throughout the year.  

This week, we concluded our look at our featured author, Leo Lionni.  The students suggested that his books have a beginning that introduces the characters, a middle that has a problem, and an ending that resolves the problem.  Some enjoyed the way that he uses collages to illustrate his books.  They also noticed that he only uses animal characters and that his books are not as funny as Robert Munsch’s and Mo Willems’.   

In Math, we reviewed the different addition strategies, such as “Count On”, “Make Ten”, and “Near Double”, that we have explored this year and how they can be used to help us add 2-digits to 1-digit numbers.  We also discussed how some strategies may be more efficient given the set of addends (e.g. using a double fact like 4+4=8 can help us find the sum for 5+4 quickly).  The students also completed their January calendar and wrote down dates that are important to them.  

In Bible, we continued to explore the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus and asked the students to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.  We also sang some Christmas songs and discussed what the lyrics mean.   

We concluded our Inquiry unit of Patterns in the Sky by inviting High Touch High Tech to come to our class to answer some of the questions that the students have about this unit.  They explored why we have seasons, how seasons affect all living things, how to read a thermometer, and how to make “snow”.   

On a more personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the presents and cards that I have received.  As well, a big thank you for all your prayers and support for the students of 1C, whether it is working with your child at home or coming into the class to help.  I know that they have all grown so much since the start of the school year.    

May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

 

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Dec 6

Dear Parents, 

Our family groups met today to decorate gingerbread cookies.  Here are some pictures of the event! 

In Language Arts, we contrasted the different books that we have read so far from Leo Lionni. The students thought that his books are usually structured to have a problem and a solution, such as Swimmy and Little Blue and Little Yellow.  As well, they noticed that he likes to use mice as his characters in books such as Frederick and Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse.  We also discussed how his stories often teach us a lesson. 

As for the home reading program, students should still be bringing in their package to exchange for new books next week, but we do not expect the students to be reading the leveled books during the Christmas holidays.  Any unread books can be used after we come back from the holidays. 

In Math, students explored more addition strategies this week.  We talked about how we can use “double facts” to help us add “near doubles”.  As well, we looked at some important addition properties such as the commutative property (e.g. 4+5=5+4) and zero property (e.g. any number plus zero is itself).  At this developmental stage, some students are beginning to transfer these strategies mentally while some are using manipulatives (e.g. unifix cubes, counters, fingers) to help them visualize their math problems.   

In Bible, we discussed the meaning of Christmas by watching a video on the birth of Jesus.  Some of the students said that we celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born on that day, while others said that Jesus came to take our sins away.   

In our Inquiry unit of Patterns in the Sky, we explored how autumn affects us in what we need to wear, as well as what we can see and do.  We also created a new Wonder Wall on our outside display to illustrate what are some questions that the students may still have about this unit.  It is our hope that the students continue to be curious about their world around them and take the initiative to find answers to those questions. 

In Health, we continued to look at dental health related to young children.  We discussed what happens when we go to a dentist (e.g. getting our teeth cleaned and taking x-rays to see if there are any problems) and why a regular checkup is important. 

I will be replacing the content of the Back and Forth Book next Friday.  If you would like to keep the used pages, please email me by next Friday.  Otherwise, I will shred and recycle them. 

Have a restful weekend! 

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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