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Oct 26

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 a number of 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.  Students continued to work on their handwriting and routines for the Words Their Way program.    

We introduced two reading strategies this week that some students probably already use when reading: 

1) Back up and reread  

2) 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 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. 

We started All the Right Type (ATRT) in the computer lab this week.  ATRT is a web-based program that helps build students’ touch-typing fluency and speed.  We will use this program during our computer lessons each week to teach foundational touch-typing skills.    

Our school book fair is scheduled for Oct 29 to Nov 2.  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 8:30am-3:15pm  

Thursday 8:30am -3:15pm 

Friday 9am-3:15pm 

You are also welcomed to purchase books for our classroom library.  A wish list will be compiled by 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 chores, taking care of them and cleaning up their rooms. 

In Health, we summarized the healthy lifestyle choices that we can make, such as good diet, exercise, sleep, and hygienic practices to keep germs away.  Next week, we will be looking at some of the more common illnesses or medical conditions that children may experience, such as the cold, the flu, asthma and allergies as well as what happens when we go to the doctor and dentist. 

A big thank you to Hanna’s family for coming in to tell us something about their family.  We learned that her family enjoys many outdoor activities such as going snowboarding and hiking.  Hanna also enjoys her different church activities as well as doing ballet and being a Beaver.   

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) 
  • Students will have opportunities to browse the fair during their library classes. 
  • Ms. Huber sent an email with specific details.  Please look at it for more information.
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Oct 19

Dear Parents,  

We began our spelling program, Words Their Way (WTW), this week.  Students are learning how to prepare their WTW sorts and the classroom routines needed with this program. Individualized spelling list/sort will be sent home and spelling quizzes will begin when the students are more familiar with this program, most likely a few weeks from now.  

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.  

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. 

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.  

We will be visiting the Vancouver Aquarium as part of our Inquiry unit of Animal Adaptation on Wednesday, Dec 12.  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 admission fee for the first five parents to email me as a volunteer will be covered as part of the group rate at the aquarium. 

We would like to thank Joshua’s and Cassie’s family for coming in this week to share about their families.  We learned that Joshua studied at Cornerstone Christian Academy last year.  His family likes to go out and try different restaurants as well as go traveling to many different places both in Canada and the United States.  When they travel, they try to go visit different churches.  Joshua loves to read at a very young age and reads the Bible nightly with his dad.  A verse that is meaningful to his family is Joshua 1:8 where it tells us to read, think about, and act on what the Bible says.  On the other hand, Cassie’s mom and dad were born in the Philippines but went to Christian schools in Vancouver.  As a family, they enjoy watching movies, playing card and board games at home as well as going hiking, biking, and swimming.  They also like to travel and experience different cultures, food, and most importantly God’s creation.  A verse that is special to Cassie’s family is John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.e Bible says.   

Have a great weekend!

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Oct 12

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.    

Each child should have received their home reading package this week.  Please help or have your child record in their Back and Forth book each weekday.  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.  

After reviewing capital letters and numbers last week, we switched our focus to the lower-case letters.  We began by looking at lower-case letters that are the same as or similar to their capitals such as c, o, s, v, w, t.  

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.  As well, 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.   

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.  

We would like to thank Emma’s mom and dad for coming in to share pictures of their family.  We learned that both Josh and Sarah studied at RCS when they were young.  Their family enjoy going on trips, cruises, and the library, as well as seeing their cousins.  We also found out that God protected their family when Theo, Emma’s young brother, was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck during delivery.  They think of “We love because God first loved us,” 1 John 4:19, and “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners,” Romans 5:8, whenever they are frustrated.   

Have a fruitful weekend!

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Oct 3

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.  We continued to reinforce proper stroke order and pencil grip while the students are practicing their handwriting.  

We will begin our home reading program starting next Tuesday.  9 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.  Please help or have your child record the title of the book inside the small row at the bottom of each date box in your child’s Back and Forth book on the night that you have read with your child.  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.   

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 discussed that the properties of matters are how something acts, looks, and feels.  We practiced describing objects using its properties (e.g. the table is big, hard, smooth, and does not change shape).  

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday