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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!