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Jan 30

Dear Parents, 

The students met with their grade twelve prayer buddies today.  They came to our campus to eat lunch, pray, and play with their grade one buddies at recess.  Each child in grade one has been matched with a grade twelve student so that they can pray for each other for the rest of this school year.  We plan to visit the prayer buddies at their campus in Spring and sing for them during their convocation in June. 

In Language Arts, I took some time to touch base and conference with the students on their writing over the last few weeks.  We talked about things that they are doing well and things that they can improve on. We continued to examine the reading strategy that we introduced last week, Ask question and Skippy frog.  We talked about how asking questions before, during and after we read is a way to help us understand our text better.  In addition, you will find a spelling assessment in your child’s Back and Forth book today.  This assessment is intended to help us gather information on what we need to focus on with your child.  We discussed as a class that it’s okay to make a mistake, our brains get stretched and we try to learn from it.  

For the next few weeks, our featured author will be Kathryn Otoshi.  Some of her books that we will be reading aloud in class are ZeroOne and Two.  We watched a video interview of her telling us how she remembered spending lots of time in the library when she was young, how she usually gets ideas for her books from real life experiences, and how she usually writes first and draws after to let the picture also tell part of the story in her books.  

In Math, we continued to discuss ways that you can subtract numbers.  We discussed and practiced a new subtraction strategy, Back Over Ten (e.g. 13-4 can be thought of as 13-3 to get to 10 first, then take away one more to get to 9).  For students to use this efficient strategy to subtract, however, students must master (being able to recall without prompting) a good number of addition facts before hand.  Something that you could do while driving with your child is to ask him/her the sum of any given two addends.  When presented as a game, young children often find solving simple addition question engaging.     

In Bible, we looked at the story of another judge, Deborah, from the Book of Judges.  We learned how she was sent by God to deliver the Israelites from King Jabin and the Canaanites. Some students began to comment on how the Israelites keep forgetting about God.    

We also went skating this week and here are some pictures of the students having fun on ice! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

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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!