September 22

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 went over the correct stroke order as a class. Our focus with printing this year is neatness. Is your child printing the letters in the appropriate spots on the lines? We also danced to some alphabet letter videos to review the sounds some letters make (especially vowels because they can easily be mixed up for many students) and the formation of them. Here is an example:

If your child needs more practice with the letter sounds (for example a, e, i, o, u) – you can go to YouTube and type in “Letter i song” and select the one by “Have Fun Teaching.” You can also have your child work on Starfall – see the link on the right side of the blog. If you click on ABCs, you can listen to different letter songs/ lessons, or you can click on “Learn to Read” and there are fun, interactive stories for your child to listen to/ read and click on, as well as matching activities and short videos on sound blends (th, wh, ch, sh).

We have been continuing with Reading Power – making connections, and ‘reading to self.’ Students are encouraged to find ‘good fit’ books – books that interest them, and contain mostly words that they know – when reading to self. They know that they can either 1) read the pictures 2) read the words or 3) retell the story in their own words. See if your child can tell you how to find a ‘good fit’ book.

In Math, we asked the students to create and extend patterns with 3 or 4 elements and record them onto paper. Students made rhythmic patterns by clapping, stomping, snapping etc. Ask your child if he/she can demonstrate this to you. We identified patterns that had errors and corrected them. We also learned about translating patterns and growing patterns. Ask your child what a growing pattern looks like. We practiced some questions from the ‘IXL math’ website (see link on the side). We also 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.  Then we need to plan a strategy for solving the problem. Once we have shown how we solved the problem, we need to check our work to make sure we have not made any mistakes.

In Bible, we finished our directed drawing activity of each of the days of Creation. We watched a video on Creation, including the Fall, and wrote about it in our Bible journals. We will reflect on what we learned from this next week. Students will have an opportunity to recite their Bible memory verse (Hebrews 12:1) to me from Monday to Friday.   

Each day during our morning devotions, we pray, read from a devotional book and sing a couple of worship songs. I have been doing different songs every day (most of them are familiar to the students but I will post a couple here sometimes so that you can play them at home too.

In our first thematic unit of the year, Matter Matters, we will be exploring the big idea that “everything can be used for something.”  Students will inquire into the states of matter (solid, liquid and gas) and their corresponding properties (how something acts, feels, and looks).  We launched the unit this week by introducing the topic to the students.  

In art, students completed their self-portraits. Come have a look at them Monday morning – they are on the bulletin board outside of our classroom 🙂








Reminders/ Notices….

  • We go to the library every Wednesday. Please ensure your child has a library bag this upcoming Wednesday. Unfortunately, no bag = no books. Each week your child is able to take out 4 books as long as they have returned the books from the previous week.
  • Literacy Night is scheduled for Thursday, September 28 at 7 pm.  We will be discussing our literacy program and ways that you can help your child at home.
  • Please sign up for “Celebrating Families” on the sheet hanging outside of the classroom if you have not already done so. This is the week on which you will choose a day and time to come into the classroom (with your family) and share about your family for 10 mins (more information is in the parent handbook). You can choose a morning at 8:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I will confirm the time with you prior to your week.
  • Have a great weekend and please pray for our class (good relations between students, energy and focus, respectfulness and joy).


September 15

Dear Parents,

We’ve had a wonderful time getting to know one another better and settling into the routines. Thank you for coming out to Meet the Teacher night. It was great to share a little bit about me and my teaching philosophy with you. I am slowly starting to learn your names but I do not know them all, so please give me grace as I ask you to remind me of your name.

Thank you to those who have signed up for the week on which you will come into our classroom to celebrate your family. If you have not already done so, please sign up (the sheet is hanging just outside of our classroom). There is more information about it in the Grade One Handbook. If you need another copy of one of these handbooks, please feel free to ask me. You can also see a digital copy under one of the tabs on this blog.

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. 

In Language Arts we talked about the three ways we can read a book – ask your child what they are (1. read the pictures 2. read the words 3. re-tell the story). We talked about ‘good-fit’ books so that students would choose appropriate books to read (Does it interest them? Do they understand what it is saying? If reading the words, do they know most of the words on the page?) We also created “All About Me” booklets and students began presenting them to the class so that we would get to know a bit more about one another.

We started our Reading Power program this week.  Students were introduced to one of the different reading “powers” or strategies that can help with their reading comprehension: making connections to what we read.  A connection is something that the story or text reminds us of.  We read the book “David Goes to School” 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 together at home. Did the same thing that happened in the story happen to your child? Does the character remind your child of him/herself or someone he/she knows? Does this book remind your child of another book?  

In Math, we began our unit on Patterns. This week, we discussed how patterns are embedded everywhere, from the ceiling tiles to the 100 chart.  We discovered that patterns are a way to help us organize things around us; they help us to make sense of our world. Students had a chance to create their own patterns with a variety of math manipulatives as well as play the game: “Guess my pattern” by having different students line up in a certain order. 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. We began a directed drawing activity showing what God made on each day. We will finish this next week.  Next Monday, I will be sending home a letter explaining more about our Memory Verse Program in your child’s Back and Forth Book. 

In Art, we drew self-portraits to show how we are each beautifully and wonderfully made!

We had our first Library class with Ms. Huber on Wednesday.  She introduced the library routines and explained how to use our library keys. Please continue to have your child bring a library bag (something that can protect the library books in case of leakage in your child’s school bag) on that day. The books that your child took out are due on Wednesday, as will be the case each week. If you would like to know more about what’s going on in the library, please subscribe to Ms. Huber’s blog – you can find a link on the right side of 1D’s blog.

If you wish to find out more information about our Music and French program, please subscribe to the Music blog and to Mr. Lai’s French blog.  You can find them on the right side of 1D’s blog.  You will receive an email when these blogs are updated.

Notices/ Reminder:

  • If you have not handed in your Emergency Identification Card and/or your Emergency Release Form, please hand those in as soon as possible.
  • Literacy Night is Thurs. Sept. 28 at 7:00 pm. This will be an evening when we talk about the different literacy programs that we will be doing in Grade One. Please make an effort to attend.
  • Monday we begin our Special Friend schedule with Hannah (see Special Friend tab at the top of this page). Please help your child to remember to bring something that is important to them to share with the class. Please have your child practice talking about why their object is important.
  • We have planned two ice skating field trips to the Minoru Ice Skating Rink and will be requiring volunteers on those dates.  We have scheduled them on Friday, Nov 17 and Wednesday, Jan 24. We will be requiring your assistance from 10:30-12:00 to help students put on their skates.  You are also welcome to join in and skate for free that day.  I will be sending out more details closer to the actual skating dates. 

Thank you for all that you do to support your child’s education. Have a blessed weekend!

Lovely Start to Grade One

Dear Parents,

We had a wonderful first week of school! It was a week of meeting old friends and making new friends.  We played name games, wrote/ drew about our likes and dislikes, and chatted in partners about some of our favourite things in order to get to know one another better and see how we are each unique but all connected. I read aloud different books to help calm worries about all the new changes Grade 1 brought. Students were reminded to trust in God when they feel scared or anxious.

It was also a week of learning the routines and expectations for our class. We discussed what it means to respect God, the school, teachers, classmates and themselves. Students brainstormed how they can be their ‘best selves’ this year. Some of the ideas included eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep each night, praying, devotions and reading their Bible. We also recorded what we want to do in Grade One, the questions we have about this year, what helps us learn best and what stops us from learning in order to get some vision for the year.

The students started French (Mr. Lai), P.E. (Mr. Przybylski), and Music (Mrs. Chong) classes on Friday.  These classes are scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday afternoons.


We will start our first Library class on Wednesday with Ms. Huber. Please have your child bring a labeled bag (something that can protect the library books in case of leakage) in your child’s school bag that day. We will be using this library bag throughout the school year every Wednesday when we go to exchange books. If students do not have a library bag, they will not be able to take out books.

Each Friday, I will update my blog at This is where you can find out more about the learning that took place in our class during the week and reminders of upcoming events.  You can “subscribe” to the blog by entering your email address in the box on the bottom right of the home page.  You will be sent an email each time I update the blog.

Scholastic Reading Club

Your child took home a Scholastic reading club order on Thursday. Part of helping your child grow into a lifelong reader is having a variety of books around to enjoy. Each month during the school year, I will be sending home club fliers with a different selection of books for different reading levels. The order forms will always be due 2 weeks from the day you received them.

Please look through the fliers, select the books your child is interested in, and mark them on the back of the flier. You have the option of either paying online by visiting or submitting cash or a cheque (payable to Lisa Down) to me. Regardless of your form of payment, please return the order forms by Thursday, September 21. If you are ordering from more than one set of fliers, be sure to write your child’s name on each flier. The books will arrive in about 2 weeks.

Every club order will help our class to earn bonus points which we will use to redeem books to enrich our classroom library.

Special Helper

I will be sending home a calendar for special helpers during the month of September and October.  On their day, students should bring something to show the class. Students should be able to explain what it is and why they chose to bring it. The item can be left in a bag under my chair at the carpet ready for calendar time.

Emergency Drills 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing and practicing what to do in case of a fire, earthquake or lockdown. Your child may have some questions or feel anxious about these drills when they come home. It is a great opportunity for you to share what your home plan is in case of a fire or earthquake and to reassure them that these practices are important so that everyone knows what to do and can stay safe. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Reminders/ notices:

  • Tuesday is our “Meet the Teacher Night”. The evening will begin at 7 pm in the large gym and move to the classrooms afterwards. Two identical 20 minute sessions will be held in the classroom to accommodate parents who may have siblings in the school. Please note that this is a parent only evening.
  • Wednesday is picture day. Please help your child dress accordingly.
  • Please make sure your child has indoor shoes (shoes that they can run in during gym)
  • Please send in extra clothes in a shoe box with your child’s name on it that can stay at school
  • Please return the emergency release and medical ID forms
  • Please send headphones to be kept at school for use in the computer lab
  • Please bring a box of tissue and hand sanitizer
  • Please send students with a water bottle (filled with water) each day.

Finally, a reminder from our school office:

Lunch Drop Off Change:

If your child’s lunch is brought to school by a parent, grandparent, or other person during the morning, the NEW drop off is located in the school foyer next to the gym doors.

Please locate the box labeled with your child’s class name and place inside. This allows our students to work undisturbed in the classrooms and hallways and helps our front office staff to keep track of who is entering and leaving the building.

Yours in Education,

Lisa Down