September 28

It was great seeing many of you last night!  Literacy is a key component of learning for young children.  It is truly a partnership between home and school.  We hope that our sharing gave you some insights as to how young children learn to read and write, and how you can help at home.  If you were not able to attend last night, the information covered will be included over time in my weekly blog.


In Language Arts, the writing program that we are using this year is WriteTraits.  There are six components to this program: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.  We are currently focusing on ideas. This week, we asked the students where writing ideas come from.  Most students recognized that we get ideas from people, places and things that we know as well as experiences that we had; we get ideas from things that we are ‘experts’ of.  We talked about how we are all ‘experts’ of ourselves.  Students made a brainstorm web of 9 different topics that they are experts on.

I have been dictating simple sentences with the short o sound. Students are asked to write the sentences in their writing journals, remembering to use a capital at the beginning, a period at the end and spaces in between their words.

We also ‘met’ the first author we will be studying: Todd Parr. The students watched a short video of him to see where the inspiration for his books comes from. Accepting other people who are different from us is a key theme in many of his books. Today we read, “It’s Okay to Make Mistakes” and the students then made up their own page for a book by filling in the blank, “It’s okay to _______.” and illustrating a picture.

In Math, we just about completed our unit on Patterns by asking students to sort natural and human-made patterns, translate patterns, and discover environmental patterns in the classroom and outside. Students took clip boards and walked around on a hunt for patterns. They did well to notice many patterns both made by God and made by people.  On Monday we will summarize our unit by talking about what we learned about patterns.

In Bible, we began Noah by reading the Bible story and discussing what we can learn from him (to trust and obey God even when it doesn’t make sense). We will write about what happened in the story and what we learned from Noah next week. Next week, students will have an opportunity to recite their memory Bible verse (Romans 12:2) to me from Monday to Wednesday.   

In Inquiry, “Matter Matters,” we defined matter as anything that has mass and takes up space. There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.  Students sang a song and watched a video about this and then did a sorting activity to figure out what state of matter an item would be classified under. Ask your child what solids are (solids keep their own shape), liquids (liquids flow and pour and take the shape of the container they’re in), gases (gases spread out to fill their container). Can your child give you examples of each of these?

For Health, we learned about colds and flus – what happens in our bodies, and the symptoms we display. We also learned how to take care of ourselves when we are sick, as well as how to prevent ourselves from getting sick (as best we can).

Reminders/ Notices….

  • Fridays the students have French, PE and Music right up until recess and so they don’t eat their snack until after recess. Many of them feel a bit hungry by recess time so it might help if you are able to give your child a bigger breakfast on Friday mornings.
  • It is the beginning of ‘sick season.’ If your child throws up/ has a fever/ diarrhea, your child needs to stay home until:
    • there is no fever for 24 hours
    • your child has not vomited or had diarrhea for 24 hours
    • your child requires no medication to be at school
    • your child is well enough to go and play outside during recess and can fully participate in PE.
  • Thank you to all those who have been keeping their child home if sick. This helps prevent their germs from spreading and getting the rest of us sick. I know it can be hard when both parents are working, but we ask that you would have a ‘sick plan.’ Perhaps a grandparent or family friend who can look after your child when he/she is sick. Thank you for helping us maintain a healthy classroom!
  • Student individual photo orders are due next Tuesday, Oct. 2.  Life Touch will return on Nov. 6 for retakes if you were not satisfied with the first photo proofs.
  • This next week is a short week. Thursday and Friday the teachers are at a conference so there is NO SCHOOL.
  • Monday October 8 is Thanksgiving holiday so there is NO SCHOOL again!
  • Wednesday, October 10 we have an in school science presentation about Matter by Hi-Touch Hi-tech.

Have a restful weekend!

September 21

Today the class had fun dressing up as a Super Hero and learning about the super hero that Terry Fox is. The perseverance he had to run across Canada with one leg amputated due to cancer in order to raise money for cancer research was phenomenal. Thank you for the donations you brought in today for the Terry Fox Foundation.

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, beginning at the top. Our focus with printing this year is neatness. Is your child printing the letters in the appropriate spots on the lines? We talk about ground, grass, sky to refer to the three possible lines a letter could be touching (capitals sit between the grass and the sky – the middle and top lines –  whereas some lowercase letters might begin on the grass – the middle line – and go into the ground – the line below).

We also focused on the short e sound this week and students wrote out simple sentences with ‘e’ that I dictated. They are getting better at starting their sentences with a capital letter, putting spaces in between their words, writing on the proper spots on the line, and including a period at the end.

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 growing patterns. 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. We have continued to practice skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, by moving to some fun chants.

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. We have learned actions to the first sentence of our memory verse (Romans 12:2). See if your child has learned this first sentence and can show you the actions for it.

In our first inquiry 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 will launch the unit next week by introducing the topic to the students.  

In art, students completed their self-portraits. They will go up on the bulletin board outside of the classroom soon. Stay tuned.

In Story Workshop, the students got to explore more materials to try to come up with ideas for a story. They were able to write in their Writing Journals once they had an idea. They were focusing on the Thinking Core Competency – “I can get ideas from the world around me.”


Reminders/ Notices….

  • We go to the library every Tuesday. Please ensure your child has a library bag this upcoming Tuesday. 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 27 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 14

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 began working on “All About Me” booklets.

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?  

We began focusing on the proper way to write sentences (start with a capital, use lowercase letters on the proper spots on the lines, finger spaces in between words, end with a period). Students practiced writing simple sentences with the short ‘a’ sound on their lined whiteboards (“The cat sat on a mat.”). I would say the sentence out loud and they would write what they hear. I was encouraging them to find their mistakes and correct them. They love finding the mistakes I include in my sample sentences on the board.

Mrs. Angela Laing is leading Story Workshop with our class every Wednesday afternoon. The students enjoyed listening to her read a story about the beach and then re-telling the story using shells, pebbles and ocean creatures. She also made up her own story afterwards. The children were seeing that they are all authors with stories to tell. They can use their own experiences to tell a story, or their imaginations. Students then had a chance to practice this with their own story boards and manipulatives.

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. Today I am 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 Computers class on Tuesday. Students were learning the routine of logging in, logging off and using the computers properly. They had a chance to explore a creative program called Kidpix for a bit. If your child does not have headphones please send a pair in by Tuesday.

We had our first Library class with Ms. Huber on Tuesday.  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 Tuesday, 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:

  • Literacy Night is Thurs. Sept. 27 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 Tammi (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.
  • Friday September 21 Scholastic orders are due. Please hand in your order form and payment (or pay online) by then. 
  • Friday September 21 is Dress like a Superhero day. Your child can dress like a Bible character, a hero in our community like a nurse or firefighter, or a fictional hero like Superman or Wonder Woman .  

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

A 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 Thursday.  These classes are scheduled on Monday afternoons, Thursday before lunch, and Friday before morning recess. It would be helpful if you ensure your child eats a big breakfast on Friday mornings as they will not eat snack until after recess (11:00 am) those days.


We will start our first Library class on Tuesday 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 Wednesday. 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 Friday, 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 Friend

On the monthly calendars I send home, you will see your child’s name written on one of the days.  That is the day your child is the special helper. On their day, students should bring something to show the class. They 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. For the first rotation of being a Special Friend, students are asked to bring their favourite toy to show and talk about to the class.

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 25 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 form
  • 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.
  • Lunch Drop Off: If your child’s lunch is brought to school during the morning, the 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.
  • Sept. 21 is Dress-Up like a Super Hero day. It can be a dr., nurse, teacher, parent, Jesus, Moses, etc.  It can also be a Super Hero like Batman, Superman, Incredibles, and so on.  We don’t celebrate Halloween at our school, but we do love to dress up and have fun.  This is one way we have fun.
  • There is NO NOVA FOODS OCT. 19. Please pack your child a lunch that day or order from our school’s hot lunch program (Muncha Lunch).

Yours in Education,

Lisa Down