Love You

Friday, 12 January 2018

Happy New Year!

What a way to start off our new year....cold, cold, cold.  This week we faced temperatures well below - 30 degrees Celsius, four days of indoor recess and two days without busses running.  We did it all with a smile!

God has co-operated because our work this month revolves around a winter theme.  We talked about all the different things we love to do in winter.  Sadly, though we have been praying for snow, so we can build snowmen and make snow angels, we have not been blessed with more than a light skiff.  Instead, we had to show our favourite winter activities in a picture form.
I always know when I have hit on a great activity, when the others in the school stop and look at our bulletin board.  This one was a favourite this week!
I also believe that students need experiences to write about.  With the 'pictures' of the students participating in their favourite activity, they then wrote a sentence about what the were doing, independently.
I can use these authentic writing samples to see which students have learned about starting sentences with a capital letter, which know how to end with punctuation, see who is using their knowledge of sight words in their spelling and who is not afraid to take a chance on spelling an unknown word using their understanding of the letter-sound work that is done during phonics instruction.
The students added the details to their pictures with felt pens.  I LOVE that this little guy added a goalie into his picture!

Have you heard your child talk about using the rekenreks this week?
What are Rekenreks?
Rekenreks are arithmetic racks, developed by Adrian Treffers, a mathematics curriculum researcher at the Freudenthal Institute in Holland. There are two rods of 10 beads. Each rod has 5 beads of one colour followed by 5 of another colour. The order and colours on the top rod are repeated on the lower rod. The colours most often used are red and white. The starting position should show all the beads pushed to the far right. The student enters a number by sliding the beads to the left in a one-push motion. It is important that everyone in the class is visualizing and communicating the patterns in the same way.
How do Rekenreks help students?
Rekenreks are used to help develop addition and subtraction strategies, such as doubling or finding near doubles as well as thinking in terms of 5s and 10s, instead of counting from one each time or counting on in addition and subtraction. Students improve their ability to regroup numbers when solving addition and subtraction problems. 

We started out just learning how to move the beads and it didn't take long before the students were just moving the whole group of red over when I asked them to show me 5.  This is important because we want the students to recognize 5 as a 'friendly number' (and 10, too).
Why?  It helps with 'seeing' or 'visualizing' numbers.  When I ask for the students to show me 7, they might be able to move 7 over altogether, but more likely they will move the 5 red, then 2 white.  If I ask, the student will explain, "I already had 5 so I just needed to move two more."  Isn't that what adding and subtracting is all about?

Rekenreks become a tool to assist young mathematicians as they work through how numbers work!
Oh! So cute!
Today the Grade One teachers were not in their classrooms as they were collaborating to ensure consistency exists between the classes.  Here is the art work that the students did with their substitute teacher.  The basic outline is the same, but the students got to 'put their mark' on it by choosing the bits and pieces and then adding the hair details.

Each one shows the student's own personality,
as they work on the concept of perspective.
If your child added eyes, and some did, they did not understand that the child is looking up and sticking out their tongue to catch a snowflake! (Yep! that was explained during the lesson)
Earlier this week your child brought home a letter explaining the upcoming visit from Barnaby Bear.
Here's the letter without the list of dates and student names for the visits:
One aspect of the Grade One Social Studies program in Alberta asks students to distinguish geographic features in their own community from other communities by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry:
·       What are some familiar landmarks and places in my community?
·       Why are these landmarks and places significant features of the community?
·       What are some differences between rural and urban communities?

Over the next couple of months, each student in my class will have the opportunity to bring Barnaby Bear home for a few days.  During Barnaby’s visit, Barnaby will get the opportunity to visit some familiar landmark of Sherwood Park.  After his adventures, he will have been to at least 21 special places in our community.  Along with his suitcase, Barnaby will also be bringing along his postcard collection.  I will be asking you to take a photograph of your child and Barnaby together at the landmark in Sherwood Park.  Your child will write about that landmark on the postcard and if you can send the photo to me digitally, I will try and get it printed here at the school and attach it to the other side of the ‘postcard’ so that the other students will have a chance to read about the location and the adventure that your child had with Barnaby.  I have my fingers crossed that you will think about where you can take your child and Barnaby that is different from where another family has been.  If you see that Barnaby has already been to Millennium Place or to the public library, perhaps you can choose one of the special statues on the Heritage Mile, or in front of one of the schools in our community.  The postcard writing could have a sentence or two about the person that was honoured at that location.  Just remember that this is a Grade One student writing the postcard, so don’t make it into a large complicated assignment.  The student should be proud of the information that they can share with the class.

Barnaby will be making his way to your homes on a Monday or Thursday.  Barnaby and his things MUST be at school for the next student, no matter if your child is away.  Thanks for helping out!

I hope you enjoy this 'family time' working on this at home.  Remember what is really important is that your child can share with all of the classmates, where he or she went with Barnaby.  If everything is not perfect on the postcard, that might mean a Grade One student did the work!!
Because I was not in the classroom, the student folders were not sent home today.  Inside the agenda were two notes, a white one explaining that next Friday the students will start taking home Literacy bags, and a bright green one that is basically a contract saying you as a parent are taking an active role in getting all the bits and pieces back to me the following Monday.  The literacy bag takes the place of the read at home book for Friday.
Here's some information I found on line to explain:
Literacy bags can be used at different grade levels, Dever and Burtis (2002) and Dever (2001) emphasizes the use of family literacy bags for early childhood development. In her article, Family Literacy Bags: A vehicle for parent involvement and education, she quotes Adams (1990) who notes that "the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills eventually required for reading appears to be reading aloud to children regularly and interactively." This verbal interaction enhances the children's language development, sense of story and understanding of vocabulary and language structure (Adams, 1990). 

The Literacy Bags, also known as activity sacks or take home bags, are meant for you to actively engage with your child in reading, playing and talking.  The books inside are not easily read by the students, so here is your chance to cuddle up and continue to read to your child.  I have had parents tell me that their child looks forward to that Sunday afternoon time, or right after supper on Friday time, or whatever works with your family.  The students know about the different bags and look forward to a particular one.  Parents are encouraged to write in the family journal each week, about their experiences, the challenges or successes or questions that come with these opportunities.  Some parents in the past have said that their child saw reading as 'fun' because of the variety of activities that are inside.

That's the whole point!  Reading is fun!  In Grade One it seems that it is all work, but by sending home these Literacy Bags, I am hoping that with your help (and the little and big brothers and sisters who are going to get involved) your child will be excited to read.  They will want to improve so that they can read those books that are coming home each weekend.
Just a note:  The bags belong to me.  All the stuff inside I had to make or buy.  I know kiddos love the bits and pieces but I kindly ask that you help them take care of everything and pack things carefully back inside and send it back each Monday.  Please be honest if something is broken or missing. I will try and remake or replace those items. I can't go through all 21 bags each week, so I am praying that you will go through the one bag you have to make sure all is back and ready for the next kiddo.  Write in the little journal.  I will read those each week....promise.

The green contract needs to be signed and returned before I will send a literacy bag home on Friday.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Making a 'sweet' holiday happen!

Thanks Grade Six buddies!
Our houses were made better because you were there!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Winding our way to Christmas Day....

How can a whole week have passed by without me letting you know what has happened in our classroom?  We have just been so busy, having a wonderful time learning and keeping busy!
A glyph is a type of pictorial representation of information.  Our Grade Six buddies came to our class last week and helped each Grade One student create a gingerbread person that presented their interests and family.  Can you read this gingerbread glyph using the chart above?

Tomorrow, our Grade Six buddies will be joining us again, this time to hep us make our little gingerbread houses.  We love our buddies!
Snowflake has been busy as well.  Here she is last Friday, riding a reindeer...
and on Monday, she brought us a puzzle to put together!

We couldn't find her anywhere in our classroom on Tuesday, but then when we turned on our SMARTBoard, we found a message from her.  We took the hint and visited 'the big guy' who runs our school and sure enough, there was Snowflake and about another half dozen elves.  
They had been very busy!  They wrapped up all the furniture in our principal's office.
Silly elves!
Yesterday, we found Snowflake on top of the speaker above our window
and today she was trying to be in a reindeer.
The Student Leadership group brought us a treat today....we think it was for getting all those socks into the bins last week.  Look carefully....what's unusual about our desks?
We all got a cup of hot chocolate!  It was yummy!
We have been exploring colour in our science lessons.
Today, we tried mixing some colour to find out what would happen.
 In this bowl, there are the colours blue and red.
Look what happened!  The bowl has purple in it, now that the blue and red are mixed together!
Here are the colours that we made....
red + yellow = orange
yellow + blue = green
blue + red = purple

THANK YOU to all the parents who brought their children to the best night ever.  I loved our Advent mass on Monday evening.  I teared up every time those darlings sang.  Our music teacher certainly knows how to bring the gift of song to us through our students' voices!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Sock Toss...and a little learning too!

Our Gingerbread story comparison continues with the Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone, which is a classic and a more modern twist (and a twirl) with the Gingerbread Girl.  Did you notice she is standing on the Fox's head?  My kiddos did!
I added these books to our little display.
We again practised writing a sentence about the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
On Tuesday, it appears that Snowflake wanted to have her name added to our Word Wall,
and on Wednesday, she must have been a bit tired, as we found her snuggled up in bed!
It was our first experience for a sock toss.  Here's the view from the upper level.
The Student Leadership kids were there to assist the kiddos in getting a prize by holding up the containers to aim for!
Being small Grade One kiddos, we needed that advantage!

At the end of the day, there were 10 large plastic bags full of socks to donate.  What a wonderfully to share with others.  The children could relate to the idea that someone might not have enough money for socks and that socks are important.  Thank you all for ensuring that your children are learning very early, that they can make a difference!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Santa's Stuck!

Here's a cute story that led our class created beginning-middle-end writing today.
The students helped to create a problem (the beginning), and the consequence (middle) and finally how the problem was solved (the end).
They also made a little 'creativity' to show what it all looked like!
Most of the students are recognizing what size each of the letters should be and are fairly neat as they print.  It is important because one of the reasons for writing is to share our ideas with others.  If the person can't read your writing, they can't hear your wonderful thoughts!
If your child is still making letters too large or too small or backwards, please correct them.  They are asked to fix their printing here at school because we don't want 'muscle memory' to take over.  That's the memory in our muscles that help us ride a bike even if we haven't been on one for years.  If the muscle memory only knows how to make the letter the incorrect way, it is SOOOOO difficult to break that and create the letter correctly.  I have some students that are not making /a/ and /g/ correctly because they made them incorrectly all last year.  Please correct them each and every time.
Here are some of my proud boys who made bead and pipe cleaner candy canes for their Christmas trees at home,
and our St. Nicholas ornaments also were finished!
Your trees are going to be so lovely!