Love You

Friday, 14 September 2018

Nine days in...here's what's new....

When I left school on Wednesday, I took this photo of the school's garden and thought it would make a great shot to show that we had snow in September....and then we all woke up on Thursday to a real winter wonderland!  Dress your kiddos up warmly please, because the forecast is for more of that frozen stuff all weekend long!
When you open your child's agenda this weekend, you will see the orange and yellow brochures along with the one page registration for Monday night's meeting for all families who are going to assist their children in Grade Two (or older grades) prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion this year.  I'll see you there....and if there is someone in your family that would like to consider taking the journey towards becoming Catholic, the RCIA program will walk with you on your faith journey.  Please contact our parish.
Today was the day that the first student took on the role of Teacher's Pet.  That means that the student will be able to 'share' with the class on Monday.  The first sharing activity is to create the 'All About Me' backpack and put five small (inexpensive and not fragile) items inside to talk about the next day. Here's a visual in case you aren't sure how to put it all together.
Don't forget to fill in the information on the back!
Today was also the first day that the students are bringing home a Literacy Bag for the weekend.  They are returned on Monday along with the family journal, that looks like the spiral notebooks that you see above.  The parents are asked to please share their observations with me through this communication tool, allowing us to keep in touch and celebrate the learning.
Here's the whole lot of the new bags....different than the ones used last year.  They are, for the most part, filled with more books at a more difficult reading level, and with more activities to work on.  One bag has a movie in it, one has the story in French with a CD player, some have puppets, one has rubber stamps to create a scene, and all are meant for you to engage with your child in a non-threatening way, and see the difficulties or challenges that the child may be experiencing or recognizing the growth and successes that come with a full year of school behind them.
Here's an example of one of the Literacy bags...
complete with 4 books to choose from, (try one on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday), a plush character, a game for the family to enjoy.
and two books to work on, including an experiment that involves a cookie.

Enjoy!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Our First Monday of Grade Two

When the students walked in, one table of students had a surprise at their table spots.
Each child had a 'Team of the Week" poster at their spot.  As I watched the kiddos last week, I paid attention to which group was being a good role model for the others in the classroom.  These students were hardworking, focused, and kind to others.  Congratulations!
Each student also got a 'Teamwork' certificate to take home.  Which table 'team' will be our "Team of the Week" next week?
In the back of the Kanga pouches tonight will be the first of our monthly book order forms.  It is your choice as to whether you would like to buy something for your child.  Often the prices in the book order are the best that you can find.  Please read the green information sheet that is stapled to the front as it explains the best way to participate.  Books are the BEST gifts!
The students worked on a concept that they should have learned in Grade One during math class today.  Every students should know all of the doubles equations....not figure out, but KNOW!
The students worked in pairs to help their brains remember these equations.  It is very important that they know the equations, as they are going to introduced to a new mental math strategy next week, which is doubles add one, doubles add two and doubles minus one and doubles minus two.  The strategy doesn't work if the child doesn't know their doubles.
I suggested to the students that when they are being driven to swimming lessons, dance class or hockey practise, they should ask their parents to quiz them.  Will you please?

This morning we started our Language Learning lessons using Arnold Lobel's stories which feature Frog and Toad.  I love the laughter as the kiddos heard the first story "Down the Hill" and then paired up to read to someone.
We focused on the characters, setting, problem and solution for the story and created a story map.  They are up in the class.  Frog and Toad stories will be the focus for our learning for the rest of the month.  I am sure you are going to hear all about these two!
Just thought I would add a photo of Gerald the Dancing Giraffe.  I think the art work looks great.

Please remember that this Thursday is our school's Meet the Teacher from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Hope to see you then!

Friday, 7 September 2018

With the right mindset, Giraffes CAN dance!

Can you image a dancing giraffe?  It would be difficult to control those long, lanky legs and make them do what you wanted them to.  That is the basis for this story, whose message is one of not giving up, even when others don't think you can do it.
The students thought of the different things that they can't do YET.  Yet is a powerful work, it brings hope to mind, and allows you to believe in yourself.  It lets you know that hard word and perseverance brings rewards.  It makes the old adage "Good things come to those who wait" come true.  Don't you the love their ideas....go to Grade Three, shoot a basketball into a hoop, sit in the front seat of the car, play golf AND get married.  Sometimes it is difficult not to laugh!
In our class we have these positive mindset posters displayed.  The goal is to have the students 'self talk' (the talking we do inside of our head) to be more positive, keeping the students in a better mental frame of mind, and believing in themselves.

Here's a couple of the posters close up to see how we move from being a "Debbie Downer" to being someone who is willing to put in the hard work necessary to become successful.
We used our Grade One knowledge about how to make different tints and shades of colour to paint the night scene with the moon from the story.
The students also took the pieces of Gerald the Giraffe, the main character, and coloured, cut and pasted the pieces to show him dancing.  They will be putting Gerald onto the background scene and then these lovely art works will be displayed in the classroom for a while.
In conjunction with our discussions, the students completed a little 'growth mindset' booklet.
We will continue with the Take Home Folders idea that we used last year.  The students will bring the folders home most Fridays, with a variety of assignments which have been completed and seen by the teacher.
The folders have two pockets inside.  On the left and side will be papers that will be kept at home,
and on the right hand side, there may be pages that need to be returned right away.
The empty folder comes back to school every Monday, so that we can get it ready for the next week.
I plan to send the Growth Mindset booklets next week and will be adding a sheet that explains how we can assist our kiddos in keeping that positive self talk and attitude at a the forefront.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Welcome to a new school year!



Happy return to our fabulous school and to a new year full of new learning.
Here is the door to our Grade Two classroom.
Melanie Watt is one funny author.  Her series about Scaredy Squirrel made her one of my favourites.
When I saw this book, I knew that it would be the perfect 'back to school' kick off literature. Thanks to Linda Kamp for so generously sharing her ideas on how to make this story come alive.
The bunny (main character) in the story wants to know what took the reader so long to get to read the book.
The students shared many of their reasons, why it took them so long to get to Grade Two.
This included their need to finish their vacations, or do their chores, or complete the back to school shopping.  The second question that was posed to them was what they needed to do before they could have started school, way back before Kindergarten.  Those answers were more precious....they needed to learn how to get dressed on their own, or put on their own shoes, or walk!
Each student took their favourite answer and along with a photo of themselves, wrote it in a speech bubble.  It is a cute display right outside of our classroom!
Let's go on a little tour of our classroom, as it has been changed a bit from last year.
There are many small spaces for students to sit and work, or read, or be on their own away from others, if the need be.  As you walk into the classroom, there is a little seating area.
Right behind the little couch and chairs is one of our meeting areas, with two benches and a comfy rug.  On the back wall is our calendar, birthday chart along with some activities that will help the students work with numbers using mental math.
I didn't have the lights on so the photos look a little dull, but in reality, our classroom is bright and cheery.  There are currently 22 students assigned to our classroom.  We have four sets of hexagon tables that allow for 24 students to each have a table spot.
In the centre of the room I have a small round table with four stools, that allows for little groups to work with me, or to move to if there is a need to get closer to the board, or get away from others so that work can be completed with the time given.  Sometimes, students find what their table partners are saying more interesting than their own assignments!
Here's a look from the back of the classroom towards the west.
Here's a look at the back wall of the classroom, which has my favourite feature...a sink!!!
We work with community supplies, so there are always pencils, erasers, and gluesticks available for everyone to use at the table.  Each student has a cubby that holds a stash box with pencil crayons, another box for highlighters, a folder for work that needs to be finished and a few other items.  Each chair has a 'chair pocket' where the students keep their kanga pouch during the day along with a 'Rise and Shine' binder.  Another blog post will feature the learning that we do using this tool.
I moved the word wall to this location and used larger printed cards because the expectation is that these words, which were learned as part of the spelling program in Grade One, are words that the students can spell on their own, correctly, every time.  This expectation will include the new words we will learn in Grade Two as time goes on.
In this far corner are the book boxes that the students choose their 'read at home' books from.  These get transferred into the white magazine boxes.  Each student has one, and they will choose which books that they would like to read from there nightly.  It is part of our daily routine.
I saw this cute idea by Marsha McQuire and knew that I wanted to see my own students create a monster!  We read Ed Eberly's book 'Goodbye, Big Green Monster' and then used our imaginations to create bright vibrant monsters, some with only one eye, or one tooth, pink hair or a pair of antennae.  They brighten up the area above where the students hang their coats in the hallway.
Our school district chooses a 'theme' to guide our journey closer to God each year.
this year's theme is "We are God's Masterpiece" Ephesians 2:10
Expect to see connections made with these words throughout all that we do!
Learning to read fluently is at the forefront of every primary classroom's agenda.
This year, the students are to read to someone  every night for a minimum of 15 minutes.  Once the child does read to grandparents, babysitters, parents, or older siblings, that adult figure will write their initials onto one of the stars ( you don't have to try and fit them into the star!).  I have chosen a bookmark recorder because the more difficult books cannot be completed in one night.  The bookmark will keep your child's place until they read the next day, and will also serve as the recording sheet keeping them accountable for their nightly reading.  There are 20 stars on a book mark and the goal is to finish a bookmark each month.  When it is finished, all the bookmarks are put into a 'draw' and one lucky reader will get to choose a larger prize.  
The nightly reading book and the bookmark are stored in the front clear pouch of the Kanga Pouch, that travels from home to school and back again each day.
The agenda, notes, folders of completed work, monies, and all other papers are put into the second back blue pocket of the the Kanga Pouch.

If you 'follow me' on the blog, you will get notification on your device each and every time I post.
This blog is your main 'window' into the classroom learning.  I will be sending the new families some sheets that need to be signed so that your kiddos can be part of the blog.  If you look back through the previous years' posts, you will see that the students are always featured, showing how much they are growing in their knowledge, and in their journey towards Jesus.

Remember that I will SELDOM send you paper notes home so please take the time to check this blog, at least every second day.  I will try to post a minimum of twice a week.