In the Loop March 8, 2020

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Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: Final drafts for our second Writer’s Workshop piece are due on Friday. We will have a last etymology and then a quiz on Friday, March 13. Home Reading, as always, is expected. Depending on our schedule, their may be a current event assignment.
  • Math: We will finish up work with decimals this week, resulting in a decimal assessment on Thursday. There will be a problem-solving assignment.IMG_4135
  • Culture: We will culminate our study of chemistry with a lesson on different types of mixtures.
  • PE: Students will practice, then present gymnastics routines. They should be sure to dress appropriately for gymnastics on Tuesday and Thursday. Students are encouraged to have music to complement their routines.
  • Health: After looking at changes that come during puberty, we will look this week at how to cope with puberty.
  • Art: In their sketchbooks, students should complete one still life drawing besides the one we did in class last week. They should also complete a final work and artist statement suitable for framing.

Calendar: Here are some important dates as we look in to spring.

  • Monday, March 9: School-wide Assembly in the morning.
  • Friday, March 13: Last Day of Classes before Spring Break
  • Monday, March 30: First Day of Classes after Spring Break
  • Thursday, April 2: Panoramic School Photo
  • Monday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 8: Student-led Conferences For families who have returned their requested times, I have scheduled conferences. I will send these home with students next week. If your child has not yet turned theirs in, please do so as soon as possible. Note that all the time slots before 3pm are filled on both days.
  • Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13: Good Friday and Easter holidays. There is no school for students or staff.
  • Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21: Field trips to Reel2Real International Festival for Youth. I budget now with the expectation that all students will go, so please let me know if you know now that your child will not be in school.
  • Tuesday, April 28: Field Trip to Cleveland Dam: We will need parent drivers for this trip. I will arrange this after the break, but if you know you now you are available to drive, please let me know.

Science Fair: I don’t know that I have fully made clear to the students how impressed I was with their work for the Science Fair. I will first mention planning skills because this was difficult! Adjusting for the unexpected research and experimental challenges was an important part of their learning. Some students had to majorly redesign their experiments. Some students had to draw conclusions from limited data (and plants that didn’t grow as much as they hoped!). Some students had experiments that were weather dependent and they had to wait for a sunny day (in February!). Some students didn’t love their original topic and chose to change it at the last minute. All of these are “expected unexpecteds” with designing a project, and they problem-solved their way through the rough patches–or at least came up with good ideas for what they would do next time. Also impressive were the creative and nuanced ideas they pursued and the solid, evidence-based reasoning behind their work. Listening to them explain their processes and conclusions during in-class presentations made me so proud!

The projects:

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Presentations:

The Science Fair:

Drama with Magee Leaders: Students presented tableaux inspired by superheroes.

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Art: Still Life: On Friday we practiced techniques for drawing still lines in proportion.

In the Loop March 1, 2020

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Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: On Monday, we will peer-revise first drafts of our latest pieces. Students should be ready with their complete drafts. By the end of the week, the second IMG_3977drafts should be complete. Final drafts will be due the week of March 9. Etymology was cancelled last week, but we will have it for the next two weeks, including a quiz on Friday, March 13. Home Reading, as always, is expected.
  • Math: Math work this week will continue to focus on decimals. Some students may revisit fraction work depending on how they did on a recent assessment. There will be a problem-solving assignment.
  • Culture: We will finish up work on separating mixtures on Monday. The rest of our science work for the week will be related to the Science Fair.
  • Science Fair: Students should be prepared to speak informally, but fluently, about their science fair projects. Presentations will happen on Tuesday and Wednesday. See more below.
  • PE: This week and next we will be doing gymnastics for PE. Students should dress in loose pants and be prepared to move about in their socks.

Calendar: Here are some important dates as we look in to spring.

  • Thursday, March 5: Science Fair: This open-house style event will run from 1:00-3:00 in all intermediate classrooms. Please join us.
  • Monday, March 9: School-wide Assembly in the morning.
  • Friday, March 13: Last Day of Classes before Spring Break
  • Monday, March 30: First Day of Classes after Spring Break
  • Thursday, April 2: Panoramic School Photo
  • Monday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 8: Student-led Conferences Please use the form that will go home with students next week to sign up for your conference.
  • Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13: Good Friday and Easter holidays. There is no school for students or staff.
  • Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21: Field trips to Reel2Real International Festival for Youth. I budget now with the expectation that all students will go, so please let me know if you know now that your child will not be in school.

Problem-solving in Chemistry: Mix sugar and tea leaves together. Now, separate them. How do you do it? That was one of several tasks students tried last week when we looked at types of mixtures (heterogeneous and homogeneous) and how to separate them. Students showed impressive problem-solving and group work.

Pink Shirt Day: Students were spirited and thoughtful about Pink Shirt Day. Students proudly wore their pink, surprised our assembly crowd as part of a flashmob, and critiqued the way we talk about Pink Shirt Day. In the morning we debated, “Resolved: Every day is Pink Shirt Day–so we don’t need a designated day for it. Students resoundingly urged the importance of keeping Pink Day, in part, because it is so important to share the story of its origins again and again, passing it on to the next generation.

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Zen Maker Space: This was our last week with doing STEAM work with Zen Maker Labs. Students quickly learned and applied their new skills. We are thankful to Arion, the animator, and Zach, the engineer.

Drama with Magee Leaders: Students worked on the tableaux that they will be presenting next week.

Class Meetings: Class meetings continue to be an important part of our week. In addition to talking about how to make sure our classroom is running well, we often share what we know about current events. Right now, grade 4s are running our meetings. IMG_4040

 

In the Loop February 23, 2020

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: This week there will be etymology and home reading. For Writer’s Workshop, students should have a draft of a new piece for the end of the week. (Final drafts will be due the week of March 9.)
  • Math: Students did lots of math work this week, and should continue with decimal work. There will be a problem-solving assignment.IMG_3943
  • Culture: In Chemistry, we will look at types of mixtures and methods for separating them.
  • Health: We will continue to look at changes during puberty. This is a great time to ask your child, openly, “Any questions?” I might add, your child is more likely to be willing to talk now than he or she will in a few years.
  • Science Fair: We are down to the last stretch with the Science Fair. (See dates below.) All students last week completed a “Check-up” form communicating their progress so far and all students got feedback from me. Please review this “Check up” sheet with your child as well as the Science Fair Evaluation sheet that was sent home with students last Friday. Parents, putting together a project like this is a “big deal” for the students. An elaborate project like this is still new for students in grade 4, but also those in grade 5 and 6. The intermediate years are a great time for students to develop their research skills and their project management skills. I emphasize the word “develop” because this is part of the learning process–and some students, admittedly, aren’t quite “there” yet–but they will be! They need the practice!

Calendar:

  • Tuesday, February 25: Maker Space in the morning. (Last day).
  • Wednesday, February 26: Pink Shirt Day: Students are encouraged to wear a pink shirt. We will be participating in the school-wide assembly in the afternoon. Hint:
  • Tuesday, March 3: We will present Science Fair projects in class, so they should be complete.
  • Thursday, March 5: Science Fair: This is the date of the school-wide fair.

Science with Ingrid: Scientist, Ingrid Sulston, visited our class last Tuesday. Ingrid set up explorations with crystallization and acids and bases, and pushed students to play, observe, submit data, question, and make sense of what we noticed. In short time, students gained deep experience and understanding of the chemistry concepts.

More Hands-on Science: I am grateful to Montessori PAC funds that help me provide more hands-on chemistry explorations to students in the classroom.

Drama with Magee Leaders:On Friday, the leaders put students in to small groups that will work together for the next few weeks.

Capture the Flag with Division 16: We had a blast playing with Div. 16 last Friday. We will have to do it again!

 

In the Loop February 17, 2020

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: During this short week we will start a new Writer’s Workshop piece. There will be Home Reading, as always. We will likely skip etymology this week as it is a short week. Students will have writing to do in their Reading Journals.
  • Math: Students just started to work on decimals. Each week, I individually assign work for students–it is their responsibility to make progress on the work I have selected for them. Math notebooks will be due Thursday, February 27. There will be a problem-solving assignment.IMG_3850
  • Science (Chemistry): In addition to our work with Scientist-in-Residence, Ingrid Sulston, we will continue to evaluate chemical changes as either physical and chemical. Next week we will begin to look at the different types of mixtures.
  • Science Fair: With just under 3 weeks left for our projects, students should have the bulk of the content completed on their projects. That is to say, students who are doing experimental science should have collected their data and begun planning their visual display. Students who are working on a Big Question should be done with their research and organizing their ideas into drafts. Their next step is typing their drafts and preparing the visual. The expectation is that the bulk of this work is being completed at home.
  • Health: We will continue to look at changes that happen for males and females during puberty.IMG_3852
  • PE: Please make sure your child comes dressed properly for PE. Students (with rain boots only) have had to sit out most days. We will be doing basketball and indoor soccer these next two weeks.

Calendar: During this week, UBC researchers will survey only those students whose parents have signed and consented to their child’s participation in the truthfulness study.

  • Tuesday, February 18 and Tuesday, February 25: STEAM Lab with Zen Maker Labs.
  • Tuesday, February 18: Scientist-in-Residence, Ingrid Sulston, will come to our class to do hands-on chemistry activities. Please pay online if you have not already.
  • Thursday, March 5: School-wide Science Fair in the afternoon.
  • Spring Break: March 14 to March-29

Field Trip to “Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish”: We had a smooth trip to see this retelling of a Kwantlen First Nations story. Students were excellent audience members, possibly due to the active, sunshiney play they had before and after the performance. We are thankful to the parent chaperones who joined us.

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Zen Maker Labs: On Tuesday, students began the first of three sessions in a pixel animation workshop.

Chocolate Sales and Grade 6 Camp: Boxes of Purdy chocolates were distributed to grade 6s to sell as a fundraiser for Grade 6 Camp. (This effort has helped to decrease the cost of camp by $50 in the past.) Grade 4s and 5s who are interested may also sell Purdyschocolates if they have permission–just send me an email letting me know. (A couple parents already have.) If you get a chance, send a thank you to Tammy Chang, parent of Charlotte and ___. She is running the fundraising by herself–and she doesn’t even have children in grade 6! I am not involved in running the chocolate sales, but will pass on any questions or requests students have to Tammy. While we’re at it, Grade 6 Camp is scheduled for June 3-5.

In the Loop February 9, 2020

IMG_3758 2Assignments for the Week:

  • Language:  There will be an etymology assignment with a test for all grades on Friday. Students have been recording exceptional words and phrases from their novels in their Reading Journals. These are due on Thursday. We will begin drafting new work in our Writer’s Notebooks. As always, daily Home Reading.
  • Math: Students will have individually assigned math work related to decimals, as well as a problem-solving assignment.
  • Culture: For chemistry, we will at states of matter and phase changes.
  • Science Fair:  Students who are designing and conducting experiments should have written all parts of the assignment that precede conducting the experiment. Those students who have conducting their experiments will want to be sure they have clearly recorded their observations and data. Students who are pursuing a big question should begin drafting paragraphs with subtopics. They should start thinking about how they will design their visual. Please see the “Timeline for Science Projects” on the back of the science fair packet. As a reminder, I am expecting that most of the project work will happen at home and that parents will support their child by reviewing the progress and expectations.
  • Health: Last week we talked about some of the physical changes that occur during during puberty. This week we will talk about how to manage some of those changes.
  • PE: During our basketball unit, please be sure your child has proper footwear on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to participate in PE.

Forms: Please see the notice and consent form that went home with students last week Forms cliparts related to a UBC study on truth telling. Students with signed consent forms will be interviewed by UBC researchers during the week of February 18.

Calendar:

  • Tuesdays, February 11, 18, and 25: STEAM Program: Our class will be participating in a “Pixl Art Digital Animation” workshop presented by Zen Maker Labs. All intermediate classes will be participating in these workshops. Our sessions take place on Tuesday mornings. Please see the notice for payment that will be emailed to parents. I believe the cost is $6 per student. 
  • Tuesday, February 11: Field Trip to Carousel Theatre to see Axis Theatre’s “Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast”, a retelling of a Kwantlen story. We will leave school at 11:00 and return by 3:00. Students should dress for the weather and walking, and bring a lunch and a Compass Card (if using).
  • Friday, February 14: Professional Day–No school for students.
  • Monday, February 17: Family Day–No school for students and teachers.
  • Tuesday, February 18: Artist-in-Residence, Ingrid Sulston, will visit our class to do hands-on chemistry activities. Please see the notice that goes home this week requesting $5 to be paid online.

Field trip to Science World: We had a busy day at Science World last week, including an adventurous day with hands-on chemistry explorations,

…a screening of an Omnibus film, “Arctic Wonder,” and lots of time for free exploration:

We are grateful to the parent chaperones who kept up with our active class.

Chemistry: Last week we explored buoyancy–which materials were buoyant and how to make them more or less buoyant.

Art: Students have worked for a month on their sketchbooks drawing contours and parts of objects and practicing techniques for shading. I hope you appreciate the uniqueness and care in their work.

The Writing Process: Students have taken the time to carefully work through the Writing Process (brainstorming, drafting, revising, drafting again, editing and publishing), resulting in well-crafted writing pieces.

Drama with Magee Leaders: This week students practiced improv and movement with “Last One to…” and “Where have my fingers been?”.

Here is the WODB (Which One Doesn’t Belong) from last week:IMG_3642

 

In the Loop February 2, 2020

IMG_3645Assignments for the Week:

  • Language:  Final drafts for Writers Workshop will be due at the end of the week. Students my handwrite in pen or word process (with a parent’s help, if needed) their final drafts.  There will be an etymology assignment, and as always, daily Home Reading. For Reader’s Workshop, students will continue to record well crafted phrases from their novels.
  • Math: Students will have individually assigned math work and a problem-solving assignment. Many students will be moving from fraction work to decimal work. (As below, students should be able to show fractions as parts of a whole and parts of a set.)
  • Culture: For chemistry, we will look at the behaviour of matter before studying physical and chemical changes.
  • Science Fair:  Students who are designing and conducting experiments should have their introduction, purpose, procedure, and hypothesis created. They should also have data/observation tables and materials ready to conduct their experiment by the end of the week. (Students should know there is a chance they will have to retry or tweak their experiments to make them successful–that is to be expected.) Students who are pursuing a big question should have done most their reading and note taking by the end of the week, and be ready to organize their notes into writing.  Please see the “Timeline for Science Projects” on the back of the science fair packet. I am expecting that most of the project work will happen at home. While I have given all students feedback on their ideas, realistically, students will need help from parents to make sure their projects have a clear, scientific focus–and in the case of experiments, that they have designed a “fair test” with a control.
  • Health: This week we will talk about some of the physical changes that will occur during puberty. Last week, we talked about how to make our room a safe space for learning about this topic.

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  • PE: During our basketball unit, please be sure your child has proper footwear on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to participate in PE–even if it means bringing a change of shoes during this wintery weather.

Calendar:

  • Monday, February 3: Field trip to Science World: Please be reminded that students should: 1) be in the classroom at 8:30, 2) dress for the weather and walking, 3) bring Compass Cards as needed, and 4) bring a snack and lunch. We will be back by 3pm. We have three goals: 1) to participate in a hands-on workshop “Chemistry Matters”, 2) to see an Omnimax film, “Arctic Wonder”, and 3) to freely explore the museum. As a reminder, if your child brings a Science World membership card, I can reimburse about $5 of the cost of the trip. We are grateful to the Montessori PAC for subsidizing the cost of the field trip by one-third.
  • Tuesday, February 11: Field Trip to Carousel Theatre to see Axis Theatre’s “Th’owxiya”
  • Friday, February 14: Professional Day–No school for students.
  • Monday, February 17: Family Day–No school for students and teachers.

Words, Words, Words: With the cold weather outside, this is a great time of year to dive into our books and really focus on our writing. In both Reading and Writing we are focusing on specific ideas and clear, accurate and vibrant words and phrases. We are building a community where students share ideas and feedback on their books and their creative writing. Here are some photos of students’ deep concentration:

Which One Doesn’t Belong?: During January 21st Professional Day, Janice Novakowski, a math specialist from the Richmond School District, showed our staff creative ways to teach math. The Which One Doesn’t Belong? activity is one that we have all taken to. Each number has one or more reasons why it might not fit with the others.IMG_3630 2

Chemistry: We had fun messing around with measurement last week. We even found out who had the heaviest backpack.

Art: Stay tuned to see work from our sketchbooks. Talk about deep concentration!

In the Loop January 26, 2020

IMG_3555IMG_3556Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: In Writers Workshop this week we will look at ways to improve our writing with figurative language. Students will respond to in-class prompts with the goal of having a draft of a chosen piece to peer-revise on Tuesday, February 4. There will be an etymology assignment, and as always, daily Home Reading. In Reader’s Workshop, students will record well crafted phrases from their novels.
  • Math: Students will have individually assigned math work and a problem-solving assignment.
  • Culture: We will look closely at measurement this week and then at the behaviour of gasses and solids. There will be a cumulative test on what we have studied so far at the end of the week.
  • Science Fair:  I have conferenced with students about their science fair proposals. Some students are on track; other students, as expected, will need to refine their plan with more research or, in the case of experiments, a more explicit procedure. This week students designing experiments should: continue to take research notes, write their purpose, procedure, list of materials needed and hypothesis, and create data/observation tables. It would probably be helpful to do a trial run of the experiment to see if it is viable. Students pursuing a big question should: continue to gather resources, read (a lot!) and take notes. They should also begin writing “Why I Chose this Topic”.  Please see the “Timeline for Science Projects” on the back of the science fair packet.
  • Health: Students showed in skits and discussion a range of strategies for regulating emotions (like anger). This week students should complete paragraphs on  “What is great about growing up?” and interview an adult on the same question. This week we will look more closely at the emotional and physical changes that come with puberty.
  • PE: During our basketball unit, please be sure your child has proper footwear on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to participate in PE–even if it means brining a change of shoes during this wintery weather.

Calendar:

  • Monday, January 27: Assembly in the gym at 9:30.
  • Thursday, January 30: School-wide spelling bee after lunch. We will have an in-class written spelling test in the morning to select the students who will compete for our class. Students will not be marked on their test, nor will they be compelled to compete. However, if students are interested, they should practice orally using the list provided in early January.
  • Friday, January 31: Reports go home with students. These are the first of two written formal reports; the “summative” reports will be sent home on the last day of school in June. Please note that other assessments of your child so far this year have been communicated during goal-setting conferences (in October) and a celebration of learning (in December). The Science Fair (March 5) and student-led conferences (on April 6 and 8) are upcoming dates for “communicating student learning”, known as CSL. Please see the MORC (My Own Report Card) in the report envelope. It is your child’s self-evaluation of the term, and arguably a more meaningful assessment of the term.
  • Monday, February 3: Field trip to Science World: Please be reminded that students should: 1) be in the classroom at 8:30, 2) dress for the weather and walking, 3) bring Compass Cards as needed, and 4) bring a snack and lunch. We will be back by 3pm. We have three goals: 1) to participate in a hands-on workshop “Chemistry Matters”, 2) to see an Omnimax film, “Arctic Wonder”, and 3) to freely explore the museum. As a reminder, if your child brings a Science World membership card, I can reimburse about $5 of the cost of the trip. We are grateful to the Montessori PAC for subsidizing the cost of the field trip by one-third.
  • Friday, February 14: Professional Day–No school for students.
  • Monday, February 17: Family Day–No school for students and teachers.

Chemistry: Students drew conclusions about how thermometers work based on what they know about he behaviour of liquids in various temperatures. We took extra precautions and practiced what we learned about safety in the lab the previous week (in part, with this humorous video.

Health: Students presented strategies for achieving positive consequences from emotional triggers.

Drama with Magee Leaders: We began our first of many sessions of drama activities lead by the Magee leaders (including some MG and Div 17 alumni).

Math Games: We continue to devote time on Thursday mornings to learning new games that involve mathematical thinking. This week we looked at a classic (and a great one for using math facts): cribbage.

In the Loop January 19, 2020

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Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: We will continue to do Writers Workshop three times a week with a greater focus on word choice and revising. Readers workshop responses will focus on character and word choice. There will be an etymology assignment, and as always, daily Home Reading. For Reader’s Workshop (everyday), it is important for their critical responses that students have (the same) novel to read every day.
  • Math: Students should continue to work on individually assigned fraction work in their math notebooks. There will be a problem-solving assignment for each grade.
  • Culture: We will continue to look at the behaviour of gasses, solids and liquids before looking at changes in the states of matter.
  • Science Fair:  Students will receive feedback on their science proposals this week. Next week students should be designing their experiment (if doing hypothesis-based science) or taking research notes (if they are pursuing a big question). As a reminder, the date of the Science Fair is TBA, likely early March. There are links for ideas on the student blog.
  • Health: We will look at strategies for managing an “uncomfortable” emotion, anger, including “reframing” our thinking. You may find some of the language we use in class to be helpful at home–ask your child about the strategies we are learning.
  • PE: We continue to play basketball during PE. As a reminder, students must have proper footwear (with no-slip soles and ankle support) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to participate in PE–even if it means brining a change of shoes during this wintery weather.

Calendar

  • Monday, January 20: Pro-D. No school for students.
  • Monday, February 3: Field Trip to Science Fair. Please return the field trip form to school by Wednesday, January 22, if you have not already.

Chemistry: We have been working on asking questions, observing closely, and drawing reasonable conclusions about matter–such as, the speed to which molecules move in hot and cold water. In other words, carefully walking through the Scientific Method is an important part of our science unit. IMG_3462IMG_3459IMG_3460

Health: Last week we scenarios to help us identify 1) comfortable and uncomfortable feelings and 2) appropriate and inappropriate ways of responding to them.

Snow(y) Day: Students were busy last week in class…and in the snow!

 

In the Loop January 12, 2020

IMG_3446Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: We will continue the work we started last week: daily Writers Workshop  lessons and writing, Readers workshop with written responses, etymology assignments (with a quiz this Friday), and Home Reading.
  • Math: Math notebooks are due at the end of the week with the expectation that students are showing progress in the (fraction) work I have assigned them individually based on an assessment in December. There will be problem-solving for each grade plus a “BEDMAS” quiz for grade 6s.
  • Culture: Next week we will do a lab to look at the effect of temperature on matter. We will also look at some science basics: lab safety and measurements.
  • Science Fair:  Students should continue to search for a topic for the Science Fair. A detailed packet went home with students last week presenting options (experiment, prolonged observation or researching a big question), criteria and timeline. The packet should be signed by a parent by next Friday. Next week students should complete proposals that will also be due Friday. The date of the Science Fair is TBA, likely early March. There are links for ideas on the student blog.
  • Health: We will continue to explore emotions and appropriate behaviours in our unit on Mental Health and Wellness. Students made fantastic insights about how we might perceive things differently and how our behaviour can affect others’ emotions.IMG_3455IMG_3456
  • PE: We have started a basketball unit for PE. Students must have proper footwear (with no-slip soles and ankle support) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to participate in PE.

Calendar

  • Monday, January 13: Assembly in the gym at 9:30.
  • Monday, January 20: Pro-D. No school for students.
  • Monday, February 3: Field Trip to Science Fair.

Writers Workshop: We have begun Writers Workshop which follows a basic format of : lesson, prompt + extended writing time and sharing. Right now we are looking for and generating written ideas. In the weeks to come we will look at how to make ideas colourful and specific, organize the body of writing, and choose precise words and phrases.

Exploring with Matter: This week, to launch our chemistry unit, we “played” with matter, shared our observations and then “played” again with more focus, allowing us to go deeper in our understanding. We talked about how all humans every day ask questions and observe their environment to make sense of it–and that scientists take it a step further with more discipline and control to make conclusions. We also looked at the the scale of matter in our universe before considering the behaviour of matter at the molecular level.

Games for Learning: Thanks to the Montessori PAC funding, our class has a rich and well-curated library of games that involve strategy, patterning and sequencing, and logic. We spent some time learning games and will spend more time in the future building our community (and our brains) by playing them. Thanks to the students who helped to teach them!

Our First Snow: We had a surprise and adventure Friday morning with a romp in the snow. With more snow predicted, please assure that your child is dressed for Friday morning walks–rain, shine, or snow. It is also a great idea to pack an extra pair of dry (!) socks each day.

 

 

In the Loop December 22, 2019

Work for January:

  • Language: We will have weekly etymology assignments, while in class we will do Writers Workshop. As always, there will be Home Reading. (It is during this time in the year, after lots of writing in our projects, that I can see a clear connection between students’ reading habits and the quality of their writing.)
  • Math: There will be weekly problem-solving related to our focus for math this term: fraction and decimals.
  • Culture: During the next (short) term students will be studying chemistry and the scientific method (in preparation for the Science Fair in early March). When we return to school in January, students will do some hands-on exploration with matter to inform our learning. Students will also receive a planning sheet and expectations for the Science Fair which includes choices for projects: 1) designing and conducting a science experiment, 2) researching a “big question”, or 3) “discovery science”–observing a scientific phenomenon and then drawing conclusions. It is not too soon to think about ideas for the Science Fair project.

Calendar for January: There are no scheduled field trips for January (but wait until February…).

  • Monday, January 6: Classes begin again for 2020.
  • Fridays: A group of Magee Leaders will come to teach our class drama activities.
  • Monday, January 20: Professional Day. There is no school for students.
  • Friday, January 31: Formal written report cards will be sent home with students. As a reminder, there have been two assessment events so far this year: goal-setting conferences in October and our Celebration of Learning (First Nations Fair) on December 17. Two more assessment events are planned: Student-led conferences on April 6 and 8 and final report cards sent home with students on the last day of school, June 25.

Guest Speaker, Myriam Brulot: On Monday, Myriam Brulot, a lawyer who works with aboriginal groups, came to the class to share with us her work on recent cases involving water access and land settlements.

First Nations Fair: For those of you who were able to join us, you saw that our First Nations Fair was a rich experience with a wide range of topics.

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In addition to being marked on their research, visual, content and writing, students were evaluated for their critical thinking and engagement. For our visitors, the highlight was the seeing our class’ engagement.

Holiday Giving and Fun: After our all hard work with three projects, hosting the First Nations Fair and delivering three singing performances (not to mention putting together care bags for the Lookout Society) we had time for giving and games.

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Gifts were delivered to the Lookout Society with Ms. Adams last Tuesday.

Students ran the Secret Santa event on Wednesday and Thursday.

They also ran our drama games…including a First Nations one.

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From students, we learned the story behind the Hannukah tradition of lighting the menorah.

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Happy Holidays: I wanted to take the time to wish Division 17 families a happy holiday, as well as to share my gratitude for your generosity and support. Everyday, I am thankful for the kindness and wonder students bring to class. I wish you all a restful holiday.

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