Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blue Spruce Reading begins January 9

I have been busy reading over the holiday!  I am so excited about the Blue Spruce nominated books!  I think it will be a difficult choice to pick my favourite this year - they are all wonderful stories.  Some are inspiring (The Little Hummingbird) while others make me laugh (Making the Moose Out of Life).  What will your favourite be?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Anthony visits on Holiday Hat Day!

Today Baby Anthony visited us for his second visit to teach us about "Why Babies Cry".  We have learned that he has a very easy-going temperment, so he doesn't cry often.  We watched him roll over several times today.  He even turned the pages of one of the books we gave him for Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grade 1/2 Christmas Lights

Special Events

This week we will be getting ready for the holidays by:
Monday - dressing in Christmas colours (white, red, and green)
Tuesday - singing Christmas carols at 9am
Wednesday - Baby Anthony's visit AND it is holiday HAT day
Thursday - concert rehearsal at 1:00 AND our show in the evening at Glengate Church
Friday - another carol sing song at 1:45 AND PJ Day

We will also be reading Chris Van Allsburg's classic story, The Polar Express.  We will watch the movie version and COMPARE and CONSTRAST the book and movie afterwards.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth!

Here is our classroom door!  It is decorated for the holidays, inspired by the song - we have lost our front teeth (thanks to Ms. Sinclair's Sharpie marker) and magically transformed into flying reindeer!  Ms. Sinclair is leading the herd while Mr. Kore tries to hang on and steer the sleigh!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December News

Thank you so much for meeting with me on our interview night to review your child’s Progress Report. It is very helpful to me to have conferences with parents to hear about your child’s learning from your perspective. Asking your child about his/her day at school is a great way to engage your child in reviewing his/her learning experiences. This month we will be completing our second non-fiction report. We completed our first topic for non-fiction together – SHARKS. Now the students are working on their own choice of animal report. Once completed, these reports will be on display on our writing bulletin board.
This past week, we also met our ‘baby teacher’, Anthony. Anthony and his mom visited our class on Tuesday, and will be coming monthly to update us on Anthony’s growth and development during his first year as well as teach us about a variety of topics ranging from ‘communication’ to ‘safety’ to ‘cultural identity’.
We are currently studying Traditions and Celebrations in Social Studies so students will be asking you about your family’s heritage and celebrations over the next few weeks.
Students have been working on the computers composing their “About the Author” page to add to their published books. This will lead us into our next unit about Biographies. Because we want to begin with something familiar, students will be conducting interviews during the month of December to help them gather information in order to write biographies.
We have recently added some new strategies to our CAFÉ Menu. Students will also be choosing an area (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, or Expand Vocabulary) to focus on this month and setting reading goals. I will post a photo of our menu on our classroom blog.

Dates to Note
December 1
Cherrywood Acres Night @ Ice Dogs Hockey Game
Family skate @ 5:00
Game Time @ 7:00

December 2
Pizza day

December 16
Pizza day

December 22
Christmas Concert @ 7:00
More details will follow!

December 23
Last day of school until Jan. 9, 2012

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Tribe Names

Yesterday we looked at a variety of non-fiction books that had illustrations or photographs of different kinds of sharks.  We had to decide as a group, which shark we wanted to choose as our new tribe name.  After we reached a consensus about our new tribe name, we worked with our 'elbow partner' to measure the dimensions (length and width) of the tribe sign so that we could cut out a piece of paper the same size to illustrate for our new sign.  The results were amazing! 

We are going to continue to work on COLLABORATION.  This is one of the learning skills, that we have identified as a group, that we need to work on.  To date, students have primarily worked with a partner.  Working in small groups of four is much more challenging.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mathematics Update

Pumpkin Math

This week, each tribe had a pumpkin sitting on their table. Each tribe was asked to describe their pumpkin as well as compare it to the other pumpkins in the classroom. On Friday, we completed some investigations. We made some predictions about the pumpkins’ buoyancy and measurements. Some students predicted the pumpkins would float while some thought they were going to sink when we placed them in the tub of water. The pumpkins floated!

We also measured the circumference (“the belly”) of the pumpkins. The students measured the length of the stems, too. We also found out how much the pumpkins weighed. To discover the weight of the pumpkins, the students needed to weigh themselves and then weigh themselves holding their pumpkin. This provided a great opportunity to find the “difference”. The “difference” was the weight of the pumpkin!

This concept and the use of the term “difference” has been very challenging for the Grade 1s and 2s, so any chance to practice this skill should be utilized. Review of how to measure objects that are round, would also be beneficial. After trying to place cubes around the outside of the pumpkin, students realized that they needed to use a string first and then place the string on their table and place their cubes on the string to measure the pumpkin’s circumference.

We will continue to learn more about Measurement over the next two weeks. We will be measuring length, height, width, and perimeter. This week the students will be introduced to standard units of measurement – this is a Grade Two expectation.
Students will estimate and measure length, height, and distance, using standard units (i.e., centimetre, metre) and non-standard units
We will be using centimeters and meters to estimate and measure. We will be measuring using tools such as 30 cm rulers, measuring tapes, and metre sticks. Some activities that you can do at home to support your child’s learning are listed below.
  • Ask your child to estimate how much ribbon you'll need if you're wrapping a parcel.
  • Ask your child to estimate how many baby steps or giant steps it will take to walk across your kitchen, down a hallway, or to the front door, and have your child measure to check.
  • Gather some different-sized shoes and invite your child to line them up from shortest to longest.  Your child can use a ruler to measure the differences in the lengths.
  • make a family height chart and let your child estimate the height of each family member in centimeters.  Your child can use a measuring tape or metre stick to measure each height and record it on the chart.
  • Look for different ways people use measuring in their everyday lives.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November News

Our October Trip
Thanks to all the parents and family friends that volunteered to accompany us to the St. John’s Outdoor Center this past month. It was a beautiful day for a nature hike. Mrs. Stewart was a fabulous guide and the children were engaged the entire time. It was a great learning experience!

Hallowe'en Activities
We enjoyed working in multi-grade groupings in the morning.  We played Hallowe'en Bingo in Mrs. McDonald's Classroom.  We created "Funky Witch Shoes" in Ms. Sinclair's Classroom with oil pastels.  We watched a video and played a game with Mrs. Zelic.
We enjoyed a plethora of goodies yesterday, too! It was amazing! Our parents are so thoughtful and generous. We had a wonderful parade throughout our neighbourhood– another perfect day!
What are we doing in class?
We are continuing to work on writing descriptive pieces that enable our readers to “visualize”. We will have our ‘presentation copy’ of our gourd writing up on our Writing Bulletin Board for interview night this month.
On Wednesday, we welcomed Mr. Kore to our classroom. Mr. Kore joins us from Niagara University and will gradually be taking over more teaching responsibilities as the month progresses. He will be with us until mid-December.
Please continue to practice high frequency “lightning” words with your child on a regular basis. Reading every evening for 20 minutes has a dramatic effect on your child’s development as a reader – it benefits him/her in so many ways from attitudinal to vocabulary development and comprehension – it is one of the most effective things you can do for your child!
Please continue to support your child’s efforts to retell fictional stories and non-fictional information throughout the school year. The ‘story-bit’ bag will continue to be filled and sent home on a regular basis.

A New Math Game to Try
Let's play “Guess the Mystery Number”! We have practiced this game in class using a number line (see photo), a 0-99 chart, as well as a 1-100. You may like to try it at home. Ask your child how to play this game.

Cold Weather Reminders
The cold weather is coming! We have two 20-minute sessions outside each day, so it essential that your child come prepared with warm, winter boots, snow pants, a hat, and mittens. On snowy days, it is a good idea to have a second set of mittens packed.

Dates to Note
November 11
Remembrance Day assembly
November 17
This evening has been set aside for parent-teacher interviews. Please try to return your interview request page by November 7.
I would like to meet and talk with everyone once the progress report is sent home. I hope you will keep in mind that this report reflects only the first 8 weeks of Grade One or Grade Two. Your child will receive his/her first comprehensive report card that is reflective of a full term of learning at the beginning of February.

Thank You to Our Volunteers
Mrs. Brenda Grimo visits us every Friday afternoon to listen to the children read their Take Home reading selections. We appreciate all her help in making this program successful!
Take Home Reading Programme
I think I finally have a system for managing the Take-Home Reading requests that I am comfortable with.  The students go down to the ‘book room’ at the beginning of the day, just after announcements while we are doing our ‘bellwork’ to replace their books. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to find a system that works for us.
Spelling Homework
Because of our Hallowe'en activities, spelling words and homework books were not sent home this week.  We will resume our homework program on Monday, November 7.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Field Trip to St. John's Outdoor Education Center

We had a wonderful time yesterday at the St. John's Outdoor Education Center.  The weather was sunny and cool - perfect for our hike and scavenger hunt!  We were led by Mrs. Stewart on our hike.  She showed us amazing things - a wolf spider's web, a coyote skull, a tent caterpillar's nest, chipmunk holes, cavities in trees, a raccoon's nest, a frog pond, and many other natural treasures.

We found most of the items on our scavenger hunt.  It was very windy, so we had difficulty listening for some of the sounds on our list of things to find.

We want to thank Mrs. Stewart
and all the parent volunteers who accompanied us on the trip! 
We had a great time!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Tomorrow is our trip to the St. John's Outdoor Education Center!  We will be going on a nature hike with Mrs. Stewart and participating in a scavenger hunt.  Let's hope our animal friends are out and about so we can make some interesting observations. 

Litterless Lunch Week!

This week we are going to be weighing the amount of garbage we have in our trash can at the end of the nutrition breaks.  We have already been doing a great job recycling and using our organics bins for biodegradeable waste.  Now we are hoping to reduce the amount of plastic that we throw into the recycling bin.  Try to bring your snacks and drinks in reuseable containers - we can make a big difference!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mathematicians at Work

Yesterday two students celebrated their 7th birthday!  Both students brought cupcakes to school to share with their friends.  This occurance turned into a mathematical investigation for our class. 

Brayden brought two trays of cupcakes for the class.  Each tray had 12 cupcakes.
Charles brought two trays of cupcakes for the class.  Each tray had 12 cupcakes.

The students worked in pairs ('math buddies') to find out:
  • how many cupcakes there were altogether
  • if everyone in our class ate one cupcake, how many cupcakes would be left over
  • if everyone in our class ate two cupcakes, how many cupcakes would be left over

using equations

 open number line - 'jumps' backward to subtract
(attempts at using equations were unsuccessful)

 using equations
This dynamic duo decomposed the groups of 12 into 'friendly' groups
of 5s and 2s so it would be easier to count - way to go!
 drawing a picture and 'x'ing out to subtract
drawing a picture and counting

The students tried a variety of strategies to determine the number of cupcakes that we had received and how many would be left over after we served them.  The photos above were provided by students who volunteered to show their work during our Math Congress.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October Newsletter

It was great to meet everyone at the Open House/BBQ last month. The children did a great job showing you around the classroom and practicing introductions. This meeting time was somewhat brief, so if you would like to meet with me to discuss your child’s adjustment to school and/or progress to date, please contact me. The children continue to settle in and are starting to do a better job with our classroom routines. We have also started to build our classroom community through TRIBES. Our school wide character trait focus this month will be “Cooperation”.
Home Connections in Grade One
A list of five sight words will continue to be sent home on Mondays for your child to practice and learn. Our goal is to be able to recognize these words with automaticity. These words are expected to be spelled correctly in all of your child’s written work.

Home Connections in Grade Two
The weekly assignment for Word Work will continue to be sent home in the Homework Book on Mondays for your child to complete. Thank you for all your support this month in working with your child on learning to read, write, and use these words in a complete sentence.

Both Grade One and Two students are bringing home a “story-bit bag’ which contains a story card and “bit” or souvenir from the story. This activity is designed to help your child develop his/her oral retelling strategies as well as work on the reading expectations:

• demonstrate understanding of a text by retelling the story or restating information from the text, including the main idea. (Grade 1)

• demonstrate an understanding of the information and ideas in oral texts by retelling the story or restating the information, including the main idea (e.g., use time-order words, such as first, then, next, finally, to retell a story they have heard).

• demonstrate understanding of a text by retelling the story or restating information from the text, with the inclusion of a few interesting details. (Grade 2)

• demonstrate an understanding of the information and ideas in oral texts by retelling the story or restating the information, including the main idea and several interesting details. (Grade 2)

Take Home Reading Program
It is imperative that your child practice reading every night. Your support of this program has a significant effect on your child’s achievement. The “star reading strategies” we are focusing on are:

 Use the pictures

 Activate your schema / Think of what you know

 Sound it out

 Retell the story / Summarize

 Make a connection

As a parent, you can encourage your child to make various connections around reading: text to self, text to text, and text to world. This will help your child become aware of the background knowledge that s/he already has and learn how to build his/her background knowledge.

Text to Self: With text-to-self connections, what you read reminds you of something from your own life. Often text-to-self connections carry a strong emotional charge. Making an emotional connection helps us remember what we read.

Text to Text: With text-to-text connections, what you read reminds you of something else you have read or seen on television or at the movies.

Text to World: When text-to-world connections are made, what you read reminds you of something in the broader world.

Children learn by relating their understanding of something new to what they already know. They need to process what they are reading, to talk about it, write about it, to ponder it. A child is much more apt to remember stories, books, and incidents that are meaningful because they connect to other things in his/her life.

(Zimmermann and Hutchins, 43-70)
Your child may have mentioned his/her participation in D.P.A. This refers to our “Daily Physical Activity”. In accordance with the Policy/Program Memorandum No. 138, “Daily Physical Activity in Elementary Schools, Grades 1-8,” October 6, 2005, I have scheduled 20 minutes of sustained moderate physical activity each school day. In order to help me in implementing this program, please ensure that your child has appropriate shoes for participating in D.P.A. each day as well as the days noted on the calendar when Ms. Vaccaro takes the children to the gymnasium for Physical Education.

Special Events
We will be focusing on the Language expectations, “Demonstrating and Extending Understanding” throughout the month of October. To compliment our literacy and science units, we will be visiting the St. John’s Outdoor Education Center on October 17th. A permission form will be sent home soon.

On October 31st, the children are invited to wear their costumes to school in the afternoon. We can bring our costumes in our backpacks to change into after the 2nd nutrition break. Although we will reserve the eating of treats for the evening of October 31st, we will have some pre-Hallowe’en snacks, a parade, and complete some fun “Pumpkin Math” activities on the afternoon of the 31st.

PS. Remember to bring in one of your favourite treats from your trick-or-treat bag on November 1st for our graphing activity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank you for all your support!

What a beautiful day for a run!  Today we participated in our school's Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research.  Our class contributed $64.00 in loonies, toonies, and even some 'paper money' to help continue Terry's dream of helping people afflicted with cancer.  We read about Terry Fox's life and made head bands with quotations from A Story of Hope.  I was impressed at how well the students listened to the story and recognized when the quotation from their own headband was mentioned.  Students shared stories of their own and showed empathy when learning about Terry's courage when he was diagnosed a second time with cancer. 
Thank you for all your support for our first fundraiser this year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We are now a combined grade!

We welcomed some new students to our classroom on Friday - we have 4 new Grade One students, so we are now a Combined Grade 1/2 Class.  We also have 5 students leaving us to join the 2/3 combined class.  I hope everyone will join us on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 7:30 at our OPEN HOUSE to see our classroom and have a peek at what we have been learning the past two weeks.  We have been discussing the Four Tribe Agreements, reviewing the School Code of Conduct - Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and working on developing our own pledge/promise.  We have also created I-Charts for Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Listen to Reading as we prepare to start Literacy Work Stations soon.

If you would like a 'sneak peek' of the classroom, I have posted some photos taken last week.

Here are our Tribe Agreements.

This is where we will be posting our reading strategies.  We will also be setting reading goals.  Each student will conference with Ms. Sinclair and decide on an area (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, or Expanding Vocabulary) to focus on when practicing reading.

This is our Mathematics area.

This is our Word Wall.

These are the leveled books in our classroom. 
Ms. Sinclair is still unpacking more books for our classroom library.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September News from Room 3

Welcome to Grade Two at Cherrywood Acres Public School! I am looking forward to getting to know the Grade Two children and our Cherrywood Acres families.
Students will continue to use the Primary agenda/organizer in our classroom. Please check your child’s backpack for it every day. I have found this routine to be essential for ensuring communications between home and school. If you have any pizza money, book club orders, or communication to send to me, please use the agenda. Please sign or initial your child’s agenda and make sure your child brings it to school every day. Agendas will be sent home today; there is a $6 fee to help cover the cost of purchasing these organizational tools.

The first few days of “Back-to-School” may be tiring for some children – learning is fun, but it can also be exhausting! Try to ensure that your child is well rested. This may mean that an earlier bedtime may be needed for the first couple weeks of school while your child adjusts to his/her new routine.

Take Home Reading Program
In order to involve you in your child’s learning this year, your child will be participating in the Take Home Reading Program. Your child will bring home a book OR books to read to you. Reading to and with your child on a regular basis is extremely important. Let’s get started TONIGHT! You will find your Take-Home Reading bag in your child’s backpack this week

In order to help establish good homework habits, your child is bringing home a WORD WORK HOMEWORK BOOK at the beginning of each school week. It lists the ‘word wall words’ that we are learning / practicing to spell correctly in our daily written work.

Your Child’s Teachers
I will be teaching all subjects with the exception of Physical Education, Health, Music, Drama, and Dance. Music will be taught by Ms Illich. Physical Education, Health, Drama and Dance will be taught by Ms Vaccaro. The children will also visit the library with Mrs. Rocco. You will have the opportunity to meet them during our Open House on September 22nd.

Your child should bring a backpack to school each day in which to carry her/his two small meals for our nutrition breaks, her/his agenda, and library book and any other homework. A list of suggested supplies was sent home with the school newsletter in June. Your child will need a labeled pair of headphones to use while on the computers at school. We use the computers regularly, so please send these to school as soon as possible.It is very important to have appropriate footwear for gym time. Ms Vaccaro has requested that the children have running shoes to wear on the days when she is providing instruction in the gym. Gym days are noted on the calendar, so children can be responsible for making sure they have their running shoes on these days.If your child wishes to bring sports equipment from home to school, please make sure that it is clearly labeled. Labeling all your child’s clothing is highly recommended, too.

Open House and BBQ
I am looking forward to meeting everyone at our Open House on September 22nd. After everyone has settled in and classroom organization is finalized, I will be sending home a student information form and survey for you to complete. It is a little more comprehensive that the office forms and will help me in getting to know your child and his/her interests quicker. This helps me in my planning and stocking of the classroom library. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at the school. The best time to reach me is at the end of the school day between 3:30 and 4:00.

Monday, August 29, 2011


One of the first things we do together at the beginning of the new school year is work on building a learning community in which the learners (students and teachers) in our classroom can enjoy everyday.  During the first week of school, we will devote some time each day to discuss the FOUR TRIBE AGREEMENTS.

The Tribes Agreements are:
  • Mutual Respect - We treat others as we would like to be treated
  • Attentive Listening - We listen with our eyes, ears, and heart
  • Appreciations - We use kind words when we speak to others; no put downs
  • Participation - We have a responsibility to do our best work
It is my hope that our agreements will extend beyond our classroom.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Continue to Build Reading Stamina

I am really enjoying reading ALL the wonderful books I didn't have time to read during the school year.  I am almost finished Alone in the Classroom (a grown-up book I received as a gift from Mrs. Morton).  I am looking forward to REREADING Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows next.  I saw the movie version the other night and I want to compare the book and movie!

I hope everyone is continuing to BUILD STAMINA and reading daily during the summer.
Here is a link to check out if you need some ideas of what to do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have a Happy Summer!

We all said our farewells last Wednesday with lots of hugs and smiles.  As most of you know, I am moving to Grade Two at Cherrywood Acres Public School in the fall.  I will miss my Forestview friends, but I am still in the neighbourhood and expect to see most of you around and about this summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Celebrating Our Artists!

I hope that you were able to visit The Forestview Art Show today!
If not, I have included some photos of JUST SOME of our amazing artwork that we have been collecting since the beginning of the year.  Art portfolios will be coming home soon.  You will find loads of masterpieces worth framing!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June News

I can’t believe that our school year is in its final month! It has been such a busy time that it really has not seemed that we have been working together for nine months already! This is a brief message to give everyone a quick glance at our June activities.
I would like to thank all the parents for sharing your children with me this year. They are a wonderful group of children! I have enjoyed teaching AND learning with them this year; it has been an incredible journey. They have blossomed into readers, researchers, and responsible Forestview citizens. It has been a joy and privilege to be their Grade One teacher.

I want to encourage all of you to continue to read, write, and mathematize over the summer months! We have come so far this year, and it is important to keep our skills sharp during the summer hiatus. I will be sending home a summer newsletter on the last day of school with some suggestions for helping your child “keep sharp” over the summer.

I also wanted to remind parents that with the warm and sunny weather, it is important to send a hat to school for your child to wear outdoors during the fitness breaks. Your child should have his/her sunscreen applied before school.

Dates to Remember
 June 7 – Year End trip (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat / Dave and Buster’s) – remember to bring a packed lunch
 June 9 – Learning with Logan
We will also have our final “baby visit” from Logan this month. We thank Mrs. Palmer and Logan for sharing this special year in Logan’s life with us! We are planning a special celebration and making a “wishing tree” for Logan.
 June 20 – Forestview Art Show (gymnasium)
 June 21 – last day for Take Home Reading Programme – please
return all books and book bags on Friday, June 24
 June 29 – Last day of classes for students
Congratulations to our May Award Winners!
Achievement Award – Aidan
Effort Award – Anthony

Character (Cooperation) Award - Grace

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May News

Everyday when we add another ‘straw’ to our place value chart where we keep track of how many days we have been in Grade One, I am amazed! We are approaching the 150th day of school already!
We will be concluding our unit on non-fiction (All About books) writing this month in addition to reading and writing about insects. Descriptive writing will also be a focus this month. To support your child in writing, you may wish to practice describing items in your home. I strongly recommend that you do lots of talking first. In fact, you may just wish to make this a “talking activity”. Model how to describe things using interesting (“juicy”) words or adjectives to make your description interesting. For example, you may wish to describe a tree in your yard with the observation, “Our sturdy maple tree looks like it is starting to wake up from its winter sleep.” If your child wishes to write or draw, encourage the use of sensory words by asking, “What does your [lamp] look like? Why is it needed in your room? Why do you like it?
One of the reading strategies that we will be focusing on when reading this month is “synthesizing”. Synthesis is the process of ordering, recalling, retelling, and recreating into a coherent whole. A synthesis occurs as you summarize what has happened and what it means to you. One of my favourite books for demonstrating synthesizing to the children is The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.
We will discuss how reading can ‘transform’ our thinking. We will be drawing and writing about what we know about a topic before we read a book AND then drawing and writing about the topic AFTER we read a book. This way, we see how our thinking changes (a synthesis occurs) sometimes when we read a book.

In Mathematics this month, we will be finishing concepts in measurement and exploring transformational geometry. We will also begin activities related to probability and data management towards the end of the month.
Try some of these activities with your child:
 Ask your child to put away or get objects by using directional words such as above, below, next to, and left or right.
 Do puzzles together.
 Estimate how many things cover an area (for example, how many jelly beans will cover each of the cookies we are making?) Check to see if your estimates are reasonable.
 Look in the mirror together and see what happens as you move closer to and farther away from the mirror.
 Fold a piece of paper in half. Draw a shape on one side, touching the fold. Cut out the shape with the paper still folded. Have your child decorate the shape to show symmetry on each side of the fold line.
 Look for ways to use probability language at home. Take turns completing sentences that start “I sometimes...,” “I never…,” and “I always…” Other probability terms include possible, impossible, chance, probably, likely, and unlikely.
Play cards games or board games with your child, and talk about what sometimes, always, or never happens, and what’s possible or impossible, and about what will probably happen.

At our April celebration assembly today, the following students were recognized for their achievements.
Christopher – Achievement
Levi – Effort
Sierra – Responsibility

Dates to Remember
 May 2-6 - Scholastic Book Fair in the library
 May 10 – Jump Rope for Heart pledge forms due
 May 12 – Jump Rope for Heart – we will be skipping!
 May 13 – each division will be recorded as a full group singing ‘O Canada’; we should hear ourselves soon on the morning announcements
 May 16 – we will begin wearing pedometers and counting how many steps we take each day; we are going to ‘walk around the world’!
 May 23 Victoria Day – no school
 May 24 – walk for Ronald McDonald House charity
 May 27 – 2nd Annual Forestview Talent Show @ 1:40 in the gym

Thursday, March 31, 2011

April News

We started our non-fiction literacy unit as soon as we returned from the March Break and the children have been demonstrating a keen interest in finding facts from books, magazines, and the database, Kids Infobits. Their enthusiasm for reading has been incredible – they show it in their requests for conferences and demands for “more books!” We are currently finishing up our All About Sharks books. This month we will continue to write ALL ABOUT books as well as review writing friendly letters.
The reading strategies that we will be adding to our CAFÉ menu this month are: recognizing literacy elements, using main idea and supporting details to determine importance, and using text features to improve our comprehension.
We will be analyzing texts – both fiction and non-fiction. This is our third Critical Learning Pathway. In the Ontario Curriculum, analyzing texts is a specific expectation-
By the end of Grade 1, students will: identify the main idea and a few elements of texts, initially with support and direction (e.g., narrative: characters, setting, problem/solution; information text: introductory statement, facts, photographs).
I know I sound like a broken record, but it is essential to continue to spend at least 15-20 minutes a night reading to, and/ or with your child. Support his/her learning by reviewing the word wall words that we are focusing on and rereading their book-bag books. Rereading is very powerful – so many children after rereading a book in their book box tell me “it’s so easy”. It is easy for them because the words and the language of the book have become familiar to them! They are becoming better, fluent readers by rereading!
In Mathematics this month, we will be working with addition and subtraction by increasing our repertoire of strategies. Solving problems within meaningful contexts will be our primary focus. We will also revisit measurement – learning to measure mass and volume. Suggestions for activities that can help your child understand the concepts covered in these units are included later in this post.
As part of our recognition of Earth Day this month, I am encouraging the children to try and bring snacks with less packaging and to make healthy choices. A reusable drink container for juice or water is preferable to all the juice boxes that are usually half full, even after our second nutrition break. We will continue to reuse and recycle as much as we can from our lunches.
Dates to Remember
April 5 – March Celebration Assembly @ 9:15 in our gymnasium
April 7 – Me to We Club is sponsoring a Movie Night! They will be showing “Tangled” in the Forestview gym from 6-8pm
April 17 – DSBN Road Race
April 22 Earth Day and Good Friday (no school)
April 25 Easter Monday (no school)
The children continue to work diligently everyday and make us proud!
Three students who were particularly successful last month were:
Aidan – Achievement Award
Michael – Effort Award
Stefan – Character Award Integrity
Try some of these activities with your child:
 Ask your child to help you solve problems such as:
 We need to put 4 big plates and 4 little plates on the table. How many plates should you get out of the cupboard?
 I have washed 8 plates. If I dry 5 of them, how many will you have to dry?
 Show your child some pennies and have him or her count them. Ask your child to close his or her eyes. Add or subtract some pennies from the pile. Have your child figure out what you did and tell you a number sentence (equation) to explain it. Switch roles and have your child add or subtract the pennies.
 Play simple games that require your child to add and/or subtract, such as adding or subtracting numbers or dots on two dice or the numbers on playing cards. You might also take turns with your child rolling two dice or drawing two number cards from a homemade deck. Use the numbers to create either an addition or subtraction question. See who can make up the funniest story that explains the numbers correctly.
 Practice ‘doubles’ by using this term frequently when opportunities arise.
 Discuss the sequence of your day and important ‘times’ - bedtime, time to go to school, meal times.
 The benchmark unit for us is THE MINUTE. For fun, see how many times you can write your word wall words in one minute, count how many jumping jacks you do in one minute, count how many times, you blink your eyes in one minute, etc.
 When setting the table for dinner, put different sizes glasses at each setting and ask your child which glass will hold the most/least amount of milk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Learning with Logan

We had a lovely 'baby visit' this morning with Logan. Because we hadn't see him since the beginning of February, we were surprised by how much he had changed! With his mother's help, Logan was walking around the green blanket and smiling at us! We even noticed that his babbling sounds different; it is almost as if he is trying to say actual words to us.

Prior to Logan's visit, we learned how all living things require SLEEP. Babies sleep a lot and more of their sleep is 'DREAM SLEEP' because their brains are very busy learning and growing. We discovered that Logan has a transitional object - his soother - that helps him when he wakes up during the transition from DREAM SLEEP to DEEP SLEEP.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Understanding Text Forms and Features

We began the week by looking closely at examples of fiction and non-fiction texts about a common theme (trees, animals, etc.) and discussed similarities and differences. The children quickly identified differences in form for our anchor chart.
During daily mini-lessons we are identifying text features and explaining how they help us as readers. When we completed a Venn-diagram to sort text features, we noted that BOTH fiction (chapter books) and non-fiction texts have a Table of Contents.
Our chart describes how the Table of Contents in a non-fiction book helps us by giving an overview of what the book will teach us and where we can find specific information that we are seeking (page numbers).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

March News

March Character Trait: Integrity

We are concluding our ‘critical learning pathway’ that focused on POINT-OF-VIEW. I will be sending home a package of your child’s work as well as a copy of his/her culminating task once it is completed. Overall, I am very impressed by the way the students can empathize and assume the perspective of others. When reading Lily and the Paper Man and The Lady in the Box, the students showed a great deal of sensitivity and compassion towards the characters in the stories. We have a very CARING group of first graders! It is wonderful to see them helping each other and offering kind words to those who need it. I decided to let the students themselves choose the student in our class to receive the Caring Award this month. Congratulations to Holly!

The strategies that we will be adding to our Literacy CAFÉ menu this month are ask questions throughout the reading process and use text features (titles, headings, captions, graphic features) in both fiction and non-fiction texts. Asking questions is an important comprehension strategy. Play the “I Wonder” Game when reading with your child. Even before you start reading a book, look at the cover and ask, “I wonder who this character is?” or “I wonder why that character looks so sad/happy/scared, et cetera.” Using just the cover of the book, talk to your child about your questions. Make it clear that some of the questions will be answered when you read the book, but some might not be. Questioning makes reading fun. It also helps your child clarify ideas and deepens his/her understanding. Refrain from asking your child questions – instead, model what it means to be curious by sharing the questions you have while you read. Don’t rush to the answers right away; let the questions hang in the air. Pose several questions and then let your child take a turn asking questions that come to his/her mind. You’re showing your child how to be an active player in the world of reading. (Zimmermann and Hutchins, 7Keys to Comprehension, 82)

Non-fiction texts contain common features such as titles, headings and subheadings, captions, maps, diagrams, charts and graphs, legends, bold and italicized text, glossaries, indexes, etc. Even the early emergent texts for younger children include these features. We will be learning to recognize and use these features to help us understand what we are reading. Students are encouraged to ‘tune in’ to these features and use their background knowledge (schema) about them to aid their comprehension.

Please continue to spend at least 15-20 minutes a night talking to your child about what s/he is learning at school. Support his/her learning by reviewing the word wall words that we are focusing on and rereading her/his book-bag book.

In Mathematics this month, we will be learning about money and time. Concepts in both areas of learning can be challenging for young students – time is based on a base-60 system (we are accustomed to working with base-10) and working with money requires students to unitize. One nickel means “five cents”. Helping students to acknowledge that one of something (a coin) represents a greater quantity (ie 10 cents) can be very challenging. Suggestions for activities that can help your child understand the concepts covered in these units are included at the end of this post.

Dates to Remember
 March 1 – Celebration Assembly @ 1:40 in the gymnasium
 March 7 – Learning With Logan – Baby visit (theme: Sleeping)
 March 11 – Student Council’s Spirit Day – wear green•
 March 14-18 –March Break
 April 1 – Carousel Players performance /$2 due before performance date please

Try some of these activities with your child:
 Together, look at both sides of a coin. Ask your child to describe how both sides are the same and different, how different coins are the same and different, and what objects are on different coins. Describe part of a coin (“I am thinking of a coin with a ship on it.”) and ask your child to guess which one you are thinking of. Ask your child to sing you the chorus of “Canada in My Pocket”.
 Ask your child to sort coins into groups, name the coins, and tell how much they are worth. How did your child sort?
 Have your child estimate (guess) how much money s/he has, and then count the actual amount. Start with pennies and gradually add dimes and nickels. (Children at this age will likely need help counting mixed sets of coins.)
 Allow your child to make small purchases at the dollar store, with your supervision.
 Search for different types of clocks: analog clocks, digital clocks, alarm clocks, timers, watches, and so on.
 Talk about times throughout your family’s day. For instance, you might point to the clock when it is dinner time and say, “We usually eat dinner at this time. It is 5:30.”

Congratulations to our February Award Winners!
Olivia - Achievement Award
Roshawn – Effort Award
Holly – Character Award - Caring

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Baby Logan is the Cutest Kid!

If you would like to vote for Logan, click on this link and give him a score of 10!
We are looking forward to our next visit with Logan when we will learn more about SLEEP.

Logan - Cutest Kid

Friday, February 11, 2011

Think about the author's purpose

We are continuing to talk, write, and read about "point-of-view". The students are becoming adept at assuming another character's point-of-view and describing it. In order to help the students identify the AUTHOR'S point-of-view, we have been working on identifying the author's PURPOSE. When you pick up a book to read with your child, ask him or her if s/he knows of the author (ie. David Shannon) and ask your child what s/he thinks the author's purpose was for writing the book.

We have added this strategy to our CAFE Menu and are practising identifying the author's intent or purpose whenever we read a new story. We will also be applying this strategy when we look at other media.

Friday, January 28, 2011

February News

Thank you to all the parents who have been working so hard with their child since our return to school in January. Your commitment to helping your child succeed is greatly appreciated. The children continue to improve in all areas of the curriculum! Keep up the good work! The 20 minutes you spend with your child reading each night makes a difference. Please continue read and reread the leveled book your child brings home and review word wall words. The Math Homework Bags will FINALLY begin to be sent home next week – remember to return them at the end of the week for reorganization.

We are continuing to focus on “point of view”. When your child is reading to you at home, occasionally ask your child to stop and reflect on what s/he is reading. Ask questions such as, “How do you think the character feels?” or “What do you think the author is trying to tell us?” Encourage your child to “look at the marks (punctuation) and font” and reread using appropriate inflection in his/her voice.

We celebrated the end of our Instructional/Procedural (HOW-TO writing) unit by rereading the procedural text, Making Ice Cream AND actually making ice cream.

Your child selected his/her best two pieces of procedural writing to be added to his/her Grade One writing portfolio. All other pieces will be sent home with the rest of our Term One work. We are going to begin PERSUASIVE WRITING this month. We will be working on developing VOICE and WORD CHOICE in our writing this month as well.

Dates to Remember This Month
February 1 – January Celebration Assembly @ 9:15 in our gymnasium
February 2 – Groundhog Day – will you see YOUR shadow today?
February 3 – Chinese New Year
February 4 – Learning With Logan
February 4 – Winter Carnival (dress warmly for outdoor activities – weather permitting, of course)
February 11 – 100th Day of Grade One! We will have some special numeracy activities to do today.
February 14 – Our classroom celebration of Valentines Day – wear something/anything red today, if you would like to participate!
February 17 – Forestview Falcon Day! Wear your Forestview gear to school today
February 21 – Family Day – enjoy your time together!

The 100th Day of School
We have been counting the days to the 100th day of Grade One since our first day together in September. The children should bring a collection of 100 items to school in a Ziploc bag on February 11. Popular collections from previous years included: 100 pennies, 100 small marshmallows, 100 crayons, 100 band-aids, 100 paperclips, 100 gummy bears, 100 pebbles, 100 hockey cards. We will have some special activities throughout the day to celebrate this special number.

Note about Valentines Day
We are making special mailboxes for Valentines Day. Please try to send an empty tissue box to school by Friday (February 4).  The children can bring their own cards for their friends on the Friday before Valentines Day. If you wish to send something to school for the children to enjoy during our 2nd nutrition break, please send something healthy and nut-free.

Valentines Day Snack Suggestions:
red apples
red pepper slices
red grapes
watermelon cubes
dried cranberries

Additional Reminders
INDOOR SHOES – the children need to remember to bring indoor shoes to school everyday.
WARM OUTDOOR WEAR – we need warm mittens, hats, boots, and snow pants everyday.

At our January celebration assembly, we acknowledge the amazing efforts of our students!
Rahma – Achievement Award
Madison – Effort Award
Aidan – Character Award-Perseverance