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.