Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Check out the Bright Lights in Room 3

I hope everyone can make it to our celebration tomorrow at 2:00.
I will endeavour to record our performance with our classroom iPad and keep on hand for viewing later if you can't make it to our live show.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This Wednesday is Twin Day.
Students are invited to dress like a friend this day.

If you would like to be "twins" with Ms. Sinclair and Mrs. Leonard, dress in blue jeans, white top, sneakers, and ponytails on Wednesday!

DREAMBOX now linked!

Some students mentioned that they were having difficulty getting access to Dreambox at home using the URL that was printed on the letter home to parents last week.  My original link wasn't working either when I checked it this weekend.  I have changed the link so it will work now from the classroom blog.  It has been renamed "Dreambox Math!"

It would be great to set aside about 30 minutes in the evening to work on mathematics on Dreambox.  It is good screen time, as it is linked to what we have been learning about in class.  It is much more interactive than doing worksheets!  The program progresses at your child's pace and builds upon your child's current abilities.  I have told students to NOT ask family for help when working on Dreambox.  If your child is having difficulty, have her click on the "I need help" button.  The program will adjust if the activity is too difficult.  My own children have used Dreambox over the past two years, and I highly recommend its use.  I welcome your feedback, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Class Photo

I just wanted to let everyone know that student photos (for those who ordered them) were sent home today.  Every child received a class photo today. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Measuring for the Art Show

Today we started a new unit that will help us transition from our recent unit on Measurement back into working on addition and subtraction.  We will be focusing on using 'friendly numbers' and the number line to develop efficient operational strategies. 

At home, practice counting by 10s - starting at different numbers.
For example,
Let's count by 10s (adding 10s), starting at 4: 4, 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, 64, 74, 84, 94, 104,...

Remember to also practice subtracting 10s, too.
For example,
Let's practice subtracting by 10s, starting at 98: 98, 88, 78, 68, 58, 48, 38, 28, 18, 8.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Classroom

Here are some photos of our classroom!

We continue to adjust to our new routines, so some of our physical arrangements may change over the next few weeks.  Ms. Sinclair is still trying to achieve the perfect seating arrangement for us.  We really enjoy each other's company!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Post Card Reminder

I hope everyone has been enjoying themselves so far this summer.  Please remember to record one of your special summer experiences on your postcard and mail it to school soon.  I can't wait to read about your adventures!

If you would like to practice writing postcards, here is an interesting site to visit.  Just click here.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guess What?

I was working in the classroom this past week, cleaning and organizing, and was very pleased to see this special delivery!  Our interactive whiteboard has arrived!  Something else to look forward to this September.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Summer!

I hope everyone has a great summer vacation!
Keep reading daily and try to write as frequently as possible.  Remember to mail your postcard with a great summer memory sometime within the next two months.  These 'memories' will be posted in the Primary Hallway for us to enjoy reading on our first day back to school.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Today we completed our VIP passes for the Cherrywood Talent Show.
Thanks to Ava for bringing in her dad's VIP pass from the Nik Wallenda Walk this past weekend.  We used it as a model for our own event.
We are looking forward to enjoying the show on Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Axton!  Axton won the Great Canadian Mail Race!
Several weeks ago we received a letter from a Grade Two teacher in B.C. asking us to join the Great Canadian Mail Race.  She asked us to write a letter to a student somewhere in Canada and to ask that student's teacher to join the race, too.

The students were assigned a province or territory, located a city on the map of the province, and then used the internet to find a school in the chosen city.  We wrote a letter to a Grade 2 student.  All our letters were posted through Canada Post on the same day.  We have been anxiously awaiting for a response letter for weeks.  The first student in our class to receive a letter is the 'winner' of the Great Canadian Mail Race in our class.

This project was a wonderful follow up to our field trip around Niagara Falls.  One of the criteria for the letter was to include information about our local community.  The students wrote about the various attractions and features of our own city, Niagara Falls. 

We have been contacted twice to join the race. A school in Markham, Ontario wrote to us two weeks ago.  Every student wrote a letter to Sufyaan!  What a surprise for him to receive 20 letters from Cherrywood's Grade 1/2 class.

Yesterday we received two pieces of mail.  Axton received a letter from a Grade 2 student from New Brunswick!  He won the Great Canadian Mail Race.  We hope to receive more letters before the end of the year.  Any letters arriving after the end of school will be passed along to returning students in September.

What was our second piece of mail?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just Nine School Days Left?

I can't believe that there are only nine school days left until our summer vacation begins!  Each day we will be popping a balloon to reveal a special activity (some of which are already on our calendar) or portfolio to bring home to keep.  Parents can start to watch for our subject portfolios to start coming home over the next two weeks. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trip Day Today

It looks like we might need to trade our sun
screen for raincoats and umbrellas this morning!
Remember to pack a lunch and snacks and water to drink.  We might need to bring rainwear in lieu of bathingsuits and towels.

We will receive our wristbands this morning at school before leaving on the bus.  It is helpful if supervisors come to the classroom to get their wristbands and information before following the bus to our destination.

Let's not let the cloudy skies get us down - we are going to have a great day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Licorice to Share!

Yesterday we opened two 454g packs of licorice.  We learned that 454g = 40 sticks of licorice!
Our challenge was to figure out how we could share the licorice equally at our tribe table.  Here are some photos of our problem-solving.  Ask us how many each of us received when we were finished solving the problem.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Exploring Multiplication, Division, and Fractions

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring multiplication, division, and fractions.  We started to solve problems this week that required us to find all the possible ways to make equal groups with a given number.  Here are some photos taken during math class when we were trying to determine all the ways we can arrange OURSELVES (a class of 20 students) into equal groups. 
We work with partners a lot!  That's 10 groups of 2!

We have always sat in tribe groups of 4.
This month, we will try 2 groups of 10!

June News

We are in our 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 post to give everyone a quick glance at our June activities. I would like to thank all the parents for welcoming me to Cherrywood this year and for sharing your children with me. I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful group of children in our class! I have enjoyed teaching AND learning with them this year; it has been an incredible journey. They have blossomed into readers, researchers, and responsible Cherrywood citizens. It has been a joy and privilege to be their Grade One/Two 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 want 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. Showing your child how to reapply is recommended. On extremely warm days, students may also keep a water bottle (spout-cap) on their desk. We have talked about the importance of remembering to bring it home each day to be cleaned and refilled.

Several children have been bringing money to school to buy treats at the school store. Students are returning to class with bags of chips and ice cream and not eating the healthy snacks that are packed for them. Therefore, if your child has your permission to go to the store, please send a note letting me know that they have permission and what they are allowed to purchase (ie. milk).

Dates to Remember
 June 5 – all library books due
 June 12 – Year – End celebration ~ trip to Niagara Safari (permission form with information included sent home Thursday)
 June 20 Roots of Empathy – baby visit We will have our final “baby visit” with Anthony this month. We thank Mrs. Giallonardo and Anthony for sharing this special year in Anthony’s life with us! We are planning a special celebration and making a “wishing tree” for Anthony.
 June 21 – last day for Take Home Reading Programme – please return all books and book bags on Friday, June 22
 June 26 – report cards sent home; please send response portion to school by June 28th
 June 27 – Talent Show
 June 28 – Last day of classes for students (9:00 awards assembly; 1:40 playday)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Papier-Mache Masks

At last, our papier-mache masks are finished and are coming home!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OREO - Persuasive Writing Anchor Chart

We took a survey of opinion today.
This gave us our starting point for our persuasive writing piece today.
Then we created our anchor chart for the format.

We did a great job supporting our opinion with reasons and examples!

Monday, April 30, 2012

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 school, I am amazed! We are approaching the 150th day of school already! We will be concluding our fictional narrative unit of writing and begin persuasive writing. Persuasive writing is a type of writing that tries to convince a reader of an opinion or belief. We will be using a graphic organizer entitled, “OREO” to help us remember the format for writing these types of pieces. OREO stands for Opinion – Reasons – Examples – Opinion. Encourage your child to write his or her opinion next time s/he makes a special request. Ask him or her to ‘convince you’ in writing. It’s a great opportunity to practice!
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 transformational geometry. We will begin work on fractions, division and multiplication later in the month.
We continue to learn about other communities around the world in Social Studies. We begin our final unit in Science, Movement, this month.

Dates to Remember
 May 18 – PD Day – no school for students
 May 21 Victoria Day – no school

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Children's Safety Village

We had a great time at the Children's Safety Village this afternoon!
We learned about street signs and symbols from Officer John.  We were able to practice what we learned by driving our own jeep around the Safety Village!
Firefighter Eric showed us how to draw a floor plan of our home so we can practice EDITH.
Do you remember what the letters in EDITH represent?

Thanks to our Safety Instructors and our parent volunteers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April News 2012

We have a very busy month ahead. We will be continuing to learn about Features of Communities Around the World in Social Studies. We are currently learning about Air and Water in the Environment in Science and will be starting our next unit near the end of the month. We have started a new writing unit focusing on composing fictional narratives. We are hoping to post our stories on-line for sharing during Literacy Work Stations. We have read and talked about the two different types of stories – “walking stories” and “climbing stories”. We are examining a variety of storybook characters this week to identify their 'special trait' so that we can work on developing and describing our own character so that our readers can get a “picture in their mind”.
We continue to add reading strategies to our CAFÉ menu. This month we are focusing on recognizing literacy elements, using main idea and supporting details to determine importance.  This strategy should help us identify these features in our own narratives.
In Mathematics this month, we will continue to work on addition and subtraction but within the context of money. Solving problems within meaningful contexts will be our primary focus. We will also revisit measurement – learning to measure area, mass, capacity, and volume.
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.

Our Latest Addition
Has your child told you about our new iPad? We now have an iPad in our classroom that we are currently using during Literacy Work Stations.
We have been using it for some Word Work activities and for video taping our partners reading poems from our classroom anthology. We are working on developing FLUENCY and using expression when reading aloud.

Dates to Remember
  • April 5 – ME to WE movie day (periods 2 and 3)
  • April 6 –Good Friday (no school)
  • April 9 – Easter Monday (no school)
  • April 11 – Day of Pink (acceptance of diversity)
  • April 15 Cherrywood Family Skate at the Gale Center
  • April 19 Grades 1 and 2 visit the Niagara Safety Village
  • April 24 Primary Literacy Night
  • April 25 Litterless Lunch Day
  • April 25-27 Scholastic Book Fair
  • April 29 DSBN Road Race

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Much Water Do You Use?

As part of our Science Unit, Air and Water in the Environment, we have been discussing how our actions affect the quality of air and water, and our ability to contribute to the conservation of water.  We have been learning about how in some parts of the world, safe drinking water is extremely scarce.  This weekend, we have brought home a recording sheet to track our personal use of water for a day.  We will be thinking of ways that we can reduce our consumption of this precious resource.

Open Number Line

This weekend we have some homework to do.  We are interviewing our family members to find out their ages.  As part of our Addition and Subtraction to 100 Unit in Mathematics, we have been practicing a variety of strategies to find sums and differences.  Last class we read the book El Bisabuelo Gregorio.  The boy in the story, Carlos, is celebrating his eighth birthday.  He becomes very curious about how old his family members were when he was born when his great-grandfather comes for a visit.  Carlos figures out that his great-grandfather is 87 years old!

The latest strategy that we have added to our list of addition and subtraction strategies is 'use an open number line'.  This strategy has been especially helpful to students who are having difficulty with subtraction.  This tool/strategy allows them to use/visualize/record differences between numbers by either 'jumping/hopping' forwards or backwards (adding or subtracting).

Students decide upon the 'jump' - usually to the nearest 'friendly' number, and continue until they 'land' on their target number.  Recording their 'jumps' is very important.  They add up the 'jumps' to find the difference between the two numbers they are investigating.
On Monday, students will use their collected data to find the differences in ages between themselves and their family members.  The numbers collected are important and unique to them and provide a meaningful context to practice this new strategy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Latest Writing Endeavour

We are starting to write fictional narratives.  This past week, we read and discussed "walking stories" and "climbing stories".  We also wrote brief, story strip examples of each type of story.  Here are our charts that describe each type of narrative:

Ask us about our story strips!

Today we worked on creating a character for our story.  We read an example of a good physical description of a character.  Then we sketched what we 'visualized'.
After reading and visualizing an example, we created our own sketch and written description of our character.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roots of Empathy

Baby Anthony visited us yesterday!  Our theme this month was SLEEPING.  We discussed the Sleep Cycle and how younger babies sometimes need to learn how to settle themselves when they wake up during transitions from REM sleep to Non-REM sleep.  We reminisced about our own transitional objects that we had (and some of us still have) that helped comfort us.

We are writing about our transitional objects as well as a dream for our next (SLEEP) book for Anthony.
Anthony is sitting up and crawling (very quickly) on his own now!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I was out today getting a cup of coffee and was informed that my gift card was finally empty.  I wasn't going to charge it back up so I handed it to the cashier to recycle.  She informed me that they don't recycle used gift cards - they just throw them away!  I promptly asked for it back and decided to save it.  I was surfing the net looking for some ideas for reusing materials (for an Earth Day art project) and came upon a nifty idea from one of my favourite blogs.
SO, I am sending this message out to our Cherrywood friends to please save and send in old gift cards or expired credit cards (if you are comfortable doing so).  We will be cutting them up - I promise!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy March Break!

I just want to wish everyone a safe and fun March Break!
We had a great time at the movies today - the movie version of The Lorax was great!
Everyone should keep reading daily throughout the break - we reviewed "check for comprehension" and "back up and reread" as useful strategies this past week.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Procedural / Instructional Writing

We are finishing up our latest work on instructional/procedural writing.
I am posting our anchor chart and an example that we created together at the beginning of our unit.

If you wish to help your child with writing at home, encourage your child to write instructions for activities that she or he can complete by her/himself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Plant a Truffula Tree!

Mrs. Phillip (the ELP teacher) is planning an excursion for the Primary Division to see the movie, The Lorax!  The Lorax will also be our next 'story-bit story' so we will reading and discussing the book in the upcoming weeks.  This story is a great introduction to the need for environmental conservation and the severe consequences when forests are depleted.
I would like to work on some critical thinking skills with the students, so I am hoping that families will wait to read the book and see the movie (again) after we are finished our study.
In the meantime, if you would like to plant a virtual Truffula seed, please click on this link:-)

Monday, February 6, 2012


Just in case some of you have started to work on your February Homework Calendar, I wanted to let you know that the Making Words activity is missing a letter.  Thanks to Charles for working so diligently on trying to figure out the mystery word!

The missing letter is: V

Do you know what the mystery word is now?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

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.
We have been focusing 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.

Dates to Remember This Month
 February 1 – Roots of Empathy – Baby Visit with Anthony (theme: Caring and Planning for Baby)
 February 2 – Groundhog Day – will you see YOUR shadow today?
 February 2 – Early Learning Program Open House
 February 9 – 100th Day of School! We will have some special numeracy activities to do today.
 February 9 – Term One report cards sent home today
 February 9 Sweater Day – we turn down our thermostat and wear sweaters today to help save energy!
 February 14 – Our classroom celebration of Valentines Day – wear something/anything red and white today, if you would like to participate!
 February 17 Early Release Day
 February 20 – Family Day – enjoy your time together!
 February 21 – 24 Make Change for Kids Week – we will be collecting change this week to help a local charity

The 100th Day of School
We have been counting the days to the 100th day of school since our first day together in September. 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 10).
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

Our Grade One/Two Friends


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. An extra pair OR TWO of socks would be great, too
Reminder to Families
Please try to check your child’s agenda everyday. Sometimes announcements are made in the morning that the office would like us to communicate to the school community using the agendas.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone enjoyed the two week holiday! It is great to be back and ready to start the new year off with some exciting activities. We are also nearing the end of Term One; report cards will be sent home in February.

This month we will continue reading and writing BIOGRAPHIES. The children are currently writing about a friend. Their next task will be to write about a family member. Prepare to be interviewed!
We will resume the “Take-Home Reading program” today. If you have not already done so, please make the commitment to read with your child at home every night. It is the most worthwhile 20 minutes you can spend with your child and the payoff in your child’s reading ability will be tangible! I have already seen the difference – reading and daily practice of the new “word wall words” has had so far this year.
Dates to Remember
Jan. 9 Back to School!
Jan. 20 P.D. Day (no school for students)
Jan. 23 Chinese New Year
Jan. 27 Family Literacy Day
From their website: http://abclifeliteracy.ca/family-literacy-day
All Canadians are invited to take a learning journey for Family Literacy Day 2012. Learning happens everywhere, and it's easy to make learning part of your daily life. Just download the Journey to Learning Passport and complete as many activities as you can leading up to Family Literacy Day on January 27, 2012. You can complete the passport as a family, individually or in groups at a Family Literacy Day event.

Please Help!
I know that once the snow is here that students will be wearing their winter boots outside. In the meantime, please help us keep our classroom clean by sending your child with indoor shoes. Mrs. Vaccaro asked me to remind everyone to bring appropriate footwear on our gym days, too. Gym days are listed on our calendar.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Welcome back tomorrow!

Tomorrow we will be sitting in our new tribes with a slightly different arrangement of classroom furniture.  Even though our Smartboard isn't functional yet (we are still waiting for some essential components and for the computer outlet on the side wall to be activated), I have rearranged our tables and classroom furniture so that our meeting place is in front of the Smartboard. Even though we will be sharing the Smartboard with the other Primary classes, we will probably keep this new arrangement for the duration of the school year.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!