December 18, 2013

Oh to be 8 again!

We had a wonderful day today! The boys and girls enjoyed our Christmas party where we played some silly games, decorated cake and enjoyed some time with their friends.  And then, this afternoon, we all headed down to the Gym for a wonderful presentation by some of the children in Grades 2,5 and 6. They presented the Christmas Story and the highlight of the play was the fact that baby Jesus was a REAL baby! Congratulations to my colleagues on a wonderful job!  

Once again, we had a guest photographer for our party. Have a look at the photos here. Don't you wish you were in Grade Three again?  

December 17, 2013

A whole lotta cute!

We finished our Christmas craft today and they're just as cute as the kids that made them! 
Have a look at the photos right here!  

December 16, 2013

Monday Funnies

Mrs. M's desk: 8:40 am (five minutes before the kids arrive) 

Mrs. M's desk:  8:50 am (five minutes after the kids arrive) 

New Photos!

We have new photos to share from Week 15! I asked a student to be the "guest photographer" and I think she did a great job!  

Week 15 photos

Week 16: It's here already?

Can you believe we're here already? Week 16: how is this possible? Even though reports and interviews have come and gone, it seems hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is here.  
This is probably my favourite week of the year.  The kids are so, so excited and we can put all the heavy-duty stuff on hold. Sure, we're still working hard, but we're working on super-fun stuff, like writing about Mrs. Claus and talking about family traditions and we're doing fun arts and crafts!  
Wednesday is our class party and it'll be a ball! We're going to have a few goodies, play some games and just spend time together.  It's cozy, it's fun, it's so good!  

December 13, 2013

A teacher to us all...

Oh boy. 
Here we go.  
It was December of 1998.  I had just graduated from Teacher's College and was very pleased to be getting lots of experience as a supply teacher. I was covering for a French teacher at Holy Family School and was to be there for 3 days. 

Here's how a conversation went in the French office, shortly after I arrived.  

Me:  Hi, I'm Patti.
Other teacher: Hi I'm _____.  
Me:  I'm here for three days for Madame Soandso.

OT: Great.  Let me know if you need any help. 
Me: Thanks.
OT: Did you just graduated from teacher's college? 
ME: Yes, Queens.  
OT: What area?
Me: Primary/Junior
OT: You need to see Mrs. Cekota.  She's the most incredible teacher I know. While you're here, make sure you stop in to visit with her.  

I make a point to visit Mrs. Cekota and carry on with my day. I go to the Staff Room at lunch that first day and I see this woman, sitting at the table, cheerfully chatting with everyone. She's so warm, friendly and personable. I knew it was Mrs. Cekota. I was too shy to interrupt and introduce I listened, real close.  

That was how many years ago? That's Mrs. Cekota, you see.  You know her before you even meet her. Not only does her reputation as an outstanding educator precede her, but just by observing her interactions with others, you can quickly figure out that she is someone special. 

Being around Mrs. Cekota fills you with the kind of warmth you get from watching a child open that much longed-for Christmas gift. You feel warm and fuzzy when you're with Mrs. Cekota. 

Of course, I went to her room that day and saw the most wonderful learning environment one can imagine. It was a young student's paradise. Mrs. Cekota doesn't know I was in there...I snooped...for a while. I'm not sure where she was when I popped in but I got to have a real good look around. I made all kinds of mental notes about what my first classroom would look like!  

Mrs. Cekota is retiring this month and our school won't be the same. She has made a difference in the lives of hundreds and hundreds of children and adults, and it's hard to find the words to express my gratitude for her kindness, guidance and example.  

Mrs. Cekota is old school good.  New teachers have all kinds of new skills to bring to our profession, but Mrs. Cekota started teaching in a different time. She couldn't rely on google for a lesson plan or pinterest for an art activity. She wrote the book on being a creative teacher.  She really did.  

You should also know that if you ever go to Tim Horton's and they tell you they've run out of gift cards, it's because of Mrs. Cekota. She is the most gracious and thoughtful person. Twice I purposely chose her name in the Staff Secret Santa as a way to pay her back for all the Horton's gift cards she's given me over the years.  

This is what she does: you lend her a book, she buys you a gift card to thank you. You give her some pom-poms for a craft, she buys you a gift card to thank you. It's no secret...she does this for everyone. She's Mrs Cekota. 

You know how they say you may not remember what people wore or what they said but you always remember how they made you feel? Mrs. Cekota makes me feel like a million bucks. She makes me feel like the best teacher on the planet.  

She's Mrs. Cekota. 
She's incredible. 
I'm going to miss her like crazy.  

December 11, 2013

Oh Mrs. Claus, you fun lovin' gal!

See, this is what you miss when you're not in Room 208.  Did you know that on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Claus is one busy gal?  

I gave the boys and girls a procedural writing assignment this morning. The question was: What does Mrs. C do on Christmas Eve?  

We've been working so hard on paragraph writing, it was time do have some extra special fun! Mrs. C is very busy on Christmas Eve! You should hear about some of the things she does! I read every child's idea web today and my oh my, what a talented and busy lady she is.  She entertains the reindeer, makes turkeys and pies, plays chess and even manages to squeeze in some shopping, all on December 24th!   

Students will bring home their paragraphs to share around the Christmas dinner table in a few days. I'm sure everyone will be entertained!  

It's Poll Time Again!

Please take a moment to vote in our latest poll!  Do you think Santa has a cellphone?  
The results were split in our class! We want to know what you think! 

Where's the extra homework?

On Friday, students were asked to complete an extra practice problem from the blog. Not everyone was able to get to it, so I reassigned it on Tuesday night. A number of folks were unable to find it last night. 

The post has been bumped to the second page of the blog. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, click on "older posts" and it'll be there.  

I guess when you have as much to say as I do, things move from first page to second page pretty fast! :D 

Good readers notice things

Is this a good idea? 
Should I really be blogging about something that I haven't done with the kids yet? Surely there is something I need to be photo copying before the kids get here!

Well, I have a few minutes this morning, so I'm going to share with you what we'll be discussing in the Morning Message today.  Good readers notice things (notice the double "s" in the photo below. Let's see if the kids spot it!) 

Good readers know when a story falls off the rails. They pay attention to their own comprehension. They don't just read words, they connect them and create meaning.  When they can't make meaning, they go back and re-read to find where things fell apart. 

I wrote this little paragraph in the photo this morning and I'm going to ask the kids where their comprehension broke down so that we can talk about the importance of doing a self-check while reading to make we understand the text. I also want to demonstrate for them how we go back and look for the precise spot where it broke down. 

It should be interesting!  I purposely made the weird words in the story easy to break into chunks so that kids could use their decoding skills to figure out how to say them.

Let's see how they do!

Wait...spell check didn't highlight "combatulator". Is that a real thing???  

December 10, 2013

Two stars and a wish

The boys and girls participated in a really important activity this morning. We all have one of those friends we can count on for honesty. They're special to us because they can tell us what we need to hear and not necessarily what we want to hear.  We appreciate them for the tact and compassion they show when they provide constructive feedback. 

Today, students were that friend to one another. Each child was given another child's assignment to review. Students were asked to provide "two stars and a wish". They had to state two things their classmate did really well and the wish was something the child might want to consider next time.  

Everyone worked very, very hard on this. We've been talking a lot lately about being tactful and oh, how proud you would have been to read the care and thought that was put in to this task. Even when giving suggestions for next steps, students still added plusses such as, "You're awesome at drawing by the way." It was a very heart-warming experience.  

Children were asked to consider the descriptive feedback they've received from me in the past.  They were reminded to consider their own printing when suggesting their classmate print neater, if their suggestion was that the child make sure the no-excuse words were spelled correctly, they'd want to make sure they to were doing this too when filling in their form (see photo). 

Then, the students were asked to meet with each other and review the feedback. It was so important that they sit down with each other and explain their rationale for the comments and have a bit of a peer review session. 

This is the direction that education is going and to see children so young engaging in such accountable discussion was remarkable. Everyone learns (and wins) with rich activities such as this. 


December 09, 2013

Unit Three Math Test (study guide)

We're having our Unit Three Math test on Thursday. I've attached the study guide that that will help students to prepare for this test. This will not be a hard test for the boys and girls and we will do plenty of review in class. 

If all tasks on the study guide can be completed independently, then students should be very successful on this test. 

Geometry test study guide

December 07, 2013

New Photos!

We have lots of things to show you from the last two weeks! Have a look at what we've been up to!
You'll see photos of us working on our Snow Bear art, our Word Party and even a special event that a student of our's generously participated in! 

Photos from Weeks 13 and 14

Our Word Party was a real hit!

It was so much fun walking around the room and listening to the boys and girls so confidently introduce themselves and share their word's meaning.  

After the party, we had a bit of a "quiz" (not a real one, just Q and A) about the words and everyone did a great job! We now have nine new words in our vocabulary. We think the toughest one to incorporate on a regular basis would be the word rustic.  Perhaps we'll get some mileage out of that one during our Pioneer unit! 

Extra Practice Problem!

The data from our survey shows that 52 people voted. It also shows: 

  • 18 people chose shopping
  • 7 people chose skiing
  • 27 people chose at home with a bag of chips
Here is your challenge: 
You must keep chips in first place, shopping in second and skiing in third.  What are some different ways the results could work still using 52 voters, but changing up the data itself?  

If your parents give you permission, you can write your answer in the comments box below or, if you prefer, you can write it in your agenda.  

December 05, 2013

And now the news...a Math update!

Today in Math, we talked all about three dimensional shapes. We learned about edges, vertices and faces. We learned that some shapes have a base, which is also a face.  We learned that the base is the shape's...ahem, "bottom". 

We learned a great trick to help us remember the difference between a pyramid and a prism. Have a look at the photos below. This is a tricky one and I hope that my little tool will help the kids to decipher between the two.


What's the meaning of this?

We learned how to use a dictionary today!  
As preparation for tomorrow's meet and mingle Word Party, the boys and girls had to look up the meaning of their new name. We also reviewed the following skills: 

  • making eye-contact when we shake hands
  • how we shake hands (even though we do it every morning) 
  • how we introduce ourselves and tell a little about ourselves (in this case, students will share their new name and its meaning) 
  • how we behave at "mingle"-type parties 

You'll find out their temporary new names tonight when you sign the agenda! 

December 04, 2013

We're having a party!!!

We're having a party! On Friday, the boys and girls are changing their names for the afternoon. I know! What on earth could I mean? How long did it take you to choose your child's name and I just waltz on in and change it!  

We'll have punch and cookies and get to know each other's new names, just like a real party! 

Everyone will receive their new name on Thursday and it's going to be so much fun! 

Don't tell the kids but it's also going to be highly educational.  
They'll get their old names back by 3:20, I'm promise. ;)  

December 03, 2013

The General Store

Today we combined two subjects! 
After reading The Hockey Sweater on Monday, the boys and girls learned about how the mother in the story preferred to buy her family's clothes from the Eaton's catalogue and not the General Store.  

Of course, one of the most popular and useful buildings in the pioneer village was indeed the General Store.  So we jumped a little ahead in our Social Studies unit today to learn all about this multi-functional building in the community.  

Instead of writing in their Learning Journal, the boys and girls began a paragraph about the General Store using the steps they've learned as part of our Creative Writing unit.  

We began with an idea web, where students had to write 5-7 ideas and then from there, choose their top 3-4 and begin their paragraphs. The paragraph also had to include a "plus" (see the photo below).  

We'll pick up where we left off in Social Studies a week or so ago. If I remember correctly, we were just about to learn about the Beaver War.  I just couldn't resist this opportunity to tell the boys and girls all about the General Store and have them exercise their paragraph writing skills.  


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