May 30, 2014

A Sunny Fun-Friday!

We had a wonderful day today! 
The boys and girls wrote beautiful cinquain poems about summer, enjoyed a refreshing summer punch and had a sunny art lesson this afternoon!  

Check out the photos from our afternoon! You'll love the hilarious contrast between the boys' art and the girls'. I knew that my students would take this cute activity and make it their own!  

New Photos! Click here!

May 26, 2014

How to do comparative writing (7 Steps)

We reviewed the seven steps to comparative writing today. Here's the video that the students watched back when the concept was first introduced. 

May 23, 2014

Two more days!

Everyone in Room 208 is working very hard getting ready for EQAO on Tuesday. The great thing about preparing for the booklets is that students are revisiting so many important skills that will help them to be successful in future grades. 

This week, we've really focused on the following: 

  • the difference between you're/your
  • memorizing our parts of speech song 
  • the pros and cons of gist answers
  • the importance of knowing how to tell time
  • the importance of knowing how to correctly identify 45 minutes after the hour (many children get the hour itself wrong) 
  • ways writers use words to create mood and visual imagery for their readers 
  • the importance of proofreading our work
  • spinners and probability 
  • why a quiet work space is essential and that mouth sounds or tapping are distracting to others 
  • the importance of using all available resources to be successful 
  • you are what you eat, so be sure to eat a good breakfast and pack a healthy lunch always! 
We're in great shape for Tuesday and I'm thrilled that my students have learned so many skills that I hope will assist them next year in their studies.  

May 22, 2014

An important talk today

We had an important discussion this afternoon about friendship and showing respect for others. 

To address a couple of playground issues that have arose, we  talked specifically about the following: 

  • only teachers are in charge of "clubs" at school
  • students are not permitted to form recess clubs where another student is in charge of who can join and who can not 
  • we use kind words that demonstrate our love for God and respect for the dignity of all students
  • we don't name-call 
  • when adults don't intervene and help resolve problems or situations that upset children at a young age, they can become bigger problems as they get older 
  • students understand they are to come to me right away if they feel they are not being treated with the respect and kindness they deserve 

Socializing and forming meaningful friendships is essential to every child's well-being and it is important that as teachers, we do everything we can to set children up for success, especially in later grades.  

May 21, 2014

Wow! What an afternoon!

We had a visitor to our school this afternoon! Racer Dave Connelly came to visit and brought his awesome racing car to show the boys and girls! 

May 20, 2014

New novel!

We finished reading Wonder last Friday and it was a great way to cap off another terrific week in our class. It's such a special story about a very inspiring character, I hope my students will revisit it when they are older. 

After we have a few moments to discuss the finished novel, the boys and girls are always excited to learn the name of our next literary adventure. 

We've begun Rump by Liesl Shurtliff and boy, did it ever grab our attention! The first paragraph did what all great writing should do: evoke a response from the readers. What a wonderful teachable moment for my students! 

The first sentence was hysterical! We were wiping tears from our eyes from laughing so hard! And then, we got to the end of that paragraph and we were silent.  What a shock. Talk about a roller coaster of a opening.  I won't spoil it for you in case you want to read the novel yourself. 

I think we've got a real winner on our hands here. I am anticipating that this will be the final novel we read as a class, so I hope my students treasure these last five weeks of Evening Meetings together as much as I do.  

Fuel for EQAO!

Students begin writing EQAO on Tuesday May 27th! High-quality fuel for the three day assessment will be essential.  

We have talked at length this year about the role good nutrition plays in not only our academic performance, but our overall well-being.  

May 16, 2014

Exploring Patterns

Our first few lessons in Unit 10 are all about learning how to describe patterns.  

Here is a poster I made for the class. Students are asked to familiarize themselves with the different aspects of it.  

There are four things to consider when looking at a pattern:  
  • What pattern do you see?
  • What's one way to describe the pattern? 
  • Can you describe the pattern in another way? 
  • What are the next three terms in the pattern? (terms are parts) 

"And so on"  We call this the "phrase that pays" because for many children, they simply (and understandably) don't know how to explain that a pattern continues on and on. So for example, a child could write something like: "The pattern rule is: add 1, then add 2, then add 3 and so on." and that would work perfectly.

This phrase can also be used to describe picture patterns like the one in the poster. 

The "core" of the pattern is the parts of pattern that repeat.  In this case, it's yelling guy with a blue bow tie and kid with teeth.  

May 15, 2014

6 Days to go!

We are working very hard to get ready for our booklets!  We have six school days to go until we begin writing and we're right on track! We have one quick Math unit to complete and in Language Arts, we're in review mode.  

We're reviewing all the different types of writing formats we've explored this year:

  • Reading Response With Evidence (RRWE) questions
  • Reading Response With Evidence Plus (RRWEP) questions
  • letter writing
  • procedural writing
  • comparative writing 
  • narrative writing 

We are also continuing to learn our "Parts of Speech" song and reviewing things such as: 

  • how to use quotation marks
  • the importance of stating our purpose for writing
  • proofreading our work with a whisper-phone to make sure it makes sense before we call it "done" 
D is proofreading using a whisper-phone made by
Mr. M with plumbing-pipe stuff from Home Depot! 

May 14, 2014

Today's Math Test

I took a quick look at a few key questions on today's Math test and one area where we would benefit from further practice is solving perimeter problems with a missing measurement.   

To help with this, we're going to practice these types of problems on Thursday. We'll then have a quick-quiz in the near future, but in the meantime, would you please ask your child to watch this video to help refresh their skills? 


Hooray! Kristen is Coming!

Unfortunately, Kristen will not be able to join us on Thursday after all, but we are planning for a June visit to Room 208!  I'm looking forward to introducing her to my wonderful students.  

My dear friend, Kristen Cameron is coming to visit our class on Thursday! I can't wait for all the boys and girls to meet her and her wonderful dog, Fido.  

Kristen is a very special person with an important message to share.  She is not only a terrific friend to everyone she meets, but she inspires us all to be courageous, strong and to never give up on your dreams.  

I'm so thrilled that she is able to find time in her busy schedule to visit the terrific kids in Room 208!

7 Days to go!

A few things we've been talking about over the last couple of days that could be added to that checklist I sent home last week: 

  • students should be very confident in telling time (especially when it comes to identifying the :45 times -e.g. 10:45, 9:45, etc.) This is a very tricky time for children to identify correctly and practice with this would be beneficial. 

  • students should be able to identify a fair and unfair game spinner

  • the mode of data is the number that appears most often in the data (e.g. 3, 4, 5, 7, ,3, 4, 4 the mode of this set of data is 4 because it appears most often)

  • we've also been talking a lot about process of elimination when completing multiple choice questions

  • multiple choice questions: check the remaining options when the first option is the answer. This means when "A" is your answer, be sure to check B, C, and D to be sure you're answer is the most correct

  • we're also focusing on the difference between "you're" and "your"  (you're = you are and your = belongs to someone)


May 13, 2014

Tonight's Practice Page

We're focusing on story writing and features of a poem this week.  Tonight's Practice Page is a question based on a poem from an earlier EQAO assessment. 

We've talked about how this particular question is a tricky one.  Students know that they'll need to provide evidence from the text to support their idea.  

We've talked a lot this year about "making your point" and how sometimes an author will find creative ways to do this.

Here are some of the ways we've discussed: 

  • they use italics like this: I am very happy.
  • they use bold text like this: I am very happy. 
  • they use all uppercase letters like this:  I am VERY happy 
  • they'll use persuasive language or questions (e.g. Don't you want to be as happy as me?) 
  • in a poem, an author might repeat phrases throughout the poem to bring your attention back to "their point" 
  • they might use punctuation to make their point by writing one or two word sentences: such as: I am. Very. Happy. 

May 12, 2014

EQAO Reminder

Just a reminder that the boys and girls are writing EQAO from Tuesday May 27 to Thursday May 29. 

Please do not schedule appointments or other events during this time.  

Please bring your child to school on time, with a very full, nutritious lunch.  

Let's "talk" (in our stories!)

We are continuing to focus this week on story-writing. Our goal is to have our stories completed and ready for sharing on Friday. 

The boys and girls have learned about adding dialogue to their stories using a method I call "said/replied/said". 

I've explained to the students that it's the perfect starting point for new creative writers. As they become more confident, they can branch out and change "said" and possibly even "replied" to all kinds of other, more expressive words. At this stage in their writing careers, it's important to have a good foundation and be able to do the following:

  • use quotation marks correctly 
  • understand that characters don't just "say" things to each other, they also reply to one another 
  • most stories include interesting dialogue that moves the plot along (we don't just have characters talking for the sake of talking)

That's a lot for kids to take in and demonstrate, which is why I created a type of formula to assist with this.  Once the boys and girls master this approach, they know they are welcome to switch things up a bit in terms of the dialogue format.

I like using the formula approach in many aspects of my instruction because I feel as though it makes success within reach for all students.  

May 10, 2014

Thank You

Today marks the end of "Teacher Appreciation Week" in Canada and the United States and I want to take this opportunity to thank the parents and families of Room 208 for your support and kindness not only this week, but all year long. 

Teaching is a wonderfully rewarding and challenging job. I'm never,ever bored and always looking for ways to make each year better than the last. 

We're like a little family in Room 208 with our own inside jokes and fun ways of gettin' it done. From the child that independently took on the job of being "head pillow arranger" to the child who all on her own decided that she'll be in charge of putting the left over milk in my fridge, we really are like a little family.  

We take care of each other. 

Just like our students, teachers come to school after having a rough start to the day, a lousy sleep or a forgotten lunch. Sometimes we too need a hug from a friend, a shoulder to lean on or a special treat to brighten our day. 

Whenever I arrive to school needing a bit of a boost, I receive that in the warmth and enthusiasm of your children. They're "my kids" for the day and my day is always brightened immediately when I stand at my door and shake their little hands as the enter the class.

My hope is that when your children come to see me each morning they too feel lifted, loved and cherished. 

I hope they too feel appreciated every day because I certainly do.  

May 08, 2014

Regarding Tonight...

Good news!
The kids don't have to sing the song that accompanies our dance after all. A last minute change was made and that's a-okay by me!

I'm having the kids leave their costumes here after school, so they're ready to go for tonight's performance. 

Popcorn will be for sale for $1.00 a bag at intermission tonight. Students are not permitted to leave the classroom to go buy popcorn. Since our performance is after the intermission, I would prefer it if parents did not purchase popcorn for their child and bring it up to class. 

Come on up at intermission for hugs and kisses but I'm thinking that popcorn, mixed with pre-performance jitters might lead to upset tummies.  

Please have your child in the classroom between 6:30 and 6:45. The play begins at 7:00 sharp.  I know that the best seats go quickly, so be sure to arrive early!  

May 06, 2014

Little Mermaid Update!

So exciting!!!
Students will need to bring their costumes (white, long-sleeved t-shirt/blouse and black shorts) on Thursday, but they're welcome to bring them early to store here at school on Wednesday. 

That was fun!

Thank you so much to the parents and guests that were able to join us this morning for Morning Message. Aside from a sniffling teacher, that's pretty much how each morning goes in Room 208! Great way to start the day isn't it? 

We begin our day with a look at what we'll learn that day, have an engaging discussion, review a few skills, read our Poem of the Week and then read a storybook.  

It's a realy nice, predictable routine that gives me plenty of room for creativity, but still allows the boys and girls to enter the classroom with confidence, knowing what to expect from their morning.  

I feel as though as long as we do Morning Message, the day goes smoothly. On those rare days where we don't do some kind of MM, I feel like we're all "off". 

Don't you love the level of participation? The quality of responses? And can we take a moment to appreciate the way the children transition from one activity to another? The way they get out their slates quietly and quickly, move from their seats to the carpet and back again?This helps us to make the most of our learning time and I'm sure it's why we are able to accomplish so much each day.

May 05, 2014

The Story-Writing Process

We brainstormed all the different key parts of a story and came up with this chart. 
The boys and girls are also learning about the types of conflict in a story to help them as both readers and writers. 

The Three Types of Conflict are: 

  • person against person
  • person against nature
  • person against self
We have enjoyed reflecting back on stories we've read together over the year and identifying the type of conflict.  

Now that we've mastered the art of "how to do dialogue" in the story, it's time for us to move on to actually writing a story. 

We'll use a story-planner based on a method I call "HCP"(hook, characters, problem").
I also created the graphic organizer pictured below assist my students with this planning process.

Tomorrow, we'll begin working on our planning and learn all about "HCP". 

May 02, 2014

Now that's what I call a funny twist!

We've talked about "the funny twist" all week and this one takes the prize! 

Parents, would you please share this story with your child and talk about how life, just like the stories we read, is full of unexpected twists? 


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