June 30, 2017

September Goals

If you have a child coming in to Grade Three this Fall, all Grade Three teachers ask that students can complete the following tasks on their own before the first day of school:  

  • spell their first and last name
  • know ALL their important phone numbers by heart
  • tie their shoes
  • spell, from memory the words on their "No Excuse" word list found here
  • identify when they've mixed up the letters b and d when writing 
  • count by twos, fives and tens to 100
  • know how to add and subtract single digit numbers 
  • memorize all their doubles addition facts such as (2+2, 3+3, etc. up to 11+11)
  • tell time to the hour   
Of course, there may be circumstances where achieving these goals may not be possible for some children. If this list is too much for your child, parents, we ask that you pick three or four goals for your child to work toward. Please keep in mind, the first four are the essential goals. 

The Grade Three teachers at our school are goal setters, and we believe in order for all students to be successful it's essential to always be working toward a specific target. In addition to the academic success that comes with achieving their learning goals, when we set goals, we teach children about the value of hard work and perseverance and we help them to develop and improve their self-confidence.   

June 28, 2017

Thank you

Your manners.
A sense of humour.
A kind heart. 

Way back in September, on the very first day of school, students learned about the three things they need to bring to school each day, and they never failed to fulfill this responsibility. 

My students are exceptionally polite, they have a great sense of humour and they are among the most compassionate students I've ever met.  

We've had a wonderful year together haven't we? It's been truly a pleasure to teach this group of children and I will treasure my time with them always.  

From making applesauce to the hundredth day of school, from math songs to rescuing a gummy worm from peril, we have shared in so many wonderful times.  We had lots and lots of Fun Fridays, but if we're being honest, everyday was fun, even when we were just reading together or simply getting to know each other.  

Have you seen the collection of Brag Tags the kids brought home last week?  Really look at those.  They speak to our year together. They speak to the reasons saying goodbye is so hard.  

Thank you to all the boys and girls in room 208 for being such a wonderful group of people to spend my day with. And parents, thank YOU for your positive interactions, your sense of humour and your kind heart.  It's been a pleasure working with you all and it is my sincere hope that our paths will cross again someday.  
Have a wonderful summer!  xoxo

June 23, 2017

Fun Friday!

We watched a favourite movie of mine this afternoon as part of our Fun Friday activity.  It's called, "Everyone's Hero" and it's full of positive messages.  I love how this movie encompasses themes we've talked about all year long. It's a great way to end the week and revisit so many of the important touchstones from our year together. 

These include: 
  • don't quit...ever!
  • advocate for yourself
  • sometimes things don't go our way 
  • we all need to be accountable 
  • include others 
  • make our community a better place 
  • no matter how good a person is at sport, skill, or activity, we all need to practice

I also love that this movie references Babe Ruth. We learned a lot about him back in the winter when we read "Swindle" by Gordon Korman.  

Just prior to watching the movie, I gave the kids some remaining resources I had ordered from the Dairy Board to support our review of non-fiction texts. You'll recall the boys and girls are writing their own non-fiction texts in the form of a brochure for a fantasy carnival.  

We had already explored a really great document called "The Plate Mate" a week or so ago as a kind of mentor text, and I was really pleased with how many of the text features and other curriculum expectations we've talked about where right there for the kids to identify in the booklet called "Facts on Snacks". I ended up recording this part of our lesson today and you can watch it below! 

Please also look for your child's Brag Tags, which came home today!  As you can see, everyone has achieved a great many milestones this year!  

June 21, 2017

Mozart and Math Games!

We had such a nice afternoon on Wednesday! First, we closed our eyes, rested our heads and listened to Mozart's Magnificent Voyage.  We learned all about the famous composer by listening to a movie for our minds.  It was brief, but such a nice after lunch activity.

After that, the Mozart music continued and we moved on to different Math games.  It was a great way for everyone to practice their number-sense skills AND play together with a purpose.  It was everything you could hope for in a June afternoon.  

One of our favourite games to play was Farkle! Here's a printable version of the rules and instructions (click here)


June 19, 2017

Directed Drawings!

On Friday, we began a directed drawing self-portrait (I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out how to phrase this. Those four words...still don't think it sounds right). So what's a directed drawing? It's when we give students step-by-step directions about how to draw something. Rather than saying, "ready, set, go!", we break down the steps into smaller, more manageable lines and before you know it, you have a work of art AND you've learned a new skill!  

By teaching children that learning to draw (even digitally) is nothing more than manipulated shapes and lines, we improve their confidence, perseverance and fine motor skills!

Why did we all draw the number 4 on our shirts? Well, it seemed appropriate since that's the grade the gang's headed! 

June 08, 2017

Unit 10 Learning Goals: It's our last Math Unit!

Unit Ten: Patterns in Numbers and Geometry

“In Grades 3-5, students should investigate numerical patterns and geometric patterns and express them mathematically in words and symbols.  They should analyze the structure of the pattern and how it grows and changes, organize this information systematically, and use their analysis to develop generalizations about the mathematical relationships in the pattern.” 

Principals and Standards for School Mathematics, NCTM, 2000

What are the Big Ideas? 
  • Patterns are a regular occurrence in mathematics, and they can be identified, extended and described.
  • Patterns can be described using words, pictures and pattern rules.
  • A table displays positional relationships in patterns and is an important early stage in the development of algebraic thinking and reasoning

How Will the Concepts develop? 

Students explore different number patterns and demonstrate understanding by writing pattern rules, and completing or extending patterns in tables. Students identify, extend and create geometric patterns that show grown, using Pattern Blocks and Colour Tiles. They create patterns by changing two, and then three attributes or figures. Students make and examine patterns on grids, and use a computer to create patterns.  

Why Are These Concepts Important? 

Active exploration of patterning helps students to develop effective reasoning skills. As students gain experience in identifying, describing, extending, and creating patterns, they develop a foundation for meaningful mathematics learning in later grades.  As students investigate patterns, their work is closely connected with other mathematical strands, such as Number Sense and Numeration, and Geometry and Spatial Sense.  

From: Math Makes Sense: Ontario Teacher Guide
Unit 10: Patterns in Numbers and Geometry
Pearson Education Canada

June 01, 2017

I know they're yours, but they feel like mine too.

We have less than a month left together and it's a strange feeling. Sure, I enjoy time to recharge, connect with friends and family and get some work done around my home in the summer, but I love my students and will miss them very much.  

Sometimes after school, I have to rush and get somewhere else. Groceries, appointments, you name it, I'm just like you...the to-do list never ends.  

But other days, like today, I can stick around the room for a while, savor the silence and get some chores of my own done.  If you're really quiet, you can almost hear their voices and the buzzing of activity and giggles.  

When I look around this classroom, I realize what a family we have become. I realize that this room really is just like our home away from home.  
We have a kitchen. 
We have a family room.
We have toys and games and lots of food.  
We have a MASSIVE backyard.  
We have lovely plants, a fridge and as of today, an iron, because well, you just never know.

And like all families, we have our own little inside jokes. We apologize when we make mistakes and we have a sense of humor when our technology is refusing to behave. We have chores to do and routines to follow. We celebrate and eat together. We laugh together and we get quiet together when we're thinking hard about sad things.  We share stories and take care of each other, and we get that some days just stink and we do our best to plug through and try again tomorrow.  

I will miss this little group very much.  I started off saying that I know they are yours, but they really do feel like mine too.  

It's time to go home now; to my other home, so to speak, but I'll be smiling the whole way. And when I tell Mr. M my "happy thing" from today over dinner, as always, it will start with, "Paul, they're just such nice kids."      


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