We shared an amazing year…

Dear students and families of division 2,

My heart is overflowing with a bittersweet happiness and pride today—we shared our last day in class as division 2. I’m so incredibly proud of how far each student has come, and I can see the world is in wonderful hands with these young leaders.

I hope to post more photos and videos over the next few days as I get some time. (Right now we teachers are wrapping up some reporting details and administrative stuff and cleaning, which steals a bit of my focus before I can settle into the fun of sorting through the last things I want to post on this blog. Please check back here next week for more.)

Yet, first, I must say an enormous THANK YOU! Thank you for the thoughtful cards, gifts, gift cards and moments of connection that were so special this week. I was so moved by the lovely video the class created for me—and I am going to have a luxurious time with my over the top generous gift card for Charelli’s. Students, you know I love cheese—so what a perfect group gift.

My own inquiry as a teacher this year grew from the questions of “What makes me feel seen?” and “How can I help my students and colleagues feel seen?” I’ve been reflecting, having conversations with folks, trying to find new and meaningful ways to help those in my life truly feel understood and appreciated. This the gift the world needs right now. So I asked my grade 4/5 students on the last day of class if they wanted to do one last philosophical dialogue. Here are the powerful words they shared.

There is more to say, but for now—if you are feeling a little bit nostalgic or even sad that the year is over, please remember that nothing can erase the powerful imprint we have had on one another’s hearts and minds. We grew together this year as a “wolf pack” and in a way we are an extended family. Always feel free to reach out to me by email or social media and know that I am cheering you on!

Math lately…

Hello, division 2!

What’s been going on Math? Since wrapping up our data and graphing units, we’ve been enjoying exploring probability and geometry. Students have been creating fun math games too. Our math enrichment has focussed on advanced probability (see video below), more advanced tangrams puzzles, and independent math projects.

Adding to our math learning and study tools, we’ve also explored how to find math teaching videos online and how writing and singing math songs helps encode deeper understanding and promote retention of concepts. Here is a link to “The Transformations Song” by Numberock, which is about translations, rotations, reflections, and dilations: https://youtu.be/gOLO6F7twS0

Chair Design, PIP, etc…

Hello, division 2 families!

Our class continues to have fun making “Time Traveller’s Trading Cards”, and as well, we have ramped up the work on our Personal Interest Projects!

We will have our TIME TRAVELLER’S TEA PARTY on Friday, June 17th! This is a nice time to relax with some (caffeine-free) hot or cold herbal or berry tea and chat with one another about all we have learned during our “travels” with our classroom time machine.

Looking back on this week, we enjoyed some more time with our “little buddies” in Mr. Cairns class. This week the buddies worked together on an ADST challenge to design and build a new chair for “baby bear” from the Goldilocks story.

We’ve wrapped up our money unit and data and graphing unit and will spend the remaining math blocks of the year enjoying more geometry and some new probability activities. Students who have invented math games will be sharing those next week too.

In P.E., we are focussing on running through our favourite activities at least a couple more times before the end of the year.

A nice surprise today was when Mr. Hansen came by to share a thought provoking literacy lesson on a book he read to us, “The Shrinking of Treehorn”.

Cheese, Bonsai & Responding to Peer Pressure

Hello, parents/guardians!

*Please let me know if you are a grade 4 parent/guardian who call join our June 21st beach day as a supervisor. We would love to have you with us!

Today in math we reviewed our learning in preparation for our data and graphing assessment tomorrow. As well, we practiced some more calculations with money.

We also enjoyed a read aloud of “The Peace Tree from Hiroshima” and followed up our Social Studies learning around the history of human rights violations in Canada, such as Japanese interment camps.

Combining learning goals in Physical Heath Education and Career Education, we explored more about making healthy choices and identifying and standing up to harmful forms of peer pressure. Students considered stories and brainstormed what to do when faced with various forms of peer pressure.

Our reading strategies lesson in the afternoon focussed on how to improve comprehension of higher level texts, using retellings of the history and invention of cheese and another text about the invention of ice cream. We reviewed the importance of identifying new vocabulary words and trying to understand their meanings from context clues and from using a dictionary. We practiced reading aloud with expression and fluency, placing emphasis on specific words to enhance meaning. Two new words for us today were “patent” and “rennet”.

As well, we continued with the research and art making required for our Time Traveller’s Trading Cards project. The cards are coming along so nicely and look amazing!

Geology, Human Rights & Time Travel Trading Cards…

Hi, Division 2 families!

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful geology lesson presented by Science Venture! The students identified rocks based on their properties, and also played a game identifying and extracting “minerals” for play money. It was lots of fun and a great cross-curricular connection with our recent math learning!

Today, after exploring the topics of futuristic cars and leopards in our Language Arts reading comprehension activity, students were challenges to invent their own math games using play money.

In the afternoon, we learned some more about the history of human rights violations in Canada, specifically related to Japanese internment camps. Students heard the stories from this source: https://humanrights.ca/story/japanese-canadian-internment-and-the-struggle-for-redress

As well, we learned about the history of Canada’s first Japanese Garden and Tea House in Esquimalt and how the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is advancing an initiative to restore this site, which had been destroyed during WWII. https://www.vncs.ca/tea-house-initiative/

We also spent some more time creating “Time Travellers’ Trading Cards”. Here is some more information and a sneak peek at the project. We have discussed the importance of ensuring historical accuracy and being culturally aware and making appropriate illustration choices.

Portals & Money…

Happy Wednesday, Division 2 families!

Check out these fantastic portals to different places, times and dimensions…

Hearing students explain their creative choices and where they would like to travel had been wonderful.

As well, here is a peak at the math we have been exploring. This morning I told the students that they would “find a few hundred dollars on each desk”. I invited them to get to know the features of the currency, add it up, and create a multi-question “math story” about the money. The students were so excited to make deals and buy and sell things. It was fun to see their joy in the play of striking it rich. Hahah!

Author-Illustrator Visit: Carol McDougall

Hello, Division 2!

Our class enjoyed an extra special presentation and art lesson on the afternoon of Friday, May 13th. Carol McDougall, the award-winning author-illustrator of A Salmon’s Sky View, kindly joined our class to share a preview of her beautiful forthcoming book, Jellies in the Belly: A Sea Turtle’s Atlantic Adventure!

Carol read her wonderful story and shared her beautiful watercolour paintings with students, and then revealed her painting secrets! Students were then supported in creating their own underwater scenes featuring sea turtles and jellyfish.

This rich lesson was a meaningful way to celebrate and extend research we began on sea turtles—and it was truly inspiring to learn about Carol’s creative process. Thank you so much for generosity, Carol! Your teaching

Learning in the Sunshine…

Hello, division 2 families!

It’s been a whirlwind of sunshine-infused learning and adventure lately! See below for a little glimpse into our fun. We have now wrapped up our Fractions and Decimals units, and are working through our units on Perimeter and Area as well as Money and Financial Literacy.

Ultimate Frisbee Lessons!
Introducing our class pet, Raven!

Time Travel, Story Writing, etc.

Happy long weekend, division 2! Here are some recent highlights from our classroom. We have put up a new bulletin board of “Collaborative Sci-Fi Story Writing”.

This display showcases the results of a creative writing exercise where students wrote a compelling first line of a story with a time traveling theme or science fiction elements. Then they passed the story on to another student to write the second line, and so on. After about 10 lines added by different people, the students received the stories they started so they could wrote a conclusion and title for them. Students had the board creative license to make changes as they saw fit. The results were amazing! See below.

We have been asking great questions and learning new vocabulary and related science concepts (tesseract, hypercube, spacetime, dimension, black hole, wormhole, spaghettification, grandfather paradox, cosmology, speed of light, etc.). We have also watched some videos by physicists, including Carl Sagan, Brian Greene, and Neil DeGrass Tyson.

An inquiry question we’ve explored in our fiction writing unit is “What makes an excellent opening line?” I presented students with over 30 opening lines of famous novels widely acknowledged for having strong first lines. I asked students to analyze and discuss the merits of these exemplars and then to us them as inspirational frameworks for creating their own compelling opening lines.

After this practice, I invited students to submit as many entries as they would like to our own “GREAT FIRST LINE CONTEST”. The entries were wonderfully diverse and intriguing, as you can see below…

Each student cast votes for their top 5 favourite lines and the “People’s Choice” winners were tallied and announced as below…

In Art and ADST class, students have been designing fun model time machines and working to improve their drawing skills by practicing creating unique natural textures using just pencil, eraser and a smudger (Q-Tip.)

In math, we are continuing to explore our unit on fractions, decimals, and money. We had a formative assessment on Monday—it was great to see such excellent growth in understanding in just 2 weeks! Thank you to students who continue to take home their math duotang regularly for review at home. I hope those flash cards I sent home with you have been not only helpful, but also maybe even a bit fun! We have been doing lots of whole class and small group review, and emphasizing strategies for solving word problems. Remember to slow down to really READ what each question is asking, UNDERLINE key words/numbers, make note of what UNIT is being used, and WRITE YOUR ANSWER AS A COMPLETE SENTENCE including any units of measurement or dollar signs needed, etc.

COMING SOON: We will be creating our own graphic novels!

Welcome back!

Hello, division 2 families!

We are back from Spring Break and having fun in our new cross-curricular unit on the theme of TIME TRAVEL! There are so many fun surprises in store. More will be revealed on the blog in the coming weeks.

Did you know that Stephen Hawking once hosted a party for Time Travellers? Here is a video we watched about that: https://youtu.be/elah3i_WiFI Our class will be hosting our own TIME TRAVELLERS TEA PARTY at the end of term. The fun costumes we make will be wondrous and the conversations we share about our travels in space-time will be riveting.

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy these sensational self-portraits and “I Am” poems that employ powerful figurative language…