Powerful, New Salish Sea Poetry!

Hello, division 4 families!

We are all so proud to present to you this Salish Sea COLLABORATIVE POEM, created by all of the students in our class.

Our Collaborative Poem

Our process was this: (1.) We reflected on photos taken during our Salish Sea field trip, each student writing a line of poetry for each photo, (2.) we gathered up all lines of poetry and silently “voted up” lines that stood out as especially powerful, (3.) Ms. Poirier did some final rearranging behind the scenes to ensure every child had a poetry line included, and then (4.) we audio-recorded a performance of the poem and set it to a slide show.

After writing this collaborative poem, each student still had a pile of beautiful, unused lines of poetry left over! So each student then combined their leftover lines and did some final finessing to create their own individual final “best Salish Sea poem” of the term. Please enjoy these wonderful poetic works…

Perimeter, Word Collecting & Playwriting

Hello, division 4 families!

Today we began a new Math unit using perimeter. Here are two videos that introduces the concept.

In Language Arts, we enjoyed reading aloud the book, “The Boy Who Loved Words”, by Roni Schotter and Giselle Potter. Then students went on a hunt for their own delicious words to use in their own creative writing. Then students sorted the words according to their own categories. Today’s challenge was to work as a small group and incorporate the new vocabulary work into a script for a play to perform for the class.


Happy Friday, division 4 families!

We had another big week of learning and creating! Students have been working hard in math to learn long division—and we have our final division unit quiz next Thursday, March 2nd. There were new light bulbs going on for so many students today—practice is making a difference! Thank you for your support, parents/guardians!

Seeing the students so excited to research their chosen biomes is a joy—and the cross pollination of diorama-making ideas and strategies is magic! Today we brought out plasticine, paints, cardboard, nature bits, and other found objects to experiment with.

Tiny little beautiful little worlds are popping up everywhere in class now…along with a few fun bonus side sculptural projects.

More Long Division & Bus Stuff!

Hello, division 4 families!

We continued with long division today, and I want to offer acknowledgement and congratulations because I could see a good number of students who made a huge transformation in their understanding—a lot of that success is due to the extra practice they did at home last night! I’m so proud of you!

Here are two more videos that may be helpful in practice—it’s useful to hear different educators ways of explaining a concept!

Today we also enjoyed a special presentation by BC Transit to learn about bus riding etiquette and safety. Children ages 12 and under ride the bus system FREE! Ask your children what else they learned today!

Black History & Black Futures

Hello, division 4!

What do you know about Black History Month and what connections can you make? In today’s blog post you can see some of the videos and resources we have been exploring…

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of Canada’s black community. This is also a time to think about contemporary black experiences and also focus on supporting black futures. Please see this link for a STATSCAN article and also watch the video below…

There are so many inspiring stories of black Canadians who demonstrated courage and excellence and made important contributions that shaped our country and world.

Click here for an interactive map of 23 black Canadians who made major contributions to Canada’s culture and legacy: https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/black-history-month/

Keep researching and being inspired!

THINK & SHARE: What information would you like to see added to this blog post’s list of videos and resources for Black History Month?

Today we watched Martin Luther King Jr.’s entire “ I have a dream speech”, pausing along the way to discuss and explain some historical references and rhetorical devices he used to communicate his moving message. Students were invited to reflect together afterwards.

Long Division

Hello, division 4 families!

Today in Math class we reviewed the concept of division, including the method we have been using called “Easy Multiples of the Divisor”. Then, I introduced the traditional “long division” method and we practiced using it to solve questions together. Long division will be our focus for the next two weeks.

HOMEWORK: Please ask your children how they are feeling about the traditional long division method. For students who are not feeling confident with it yet, I recommend they watch this Long Division Tutorial at home this evening if possible.

Is math homework necessary? Shouldn’t my child be able to learn this stuff at school? Ample time is provided for students to learn and practice each new math concept. However, there can be many factors pulling children’s focus and preventing them from learning more complex concepts in a classroom setting in a timely manner. And every child has a different level of ability to self-regulate at school. Thank you for understanding that your child may not be feeling able to focus at school, and so review and re-teaching at home may be necessary if they are to learn the concepts. Making these math tutorials is my way to help send the teaching home because I know parents’/guardians’ time may be limited and getting outside tutoring is not an option for all families. Certainly, students who practice their math at home regularly are the students who see the most growth and success in math. When I was a child, I remember I did not grasp long division as it was taught at school, and it all finally made sense to me when my mom helped me through it. Thank you so much for encouraging your child to practice division skills at home.

Project: Biome Dioramas & Presentations

Hello, division 4 families!

This week, our students began their in-depth research on biomes. What is a biome? Please watch the video below…

Biomes are regions of the world with similar climate (weather, temperature) animals and plants. There are terrestrial biomes (land) and aquatic biomes, both freshwater and marine. Watch the video to learn more specifics…

As a class, we have been learning about the plants, animal life, geographical features, and climate of the Salish Sea region. This instruction modelled for students skills and resources they can use for their own investigations into other regions.

Over the next 8 weeks, students will be supported in class to do the following:

(1.) Choose a biome of interest to research independently or in partners or small groups. (Students should choose partnerships with balanced skill sets. For example, a student who loves to research but isn’t keen on writing, should pair up with someone who is fine to be the recorder, and together they can decide how best to fairly divide up the workload.)

(2.) Synthesize learning in a Biome Booklet. These booklets contain headings and prompts to outline the categories of information that students should learn to empower themselves to be “biome experts” able to teach others and also make their own theories and draw their own scientific conclusions.

(3.) Design and build a small Biome Diorama (3D display) to use when teaching others about their region. Scroll lower in this post to see diorama examples. (Note that the scientific understanding communicated through the diorama is assessed separately from the aesthetic elements. In other words, an exceptionally beautiful display of polar bears in a hot dry desert biome could earn high marks in art, but it would not meet the criteria for scientific accuracy because polar bears don’t live in the desert.)

(4.) Use the Biome Booklet information to write a Biome Presentation Script in preparation to share learning with others. (See the template below. Each student will be given a fill-in-the-blank template like this to help ensure they cover all the required content; but, of course, students are welcome to adapt this template using their own creativity.)

What could a biome diorama look like?

What is the assignment criteria?

Below you can see photos of the project sheets I handed out to students. These sheets are in students’ Science duo-tangs. Students should continually refer to the assignment sheets throughout the project to ensure they are on track with their work. As you can see in the rubrics below, students will be earning credit in different subject areas for the different components of their project work (Science, Language Arts, and Art).

Biome Project Q. & A.

Q. Do parents/guardians need to buy anything for this project?

A. No. Dioramas can be made with recyclables and materials found outside and craft supplies at school. Animal and plant figures could be illustrations mounted on cardboard or formed from plasticine. Certainly some students will be motivated to acquire specialty items like animal figurines to realize their visions and they are welcome to do so. However, we are emphasizing the use of ingenuity and a “reduce/reuse/recycle” ethos as a part of the fun.

Q. Do parents/guardians need to do any research (or any work at all) for this project?

A. No. Life is busy! I get it! The goal is that the students are practicing their independence as researchers and creators. That said, the interest/questioning/support from a family member can act like rocket fuel to empower a child’s further learning. If your child is learning about, for example, the Arctic Tundra, and you were to join in to watch and discuss a documentary video about the region, then certainly that could be a special way to keep research continuing outside of school. Thank you for being partners in our learning. Another way family members could help is by reviewing a child’s quality of writing, especially with regards to spelling, grammar, clarity, etc. You don’t HAVE to do this—but it may be interesting to see your child’s progress in writing. I will make effort to proofread students’ projects with them eventually, but I may to get to them as quickly as they’d like and they will appreciate learning with their family members too. This project is a big and time-consuming one to support and assess for 23 students. And it does help me and your child to have your eyes on the work as well! Thank you!)

Q. When is this project due?

A. Many students will have met the project requirements and be ready to present their dioramas and biome booklets in the week of March 13-17. However, for students who need more time, it is fine for them to complete their work over spring break, aiming to present finished work April 3-6. The primary goal of this project is for students to enjoy a rich learning process—not to rush to a finish line feeling stress.

Q. If my child is nervous about some aspect of this project, is there flexibility in how learning is demonstrated?

A. Yes! Always! Please communicate with me specific concerns or questions, and we will make appropriate adaptations for students’ specific needs—while still keeping them in a comfortable zone of “just right challenge”. For example, some students who are shy about presenting in front of the class “live” may choose to create a video to play instead. Or perhaps they would like to present to just me and their trusted friends instead. Communicating learning is a key part of this process, so we will find a way for all students to share their voices.

Do you still have questions about this project?

First of all, thank you for reading all this and for engaging with your child’s learning. You are a wonderful support system for caring this much! Please check over the above assignment sheets to see if they answer your questions. If not, I invite you to post your questions below this blog post. If you’re wondering something, someone else might also benefit from hearing my response. Thank you for being a part of our journey!

Career Ed: Paramedic Visit!

Hello, division 4!

Why do we have first responders? What is it like to have a career as a paramedic? What can you see inside of an ambulance? What do all of those interesting medical gadgets do?

Today our grade 4/5 students joined up with our kindergarten buddies to enjoy a very special presentation by our classmate Leo’s dad, Eric. Eric is a paramedic and he drove over an ambulance to help us bring our career education and health and safety learning to life.

The students enjoyed asking questions, sharing their own personal connections and knowledge, and learning more about this exciting and important work. We got to get up close to the gear and hear first hand perspective on what it’s like to use the specialized equipment to help people—and even save lives.

We enjoyed the ambulance light show, but we weren’t sure if we’d be lucky enough to hear a siren sample too—but when the students spontaneously started chanting in unison, we got the big finale we had been hoping for! There were some really happy kids today!

Now, the next time you see or hear an ambulance going by, you will know a little bit more about the kind of special support that is on the way!

There are many ways people contribute to society. Students, keep discussing this question: “What are some ways you might like to share your knowledge, time, and skills to benefit this world?”

We extend a huge THANK YOU to Eric and all of his colleagues for their community outreach and education…and for doing this brave, important work to keep us all safe in our community!

*Please note: the students who are identifiable in these photos have given personal and parental permission to be featured.

Ready for the Salish Sea? (Important Details!)

Hello, families of division 4!

We are so excited that this coming Tuesday, February 7th is our Salish Sea adventure! This week we had Tom, Meaghan, and Crystelle from “Eagle Wing Tours” visit us to get us ready and get us even more excited for our trip! They shared lots of background and connections between scientific discoveries and local Indigenous knowledge.

The “Wild 4 Whales” boat we will be on!

As well, here is a summary of what guests aboard the “Wild 4 Whales” boat should know and try to do to prepare for a safe, comfortable trip:

-Dress in many, many warm layers (as if you were going on a ski trip). For example, wear a base layer or “long underwear” type garment underneath your pants.


-Wear waterproof or water resistant rain jackets and rain pants if you can. Ski pants and ski jackets work well!

-Wear winter boots or rain boots—or any footwear that will keep your feet dry and warm.

-Wear warm headwear that is not likely to blow away (no ball caps). A toque and a scarf or neck warmer would be good. Your face will be cold from the water and wind!

Gloves are a good idea.

-Bring your backpack with extra dry layers and your snack/lunch and water bottle. We will have two designated snack times aboard the vessel.

Warm layers are a must! Cover your head and face—it will be windy, cold and wet!

***Students should NOT BRING PHONES, CAMERAS, TECHNOLOGY or other valuables that could be lost or damaged at sea. We will have professional photographers snapping photos the whole trip, and these will be shared with us. So it is unnecessary for students to have anything else. (Adult volunteers can be in charge of their own devices. However, my caution is that I almost lost my iPhone in the ocean on my Salish Sea trip that I did in September due to cold, slippery fingers, and it’s going to colder than that in February! I will bring my own phone again this time, but in a “wet bag” on a string around my neck.)

There is one bathroom aboard the boat.

There are enough life jackets available for everyone, but they will be stored unless needed (just on a ferry).

There is strict safety protocol and guests must show they can be listening closely to follow safety instructions.

If you are concerned about the possibility of sea sickness, of course it is a family decision whether or not to take preventative measures. The staff of Eagle Wing tours are experienced in supporting anyone who may feel unwell when on board the boat.

*Here is an article Eagle Wing tours published to give more specific information: https://www.eaglewingtours.com/articles/what-to-wear-whale-watching/

Travel Details:

This is a reminder that our class is divided into TWO GROUPS with two different travel times and plans!

Grade 4 students of Div. 4 will travel with Ms. Poirier and Ms. Tebo and her grade 4 class via bus to Fisherman’s Wharf leaving Oaklands at 9:00am; they will return to Oaklands at 12:30pm. We will have two parent volunteers: Ruan and Tom.

Grade 5 students of Div. 4 will travel to Fisherman’s Wharf with Tracy (EA) and Ms. Karen Mills-McNicol via bus leaving the school at 11:30am. There will be three parent volunteers joining (Melissa, Jenica, and Mathieu) who will be driving students back to school for 2:30pm.

We dearly appreciate parents for their time driving, paying for parking, and supervising! We couldn’t do it without you!

***Note for Melissa, Jenica and Mathieu: please meet us at Fisherman’s Wharf by the Eagle Wing Tours building for our expected bus arrival at 12:00pm. You would need to arrange parking until at least a few minutes after 2:00pm, which is the expected time the boat returns to the wharf. Again, thank you endlessly for your generous help!!

Thank you to all parents/guardians for how you have supported this trip! There were many forms to fill in, back and forth communications, and money to pay—and we couldn’t do this without you!

Division, Spelling & Salish Sea Art/Poetry

Hello, division 4 families!

Please see below for updates about our learning in Math, Spelling, and our Salish Sea inquiry.

In Math, we have been working on word problems and a new method of multi-digit division. This division method involves using easy multiples of the divisor. My former colleague, Mr. Pite, made this helpful instructional video that teaches students and families how to use this method, while explaining the difference between it and traditional long division. (I have added the video to our Math Tutorials page as well.)

For math homework this week, you could ask your children to solve these two questions for you by using the above method: What is 126 divided by 7? What is 311 divided by 4?

Once students have had more practice with this method, I will introduce the traditional method of long division.

If possible, please review the spelling and meaning of these words as homework over the next week. We will continue to work with these words in context in our writing in class.

In our multi-disciplinary Salish Sea inquiry, we have reached lovely milestone! The students have created beautiful poems and watercolour paintings. Please see the project description and student work samples below…