DESCRIPTION: How can we help learners to question more deeply and do in-depth inquiry projects with greater independence?  How can we educators learn to become “Inquiry Ninjas” in the classroom through internalizing the practice of facilitation to help empower learners to make their own discoveries? 


DESCRIPTION: What are the secrets of effective questioning? How can we empower learners to question more deeply, discover their gifts, and achieve success? In this practical session, Tiffany Poirier brings out the zany tools from her “Question Toolbox” as she demonstrates how to teach questioning skills in a fun, creative, and tangible way.

Building Together!

On Tuesday, September 18th, our theme for the day was “collaboration”. We had a STEM building challenge using two types of noodles: dried linguine and pool noodles. The students worked together to create structures according to criteria they chose (e.g. a “strong” tower, a “creative” structure, etc.) and they debriefed their process and results afterward. Later we discussed the features of an effective collaborative process in the Learning Commons with Mr. Koning and reviewed and analyzed video recordings of our collaborative process the previous week. Great insights by the students! We also made beautiful progress on our Heart Maps and Identity Maps.


Writing Bonanza!

Today, after a rousing block of ABL (Activity Before Learning) in the gym, we dove into our new writing program.  We set up our new Writing Duotangs and reviewed a rubric showing the criteria for strong written work.  We introduced an “Editing Checklist” and a standardized “Proofreading Code” that we will use in class to streamline our editing process.  We discussed how we are all writers and that we can transform any piece of writing into something extraordinary through the power of editing and rewriting.  We noted the various peer and teacher supports we have in our class and at school.We can feel the excitement already–every single student is going to grow by leaps and bounds in his/her writing this year!

“If you had the power to time travel, where would you go and why?” After a small group discussion on this question, students took 15 minutes to independently produce a 1-paragraph writing sample to express their answers.


Who are we?

Today we had an exciting demonstration by our school’s Strings teacher. She explained the wonderful opportunity grade 4/5 students have to learn a string instrument of their choice (violin, viola, cello, etc.).  Each student had a chance to play an instrument she brought into class today.

We also had a school assembly and a visit from our librarian, Mr. Koning, who introduced some technological considerations for the year and handed out permission forms for G Suite.

Following up the learning from last Friday, we discussed the scientific explanation behind our silver experiment.

Our feature activity today was an Arts Education/Career Education exploration of the theme of personal identity. Beginning with the question “Who are you?”, we brainstormed and analyzed the multitude of ways people begin to define themselves–from simply offering their name, to descriptions of societal roles, listing off favourite things and preferences, etcetera.

The students engaged in partner dialogue and whole class discussion and then began work on their own “Heart Maps” and “Identity Mind Maps” to creatively express their unique identities. The students watched my demonstration of how a Heart Map may be created and they viewed various past student examples. Minimum criteria for the project was presented, with students invited to make their own best creative choices and go beyond the basics to showcase who they are in a deeper way.


Questions, Questions, Questions!

Today we explored and deepened our self-knowledge and ability to ask big questions.

We learned about the “Multiple Intelligences”, and identified our top three areas of passion and skill. We took turns practicing our public speaking skills as we shared our reasons for identifying more closely with certain intelligence areas.

The students brainstormed their own big questions for our question wall.

As well, we began to explore what science is and what it means to think like a scientist. Students brainstormed their own scientific questions and observations as we did an experiment dipping silver objects into buckets of boiling water with aluminum foil and baking soda.





Hello, Torquay Elementary!

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Educators and Staff at Torquay Elementary:

Welcome back to school!  I am excited to join the Torquay Elementary learning community as your new Vice Principal and the teacher of Division 1 (Grade 4/5).  I will be teaching Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays in the classroom and doing administrative duties during the other time.  My teaching partner is the awesome Mr. Dean Anderson, and he will take over Division 1 each Wednesday and Thursday. Mr. Anderson and I have our own unique but complimentary teaching styles, and we share the same expectations and guidelines for our classroom.  Together we will work with students to create a fun and successful school year.

GREAT BEGINNINGS! We are off to a wonderful start in our class! Every single student in Division 1 has already shared some wonderful ideas and work in class. We are going to have so much fun learning together.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments via email at

BLOG AUDIENCE: I will write this blog aimed largely at the students and families of Division 1.  The purpose of the blog is to share insight into the learning happening in our classroom.  As well, you will be connected to us through Google Classroom and Freshgrade.

PRIVACY: Since this blog is PUBLIC, no identifying student information or identifying photos/videos of students will be shared on this blog unless there has been advance written permission from both a student and his/her parent/guardian.  (In other words, if you ever see a student and their work on this blog, it is because both the student and his/her parent have requested to share their work and have agreed to share it on this blog in writing.) 

WHAT WILL THIS BLOG FEATURE?  This blog will share my reflections as an educator and give a window into the types of learning activities and assignments we are exploring.  I will post pictures of the wonderful and interesting projects happening in our class (with no identifying student information).  I will also post links to relevant educational content like articles, videos, books, websites, and other resources that my grade 4/5 students and their families may enjoy as it relates to our learning.

WELCOME VIDEO: You can scroll back above to see an introductory video I made for Torquay Elementary. If you would like to learn more about my background and interests as an educator, please feel free to explore the tabs of this blog, As well, you may be interested in a recent magazine article that discusses our classroom inquiry process:

Let’s have a wonderful start to our school year!


Ms. Tiffany Poirier, Vice Principal & Division 1 Teacher