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Terry Fox Poems, Five Senses & Place Value

Hello, division 4 families! We are off to another exciting week! Perhaps you have already being talking about the fun we are having in ADST time where we bring out a number of hands-on “centres” activities that foster critical thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration. Here are some photos of ADST from last week:

In math, we continue to explore place value. The students are working with numbers in standard form, expanded form and word form—grade 4s work up to the ten thousands and grade 5s work up to the hundred thousands. We used the greater than and less than symbols as well to compare and order numbers. We have been doing team challenges and puzzles to reinforce learning and have fun with it.

In Social Studies last week, our class learned more about the life, values and contributions of the Canadian hero, Terry Fox. The students are working on a collaborative art piece about Terry: a pair of running shoes.

We have explored print primary and secondary sources of information, print and digital. We practiced identifying and recording notes, and students transformed their research into biographical poems about Terry Fox.

As a whole class, we brainstormed key words and ideas, and then I modelled how to use students’ research notes and ideas to write a poem. We identified and discussed the successful features of our collaboratively written poem.

We spent time we exploring specific strategies for making our poems more interesting and creative. For example, we learned about how to use repetition, make meaningful line breaks, and use figurative language like simile and metaphor. This term, students will continue to work on these Terry Fox poems and revisit them with edits as they develop more tools as poets and editors.

Combining the great ideas the students volunteered, I modelled a process for turning research points into a biographical poem. This is the result: a poem by division 4!

As we go further in our Language Arts writing lessons, we are practicing how to write descriptively through appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.

Today we did a creative visualization about what we might experience through our five senses on an autumn day in Victoria, and we brainstormed and shared ideas together using a graphic organizer.

Building our skills as writers, we also introduced the concept of alliteration today. For example, the line “farmers’ fields are full of fresh pumpkins” is an example of alliteration because the beginning “f” sound is repeated.

In Social Studies we are also beginning to look at the meaning of Orange Shirt Day and the history of residential schools. Today students discussed their prior learning, and we saw a video of Phyllis Webstad introducing some context and her personal experiences. I read the book “The Orange Shirt Story” aloud in the garden and asked students to connect with their families to continue discussion and thinking about this topic. We are preparing for an inquiry into the question: What does reconciliation mean to you?

“If I were teacher for a day…”

This Friday, the learning in division 4 began with independent reading and then storytelling practice in small groups. Then in Math class, we gamified reviewing place value using “base ten blocks” and continued work on a more challenging word problem involving finding the possible dimensions of a patio built with 75 tiles.

Our writing activity today focussed on this question: “What would you do if you were the teacher of our class for a day?” I invited students to be playful, and we called this writing challenge a “fantasy edition” where the limits of time and space do not have to apply.

Our pre-writing activity was small group brainstorming around the topic and each group’s recorder posted their ideas on the flip chart to inspire others. Then, students had 30 minutes to quietly write a sequenced paragraph that started with the sentence stem and was structured with transition words. I encouraged students to be imaginative and to do their best to spell difficult words on their own.

“If I were teacher for a day…” – illustrated

The students ideas were so fun to read! I offered that if any students wanted to record themselves reading their work, I would post it on the blog and choose one recording at random and add graphics to it for fun. Enjoy!

In the afternoon, we explored Terry Fox’s contributions with a video, discussion, and art activity—there will be more on that posted next week. Students came home with some fundraising forms as well. Below you can see the link to the Terry Fox video we watched.

Creating Together…

Hi, division 4 families!

What a fun day! We have now started a “storytelling” unit to foster students’ creative thinking and oral language skills. We did some small group storytelling activities as well as a collaborative game of “Story Ball” in the beautiful outdoor classroom. It’s great to see so many students eager to speak up and try telling an impromptu story!

STORY BALL: This is a fun game where we collaborate to tell a story by building it one sentence at a time with each toss of the ball.

As well, today we practices how to tell time, did some review of place value, and explored some more problem solving involving calculating elapsed time.

We also enjoyed investing time getting to know one another and building social connections. The students have been learning about their “Multiple Intelligences”, and here is an instructional video I made to give students and families and overview. We learn about Multiple Intelligence theory to give students more precise language to describe their strengths and to foster self-confidence and growth mindset.

As well, the students have the now completed their wonderful “Heart Maps” and “Identity Maps”. Below you can see my instructional video, which explains the project concept. Keep scrolling and you will see the detailed and lovely artworks the students made to communicate who they are.

Here are some questions you could ask your children…

-How do you play “Story Ball”? Can you show me?

-How is your independent reading practice going? What novel are you reading now?

-Did you do any of the “centres” today? Which ones?

-What happened in the school assembly?

-What are some things you illustrated on your “Heart Map” or “Identity Map”?

-What is a digit? What is place value?

-In the number 78 561, which digit is in the thousands place?

For further study, here is a video that reviews the concept of place value:

Hello, Division 4!

We are off to a wonderful start in division 4! I am so happy to be your teacher this year. We have such caring, creative, fun, and helpful students in our class, and it has been so nice to see them collaborate and make new friends with one another.

We have started our year with some stories, discussion, brainstorming together, art activities, gym class, games, music class, writing activities and more. We have jumped right into our math learning with some initial open-ended assessments, a review unit on how to tell time, math stories, and problem solving challenges as desired. We have established a fun an motivating end-of-day “Centres” time where students meet a range of curricular goals by choosing from selection of fun hands-on activities that challenge their critical and creative thinking, while fostering collaboration and communication skills.

There is so much more to share with you about our classroom, such as routines, practices and schedules and what we are learning. However, I will hold off on sending home much more information until things are finalized with our Gym, Music, Library and other classes.

For now, I invite families and students to please enjoy exploring and discussing these photos together. Here are some questions you might pose to your division 4 student…

-What are you enjoying most about your class this year?

-What can you tell me about “Centres Time”?

-How do you store your belongings in class?

-What novel have you been reading in class?

-What can you tell me about “Class Jobs”?

-What are “tiny artworks”?

-How does “cozy reading” work?

-What are some of the routines you have in class?

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.

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!