Robot Workshop

Dear Parents/Guardians of Division 2,

Our class is excited to announce that we have started a cross-curricular unit on the theme of “Robots”. Inspired by the novel “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown, which I will read aloud in class, our students will explore creative writing, arts activities, critical thinking puzzles, group dialogue, debate, and hands-on engineering and design challenges connected to the theme.

Our class is excited to announce that we have started a cross-curricular unit on the theme of “Robots”. Inspired by the novel “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown, which I will read aloud in class, our students will explore creative writing, arts activities, critical thinking puzzles, group dialogue, debate, and hands-on engineering and design challenges connected to the theme.

The credit for the wonderful idea for this unit goes all to our division 2 students–and it brings me joy to see how much fun they have already been having in our open-ended “Robots Workshop”. Please ask you child about what he/she has been working on.

Following the design process outlined in the grade 4/5 curriculum for ADST (Applied Design, Skills, Technologies), students have already been applying their creativity, problem solving, communication and collaboration skills as they build model robots and tools with scavenged materials I have brought into class from my home. However, our supply is already running low.

REQUEST FOR DONATIONS OF SCRAP ITEMS: Here is our request for any families who may have things to donate to our “Robot Workshop Supply Shop”:

  • small electronic items that can be taken apart for parts
  • nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
  • yarn
  • string
  • wire
  • bottle caps
  • cotton balls
  • fabric scraps
  • leather scraps
  • small wood blocks
  • sandpaper
  • aluminum foil
  • beads
  • erasers
  • popsicle sticks
  • things from your “junk drawer”
  • clean SMALL recyclable containers like plastic yogurt containers, egg cartons, plastic salad containers, or cans (with lids removed and no sharp edges

We cannot accept traditional Styrofoam due to the small particulate mess that happens during its cutting–but other kinds of easy-to-cut packing materials are great. Other tools/supplies that are helpful (even if supplied for just your own child to use) include:

  • glue guns and glue sticks
  • pliers
  • small screw drivers
  • jewelry making tools such as needle-nose pliers
  • small sewing kits (needle and thread)

Regardless of what families can contribute, I will ensure every student has equitable access to fun materials for building from my own collection and from other donations I can secure. We thank you for your time, effort and kindness in donating.

Sincerely,

Tiffany Poirier, teacher of division 2 and VP

Safety Note: Our students are supervised closely in all hands-on creative work. Students must demonstrate they understand and can follow all safety guidelines at all times. I review all items brought into class before their use. Use of glue guns is optional and only under direct adult supervision. Use of tools such as pliers in conjunction with wire requires use of eye protection (safety glasses). Students are instructed that there is to be no building of dangerous items or weapons. Building of items such as a “marshmallow launcher” or working model of a trebuchet in specific protocol in our class (including that only soft items may be launched in our designated “launch zone” during supervised times). When it comes to safety, I’m a vigilant “Momma Bear” who seeks to ensure the safety of every student as if he/she were my own child. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions, concerns, or preferences to share.

A Song for Margaret Jenkins…

Dear Students and Families of Division 2,

The staff and students of Margaret Jenkins are happy to share with you the little music video we created to provide a glimpse into life at our school.

We hope you enjoy viewing this video, and feel free to share it! You might ask your child to help you identify staff, the various locations, and other meaningful aspects of the video. (Our class took the leadership in helping practice the song and suggested to me what aspects of the school to film.)

Sincerely,

Tiffany Poirier, teacher of Div. 2 and VP

Placed-based Science with Ms. Cook on Wednesdays.

Division 2 is so lucky to have the wonderful Ms. Cook teach thought-provoking, place-based science lessons and other curricular connections on Wednesday mornings.

For example, here are our students yesterday deep in thought and revelling in nature journaling in the school garden amid sunflowers, pumpkins, marigolds and happy pollinators.

Last week, Ms. Cook kicked off the year with a highly motivating engineering challenge involving building bridges with jujube candies and popsicle sticks.

It’s a pleasure to share our class with another kindred spirit who loves teaching and learning as much as I do.

And we’ve only just begun!

Exploring Canadian Government, the Election & Leadership

Our class has been exploring the role, responsibilities and structure of government in Canada (at the municipal, provincial and federal levels).

With the Federal Election happening this last week, we had natural opportunity to learn about the process and the candidates’ priorities. Students completed a reference chart based on their own interpretation of the candidates platforms Two notable resources we used included https://studentvote.ca/ and https://pollenize.org/en/elections/canada-2021

The students found it valuable to see video of the candidates discussing their priorities, values and commitments towards making their own informed judgments.

We discussed the question, “What are you looking for in the next leader of Canada?” Students were also invited to choose how to share their learning: either orally for the group or 1-to-1 with the teacher, or in written form,

On Monday, Mme Small’s class hosted the “Student Vote” in order to give students the experience of voting. Check out the photos below to see the results of our school election.

We will continue to explore the theme of Leadership throughout the year—especially as it relates to and can be expressed in students’ own lives.

Sorting Sentences

Today in Div. 2, we continued our inquiry into this question: “What are the ingredients of a well-formed sentence?”

The Process
(1.) We worked together in groups to brainstorm fun sentences (intentionally writing a range of very simple to complex sentences).
(2.) We shuffled and redistributed the piles of sample sentences.
(4.) Teams analyzed and discussed the merits of each sentence and evaluated them using a “Proficiency scale” rubric.
(5.) Students explained their choices and reflected on learning.

NOTE ABOUT THE PROFICIENCY SCALE: Please ask your child to explain the “apple tree metaphor” (seed, seedling, tree, fruiting apple tree). It important for us to honour our efforts in every stage of the learning continuum.

I’m excited about next week when the students will be invited to mark samples of MY OWN GRADE 4 WRITING that my mom saved for me for the last three decades. (The more practice students get thinking critically and assessing “like a teacher”, the more they learn to coach themselves.) 🌈

First Week of School!

Dear Students and Parents/Guardians of Division 2,

We are going to have a truly magical school year together! How did I get so lucky to have so many caring, creative and fun students all in one class? I want to thank all students for coming to school each day ready to learn, make new friends and share their positive helpful attitudes. I have really enjoyed getting to know the unique personalities in our class. Already we’ve had lots of laughs and discovered many common interests. Here are some highlights of our activities over the last week:

  • Brainstorming our own “Big Questions”
  • Creative brainstorming for fluent thinking (Minute Madness)
  • Logical thinking (logic puzzles and forming logical arguments)
  • Baseline Math Assessment
  • Learning about Place Value with Base Ten blocks and doing open-ended math-engineering challenges
  • Writing our first essay and setting up our Writing Journals
  • Learning about the mechanics of a sentence (capital letters to start, a complete idea and proper punctuation)
  • Schonell Spelling Assessment and setting up personal “Spelling Dictionaries”
  • Engineering Challenge with candy with Mrs. Cook)
  • Learning and practicing singing the new “Margaret Jenkins Song”
  • Painting puzzle pieces for a collaborative artwork
  • Music with Ms. Awalt and Ms. John
  • Dance/Drama with Ms. Knapp
  • Strings for grade 5 students with Ms. Rebstock
  • Physical Education outside (soccer, running races, and free play) and planning for “P.E. Leadership”
  • Using a tree metaphor to illuminate the meaning behind our assessment scale (Emerging-Developing-Proficient-Extending)
  • Discussing and practicing good personal hygiene and keeping our classroom space clean
  • Watching archival video of downtown Victoria from 1907
  • Planning to create a “Time Machine” in our classroom
  • Beginning a Social Studies unit on Canadian Government
  • Watching the “National Leadership Debate while painting
  • Savouring time on the field in the sunshine
  • Riding the “Silent Bike”
  • And more!

I invite you to keep checking this blog weekly to see more of the learning happening in our classroom! And a special thank you to parents and guardians for all you have done to help your children get back to school this year–from helping prepare school lunches, to coordinating school supplies and filling out all the forms, there are just so many seen and unseen ways that you support your children! We dearly appreciate you.

Sincerely, Ms. Poirier

Welcome to Division 2!

Dear Students and Parents/Guardians,

Welcome to Division 2 (grade 4/5) for the 2021-2022 school year! My name is Tiffany Poirier, and I am so happy to be your classroom teacher this year, and as well I am the new Vice Principal of EMJS. The lovely Mrs. Kathryn Cook will also be teaching in our class each Wednesday morning, and you will meet her next week.

At 8:53 am tomorrow, you will see me at our classroom’s outdoor line-up spot by the Fairfield Road entrance–near the entrance with the jellyfish art display in the windows. Look for an orange pylon labelled “Division 2”. You are welcome to bring your school supplies tomorrow if you have them already.

I am so excited to get to know you! We are going to have so much fun learning together this year. If you would like a sneak peek inside of our classroom located in Room 2, you can see photos and video on my most recent Twitter posts at @TiffanyPoirier  

You can also learn more about my background as an educator by visiting this website: InquiryNinja.com

Tomorrow we will have a fun, relaxed day of getting to know one another, making new friends, learning about our interests and passions, and brainstorming the topics and big questions that most capture our imaginations. Check out the photos and video below, and I’ll see you soon!

Sincerely,

Ms. Tiffany Poirier

Around the Neighbourhood

Wow! I’ve been exploring the beautiful EMJS neighbourhood and feel blown away! I love learning outside, being active, and enjoying fresh air, and so I feel extra fortunate to join this vibrant school community with such lovely play spaces and proximity to gorgeous Gonzales Beach. Envisioning now so many fun days to come with students and colleagues…

Hi, I’m Tiffany Poirier, Vice Principal of EMJS!

Dear students, parents/guardians, educators and staff of École Margaret Jenkins School:

Welcome back to school, 2021-2022! I am so excited to join École Margaret Jenkins School as your new Vice Principal and grade 4/5 teacher. I feel very lucky to join this incredible learning community and to work alongside our caring teachers and support staff and our wonderful principal, Mr. Hansen. I can’t wait to get to know each of you–please always feel free to stop me and say “hello”!

About me, I am a mom of three boys (ages 10, 4, and 2.5) , and I am passionate about exploring big questions and creating things! I believe every child has infinite gifts for the world, and helping children discover their gifts fills me with happiness. I am a children’s author and professional speaker, and I love doing art, running, music, playing guitar and singing, animals, paddle boarding, hiking, learning about local native plant life, logic puzzles, leadership studies, the idea of time travel, vintage things, drinking tea and growing dahlias in my garden. To learn more about my interests and background, I invite you to explore the tabs on my website: https://inquiryninja.com/ You might also follow me on Twitter @TiffanyPoirier or on Instagram @Tiffany_Poirier or check out this video…

BLOG AUDIENCE: I will write this blog aimed largely at my students and their families. The purpose of the blog is to share insight into the learning happening in our classroom. 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.

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

Sincerely,

Ms. Tiffany Poirier, Vice Principal & Grade 4/5 Teacher

Email: tpoirier@sd61.bc.ca