Social Studies Update

Good evening parents,

Anne-Marie, our student teacher, has been doing some fabulous lessons with the students. They are currently learning more about First Nations people, explorers as well as the Gold Rush. Not everything has been explored yet but I plan on continuing this after she returns to SFU next week.

This is what the students gathered yesterday and today while researching one of the topics assigned to them. It may be hard to read from a computer but if you are using a tablet or a phone you may be able to zoom in.


At the end of the lesson, she asked everyone to share one piece of information they found important. Here’s what everyone chose.

The following questions could be used at home to support your child with his/her learning:

  1. Can you tell me more about what you wrote on your post it note?
  2. Why did you choose this piece of information?
  3. Name me all the things you would be excited about if you were part of this group of people you researched. Why did you choose this?
  4. Name me all the things you would NOT be excited about if you were part of this group of people you researched. Why did you choose this?
  5. How was life different from what they were were expecting?

There are many more ways to approach this topic, of course. If you would like to find out more about ways to promote critical thinking at home, this document may be of interest to you. Bloom’s Taxonomy (lower and higher level type questions/tasks) is discussed on pages 8-9.

Have a great evening,


Materials Needed

Good evening parents,

I am looking for the following material so that we can experiment with simple machines. If you happen to have any of these items at home, please send them to school.

  • Wooden or plastic spools, like those found for thread or ribbon (with a hole through the center)
  • Carabiners – these do not have to be climbing carabiners. Simple and cheap carabiners will work as well.hine

Thank you for your support,


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I was delighted to see the students back in class yesterday and loved listening to the most memorable moments of their break. Based on what I heard, I know that everyone had a fantastic winter break.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the thoughtful gifts and cards I received before and after the break. I appreciate your support and kindness.

I spent the winter break recharging my batteries and thinking about where I’d like to go next with the students. Here is a brief summary of some of the things I would like to accomplish during the next few weeks:

1. Book Club: our weekly meetings will start this Thursday. Although most of the work will be done in class, your child may at times need to read at home to ensure he/she is prepared to discuss the readings in class. Yesterday, everyone received a text to read in English (on Temple Grandin or Pelé). Today and tomorrow, we will be discussing expectations and have a practice run for the first meeting.

2. Livromanie program: soon we will be receiving a series of French novels, which were chosen by a group of French Immersion teacher librarians from Vancouver. I am very excited about this program as it allows us to discover new French books. The Livromanie program is offered to all intermediate French Immersion schools across the district. Once I have a chance to read the books, I will have a better idea of how I would like to use them with the students. Stay tuned!

3. Social Studies: we will continue learning about residential schools. To complement this area of study, the students are also working on a picture book inspired by Fatty Legs, a novel we read in class this past fall. As it is a big project, it is taking a lot longer than I expected. I am taking advantage of this opportunity to conference individually with every student but as a result, it is slowing things down. Each conference lasts between 20 and 30 minutes but I see how valuable it is for everyone. While I conference with the students we discuss word choice, sentence beginnings as well as punctuation. I am already seeing some good progress with those that I have met.

4. Writing on Kidblog: all students are encouraged to blog once per week (in class) and to comment on their classmates blog posts. To learn a bit more about online etiquette we viewed the following video.

If you would like to read your child’s writing, ask him/her to log in for you. Please keep in mind that you may see many mistakes being made. This is part of the writing process and completely normal at their grade level. As I want the students to experience something positive when blogging, I do not correct every mistake they make. I do, however, bring up commonly made mistakes and will occasionally comment on their blog posts to encourage them to dig deeper or to highlight a few things they could be working on.

5. Mathematic routines: these will continue taking place this term. If you would like to know more about the importance of these routines, here is a great blog for you. I have also enrolled in a series of inspiring workshops led by Janice Novakovski and am excited to continue exploring these routines with the students.

6. Mathematics: the students will soon be learning (or reviewing) long division. Most of them seem to have mastered their multiplication facts by now but to ensure your child is ready for this next step, I would appreciate if you could also spend some time reviewing these at home.

7. Fine Arts: I’d like to explore perspective drawing next, once everyone has completed their watercolour illustrations for the Fatty Legs picture book.

This is all I can think of for now. I know there is a lot more than this but I hope this post will give you a better overview of what your child is currently learning and doing in class.

Thank you for your support,


Classification of Candies


We did a fun exercise in class today using Halloween candies. Thank you for allowing your child to bring his/her candy bag to school!

In small groups, I asked the students to classify their candies using a system of their choice. It was interesting to see what each group came up with. Some chose to group their candies by manufacturers (Nestle, Mars, etc.) while other organized them according to their “food group” (chocolate, chips, lollipops, etc.).  There were other ways as well but these two methods stood out for me.

If time allows, we will continue our discussion tomorrow so that the students can share their observations & discoveries. To complement this lesson, they will also be graphing our results. This should take place on Friday or next Monday.

If you’d like to do some graphing at home as well while using a computer, this is a great website to use. Since our computer lab has been dismantled, I can’t use this site with the students anymore.

Some of the math challenges for intermediate students are:

  • finding an appropriate title (it should not be a question)
  • selecting the proper type of graph
  • remembering to add labels
  • choosing a proper interval for the graph

The following checklist should be helpful to you.

Have a great evening,


Fiction or Nonfiction?

Ms. Hong and I will be co-teaching a series of lessons on genres during the next few weeks. Monday’s session gave the students a chance to learn more about the characteristics of fiction and nonfiction books. We assumed it would be easy but some of the books they were asked to sort out were challenging.

A good way to support your child with his/her learning is to review what has been discussed during the day. Ask your child to teach you something. I’m sure he/she will be happy to do so!