And off we go! Are you ready for back to school!? Here are a few great websites & articles & images that I've been bookmarking over the past few weeks. Some great advice to help with the transition of your little ones! ** If you've got any useful tips, please share in the comments section below ⬇️
Thank you to everyone who was ale to attend! It was a wonderful evening.
Our High Park Spring Showcase was another celebration of the Arts. During the Winter Showcase we celebrated Drama and Dance, so this time around we celebrated Visual Arts as well as Language Arts.
Our video celebrates Reading, Writing, and Oral Language (speaking & listening) - the discussions that we've had during our unit of Science & Social Studies exploration about drinking water access issues in Ontario's First Nations communities.
See bit.ly/wateraccessinquiry for previous blog posts.
Understanding Earth and Space Systems: Air and Water in the Environment
*Social Studies Curriculum*
People and Environments: The Local Community / Global Communities
Our watercolour habitat painting on oil pastel resist, with pencil crayon animal illustrations, celebrates the eco-systems that we've been learning about.
Understanding Life Systems: Needs and Characteristics of Living Things / Growth and Changes in Animals.
Our pencil crayon Google Doodle Design celebrates #Canada150 and our visions for our country's future.
Understanding Earth and Space Systems: Daily and SeasonalChanges
*Social Studies Curriculum*
Heritage and Identity: Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities / Changing Family and Community Traditions
People and Environments: Global Communities
Together, all of the 'Arts' that you will saw at the Showcase represent a message shared by Justice Murray Sinclair:
We will watch. We will listen. We will show respect.
Did you see the Earth Day Google Doodle?! I couldn't wait to share it with the students.
It begins with a little Fox that's dreaming about the state of our planet.
He wakes up with a jolt because he realizes that our planet is in trouble; the fish are swimming in polluted waters, the icecaps are melting ...
BUT - he's decided that there are actions that he can take to help. He sets out to plant some seedlings ...
... and he meets some friends along the way.
We clicked through the images together as a class and talked about what we saw:
- what was happening in the pictures?
- what were the animals thinking and feeling?
- what message was the illustrator trying to share?
Wordless Books are great for inferring and creating deeper understanding. Check out this Reading Rockets article for more info on why and how to use them. Also, check out the list of Reading Rocket's Favourite Wordless Picture Books.
Some of my favourites are:
The Girl and the Bicycle
The Boy and the Airplane
The Lion and the Mouse
Feel free to make a copy of the Earth Day Google Doodle Doc I created and use it to tell your own stories!
Our first week of Term 2 Homework whizzed by - thank you for supporting your children with this new routine and responsibility!
Please remember that the focus of this homework is:
Our homework program is meant to help students better their skills and confidence in different areas of learning. Feel free to practice the areas that you wish to improve on, but please also try to take risks and encourage a balance of all the activities you may choose from.
✔️ I will try to do 10 – 30 minutes of “homework” each night to practice independence.
✔️ I will try the tougher activities more than once to practice GRIT (perseverance + motivation).
✔️ I will work in an organized space that helps me maintain focus.
✔️ I will pack my duotang in my own backpack when I am finished to practice responsibility.
Questions & Concerns:
"The instructions say to focus on one goal but the letter home outlines to do at least four of the activities weekly. Should the focus be in one area but mix up the activity?"
While the students are encouraged to take part in many different learning & 'homework' opportunities throughout the week, it's best if they put extra focus and attention on one specific goal (it makes it more achievable). For example, if the goal is to learn 3 new words from the 100 Most Frequently Used Words list a student can still ride their bike as 'physical' homework and help cook dinner as 'other' homework, but they might spend 2 or 3 times practicing the new words.
TIP - check off all the words on the 100 Most Frequently Used Words List that you already know!
"We have a busy schedule and homework every night is hard to do."
This homework program celebrates all the wonderful learning opportunities that you're already taking part in! If you 1) play on a sports team on Mondays, 2) practice an instrument on Wednesdays, 3) have a play date scheduled on Thursday - then don't worry about sitting down to complete the log on those days. Use your 'off days' to sit down, spend some time together to reflect on what you've done and complete the log (the more traditional type of 'homework').
TIP - if your child submits their duotang on Tuesdays, then the next day spend a moment checking my feedback and to quickly set your new goal for the next week.
Thanks for your ongoing support at home. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
TDSB's Homework Tips and Resources
Parents/guardians are a key part of finding homework success. Some tips on what you can do to support your child include:
Click to learn more about the TDSB Homework Policy
*This Blog Post is written in large part thanks to our student teacher from the ICS/OISE Program at Uof T, Amanda Santos (@amandasantos_ed & www.learningstem.ca)
This year, the HPAS theme is “Food for Thought” which investigates poverty, inequality, and discrimination. Over the course of the year, we've learned about the water cycle, different types of communities, written stories which illustrate our own personal connection to water, made predictions as to how our lives might change if we didn’t have clean water (see previous blog), and then we watched a video of First Nation community members being interviewed about what it is like to not have clean water. Students then created new questions in response to that video, continued to inquire about types of water pollution and causes including mining, how we get clean water to our tap and brainstormed possible ways we can help those without access to clean water.
Watch Amanda's video: How Do We Get Clean Tap Water?
We took some time to ask students 1) What's something new you've learned 2) Are there any questions you still have? and 3) Is there an action that you think we/people should take?
We started to talk about what we should do to help these First Nation communities who don’t have clean water and we emphasized that this problem is very complicated; for many generations, the Indigenous peoples of Canada including First Nations have been treated very unfairly in many ways, and one of those ways is by not have clean water to drink. It is going to take many years and many people who care (US - the grade 1s and 2s at HPAS!) to change things so that ALL people can have clean drinking water from their tap. We learned that this process of making things better with the indigenous peoples of Canada is called Truth and Reconciliation; Truth means learning the what actually is happening and Reconciliation is learning about how we can make it better.
It can be hard to learn about such sad and scary things that are happening in our country, but our students were brave and did an incredible job watching, listening, and showing respect. So what was our next step?
There are many people who don’t know that there are Canadians who are sick and who are dying because they do not have clean drinking water; to help raise awareness we can share what we have learned with...THE WORLD.
To consolidate and to communicate our learning about water access in First Nation communities, we participated in a group writing exercise ... we wrote a letter to post here on our website, telling people what we’ve learned, questions we still have, and actions we think we should take:
We welcome your comments, questions and hopefully some answers to our questions as well!
Please click the comment box at the bottom of the blog.
After that, to continue raising awareness and to encourage people to visit our website to read our letter, students wrote tweets that were sent to specific people and groups:
Please visit our Twitter Page to reply to, retweet & like students' tweets
* update *
We are raising awareness:
We were Re-Tweeted by @LifeStraw - our post may have reached 5,000+ people!
Some Indigenous organizations have seen and liked our tweets. They appreciate our learning and sharing and might bring this information to their advisory groups!
Some TDSB teachers have seen and liked our post - they might bring this information to their classrooms and their students!
Some TDSB Learning Coaches have seen and liked our post - they might bring this information to their Learning Centres (other schools, principals, teachers and students)!
Some #HPAS Parents have seen and liked our post - they might be continuing the conversation at home with their children and sharing with people they know in the community!
Over the past two weeks, our student teacher Amanda (@amandasantos_ed & www.learningstem.ca) has been leading us in discussions about our access to water; our own personal and/or familial connections to water, how we use water at home and making predictions as to how our lives might change if we didn’t have access clean water. After looking at all of our Water Surveys (thanks for your participation at home!) we realized that we use 280 Litres of water EACH per day - that's one and a half of the large school recycling toters PER PERSON!! That's a lot ... 🤔
We then brought the conversation to WHO might not have access to clean water (ask your son or daughter about their predictions or inferences and be sure to discuss the "why?"). We were shocked to find out that there are people in our Country of Canada, in our Province of Ontario, that don’t have access to clean water (e.g., turning on a tap and being able to drink the water out of it).
If you visit the website Water Today you'll see that all of the yellow dots represent communities in Canada (and can zoom in to Ontario) without clean water. We talked about what a boil water advisory is and even took a closeup Google Maps view on Hiawatha, a community that is less than 2 hours away from us in the Junction! As we 'walked' down the streets on Google Maps we saw that they have houses, streets, electricity, cars - it looks a lot like our community (urban vs rural), but - they don’t have clean water.
We investigated how unclean water affects the lives in many First Nations communities and watched some edited video clips that Amanda put together. (Please watch again and continue the discussions at home).
Clips from Vice Canada's Waterless Communities: Neskantaga and Human Rights Watch Canada's Water Crisis: Indigenous Families at Risk were edited for Grade 1 & 2 audience.
Afterwards, we took some time to reflect on what we saw in the video by taking part in a talking circle (a traditional tool used by indigenous peoples to solve problems; a place of comfort where you have freedom to let your emotions and thoughts flow). We tried to really think about what it means to not have access to clean water and how it feels knowing that many First Nations people in Ontario do not.
The Talking Circle by
Leah Marie Dorion
She is an interdisciplinary Metis artist raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Here are a few of our reflections during the Talking Circle:
I think if of "sad", because all these people are getting affected because of their water. I don't want that to happen because it's not good for the people living in our world.
I felt like if I went in the water and how I would get those rashes and things, it would feel really itchy to me if I got anything like that and that's probably how they feel, sad and scared if their water's like that.
I feel sad because they can't drink their water.
It would be hard but, we could donate and give them a water plant like we saw in the video, or why couldn't we just buy them Life Straws instead because they cost less money (than a water plant)?
I feel thankful because we have clean water.
If I was there I would feel anxious about it because I wouldn't have anything to drink that would be good.
I feel scared because if I was going to go there and if I was really thirsty and I had to drink that water ...
I feel sad because it's not fair that our community and most communities, we have this clean water. Why can't their community have clean water?
After watching the video and sharing at the Talking Circle, many of us still had burning questions and thoughts to share, so we took time to write down what we were thinking on some Think Sheets. Please ask your son or daughter about their thinking!
*We will continue this unit over the next coming weeks - please share your conversations with us via the comments section below or on Twitter @HPAS_Gr1and2
Grade 1 Science: Understanding Life Systems - Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment:
1.2 describe changes or problems that could result from the loss of some kinds of living things that are part of everyday life, taking different points of view into consideration
Grade 2 Science: Understanding Life Systems - Growth and Changes in Animals
Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment:
1.2 identify positive and negative impacts that different kinds of human activity have on animals and where they live
Grade 2 Social Studies: People and Environments - Global Communities
Application - Variations in Global Communities:
B1.3 demonstrate and understanding of the importance of sustainability in people’s interrelationship with their natural environment and of some of the consequences of sustainable and/or non-sustainable actions
The Daily 5 is something that students have been working on regularly over the past few months and we are now in full-swing with the students signing up, rotating around and working independently at each of the 5 centres.
What is Daily 5? It's an un-interrupted Literacy Block that happens most mornings, from 9:15ish - morning recess.
We focus on both Reading and Writing. At the Reading centres, students can do Read to Self, Read to Someone, or Listen to Reading. At the Writing centres, students can do Work on Writing or Word Work. As students work, I call individuals or small groups to the Teachers' Table and run Guided Reading Lessons. Not only are students engaged in the Language Curriculum, but Learning Skills are a focus as well: Responsibility, Independent Work, Initiative, Organization, Collaboration and Self-Regulation.
Student choice is a big part of Daily 5; so long as they do a Reading and a Writing centre, they can choose from *many* of the options that we've modelled as a whole class.
Word Work We've learned the procedures for how to use our spelling materials; how to set them up, how to use them, and how to tidy them up. We realized that it's important to spell our words correctly when we're writing, because we care about our ideas and the people who will read them. Spending time practicing our spelling (and our printing) will help us to become not only better spellers, printers and writers, but also better readers!
Here are just a few of the centres that are in rotation
1) Create a Word Search - choose six words that you KNOW how to spell, copying from the Word List, a book, a poster in the room, our daily schedule etc., and take the time to print them properly (no capitals, proper sizing etc.) Once they’re listed, you can fill in the boxes to create a word search for your peers!
2) Make a List – choose five words that you KNOW how to spell, copying from the Word List, a book, a poster in the room, our daily schedule etc., and take the time to print them properly on our printing paper (no capitals, proper sizing etc.) Once they’re printed, choose one or two words to use in a sentence.
3) Practice Spelling - each week, there's a new challenge with new words and students follow wrtten instructions.
4) Sight Word Tallies - read a book and make a tally mark every time you read 1 of 5 sight words (e.g., and, the, to, it, I - OR use the Word List to pick 5 other Sight Words)
5) Scrabble Scramble - use the Sentence posted on the window to create words from the Sight Words list, or other words you know. Then, write the addition sentences to find out how many points your word is worth!
Work on Writing:
There are SO many different types of writing students can experiment with in their Writing Journals:
- fictional stories from their imagination
- non-fiction re-tellings of events that have happened
- re-tellings of a favourite story
- ABC books
- 'How To' instructions
Students write words first, then pictures second. If they don't finish a text during one centre, then they can bookmark it and go back to it the following day. It's important that as they write, they use Self-Regulation and remember to use the 5 Finger Editing Checklist that we've developed:
Read to Self:
There are 3 main ways to read a book:
1) Read the pictures & tell your own story
2) Re-Tell a favourite story, reading the pictures and reading some of the words
3) Read all the words practice fluency & voice
Another favourite has been to play "I Spy", flipping the pages and spying some of the sight words that we've been practising off the 100 Most Frequently Used Words List.
Elephant & Piggie have become some of our favourite characters and their book bin is always in high demand!
Read to Someone:
Similar to Read to Self, this is with a partner. Students sits Elbow to Elbow and Knee to Knee, with the book in the middle, so they both can see ; )
- Take turns reading a page/sentence to one another
- Read as each other's echoes (1 reads a sentence, then 2 repeats the sentence)
- Read chorally (like a 'choir', together at the same time)
- Read side by side and share interesting parts of the texts, ask each other questions, support one another with reading strategies
Listen to Reading:
At the computer centre, students can visit various Literacy Websites:
BookFLIX (message me for TDSB FREE login & password)
At our Listening Centre, students listen to a CD and follow along with the text in the book! They notice how the readers are reading with voice and expression, and after a few listens, the students try to read along with them.
Guided Reading at the Teacher's Table
Small groups are called to read levelled books with me at the Teacher's Table. We use books from the Reading A to Z Library and practice recognizing sight words as well as strategies for sounding out unknown words:
- Look at the picture
- First Letter Sound + Picture
- Chunking (e.g., look for smaller words inside the big word)
- Skip & Come Back
- Stretch it out and say it in slow-mo, saying each sound
- Does it make sense?
We pause as we read and ask questions:
- I am thinking ...
- I am noticing ...
- This reminds me of ...
- I wonder why ....
- I like this part because ...
- I think ____ will happen next because ...
- This is confusing because ...
Ask your son or daughter about their experience with the Daily 5 Literacy Centers! You can use these prompts that are posted in the class and that we discuss daily.
Happy Reading and Writing!
This week in Room 108, I tried something new... Something that made me a little nervous because it was foreign to me, something that I have no prior knowledge about ... #coding.
Since joining Twitter in 2014, my teaching practice and my lesson repetoire have developed immensely. There are so many great things happening out there in education and much of it is being shared in the #Twitterverse. That's where I learned about #tdsbHOC.
During the week of December 5 - 11, 2016, schools and classrooms across the TDSB are encouraged to "spend as little as an hour of their time - and inspire a lifetime of wonder".
So, I thought - why not?! I visited the website to learn a bit more and I selected one activity for our grade 1/2 students. That was my goal - something small and simple, something students could do independently, also something accessible that students could take home to share with families.
I picked Lightbot - because who doesn't love 🤖?!
It's an educational video game that introduces some simple principles of programming. Students get to practice concepts like sequence, conditions, and loops without actually typing out lines of code, BUT! they use the same problem solving skills to complete each levelled challenge.
On Monday, I modelled the program on our Smartboard and we completed Part 1 together. We took about 45 minutes to learn The Basics:
- using positional language such as straight, left, right (math curriculum),
- explaining the procedures, step by step, start to finish (language curriculum),
- communicating clearly and logically (language curriculum)
- actively listening to each other (language curriculum)
- collaborating and acheiving group goals (learning skills)
And we were only just getting started! Click this link to see our Day 1 Video Tweet!
On Tuesday morning, I was so excited to hear some of my students tell me about their Lightbot challenges they'd done at home that night! "Hey Kelly, I got to the next level. I got to use P1!" They couldn't wait to get started on Part 2 together.
Again, we worked together to solve the new puzzles and this time, we made the connection that using Procedures was a lot like using Patterns as a shortcut.
If our 🤖 wants to repeat the same move over and over, such as
"straight, straight, straight, jump, turn right, light" ➡➡➡⤴ ↩💡
then we could name the Pattern Core 🅿1⃣
- patterning (math curriculum)
It got a little tricky though at level 6. We were failing and couldn't figure out the steps for a puzzle. We tried two or three different ways, but couldn't get it. So we decided rather than get frustrated and upset, we'd take a break. I assigned it as homework for the students and their families (*I also wanted to encourage even MORE of my students to logon and try the game at home)
On Wednesday morning I was pleasantly surprised to be handed this! Not only did one of my grade 2 students go home and play Lightbot, or simply try to pass the level on his own - he took the time to write out all the steps, all the codes for us, so that we could pass the level together at school!
He explained it to us on the Smartboard and we were able to finish Procedures together, as a whole class.
Click this video link to see how we solved the puzzle! We never thought of travelling across the blocks from side to side like that; we were trying to go around the groups of squares!
- persevering and showing self-regulation when faced with a challenge (learning skills)
On Wednesday, we continued with our final stage: Loops. Taking P1 and now adding a P2 (a second pattern) that can be looped into P1.
It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but as a class, we worked through all of Part 3 together on the Smartboard.
Thursday, our Day 4 of #HourofCode, was by far the most exciting! I took a quick poll and was so happy to see that more than half of the class had been playing Lightbot at home with their families. They were ready.
After lots of modelled and shared practice together as a group, we signed out all of the Chromebooks from our school's shared cart, so that each student could now independently play Lightbot.
Wow was the 🔊 level high!!!
👍 Check out this 😄 Video of our Independent Practice 😄
⌛ They were on-task and engaged for an entire hour . . . in the afternoon! 🕧 🕐 🕜
They were problem solving, collaborating, reaching their goals - but some were also failing 🙁😖😞
We've done a lot of work on The Power of Yet, reminding ourselves that it's OK to fail, because we're still just beginning to learn A LOT of new and exciting things - me included!
Later that afternoon we partnered up with our grade 7/8 Learning Buddies and WE taught THEM how to code and play with Lightbot. We learned something new and could teach it to others; we were the leaders and took pride in our new learning, our new understanding, our new #coding and #programming schema.
👍 Check out this 😄 Video of a grade 1 teaching a grade 8 how to use Procedures 😄
What I will take away from this experience and remember most about this #tdsbHOC week was a moment on Wednesday ...
We were ready to start Part 3 - Loops, but I reminded the students about our 1st Failure the day before, when we couldn't figure out that last Part 2 - Procedure. I was trying to set them up, to be prepared if we couldn't figure it out again . . .
But the comments that came from them made me 😍
"It's OK Kelly, we'll just try our best." - M.R.
"We're still learning how to play." - C.B.
"We'll work as a team! We'll have #GRIT! We won't give up!" - O.S.
"Yeah!" ~ agreed everyone!!!
Their willingness to take risks and to try! Their sense of wonder, pure excitement and hard earned success when they accomplished their goals! Definitely one of those #Ilovemyjob moments. I'm glad that I took a risk and tried out #tdsbHOC because #coding is now something that, thanks to the #Twitterverse, I am going to integrate into my teaching practice and lesson repetoire 🔄
Play Lightbot on your 📱 or on your 💻
Join the TDSB Hour of Code event! Hour of Code is a global movement led by code.org. Its goal is to raise awareness of the benefits of learning coding in elementary and secondary schools beyond the Computer Studies curriculum.
We’ve working on our Sorting & Patterning Unit!
Thanks to everyone for making it out last week to Parent Teacher Interviews! Here are a few of the highlights from our discussions:
Lillian has started to use this app during Media Classes - and I've started to upload some info too! We hope that it will be a new way for our students and families to share and connect. Please be sure you use the QR code that was given to you during interviews to connect with your child's journal. *If you need the login information again, please contact us!
*All the images you see here have been uploaded to SeeSaw.
As part of our literacy program, we have begun to practice The Daily 5 : a literacy structure that allows for differentiation in the classroom. It is an integrated literacy instruction and classroom management system, which includes five literacy tasks (Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, Word Work) that teach students self-regulation and independence.
So far, students have practised increasing their stamina for Read to Self, are experts at sitting EEKK! with a buddy during Read to Someone (Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee), they're excited to generate their own pieces as they Work on Writing and enjoy finding words in the room or on our Word Lists for Word Work. Next week, we’ll talk about using the computers and listening centre for Listen to Reading.
Students are solving problems involving the addition and subtraction of single-digit whole numbers, using lots of different tools and strategies (e.g., make a ten, one more than, one less than, counting on, counting back, doubles).
Dot Plates are great for practicing subitizing (recognizing numbers quickly) and then counting on.
Other subitizing videos.
Math-Aids Mental Math worksheets goes hand in hand with subitizing; recognizing addition sentences up to 20 and instantly knowing the sum will help students improve their math fluency, and their overall confidence.
Practice: Single Digit Addition Worksheets for grade 1 and Zero to Twenty Worksheets for grade 2.
To reinforce the strategies we've been learning about:
Concentration (choose #1-10) helps students recognize that whether a # is represented as a numeral, a ten-frame or a word - it's still a number.
Ten-Frame is AMAZING! Try all the different settings (How Many?, Build, Fill, Add). This will help with quick number facts, memorization, relating #s to anchors '5' and '10'.
Harry Kindergarten on You Tube is a great resource. We'll start learning some of these songs in class soon!
Doubles, Doubles, I Can Add Doubles (1 - 5 version)
Doubles, Doubles, I Can Add Doubles (6 - 10 version)
Add 'Em Up! - one more than
Lots of curriculum based songs:
I Can Write My Numbers - great if your child has reversals
Number Words Rap
I Can Count to 100
Numbers in the Teens
Adding and Subtracting
Skip Count - and then Count On! (grade 2s)
** If you're looking to get some of the same materials that we use in school, for home, I like to use Scholar's Choice. For example: Snap Cubes at Scholar's Choice.
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.