In November, we will be learning about how to retell stories as part of our language program. Students are also learning how to use sequencing words (first, next, then, finally) when writing a recount of a personal event. Please help your child select a PICTURE book and practice retelling it orally. Each student’s show and share date is listed on the Class Google Calendar. As always, we are flexible about the date so if your child is away that day or needs more time to prepare they can present when they are ready.
Here are a few guidelines and ideas to help you prepare:
*On the day of your show and share please bring the book to school with you!
As presenters and audience members we are learning how to:
If your child is a reader and feels comfortable bringing in notes to help them, they may. Some students do better just talking naturally about the topic.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
When students come to read with me during Guided Reading Groups, or when they Read to Self or Read to Someone, they've been practising these Reading Strategies.
Ask your child:
☑️ which strategy they use most often.☑️which strategy they are trying to practice using. ☑️which strategy they find most difficult to use. (and why?)
We found a fun video online that helps us with the tricky "Flippy Dolphin" strategy:
Old MacDonald Had Some Vowels. It goes through the short and long sounds of each vowel - so remember that if you try one vowel sound and it doesn't seem quite right, flip it and try the other vowel sound!
**The 'Long Vowel Sound' is the same as they name of the vowel.
Last week, each student took home their very own bookmark with the strategies listed. Please use it at home as you read together and talk about the different strategies that you're using! *Resources courtesy of Deanna Jump @ Teachers Pay Teachers
The V.I.P. - Very Important Person
During the first month of school, each student had the opportunity to be the V.I.P. for a day; they sat in our V.I.P. chair on the carpet, they led the line and they did any special, little jobs that I might have needed help with throughout the day. As a class, we also got the chance the get to know our V.I.P. a little bit better through an interview. As students asked questions and listened for the answers, we focused on the Oral Language Curriculum. When someone asked, “What’s your favourite sport?” a more detailed response than “baseball” would be “My favourite sport is baseball.” and an even more detailed response might include “and I like the Toronto Blue Jays”. Students learned to use part of the question, in their answers (which will hopefully translate into their writing!)
1.2 appropriate listening behaviour - listen without interrupting and wait their turn to speak; show that they are paying attention and are interested by looking at the speaker
2.2 appropriate speaking behaviour - stay on topic and speak to the point
2.3 communicate clearly - use a logical framework with a beginning, middle and end
This beginning of the year activity will now translate into our ‘Show and Share’ program. As part of our Oral Language expectations, students will be learning how to speak clearly and communicate their ideas in an organized way when sharing with the class. Throughout the year, we will focus on different aspects that make a presentation interesting and engaging to the audience. We will learn about techniques, such as, using a loud voice, making eye contact, speaking clearly, and using visuals. Audience members will be learning how to ask questions and give descriptive feedback to the presenters (using ‘stars’ and ‘wishes’).
Each month our class will have a new theme for our Show and Shares and all presentation dates will be posted on the class calendar. If you child is away on their day, we are very flexible and they will just present when they are ready. Students may be as creative as they like when preparing for their show and share day. It is not meant to be a big production, only a 1-3 minute talk about the topic. If your child is a reader and feels comfortable bringing in notes to help them, they may. Some students do better just talking naturally about the topic! Please help them practice at home.
October Show and Share - * Our Family Stories *
This October, we will be learning about what makes a family. We will focus on different kinds of families and how we can be accepting of others. Please help your child to think of some things they would like to share about your family. Students do not need to speak about all the ideas listed below, they are just ideas to help guide your discussions.
Ideas to Spark Discussions:
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Thanks for your ongoing support from home!
Thanks to everyone who came out to the BBQ and Curriculum Night this past week! I met a lot of family members and we chatted about a lot. If you haven’t been getting any email blasts from me - please reach out and I’ll add you to our mailing list.
Here are some highlights about our #backtoschool routines in grade 1 and 2.
First thing before entering the school, I come out to meet the students all lined up and ready to come in at 8:45 am. Then before we enter the class, students check their backpacks for their Yellow Home Notes Folder (to be returned to school on a regular basis) and for water bottles to be kept in the room throughout the day.
Next week, students will start their assigned ‘SuperKid Jobs’ - table top checkers, chair stackers, green team (emptying the recycling, green bin and watering our plants), pencil sharpeners and more! Some of these jobs can be done first thing when entering the classroom, while others such as lunch bin holders & caboose happen throughout the day.
Before the morning announcements at 8:55, we always go through and discuss our schedule; it’s posted in a blue pocket chart for the students to refer to throughout the day. We listen to the announcements carefully in case there are any especially for us (e.g., Fun ‘n Run Club, Ball Hockey Court Schedule, HPAS birthdays etc.) and then we get started with our day!
Writing* a separate blog post coming soon!
We’ve been working on:
"This is me ..." booklets, writing and drawing
“V.I.P.” booklets, for a new Very Important Person each day!
“Writing Journals”; our first entry was on International Day of Peace - What does peace, look, sound, smell, taste and/or feel like to you?
Math* a separate blog post coming soon!
We’ve been working on:
“Number Books” are worked on each day, as we learn about #s 1-20
“Red Math Folders” are independent practice workbooks
"Dot Plates” are a great way to recognize numbers quickly, without having to count by 1s (called subitizing)
A read aloud that many of us were familiar with is Have You Filled Someone's Bucket Today? Throughout the past few weeks, individual students are caught filling other people's buckets (making the right choices, following the routines, going out of their way to be kind to others). For example:
- Theo was kind and unstacked an entire set of chairs all by himself in the morning without being asked
- Clara found a word list and worked on her writing independently, finding words she needed in the room
- Leah reminded me that she had been absent and that she needed to finish math work from the previous day, before she could start with her new work
- Averie helped me find something that I'd misplaced in the room and that I was looking for
- Ella was helpful with a grade 1 student and showed her words on the word list
... there are lots of ways that students can 'fill their bucket' and at times, I might see them and ask them to write their name on a paper droplet and put it into our classroom bucket. Students know that I don't always get the chance to see them making their good choices, so they won’t always get a droplet, but I hope that they’ll continue to make good choices because when they do, they not only make someone else happy (and fill their bucket) they too can feel a sense of pride and happiness for making a good choice. At the end of the week I pull a few droplets out of the bucket and those students are recognized - they might get to choose our class read aloud, a game that we'll play together, or they might even go home with a trinket like a sticker or a pencil for home.
Gems are also a positive reinforcement strategy that we use throughout the year as a whole class; we have two small bins, one full of purple gems and the other is empty. If students work together, cooperate, follow the expectations as a whole community, then a gem is moved from the full bin to the other. Ms. Tahirovic caught us in the hallway as she was passing by and paid us a compliment, because we were being respectful by lining up quietly and not disturbing the other classes during our transition. We can earn gems for positive feedback and compliments from others too! Once all the gems are earned ... we celebrate their teamwork with a gem party! (more info when we get to that point).
End of Day Routines
As soon as students hear our tidy up song (we find it much easier to tidy if there's fun music playing in the background), we stop what we’re doing and work as a team to pack up our room. Quite often they earn a gem for cooperating and working together to pack up our room so quickly!
Then, we gather on the carpet for story-time and we read from our chapter book. First, we read Junie B Jones Toothless Wonder and now, we’re reading Junie B Jones First Grader At Last! Sometimes as students listen, they can get our classroom stuffies and pillows and get comfy on the carpet. Other times, we bring our lunch bags out and eat all our leftovers (which sometimes is a lot!), because it’s important that we fuel our bodies during the busy days we’re having (and because we don’t want to be wasteful with our food). *I do remind students though that most of their food should be eaten during lunch - to take their time in the lunchroom and not to rush outside for recess!
Right now, the best thing to focus on is reading for 15 minutes a day - and there are MANY ways to read:
- parent reads a chapter book; stop to discuss what might happen next, ask "if you could be a character, which one would you be and why?
- parent reads a picture book, from start to finish, as child listens
- parent reads a picture book, child tracks the writing and points to each word as they're read aloud
- child "reads" a picture book; they can use the pictures to retell favourite parts (ignoring the words, but focusing on comprehension and story patterns)
- use a picture book and play "Eye Spy" - the word the, where do you see it on the page? Use our word list!
- recognize the letters and words on a cereal box at breakfast in the morning!
Once students have mastered Sight Words and can recognize them without having to sound out each time, reading will become more fluent. Play these Sight Word Games at home!
*While these are games that students can play independently, please sit with your son or daughter the first few times they play.
If you’d like to practice printing and proper letter formation at home, you can visit this website to use as a reference and/or to print practice pages.
Don't forget to click on all the homework links on my homepage - just scroll to the bottom for TONS of online resources you can use at home, with your son or daughter.
If you find it tricky to get your son or daughter to answer “what did you do at school today?”, ask them about:
- Washroom routines
- Lunch bins
- To finish the sentence “1, 2, 3, eyes on me …”
For additional tips check out : 25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?'
Please feel free to comment below and let me know if your little ones have any feedback once they get home!
Looking forward to a great year,
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
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.