Our new chapter book series is Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbot; we’re already onto book #3! After Book #1, we tweeted to the Author to share our thoughts and praises. However, we noticed that he was only ‘favouriting’ our tweets, not ‘replying’ to them. So we talked about how we could get his attention and engage him in a dialogue; we realized it was a lot like writing our Pen Pal Letters, that if we wanted to know information we had to ask! Once we did … he Tweeted BACK to us! Ask your son or daughter about our conversation.
We’ve also been talking a lot about ‘Why do we Tweet?’. We want to share our learning with a larger community, we want to engage in discussions about topics that interest us, and we want to learn more about the world around us. It’s not a race, it’s not a challenge to get more followers, we don’t always need someone else to ReTweet us or Favourite us. We are proud of what we’re learning and if sharing it means that someone else can learn from us, then that’s great!
During our library sessions over the past few weeks, we’ve been listening to the long list of Blue Spruce Nominees and on April 29th, we got to vote for our favourite! We learned that the winner at our school was ‘The Highest Number in the World’ - but we have to wait to see if it wins Canada wide!
We are continuing to write letters to our Pen Pals and are focusing on the self- and peer-editing process. Students are still working with their Writing Goals Chart (posted on our display wall):
- finger spaces (meatball spaces between words and spaghetti spaces between letters!)
- word wall word spelling
- capital letters (and more lower case letters)
- beginning, middle, end
- printing (legibility)
- Does it make sense when you re-read it?
We’ve integrated crosswords into our Daily 5 Word Work program and the students are eating them up! They read the clues, answer the riddles, and print neatly one letter in each box.
You can make your own cross words here.
Many of our Science activities are integrated into the Language Program; all students received a short ‘From Seed to Plant’ book and were asked to highlight the important vocabulary words (it came home a few weeks ago). After many read alouds, discussions and Smart Board lessons, students wrote their own ‘How To’ plant a seed booklet, and were encouraged to include as much vocabulary as they could (soil, seed, plant, sprout, water, roots, shoots, leaves, flowers, sunlight, grow).
Our Foodshare Workshop was all about Roots, Shoots, Leaves & Seeds: Students actively learned to identify the different parts of a plant as well as their functions, but the best part was tasting each and every one!
To launch our next Social Studies unit, we are reading ‘School Days Around the World’ and learning about different children’s school experiences. First we read about Solomon from Australia and Rupa from India; students picked one of the characters to compare themselves to - how are you alike and how are you different? For example Solomon eats sandwiches for lunch just like many of us, but his sandwiches are made with Vegemite, not ham or cream cheese. Rupa goes to school just like us, but some days she has to stay home and help with the housework. She also has to walk to get her family’s water, but we can get ours from taps.
In our 3D Unit all students identify and describe common solids (e.g., cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, rectangular prisms) and sort and classify them by their attributes (e.g., colour; size; texture; number and shape of faces), using hands-on blocks as well as pictorial representations. The grade ones can describe similarities and differences using ‘looks like’ language (e.g.,“A water bottle looks like a cylinder”), but are encouraged to start using geometric attributes. The grade 2s extended their study to create models and skeletons of prisms and pyramids, using straws and modelling clay.
As a culminating task for the 3D Solids Unit, students were required to write their own dictionary-like definitions for three of their favourite solids. In their description, they were encouraged to include details about:
Probability is our next unit of study and we started off by watching Bill Nye the Science Guy’s episode.
Our first activity was a Mystery Bag problem - each bag had 6 cubes inside, they might be red, yellow or blue. In small groups, students were asked “How could you predict what the cubes are, without dumping them all out onto the ground at once?” We decided that pulling them out, one at a time, and keeping a record of what we pulled might help us. For about 5 minutes, the students pulled, recorded and put the cubes back. Some groups were recording lots of reds, a few blues and no yellows - they predicted their bag might have 4 reds, 2 blues and no yellows. Ask your son or daughter what they predicted for their bag!
The grade 1s describe the likelihood that everyday events will occur, using mathematical language like: impossible, unlikely, less likely, more likely, certain. Some of their ideas: It is more likely that we’ll read our Chapter Book Droon at the end of the day; It is unlikely that my mom will let me get a dog; It is impossible to flush my brother down the toilet!
When describing the probability that an event will occur (e.g., getting heads when tossing a coin, landing on red when spinning a spinner) the grade 2s use the language: impossible, unlikely, less likely, equally likely, more likely, certain. We are playing simple games and doing lots of probability experiments.
Mr. Nussbaum’s Probability Fair is a great way to practice some of these concepts at home, and even to get some extension in too!
Thank You to all the families that donated items, volunteered their time for our workshop and who came out to our STEM showcase! What an amazing project! It was great to see the students thinking through their problems (but wait, the sparkles are still getting through) and finding solutions (we need more sand!).
Downsview Park is a wonderful place to take a class trip. In the morning Water World activity, we learned about the earth’s water cycle and the importance of water conservation. We went on a hike through the park and looked for signs of the water cycle. In the afternoon, we took part in the Park In Spring program, went to their urban forest and did a scavenger hunt. Ask your son or daughter how many signs of spring they spotted!
Jump Rope for Heart was so much fun! Thanks for all your donations - as soon as we hear about our fundraising goal, we’ll let you know.
Our GTA Community Clean Up on Friday the 17th was great - we walked across Annette and found some itty bitty bits of trash that wouldn’t normally be seen or picked up (don’t worry, we wore gloves!). On Earth Day, the 22nd, we watched Berenstein Bears Don’t Pollute in the morning and then, we turned off all of our electronic devices (the computers, the listening centre, the Smartboard, our Pencil sharpeners) as well as the lights - we chilled out together and listened to a read aloud :)
P.A.L.S. (Playground Activity Leaders in Schools) are actively engaging with our students during the morning, lunchtime and afternoon recess breaks. This month we had some of the HPAS PALS (Lola, Julia, Evelyn and Sadie) come visit us and teach us a game called ‘Mouse Trap’. After we learned how to play, we went out to recess and asked others to join in with us!
Yearbook is off and running! This year, ALL of the students at HPAS will have input. Some of the yearbook volunteers came to our room during Daily 5 Rotations and each of our kids got one whole morning to play around with the program, choose pictures and write captions. What an awesome experience. If you don’t have your orders in yet, be sure to get them in soon!
May 4 - 8th was Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. On Mindful Monday, we took some time to do some breathing practices in class. On Take Time To Create Tuesday and We Belong Wednesday every student in both schools was united with a very small, short art activity; students were given a 1/4 circle piece of paper to colour, with words or images and symbols of ‘what makes you feel like you belong?’ These papers are now combined into a large quilt, displayed on the main floor and second floor main windows. On Taking Care Thursday, we were treated to a healthy apple snack and on Fit Friday, both schools walked a block at 1 o’clock.
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.