Monday, 21 October 2019

Week 8 - Oct 21 - 24

Hiya Folks! It is Election Day at this writing. Have you encouraged your people to get out and cast their ballot?

We have a short, but busy week ahead of us. Here is the plan...

Monday was a busy day. Between our first trip to Trafalgar Park and Drop Everything and Read/PJ's day, we didn't have a lot of time for much else.

It is great to see many of you making progress on your Halloween Stories. This will be one of our main priorities going forward. Be sure to review my thoughts about having your characters talk to each other see the On Dialogue page here on the blog. As well, remember that old saying I've shared with you: "When you thing you're done, you've only just begun." This is a reminder that the process of revision is a huge opportunity to work on your writing craft. Revision is where the learning happens! You've got to be willing to make changes - sometimes significant changes - in order to improve your narrative. One of the hardest things to learn to do is to cut out sentences that don't quite fit, or simply aren't working. I get it. You worked hard to craft those things in the first place. It is difficult to cut them out! But sometimes letting those sentences go is the best thing you can do for your piece. I'll have a mini-lesson on revision later in the week.

For Reading, we will revisit Peace Dancer. Remember we were exploring how this tale shows how First Peoples' stories connect people to the land, and looking at the purposes of this particular story. As this is part of a unit on oral storytelling, I am going to encourage you to share your understandings orally. We'll make use of some technology to record your thinking for sharing purposes.

We will get to two things in Math. First, we'll make an "after" graph of the Federal Election's results. And we'll pick up where we left off with subtraction. Be on the lookout for a video here on the blog that helps explain the "compensation" strategy we tried last week.

For Social Studies, we'll try to wrap up our look at government, politics, and elections in Canada. With the Federal Election on Monday, the results will be in. It is always interesting to see how things shake out after these things. Who is our next Prime Minister? Which parties made gains? Which parties lost support? What do you think?

By the way, our Student Vote results were interesting, too. I'll share those with you on Tuesday.

Friday is a Pro-D day. No Walkies this week.

Have an awesome week, everyone!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Week 7 - Oct 15 - 18

Hello everyone! This is the first of two consecutive short weeks. There is much to look forward to, so bring your best over the next while, OK?

Our Halloween stories will kick into overdrive for the next two weeks. Some of you have a solid idea in your head already, and you'll get a chance to begin writing by the end of the week. Before that, we'll develop a setting, and rough out a few plot elements.

Math this week will focus on subtraction strategies. We've played around with the "adding on" strategy. We will also look at shifting the question as a way to make it easier to solve. These both are good mental math strategies that help us to build a better understanding of the meanings of the numbers we are working with. Perseverance is important: using familiar methods to calculate differences is fine, but I'm hoping you'll stretch your thinking with this. Learn some new way of doing it! Who knows, your newly learned method might just become your favourite!

This is Student Vote week! As you know, voting in the Federal Election began over the Thanksgiving weekend. Some of your parents may already have voted. If you get a chance, please invite yourself along to the polling station (the voting place), on Monday next week. Get a sense of how things work! (As EMJS is a polling station, we'll try to sneak in to see democracy in action on Monday, too.) On Monday this week we had a special guest: a former MP for Victoria (and NY's grandmother). Denise came in to our class and shared about her experiences in politics.

This week we will explore another title in the First Peoples' Oral Storytelling Tradition unit. I'll be asking you to do more of the thinking on your own this week: this will be our fifth story to explore! Identifying some of the Adventure of the Hero motifs should be getting easier at this point. Understanding the purpose of the next story, and seeing the connections the next tale has to the land should also come more naturally. I'll continue to be here to help you through your thinking, and I will ask you to demonstrate your understanding this time around.

A field trip form went home on Monday about Trafalgar Park. Please have a parent look it over, sign it, and give it back to you to return.

Time permitting, FSA's begin this week for grade 4's.

Walkies will go ahead at its usual time on Friday morning. Can your parent come along with us?

Enjoy your week, all!

Monday, 7 October 2019

Week 6 - Oct 7 - 11

Hello everyone! Let's get down to business...

First, some upcoming dates to be aware of:

Tues. Oct 8 - Fire drill
Wed. Oct 9 - early dismissal for parent-teacher interviews
Thurs. Oct 10 - early dismissal for parent-teacher interviews
Fri. Oct 11 - Alex A. author visit

Mon. Oct 14 - Thanksgiving Day

Mon. Oct 21 - Trafalgar Park field trip
Fri Oct 25 - Pro D day

Fri Nov 1 - Field Trip to Legacy Art Gallery

In Math this week we will finish up our look at adding strategies before turning our attention to subtraction. I have introduced some strategies that you may not have seen before! At first, you may find that they don't make as much sense to you as other strategies which you already know. Please stick with it! The strategies I show you help you add numbers in your head. To do this well, it helps to know multiple strategies. With many "math tools in your toolbox" your nimble brain will be better prepared for fast and accurate computations.

Our exploration of First Peoples' oral traditions continues this week with another Roy Henry Vickers/ Robert Budd story.

For Writing this week, I will return your Meaningful Object pieces to you. Take the time to digest my feedback, folks. The goal of our Writer's Workshop is to build on our previous successes, and to improve the quality of our writing. One way to do this is to have an open mind to the advice of other writers - like me, or your parents, or whomever you trust to give you good advice. Also in Writing this week we begin building the Halloween story. Our first focus will be on Character. Plan to have at least 3 character trading cards ready to go by Wednesday, okay?

We will continue to explore politics this week in Social Studies. Quick, can you remember what the term "Official Opposition" refers to? Who is the current leader of the Official Opposition? He is the leader of which political party?

Walkies will happen on Friday, but at a later time this week due to our author visit. I hope to end our day on Friday with Walkies. Parents, please let me know if you are available 1:40 - 2:48 so I can plan our walk for then.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Week 5 - Sept 30 - Oct 4

Well, well... The month turns to October on Tuesday this week. That means Autumn is fully in progress. You'll have noticed a slight change in weather. The leaves are turning colour and falling from their branches. And we are starting to hit our stride in the classroom.Here is the plan for our fifth week together...

For Writing we will put the finishing touches on the writing piece you have been working on. I'm looking forward to reading more about your most meaningful object. Before you finish, I will spend some time talking about the process I go through to offer you feedback for your work. Aim to have these complete by the end of Wednesday, please. We have a short story writing project to get into before the week is over!

In Math we will continue to look at mental addition strategies, as well as paper-and-pencil techniques. I'll take you through two kinds of SNAP assessments, and then have you complete one of each of these. SNAPs help me to assess your number sense, and your computation thinking.

The work we have done on Raven Brings the Light will need completing early this week. I'm hoping to begin working on another Robert Budd & Roy Henry Vickers story this week. Be sure to do your best to stay current with this work: being really present and mindful during these sessions - listening and viewing with purpose - is helpful.

We will launch into Federal politics this week. No doubt you have noticed lawn signs sprouting up around the community. The names on those signs might not be very familiar: it has been four years since the last Federal election! We'll learn a little about why we have elections, what an elected representative does, and how to cast a vote. In three weeks, you will all get to cast your own student ballot, along with tens of thousands of other Canadian kids. While your vote does not have the same influence of your parents' votes, perhaps the conversations you have with them might influence how they mark their ballot on October 21.

Walkies will happen on Friday morning. Team L.O.L., you are on class jobs this week. Thanks for your help.

Enjoy your week, everyone!


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Week 4 - Sept 24 - 27

Well hello there! This is a short week, so we'll have a little less on the agenda as usual. Here we go:

In Math we will explore more addition strategies. Most of you are fairly good at adding with paper and pencil. Ultimately, I would love you to be able to add any pair of two- or even three-digit numbers together in your head! The strategies you'll see this week are designed to help you do this. They build your number sense, and, even if you aren't able to compute in your head, they will give you a solid foundation for paper and pencil calculation.

Most of you now have access to your FG portfolio! Way to go! Be sure to check in regularly, and share your progress with your folks at home. We will launch into our first FG Mission this week. These are direct-to-portfolio tasks that ask you to reflect on your learning. The first Mission is now live on your profile. We will discuss it on Wednesday, and you'll get a chance to work on it.

For Writing this week we will write a little something in order to establish a baseline of your writing capability. Coming to a writing session soon: mini-workshops on the elements of short stories. We all have a spooky story to write before the end of next month! We have some things to learn about before we can begin.

The unit on the oral storytelling traditions of NW Coast First Peoples will continue this week with Frog Girl, and with another visit with Ms. Maddern on Wednesday.

The Monster Squad project will begin this week for those of you who do not take Strings.

Also beginning this week: Morning Meetings! More on this as the meetings roll out. For now, though, expect a deliberate, focused chat to begin many of our days.

Orange Shirt Day is on Friday this week. Expect some learning and discussion about the event as the week progresses. 

Walkies will also happen on Friday! Hooray! Parents, please remember to let me know if you plan on joining us - it really helps my planning, and lets me avoid the last-minute, desperate pleas for help! Many thanks!

That's all for this week!


Monday, 16 September 2019

Week 3 - Sept 16 - 20

Well, Hello! Believe it or not, this is our third week back at school. After spending the past two weeks easing into things, we will get a few things started this week that seem a bit more like schoolwork.

Math: Our binders have been set up. We're organized. I've tried to engage your numeracy brains with some number talks. You've been introduced to "subitizing". This week we will launch into addition strategies. These involve some mental computation strategies that you might already use, but didn't realize you knew of them.

Reading: Remember that our library visits happen on Monday mornings. Your job is to ensure you have a book at school to read during down times. Fortunately, the Milk will wrap up early this week. What do you think of Neil Gaiman's book? Did anything surprise you about the story? Is this the kind of book you enjoy?

Writing: We'll continue to build our bank of writing ideas. Last week we started creating your Writing Territories. This is a never-finished master list of things that you know about, remember, would like to learn more about, are passionate about, or know more about than you ever wish you did. During our Writer's Workshop blocks throughout the year, you will revisit your Writing Territories for inspiration.

Social Studies: As a warm-up to our look at Canada's federal election, we'll look at the political geography of Canada. It's map time, folks! I have some basic guidelines for being successful cartographers... see the "On Maps" page here on the blog for a review.

Our annual Terry Fox run will happen late in the school day on Tuesday this week. Please consider donating a dollar or two to the Terry Fox foundation. A collection jar will be in the classroom on Tuesday morning. Thanks, and remember to wear your runners!

The EMJS Welcome Back Night will happen on Tuesday, from 5:30 - 6:30. I hope to see you there!

Also on this week is the visit by Teddy Anderson. Thursday morning's show promises to be a high energy affair, as does the workshop we will get with Teddy on Friday afternoon.

The online typing program, TypingPal, is up and running. You each have an account that tracks your progress. I will do my best to find you 15 or 20 minutes per week to practice your typing. Remember the basics: type at a desk, good posture, feet flat on floor, fingers on the home row, use the right fingers for the keys, and keep your eyes on the screen. You are able to access TypingPal at home, too, if you are interested in more practice time.

That's all for this week, folks! Don't forget to check back on the Daily Agenda page each night, Monday through Thursday.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Week 2 - Sept 9 - 13

Hi All,

Welcome to Division 1. You have arrived at our class blog. I have split this week's post into two parts. First, for students:

We are certainly in the "get to know you" stage of this new school year. I'm working hard at figuring out what you are good at, and in what areas we will need to go slowly with. We will begin a few things this week that look more like schoolwork: some math, some writing, perhaps a little reading.

On reading: As we are starting up cautiously, you may find there are some moments when you finish early. Please ensure you have a book to read during those "in between" moments. You are welcome to borrow from our classroom shelves, or bring one from home. We will visit the library to exchange books first thing each Monday morning. What books did you borrow this week?

Students, please take a few minutes to explore this blog. Find the Agenda page and the Calendar page. Check out the Bookworm page. Let me know what you think!

Now here's some stuff for parents to read:

On Thursday last week I sent home a letter of introduction to parents. It outlines what to expect from the year, and hopefully answers some of the questions you might have.

This site is a useful form of communication for me. I use this blog keep both students and their parents informed of the goings on here in Division 1 at EMJS. Please take a moment and bookmark this website in your browser, or create a shortcut on your mobile device's homescreen... I'll do my best each week to make my posts both informative and entertaining. I know that I must do both to make this worth reading! I will also try to be brief (unlike this week).

Here is a place for me to lay out the "broad strokes" of what we are doing in class week by week. I update the blog on Monday afternoons. I encourage students to sit down with their parents every Monday evening and read the weekly post aloud. (Good reading practice!) Together, you will be better able to anticipate the things we will do for that week. Parents, please keep yourself informed. You have a great role to play in your child's education - it really helps to know what is happening at school.

A blog is a versatile tool. Here I will be displaying and sharing student-created content, as well as posting web-based resources, assignments and school-related information. (On the mobile version of the blog: This particular blog platform offers a pared down experience for mobile devices... You'll get the basics, but might miss out on some of the extended content I include in the sidebar.) This blog is also a forum for me to lay out some of my teaching philosophy. I hope to impart a better understanding among parents the reasons behind the things I teach and the way I teach them.

This blog is not a "homework" site. I will be asking students to take a significant measure of responsibility for tracking their own work by accessing the Agenda here on the blog. I find that "homework" sites cause students to become over-reliant on their teacher (who sometimes doesn't have the time to update the site daily). Please explore the blog as it grows throughout the year. Also, keep up-to-date on upcoming class events through the Calendar page.

Last Friday, you all received a package of forms for parents to sign. Please make sure the info is correct, up-to-date, and that you sign each form where appropriate. SPECIAL NOTE! If all forms come back, signed and complete by Thursday, we will be able to begin our Walkies program on Friday. Many thanks to those of your parents who have already taken care of this.

About Walkies: While my introduction letter does outline what our weekly walks are all about, I want to get a plug in now about parent involvement. You are invited to join us on Friday mornings, from 8:50 to 10:30. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are also welcome to come with you. To achieve the required ratio of 10 students to 1 adult, I will need at least two parents to join us each week. If you can come, please send me an email on Thursday, so I can plan appropriately.

That's all for this week, folks. Again, welcome aboard. It looks like it is going to be a great year!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Week 1 - Sept 3 - 6

Hi Everyone! This is the official blog of Division One at Margaret Jenkins Elementary School.

It is really great to see that you have found my blog! This week all I am going to offer is a huge WELCOME ABOARD! to you. We are getting to know one another. I'll have way more to tell you next week. I'll describe what this blog is all about and why I write it.

Notice the tabs at the top of the page. Currently, the Timetable needs updating (you will see last year's schedule there). And the Daily Agenda is still stuffed with agenda items from the 2018 - 2019 school year. The Calendar tab is not yet populated with class events. This will be updated regularly.

For now, please bookmark this site. I'll be asking you to check in weekly on this space.

That's it for now!