Monday, 30 March 2020

Week 27 - Mar 30 - Apr 3

Hi All,

Welcome back! I hope you are all well, staying healthy and finding a few things to keep you busy. I think we are all finding things to be pretty strange: our lives have been turned upside down. Sadly, not having school to return to in the foreseeable future is only going to further disrupt our routines.

The staff of EMJS met today (via Zoom). It was great to see everyone. The video conferencing platform was pretty good, as I'm sure many of you have experienced lately. For students, staying connected with friends through video chat is a great idea (I know my own kids are thoroughly enjoying chatting with their buddies).

As yet, I do not have any information for you as to what the coming weeks are going to look like. We teachers are all being asked to be patient and to hold off on sending out things like schoolwork. In any case, all of our mental health is the priority right now. Let's all look after ourselves. If you are feeling motivated, learn some new home-bound skills. Baking. Gardening. Bicycle maintenance. Or, creativity projects: Painting, Knitting, Sculpture, Bedroom Redecorating, Writing. And read a book. And listen to an audiobook. And listen to a podcast. And watch livestream events like daily online safaris from a zoo.

And of course we all need to get outside - I have spotted some of you out and about in the neighborhood on family walks or bike rides. Keep it up! And let me know (you can send an email), about where you went, and what you spotted that was interesting. Enjoy watching the natural world as Spring progresses.

Last, most all of you have access to your FG profile. I encourage you to post photos (along with explanations), of your stay-at-home adventures and projects. Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. Learning doesn't need to be teacher-directed. By documenting what you are up to, you'll be creating a record of your learning. Have fun with your time, and enjoy.

That's all for now. Chat soon!

Monday, 9 March 2020

Week 26 - Mar 9 - 13

Hey All,

This is our last week before Spring Break. With three outings and a special assembly, we will have lots to keep us busy. Here's the scheduled plan:

Monday - Trafalgar Park
Tuesday - This is a regular day. Expect extra time to work on finishing things up (see below)
Wednesday - Paper Bag Theater presentation (a.m.), and Monterey Market field trip (p.m.)
Thursday - This is also a regular day. There will be a wee Science vocab quizzy.
Friday - Walkies. And, report cards go home.

We welcome a new student to our midst this week. IP, thanks for joining us in Div 1! We hope you enjoy the rest of the year we'll all have together!

In Science this week we will revisit all of the vocabulary that we have learned about in the Matter unit. We'll do a review activity in advance of this.

Math will feature some more work with fractions.

For Writing we will spend time peer-editing and revising our recipes. Some of your recipes look really interesting. My dentist might disagree, though!

Reading features the Graphic Bookworm project. You have developed some cool Slides slideshow tricks and techniques through the ski resort project. What skills can you apply to this new task?

Wednesday's Monterey Market field trip takes us to the middle school of your future (most of you). To get the most out of the trip, you will be encouraged to prioritize learning about the Young Entrepreneurs program. It is really tempting to go on a shopping spree and simply not talk to anyone other than your classmates. I urge you to speak with the grade 6 kids who have worked really hard at creating their product, conducting market research, building a "business plan", and creating their displays. It is a big learning experience for them, and you can set yourself up for success for future year's markets by learning from those who are involved right now. Please do not bring a large sum of money! Between $2 and $10 is enough to get a little bit of a shopping experience. Finally, I strongly encourage you to spend your own money, rather than your parents' cash. If you don't see something you really like, don't buy it!

That's all for this week!

Monday, 2 March 2020

Week 25 - Mar 2 - 6

Well, well. We just keep Marching along, don't we? Here is what our 25th week together is shaping up to look like:

Math: we'll continue our concept exploration of fractions. We'll look at "Parts of Wholes" and "Parts of Sets", and begin to explore relationships between fractions that have different denominators.

Ski Resort: So far, a few groups have made presentations to "town council". What have you learned from these early presentations that you could apply to your own presentation? Do you think having a clear, focused script to read would be helpful to you? What do you need to pump up the enthusiasm level?

Writing: Sandwich Recipes are due Thursday. We've reviewed the criteria in class. Have a look at some student samples here on the blog for ideas if you get stuck.

Reading: on Monday's visit to the library, I encouraged you all to select a graphic novel. We'll begin a mini-unit this week on how illustrators and authors work together to present a visual story. We'll revisit some of the conventions of comics that we looked at for the kelp uses comics, and we'll add new knowledge and new language to describe what we see when we enjoy graphic novels.

Science: we will continue to look at properties of matter this week before moving in to an exploration of other matter-related terms and phenomena. What has been the most intriguing demonstration so far? (If you didn't get a chance to finish your penny-pounding art from Friday last week, please see me on Tuesday to do this.)

A couple of scheduling notes:

Thursday, March 5th: Flight of the Hummingbird presentation in the gym
Friday, March 6th: Walkies
Monday, March 9th: Trafalgar Park (this will be our final visit for the year). Parent-volunteers needed!
Wednesday, March 11th: ArtStarts Duffelbag Theater (a.m.)
Wednesday, March 11th: Monterey Market Field Trip
Friday, March 13th: Walkies. Last day before Spring Break

With two weeks to go before the end of term (and another FG report), staying focused and aware of what is expected of you is really important. Continue to bring your best self to classes and activities over the next little while, okay? We're almost there!

Monday, 24 February 2020

Week 24 - Feb 24 - 28

This is fixin' to be a busy week. Here we go...

Math - On Tuesday, you'll get back your division quizzy (see FG for comments/feedback). Then, we will dive into fraction concepts. We'll spend some time with Math Groups work to build a conceptual foundation for representing parts of whole numbers.

Science - We'll explore measurement of volume with an in-class activity. Then, we will begin exploring properties of matter. Lots of new vocabulary will come at you this week, folks. We'll track those new terms in the classroom and in our notebooks. More demonstrations are coming your way, too, along with a chance to try a few things yourselves.

Ski Resort - presentations will begin on Thursday this week, and carry forward into the following week. These are meant to be short sales pitches for your ski resort proposal. Will the town council like your ideas? How will you sell your idea with words, pictures, and audio?

Bookworm - these book reviews are due on Tuesday. That said, I always prefer quality over punctuality. If you need an extra day or two, it is not a big deal, okay? Remember to walk your bookworm review through the checklist carefully before you decide yours is complete.

Sandwiches - this little writing task continues this week. We'll explore some actual recipes to pick out how their authors use instructive verbs ("spread", "layer", "blend", "stir", "whip", "char", "slice", "dip", "simmer", "scramble", etc). And we will revisit personification as we begin to write our little recipe introductions. Fun!

Some of you still need a bit of time to complete FreshGrade Mission #6. Please find the time early this week to accomplish this task. For those that finished on Friday, please revisit and respond to my follow-up question.

We are 3 weeks away from a much-deserved break. A few little extras are on our Calendar:

Wed Feb 26 - Pink Shirt Day (there'll be an assembly)
Fri Feb 28 - Walkies and Chess
Mon Mar 9 - Trafalgar Park field trip (am)
Wed Mar 11 - Monterey Market field trip (pm)
Fri Mar 13 - Last day before Spring Break

That's it for this week. Have fun and keep smiling!

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Week 23 - Feb 18 - 21

Can you believe that this is already our 23rd week together!? Here's the plan...

Math - a few of you need a bit more time to finish things up with last week's quizzy. If it isn't finished by the end of day on Tuesday, please take it home to complete it. We're going to ease into the next unit this week as we begin exploring "parts of whole numbers".

Reading- your Bookworm book reviews are due on February 25. Your outlines should be done at this point. Is yours? We'll write our reviews based on the writing you've done on your outline. These can be typed directly. Be sure to have that salmon-coloured checklist handy while you write to ensure you have all of the elements of a book review. Last week we examined old student samples of book reviews. Be sure to remember what you learned from reading those and apply your understanding to your own writing.

Ski Resort - we'll spend some time working toward completing your Slides presentations this week. We will put together a presentation schedule so you can show off your work beginning next week.

Writing - we've begun writing about sandwich recipes; using personification gives your taste sensations a certain degree of personality. For this project you'll need to write a brief introduction to the recipe. Using personification, your recipe will tell about the sandwich as though it had a personality. Contains spicy peppers? It is probably angry or vicious or terrifying! A triple-decker with chocolate sprinkles? Then your sandwich might be tall, dark and handsome. Did you invent a deluxe tuna salad sandwich? Think of an old sea captain... what personality traits fit with him? Get the idea? I hope to have those recipes written and completed by early next week. Remember to check out the Sandwich page here on the blog for some old student samples.

Science - our Matter unit continues this week. Aside from learning about properties of matter, one other focus for Science this term is organization. Keeping your papers in order, writing neat, thorough demonstration write-ups, and keeping tidy work stations is important. Staying organized will be important for next term's more independent Science work, so this is good practice.

Lunch Monitors - thank-you to all of you who have stepped up to help out with this job. Your leadership is much appreciated. How is it going? If you are running into difficulty in your class on a regular basis - for example, if the wee ones take forever to get outside, or they refuse to settle down to eat their lunch - please remember to check in with the classroom teacher. If you need help with this, please talk to me.

Walkies (a.m.) and Chess (p.m.), return to Div 1 on Friday. Hooray! Enjoy your (short) week, everyone!

Monday, 10 February 2020

Week 22 - Feb 11 - 13

This is the first of two consecutive short weeks. Missing days due to pro-D and holidays can be a drag on our momentum. I'll do my best to be really clear about what is expected of you this week and next - that way we can work more efficiently!

Math - we are continuing our exploration of division concepts. This week we will tackle the basic idea of average. We'll look at the meanings of average, and explore how to use average in problem solving situations. We will also have a wee quizzy later this week to check in on how you are doing.

Reading - you should now be finished reading your Bookworm book (if you aren't, please take 20 - 30 minutes each evening to read right through to the end of that book). We'll begin building our notes into sentences and finally into the two paragraphs of your book review. I'll book the Chromebooks for later in the week for those of you who would like type your review.

Writing - we'll begin applying what we know about Word Choice over the next couple of weeks. We will explore a literary device - personification - and add in some solid sensory language to create introductions to invented sandwich recipes. If you get a minute, navigate to the Sandwich Recipes page here on the blog to explore some of the crazy sandwich recipe intro's that past students have created.

Science - we will continue to look at Matter. We'll talk about how to keep a really organized and tidy science duotang, and how to write up a simple lab demonstration report.

Ski Resort - continues this week.

While Valentine's Day does not land on a school day this year, some of you mentioned you'd like to participate in an exchange on Thursday. We'll do that in the afternoon of the 13th. Remember to make enough Valentines so that nobody feels left out. But please do not feel like you have to do this: participation is entirely optional!

No Walkies this week.

Enjoy your week, everyone!

Monday, 3 February 2020

Week 21 - Feb 3 - 7

Our week ahead is relatively free and clear of interruptions. Great! Bring your best self to school, and aim to accomplish something significant in your learning. Here's the plan...

In Math we will revisit the division concepts assessment you worked on last week. I noticed a few themes when I looked over what you had done. We have a few things to revisit, and some more practice will be helpful. So this week we will continue to explore division. I have one more way that you might like to think about dividing that I'll introduce to you.

Reading: please ensure you have a copy of your Bookworm book on hand throughout the week. We'll begin talking about how to go about writing your review - specifically, how to summarize an entire story (except the ending, of course!), into just a handful of sentences. We'll also revisit the idea of genre: do you know the genre of your novel? What clues are there that lead you to know this?

Writing: Word Choice continues to be the theme... expect to expand your vocabulary this week!

Science: A lesson about body changes is coming your way this week. A public health nurse will present on Thursday (gr. 4's) or Friday (gr. 5's). If time allows, I'd like to launch into a new unit about energy, too.

To accommodate the grade 5's maturation lesson, Chess will move to just after recess on Friday.

Walkies will go ahead on Friday morning, as usual. Maybe the weather will be a bit more cooperative this time around!

Enjoy your week, everyone!

Monday, 27 January 2020

Week 20 - Jan 28 - 31

Well hello! Here we go with a shorty. Just four days ahead of us, with a few special events thrown in to keep things interesting:

Tuesday: School Assembly
Wednesday: Special classroom guest. Session topic: Mindfulness.
Thursday: Field Trip to Greater Victoria Art Gallery: This is a follow-up session about mindfulness.
Friday: Walkies and Chess.

In among all that, we'll work on:

Math: Division strategies and practice. Dividing two- and three-digit dividends by one-digit divisors. (See video on sidebar.) Expect a little check-in quizzy by the end of the week.

Reading: We'll get underway with our Bookworm book reviews. You will receive a little 'how-to' guide. We'll study student samples, and we'll make firm decisions about which book you will review.

Writing: Word Choice remains our theme. We're going to explore ways of classifying words, and begin building a little collection of your favourite words and phrases.


  • Ski Resort continues... we'll complete each of the tasks done to date. Then, we'll map out our ski hills, and begin working on our presentations.
  • Kelp Booklets. Many of you have completed these. Others need a wee bit more time. At this point, if yours needs more work, it should go home with you for completion. We will self-evaluate three projects related to kelp forests: the creature booklet, the cultural uses for kelp comics, and the Kelp beds of Lekwungen Territory MyMaps task. 
That's all for now, everyone. Enjoy your week.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Week 19 - Jan 20 - 24

Hello! We will hit the mid-point of our school year sometime this week. Can you believe it? Term Two is ticking right along, and there has been lots of productivity and learning happening over the last two weeks.

Our kelp forest projects - the chalk pastels over tempera paint kelp art, the kelp critter lap booklet, and the cultural uses for kelp comics - are all wrapping up this week. We will spend some time sharing and evaluating our work as we complete these tasks.

On a related note: our Salish Sea museum field trip has been officially postponed until April. Details to come.

We will work toward mastering those pesky division facts this week. If you know you still have work to do, please ask for an extra practice page to take home for homework. At the same time, we will begin exploring how to divide two-, and eventually three-digit values by a single digit. We will learn about the names of the parts of a division statement, and about the ways mathematicians express division statements. Quick! If 7 x 4 = 28, what two division statements can you write based on that fact?

This week we will pick up with a new writing task. Our upcoming writer's workshops will focus on word choices, and how we can paint a simple picture with simple words, but when we make colourful, vibrant word choices the meaning of our writing is enhanced.

Skating will happen on Thursday afternoon. Please, parents, let me know if you are able to help out for that trip.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire will finish up this week. I hope you've enjoyed listening to this story. Polly Horvath is an awesome local author. Her stories are hilarious! If you like this one, there is a sequel called Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty. It is available at the school library.

Thanks to Ms. Maddern for introducing us to six popular novel genres. You all now have a list of books that you thought looked interesting. Over the coming weeks, I will reintroduce the Bookworm page here on the blog, and to encourage you all to make a contribution. I hope that one of the books you discovered this week might be one that has not yet been reviewed by former students. I'll guide you through the process of creating a book review over the coming days.

Walkies goes ahead as usual on Friday morning.

Chess session #2 will happen Friday afternoon.

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Week 18 - Jan 13 - 17

Here we go, folks! Your weekly dose of Division One details! There is a lot happening (what else is new?), so let's get started.

Math - we have been practicing the basic facts of division. I have showed you a little thinking trick to help you with these. As you know, division is the opposite of multiplication. By swapping the operator symbols around, you can turn a division statement into a multiplication statement:

42 ÷ 7 = 6
42 = 7 x 6

So, a division fact question can be read as a missing value multiplication statement:

36 ÷ 4 = ___
36 = 4 x ___

Next time you are rolling through a series of division fact problems, try thinking of them as missing value statements. Ask yourself, "what do I multiply 4 by to get 36?"

Reading: On Monday, Ms. Maddern introduced you to six novel genres - realistic fiction, fairy tales, science fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, and fantasy. Which genres do you tend to enjoy? For me, it has got to be fantasy and mysteries! Did you select a book this week that fits with the sort of book you usually enjoy, or are were you convinced to try something new?

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire continues this week. Please complete the Alphaboxes if you haven't already done so. As well, try to complete your three headlines.

The Kelp Project is now a three-headed beast. Part 1 is your kelp critter booklet. Many of you have completed your research and are moving on to assembling your booklet and adding artwork to it. Part 2 was launched on Monday: this will be the Comic Life project you will complete with a partner (or two). With this part you are investigating one of many ways that bull kelp helped sustain the People of the Northwest Coast. Part 3 is the kelp artwork that we began before Winter Break: we will add the chalk pastel kelp to these this week. There are learning outcomes covered by this project in Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Applied Design, Skills and Technology, and Arts Education. As you can imagine, it is important to do your best on the work you do for it!

The Ski Resort project continues this week! You enthusiastically jumped into this task last week - that was great to see! Keep up the momentum this week as we begin to prepare our proposals.

Katie will be back with us on Wednesday. 

Rocks and Rings is a cool PE event coming to you on Thursday.

Walkies will head out on Friday!

Have a great week, everyone!