June 29, 2016

That was fast

I just don't know where the time went. It goes by faster and faster with each passing year doesn't it?  It seems like it was five minutes ago that I walked my class upstairs and welcomed them into Room 208 and then 40 weeks later, here we are. My hope is that they enjoyed the adventure as much as I did. Every single day, we laughed, learned together and then laughed some more.  We sang songs, read poems, told stories and had our own little jokes that no one else understands. And like all families, we had some bumps in the road and we talked, planned, and then carried on.  

When they look back on our year together, I hope my students will say they learned the value of a good handshake,  that good manners and saying a person's name are just as important as knowing your times-tables, and that if you always pack your sense of humor and treat people the way you want to be treated, there's really no limit to what you can achieve.  

I'm proud of our year together. It was time exceptionally well spent. They say when the teacher is happy, everyone is happy, and this year, I was really, really happy.  My classroom feels like a home, that's always a goal of mine, and leaving my "real" home and heading to my "school" home each day to spend my day with your children never felt like work. Even when I over-filled the sink or jammed the copier, it was always a pleasure to spend my day with my school family.  

It is my sincere hope that my students will look back on our year together and recall it fondly. I hope I've made a difference in their lives. I hope that I've taught lessons that will remain with them and that I made them feel special and important.  I can tell you that your children certainly made me feel this way.  I often refer to my students as my "chickadees", and as my mother will confirm for you, this little group literally felt like my little chicks.  I noticed early on. They followed me everywhere and clung to every word. They seemed fascinated and engaged and I cherished that so much. I always will. 

It was so heart-warming to watch this crew get to work after instructions were given or lessons were taught. One could practically read their minds. They looked like they were thinking "Hey, if she said to do it, I'm sure it's important, so let's get 'er done." I have a sneaky feeling that if I told them we were going to learn about the history of paper-towels, they'd sit up straight, with a smile on their face and be ready to learn. They're just that sweet.   

They were interested in everything and just wanted to show you their very best. What more could a teacher ask for? What more could a parent ask for?  

Thank you for sharing them with me.  I gave your special people my very best and I will miss them terribly as they move on to Grade Four.  

Next Fall, I've designated last recess as the "visiting hour" during the school year, and my hope is that my room will be full once again with the enthusiastic voices and shiny smiles of my 2015-2016 friends.  


June 27, 2016

Beethoven and Building

Today it was all about Beethoven and building!  We began the afternoon by finding a favourite spot in the room, resting our heads andlistening to "Beethoven Lives Upstairs". It was a quiet few minutes, with no noise, other than the narrator and beautiful Beethoven. 

But look out, because when that was done, there was some serious noise! The boys and girls completed a number of Solo-Cup building challenges! They ranged from easy to hard and in the end, we finished with a whole-class challenge. 
It was fun for all, but we quickly determined that uttering the phrase, "Let me take a picture of this" was the death phrase. It seemed like whenever I said those magic words, all of the Solo-Cups had a great fall.  

June 24, 2016

Directed Drawings!

On Thursday, we began a directed drawing self-portrait (I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out how to phrase this. Those four words...still don't think it sounds right). So what's a directed drawing? It's when we give students step-by-step directions about how to draw something. Rather than saying, "ready, set, go!", we break down the steps into smaller, more manageable lines and before you know it, you have a work of art AND you've learned a new skill!  

By teaching children that learning to draw (even digitally) is nothing more than manipulated shapes and lines, we improve their confidence, perseverance and fine motor skills!

Why did we all draw the number 4 on our shirts? Well, it seemed appropriate since that's the grade the gang's headed and learning how to draw that number 4 was a lot harder than it looked!  

June 21, 2016

Mozart and Math Games!

We had such a nice afternoon on Tuesday! First, we closed our eyes, rested our heads and listened to Mozart's Magnificent Voyage.  We learned all about the famous composer by listening to a movie for our minds.  It was such a nice after lunch activity.

After that, the Mozart music continued and we moved on to different Math games.  It was a great way for everyone to practice their number-sense skills AND play together with a purpose.  It was everything you could hope for in a June afternoon.  

One of our favourite games to play was Farkle! Here's a printable version of the rules and instructions (click here)

Of course, it wasn't until AFTER the kids went home that I realized I forgot to make the lemonade.  We'll just have to do it all again so I can get it right next time.  ;) 

June 17, 2016

Carnival Time!

Oh my word, what a hit this activity has been! You want to see fantastic, thoughtful and creative writing? It's all here! What a great way to end the school year: a year where there is always so much growth in terms of my students' writing skills.  

The boys and girls had an important job to do: create a brochure for a make-believe school carnival.  In this one exercise, we covered many important skills and answered lots of questions: 
  • What's the purpose of a brochure? 
  • What makes a great brochure and a not-so-great brochure? 
  • What kind of information will people want to know about a school carnival from a brochure? 
  • How do I engage my reader? 
  • What's an appropriate theme for a carnival? 
  • What are sensible food prices for my menu items?
  • How do bullet points work really effectively on a brochure? 
  • What's an appropriate day/time to hold a carnival? 
  • My carnival's website? What's an appropriate name?
  • Will the website be a .ca or a .com site?
  • Let's talk revenue: who benefits from my carnival? 
  • The beneficiary: why them? 
I am so pleased with the quality of my students' work on this assignment (what else is new right!?). It's been a great way for the boys and girls to do some creative work AND show off all they have learned in Grade Three! 

June 15, 2016

That was so fun! And how to buy the dvd!

Tuesday night was so much fun! 
Thank you parents for supporting the school play! The kids were so excited upon their arrival and didn't they look positively adorable as they performed? Would you believe we've been practicing that routine since February?  To see it all come together so beautifully was really touching. 

I especially enjoyed seeing how our dance fit into the play overall. It was so fun seeing how the main cast interacted with my students on stage. 

After our dance number, we all returned to the classroom to enjoy some preferred activity time while watching the movie itself! Thank you to Miss Sarah for sharing it with us!  

Then, just before it was time to return to the stage for our bow, we had a real "Evening Meeting"! We usually do this every afternoon, but this was the first time we'd ever had a true "evening" meeting! We gave out brag tags and talked about how wonderful the entire process had been. It was neat to hear how some of the kids didn't want the night to end; they wanted it to go on and on. Other kids want to take dancing/acting lessons and other kids are just plain relieved it's done! 

Thank you parents for your help with costumes and drop offs and pick-ups. The evening was a huge success and I sincerely appreciate your support!   

If you would like to order a dvd of the performance, here are the details: 

  • you must order your dvd online
  • sales will take place from June 10-June 17
  • late orders after June 17 will not be accepted 
  • you will need to order Cast A, B, or C when purchasing online (we were cast B) 
  • copies of the dvd are $5.00 
  • orders can be placed at https://hcdsb.schoolcashonline.com/Home/SignIn

June 14, 2016

Unit 10 Learning Goals: It's our last Math Unit!

Unit Ten: Patterns in Numbers and Geometry

“In Grades 3-5, students should investigate numerical patterns and geometric patterns and express them mathematically in words and symbols.  They should analyze the structure of the pattern and how it grows and changes, organize this information systematically, and use their analysis to develop generalizations about the mathematical relationships in the pattern.” 

Principals and Standards for School Mathematics, NCTM, 2000

What are the Big Ideas? 
  • Patterns are a regular occurrence in mathematics, and they can be identified, extended and described.
  • Patterns can be described using words, pictures and pattern rules.
  • A table displays positional relationships in patterns and is an important early stage in the development of algebraic thinking and reasoning

How Will the Concepts develop? 

Students explore different number patterns and demonstrate understanding by writing pattern rules, and completing or extending patterns in tables. Students identify, extend and create geometric patterns that show grown, using Pattern Blocks and Colour Tiles. They create patterns by changing two, and then three attributes or figures. Students make and examine patterns on grids, and use a computer to create patterns.  

Why Are These Concepts Important? 

Active exploration of patterning helps students to develop effective reasoning skills. As students gain experience in identifying, describing, extending, and creating patterns, they develop a foundation for meaningful mathematics learning in later grades.  As students investigate patterns, their work is closely connected with other mathematical strands, such as Number Sense and Numeration, and Geometry and Spatial Sense.  

From: Math Makes Sense: Ontario Teacher Guide
Unit 10: Patterns in Numbers and Geometry
Pearson Education Canada

June 10, 2016

I like the sound, I like the sound of that.

There's a really sweet song by country group Rascal Flatts called, "I Like the Sound of That".  It's a love-song and the chorus is really catchy. It's my jam right now.  I had the video posted above, but I can't get it to stay put; every time I refresh the page, it disappears, so you'll have to take my word for it! 

As the year winds down, I get a little sentimental. Okay, maybe a lot sentimental.  I have, after all, spent almost 190 days with these chickadees. And it doesn't take long before they kind of start to feel like mine.  We become a little family really quickly. I think that happened mid-September.  And today (Friday)...when they left, the room was really quiet. Really quiet. I needed Kleenex. 

How often do you have a day at work where you go, "Ya, this career thing, I'm doing it right." ? It was a really great day today. 

It was "Despicable Me" day and it could have been "let's watch paint dry" day and these kids would make it memorable.  I took a million plus one pictures and I hope to have them on the bulletin board outside our room for you to see on Tuesday night. Fingers crossed for the Costco photo lab.  Since I don't really post photos of the kids online anymore,  we'll have to go old school for the memories from today.  

We played crazy games, blew bubbles and flung Frisbees. We watched a movie, drank punch and ate chips. Does it get any better than that?  Seriously.  The laughs, the singing, the jokes and the sweetness...so much sweetness.  The best part of the day? Well, that was the thank-yous for all the fun. How do you top that? It's music to my (and I suspect your) ears.  An adorable group of 8 and 9 year- olds, thanking their "mom during the day" for the fun.  

I like the sound of that. 

And after listening to that song a hundred times, I want cowboy boots! ;) 

June 08, 2016

Can't wait 'til Friday!

Despicable Me day is Friday!

June 06, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

An update on the play: 
Our performance night is June 14th.  Students need to report to our classroom by 6:45pm.  Once students are dropped off, they must remain in the classroom.  

During the play, there is an intermission with an opportunity to purchase food items. I respectfully ask that parents do not purchase treats for their children and deliver them to the classroom during that time.  It's a really busy night and safety and supervision are my priority.  Any efforts to reduce traffic to the classroom are appreciated.  

In the past,  a nervous belly,  coupled with ice-cream or other treats has proven to be a...well...nasty combination. Students have worked so hard for this night, I wouldn't want anything to take away this opportunity.   

Students will be able to drink from their water bottles and classroom cups should they need a refreshment.  

Their costumes consist of the following: 

Tops: white, beige or pale colored/pattern shirts or blouses.

Girls:  skirts, preferably longish, and plain in colour (black, blue, beige, brown).
Boys: plain coloured pants in black, blue, beige or brown 

Shoes: simple footwear, no neon colours please.  
Accessories: none for boys, but girls can wear plain scarves or shawls 

Students are playing townspeople, so their looks should be very simple, so as to not distract from the actors on stage with them. 

Wonder by RJ Palacio

I began reading this novel to the boys and girls last week at Evening Meeting.  I like to read my students books that have powerful messages that will stay with them long after we've turned the last page. 

Wonder by RJ Palacio is an incredible book. It's a novel written for children in Grades 5 and up, so when I read, I modify. I leave out words that don't work for me as a teacher and skip over any material that my students aren't ready for.  

This book is so good though, it needs to be shared. Students of all ages can appreciate Palacio's message.   

It's about ten-year old August.  He was born with severe facial deformities and has never attended public school.  The story is told from a number of different perspectives and it grabs you from page one and doesn't let go.  

We're only a chapter or two in and I think it's had the same effect on my students as it did on me when I first picked it up. 

When that bell rang for dismissal on Friday afternoon, many students groaned and asked me to keep reading. If you have an older student in your family who is looking for a great read with an inspiring character that overcomes the challenges he faces in life, they'll certainly enjoy this novel.  

I've told my students that I'll read it to them this year, and then when they're in Grade 5, they can read it all over again on their own. 

June 01, 2016

Unit 9 Practice Test

We're going to have our Unit 9 test on Tuesday June 7th. 

Here is a practice test I've created to assist students in their studies.  

Unit 9 Practice Test

We did it!

After 35 weeks of preparation and hard work, I am so proud to announce that my students have finished their EQAO booklets! They did a fantastic job and no doubt will be thrilled with their results when their scores are returned in the Fall.

Now it's time for us to get back into our regular routine.  We still have plenty of curriculum to cover and lots of fun ahead.  

Here's what we can look forward to in June: 

  • we need to finish unit 9 in Math (area and perimeter) 
  • we'll also complete unit 10 (patterns and numbers in geometry) -we've touched on this unit throughout the year, but we'll jump in with both feet this month
  • we'll need to have tests for both of those units 
  • we'll create a brouchure for a pretend school carnival
  • we'll enjoy reading (possibly recording if there's time!) our final "News Report"  
  • we'll continue to learn how to write in cursive 
  • we'll have some fun learning how to draw all kinds of new things! 
  • we'll do lots of practicing for the school play on June 14th 
  • we have a field trip on June 28th! -information to follow
  • we're going to do some investigative work in Social Studies while we learn more about the life of on Ontario pioneer  
  • and of course, we'll have a big ol' party to celebrate the completion of EQAO! 
I know there are plenty more items to add to this list, but these are the big goals we have for the remainder of the year. 


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