Student led conferences are March 20th and 21st. The online booking system for these conferences will open on Monday March 11th at 4pm.
Thursday, March 20th is an early dismissal for students. It is also the last day before Spring break. Students will return to school on Tuesday, April 2nd.
Literacy Updates: This weeks sight words: under, very, walk, was, were and when. Other focus - printing practice (rounders), story writing, St. Patrick's day.
Information on RAZ Kids has been sent home. Please check your child's communication folder.
Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Fun fact! Our program coordinator with the Calgary Zoo this year is Jenn Duffy. Talk about working with an expert! Jenn is a zoologist, paleontologist and has travelled the world working with children to raise awareness about global issues. One of these programs has involved working with Jane Goodall (amazing!) Click here for more information on Jenn Duffy. When students found out Jenn worked with Jane Goodall, it sparked some interest around the topic of gorillas, and so our latest project began.
As a class we read stories and watched videos about Jane Goodall, and how she is an important spokesperson for the gorillas. Students shared that it is important that people take action for animals in need, because "they cannot speak for themselves". We also learned about Ivan the Shopping Mall gorilla, who was mistreated by being kept in a small enclosure in a store for most of his life. In this case, people took action by writing letters, protesting and involving the media to free Ivan after 27 years! Ivan spent the rest of his life in the Atlanta Zoo. Student reflections and visual journal entries demonstrate their understanding of what Ivan did not have access to in the Mall, and what the Zoo was able to provide him with in order for him to thrive/survive. Students are currently using the artistic medium of collage to create a space for Ivan that shows the things he needs (water, shelter, food, space, play, family. etc).
Students have spent time over the last two days discussing Internet safety, and how to be responsible when online. We watched several videos and learned that in some ways the Internet is like the real world. For example, in the real world there are places that are unsafe for children (i.e. outside alone after dark), and online there are places that are unsafe for children (i.e where the internet takes you if you click on a scary picture). We came up with four general rules for how to be safe online:
1. Do not click on something that makes you feel uncomfortable (scared, anxious, sad etc).
2.Tell an adult when something makes you feel uncomfortable.
3. Never share your personal information online.
4. Be kind online.
Below are links to a couple of the videos we watched together, as well as some written responses done by students.
What is the Internet? (click to see video)
What is personal information? (click to see video)
Be Kind Online! (click to see video)
Experimenting with Color
Students have recently been playing with color and color mixing. As a group, we discussed the scientific method and vocabulary such as experiment, hypothesis, procedure and conclusion. In pairs, students chose different colors of crayons and hypothesized what color they would make, recording their thinking in their visual journals. With adult support, they then used a heat source (hair dryer, oven) to melt the crayons together and students recorded their observations and compared to their beginning predictions. We recorded all of our results as a class and students named the new color they created.
Virtual Field trip with the Calgary Zoo
Yesterday grade ones had their first day of inquiry sessions around the needs of animals. Students were grouped based on the animal they chose to study in the Canadian Wilds. One of these six sessions included a Skype session with Jenn Duffy, our project leader, at the Calgary Zoo. Jenn was able to broadcast live from each of the groups specific animal enclosure, which was highly engaging for students! Students will rotate through three more sessions on Thursday, so if your child did not participate in a virtual field trip yesterday, they will tomorrow!
Last week students gathered with their animal interest group and formulated questions they had for Jenn. During the Skype session, she was able to answer many of these questions. How do cougars hunt? How did they make the Whooping Crane robot egg? Why are they close to extinction? Do wolves have enemies? How did Maple the Moose get to the Zoo safely? These are just a few of the many questions Jenn was able to answer, as students gathered information and developed a deeper understanding of animal needs, adaptations, and the relationship between humans and animals.
Other inquiry sessions included exploring garter snakes, looking at turtles, writing poetry and learning about animal adaptations. Students were very engaged during these activities!
Curriculum Letter (January-March)
Students have been practicing their estimation skills since returning from the holiday break. Estimations are all around us in the real word, for example when making sure you have enough money at the grocery store, when splitting a restaurant bill between friends or when creating an estimate for a house renovation as a contractor. It is a higher-level thinking skill, that requires students to conceptualize and mentally manipulate numbers. Through estimation, students are learning skills such as analyzing, rounding, critiquing the thinking of their peers, and reasoning. We have been using vocabulary such as a little more than, a lot less than, close and between to estimate and count familiar objects around the classroom, and compare our estimations to actual totals.
It was evident very early this school year that I had a group of students who loved working with numbers! Most students in the class are VERY engaged when posed with a new math problem, task or game. The challenge for me is to present tasks and problems that are complex enough to push students who need it, while others can practice the basic skills they are still developing. Over the last two weeks students have been playing with the Exploding Hats problem (called Bubbling Cauldrons on the video below). This particular puzzle promotes mental math and addition to ten, as well as number order, sorting, counting and more! Many students have solved the puzzle using two hats and 8 numbers, and are working to solve three hats and 12 numbers.
Exploding Hats (click link for video)
Goal Setting and Food Bank Mission
We have begun to discuss the importance of goal setting, and are currently working on two group goals to prepare students for setting their own academic and learning readiness goals in the New Year. Students have learned that SMART goals are specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and have a time frame. When we discussed areas for improvement as a class, some students shared that the Read to Self block after lunch was difficult for them. We talked about why this block is important to their reading development, and the strategies that students might use to stay on task during Read to Self (i.e. sit by someone who does not distract them, sit at the teacher table, choose a book that they can read independently). Together as a class, we wrote the following goal: By December 21st, we will read to self for 15 minutes, 4 days a week. We are using a visual timer on the Smartboard as a management tool, and are tracking our minutes using gold coins in a jar.
The class has also been challenged by the grade two's to bring in 50 objects for the Food Bank by December 20th. The class that brings in the most food will get to throw a pie in Mr. Wilcox's face on the last day of school! We have specific items that we are looking for, including soup cans, dry pasta, baby food, diapers, peanut butter, canned vegetables and canned fruit. Please send in items for the Food Bank as soon as possible. Thank you for your support!
Community Helpers Thankful Project
Students are learning all about important people in our community! As a class, we have read stories, watched videos and brainstormed together to think about the people who play an important role in our school community and community of Evergreen. Each week this month, we are taking the time to say THANK YOU to one of these helpers or groups of helpers. This week we made cards for the local firefighters and dropped donuts off to the Fire Station to show appreciation for their bravery! Last week, we snuck a box of chocolates into Mr. Fred as a way to say thank you for all of his hard work in the school!
Skoki's Story: Stop Motion Project
The grade ones are currently creating a project to share Skoki the bear's story with our school community. Skoki was of particular interest after our first trip to the Calgary Zoo, as students were deeply engaged in how he went from living in the wild to being a member of the Zoo. When asked why it is important to share Skoki's story, students responded with many ideas, for example; grizzly bears are an important part of our community, to learn how to let a bear live like a bear, to learn the importance of the Calgary Zoo and to learn to be safe when dealing with animals in the wild.
When asked how we could share his story, students were very excited at the option of creating a Stop Motion video. We began to explore animation techniques, the people involved in creating an animation and watching videos to learn about stop motion. We knew story boarding was our first step, and so students worked in groups to draw and organize Skoki's story.
Next students practiced "pitching" their storyboard to the class, making sure they had all important pieces of the story placed in order. Students took turns presenting to the class and received feedback from their peers.
Students are currently creating props for their animation, including drawing Skoki (with a little help from Art for Kids Hub!) and creating Matisse inspired backdrops for their movies using scissors, paper and glue.
Stay tuned for our Skoki story next week!
We are very excited for our first trip to the Calgary Zoo and launching our year long inquiry around the connections between animals, plants and humans! Our class has been preparing for this first trip by exploring the animals in the Canadian Wilds through a variety of media and sources, walking to Fish Creek Park, discussing important terminology, like adaptation, hibernation and migration, comparing animals and classifying local animals using Calgary's wildlife monitoring cams. We look forward to seeing what the students are most interested in on our first journey to the zoo, as we will plan our projects based on student questions, interests and concerns.
Introducing our Reading Buddies! Each buddy represents a reading strategy that students can use when they are stuck on a word. They have been introduced slowly to students over the past couple of weeks in the order that they are most often applied. Students have been practicing using the reading strategies during literacy centers, buddy reading, guided reading and read to self. The four buddies we have met so far, and their corresponding strategies include:
Sid the Dog – Look at the picture for clues.
Lips the Fish – Get your lips ready and make the first sound.
Chunky Monkey – Look for a smaller part.
Skip the Frog – Skip the word and come back to it.
Each student is in the process of creating a bookmark picturing each of these buddies. They will then be able to use these bookmarks when they get stuck on a word over the course of the school year. I will also make a duplicate bookmark to include in their home reading bag so that you can refer to the Reading Buddies when reading at home. We will continue to introduce new buddies and strategies over the next couple of weeks.
* A friendly reminder to make sure students are bringing their home reading bag back and forth to school. This is so I can frequently check in, read with them and assess them on their sight words. Thank you!
Each grade one student is coming home with free book today, as part of the TD Grade One Book Giveaway program by The Canadian Children's book centre. We read this book as a class today, and the students giggled the whole way through, but also had some very meaningful conversations around the topic of "unlikely friendships". Enjoy your book!
Living Traditions of the Blackfoot People
Our class has been studying the Blackfoot people of southern Alberta. We have looked at, handled and written about artifacts that we borrowed from the Glenbow Museum. We have listened to Blackfoot music, read books about Blackfoot legends and learned how important the bison, horse and dog were to the Blackfoot people in the past. We have learned the importance of relationships between people, animals and nature in the Blackfoot community, and learned that they have many unique traditions. We will continue to explore the Blackfoot people next week.
Humans, plants and animals....we are all connected!
Last week we had our first adventure to Fish Creek Park! It was a beautiful day for walking, and students were encouraged to explore the evidence of plants and animals in our community, as well as consider the purpose of having such a large conservation area in the middle of a big city. Students saw evidence of trees being used by beavers, heard the sound of the chick-a-dees, discovered some interesting foot prints (perhaps a cougar!?) and observed a hawk, which appeared to be searching for prey. We also discussed the humans we saw and the ways that humans use the conservation space as well. One student shared, it lets us enjoy nature and enjoy the scenery. As we begin our year long inquiry into the connections between humans, plants and animals, we are thoughtfully creating experiences for students that allow them to develop an appreciation for the fact that the plants and animals in our community are unique, beautiful and important to our ecosystem. As well, we have begun to discuss how we can safely share space and interact with wild animals in our community, for example by walking in groups and keeping our pets on leashes.
This week, students will be bringing home a home reading bag. Inside the bag will be several books, as well as flash cards that can be used to practice sight words. The reading that you do at home is very important to your child's brain development and their ability to understand the world around them. It allows them to develop a deeper understanding of language, fosters their listening skills and prepares them to understand written language. A daily routine that includes cozying up with an adult and a book (either from the home reading bag or your own personal library) is something that every child benefits from, especially when this is viewed as a positive, enjoyable experience. For more information on reading with you child, please see the hand out and video below.
Students have been studying turkeys this week! By studying a variety of living things over the course of the school year, students will develop an understanding of similarities and differences, and develop skills for classification and description. Our turkey web cam has allowed us to watch and listen to real turkeys in real time. Some observations students have made are:
The turkeys are not afraid of humans, in fact they run towards the humans when they come. They seem to be social and brave!
Their heads are red and don’t have feathers.
They kind of sound like dogs barking.
They walk on 2 legs like people do.
They have long necks and a jiggly thing that waves when they walk.
The babies feathers look soft and cuddly.
Students had many questions about turkeys and together we researched to find some new information. For example the male turkey is called a Gobbler and the female is called a Hen. The turkey has a snood on its head and a waddler hanging from its neck. Wild turkeys were close to extinction one hundred years ago but humans helped to increase their population.
Students also learned skills for drawing and labelling scientific diagrams.
A large focus in math this year will be play! Playing with problems, puzzles, numbers, objects, space and time are excellent ways to promote mathematical thinking and understanding of math concepts in students. The role of the teacher is to present problems, tasks and activities, while supporting, enhancing and extending student understanding. This week, students were presented with a Blotch puzzle, which incorporates number sense (counting and number recognition), patterning and spatial awareness. Students have two goals:
1. Cover as many squares of the canvas as possible.
2. Create as many blotches as possible.
In order to make a blotch you must:
1. Include that many squares in a blotch (i.e. a number 6 blotch must have 6 squares)
2. Fully protect the blotch number from other blotches.
See video below for full details on blotch puzzle.
This puzzle is not meant to be solved in a day! Rather students spend time playing and develop resiliency and grit in the face of nasty thorny problems. These puzzles also teach skills for collaboration and that failure is ok! Try again! Our most successful blotch was completed by a students on a 25 grid canvas. He was able to make two blotches and leave only one square uncovered!
Andy Warhol Exploration
Students in room 79 and 80 began by observing Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can paintings using an I see, I think, I wonder routine, allowing them the opportunity to look closely and wonder deeply about a piece of art. Some students appreciated the art, sharing they would love to hang it in their house. Others debated “But it’s just a soup can!” (Grade 1 student). This conversation allows teachers and students to discuss what is art?
Observing other Warhol pieces, reading stories and watching educational videos allowed students to develop a deeper appreciation for his art, as they learned that Pop Art actually arose during a time when people wanted fame, fortune, and bright, bold colors! Students also learned Andy’s story, what made him unique and how he became the famous artist he is today.
Drawing, painting and other artistic mediums are a language for children in grade one. They are essential for communication and expression, and contribute to the development of writing skills. Students have engaged in drawing activities ranging from directed drawing (Andy’s cats), to observational drawing (junk drawings) tracing and color exploration (self-portraits). Developing skills for artistic expression will continue to be a focus in grade one.
Click here to watch the Art Speaks Video, showcasing why the arts are so important in schools.
The grade ones in room 79 had a busy first two weeks back! Students have been adjusting to a new classroom environment, new people, and longer days! We have spent lots of time practicing school routines, such as arrival, snack/lunch time, classroom meetings and centers.
Working together on ways we can transition from one activity to the next has been an important focus. The less time spent transitioning, the more time spent learning, and so establishing routines for quick and successful transitions is critical. Ask your student about some of the routines we use in our classroom to signal transition time or times when we need to have a group discussion. For example, the teacher might say, “hands on top” and the students say “that means stop!” OR, “Holy moly”…”Guacamole!” Students also love the classroom buzzer!
We have also practiced using appropriate voice levels for different activities we may do throughout the day. The story Decibella and her 6-inch Voice was an introduction to this concept. Students learned that sometimes there are appropriate times for a loud speaker voice, for table talk voice, whisper voice and sometimes just for silence. We will continue to use this language over the school year and have visuals in the classroom for which voices level is appropriate during any given time.
Other routines we are working to establish include calendar, walking quietly in the hallway, bathroom breaks and taking care of our classroom materials.
Alberta Dental Association and College's (ADA&C) Start School Smiling campaign!
The Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C) has created a program called ‘Start School Smiling’ that
they would like to share with you.
Start School Smiling is designed to promote dental health to all Grade One students. Volunteer ADA&C member
dentists will provide a free examination, with bitewing x-rays if needed, from September 15 to October 31,
2018. There is no cost to you to participate in the Start School Smiling program — simply book an exam for
your Grade One child with a participating practice within that time frame. You can find a list of participating
practices via the main page of our website, www.dentalhealthalberta.ca.
Additionally, we’ve provided information on how you can access dental care through various community dental
clinics, should you need it.
Developing good oral health habits early can last a lifetime! And we’d like to help find a dental home for your
child, if they do not already have one.
For further information about Start School Smiling, and to see the list of participating practices near you, please
Welcome to Room 79! I am very excited to be working with your children this year, and look forward to meeting you all this month!
My name is Ashley Frampton and I have been working with the Calgary Board of Education since 2009. I have taught many different grades over the course of my teaching career, and before teaching worked primarily in early childhood settings. I recently completed a Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Calgary.
I moved to Calgary from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia in 2008 and decided that this was the place where I wanted to settle and raise a family of my own. My family consists of my husband Dan, our daughter Tula who is 4 and our son Eddie who is 2. I am looking forward to learning more about your families in the near future!
Many of my philosophical beliefs lie in the Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching and I will be sharing some of these beliefs via my blog over the next month. First and foremost, I believe that all of you play a critical role in your child’s success this school year. I am excited to work together to make sure your child meets their highest potential and feels safe and cared for while at school. If you wish to be actively involved in the classroom, please complete your volunteer clearance and contact me! I also ask that each student bring a family photograph into class, where it will be kept throughout the year and displayed as an important reminder of the critical role you all play in your child’s learning.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at email@example.com.
*Please look for the white envelope that was sent home this week. It is filled with forms, some which need to be filled out and sent back to the school. Vaccination forms are also being sent home with some students today. Please return these forms by Monday, September 10th.