Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Inspired by Room 7's Northern Lights Art Work, we created our own display

I am thinking about all our Room 4 and Bessborough Drive families and trying to decide what information to pass along. As your child’s teacher, my main focus is on their well-being and growth as learners. Yes, the schools have been closed and we aren’t able to spend time playing with our friends and participating in lessons taught by our teachers, but on the plus side, students remain curious and opportunities for learning happen all around us.  
There are a lot of home school schedules out there. Here is one that may work for your family.

So how do we spend these days that stretch before us? The answer will vary for each family, but most children thrive with the structure of routine and some sort of familiar schedule. Find or create together the one that works for your family and consider posting it in your living space so that your child knows what is coming up next in the day.  

5 Activities for a Balanced Day of Fun and Learning

1. Sensory Fun

Whether it is with, play dough, slime, a tub of soapy water, sand on a baking tray, or rice in a bin with measuring cups children love the relaxing effect of sensory activities. It is time away from screens and to engage in mindfulness. I notice that, during times of change students will gravitate towards sensory activities and participate for long periods of time - it is calming. 

2. Literacy

 a) Reading aloud to your child is always a good idea. This is different than books that they are learning to read independently. The focus for read alouds can be on meaning (e.g., predicting what comes next, retelling the story in sequence, talking about favourite parts) and on vocabulary. Pick one or two words that may be new to your child and talk about the meaning. Make a point of using that new word throughout the day.  Make puppet characters from the story and retell it with members of the family. This Scholastic link has activities for different stories.
b) Independent Reading is what happens with texts in their book folder. On the last day of school, each child received 5 books to practice at home. Beginning readers who can recognize the words “the, is, look, said, I, am, come, here, and my” will be ready to move into more difficult texts. More advanced readers can retell the story in their own words and answer questions that involve inferences or “reading between the lines”. Use magnet letters to make simple 3 letter words and have your child read and write these words.
c) Writing – after going on a walk, reading a book, or going to the store, ask your child to draw a picture about the experience and then write ideas to match. Some students may just be labeling with simple words like, “mom” “dad” and “slide”. Other students will be retelling events with sentences and words like, “first, next, then, and last”. If your child writes a story, I would love to see it! Please take a picture and send it to me, I will send back a response.

3. Math/Puzzles/Building

Children love Lego and this calendar gives ideas for every day of the month!

Board games are an effective and fun way to teach math skills. Adding up dots on a dice, moving the appropriate number of spaces, and using phrases like “more than”, “same”, and “less than” are all important math concepts. When children are having fun and playing, the brain is able to memorize and learn more easily! Time to practice writing numbers from 1 to 20 would also be beneficial. Please consider using different surfaces to help make it more fun; for example, tracing numbers in a tray of salt, using chalk on a chalkboard, forming numbers with play dough.

4. Science and Outdoor Exploration

A simple experiment we conducted before the break. Three balloons filled with different states of matter.

Science exploration and time outdoors go hand in hand. When you are walking through the neighbourhood take time to observe closely all the things that you see around you. If you see new growth on a plant, where do you see this growth? How does it differ from the rest of the plant? Bring along a magnifying glass to “zoom in” on the nature around us. Consider checking out Kids National Geographic for information on a wide range of subjects.

Don’t forget to give children a chance to run, climb, and balance. All of these large motor activities will support your child’s health and even fine motor control. 

5. On Line Resources

A little bit of screen time can provide some down time for all. Please check out the resources below for some quality examples of online learning. 

*Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.

*Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums. 

*This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from preschool activities to 12th grade is here!

*List of thinking games by grade:

**More awesome free learning websites that we like to use**

Hanging out with my family and my dog Nia. I miss all of you and hope everyone is doing well!

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Yes, making snowmen in the kinder yard is a lot of fun, but have you ever made a snow volcano? Ms. Klasjna thought it would be the perfect activity to combine our investigation into states of matter with the wintery weather that we had last week. She gathered all the necessary materials and we invited our Grade 3 big buddies to help us out. Blue, yellow, and red volcanoes erupted across the yard as we combined baking soda, food colouring, liquid detergent, and vinegar.

In another group experiment, we placed dry paper towels into the bottom of a cup, leaving the other half of the cup “empty”. The cup was turned upside down and slowly immersed into a tub of water. When it was removed, the paper towel remained dry. Why did this happen?

A final experiment involved placing corn kernels in a glass jar with vinegar, baking soda, water, and food colouring. The reaction caused the kernels to rise and fall within the jar. We could see the bubbles of air attaching to each kernel and popping when they reached the top.

Students recorded the different uses for water after reading several non-fiction books on the topic. Next week, we will make a slight shift and look at the water cycle. Wait for some more exciting experiments!

What do the lower case letters, “c”, “a”, “d”, “q”, and “g”  have in common? They all start with a curved line that we are calling the “magic c”. Please practice forming these letters at home using a variety of materials - such as markers and white board, chalk and chalkboard, your finger in a tray of salt, and paintbrush and paint. In our writing, we are encouraging our SK students to record the “lower case” version of these letters where appropriate. We are trying to watch those “sneaky upper case letters” to make sure they don’t pop into our writing in the wrong spots.

Observing snowflakes as they change from solid to liquid.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Saturday, February 22, 2020

When we posed the question, “What do you know about water?” answers revolved around states of matter and the importance of water to living things. These will be interesting topics to investigate over the next few weeks. The fact that our kinder yard changes each day from a giant puddle to a frozen ice rink makes our investigation very relevant!

We set out ice cubes and salt to encourage students to observe how ice can change. A student was able to lift up an ice cube using a piece of string and some salt. Why was this possible? Outside, we made two snowballs of the same size. One was packed tightly and the other very loosely. After predicting which one would melt first, we measured the volume of water left from each snowball.

When bean seeds were placed into water, they sprouted within a few days. Ms. Maral, our ECE student, helped students to transplant their seeds into a small cup of soil.

After pouring cream into glass jars, we noted how it moved and the sounds it made. How do liquids travel? Passing the jar around the class, we each had a chance to shake up the liquid until it turned into a solid. We spread the butter that we had made onto crackers and enjoyed a mid-day snack!

Our new poem is the tongue twister, “Yellow Butter”. You may want to practice it at home when you make your morning toast. We have added it to our poem books and will perform it as a group next week. The last line always makes us laugh!

In Math, we are investigating area and volume. At one math bin centre, students cover a mitten shape using two different sizes of tile. How is the size of the tile related to the number needed to cover the surface?

In another centre, we are practicing some addition skills and learning some strategies to help when adding. In the sheet above a student is doubling each number as she moves around the “racetrack”. Another student was adding zero to each number.

In our writer’s workshop, we emphasized the importance of leaving spaces between words. You can model this at home when writing grocery lists or notes that you write together. Ask your child, “Why is it important for writers to leave spaces between their words?” We have been discussing this a lot in class.