Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog survey

Please take a minute and give me some feedback on how you're finding the use of both this blog for giving parents information and the kidblog for writing homework.

I appreciate any input you can give me!

You will have to cut and paste this--I am not sure why, but when I hyperlink it, I get an error message when trying to access the page. My apologies!

Lots of education news!

My head is spinning with all the BC education news this past week... Of course we're all stressed about the continued protracted labour dispute, and looking for some good news there.

But today's government announcement has me feeling a little more hopeful than I have recently:

I have to say that I agree with Susan Lambert that teachers are the ones pushing schools into the 21st century as we take on the challenges of using technology in the classroom. In our classroom, Mrs. Kollen and I continue to try to get comfortable with the SMARTboard, and by introducing students to Google's tools and blogging, I am hoping that we are giving our students some of the background they will continue to need throughout their public schooling.

I am currently doing a post-bac diploma at SFU, and one video we were shown in a semester on technology really opened my eyes to the way the world has changed, even in the past five or ten years. I thought I'd share it with you too (some of you have probably already seen it):

These are interesting times for our children...

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I really wish they'd come up with a better name for this event!

I wanted to clarify what our writing program will be for the month of November.

We will not be blogging this month. We will resume weekly blogging in December.

Instead, our sole writing focus will be on writing a novel. Having said that, each student is setting his/her own writing goal for this novel. The NaNoWriMo website has laid out the following guidelines for length:

I've encouraged each student to both challenge herself and to be realistic in setting her goal. Prolific writers can exceed the upper end of the range for their grade, while struggling writers will want to stick with the lower end of the range.

One fun thing is that a fellow teacher at Alexander Robinson Elementary is doing the NaNoWriMo challenge with her class, so we will be having some friendly competition. It will be fun to check in with them and see how they're coming along with their writing goals!

Our class has three computer blocks per week. Lately we seem to be spending a lot of that time just logging in and troubleshooting. However, once the students get used to logging in, they should have about two hours in the lab per week to devote on the writing. I do not anticipate they will need to do any writing at home this month at all. However, about mid-month, I will have a look at where each student is and I may recommend some students spend some time at home working on their stories, too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hi Parents,

We have been working on our portraits for several weeks now, and students are almost finished. The final step before mounting the portraits on construction paper is to finish collaging, and for some, this has been challenging.

My hope is that the students can finish the collaging at home. They are to match (as best they can) the colours from their coloured copy with magazine (or catalogue or flyer) paper cut into small shapes (about an inch square). There should be no white showing behind the collaged paper.

I have allowed students to bring magazines home with them, and there are more still here, so if finding paper is an issue, please just have them bring more home tomorrow.

The art is due Friday, November 4th.

Which brings me to a plea... some students do not have scissors at school. Could you please make sure that your child has the following at school?: scissors, glue sticks, fine liner, pencil crayons, ruler (in centimetres), pencils, pencil sharpener (with container to collect shavings).

Inevitably things break or go missing (or get used up), so I may post this type of plea from time to time through the year if I'm noticing children are asking to borrow my supplies often.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A bit of reading homework (and maybe a few activities?)

Thanks Parents/Guardians for getting those NaNoWriMo permission forms back in to me so quickly! (And a gentle reminder to those who haven't, please return them by Wednesday). November is going to be a whirlwind of writing with a firm deadline.

One of the great things that the NaNoWriMo (that is hard to type every time!) site offers is a great workbook for writing a novel. It's in pdf form, but it's over 120 pages long (!) so photocopying it for each student isn't feasible. However, you may print it out for your own child if you'd like, and otherwise we'll be using it as a guide during class (I'll project it onto the SMART board).

What I'm asking the students to do in advance of Thursday is to read the pdf (posted on the Kollen-Rupert class blog) up to page 10 and preferably to do the activities (they're meant to be fun and relatively easy) so that we can have a good chat about it on Thursday.

Hopefully the students will all read my post on Kidblog, but perhaps you could remind them to check (and again, if possible, print it out so they have a paper copy... I do realize it's an awful lot of paper, so no worries if you can't do this.)

Thanks so much!

Nancy Rupert

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We are ready to rock the Google Doc...

Thanks for all your cooperation in helping me get the students access to Google Docs--it is truly appreciated.

As of now, most students have a gmail account. If your child was at school today and doesn't have one, please check your child's planner for a note, as I need to get permission before I can go ahead with that.

Tomorrow we will be working with Google Docs as a step toward publishing our first piece of writing--we're calling it October Writing. This is the piece of writing your child has selected to take and revise and eventually publish. I can't wait until we get the "books" all uploaded onto the student blogs.

Today the class decided to take on an exciting challenge. Tomorrow I will send home a letter asking for yet one more login at a website. This time we're creating a virtual classroom at and the students are attempting to write a novel in one month. I can either help them sign up for this, or you can work with your child to create a login. Please fill out the permission form tomorrow and return it to me as soon as you can.

Thanks for all you do!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quicker updates!

A parent emailed me to let me know that subscribing to my blog via Google Reader sends updates much faster!

To use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs, you need a Google account, and then once signed in, at the top you can find the Reader under "more". Then all you need to do is "add a subscription" and enter my blog address (cut and paste the url above).

Just one more option that may or may not appeal.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gmail Issue

It would seem that Google, which has always restricted its email accounts to US citizens to those over 13 years of age, is now extending that restriction to Canadian users, too. The reason that corporations like Google and Facebook have such restrictions is that they store personal data on their users, and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) forbids corporations to collect data on children under age 13.

Now, there would be two ways of solving this problem. One would be to create an account and enter a fake birthdate. Most people do this when signing up for things online anyway, often due to privacy concerns. The other would be to create an account which you as parent owns, giving your birthdate, and simply permit your child to use this account.

I was going to have Ms. Ramsay set the students up with a gmail account on Wednesday, but given this age restriction, I think it would be better for you as a family to decide how you want to handle this issue. If you could please email me ( and let me know what you've decided, what your child's email address is, and preferably their password as well so that Ms. Ramsay or I can help them should the need arise, I would appreciate it. I would like to have every child on Gmail by next Wednesday so that we don't lose another week learning how to use Google Docs!

If you don't find either solution appropriate, then your child will just use a word processor when publishing his or her writing. It will make it more challenging to peer edit, but not impossible. However, in order to bring work home your child will need a usb flash drive at school to save documents onto.

As always, email me if you have any questions or concerns.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Email delay

Blog Email Updates

I hope you are finding the blog helpful, but unfortunately the email updates do not get sent immediately--there appears to be about a 12 hour lag between the time I post on here and when you get the email in your inbox.

However, when it comes to assigning homework, rest assured that I will always use the planner as the primary means of communication and this space is just for elaborating, explaining or repeating the information.

I would also encourage you to bookmark my blog and try to check it for updates if you think of it. The emails are certainly more convenient, but apparently not always the most timely method of communication!