Thursday, October 11, 2012

For Div. 7 Students

Here is the link for the career research we are doing today:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hi parents/guardians and students from Division 7!  I can't believe it's already October and this is my first post of the year.  Busy doesn't even begin to describe September this year!

I think I've met most of you now, and thank-you for taking the time to attend our Open House evening and parent-teacher interviews.  It has been so valuable to get input on your child.

We have had a very good beginning.  The children are really settling in, and are getting better with routines and expectations.  Just a reminder:  your child is expected to read daily for 30 minutes at home.  Please sign planners to indicate that this has been completed each evening.

We have organized students in our class according to a spelling inventory we did a few weeks ago.  Your child is studying words and patterns that s/he will benefit from studying.  Each week your child will get a new group of words (to be kept in a Ziploc baggie in the planner).  It would be very beneficial to practice the word sorts each day (this should only take about 5 minutes), as well as to quiz your child on the ten starred words (which will be on the test).

 In math, the students have been working on place value and estimation in addition and subtraction with Mrs. Kollen and I, and will be having a math quiz on Tuesday, October 9th.  Please have you child review the concepts learned (in their red and orange duotangs).

In Social Studies, we are studying Canada and are looking at its geographic diversity.  Students are creating posters that, in pictures, shows the varied geography (as well as wildlife and outdoor activities) of our nation, divided by region.  Please ask your child to show you the criteria sheet for more information on this project, due Friday, October 12th.

Also, for an upcoming Socials activity, students need to know their cultural backgrounds.  Please talk to your child about his or her cultural background (if there are many, as is becoming common, perhaps just choose a couple of the major cultures, such as "British and French" or "Italian and Finnish" or "First Nations and Polish.")  For this activity your child also needs to know which language(s) are spoken in the home and which religion is followed ("none" is acceptable also).  Finally, your child needs to know how long your family has lived in their neighborhood.

Other important dates:

Friday, October 5th--Odyssey of the Mind Spontaneous meeting in library at noon

Oct. 5th--Hot lunch order form (green) is due

October 10th--photo orders are due

November 16th--raffle donations are due (PAC)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

From our dress rehearsal:
And some last-day-of-school pics of the students enjoying the fantabulous Alexander France:
Have a great summer everyone!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks...! Just a quick note as we wrap up a fun school year... I am glad so many parents were able to come to the school to watch our class play this year. If you got some good photos, please send one or two to me at and I'll put them on the blog for others to see. Mrs. Kollen and I were so proud of the students, who put so much effort into their art/props/costumes/acting. It was neat to see how excited they all were, too--and who knows, maybe one day a famous Hollywood star will say, "I got my start on the stage at Alouette Elementary..." I just want to confirm that tomorrow (Wed.) and Thursday are full days, although students are welcome to go home at lunchtime on Thursday. That day we have an assembly in the morning, and then a concert (hopefully the weather will cooperate and it will be outside). Anyone who stays at school in the afternoon will go to the gym, where a movie will be presented. I will be asking students to bring home everything from their bins, desks and the cloakroom tomorrow. Report cards will go home Thursday. I think that's it! Mrs. Kollen and I have very much enjoyed each and every student we've taught in Division 7 this year. It's a privilege to get to work with your creative, enthusiastic children! Have a wonderful summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Day Spent Weaving

Kathleen Williamson from our District's Aboriginal Education department visited our classroom last Friday. She taught us about the history of Salish weaving (such as the fact that the Salish took their wool not from sheep, but from a now-extinct wooly dog!) She then taught the students how to use a loom to weave, and students spent the entire day engrossed in their projects. While a few students said it wasn't for them, the majority of the children found it a fun, soothing, creative activity. Some even said they wished they could weave every day! Kathleen told the students that if they wanted to keep on weaving at home, they didn't need fancy equipment, but could make a loom out of a shoe box. I found online directions here: Here are some photos of the students, hard at work:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Field Trip to view Lyle Wilson's artwork

Friday, June 1st was a real west coast weather type of day: warm but occasionally pouring and often drizzling rain. Nevertheless, Division 7 and a handful of parent helpers walked to the ACT in Maple Ridge to view the Northwest Coast art of Lyle Wilson.
Our guide explained the basic shapes used by Northwest Coast artists and that it "should feel like it's staring at you".
Students admire ABCs Reconstituted.
Tsimshian Cosmos
Kitamaat means "People of the Snow"
Admiring a Bentwood box.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Author's Celebration! and other stuff

Hopefully you received an invitation today to our Author's Celebration next Thursday (the 17th). From 8:45 until 10:15 we are meeting in small groups to share our novels, and parents, grandparents and good friends are welcome to join in the fun. The following students have volunteered to bring items for the food portion of the celebration: Sam and Matthew (fruit), Jordan (veggies), Kai and Sara (cookies), Holly and Emily (cupcakes), Hannah (pretzels and water jug), Nathan H. (chips), Josh and Riley (juice), Amanda (paper plates) and Kenzie (cups). If you are unable to bring one of these items, please just email me at so I can make a new arrangement. Thanks in advance to those of you who can send us some goodies. Some of the students are doing some last minute novel publishing, so please check in with your child this weekend and make sure he/she is ready to go for Wednesday, the last day the printing press is running! The MRTA has created a letter and have asked teachers to send it home via either email or in an envelope. In the interest of trees, if you would like to read this letter (which explains the current job action and its rationale), please email me at the above email address and I'll send it along. I don't wish to post it on the blog because some students read this blog and it is meant for parents only. Please keep on sending in the Jump Rope for Heart envelopes. Students have a week of quizzes this upcoming week: on Tuesday there is a Science chapter 6 test and a French quiz (this is 5s only), and on Thursday, a Socials vocab quiz. Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Year is almost over!

This school year, more than any other for me, has just flown by. I think working part-time this year has been part of that. And the next few weeks will zip by even more quickly. Speeches are now finished, and I am happy to say that the students simply excelled during the in-class speeches. Congratulations to Kai and Hannah, who represented the grade five students in the gym, and to Tiffany and Sara, who represented the grade fours. All four did a terrific job in the gym Mrs. Kollen tells me, and Kai and Tiffany were chosen to represent grades five and four at the district event this week. Hannah also got to attend as a runner-up. Well done! I will posting details later this week about our upcoming publishing party, celebrating the result of hard work by the students in creating their novels. Parents will be invited to attend (watch for invitations). In writing, the class blog will no longer be part of the homework. Kudos to those students who kept up with it, but because I want to ensure that all students are practicing their writing, we are transitioning to paper journals for the remainder of the year. Your child should be bringing home a paper journal he or she created and writing in it for about twenty minutes at least once a week. Please let me know if you are not seeing this come home at least one time per week, and I will let you know if your child isn't meeting minimal expectations also. We will be having a field trip to the ACT on June 1st--watch for a permission form to come home very soon, and I will be looking for parent drivers. Nancy

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April already?! Speeches!!!

It has been a month and a half since my last blog update!! Time is flying!

As your child may have told you, I was away the last two weeks due to my father's death right after spring break. I am happy to report that I got very good TOC notes about how hard the students worked in my absence, and how helpful many of them were. As parents, you should be proud.

Unfortunately, while students were working on speeches these past weeks (and we did begin planning out speeches long before spring break), some students are not on track. I want to share with you the due dates we've agreed upon in class so that you can help your child either stay on track or catch up!

Outlines are due no later than this Friday (the 13th). Tomorrow is preferable so that I can mark them and hand them back Friday. The outline comes from work we did previous to spring break, brainstorming and coming up with sub-topics. I suggested they choose three sub-topics to focus on (thus creating a five-paragraph essay), but some have chosen to do more. This is fine as long as they keep in mind that there is a time limit (five minutes).

Rough copies are due Thursday, April 19th. I will NOT collect and mark these as I usually do, because I unfortunately planned many months ago to attend a conference on Friday the 20th, so I am away again that day and won't be able to return the rough copies. I therefor ask that you please take some time over the weekend of the 21-22nd to read the speeches with your child and help them make any necessary revising and editing changes.

Their good copies should be done by Wednesday, April 25th because Thursday, April 26th is a pro-D day. This leaves us just Friday the 27th do speeches in class and decide who will represent each grade in the gym.

Then grade 4/5 speeches will happen in the gym on May 1st.

So--this is a VERY tight timeline, and not what I wish we were facing. Some students will breeze through (some are already finished their speeches!), but others will struggle--please take time each night to spend a little time working on the speech. The easiest thing to do will be to save the writing using Google Docs so there is no "I left it at home" issues.

I have given students a choice about using cue cards (and also whether they hand-write or type their good copies). However, those who are serious about competing for the gym or district need to use cue cards. They should also work as much as possible on memorizing their speeches. I will not take marks off for not having memorized, but eye contact will help their mark, and if they make it to the gym, it's essential that they give the judges lots of eye contact.

If you have any questions or concerns about speeches, feel free to email me, call, or see me in person. Some students have expressed anxiety about speeches, and we will be talking about working through that anxiety and I have assured them that nobody will be forced to compete in the gym if they are not comfortable with that. However, it is my experience that it is important for all students to give their speeches in class or by grades 6 and 7, a phobia can develop. Therefor, any student who misses school on April 27th will still need to do their speech at a later date.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A couple of important things went home with your child today:

-strike notice.

The current situation with the job action is that the MRTA is withdrawing services Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

As a result, some parents are wondering about homework for next week on days where job action is scheduled. Mrs. Kollen asked me to pass on to you that the science test will be postponed until after Spring Break, so students need to bring home their duo tangs and textbooks and study over the break.

-Art Cards

All art cards must be returned to the school by next Thursday, as I am grading them as part of their art marks. All orders must be back by Friday. I think the butterflies turned out very well, and that they will copy well.

Mrs. Kollen asked me also to pass on to you that it would be very beneficial during students' time away from school next week and Spring Break if students who have not mastered their times table yet practiced it. Most of the fours are still working on their facts, and speed/accuracy in this area is so helpful down the road in math. For my math, we're doing fractions, so working this into your conversations would be helpful. Also, there are some great apps/websites that help kids practice their facts/fractions.

I have received and marked all but one Nanowrimo story now, and I have to say how impressed I am with the efforts the students have put into them. We're on to the next step starting tomorrow (publishing!) and after Spring Break we will have our authors' celebration. Details to come on that!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The other blog

Hello again... time for an update.

I want to take some time to encourage you to remind your child to blog regularly. It is usually the only homework I give (aside from perhaps finishing some unfinished math), and I am impressed with the progress the students are making in writing.

We took the month of December off of the Nanowrimo novels, and then in January we went back to them, focusing on our writing lessons on revision and editing. Revision is the hardest part of writing, especially for children, and I am proud of how many took my lessons to heart and really thought about how to make improvements in their stories. This Thursday the "good copy" of the novel is due, and I will be marking it and doing some more editing so that they can publish their story in hard copy.

As we're finishing this up, we are also moving on to speech writing. I am doing this a bit early, as the district speeches will not be until early May, but I prefer that they have extra time to practice their speeches than to feel rushed. Because we only have writing a couple of times a week, they will need to work hard to finish their speeches before Spring Break.

In Socials, we have moved on to studying New France. We may do a small project with this unit, but nothing that will require the time and focus the Aboriginal project did. I do need to say how pleased I was by how well the groups worked together--group work was a new thing for many of them, and they flourished.

I hope your children told you about the Maple Man presentation we had on Thursday. What a great presentation! The students learned about the Quebec maple syrup cottage industry, got to play wooden spoons, and ate wonderful maple syrup taffy. Thanks to Ms. Ramsay for organizing this speaker to come present to the intermediate classes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amanda and Holly's Puppet Show

This was another highlight of our social studies presentations:

Socials Studies Projects

Students presented their socials projects last week, and I wanted to share some highlights:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Busy week next week

Hi Parents/Guardians,

We have a busy week in Div. 7 next week, and while the students are keeping track in their planners, I wanted to ensure that you had all the due dates handy so you can plan accordingly.

On Monday the students are having a music test on the notes and their values. This is not anything new, but work they've been doing for months but which some are still struggling a bit with. Hopefully this extra practice will help them in reading music.

On Tuesday the students are having a unit test in subtraction.

On Wednesday there will be a small quiz in science on the parts of the skeleton, and the students will have class time to review for it next week.

Grade fives have DARE again next Thursday, and they need to bring their permission forms back then.

Students need to be ready to COMPLETE their group projects in Socials next THursday so please make sure they remember to bring anything from home they need (print-outs, drawings, models, puppet show theatres, etc.) They will present them on Friday.

Oh, one more thing... we are having art tomorrow and many students do not have Sharpies at school. If your child would like, I have some I picked up at Costco. .75 will cover the cost!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This and that...

Tomorrow the grade five students will begin the DARE program, which is being taught by an RCMP constable. The grade four students will work on other Health and Career activities during this time with me.

On Friday the grade four students will be having a quiz on time. They did their review today, so in order to have time to review their answers tomorrow, I moved the quiz back a day. They need to know how to read an analog clock, the difference between am and pm, how to tell time on a 24-hour clock and how to solve some word problems involving time.

The written portion for Social Studies is due tomorrow. This is based on the notes the students completed before Christmas. It is not a huge amount of writing, and students have had several blocks of time to work on this and the visual part of the project. The visual part and the written part must be ready in combination next week (so, if it's a poster, that is due. If it's a puppet show, students must be ready to present next Thursday). The class will have at least one more block of time to work on this, and then groups need to look at coordinating outside of class. Please contact me if this is a concern.

My apologies on the quick turn-around for the spelling bee. I received the information on Friday, and we need to have names in to the school for this Friday, but some students will be away on the ski trip, so we are having our class bee tomorrow. I hope that I have emphasized to the students that this is not meant to be a stressful experience, but that they should review their words tonight so they'll feel ready tomorrow.


The students were introduced to the art of zentangle last week... Here are a few photos demonstrating just how engrossed the students were in their work!