This Week At School – Week 5 – 2015-2016

This week at school we started a few new projects and we started to look at what we are learning, why we are learning those things, and how we are know that we are doing good work.

Some key events that happened this week:

Circuit Exploration – Students were given the opportunity to build their own circuits and experiment to learn the difference between series and parallel circuits. We also used a few different kits available to see how they worked. Students were encouraged to share their learning on posters and asked to fill out their task book with their discoveries. One of the stations was the Circuit Scribe, which is a pen with conductive ink and modules such as lights and switches used to draw various circuits.  The kids loved it. If you are interested in it, you can find it online at

Kindness and Compassion – In religion, we started talking about kindness and compassion. We talked about  We watched the music video for the song Do Something by Matthew West. We are going to be making our own music video about things we can do to show kindness and compassion.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” – Colossians 3:12

Here is our board from last week about things we should say more often:


Math – We are just finishing up our unit on whole numbers to a million. We will be moving on to operations later next week after we do our reflection.

Social – Students are in the process of planning and designing their floats for their chosen province or territory. Next week we will be working on how to give feedback to each other to help improve their designs. We will then be building the floats and presenting them to the other classes.

Language Arts – We are continuing to work on our paragraph about the person we admire. We are also continuing the reading strategies during our read aloud of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me by leaving a message at the school or by emailing me.


This Week At School – Week 4 – 2015-2016

This week at school at School – September 21-24

Hello Parents,

Thank you so much for your support with helping your child gather information about their families. It is wonderful to hear how excited the students are about the people they found out they are related to – from presidents of the united states to toy makers and artists. Once we have finished our paragraph about the person we admire, we are going to start a longer writing piece about the the story of one of our relatives and putting together a book called Stories from Whitecourt. I will be using the story of my Oma, a nurse in Germany, who left with her family during World War II. It is one of my favourite stories from my family and it has influenced. The goal isn’t to have stories of people who necessarily lived in Whitecourt, but rather stories that influence us. Once the book is put together, I will be sending home copies of your child’s story and putting the book in our class library for the kids to read.  If your child has not returned their family history questions and information, please ensure that those are returned this week.

This week we have worked on some really challenging but fun problems that relate to number sense. One was a crossing the river problem related to Star Wars. The students were wondering why I was so excited about the problem that morning and figured it out when I played the lead up video – a Star Wars/Volkswagen clip and then read the problem to them. The kids had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to solve it and we saw some very creative uses of various classroom materials such as a corks and pop tabs from our art supplies bin to act it out. The other problem was a very challenging number grid problem that asked the students to arrange the numbers so that consecutive numbers would not be connected. I was really impressed with the students’ determination and tenacity to solve the problem.

In religion, we started talking about kindness. We watch Kid President’s video about things we should say more often and came up with our own list. We related it back to Jesus asking us to pray for others, love others, and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. The students had some awesome ideas. I apologize I don’t have a picture to send, but I will include one on the next email home.  We will continue to talk about kindness as we look back at the lesson from last year of being a bucket filler.

In science, we have learned a lot about switches and circuits. Next week, I will be posing the challenge to the students to build their own switches using recycled materials. We will continue our exploration of circuits but looking at how we can arrange bulbs and batteries in different ways, as well as experimenting with a few different circuit kits that I have brought in.

We should be wrapping up our first math unit in the next couple weeks and we will be moving on to multiplication and division strategies.

Have a wonderful weekend!

This Week At School – Week 1 – 2015

This Week At School – Week 1 – Aug 31 to Sept 4

This week at school we started off with a bang! Our students were excited to be back in class and see their friends – as well as meet their teacher. I was excited to meet my new students. We’re all starting to get back into the routine a bit more each day. We have created a class agreement, we are learning about each other and what our needs are as a class and as individual learners, as well as who we are as people.

I am so impressed with the students and their willingness to try new activities that push their thinking to dig deeper in order to help them become critical thinkers. This week, 3 key things we have tried have been:

Social – Critical Thinking and Questioning activity. I introduced the students to what I call a “Q-Focus” where I put up the statement “Imagine a world without Canada” on the board and asked the students to consider this for a few moments. They then shared their ideas with a partner. I asked the students to give  me the questions they would have about this statement. I started them off with 3 questions of my own. “Would I have learned to play hockey? Where would I live? What would I eat?” Soon after, the kids started to give some of their own questions.  We started looking at how our lives might change. Some very cool questions came out of the discussion. We then added to it on the following day as well.  

Science – We introduced the topic of electricity with a visual thinking strategy called a Chalk Talk. A Chalk Talk is a silent conversation in writing that allows students to have an equal opportunity to participate. It is a versatile protocol that can be used for many purposes. In this case, I wanted to see what the students knew about electricity already and what questions they had. Another thing it showed me is that as a class we will focus on developing a Growth Mindset this year to break away from a fixed mindset.

Class expectations – Students were asked to do what is called ideation (or hyperactive brainstorming). They were given 10 minutes to try to come up with 100 ideas in the following categories:

What makes a good learner? (my expectations of myself)

What makes a good classmate? (my expectations of my class)

What makes a good teacher? (my expectations of my teacher)

(We came up with 73 ideas – which is pretty awesome!)

We came up with the following agreement:

What it means to be a part of 5-3 (or a brilliant fox – our class team name):

We, the brilliant foxes, believe we should:

  • Listen
  • Share
  • Be respectful
  • Do our best
  • Try and not give up
  • Take risks and learn from our mistakes
  • Be kind and caring
  • Have fun
  • Help eachother
  • Raise our hand to share our ideas
  • Be forgiving
  • Be happy
  • Challenge each other to learn new things

A few other things we are going to be working on in the coming weeks:

Language Arts

  • 100 Word Writing Challenges
  • Sentence Structure
  • Organization for our writing (6+1 Traits of Writing)
  • Reading strategies during Read Aloud of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
  • Weekly learning reflections that will be coming home
  • Free Writes
  • Reading Fluency


  • Problem solving: Daily in class problems and Bi-Weekly problem with a journal reflection at home (students will have a week to complete this)
  • Whole numbers to 1 000 000, place value and estimating sums and differences
  • Communication of understanding
  • Making sense of our work


  • Electricity, Magnetism and Mechanisms that use Electricity
  • working on: Hypothesis, Reflections, Procedures and Safety

Social Studies

  • Mapping Skills
  • Provinces and Capitals of Canada
  • Family Histories and asking powerful questions
    • Students will be coming home with a list of questions they have come up with to find out more about how they came to Whitecourt and their where their families are from to complete a project called “Who Do You Think You Are?”. We will build on this project throughout the year to come back to it at the end of the year to talk about how Canada(past and present) has helped shape our identity.

. Religion:

  • Virtues: We are starting with being gracious and showing gratitude.

Please make sure I have your email address as these letters will be coming home via email starting next week. You can also find them online in a google drive folder I have created for parent communication at

Have a great long weekend!