Monthly Archives: November 2017

Feeling Special!!

Happy Weekend!

What?!?!? It feels like it was just Monday!! They do say that time flies when you’re having fun…and Life in Room 123 is no exception 😀

I came home to this scene on Friday…I just had to share!

How many deer do you see?!
P.S. I have a regular Buck that hangs out in the yard…I’ve named him Hela …short for Hellebuyck 😉 #GoJetsGo

What. A. Week! (Let’s recap!)

– We told you our plans to contact Esta Spalding AND things couldn’t have been more exciting for us! I loved getting your responses about our news via See Saw! It was so great to hear that the kids came home and wanted to talk about how Esta actually wrote back to us (and promptly I might add!). It was also pretty cool to share what we wrote to Esta (through See Saw) before I sent away our letters. Can you believe that she’s going to send us a sneak peek of her newest…not yet published book?!!! She has made a believer out of us! Next up…writing to Jon Scieszka since we have finished Frank Einstein and the Anti Matter Motor?!?! Maybe!!!

-Now that you know we are done reading our latest read aloud you should know that we’ve already started another! It’s called The Unicorn in the Barn. At first there were a few skeptics, but it has started out in a pretty interesting way!

-This leads into this week’s Ask me question! The question reads “Ask me about read alouds in 123.” The goal is for the students to talk to their families about what we are reading (or have read) and why we read together. What learning happens during read aloud time? We had a chat about this and some great answers came up, such as:

-to talk about different types of books, to be introduced to new authors and series, to expand our vocabulary, to practice comprehension skills such as making inferences and checking for understanding, to make connections to other books and experiences and to hear how fluency, accuracy and expression is modelled. I love, love, love this time with the kids. I feel like we learn so much from each other during this time of day. Have a conversation and have the students write down some of the things you’ve talked about together about the read alouds of 123!

-Math! This week we made connections between place value and addition and subtraction. Below are some photos to show what we’ve done at school and suggestions for  you to do at home for those students who could benefit from extra practice 🙂 *Tip: Pay close attention to the + or – (that is one area the students are working on for sure. Makes a big difference if you are adding when you are supposed to be subtracting!)

Let’s review some math language for addition and subtraction!

Try doing some examples at home 🙂

What’s Happening Next Week?!

-No School on Monday! (Day 5)

-Tuesday we have our extra choir time for the Circle of Life performance in February. Day 6 is our most musical day! It is also Outdoor Education day, so please dress for the weather!

-We have 2 days with Murray next week. Our time with him is coming to an end 🙁 We will continue reading through our research and will put what we’ve learned into our own words. So far we are learning lots!!!

-Book orders are due on December 1!

-Genius Hour will happen again on Day 2 (Thursday). Everyone has an idea submitted. Some kids who had similar ideas have decided to join forces. Some kids have already changed their ideas. This is totally okay! Our interests may shift, the research that we were hoping for may not be out there, we may decide that the initial idea doesn’t work for the timeline we have…there are many reasons why our ideas could change. That’s part of the process. Has anyone come home and talked about Genius Hour at home yet?!

-We will try to post more math learning via See Saw. I really enjoyed having the kids find a skill they wanted to share with parents and have me film as they explained their learning, played a game they invented or worked through problems. This “choose your own math” time is a hit!

The Number Talks we’ve been doing are also a great way for the students to share their strategies, learn from each other and practice mental math.

Ask what the kids notice. Try to listen vs tell. We are more interested in the strategies used than the answer at this point

In the above example (which we did last week). We talked about how 39+16 seems challenging, but if we think of it as 40+15 instead, we feel more confident in answering the question “in our heads” vs working it out on paper! 39+16=40+15 and the actual sum is 55!




We can think of this as making “Landmark” or “Friendly” Numbers!

Before I go…Hudson has a message she wants to share with you!

Have a great weekend!

Until Next Time,


Term 2 Here We Come!!!

Another week…another weekend!

I’d like to thank all the families for coming out this past week to chat about your child’s progress. It’s so nice to connect with families, set some goals for the upcoming term and really build strong relationships.

It was also very exciting to introduce See Saw to you!! I think this is a great tool for students, families and teachers! Over half the families have already signed up!! I’ll be trying out the “Announcement” feature soon to make sure it works how I think it is supposed to! Please feel free to comment on your child’s work. We will also be using See Saw in the computer lab a few times a cycle so students can read their comments and comment on the work of their classmates. We are trying to focus on proper sentence structure when typing, as we would if we were using pencil and paper. We will continue to review and discuss what makes a “good comment”.

About Last Week!

-Book orders arrived and the next one is due on December 1st

-Turkey Toonie Tuesday started and will run for the next few weeks. Thank you to those families who made a donation

-We are about half way through Frank Einstein! The book has inspired one of our students to create his own robot for Genius Hour (more info about Genius Hour further down this post!)

-We started a mini inquiry (or minquiry!) about the Fitzgerald-Trouts/Esta Spalding. As a group we think she needs to continue writing books for the series and have come up with some suggestions for her. At first it was simply  a writing exercise…but in this age of technology why wouldn’t we at least try to connect with the author (Spalding)?!! Let’s see where this takes us!

-Our final rocks and Minerals project with Murray is underway. Our time with him is up at the end of December (there are actually only about 10 more sessions with him)!! Groups have been formed based on interest and questions we still want to answer. I’m really looking forward to making connections between rocks and Minerals and the world around us. This will naturally lead into our study of habitats for January!

-Thanks to Tony and Derrick for bringing in a HUGE map for the kids! It was so cool to have such a large map of Canada in the gym. We even got to walk on it!! The kids had a blast locating places they’ve traveled. They learned about some important “map features” . It was a pretty neat experience!

-Murray did a really fun Yoga class with us last week. I had the pleasure of coming in at the end of class when the group was sharing what they had created. The task was to build something inspired by Yoga. Some kids had Lego people doing poses, some created indoor/outdoor Yoga spaces and some reflected on Yoga being Peace. Hearing how the kids described their creations and connections was truly beautiful

-Ask me…this week’s question reads “Ask me to print the alphabet using my best printing (uppercase and lowercase letters). This task is part of our ‘printing program’. We are going back to basics for a bit before starting cursive writing. If I can’t read what your child is saying it makes it difficult for them to show their thinking!

Looking Ahead!

-We are going to be transferring what we know about place value into multi digit addition and subtraction with regrouping. This is often an area where kids “get stuck”. We will work through problems in many different ways to help each child feel confident and comfortable!

-Genius Hour! I know I’ve mentioned this a bit before, but here’s a refresher if you need one! Genius Hour is when students have voice and choice to learn about something they’re interested in. So far we’ve been brainstorming ideas and watching videos to help inspire us! It’s a year long project, so we aren’t looking for a topic that will only require an hour of research! Some of the students have written me a proposal for their project and are starting to do some research.

Watch this video to learn a bit mire about the idea of Genius Hour! It’s a great video minus the use of the word “geeky” 🙁

There is a chance your child will want to work on their project at home. This is totally fine with me as long as they still have things to work on during Genius Hour at school (Day 2 from 2:30-3:30 is our scheduled working time as of now)

I can’t wait to see what they will come up with!!! Again…have any special talents we can tap into?!?!! Let us know!!!

Have a great weekend!

Until next time,


Lest We Forget

What a great Remembrance Day service today. If you were able to attend, I’m sure you would agree that the 1/2s did a great job putting on the assembly and ALL the kids sounded lovely. A special thank you to Ms V for always having the kids ready to perform. She truly has a gift 🙂

We talked a lot about Peace, Kindness, Poppies and Remembrance Day this week. It is so important to honour and respect those who gave their lives and have allowed us to live our lives freely. We want to spread the message of kindness and to give everyone a “piece of peace”.

*The Ask Me question this week says: “Ask me about Remembrance Day”. Write/draw about the conversations you had as a family 🙂

Let’s recap other parts of our week:

-Our plastic bag research/ideas for a positive change was a great activity. We had some fantastic discussions and possible solutions to the plastic bag problem. What really stuck out to the students was how many plastic bags are used each second around the world (160 000) and how many animals die each year from eating or being caught in the bags (1 million birds and 100 000 sea turtles and other animals). We talked about plastic bags being “evil”-but why were plastic bag invented? We learned that plastic bags were produced in 1977 as an effort to stop paper bags from being used. The number of trees being cut was becoming a problem. People then did not know that there was a big problem with their solution! Another thing to note is that the intent of plastic bags was for them to be multi-use, not single-use. We have some options! You use plastic bags? Ok…now reuse them! Use them for groceries on another day, to pick up dog waste, as a trash can liner, or donate them to a second hand store. If you can’t do any of those suggestions, recycle them at your grocery store (they cannot be recycled in your recycling bin at home). Don’t use plastic bags? Keep using your reusable cloth bags, bins or boxes…Keep practicing environmental stewardship!

We can link this to our 6Rs of Room 123! Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, Repeat! Let’s make a positive change!

-Choose your own math time! We opened up some new math manipulatives and let me tell you…it sure was exciting! Most of the resources are magnets or dice and deal with place value, time and money. We also have some fraction magnets (for later on). The challenge is to create some sort of game or activity using the new resources that reflects a math skill we’ve been working on. This is something we will be doing regularly. It is a fun way to model and communicate our math thinking

-Frank Einstein: Well we are about 60 pages into our new book. This new series has definitely sparked an interest in some of our young readers! Frank Einstein is a scientist who has ‘invented’ robots who can actually think for themselves! There is a lot of scientific language, diagrams of inventions and characters with names resembling actual scientists! We left off with someone coming to the door of Frank’s lab…who will it be?!!?

-Happy Birthday Winnipeg! Many of us didn’t realize that it was Winnipeg’s birthday on November 8! Winnipeg became a city in 1873…making our great city 144 years old!

Looking forward!

-The book order should arrive early next week. The December order is due on December 1 to make sure we get them before the holidays!

-Turkey Toonie Tuesdays are back! Please send in a toonie if you can!

-See Saw: We are getting more familiar with See Saw and will be ready to invite parents when you come in for conferences next week. I think you are going to love this tool as much as the kids do! Thanks for your patience as we tackle learning something new together!

-Report cards go home on Monday! You will also receive your appointment time for your child’s conference. If the appointment time does not work, please call the office or come see me to make an alternate arrangement 🙂 *Reminder: There is no school on Friday

I look forward to seeing you all next week!

Until next time,


November News!

Another weekend already?! This week went by even more quickly that last week!!

Let’s recap!

*Maker Monday!: It just happened to be Monday when we had Maker time with Murray and the kids coined it Maker Monday (which was fitting and awesome!) Well…it turns out that we love baking AND being able to connect what we’ve learned about rocks and minerals in a new and exciting way! We also enjoyed creating with plasticine of course (which is always a crowd favourite)!

*Hallowe’en 2017!:

We had a really great day on Hallowe’en. Thanks again for bringing in the supplies and for not bringing in any extras at this time. It was our goal to really limit the amount of sugar intake for the kids! If you weren’t able to send in any items this time…don’t worry, there will be more opportunities! Thanks to our parent volunteers for helping out and making sure we had a fun time!

*”Witch” One Doesn’t Belong?!:

We all created a “Which” One Doesn’t Belong (W.O.D.B.) Hallowe’en version (hence…the Witch/Which switch!!)

Can you find at least 3 different reasons why one of the pictures doesn’t belong? The task is to name a square that doesn’t belong (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) and state why. If one of the squares has a difference…the other 3 have a commonality. For example: the bottom left doesn’t belong because it has been coloured (and the other 3 are not). The top left doesn’t belong because it is the only character that is wearing a hat (the other 3 are not). The bottom right doesn’t belong because it is facing a different direction than the other 3 (they are all facing forward). There may be more…what do you notice? WODB are a fun way to look for patterns. You can use pictures, objects, drawings, numbers, etc. They are great because there are multiple correct answers and you need to use reasoning skills. Try one at home!

*Plastic Bags Galore!: This is just a snapshot of the bags that an anonymous person dropped off for us last week! Basically…they doubled the amount of bags that we had already collected! This was a great math activity! As a class we helped to count the remaining bags. It was important to label the “bags of bags” and try to keep the number of “bags within the bags” a ‘friendly’ number so we could find the total more easily. A great mental math strategy lesson in a real life situation! We collected over 6 600 bags! That is 6 600+ fewer bags in our landfills, blowing in our communities and killing our animals. Way to go Montrosians!! Our plastic bag drive is over…but are there still ways we, as Manitobans, can make an impact on our environment? It is a great chance to practice environmental stewardship and become difference makers!

We read a book called…

It is about the journey of a plastic bag. That bag travelled so far, so quickly. The book had some astonishing facts about plastic bags. We also looked at a website that had even more facts that had our heads spinning. Take a look…

Discussion is to be continued…for a LONG time. We CAN and WILL make a difference!


This leads me to…

*Ask Me Question: This week’s question says “Ask me about the plastic bag project”. It is my hope that students and parents have a conversation about the book we read, facts we’ve learned, plastic bag collection we did for the past few weeks, etc. If this inspires kids to do more research…even better! Kids come back to school ready to talk about continuing our efforts in environmental stewardship…I’m ready! I am super excited to read what they have to say!!!

Getting ready for next week!

*You guessed it…the plastic bag conversation will be happening for sure!

*We are ready to start our third read aloud book of the year! This one is called Frank Einstein. There is a series of at least 4 books. Maybe it will inspire some kids to continue reading if they decide they like the first one! (I already bought the 4 they had at the bookstore!)

*The book order is due on Tuesday! Please get those orders in ASAP 🙂

*We will finish up our study of patterns and do some more work on mental math strategies and estimation.

*We’re also working on creating a new bulletin board featuring…Words You “Moose”-t Try! (Moose-t=Must ;)). One of our goals lately has been replacing some of our commonly used words with more exciting words. This is a good strategy to make our writing more interesting to read, not to mention write!

*Students in Helen’s W.T.W. group will have an assessment on Tuesday! (both Salmon and Lilac groups)

*Friday is our Remembrance Day Assembly. It begins at 2:20 and all are welcome to attend.

Ms. V has asked that all students wear a white top and dark bottoms.

*Our November calendar is up! I am trying to get students to use the monthly calendar to keep themselves organized! It is a great tool to use to create some independence, instead of always asking me when important and exciting events are happening!

*Ever heard of See Saw? Not the playground type…but the digital portfolio version?!? Your child may have been talking about See Saw and you are probably wondering what it is all about! AND possibly why you haven’t heard about it from me!! We are starting to use See Saw in Room 123 as a digital portfolio. Once I wrap my head around it a bit more you will receive more information and will be invited to view your child’s portfolio through an app. For now I have included a link for you to look at. This will give you a glimpse, but you will not be able to sign in. My goal is to have everything ready for you at Parent/Teacher conferences on the 16th/17th. This is another new program for me…but I’m doing my best to embrace the new technology!!! The kids are loving it so far (they want me to send you the information….NOW!). I just need to play around with it a bit more so I can hopefully answer some of your questions!

In the meantime…take a look!

See Saw

We are practicing making meaningful comments because that is a feature of See Saw, so please feel free to make a comment on this post as extra practice!

Until next time,