Tag Archives: math

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,


Bye Bye September…Hello October!!


I’m not sure about you…but I feel like this week has flown by! However, it might just be because we did a ton of great things!!!!

Let’s start with that! The “Ask Me” question for this weekend is to parents to “Ask me about my busy week!” Have a conversation about some of things we did this week, then students are asked to “Write the top 3 things I learned”. We talked about how this does not mean writing things like “math”, but instead writing something more specific about the math like: a strategy they might have learned or a concept or a tool. That shows more about what they “learned” versus something that they “did.” Need some conversation starters? Read on to get some reminders of what we did this week at school!!

*As a class we talked about tallying up the September minutes for Home Reading. Please take some time to help your child add up all the minutes he/she has read this month and then graph it in the front of the home reading folder. Reminder: September ends on Saturday, so don’t add Sunday’s minutes into that! If we keep up with recording the minutes read each day it makes this monthly job A LOT easier! Can your child try this task? Can you support them? Try to turn it into a learning opportunity rather than just doing it for them. Just like the recording process. Allow it to be part of their routine to record the title, amount of minutes read and weekly questions. It helps them take ownership of the task.

*Your child may have brought home word cards in their Home Reading Folder. These are Words Their Way sorts. Students in my group AND Helen’s group are having their spelling assessments on Tuesday. The other groups will send their words home once they are ready to move onto the next sort. Please take the time to have your child sort the words and tell why they are sorted that way and also review the spelling pattern to help them be prepared for the assessment.

-Field Trip to Mariash Quarry: Monday’s field trip to the quarry was super fun! It was a little chilly, but the sun came around as we were searching for fossils 🙂 We learned some facts about the quarry and what once existed there, we learned facts about rocks and minerals, did some investigations, went on a scavenger hunt and of course…went fossil hunting!

These are some of the fossils we saw!

-Meet the Teacher: Thank you to all the parents who were able to make it to Meet the Teacher on Monday night. It was a great turnout! I hope you enjoyed the mini tours that your child took you on…they were so excited to show you where they spend so much of their time and some of the work they’ve been busy doing so far. Please come visit again! We are always excited to have parents come and help out 🙂

-Nature Art: On Wednesday we used the rocks and fossils that we found at the quarry as well as some other pieces of nature to create some really beautiful artwork. We were inspired by Andy Goldsworthy. I’m so happy with how all of them turned out. I think that doing this each season will turn into an amazing year long project!

-Terry Fox Run: Thursday was the Terry Fox Run at school. We learned some facts about Terry’s life, his sickness, his idea to make a difference, his determination, his success, his legacy.

Terry Fox Heritage Minute

Some of the amazing facts we learned are: that Terry was born in Winnipeg and has family that still lives here! He was diagnosed with cancer when he was only 18 years old. Terry started his journey and the Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980. He ran 42 km each day (a full marathon). Terry’s journey ended in Thunder Bay after 143 days and 5 373km…his cancer had spread into his lungs and he passed away just before turning 23. The first annual “Terry Fox Run” started in 1981. in 1992 the Terry Fox run became a worldwide event. As of 2016 $715 million has been raised for cancer research in Terry’s name. Want more facts? Check out the Terry Fox Foundation for more information!

-Orange Shirt Day: Orange Shirt Day takes place each year on September 30. Today we all wore orange at school. We had 100% participation which is AMAZING! New to the idea of Orange Shirt Day? This Orange Shirt Day video is a great introduction to why we are wearing orange. We also read the story called When I Was 8, which is an adapted version of the story Fatty Legs. From the story and the video we were able to generate some really important conversations. These kids really understand that #everychildmatters. We talked about the importance of language and culture and how Canadians are on the path to truth and reconciliation. Residential Schools are part of our history and we need to know what happened in order for something like that to never happen again. I was really impressed with the class today 🙂

-Math: This week we continued to work on some number concepts and the idea of place value. We are talking about the difference between standard and non-standard form and how you can change a number from standard to non standard but the value of the original number remains the same! To prove that it is still the same value you can write it out in expanded form.  Need more? See examples below.

This is something you can definitely practice at home. Give a number (could start at a 2 digit, 3 digit or 4 digit), have your child write the standard form then challenge them to see how many different non standard forms they can come up with and prove the value is the same by showing the expanded form!

What’s Happening Next Week?

-More place value! It is necessary to understand place value for so many other parts of math so please practice at home if you are able to 🙂

-We are doing our first Number Talk…stay tuned for more information on what that looks like!

-We will do another Letter to Danielle. This is where students write to me about their weekend, something they are looking forward to, questions they have, a book they are reading or just something they’d like to share with me. I read them, correct for spelling and grammar then write them back!

-We will continue our Rocks and Minerals Inquiry and gather more wonderings and questions to help guide where the inquiry will lead us!

-We will finish our first Read Aloud book and jump right into the second one! Note-my intention is not to read the second book about the Fitzgerald-Trouts, but to start a new book. I have been known to be swayed by the students to continue a series…so we will see!

-We are going to be looking at some wordless picture books and starting some poetry writing

-AND we are going to brainstorm some Manitoba animals and choose one to study throughout the entire year to compare where and how it lives throughout the changing of the seasons!

Have a fantastic weekend. I hope you get a chance to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

Until next time,


10. More. Days. Of. School…

Happy Saturday Everyone!!!

Here we are…only a few posts away from the last day of school!!!!

Here is a little recap of last week at school 🙂

*Gimli Field Trip: This was an awesome day. Really…it couldn’t have gone any better. The weather was perfect and the kids had a blast. We were able to build, play and explore…without seeing any algae in the water!




*Montrose Music Makers: Once again Room 123 showed just how creative we are! We are getting soooooo good at being makers and are really contributing to a maker culture in the school. Our instruments were pretty amazing!

*Canada 150: We have completed our final vertical team sessions and now students have rotated through all 4 stations (dance, drumming, drama and language). Mr. Okemaw came to help with the language and culture piece by teaching us some Cree words and a fun game! An email has gone out to all families to invite everyone to our Canada 150 celebration on Wednesday, June 21 from 6:00-8:00. The format is come and go, however there are some components that will be at a scheduled time. The opening will hopefully take place in the field (weather permitting) at 6:00. There will be a hoop dancer, heart garden, drumming/drama interactive piece, guest speakers, treaty display, bannock and lemonade. It will be a great evening. We hope to see you there! *Please note that you are invited to rotate through all stations since our students in Room 123 have only been part of the Language and Culture session and have not seen what the Treaty and Residential School sessions have been learning.

*Ask me…: This weekend’s Ask Me question is about our Canada 150 vertical team sessions. Please write or draw something about at least one of the activities 🙂

*Family Life/Safety will be wrapping up soon *Fractions and decimals are going strong  *Our self portraits are starting to come along and will be amazing! *We are going to do a super fun Which One Doesn’t Belong (I can’t wait to tell the kids!) *Robert Munsch Reader’s Theatre presentations will come up soon. They kids have been having so much fun rehearsing their lines and deciding what props they will need!

Finally…Happy Father’s Day out there to all the Daddios for tomorrow! I hope you enjoy the cards your children have made. They made them with you in mind!

Good luck to all the runners participating in the Manitoba Marathon tomorrow. If you feel like doing some cheering…yours truly will be doing the 3rd section of the relay which will start at Laura Secord School, go down Portage to Assiniboine Park and then onto Wellington Crescent before handing the relay belt to Ms V!

Until next time,




The Final Weeks!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Last week was another great week being your child’s teacher! I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting about how this year has been so positive for me. I truly feel so lucky to be part of such a great school community 🙂

-We have competed the sharing of our environmental solutions with each other. It was very interesting to see and hear how differently the class interpreted the task. Some of their minds went to mythical solutions, some went to blasting our problems to space, some had other animals helping us out and some went more practical like creating filters, writing letters, developing new water treatment facilities or working together to clean up. What they all had in common was…the BUT! Every solution had something that wouldn’t make it perfect. Maybe the “but” was that rocket ships were expensive to build and send to space or maybe it was that Justin Trudeau might not listen to what we here in Winnipeg had to say. The beauty of all of this was the creativity, the communication and collaboration between students, the critical thinking, the learning, the sharing, the passion! I really loved doing this project. I think it really helped us to think about our environmental responsibilities as Canadians and as people that rely on this planet to sustain life!

-One of our students has started a Garbage Picker Upper Club! It is easy to join…just go out into the community, pick up garbage, recycle what needs to be recycled and make our world a better place! Hudson and I joined! Another example of how what we learn at school is being brought home and then shared with others. 🙂

-Math: We have divided and conquered! Students have completed their division books and have learned that to divide means to share equally! We started from sharing objects into equal groups, then talked about the difference between number of sets and number in each set, learned about divisor, dividend and quotient, introduced what to do when you can’t share equally and have leftovers (which we call remainders) and worked on the relationship between multiplication and division with fact families. Grade 4s also dove into long division! Having recall for basic multiplication facts sure helps with division! The grade 3s have reviewed their answers as a group and now the grade 4s will do the same. We really like checking our work together so we can answer questions and do more examples if needed. Please make sure to have our work at school each day so we can either work on it or check the answers. Sometimes students want to work at home or need more time to complete pages which is good with me as long as we remember to bring the work back each day and that they fully understand the work before they go home 🙂 Next up…fractions!

-Ask Me…Question: A little late on the post but thank you so much for doing the Ask Me question over the weekend. We did an example with how students could research their topic with the topic of plastic straws (after I had read an article on Twitter about the danger of overusing drinking straws). We read through a few websites, found some interesting facts and talked about how to search what we wanted to know. We also talked about how it can be difficult to find facts that you can trust online. This is a skill that we all have to develop as we live in the age of technology! It was important to have the research done so we can plan out the poster that we will hang in the school. We will finish up the poster planning tomorrow so that students are ready to transfer their work to the actual poster board on Thursday and Friday. No facts=no poster 🙁

-30×30: We did it!!! Today was our 30th day of our 30 for 30 challenge! We were great! Rain or shine. Hot or cold. We made it outside for at least 30 extra minutes each day. Today we celebrated with a whole day (almost) outside. Thanks so much to our parent volunteers for transforming our ‘garden’ space. Check out the new view we have outside of Room 123!

 What a great before and after!

We will continue to go out as often as possible and experience the benefits that being outside has to offer!

-Field Trip Update: Reminder that our field trip to Gimli is coming up on Monday (June 12). Please dress for the weather!!! Bring lots of water to drink and we are asking that you bring a litterless lunch. We are going to spend the day outside and enjoy what Gimli has to offer. Throughout the day we will have activities such as: nature sketching, instant challenges, water education (regarding algae, litter, etc.), organized games, free time and a community walk. I am away on Thursday/Friday so please email me if you have an questions. We are leaving right at 9:00 on Monday so arrive at school on time!! Can’t wait!

Have a great rest of the week! I’ll try to post some pictures of my trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays!!

Until next time,


June June Junie June June

It is hard to believe that we are already headed into June and thinking about the end of the year. It seems like yesterday that I was applying for this job and meeting this lovely group of students. I have enjoyed this year so, so, so much AND it isn’t over yet! We still have a lot of very exciting things planned over the next 5 weeks.

Here is just a brief overview of what will be happening…so you are in the know!

-Maker Days: We are in the middle of making models of creative solutions to environmental problem (pictures of our progress below!), followed by choosing practical solutions that we can implement right way.

Pretty amazing 🙂 This is what the Ask Me question for this weekend was…to talk about the problem and the solution with our families!

We will also have a maker day for creating musical instruments for our sound unit and another maker day where we will build Lego cars with magnets attached to them. We will be ‘racing’ the cars using the forces that attract and repel! I love the maker culture we have created this year. I remember being the teacher who did a big maker project once a year because the kids loved it. Now I think…ummm the kids love it, so why would I only do it once a year?!?!? I thought of making  more as a celebration and a time to look forward to. Now I think of being a maker as a part of who we are as a class because it is who we are as people. It is not just a celebration of learning from the end of a unit but it is about celebrating the rich learning that happens along the way 🙂

-Field trip note (regarding our upcoming trip to Gimli!): Notes will be sent home on Monday! Please sign and return ASAP. I have two parent volunteers and that is likely all I’ll be able to take. If there are any other openings I’ll let you know!

-Family Life is going to start next week! Grade 3s will be looking at families and safety and the Grade 4s will be learning more about the changes that happen within the human body. They will be taught in two separate groups.

-We are well into division and will be wrapping that up and doing some fractions and decimal work soon. The Math groups we are doing with Room 122 have changed a little. We have split the kids into 3 different groups: The grade 3s are with me in 123. The grade 4s have been split into two groups. One group is with Helen in 122 and the other is with Ms Davies in the library.

In Room 123 (and I believe in 122) we have watched videos on Place Value from a site called MathAntics. We’ve found that the videos are very well done and explain concepts in an easy to follow kind of way. The grade 3s have also watched the place value video that introduces decimals. They LOVED it. We had such a rich discussion about decimals. Take a look if you are interested OR your child would like to watch the video again. My only caution is that this website is American, so we talked about some differences, for example the comma is used to separate numbers in the U.S. but in Canada we simply put a space between numbers (4,215 (U.S.) 4 215 (Canada)). We will be watching more throughout the next few weeks…so don’t watch them all at home this weekend 😉 (Unless you want to see them more than once!)

Math Antics

So far we have watched the top two videos under the Arithmetic tab (Place Value and Decimal Place Value). We are currently only watching the free videos and doing our own examples and answering questions the group has. I haven’t heard any feedback from other teachers about the lessons that are available through purchasing the subscription.

Buzz Math also remains a hit! Many of the students are coming in saying they are playing at home. Apparently there is also a free app if you’d rather use the i pad. If you need help or have any questions please let me know!

-FYI: I found this write up about Summer Learning Loss on the Winnipeg School Division website that I thought I would share with you. It gives a few ideas about what to do over the summer to “decrease the loss”. I think many people think about reading loss over the summer. This is a definite possibility, but reading isn’t the only thing to do this summer to keep on learning! It is important to practice math, writing and spelling skills too. Not to mention getting outside, doing hands on activities, making, asking questions, etc!!

-We are going to add the 30×30 at home calendar challenge in our Learning Logs and do a little write up about the experience. Please send in the completed challenge so we can get that done this week 😉

Have a great rest of your weekend. Looking forward to another week with… 2 more guest presenters, more time spent outdoors, more making, more learning!!

Until next time,



May it really be the long weekend?!

Hi Everyone!

Here are some Friday evening thoughts as we head into the long weekend!

Women In Science & Engineering: We had a great time with Alex from W.I.S.E. and her program on the Science of Music! She talked to us about sound waves and about the connection between sound and the States of Matter (ask your kids about the domino experiment-videos are below!). She also introduced us to gramophones…which we googled and was invented in 1877! Pretty amazing!

*The “Solid” domino fall was so quick that I missed it!




A World of Water: On Thursday afternoon we learned a lot about water, Lake Winnipeg, algae blooms and ways to fix our problems from Jay. He shared information and had us up and moving with some hands on learning!

Lake Winnipeg Foundation: Today (Friday) we heard from Ainslie who works at the Lake Winnipeg Foundation. She was very pleased with how much we know about algae blooms and thought we asked some great questions. Ainslie also talked to us about Zebra Mussels and how we need to be careful not to transport Zebra Mussels into our lakes. We are doing some writing about some of the environmental problems we’ve learned about and are trying to come up with creative solutions…then think of what kinds of problems our solutions have!

Upcoming Field Trip: On June 12, we are headed to Gimli for a field trip! During our time in Gimli we will be having different stations for the kids to go through. Our goal is to have the students take some water samples, do some sketching, make nature art with twigs/rocks we see on the ground, have some free play and do a walk around the community. We’ve been learning so much about Lake Winnipeg we would like to go and visit! This field trip will NOT be for swimming! The only time we will be going near the water is to possibly to take water samples where students will be supervised at all times. We are also asking that students bring a “litterless” lunch to follow our environmental mindset! Permission slips will be sent home soon 🙂

30×30: Our 30 for 30 challenge is still going strong! We just completed Day 19! Day 30 lands on Tuesday, June 6 (I believe). Maybe we should be spending the day outside to celebrate?! On that note…the last day of the at home 30×30 challenge is on Monday. I hope you have enjoyed your time outside and continue to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors! This also means that my own challenge (and the kids who have also made a bonus challenge) also ends on Monday. I am having a grande latte on Tuesday morning! Don’t worry…I’ll still be using my reusable cup!

Mental Math: We have continued to review Mental Math strategies. This week we covered lots of ground!

Using Arrays: Since we have just finished up multiplication arrays are pretty fresh in our minds. An arrangement of objects or pictures in columns and rows is called an array.

Example for Arrays

Skip Counting to Find a Product: We all know how to skip count…we’ve been doing it for years! Now it’s time to use skip counting to solve multiplication problems. For example: if we want to know what 5×5 and we don’t know this fact by instant recall we can count by 5s five times (5,10,15,20,25). Therefore 5×5=25!

Building on a Known Double: We are pretty comfortable with our doubles facts (and if we cannot recall these facts up to 20+20 then this is something to practice), now we need to relate doubles to halves! For example: if we know 10+10=20 then 20-10=10!

Using Doubles +/-1: Now we can use what we know about doubles and apply that to near doubles. Near doubles occur when the two addends only have a difference of one. For example: 8+9 (the difference between 8 and 9 is 1 :)) Now you have a choice…you can think of this question as a) 8+8+1 (16+1=17) (Doubles +1) OR b) 9+9-1 (18-1=17) (Doubles -1).

Using Doubles +/-2: This is very similar to the Doubles +/-1 strategy EXCEPT…you guessed it!!! The difference between the addends is two! For example: 15+17 (the difference between 15 and 17 is 2 :)) Now you have a choice…you can think of this question as a) 15+15+2 (30+2=32) (Doubles +2) OR b) 17=17-2 (34-2=32) (Doubles -2).

Using Addition to Subtract: This is when knowing about Fact Families comes in handy! Fact Families are 3 numbers that are related, just like the people in a family are related!! The 3 facts make a set of 4 number sentences 🙂 When you see 11-7=? you can switch that to an addition fact instead. Now this question can be changed to 7+?=11. It might be easier or quicker for you to solve this question by adding instead of subtracting.

Fact Family: Part +Part =Whole & Whole-Part=Part

In the first question the 11 is the whole, and the 7 and 4 are the parts

7+4=11 (part+part=whole)

4+7=11 (part+part=whole)

11-7=4 (whole-part=part)

11-4=7 (whole-part=part)

When we reviewed this strategy we also talked about the ‘unknown’ in a question. There is always an unknown, but the place of the unknown can change. We are used to having the unknown at the end of a question (the sum for addition, difference for subtraction, product for multiplication and quotient for division). However the unknown can be any part of the question. In the above example we changed the ‘unknown’ from being the difference (a part) in a subtraction question to a missing addend (a part) in an addition question.

*Once again…we are practising all these grade appropriate Mental Math strategies and students need to know then exist and how to use them and explain them BUT will have their ‘favourite’ strategies and develop their own strategies as well.

Division: This first week of division has gone fairly well! The students are understanding the concept of division as objects being shared into equal groups. They are also finding the relationship between multiplication and division and using the commutative property and fact families to demonstrate this relationship! If your child is needing more practice try giving them objects (chocolate chips, rocks, paperclips, etc.) and asking them to share equally into X groups then ask how many are in each set. For example: Give them 12 chocolate chips and ask them to share them into 4 groups. One at a time they will put one chocolate chip into each set. 1,2,3,4 then add a second chocolate chip into the first set, then second set, etc. until there are no more chocolate chips. At then end there should be 4 sets of chocolate chips and 3 chocolate chips in each set. *Remember to give them problems that do not have a remainder since we are not at that point yet!

Buzz Math: Today we tried out a new program called Buzz Math! This is an online program similar to Dream Box, but not affiliated with the School Division. Each student has a user name (first name and first two letters of their last name) and they have a password (which they know!). We got logged in and used Buzz Math for about 45 minutes today and it was a hit. You are welcome to use it at home too. Just log on the same way as we did at school. See me if you have questions about logging on. I am learning with the group, so we will see where this takes us!

Buzz Math Homepage

Ask Me…This weekend’s Ask Me question is to do an extra 30 minutes of outdoor fun and let me know what you were up to! I am heading to the lake so I am looking forward to this too! The forecast doesn’t look great, so it also might also be a good time to get some reading in! All students have next week’s tracking sheet in their folder 🙂 I’ve noticed that many students are not reading regularly and not bringing their home reading folders in regularly either. I know everyone is busy but reading is very important and a great daily habit to get into. I’m hoping for 25 completed reading folders and Ask Me questions on Tuesday morning!!!!

I found a list of reasons of why kids need books…take a peek if you have time 🙂

Why Do Kids Need Books?

Creativity: Earlier in the week I showed the class a video from youtube about the loss of creativity at school and at work. I had seen the short film on Twitter and it made me sad. Then it made me think. Then it reaffirmed what we are trying to create in our class. I thought I’d post the link on here in case any of the kids were talking about it and you wanted to see 🙂


Have a really great long weekend. I look forward to hearing everyone’s stories during our sharing time on Tuesday morning.

Until next time,


Happy Mother’s Day :)

Let’s start this post off right!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the important ladies out there. These lucky kids have some fantastic role models, caregivers and supporters. Thank you for all that you do 🙂 I wasn’t able to see my own momma today, but living in different provinces for 15 years…we are kind of used to that. I’ll see her next weekend and shower her with her favourite things! I am also so lucky to have so many other important moms out there who are ready to give me a helping hand, some good advice or a little extra love when I need it. We are all so fortunate to have a community of strong female influences in our lives. I hope you all enjoyed your day…and the lovely cards your children made for you. A few of them let me snap some pictures for the blog!



I love the creativity and thought that has gone into these cards. The only criteria was to create a “card” with a personal message that reflects both you and your mom (or special lady you’d like to give a gift to). Amazing work!

Mental Math Strategies:

This past week we defined and practiced two more mental math strategies.

-Commutative Property for Addition: “The word “commutative” comes from “commute” or “move around”, so the Commutative Property is the one that refers to moving stuff around. For addition, the rule is “a + b = b + a”; in numbers, this means 2 + 3 = 3 + 2″

Commutative Property for Addition Video-youtube

We sometimes refer to these facts as “turn around facts”. This property also applies to multiplication (3×5=15 & 5×3=15)…but NOT for subtraction or division (in which cases you need to always start with the ‘whole’).

Basically… the order of the addends does not affect the sum.

Example: 75+25=100 and therefore 25+75=100

-Compatible Numbers: Compatible numbers are sometimes referred to as ‘friendly numbers’ or ‘nice numbers’. Some examples of common compatible numbers include 1 and 9; 40 and 60; 75 and 25 and 300 and 700.

This strategy for addition involves looking for pairs of numbers that combine to make a sum that will be easy to work with.



6+9+4+5+1=25 (6+4=10, 9+1=10, 5 more)





60 + 30 + 40 =

75 + 95 + 25 =








*We see these types of questions a lot in our Number Puzzle books!

Students should be able to recall compatible numbers for 10,20,50, 100 and basic fractions.

Example: Compatible Numbers to 10

Students should use what they know about number pairs to 10 to help them with 20, 50 & 100.

Example: If 3+7=10, then 13+7=20, 43+7=50 and 93+7=100

*Pairs that “end in 0” are the “easy ones”.

Example: 10+10=20, 10+40=50, 20+30=50 (and we already know about the commutative property a.k.a. turn around facts so 30+20=50 and 40+10=50), 10+90=100, 20+80=100, 30+70=100, 40+60=100, 50+50=100…

It is the ones without the ‘benchmarks’ that cause grief amongst many students.

Example: 19+31=50, 23+27=50, 38+12=50, etc. But if you take a minute to look at the questions you will see some patterns from all the way back at compatible numbers to 10.

19+31: any addend that ends in a 9 is looking for another added ending in 1. Then think that one more to the 19 is 20 and 1 less than 31 is 30 and now the question is 20+30 which is easier to manipulate in your mind! Does this sound familiar to a previous post about mental math strategies?!!!!

It will take some time to learn the compatible numbers to 50 & 100 for some kids…but that’s ok. Just practice a little each day.

Compatible Fraction Example:

Think of it as simple as this. I have half of a pizza what other fraction do I need in order to have a full pizza? 1/2. Two halves make a whole.

OR 1/4 of an hour has passed. How much of an hour is left? 3/4. One quarter (or fourth) and three quarters (or fourths) make a whole!


We started division this past week. Things we know so far… that we can use Fact Families to help us with basic facts (if 2×5=10 and 5×2=10 then 10/2=5 and 10/5=2). 3 numbers turned into 4 number sentences! To divide means to share equally. When physically sharing a group of objects into sets we do it one at a time. Example: If there are 12 cookies and 4 people who each want cookies, how many cookies do they each get? Start by either drawing 4 circles OR getting  something to represent the 4 people (these are the sets). Then share the cookies one at a time until you run out (either by drawing the cookies OR using something to represent the cookies). At the end each person will get 3 cookies. We can think of this as…

3+3+3+3=12 or 12-3-3-3-3=0 or 3×4=12 or 12/3=4 or 12/4=3!

One of our classroom stories helped us put some division into practice!

 (The Cookie Fiasco)

Let’s Talk Science

Earlier this week we had a volunteer from Let’s Talk Science come in to talk to us about what Science is and where we can find it and also do some Instant Challenges with us. So. Much. Fun! What a great program! Later on this week we will have W.I.S.E (Women in Science and Engineering) come to talk to us about Sound!

Ask Me…

This week’s Ask Me…question is all about homophones! We are noticing some mix ups in writing and in some Words Their Way groups and decided to have some fun learning homophones.

Homophone Video-You Tube

There, Their and They’re is what we started with…and this weekend’s homework was to think of and either draw or use them in a sentence to show the difference!

I can’t wait to see what we came up with. I’m thinking we can make a pretty fun display somehow!

What’s Up This Week?

-W.I.S.E presentation: Thursday a.m.

-Water Fun with our special guest!: Thursday p.m.

-Lake Winnipeg Foundation Presentation: Friday a.m.

-At least another 150 minutes outside!

P.S. Thank you so much for the kind words, treats and cards from Teacher Appreciation week. The Montrose Community knows how to make teachers feel loved!

Until Next Time!


May Days!

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Here is a little recap of what happened at school this week and what’s on the agenda for next week!

30 Day Challenge: Our 30×30 continues to be awesome! This week we did some read to self, spent time with our buddies, had outdoor gym with Mr. Strachan, had a sharing circle, spent loads of time playing after the Emperor’s New Clothes performances, listened to Harry Potter while eating birthday popsicles and did Yoga with Murray. On many days we spend more than 30 minutes outside…the nicer weather makes it being outdoors so enjoyable! This week we are hoping to get to some planting, we will go out with our buddies again and I’m sure Mr. Strachan will continue taking the kids out for pays. ed. too! I hope that you are enjoying the 30×30 at home too. I know a few students have also decided to extend their challenge at home by not playing video games or limiting T.V. I am so proud of everyone!!! My water/tea drinking is still going strong …I am missing my morning coffee though! There is still time to add in another mini challenge…any takers?!

All The Water In The World: Our art display is up and ready to be seen…so here it is!

Isn’t it beautiful?! It depicts the story of the water cycle along with the message that all the water in the world really is ALL the water in the world. We need to take care of it and not waste it or take it for granted. It is for us now and for the future. What are we going to do to make sure our clean water lasts forever?

The Emperor’s New Clothes: It was so great to see so many of you throughout the performances. I hope you enjoyed the show. Much love goes out to all who helped put the show together-from acting to singing to sets to dance to Yoga to makeup to sound to costumes to the small jobs that often go unnoticed AND of course to the kids! They put on quite an amazing show. Well done kiddos!

Math Groups: Now that Literacy Circles are over we are now doing Math Groups 3 x per cycle for an hour with Room 122. Right now the two classes are split into 3 groups. One with Helen, one with Ms Davies and one with myself! Our first focus is on reviewing and learning grade appropriate Mental Math strategies. The goal is to use mathematical language to describe our thinking and demonstrate many different ways to solve the same problem. So far we have reviewed 4 strategies…

  1. Estimate using 10 as a referent: First we need to know what it means to estimate (which many students weren’t sure of). To estimate is to make an educated guess. Not a wild guess, but one that makes sense. An estimate is the guess. One thing that is common is that students make an estimate, then change it after they’ve found the actual amount because they want to be ‘right’. Estimating is about trying to get as close as possible, but changing your estimate doesn’t make you ‘win’! Next we need to know what a referent means. A referent is an item that is used when estimating. It can be physical (like an actual object) or mental (a picture in your mind). So when estimating using 10 as a referent we can see what 10 looks like then compare the rest of the set and think about how many groups of ten we can see in the set. Using this strategy should help with estimation 🙂

Example: If you know that the second pile of bingo chips is 10, then how many could be in the first pile?

Example #2: This is a similar idea…but using 20 as a referent.

2. Taking one addend/subtrahend to the nearest 10: First we need to know what an addend and a subtrahend are. An addend is any number added to another. (addend+addend=sum) *There can be several addends in one number sentence. A subtrahend is the second number in the subtraction number sentence (minuend-subtrahend=difference). By taking an addend or subtrahend to the nearest 10 it makes it easier to do math problems using mental math. We would only use this strategy when the numbers in the problems are close to zero (such as 1,2,8,9). It wouldn’t make sense to use it with a number such as 24+35.

Above are a few examples of how to use this strategy 🙂

3. Using Compensation: This is reformulating a problem (whether it be addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) to one that can be done more easily (using the nearest decade)

In the example at the top we had to ‘take’ one from the 43 and ‘give’ it to the 59 to create a new problem of 42+60. In the example at the bottom we had to ‘give’ one to the 52 and ‘give’ one to the 29 to create a new problem of 53-30. This is very similar to taking one addend or subtrahend to the nearest 10.

4. Adding from left to right using the place value structure: When we do traditional algorithm we always ask students to add from ‘right to left’. This means adding the ones column first and then the tens column. However, in mental math we suggest the opposite! Add from left to right…meaning add the tens first, then the ones.

*Students are not required to use every strategy that they learn. They need to understand how to use the strategies and show that they can use them, but like all of us they will have their ‘favourite’ strategies. We are trying to expose the students to as many strategies as possible to allow them to see that there are many ways to solve problems. In class we have many conversations about how each of us solve problems and there are always a handful of different strategies that come up! It is so exciting to share our ideas and strategies!

Next week we will work on Commutative Property for Addition , Compatible Numbers, Using Arrays and Skip Counting for Multiplication Products 🙂

Wellness & Kindness: It was really lovely to make a compliment card for students in the class. There were so many positive messages shared amongst the class. The students shared about how they felt making a card for someone (excited, nervous because they wanted it to be special, proud, etc.) and how they felt when they received the card (excited, proud, appreciated, etc.). The kids actually suggested that we do this again because it felt so great. May 7-13 is Kindness week and May 10 is Conscious Kindness Day in Manitoba so let’s continue making people feel appreciated, valued, special as a result of being kind. What will you do?!

Ask Me…This week’s question is 3 parts: compliment cards, mental math & 30×30. Please talk about these activities and write or draw a response, make a poem or a song…do something to reflect your ideas or feelings!

*Students were given a new home reading sheet for Monday since there is no school 🙂


-No School on Monday.

-Please dress for the weather when we are outdoors as it gets warmer!

-June book orders are due on May 15.

-Run Club is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 (run first, then eat). *The one exception to this is on May 9 (Tuesday). We are running on May 10 (Wednesday) due to our monthly staff meeting on Tuesday. Only students who have signed permission forms are allowed to join the run club. Murray only has a few volunteers for the Fit Run at Assiniboine Park. If you are able and interested in going to that even please let me know.

Have a great rest of your weekend. See everyone on Tuesday!

Until next time,


This Week At School…and Beyond!

As we approach the long weekend I’d like to reflect on the past week and just keep you in the loop of what will be happening next week!

Yogis– the art day was fabulous (as you’ve seen from the pictures) and after talking to Cathy we’ve decided we will wait until the other two classes are done plastering their Yogis to paint them!

Instagram-thanks so much for the support! We’ve had 18 notes returned already!!! If you have decided not to give permission to have your child’s photograph posted and have any questions please let me know. Also-if you change your mind at any point let me know! So far we have 6 followers!! Remember to give us a follow so you can see all of our pictures! (as.easy.as.123 is our user name). If you have sent a request and I’m not sure who it is I might send a note home to check,  or you can send me an email if you have a user name that I wouldn’t recognize and a closed profile where I wouldn’t be able to tell who it is!

Heritage/Family Tree projects-these are great! The students are so excited to learn more about each other and the kids are also learning more about themselves! I love that they are all looking different! Good job!!!! You have until Spring Break to hand in your project!

Travel pictures and sharing-the bulletin board outside of the room looks awesome! There is still time to add photos if you’d like to send some in. Just let me know where the photo is taken and maybe add the year too! We had our first parent presenter in today! The class loved hearing about Australia and seeing photos…let’s not forget the didgeridoo!!! If you want to come in and tell us about where you’re from or where you’ve traveled… please let me know, we’d love to have you share with us!

Bridge Building-next week we are building famous bridges!!! If anyone would like to volunteer we could use an extra set of hands (especially with the adult run hot glue station!). We are building all morning on Wednesday (Feb 22). Let me know!!!!

Math-we’ve finished up our extra practice with subtraction and are fully into multiplication! I’ve written up some strategies and explanations for the math we’ve done so far this year. Have a look…this is meant to support you with helping your child at home (in case you were looking for the terminology we are using and examples of what students have been doing). Your child may need to work on one or two areas, all areas or maybe none at all. This is not homework, but a tool for doing math at home. I’ll let each o f you know which areas I’ve noticed that could benefit from practice. Hopefully that will go home tomorrow:)

Math Review for Blog

Country Study-we are in research mode! Each student is learning about a different country and as a class we have decided on some common themes (food, history, structures, etc.) to learn about. Some of the students are keen to continue research at home. This is totally fine with me!!! I’m asking that students use the notebooks we’ve created at school so that all information is in one place. After we feel like we’ve done enough research we will be working through some stations at school. This is not homework…this is a choice. School time is also provided!

Enjoy your long weekend…let’s celebrate this gorgeous weather while we can!!


Have Time for Another Post?!

Today we did some practice with telling time. Yesterday our Mental Math Monday (or Tuesday since there was no school on Monday 😉)focus was time. I read a time and the students wrote the time down on paper. For example: when I said half past 10. They would write 10:30. Quarter after 6 would be 6:15. Quarter to 8 would be 7:45. 20 to 4 would be 3:40. 5 to 12 would be 11:55, etc. Then we switched to the 24 hour clock. I would say 13:00 and the would write 1:00 p.m., etc. Overall, we found that about 1/3 of the class felt confident with the task and were pleased with their score /30. This means that we wanted to do some practice and boost those feelings of confidence and understanding of the other 2/3 of the class. Students who needed extra practice partnered up with students who felt like they could support their peers. Students who felt okay-ish partnered with others who felt okay-ish. Afterward we did a sharing circle about the process and found…students enjoyed being learning leaders, students enjoyed learning from other their peers, students liked hearing ideas of how to practice telling time and either choosing one of those or developing their own activity, students realized that they knew more than they thought they did!

Time to learn!

Check in with your kids to see how they feel about telling time. Students are welcome to borrow some mini clocks to use at home for a few days to practice. You could also make flashcards, say a time and have them draw a clock or write the time to match what you’ve said, practice the 24 hour clock (which comes in so handy for travelling!), give a time and ask how many minutes until the next hour. Don’t forget to practice times like 3:37 or 10:18 when reading time, drawing clocks and telling you how many minutes to the next hour (which is like a compatible number to 60) can be a little trickier. I realize that most places have digital clocks, but learning to read an analog clock is a skill that everyone should know.

We will do another round of time for MentalMathMonday (January 30).

Time to go (lol)