Tag Archives: inquiry

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,


The final stretch!

Good morning and happy Sunday!  I am writing this post from SeaTac airport and realizing how I will not be enjoying the time change today! The alarm rang at 4:30 😩 and I won’t get home until 5:30! Oh well! It was all worth it to meet up some friends and experience a new city!! Seattle is a great city. The forecast looked gloomy but it only rained for about 10 minutes (of the whole trip)! One of the coolest things was the amount of Blue Jays fans in the crowd and all over the city. Everywhere we looked there was someone wearing that Blue Jay blue! I hope you could tell on tv just how many fans there were and how exciting it was to have so much support for Canada’s team! I think it is super cool that the whole country supports the Jays even though many fans live very far from Toronto! I saw a sign that read “We spell color without “u”! I thought it was a clever one and really showed some of the friendly 🇨🇦 vs 🇺🇸 banter!

I’ll try to rotate these pics later!

This gum walk was disgusting!

Space Needle!

Ice cream sandwich and a view!


Original Starbucks!!

Osuna Matata! Just before the Jays won!


Anyhoo…back to school! I’m sure things were great while I was away 🙂!! Tomorrow is our big field trip to Gimli! Please arrive on time because we are leaving at 9:00. The bus ride will be quite long (about 90 minutes) so we need to make sure everyone uses the washroom before the school bell rings at 8:55. We are asking that all students bring a litter-less lunch so we keep on track with our environmental responsibility and that everyone is dressed for the weather. We will be doing some fun activities that coincide with our enviro inquiry and celebrate a beautiful place we have in Canada that is so close to home. I’m sure it’ll be a great day.

Later on this week we will have our final vertical group Canada 150 session. All kids in 123,124 and 125 will rotate through the two remaining stations. Soon our Canada 150 celebration will also take place. Stay tuned for details!!

This week we will also display our research projects and share some of our knowledge to educate others. I’m sure our Montrose friends will be excited to hear from us! We will also continue with math groups and learning the Robert Munsch plays that we will present near the end of the school year.

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start wrapping things up already!!

Looking forward to another great week at school!!

Until next time,


Make Everyday Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to you all!!!! I’ve just sent Jocelyn an email to send to our families of 123 about some exciting upcoming activities that we are doing in regard to our inquiry on What does it mean to be Canadian with a focus on the environment. This may not be ‘news’ to some of you. If you already know all about it from posts you’ve seen or from what you’ve talked about with your child then YAY! (you can skim over that email ;))

I’m thinking that this inquiry might just be the one I am most excited about. I have always been really interested in becoming a difference maker when it comes to the environment. It started when I was a kid. I continued to think about and challenge myself and others to be more committed to making ‘good’ choices all throughout my school career and young adult years. Now I get to work with the next generation of kids to see what they think is important and how they plan to make a difference too. I’ve already been so inspired by the students in 123. You have amazing children!!! Now where will this inquiry take us?

*30 for 30 challenge: Thank you for the positive response for us doing this at school AND  accepting the 30 for 30 challenge at home. Please share what you’ve been up to (you can email me pictures or send me a photo through an Instagram message). We are creating a growing bulletin board about what we’ve been up to each day. We also have two challenges that are going to be posted on that same board as of Monday. (A reusable drink container challenge and an reusable bag challenge). Have an idea of something we could do for the 30 for 30 challenge or want to spend time with us outdoors at school? Please let me know! The “at school” challenge starts on Monday and will go for 30 school days and the “at home” challenge starts tomorrow (April 23) and goes until May 22

*Earth Day: The second part of the Ask Me question is about what you’ve done on Earth Day to be a difference maker. I know…not the greatest weather, but I hope you were able to come up with something. To be accountable (and maybe to inspire) here is what I did:

Hudson wanted to show you her “Earth” ball. Funny that she chose to play with it this morning (at 6:00 a.m.)

Then I had my LAST cup of coffee for 30 days (that story will come later). Notice that I used my reusable K cup?! That is because I didn’t want to use one that would be thrown away after. I used my own coffee grounds and then will wash and reuse this for next time…and yes I use my reusable Starbucks cup even when I am at home!

We bundled up and went for a walk. Hudson really wanted to enjoy a bit more snow. I just enjoyed the trick that Mother Nature played on us! The air was fresh and clean so there was noting to complain about!

I didn’t take photos of everything…but I also donated clothes to my Yoga studio who did a used clothing sale and all proceeds went to the David Suzuki foundation. I went to Yoga this morning where we made being grateful for our planet as part of our practice. I did NOT shower, do laundry or do dishes as an effort to save water. I only went to Yoga and did no other driving. I did not purchase anything today because I wanted to only eat food that I already had here. I cleaned my house using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. The pants I wore are from a company that plants trees with every purchase and my shirt was made in Canada (both that were gently worn, but not dirty!). I went without any lights/phone/computer/tv for an hour at two different times, along with really only using lights when needed throughout the day. I also tweeted a few things that I thought were important and wanted to spread the word! Throughout the day I really was trying to rethink how I used things, I reduced, reused, recycled and repeated. Overall I am pretty happy with my choices today. The best part is…most of this is stuff I do everyday. Sometimes my friends and family giggle at my efforts and say that it doesn’t really make a difference but they are wrong. I almost never use a plastic bag or use a paper coffee cup and if there are 10 or 100 to 1000 other people that commit to that too…we are totally making a difference!

Now it’s time for the coffee story! I told the class on Thursday that I was thinking of just drinking water for 30 days and asked them why I might do that. They instantly knew that by just drinking water in a reusable bottle that I already have I would save on the amount of recycling I’d have to do (from drink containers-especially when I am in the car for a long drive to Ontario I tend to pick up a Vitamin water or a gatorade) or from someone else picking me up a coffee without having my reusable cup, even the amount of juice jugs I would need to by or the resources it takes to have someone make me a coffee at Starbucks and most of all they added that it is the healthiest choice! The thing is…when you say something to kids…you have to do it! To be honest …I am going to do it, but with a few modifications. I am going to allow myself to drink tea that I already have (no new tea) and milk and maybe a cheat (like juice that is already at my house, but no individual containers). If anyone wants to join me in this challenge I will appreciate the company!!

This is exactly what makes me so excited. These kids get it. They can see the small differences these daily changes can make. They want to do something. They will do something. They will use their ideas and their voices to put plans into action and they have amazing parents to support them in every way possible. Thank you so much for all that you do 🙂

Haven’t got an idea for Earth Day?

-enjoy nature, rethink your choices (example: plastic bags vs reusable, paper cups vs reusable, which cleaning products you use, etc.), plant something, pick up garbage, unplug (don’t leave chargers plugged in when not needed, turn the tv/computer off for awhile, etc.), start recycling,  buy something local, close the fridge door, leaving a room…turn off the light, think about the water wasted when you brush your teeth and decide how you can use less, share an idea with a friend, make a commitment to make a change!

-On Instagram I posted a picture about Fort Whyte. Here it is again below in case you are looking for something to do. It’s free and looks like there is a lot going on.


A video I found on Twitter today:


Have any resources you’ve looked at and are worth sharing? Let me know!

Until next time,