April 25

Earth Day

Earth Day was last Saturday April 22 and even though we weren’t at school that day, I hope you all were enjoying the outdoors and even thinking about the Earth and how precious this planet really is.

What are some of the ways you are helping to take care of the Earth?

I know for myself, I make every effort to bring reusable bags when shopping. I also avoid using the thin plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. When I pack my lunch for work, I use Tupperware instead of lots of plastic baggies. Some people like to plant trees as a way of giving back to Mother Nature. There are so many things we can do to help keep the Earth healthy.

I watched a film called A Plastic Ocean (on Netflix) which really was eye-opening revealing just how devastating the plastic pieces in the ocean really are. As a certified SCUBA diver, I can say first hand that the amount of plastic (and other trash) in the oceans is beyond disturbing.

Here are some astounding facts about plastic:

  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.

 

What does Earth Day mean to you?

 

 

 

 

 

April 25

Visiting Author: Andrea Beck

Last Friday, students were delighted to welcome guest author/illustrator, Andrea Beck.  Check out her website here.

She not only read to us but taught us about the writing process and how she illustrates her books. Students asked her all sorts of questions such as “Where do you get your inspiration?” and “What was your first published book?”

Andrea even shared with us that she just found out her book “Good Morning Canada” was chosen to be given to all first grade students across Canada! What an honour!

Andrea has written books that have even been made into TV shows. Her famous characters include Pierre, Buttercup the cow and of course Elliot the moose.

She showed us how simple shapes are used to help us achieve success at creating our own character. She sketched a picture of Elliot the moose and walked us through the fact that she starts with circles. Afterall, everyone can draw circles, she reminded us.

 

Andrea reminded us writers of something very important:

…it can be the simplest memories like digging on a beach or baking cakes as a kid that can become stories

 

I wholeheartedly agree!

April 20

What’s Your Opinion?

In our current writing unit on persuasive writing, the students are working towards writing a letter addressed to someone (or a group of people) and in that letter, share a concern or idea they may have on a topic they feel is important to them.  This letter will also serve as the basis for their speech on the same topic. It is my hope that they choose a topic they feel passionate about.

Today, the students brainstormed ideas for the letter. The topics the students came up with were quite diverse.

Some of the topics the students brainstormed included:

  • war
  • racism
  • should animals be kept in zoos/MarineLand?
  • smoking
  • using respectful language
  • the dangers of video games, Pokemon Go
  • girls should be treated as equals to boys
  • girls and women should be represented equally in sports
  • the importance of school (don’t take it for granted)

We began the unit with an activity called 4 Corners. Each corner of the classroom had a sign that read either Strongly Agree, Agree, Strongly Disagree, Disagree. The students had to think about their position on the topic and decide which sign to stand under. They needed to be able to justify why they believed what they did and were even allowed to change their minds if another group persuaded them to do so.

Topics ranged from “Should animal testing be allowed?” to “Should children be allowed to have a TV in their bedroom?”.  Several students were very passionate about their opinion while others were more easily swayed in any direction. Lots of chatter and discussion around these topics gave the students plenty of opportunity to practice their debating skills and how to respectfully disagree.

 

What is one topic/issue you feel strongly for or against?

 

April 16

Happy Easter!

On Holy Thursday, staff and students gathered in the gym to participate in the Stations of the Cross performed by Mrs. Hollis’ class. It was a beautiful presentation. Thank you, Mrs. Hollis.

Today is Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Lent is now over and we celebrate with food, family, and perhaps some chocolate 🙂

Many people around the world have customs or traditions at Easter time such as decorating eggs, making bread (in my family we make Babka), buying Easter Lily flowers, and many more.

How does your family celebrate Easter?

However you do, I wish you and yours a happy, holy, and blessed Easter.

Mrs. Sullivan

Here is one of our students celebrating Easter.  Here we see him at the Greek Orthodox Easter service where they light candles and sing “Christ is Risen!”

April 16

Celebration of Writing

Writers write. And that’s exactly what our class has been busy doing. On Thursday we celebrated the incredible hard work these students have been putting forth. To see a story go through all the phases of the writing process and be proud of the final product is quite the feat! I can tell how proud my students were by the smiles on their faces and their eagerness to see their stories published into a book and share them with others. Bravo!

Our librarian, Mrs. Allen, is delighted to place our books in the school library temporarily and is eager to show them to our visiting author who comes next Friday. Her name is Andrea Beck. A future blog post will be written about her visit.

Our celebration of writing happened on Thursday complete with a drink and a snack. Our books can go home this Easter weekend to be shared with family (with the promise to bring them back on Tuesday to be placed in the library).

Cheers!

Mrs. Sullivan

April 12

Whodunnit?

A crime had been committed in room 124 and students were on the case to solve it! It was after lunch when students were ready to go back to class. Mrs. Sullivan stopped them at the class door informing them that a terrible crime had occurred at lunch while they were gone. All of our pillows went missing!  Nooooo!

The crime scene was cordoned off with caution tape and several clues were left behind at the scene. There was a large empty Tim Horton’s coffee cup, a basketball, and a muddy shoe print. With clipboards in hand, the students turned detectives were on the case. Careful inspection of the clues, recording our thoughts, and thinking of possible suspects were all on our minds.

After, we gathered on the carpet and began to collate our thoughts. We started with the facts: what did we see as the clues? Next, we talked about what we thought about what we saw, then we talked about thinking of possible suspects and their motives.

 

The students were incredibly thoughtful in their observations, even noting the little “c” on the coffee cup lid which we discussed could mean “cream”, “hot chocolate”, “cappuccino” or “coffee”.  They thought about which staff members coach or play basketball and who wears running shoes at school. Some students claimed they even saw Mr. T playing basketball at recess while on yard duty. Hmmmm.

Students discussed with those around them and firmed up their top suspects. They narrowed the list to 2 staff members: it could have been Mr. Annesley or Mr. T.   Students gave their motives citing that Mr. Annesley was a suspect because he’s known to be a prankster and would take our pillows because he does that kind of thing, being our next door neighbor. Mr. T was a suspect because he has bean bag chairs and may have wanted pillows to compliment his other comfortable chairs.

Mr. T came into our class to be interviewed by the detectives who bombarded him with questions. What size are your feet? Show us the bottom of your shoes. Are they muddy? What do you put in your coffee? Were you, in fact, outside at recess playing basketball? Do you drink Tim Horton’s coffee?

In the end, as suspected, Mr. T admitted the truth…he had our pillows in his room. What a sneaky guy! 

Were you correct in who you suspected? 

Welcome to the genre of MYSTERY which is our next reading unit. 🙂

April 12

What is Feudalism?

In our class, we’ve started our new Social Studies unit on Medieval Times. We began yesterday with picking roles out of a hat. These would form our new groupings in our class seating arrangement, too. They would also ‘play’ in our classroom over the course of the unit. For instance, the Queen would be the first to line up and the peasants would line up last.

The roles to be picked were Queen, Knight, Lady or Lord, Peasant (Serf). This simulates the Feudal System in the Medieval time period. To demonstrate the inequality of the system, we used Smarties. The Smarties represented the harvest that the peasants would have reaped for the season.  Each person started with 10 Smarties. The peasants have to pay for their protection and land by giving 6 of their smarties away to a Knight. The Knights would give some of their Smarties to the Lords or Ladies, and finally, the Lords or Ladies would have to give some Smarties to the King or Queen. By the end, the Queen had the most amount of Smarties and the Peasants had the least. 

Not everyone was too impressed that the Queen had more than they did, but that’s how it was in Medieval Times.

This is a good video that demonstrates the system and is easy to understand:

Grade 3/4s:  What do you think of your ‘role’ in the Feudal System? If you could change your role, what would it be and why?

April 11

Measure Me This…Measure Me That

As we wrap up our unit on Measurement, it is interesting to be reminded of the fact that there seems to be only 3 countries in the world that have not adopted the metric system. These include the US, Myanmar, and Liberia.

I think it’s time these countries get on board. What do you think?

I’ve been very impressed with how far we’ve come as a class in terms of our confidence in telling the time (analog). Our grade 4s have been using number lines to also calculate elapsed time. Great job everyone! Perimeter (the distance around an object) and Area (the amount of 2D space occupied by an object) have also been topics we’ve been exploring using square tiles, geoboards, and grid paper. Below, you can see students busy putting their measurement knowledge into practice.

If you play this video to the very end, you increase your chances of never forgetting what perimeter is and how to find it!

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April 11

Mad Science is….well, MAD!

Today grades 1-6 assembled in the gym and watched intently as a woman dressed in a white labcoat entertained us and had us gasping, oohing and ahhing at the experiments. Dry Ice is always a hit with kids and did not disappoint today!

Mad Science is a 6 week program being offered to our students and aims to increase students’ interest in science and is an enrichment opportunity with a hands-on approach. The program costs $75.00 and permission forms went home today.

 

April 7

Way to Go Mathletes!

There are several students who are deserving of recognition this week. In no particular order…

Congratulations to Domenic for achieving our 2nd silver certificate in the class! Way to go! To earn his first silver, Domenic earned 5 bronze certificates.

 

Congratulations to Joseph for achieving a total of 4 certificates so far. He is one certificate away from earning his first silver. Wow!

 

Luca P. has also earned a total of 4 certificates and is one away from his first silver. Be very proud! Congratulations.

 

Cassie has earned a total of 4 bronze certificates and her next bronze bumps her up to a silver. Keep working hard, Cassie! Way to go!

 

Can you believe it? We have yet another student super close to earning her first silver…Ava Y! Fantastic job.

 

Who will earn our 3rd silver certificate?

Keep up the terrific work, everybody!