Dear Students and Parents,
It feels super-duper great to be back in the classroom with all my friends and the staff. I thank you for all your well wishes and kind thoughts and prayers. My students have been on my mind since day 1 and seeing their smiling faces on Monday (yesterday) felt nothing short of wonderful.
It is very difficult to be away from my class so I thank God that I am well enough to return and do what I love best…teach! When I am away from the class as a teacher, I am also missing being a student. I learn so much from my students each and every year…this year is no different. My classroom is my second home and it’s good to be home.
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.
- 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?
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!
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:
- should animals be kept in zoos/MarineLand?
- 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?
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.
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!”
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.
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!
Our projects are finally finished and we have embarked on our presentations today. Our class has worked hard to gather research and assemble their projects about a famous rock formation from anywhere in the world.
Some of the topics they researched include:
- Egypt’s White rocks
- Bryce Canyon
- Antelope Canyon
- Giant’s Causeway
- Fairy Chimneys
- Camelback Mountain
Perhaps one day the students can visit these famous rock formations for themselves and witness the wild and beautiful ways that Mother Nature creates her masterpieces.
To help decorate the gym for the Heritage Fair on Wednesday April 5, we created a piece of artwork that is reflective of our Canadian culture using the Canadian flag! We used tissue paper, a template, and white glue to create our flags. Perhaps you can hang them on July 1 for Canada’s 150th birthday! The students worked diligently and helped one another to complete their artwork in time to hang in our gym. They look great!
This morning the students were excited to experience a Gregg LeRock concert for the first time. It was my first time, too! Gregg and DJ David were lively, very entertaining, expressive, and had us singing along to the tunes….en francais, of course! I still have the song C’est Bon in my head! Oh dear. He has been nominated for two JUNO awards and has performed his French language concerts to more than 500 000 students Canada-wide.
Gregg spoke entirely in French but sometimes whispered the meaning in English so we could figure out what he was saying. His songs and interactions with the students reinforce french vocabulary. He does a great job teaching his audience while at the same time, entertaining everyone with his fabulous electric guitar playing and singing groovy tunes.
Un spectacle superbe!
“My philosophy is that the best way to teach kids is to teach them without them knowing they’re being taught and to make French ‘cool’. And being able to do this while playing guitar behind your head always helps!” —Gregg LeRock