May 16

Poetry is All Around Us

Writing poetry is a state of free float. ― Margaret Atwood

In Writing Workshop, our study of poetry and exploring the writing of poetry has been quite liberating for some…we are learning to write Free Verse poems. There are NO rules when it comes to free verse. No punctuation? No problem. No capitals? No worries. No rhymes? Sounds like a plan.

We’ve learned that poetry is different from prose in many ways. One of the ways is that poetry has a wonderful rhythm to it–a flow, a beat…whatever you may call it. Musicians like Rhianna, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake…are all poets. Song lyrics are poems!

We’ve been learning about hearing the music in poetry, writing about issues or topics that matter to us, listening for line breaks, looking at ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

Poetry is all around us…if we’re willing to just slow down and listen.

We studied this poem by Valerie and began to understand the power of line breaks and how they can create visual interest in the poem and influence how the poem is read. Have a look yourself! Do you see a difference between the two? Which one do you think is the ‘proper’ poem and which one was changed?

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December 2

Writing Persuasive Essays!


In class, we’re just at the beginning of starting our new unit in language: Persuasive essays.

6/365 Jess via Compfight ———————————->

If you don’t know what that is, basically, they are a piece of writing that is trying to prove your opinion is right, or trying to change someone’s opinion about a certain topic to your opinion. They are different from narrative writing, in quite a few ways.

For example, an essay doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end, but instead has an introduction, then body, then conclusion. There are plenty more differences, but I want to talk about something else.

I have some tips from previous knowledge of writing essays that I’d like to share…

  • Make sure you really hook your audience at the beginning, or no one will want to read it!
  • Your thesis (topic) has to be well planned and you must feel strongly about it, because people would be able to see if you really care, or if you couldn’t care less.
  • Your 3 reasons should fit perfectly with the thesis
  • A rhetorical question fits well in a conclusion helps to get people really thinking about what you have to say
  • All reasons should be well supported
  • Think about this: what if someone had a question or comment that would sway someone else’s opinion? You need to stand your ground and counter whatever they might say.
  • Interesting titles also hook your audience!
  • If you want to say something like: “67% of people…”, your facts have to be correct, and you need to state where you got the information. You can’t just pull a random number out of midair and say it’s true!
  • Be sure to name sources if some of your info doesn’t come from yourself.
  • Make sure it’s clear what your 3 (or more…) reasons are.
  • Use interesting words!
  • Use correct grammar and spelling!
  • Have fun with it!

I hope you find all that useful when writing your essays!


Have you ever written an essay?

What is your topic going to be?

I’d love to hear from all of you!

Please leave me a comment below!

November 16

Let’s Write!

For the past few weeks the students in our class have been working very hard to create our own personal narratives!

What is a personal narrative? 

Well a personal narrative is a a story that is about something you have personally done or experienced. 

We have done many lessons that will help us make our narratives even better! These lessons include dialogue, juicy words, detail, expanding your thoughts, and a lot more. We have typed our drafts and gotten feedback from a partner. With the feedback we have received from a partner we will add that to our stories and make them the best they can be as our good copies.

Have you ever done a personal narrative?

What are some ways you make your narratives the best they can be?



cybrarian77 via Compfight    

September 21

Grade 6 in Full Swing

We’re into week #3 of Grade 6 and we’ve established routines and are busy learning and doing great things in our classroom.

Our first writing task, Summer Sandwiches, have wrapped up and our summer stories are providing the perfect foundation for our first unit–personal narratives. Boy, have we got some delicious and adventurous stories from our own lives just waiting to jump off the page!

Place value is on our minds as we are practicing up to the millions. Representing our understanding using our white boards and base ten blocks and playing the game Race for a Flat have been part of our practice with numbers recently.

Some questions to think about:

* How many minutes are there in a day? In a year?

* How many hours old are you as of your last birthday?

* How old is your dog in human years? In dog years? 

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May 12

We are Poets

Our classroom is alive with poetry! I’ve been blown away by the ideas, creative thinking, and desire to share those ideas within the class these last 2 weeks in our poetry unit. Our focus this year is on free-verse poems. The best part about free-verse poems is that there are NO rules!

 Photo Credit: kaiser_t via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kaiser_t via Compfight cc

Where does poetry hide? Poems hide in the most unexpected places, often they are right in front of us and in the people in our lives. Poetry hides in a grandmother’s wrinkles, in a clock’s hands, inside our shoes, in the shadows of a tree.

Someone once said that we should be like sponges, noticing everything around us, taking it all in. In class, we’ve learned about the importance of looking at the ordinary in extraordinary ways. Looking at things in different ways reveals poetry where we might not typically see it.

There are many sources of poetry. It’s endless! You might say there are several poetry “doors” we can enter to help us craft our ideas. Georgia Heard describes 5 doors that we can step through and gather inspiration for our poetry…

1.  The Heart Door–this is the most important door because it leads to our heart, our feelings, the truth about our beliefs. Write about what you feel is true.

2. The Observation Door–this is what we observe around us, what amazes us, what is beautiful.

3.  The Concerns About the World Door–this is what we worry about, the environment, what we see in the news, war, floods, disasters.

4.  The Wonder Door–these are questions we have about the world, life, school, what we are curious about.

5. The Memory Door–we often have vivid memories whether good or bad. Memories can often serve as inspiration for a poem.

The truth is, there are many doors from which to write–the doors are endless! I encourage each one of us to have the courage to step through at least one of the doors  and not be afraid to explore the inner poet within us and enter the world of poetry.


March 8

Learning From Jack Gantos

jack gantosWhen writing, it is great to learn from the pros! Recently, we’ve been learning different ways to gather ideas for writing realistic fiction. Over the last few days, we’ve had Jack Gantos as our teacher of writing. He’s the author of the Rotten Ralph series, Joey Pigza series, Jack Henry series, and other books, too!

When working abroad, I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Gantos and listened to him share his tips and strategies when writing. I was more than happy to share his presentation with the class this year. Writing can be a daunting task, especially when staring at hundreds of blank pages in our notebooks. We learned that just writing 10 minutes a day can be a great start to building a story. Jack showed us his Grade 5 writer’s notebook, which he shows in the picture above. He writes all of his books in his notebook first and he’s kept all of his notebooks from when he was a child. Pretty neat!

To add to our repertoire of generating ideas for fictional writing, we’re taking Jack’s advice and drawing a map of our house and finding stories that hide within our house–either in our bedroom, in the kitchen, backyard, wherever! We might dismiss the ‘everyday’ things that happen to us and overlook them as potential stories to nurture and develop. Most of Jack’s stories that he writes about come from things that happen to him in his own life.

Stay tuned for more about our realistic fiction writing adventures!

Mrs. S


February 3

The positives and negatives about divorce

The Positives and Negatives about Divorce

By: Arianna

Divorce seems to be a common thing in many families. Did you know that 40% of couples are divorced every week?  Most people think that divorce is strictly a negative thing but you may be surprised that that there are some positives that can come from divorce. I believe that there is good things to divorce and bad things so I’m going to tell you both sides of my opinion.  The first thing I am going to talk to you about is how it is going against God’s law. The second thing I am going to talk about is how it causes stress amongst family members. Last but not least I will discuss some positives that can come from divorce.

It says in the bible. When we hold grudges against a genuinely repentant spouse and remain hardhearted toward her or him-whether or not we officially cast the person away-we hinder our own communication with God (1 Pet 3:7-12) and ultimately can invite our own damnation (Mt 18:34-35). And that is why divorce is obeying Gods law. But my opinion with this is that I agree with the bible because when you get married in a church the priest says in god’s name you will love each other till the end but it’s just like a big sin when you break that rule and that is not good so that is why divorce is a negative thing .

Next is another negative of divorce how it causes stress amongst all family members. For one thing the parents feel stressed because they think that there kids don’t love them anymore because they got divorced but being a kid with divorced parents we do know that you still love us. And they think that they don’t have a family anymore when they have step mom step dads and step brothers and sisters but that’s not true because now you have more people that love you and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and that’s a good feeling.

There are many positives to divorce but I’m going to tell you some. Well one is that kids don’t get upset as much because their parents are no longer fighting because they are no longer together. Also, the kids get double of everything. To explain, the kids now have 2 sets of parents—2 moms and 2 dads. It is wonderful divorce is disobeying God’s law, it causes stress amongst all family members

February 3

The School Day Should Be Shorter

The School Day Should Be Shorter

By: Damian

 In Canada we have to go to school because it is the law. People that live in Canada might think that going to school is a pain in the butt because of the long hours, But we are lucky to go to school. The school day is currently 6 hours long. My school is an elementary school and starts after 9 am and ends after 3:00pm. I believe that the school day should be shorter because it would not interfere with your life at home, it would be easier on your body, and will allow kids time to participate in organized sports.

The first reason why the school day should be shorter so it would not interfere with your life at home. Well this is a big thing because if you have a lot of homework you might have to stay up late to finish it. If school ends late you will miss out on family bonding time. For example, if it was the weekend your teacher assigns you homework and you’re school ends late you will miss out on finishing your homework and your family bonding time. It also interferes with your chores or helping your mom with something. For example in life at home I have to help my mom around the house because my mom had a baby so I have to help my mom a lot. There for I think the school day should be shorter so you have time to do chores.

The second reason why the school day should be shorter is. It would be easier on your body because your body needs some rest at the end of the day.  But your body doesn’t only need rest throughout the day. Some of the ways your body can get tired in school is always sitting down, writing which makes your hand tired, and also running out side which doesn’t only make your body tired and can also bring your gym mark down. For example if you get lazy at school you will be lazy at home and not want to do your homework but just watch T.V. and lay on the couch.

There are many Canadian kids in sports today and according to the GSS in 1992 56% of kids played sports and in 2005 the number dropped to 51%.  The decline in kids playing sports could be because when you are at a hockey tournament or at any type of tournament, you will miss a lot of school.  With missing a lot of school, several things could happen.  For example, you could fall behind in your work, your marks could become lower and your brain may become weaker.  I feel that the school days should be shorter so that tournaments, games and practices can be started earlier in the day. This way, kids can be done with their practices and games earlier and they would be able to get their homework done earlier instead of being up late into the evening.  I play a high level sport which causes me to miss a lot of work.  But if school was done earlier, I could get my homework done before I go to a practice, a game or a tournament.

The school day should be shorter because it would not interfere with life at home, it would be easier on your body and kids have time to participate in sports. If you find yourself nodding or agreeing with the statements made above, join me and take action. Speak to your school’s principal or school board and make your voice heard.


February 3

Kids should be able to choose their own bedtime

Kids should be able to choose their own bedtime

Written by: Jeremy

I am sure you have been in the middle of doing something that needed to be completed when suddenly your mom yells, “It’s time for bed!” Now you need to stop what you were doing and put it all away. But what if you could choose your own bedtime that would change everything! I believe that kids should be able to choose their own bedtime because you can finish up work or a level on a video game, it allows kids to learn better responsibility, and if adults can do it why can’t kids?

In the first place staying up later could allow kids to complete anything unfinished. If you have a ton of homework and don’t have enough time to finish it all, you could stay up later to do more work, or if you have a sport you need to participate in that finishes at your bedtime, you could spend more time with your family by staying up until 10:00!  I for one have been calling my friend on a video game but then came time for bed and I had to leave my friend there…alone…bored.

According to popular belief most kids are not very responsible, however some kids are. Kids could increase their responsibility by being allowed to choose their own bedtime so then if they stay up too late they learn their lesson because they are very tired and don’t want to be that tired again. Most kids  would learn to adjust slowly to the bedtime they desire!

IT’S NOT FAIR!!! Most parents stay up quite a bit longer after their kids go to sleep. Adults can stay up late so can’t kids too? Adults are almost never tired at night and when they are it’s because they have lots of work to do. Kids never have that much work but you may be thinking I have stayed up late with my parents but I was tired and they weren’t! The reason for that is that they are used to it! Day by day they increase their bedtime little by little until they can stay up until one whereas kids take a big leap from let’s say 8:30-12:30.

Essentially there is no big reason why kids should not stay up later it allows kids to complete anything unfinished, it builds responsibility, and if adults can do it why can’t kids?! Let them stay up later!!! The next time your child asks permission to stay up later consider my reasons and you may be surprised at the possible results.