Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11

Remembrance Day
Last week, we had lots of great discussions about the importance of this special day. We honour our fallen heroes today and everyday for sacrificing their lives.  

Cold Weather is Here!
It is not officially winter just yet, but we are starting to get some very cold mornings.  Please continue to have your child practice getting dressed and undressed at home. It is tricky with thicker, sometimes longer winter jackets and hats & mitts. Being efficient at this skill will boost your child’s confidence. PLEASE remember to label all clothing: hats, mittens, boots, jackets & snow pants. They all the look the same once they get to school. 

 Battery Challenge
Thanks for taking part in our St. Cecilia School Battery Recycling Challenge. The children are very excited to be part of helping the environment. The Challenge continues until April. If you are looking for more information on the Battery Challenge, please check out our St. Cecilia School website.

Crayola Colour-Cycle
Thank you for sending in your markers for recycling. The children are super excited to be part of the program. 

We continue to work on descriptive writing. The children continue to use our checklists to make sure all parts are included. This week the children had a choice on what they described: winter hats, their school bag, their shoes or a Beyblade. 

The children continue to learn to use many reading strategies. Some of them include the following:
o   Looking at the pictures
o   Pointing to the word
o   Chunking the unfamiliar word
o   Think “What will make sense to come next?”
o   Look for parts that we already know
o   Look at the first letter
I hope you are enjoying your reading time in the evening. Making time each week is very important for your child. There has been so much growth in all of them.

We continue to work on telling time on both digital and analog clocks. They are starting to become more confident with these skills. Thanks for practicing with them at home. We are also working on composing and decomposing numbers. We have spent a lot of time working on adding and subtracting 1 and 10 to or from different numbers.  The children are proud that they can use these strategies to solve problems. We are starting to solve word problems. This is challenging for some of the children. They are learning to decide which order of operation they need to use. We will continue to work on solving word problems throughout the school year. 

We continue to learn about the effects of water pollution on sea creatures. Ask your child some of the things we can do to keep animals safe. We continue to monitor the weather and note the changes that occur each season. They enjoy being the weather person of the day and recording the weather on our chart. 

Parent Volunteers
Please let me know if you can come in and listen to some children read. If you want to come in regularly or even just once, please let me know. The children would be thrilled. 

Book Exchange
Wednesday is our book Exchange. Please help your child remember to pack his/her book.

We continue to work on our GRIT
It is so great to hear some of the children use the language in his/her daily efforts. We will continue to develop GRIT! Remember our language choices is key! Praising the effort is so essential! Sharing examples from your own life about times that you had to show grit with kids helps them understand the importance of perseverance and determination to get a job done! If you have time, check out this video. Sometimes, even grown-ups need reminders to show grit too! Kids need to see we are learners with grit too!

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to meeting with you this week. I am excited to share some of your child's progress and discuss some of his/her next steps to make her/him the best learner that he/she can be this year! 

Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, November 4, 2018

November 4

Remembrance Day
We will be having our Remembrance Day Service on Friday, November 9 at 10:45  in the gym. Parents are welcome to join us. The students are encouraged to wear red or if your child belongs to Beavers, Sparks, etc.., please encourage him/her to wear his uniform on that day.

We will be having our Parent-Teacher Interviews on Thursday, November 15. To book an appointment, please go to the school website. I am happy to meet with each of you. Please let me know if your family prefers to meet on another day. I am available most mornings before school. I can also make an afternoon appointment work if necessary.

Progress Reports
Thanks for returning your child’s envelope and the slip from the back of his/her report card. I am so impressed that the child can let you know how they are progressing. If you have not done so yet, please send it in this week.

Last week, we had a great conversation about All Souls’ Day. The children had some good questions. This week we will talk about showing respect for the soldiers. We will learn about Peace this month.

Please continue to work on the WWW’s. The children continue to be excited to find them in books and stories. I am sure you see that at home as well. Some children are getting into a routine of exchanging their reading cards or books regularly. Please write a reminder in your child’s agenda if your child is not exchanging them.

The children are also excited to choose a book from our Learning Commons. Please send it back when you are done with it. Please continue to use the white bag to protect the books.

The children continue to learn how to write a descriptive text. They are beginning to use the checklist or success criteria to make sure they remember to include the important parts. Try one at home. Choose an object with your child and ask them to describe it using our same criteria. 

o   I have an opening sentence.
o   I put a capital at the start of each sentence.
o   I have a period at the end of each sentence.
o   It makes sense.
o   I have finger-spaces.
o   I spelled WWW’s correctly.
o   I have a closing sentence.

We will begin to look at clocks. Please make a point to use the time in your family activities. We will continue to work on Number Sense. We are breaking numbers up (decomposing them) to help make them friendly to add them up again. The students are starting to solve problems like this one:
"Find the number that has 4 tens and 7 ones. Then add 5 more tens." Grade 2 students should understand this concept with numbers to 100 before the end of the year. Some of the grade 1s are ready to join in as well. Some grade 2's are ready for the grade 3 version, decomposing numbers to 1000. I try my best to differentiate as much as possible to help each of them progress. 

Scholastic Book Orders
I sent home some book orders. If you are interested, you have the option to order online or to send it in to school. If you see something that you want to save for a Christmas gift, please write me a note in an envelope and I will let you know when it arrives.

Please continue to write me a note if you have any questions or concerns. The children are becoming so responsible for letting me know about a note in his/her agenda about appointments and for being away. Please continue to give your children his/her own responsibilities, it will help them tremendously and it will help you out as parents in the long run too! 
I look forward to another awesome week with the children.

Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28

Hope you had a great weekend! Students are excited for Halloween! We have another busy week ahead! 

St. Cecilia School News

Our WeScareHunger Campaign has been another great success! Thank you for all your support. Everyone has been super generous. The children are super excited to participate. It has helped us with our math skills. We counted and added up our total each day. We also solved problems each day to see how many more we needed to get to our goal of 120! We made groups of 10 and counted by tens. Lots of great math!

Halloween Dance
Wednesday is our Halloween Dance. This is a School Council Fundraiser. Thank you to all of you who sent in your pledge forms. The money collected directly benefits our school. There are some amazing prizes as you read on your Dance-a-thon letter that was sent home with the pledge form. You can also check them out at the office. Please send in your pledge form ASAP, if you have not done so just yet.

Photo Retake Day – Thursday, November 1
Please let me know if you would like your child to have his/her retakes taken. I have heard from 2 families so far.
Progress Reports
The progress reports will be coming home on Thursday. The progress reports are a "snapshot" of how your child is doing right now. It is still early into this school year (About 35 days). Because of this, there are no marks on the progress reports. It will indicate if your child is progressing very well, well or with difficulty. If your child is well right now, your child is in the B or C range. I am proud of all of them. 

Parent-Teacher Interview Evening
We have set up an evening to meet with you. It will take place on Thursday, November 15. A link will be set up so you can electronically book a time that works for your family. You will need to go online onto the St. Cecilia Website. The meetings are 10 minutes long. I am happy to meet with all of you. If this evening does not work for your family, please write me a note and we can find another time that works. I am flexible to meet with you before or afterschool. Please review the progress report and fill out your child’s strengths and next steps and please send it back to school.

Our Classroom Learning

In Language, the students have started to describe a couple of objects at school. They are learning to use the criteria to help include all the parts of a descriptive piece. Thanks for your cooperation with our "What's in Your Bag" activity. The children were excited to share and they loved trying to guess the objects. It has helped them think about how descriptive we need to be when we write.

When writing, many children are forgetting to include a period at the end of each sentence or a capital at the start of the sentence. If you are practicing sentence writing at home, please take a look at the checklist to see if your child is including all parts (You can ask him/her as well).

       Super Sentences:
           1. It must start with a capital.    
           2. It must make sense.
           3. It must end with punctuation (.!?)
           4. It must have spaces between words.


We continue to work on counting and adding strategies. We are also working on a skill called Subitizing. This is the ability to know what number is being shown without counting the dots. There are different ways to increase students ability to know what the numbers "looks" like. One example is to play a board game, like snakes and ladders, to help students recognize numbers on a die. Students can also practice this skill with this short video. It is about 5 minutes long. It flashes different numbers on a ten frame and your child has to say the number that he/she sees.  Check it out:
We will be starting to work with Telling Time. As I previously mentioned, in grade 1, students need to tell time to the hour and the half hour on both digital and analogue clocks. In grade 2, students will learn to tell time to the quarter time as well. To help prepare your child, make a point to refer to the clock and associate it with regular routines in your home.


This week we will celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1 and  All Souls’ Day on November 2. We will discuss some of the Saints that have helped others in the world. On Wednesday, we will pray for people who have died.

Book Exchange

Our class will be having book exchange every second Wednesday in the Learning Commons. These books are not at your child’s reading level. They will be perfect story books for you to read to your child. He/she has chosen this book on his/her own. Please remind your child to return his/her book by Monday of our Book Exchange week. If your child has not returned his/her book, please do so tomorrow. I am not sure what day we will be going to the Learning commons this week with the Halloween festivities. It may be moved to Tuesday or Thursday. I will keep you posted.

Unfortunately, it is time for mittens, hats and warmer coats. Layering is best! Please remember to label all your child’s clothing.

I look forward to another week with the children.  I am truly enjoying them all. I see growth in each of them. I hope you see it at home as well.
As always, write me a note or give me a call at the school if you have any questions, concerns or even to share a happy story about your child’s progress.


Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21

Hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy the weather on Saturday. It was beautiful. Sunday was chilly and we definitely missed the sun! It is time to get those winter hats and mittens organized again. Please try your best to write your child’s name in all of his/her belongings. It is very easy to lose items here at school.
We had another great week of learning last week. We learned a couple more math games that will help with number sense. They are games that can be played at home. The Subitizing Dice game is fun! All the children can benefit from improving his/her ability to subitize. Some are still learning to subitize numbers to 5 and some are working on numbers to 10.

Thank you to those of you who have sent in batteries and markers for recycling! These campaigns will continue for a while.
Thank you to those of you who sent in Halloween Dance forms. If you haven’t yet, please do so when you can.
Thank you to all of you who have sent in food for the Food Drive! It is amazing to see the generosity at St. Cecilia School 😊.

We continue to work on recognizing our WWWs. Please continue to practice these words for a few minutes a few times a week. It will make a huge difference. We have been working on practicing the vowels sounds as well. The children know specifically which sounds he/she is still learning. Some children know the vowel sounds. All the children will benefit from a few short games of hangman with 3 letter CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant words). For example, _ _ _ to spell the word cub. The children are all learning to sound out words “slow as a snail”. This will help them hear each sound.

We will continue on our journey with descriptive writing. I will also introduce adjectives to the children. The children will come home with a paper bag. Help him/her find something that can fit into a paper bag. He/she will describe the item to the class with adjectives. He/she will say … “It is _____. It is _____. It is _____.” They can use colour words, words that describe how it feels, words that describe it’s size… The rest of us will try to guess what it is.

We will continue to work on representing numbers. They will continue to add and subtract numbers using a ten frame and a number path. Some will be introduced to using base-ten blocks. 

We continue to learn about how inportant it is to build a sense of community in our families, our classroom and at St. Cecilia. Last week, we read the book, Don't Laugh at Me. It teaches us that we are all different yet we are all the same in God's eyes. 

We will continue to talk about safety: Community safety, School safety and Halloween Safety.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to another week of fun and learning with the children.
Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14

I hope you enjoyed the nice fall weather this weekend. The colours of the leaves are beautiful this time of year. The temperature is changing from morning to afternoon. It is best to dress your child in layers. We check the weather as a class before we go out for recess.

We Scare Hunger
Thank you for all your donations for the St. Cecilia We Scare Hunger campaign. The grade 6 students are leading this initiative. It will continue until the end of the month. It has created a lot of learning in our room. Every day we receive more cans, it turns into a new math problem. The children share new strategies to find how many more we need to reach our goal.

Halloween Dance
The Halloween dance is set for Wednesday, October 31. The children can wear their Halloween costumes to school that day. Please do not send in props (e.g. swords) with your child.  Thanks for sending in your pledge form. If you haven’t just yet, please do so when you can.  

Battery Recycle
We have started the Battery Recycling Program at St. Cecilia. Please send in your single-used batteries and we will recycle them properly. It will keep them out of our landfills.

Crayola ColourCycle
The school has also started to recycle dried out Crayola Markers. You can send them into school with your child. This is the first year that the Green Squad is taking part in this initiative. Please recycle the lid with your regular plastic recycle bin. 

Our Classroom News
I am continuing to learn more about how your child learns best. They are all very different. It is my job to figure out how I can help him/her progress the best. I am meeting with the children to let know some of his/her goals that we will focus on in his/her learning at this time.


In math, we will continue to build 
Number Sense. This is a skill that they will continue to build onto each year. Children will have more number sense when they start to make connections in numbers. We will continue to work on subitizing, using ten frames and rekenreks. These tools will help your child organize the numbers they see and make more connections with them. I will also introduce a number path to the children. I recently learned how children can benefit from using them. In the past, I have used a number line to help kids learn to add and subtract. The number paths look similar to number lines but they do not include 0. Using a number line can be difficult for some children as they will need to count the hops between the numbers which is not easy for some. This concept can be abstract for them. On number paths, the children can simply count the number tiles on the path. It is more concrete. I hope this makes sense to you and to the them :) 

Each day we continue to count by 1’s and 10’s. We are also working on adding 1 and subtracting 1 to numbers to 100.

In language, we continue to practice writing sentences using our WWWs and each others’ names. The students will begin to use a checklist for sentence writing:
o   It must make sense.
o   It has spaces between words.
o   It starts with a capital letter.
o   It ends with punctuation (.!?)

Please continue to practise the WWWs. We will practice these words and we continue to work on our vowel sounds. Many children have become fluent readers but they do not know the sounds that the vowels make. This becomes evident when they begin spelling new words.

In science, the children had a lot of fun reading the temperature with a thermometer. There was so much learning happening. It was great to hear their conversations as they worked in their teams. They are also learning to ask questions. I’m sure you are hearing them at home too. We will dive deeper into these wonderings about the seasons, the weather, air and water.

Learning Commons Visit
We will be having our first visit to the learning commons this week. It will occur every second Wednesday. Your child can take out 1 or 2 books. They will come home in a white library bag. This bag will help protect the books. Try your best to make it your child’s responsibility to pack the books back in it and bring it back to school when you are done reading the book. Our goal is to not hear “My dad did not pack it for me” or “My mom did not pack it for me”. Please try hard to remind them if your child needs it but have him/her do it for him/herself.

Please continue to write me a note or call the school if you have any questions or concerns. Looking forward to another great week with the children. 

Giovanna Smith

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 11

The links for the Leap Frog videos I sent to you on the last post did not work. Sorry about that. Hope this words :)

Letter Factory

Talking Word Factory

Unfortunately, theTalking Word Factory 2 (long vowel sounds) is no longer online for free. I have one copy I can lend you if you are interested. Please let me know if you want to borrow it.

Giovanna Smith:)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy thanksgiving!

I hope you had a lovely weekend with family and friends! Last week, we had another great week! The grade one students have been working very hard! I am so proud of all of them! 😊

St. Cecilia news

Halloween Dance
Pledge forms went home last week. We will be participating in the Halloween Dance on Wednesday, October 31. The children can come to school in their costume on that day. We will dance in the gym for about 1 hour.

Pumpkin Contest
St.Cecilia will be having our pumpkin contest at the end of the month. If you have some time and want to help us decorate our class pumpkin, please write me a note in your child's agenda. We can find a day that works best for you to come in to work with the children.

We Scare Hunger
St. Cecilia is collecting non-perishable items for the Barrhaven Food Bank. If you can, please send in some items for our collection. Thank you to those who have already sent them in to the school. We are counting these items each day. Children are learning to add by making friendly numbers (e.g. making 5's and 10's). 

Our Class News
Thank you for our classroom donations of Kleenex boxes, baby wipes and soap. Those items are for us to all share. The headphones, markers or pencil crayons are kept in your child's cubby.

We continue to work on building words using sounds we know or hear into short sentences. We are working on learning tips to help us “learn” our Word Wall Words (WWWs). Please continue to work on these words. The children are responsible for recognizing these words. We are practicing them at school. I know most of you have been practicing them at home. The children “know” these words when they do not have to sound out the letters but instead can say them by sight. If your child is not there yet, it will come.

We will begin to listen to descriptive stories. In the next few weeks, the children will be learning to write their own simple descriptive pieces.

Phonics/ Reading practice
I am not a huge advocate for children watching a lot of television but I wanted to recommend some videos that help children learn the names of the letters, the sounds of the letters, the job of the silent “e” and how to make new words. I would repeat video 1 (Letter Factory) a few times until they know what sound each letter makes, then you can move to video 2 (Talking Word Factory) and so on. These video were sold on DVD at one time but I recently learned that they are on YouTube. Here are the links:

Letter Factory

Talking Word Factory

Talking Word Factory

We will continue to work on representing numbers. The children have come up with several different ways (e.g. pictures, numbers or tallies). We will continue to dive deeper into working with numbers.  You can help at home by continuing to count 1’s, 10’s and 5’s to 100 for the grade 1s and to 200 for the grade 2s. They can also practice counting backwards. Once your child becomes proficient counting orally, you can try to have him/her count objects.

Math - Home practice
If you do not have a 100 chart, consider making one accessible for your child in grade one or in grade two. You can make one together, get one from the internet or you can purchase one at Scholar’s Choice. I also included a link to one online. There are a lot of valuable activities that can help your child. Your child can practice counting on it. Your child can also practice recognizing or locating numbers on it. You can also ask them to +1, -1, +10 or -10 to that number. We started this at school last week. It has become part of our morning routine. If your child is ready for the challenge, have them choose a number and add more to it. For example, you can ask them to add 32 to the number. They will learn to slide his/her finger down 3 times and 2 spots to the right. These activities should last 5-7 minutes. Keep it fun!

100 chart 

I also have copies of 120 charts and 200 charts. Let me know if you would like a copy of any of them.

We will take some time to learn how to ask questions. The children will slowly begin to write their own wonderings so hopefully this will carry over at home. This shows that the children are thinking. Please do not feel like you need to answer all of your child’s wonderings and questions. This natural curiosity will help them become lifelong learners and investigators. We will begin a Weather unit which will help children learn expectations from both the grade one science strand of Daily and Seasonal Changes and the grade 2 science strand of Air and Water in the Environment.

Help Wanted
If you have some time and you are interested in coming in to the school to listen to the children read, please write a note in the agenda. Primary students will benefit from another adult listening to them read. Please let me know the best time for you. If you can only come in once or twice, that will work too. The children all love having mom or dad at school. As I mentioned at the meet the teacher night, you will need to get a criminal check. Contact me if you are not sure what to do. 

9:10 – 10:15 am    on Monday, Wednesday or Friday
12:55 – 2:00pm    on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

I’m looking forward to another great week of fun and  more learning with the children. As always, please feel free to write me a note or call me at the school if you have any questions or concerns.

Giovanna Smith 😊

November 11

Remembrance Day Last week, we had lots of great discussions about the importance of this special day. We honour our fallen heroes tod...