Monday, March 18, 2019

March 18

I hope you had a restful and enjoyable March Break with your family. It was great to see the children again today. They were excited to share their highlights of the break with each other. We heard a lot about lots of ski trips, sleep overs, trips down south, trips to Toronto & Niagara Falls, trips to South and North Carolina, Hockey Tournaments, sleepovers, visits with friends and cousins, funny movies, trips to the cottage, campfires with smores and spiderdogs and trips to Funhaven. They were so cute asking each other questions. They had an opportunity to write about his/her highlights in his/her journal. 

Today, we welcome a new student to our class. We are excited that Reagan will be part of our class. The children were all interested in helping her find her way around our school.

We will continue to write in our journals on a weekly basis. Many children are trying their best to use the criteria that we have studied. Others are rushing his/her work to get it done even when they can produce work with care and with more quality. We had a chat about doing our best even though it may mean the job may take longer. It may be worth a chat about the importance of trying his/her job best with a consistent effort with your little one at home as well. We will continue to practice our WWWs. Thanks for your support with these words. I know you are practicing them.

We will be starting to explore with the Canadian coins. They need to identify the coins and state their value. In grade 1, the children will learn to make amounts to 20 cents. In grade 2, the children will learn to make amounts to one dollar. At home, you can pull out some coins and help your child identify the different coins and make different amounts.

We will review 2D and 3D Geometry. We worked hard exploring and learning about how to compare these shapes and solids before the March Break. The grade 2 students will continue to work on 2-digit addition. Please help your child review his/her facts to 15. They will help when it is necessary to carry over to the tens. One strategy that will help is to continue to work on subitizing. Playing with dice and watching short videos on subitizing can help. I will include the link to a few videos. Another strategy is to work on number doubles. If I know 5 +5 is 10, then I know that 5 + 6 is 11. If I know 6+6 is 12, then I know that 6+7 is 13.We will continue to work on these at school as well.

Scientists in the Schools- Grade 2 students
The grade 2 students will be participating in Scientists in Schools on Wednesday, March 27 for the morning. We will be joining Mrs. Phalen's class that morning. This will include a scientist presenter that will bring in fun and exciting "hands-on" activities and experiments. I may need a parent volunteer to help run a station. Please let me know if you are interested and if you able to join us. 

We will head to the Learning Commons on Wednesday for Book Exchange this week. Please help your child remember to pack his/her book.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I'm looking forward to another great week with the children.

Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, March 3, 2019

March 3

happy spring GIF

Wow! It's already March! I can't believe we have started our seventh month of our school year together. This class is such a neat group of children. I'm so proud of all of them. 

Blues in the School Program
Last week, we had so much fun listening to the various musicians that came to our school. I’m sure your child came home to tell you all about it. It was great. Each day was unique as the musicians taught us more about the history of Blues music. One session, the musicians played various Rock and Roll songs from a few different decades. Both the teachers and the students loved it. Thank you to our School Council helping to bring Blues in the School. It definitely brought lots of joy and learning to our school.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. This marks the beginning our Lenten Season. We will be having a school liturgy where we will be receiving ashes on our foreheads. This is when we prepare our hearts for Jesus. Your child will be bringing home a purple cross with a child’s name on it from our class. There is a Lenten prayer on the cross. Each child will be praying for another child whose name is on his/her cross for the 40 days leading up to Easter. We will let each other know who we prayed for after the Easter break. We will learn more about our St. Cecilia Lenten project this week.


In Math, we are continuing to learn about the relationships between different 3D solids and various regular and irregular 2D shapes. The students are learning to compare them by using the math language (e.g. faces, vertices, edges).  We continue to work on finding symmetry in shapes, letters and in everyday objects. 

Which One Doesn’t Belong (W.O.D.B.)
Our class participates in Number Talks. This is a 10-15 minute part of our math lesson when the children can share the strategies to solve a mental math problem that is presented. This strategy helps build number sense and Sometimes I would share 4 things and the children come up with his/her strategies. Here are a few samples of our Number Talks this week. Some of the children created some questions for us to try next week. Others want to try to ask you at home. It helps the children explain their thinking.

2-Digit addition
We have started to work on 2-digit addition in Grade 2. Many children (in both grades) have told me that they work on these types of questions at home which is great. I slowly go through this process with the children. Many know what to do when and carrying over but they do not understand what or why they are doing it. It is my goal to help them understand why we are carrying over the tens. This is very important. It will make their comprehension much better when adding larger numbers and when we begin to borrow a ten when subtracting. We are using base ten blocks and special mats to help with their comprehension. 

Problem of the Week (P.O.W.)
The Grade 2 students are super keen to work on math problems. I am going to start a new POW book. I will send a problem of the Week home with the children each week in a duotang. This is totally optional.We will complete the first one together. I want them to practice explaining their thinking on paper. 

We continue to write recounts. They continue to use feedback to make their work better. 

Lost and Found
A friendly reminder... please write your child's name on all of his/her belongings. We have gathered a few items in our classroom that according to the students do not belong to any of them ;) I hope all items find their rightful owners! 

In science, we begin to learn more about structures. This class has been so creative in planning, designing and building many structures at the Creation Station! It has been amazing! The grade 2 students will begin to learn about Movement. This week we will be building a Leprechaun trap! The other grade 2 classes will not participate in this event but I know my grade 2s will want to join in on the fun. We have lots of grade 2's that are building experts in our class!  Here is the note that will be sent home this week.

Leprechaun Traps

This week we will begin to talk about  St. Patrick's Day in our grade 1 class. St. Patrick's Day falls during the March Break. To create some excitement around this day, we are going to make “leprechaun traps” at school this Thursday or Friday, to set and leave out over the March Break! We hope that we will be successful in catching one of those little green leprechauns! We have heard that leprechauns do indeed visit primary classrooms!
We are asking the students to bring in some recycled materials from home (please don't buy anything!) that they can use to make a leprechaun trap with their peers. (They won’t get these items back) Please send the materials to school this week by Thursday at the latest as we may begin building our traps that day!

What we know...

Here are some things we know about leprechauns that may help us when building our traps:

  • Leprechauns are small (they may fit inside a small box, a shoe box or even a margarine container!)
  • Leprechauns are attracted to shiny, sparkly and gold things!
  • Leprechauns are sneaky! Our traps will have to be tricky!
  • If you tell a leprechaun not to do something, he's probably going to do it!
  • Leprechauns like the colour green
  • Leprechauns like rainbows
  • Leprechauns have great imaginations!
  • Students will be working in groups to design and build a structure.  Please do not send in any materials from home that you would like returned to you.       

Thanks for your support!

K. Fulton, H. Hughes, G. Pope & G. Smith

Please continue to write me a note or call me if you have any questions or concerns. 
Looking forward to another week of fun, learning and wonder!

Giovanna Smith 😊

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 25

It is amazing how fast February went! We have had a lot of learning and collaborating this month! The children are so excited to learn new things. I love it! We continue to work on having grit when things are hard at first.

We have a very successful Winter Carnival Week! Thanks for all your support with the spirit days. I know those mornings are sometimes tough. Many of you put in a huge effort and it is great! The children become more excited about school because of weeks and days like them. The children had so much fun working on the STEM challenge with the Grade 6 class. The children were to build a structure with limited supplies to hold up a plastic block. They had 20 pieces of dry spaghetti, tape, 10 marshmallows and a piece of string. It was neat to see them collaborating with the older children. I thought they would be more shy but they really weren’t. It was great!


We also were blessed with our Winter Carnival Play Day weather. Wow! It could not have been nicer out there! They had fun on that day as well. Some children even said “I made a new friend on my team”. Adorable! Here is a picture of our Curling Station. We turned plastic jugs into the rocks by freezing water in them! 

Blues in the School Program

St. Cecilia is participating in Blues in the Schools program. We will be listening to live performers this week as a school community. Then we will be having a core Group Session where they will focus on learning some of the history of music and music playing techniques. There is a chance that a group from our school can perform at the RBC Bluesfest in July. It is St. Cecilia’s first time participating in the program. I’m sure it will bring lots of learning! I am excited to see how it all enfolds.

Our Classroom Learning 
In language, we continue to learn how to make our recount writing even better using our checklists.

In math, we continue to learn about 2D figures. The children are learning to compare them using math language: curved, straight, sides and vertices (corners). We will continue to learn more about their attributes. We will learn about symmetry this week. Grade 2 students need to describe and represent the relative locations of objects, and represent objects on a map. They had so much fun creating their own maps. I read a beautiful book called My Map Book that gave us amazing ideas for maps. You can see some of them below! Both the Grade 1 and 2 students need to learn to describe the relative locations of objects using positional language. Some of the vocabulary includes words that we use daily: over, under, above, below, in front of, behind, inside­­­­, outside, beside, between, along. This vocabulary also is practiced when we are coding. We have used the BeeBots, the Ozobots, and the Dot and Dash robots to help with these expectations.

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

Giovanna Smith :)

Monday, February 18, 2019

St. Cecilia Winter Carnival Week- Feb18

Happy Family Day!

Hope you had a chance to have some fun with your loved ones this weekend! Mother Nature cooperated with us for sure. We have a lot of fun things planned this week during our Winter Carnival Week at St. Cecilia!

Monday February 19th
·         Family Day

Tuesday February 20th
·      PJ Day and Mindfulness Day
·         We will participate in some Christian Meditation as a school community.

Wednesday February 21st
·         Crazy Hair & Hat Day & Class Partnership activities
·         We will buddy up with another class for some activities.

Thursday February 22nd
 Career Day  (Dress up as what you aspire to be in the future
·         Board Game Block (students can bring in his/her favourite board game to play for a block)

Friday February 23rd
·         Outdoor Play Day (Dress appropriately for the weather)
·         Wear St. Cecilia colours (red and white)

Report Cards
Your child brought home his/her report card on Thursday last week. There has been so much growth for all the students in our class. There is has been even more growth since I wrote the report card for some. I hope you are proud of your child’s progress. I certainly am proud too. Please sign the bottom portion and send it back to the school with the envelope. If you want to meet with me, please write a note in your child’s agenda. I am happy to meet with you.

Our Classroom Learning
We continue to learn how to write Recount Writing. We will focus on learning how to write using more complete, complex sentences that make sense. In math, we will continue to learn about Problem Solving and Geometry. 

Book Exchange
We continue to go to the Learning Commons on a weekly basis. Please help your child pack his/her library book.

As always, please write me a note or call me at the school if you have any questions or concerns. Looking forward to more fun and learning with the children again this week.

Giovanna Smith

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wear Red/Pink/White on Valentine's Day

Hi there!

Hope you enjoyed the snow day. Hope you were able to stay home and enjoy the day. It was a nice day out there - if you are not driving :) 

Let's wear Red, Pink or White tomorrow for Valentine's Day! 

Report Cards will come home tomorrow (Thursday). 

Friday, February 15 is a PD Day. There is no school for the children. Enjoy your long weekend. 

Giovanna Smith :) 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

February 10

We had so much fun on Friday on our 100th day of school. Thank you for your support with that. The children looked amazing. They were so excited. They helped plan the day. They came up with making 100 cards for others. I turned it into a math problem. How many will each of us have to make to get to 100? They were excited to create their cards and deliver them around school. They chose who they wrote them to and learn some new decorating techniques. Scarlett taught the class how to draw 3D letters. The children did different stations for part of the morning. Then we went to the gym for 100th day exercise. We fit 100 people in Mrs. Green’s office (always a favourite!). We also share our 100 item collections with each other too!

Skating at Minto
We are heading back to Minto for our next skating day! The kids are excited! Thank you to those that can join us. If you can come, please try to meet us there at12:45.

Cake Walk 
We are having our 6th Annual Cake Walk this Thursday. Tickets are 4 for 1$, 10 for 2$ or 40 for 5$. Thank you to those families who have already purchased tickets. You can send in cash or purchase your tickets on School Cash Online through the school website. It is a new option this year. If you do purchase your tickets online, please write me a note in your child's agenda and he/she can get started writing his/her name on the tickets. I am sure I will be getting the official list later this week. It will help avoid us scrambling writing names on the tickets. If you are dropping off cakes or any other donation for the cake walk, please see the school web site for the appropriate times. 

Valentine's Day 
We will be making the Love Monsters this week. We will be “feeding” them some Valentines on Thursday. If your child is distributing valentines, please make sure everyone is included. I will send home a list of the children’s names.

Our Learning
We continue to work on Recount Writing and Word Wall Words. In math, we will continue to work in Geometry. We will be learning how to compare 2D shapes and more about symmetry. We will continue to solve word problems. Here are a few samples for you to practice with your child if you like. You can find more online. They are optional. Encourage them to use pictures, numbers and words.  

o   Mrs. Smith bought 87 happy faces stickers. She bought 54 car stickers. How many stickers did she buy?
o   Mrs. Green made 13 announcements this week. Mr. Rusch made 6. How many more did Mrs. Green make?
o   Everyone in the class made 3 snowmen.  How many snowmen do we have now?

We will continue to learn about music. They were excited to learn some new Italian words last week. Some Italian words that are connected to the Tempo in music.

Report Cards 
The child will be brining home his/her report card this Wednesday. This report will provide an evaluation of your child's achievement of the grade 1 or 2 curriculum expectations from September to January. This report card will be different from the Progress Report and will have letter marks for each subject. Please try to focus on the Learning Skills and Work Habits.

Book Exchange
We will be exchanging our books on Thursday this week. 

Next week is Carnival Week at St. Cecilia. A note will come home with more details. 

Dates to remember 
Thursday, February 14 - Cake walk & Book exchange 
Friday, February 15 - PD Day - No School for kids
Monday, February 18- Family Day - No School 
Tuesday, February 19 - Mindful Day at St. Cecilia - PJ Day
Wednesday, February 20 - Crazy hair/hat day 
Thursday, February 21 - Career day & Board game day
Friday, February 22 - St. Cecilia colours and Winter Play day

As always, please write me a note if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to another great week of learning and fun with the children. 

Giovanna Smith :) 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

February 3

We had another great week in Grade 1/2! Thank you to all of you who were able to join us at Minto. I was super impressed with all of them: the skaters and even those who are just learning! They all worked so hard! It was a lot of fun. We are counting the days to our next trip back to Minto on Monday, February 11.

Author's visit
We had a Canadian Author last week in to share his stories with us. The children were super engaged, and they loved his stories. His name was Phillip Roy. He brought some of the drawings that his illustrator did for his story. He showed the children how colour can create a different mood in a picture. It was a neat presentation.

I sent home some notebooks last week. The grade 2 math notebooks will come home this week. I hope you had a chance to look through your child’s work. I told the children to show off his/her work to you.  Let me know if you did not see your child’s math or writing book yet. I will send home the grade 2 math books on Monday and any grade 1 books if you missed it. Please always send it back to school each school day. We use these books regularly. Some students had to complete work on a seperate piece of paper. Paper is not as easy to keep track of for the children. If you want it another night, just write a note. Thanks for your cooperation. 

Cake Walk
Thank you to all of you who have already bought tickets. The children are getting excited for the Cake Walk. Once the children write his/her name on the tickets, I will keep them at school and hand them back to your child. 

100th Day of School
It’s hard to believe we are approaching the 100 day of this school year! We have been counting daily. We will reach the 100 day on Feb 11. That happens to land on a skating day so we are celebrating on Friday, February 8. We have already started to plan for that day. The children are super excited. One suggestion is to dress up like we are 100 years old (we did this last year and it was a hit). You do not need to have your children dress up if you are not interested or if your child is not interested. We will have a lot of fun on Friday in our 100 day activities. We will count, move for 100 seconds, build with 100 objects…We will participate in lots of neat ideas that the children suggested! If your child would like to share 100 objects with us, they can bring it in on Friday. 

Book Exchange
We will exchange our books on Wednesday. Please help your child return his/her book(s) to school on Monday or Tuesday so that he/she can borrow 2 new books.

Valentine’s day is coming soon.  I will be sending home a list of the children’s names from our class to help with writing Valentines. If you decide to send out valentines, please consider giving one to each child. We don’t want to leave anyone out. Thanks for your support.

Here is a copy of the students’ names:
1.     Austin
2.    Lexie
3.    Chase
4.    Neve
5.    Derrick
6.    Wynston
7.    Scarlett
8.    Sawyer
9.    Eva
10.  Jade
11.   Addisyn
12.  Ayush
13.  Amber
14.  Anthony
15.  Keith
16.  Kathleen
17.  Caleb
18.  Olivia
19.  Jordan
20. Leia    

B's are Beautiful! 
Children have been working very hard and I am so proud of all of their learning. They have all made progress since the beginning of the school year. As I mentioned on our Program night back in September, B's are beautiful! This means that your child is at the provincial standard. He/She is meeting expectations. Most children are in this range. For a child to receive marks in the A range, he/she would be exceeded expectation consistently at his/her grade level. Report cards will be coming home in the next couple of weeks. As parents we want our children to be as successful as they can. We all need to work on commenting on the effort to help continue to build his/her growth mindset. It is a work in progress for all of us. I am still learning as well. I believe it helps children learn.

Our Classroom Learning
In Math, we continue to learn more about number sense. I gave the children some word problems to make them think. For some, they were unsure where to start and what order of operation to use. Some of the problems have been 2 step problems. That set off a few for sure. Here is a sample of one of the questions we tried. We did about 4 questions like this changing objects and the numbers. We came up with 2 different strategies to solve them. Ask your children to try this with you and see how it goes.

In language, we continue to learn about recount writing. We continue to learn about media. We are learning how the media can try to persuade us to do things (e.g. go to a place, buy something or watch something). We are looking at magazine advertisements to see if we can figure out who the audience and what the product could be. The children are learning to think about it and prove their thinking as well. It is very cool to see what they are coming up with to support their answers. We are also watching some advertisements on the Smartboard and the children are trying to figure them out as well. Some of the advertisements are not as easy to figure out. They are excited to watch and sometimes only laugh the second time that they see it after we discuss it. Great conversations!

Author's message- 
We are also learning how to listen to stories or read stories for the author’s message. Some stories have a strong message and others we really need to think of it. There could be more than one message. The children are learning to prove how they know it’s the message by using examples from the text.

Determining Importance - Comprehension Strategy
We are also learning about how to differientiate between Fiction and Non-fiction books. We made a list of how they could be different. This could be something that you can discuss with some of your books you read together at home. 

Home Reading
I have been sending home individual reading books from our classroom library with the children. I am trying to send books at his/her reading level. If you haven’t returned your child’s books in a while, then I have not sent home the GO MAP with some sample comprehension questions. Some children just received this sheet this week. All the children are at different levels and are learning at a different pace. Please do not ask these questions every time you read together or he/she will not enjoy reading. The goal is to develop a love of reading. I am proud of all of their progress so far this year! Please keep the books until you get a chance to read them. It is ok if you hang on to them so they can practice the books more than once.

In science, we continue to learn from Mystery Doug. These children are also learning to ask great science questions.

In music, we are learning more about tempo, beat, duration and pitch.

Sorry for the long post :) 

As always, please write me a note or call me at the school if you have any questions or concerns. I am looking forward to another great week of learning.

Giovanna Smith 😊

March 18

I hope you had a restful and enjoyable March Break with your family. It was great to see the children again today. They were excited...