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Feb 17
This was a very busy week short week, with Valentine’s Day and Clay for Kids. The children had lots of fun handing out their Valentine’s cards and seeing all the cards they received from all their friends. 
Please note that moving forward after this week our blog will be sent out through Messenger each week at the end of the week. This means that you will be receiving it as an email instead of having to login to D2L or go to the schools webpage to see it. 
In Math this week we continued our study of subtraction. We introduced to the children how to line up their columns when they are adding and subtracted in a vertical equation.  This will prepare them for grade 2 math when they will be adding and subtracting multi digit numbers.
We also looked at and experimented with different kinds of shapes. The children got to make their own 3D shapes using toothpicks and mini marshmellows. 
In Language Arts we spend some time talking and journaling about ways we can all be a good friend to each other.
In social studies the children compared and contrasted the difference between Calgary and Alberta.  We looked at some pictures together as a large group of Calgary landmarks and then talked about what other cities may have for landmarks. The children where all very exciting to share stories of different places they had been in Calgary and in other cities.
In Art we made our Valentine’s Bags for our cards and a Valentine’s craft for them to take home as well. 
We had clay for kids and they got to make a maple leaf to celebrate Canada 150. They got to put a few different things on their maple leaf that they feel symbolizes Canada. It was wonderful to see such a wide variety and creativity in their symbols. 
We hope you all a very safe and happy family day!
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Feb 10

What a crazy week!   We are thankful to have the water back on, as we are happy to finish the real life social studies lesson on “needs in our community”!   We also had the opportunity to brainstorm rich describing words as the students were interested in writing about their porto-potty experiences in the agenda message on Thursday! Sorry about all the food covered faces coming home on Thursday…we didn’t want to use up our drinking water and obviously Lysol wipes are no good for the face!!!!

In math this week we continued to discuss, practice, and review subtraction.   Think about word problems you can invent about things around your home, and as your child what words in the problem might give a clue about whether the question is addition or subtraction. (e.g. total, altogether, sum, etc are addition, while minus, difference, or “how many more” are magic words for subtraction). 

Math and science came together this week as we spent some time reviewing the names of our 3D shapes, and then built them. We used mini marshmallows and toothpicks to make cubes, triangular prisms, rectangular prisms, and pyramids. These materials helped us remember some more complex vocabulary about shapes; the marshmallows were the vertices (corners/points) and the toothpicks were the edges (straight lines connecting the vertices). This project also helped us find out how many vertices and edges 3D shapes have. If you have any of these things at home, see what you can create, or ask your child to teach you about vertices and edges!

Below is a website to explore more enrichment ideas on shapes. Check out information on Euler’s (pronounced “Oiler’s” as this is German) formula – What a cool way to connect shapes and addition/subtraction!


LA/SS - We are now done all the “student of the week” presentations and everyone has had a turn with the bear backpack.   As students continue through our job rotation, when their name ends up on “Student of the Week” they may bring a show and tell item if they wish, and they will still be in charge of picking the movement break for the class. Bear backpack will be replaced with a different job, as there are not enough weeks left in the year to complete a second rotation.

We are learning about what communities need to function, and how we can belong to different communities – school, neighborhood, city, province, and country are just a few examples.

Art – We engaged in some guided drawing this week too, by creating some step-by-step animals. We are encouraging students to use “grade one drawings” to support other curricular areas. Grade one drawings include some finer details, and include shapes beyond sticks and circles. Our drawings of people should have hands, feet, and faces, and students were given some practice making shapes that can make our drawings look much more unique than stick people. We also talked about creating illustrations big enough to include details that can be seen easily that will not disappear after colouring. When we made sketches of horses and bears this week, students observed that we could use some of these same techniques to make animals that have similar body types.


Reminder that next week is a short one due to teacher’s convention on Thursday and Friday. Tuesday is the 14th and we will be handing out Valentines.   Also, clay for kids is coming on the 15th from 10:30 to 11:50. Please let Andrea or Chistine know if you are able to volunteer!


Have a great weekend and enjoy the warmer weather!



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Feb 2

We had some special events this week! Thanks to our parent council’s hard work, the students got to enjoy 3 days of drama filled fun with our artist in residence, Gemma. We did some awesome work with special masks, drums, and our bodies. We also got to hear some wonderful musicians in the gym from Western Canada and the U of C playing piano, violin, cello, and drum! If you are looking for something to do this weekend, the same group will be putting on a children’s show called “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses” at the U of C – Sunday Feb 5 at 1:00 or 3:30 pm. Your child brought home information on a card tucked into their agendas on Tuesday.


We started subtraction this week! Some key vocabulary and understandings we have discussed are listed below, and a great “extend activity” at home would be to discuss these points with your child by asking questions or telling subtraction stories. See how deep their understanding goes by asking “why”, “how do you know”, or “why not” questions. Also, feel free to check out the new Mathletics assignments in everyone’s account J


- Subtraction is a shrinking story, so the answer is never bigger than the question

- Subtraction is the opposite of addition

- Subtraction stories (just like adding) have a beginning (big number you start with), a middle (a number that you take away), and an ending (what is left after you took away the second number)

- Minus, take away, less, left, remainder and difference are all subtraction words

- In grade one, we only use whole numbers, which means we don’t take larger numbers away from smaller ones. We know that numbers exist below zero on thermometers and a few other places, but we will learn more about that in the future after we feel more confident with whole number operations

- Just like addition, we know that an “equals” sign means that whatever value is on one side has to be the same as the other side

- In all math operations, we can PROVE our answer (instead of just writing down a number and not being able to explain why!)

Have a great weekend!

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Jan 27

Yesterday the class made bubble tea! Students worked in teams and were required to:


- collaborate together to decide who would add what ingredient, record information

- read instructions and follow through with directions

- use a measuring cup


Students came up with great solutions for sharing jobs or resolving disagreements about their roles (e.g. rock, paper, scissors), and everyone had a role in their groups’ achievement. Everyone has brought home a copy of our recipe (although a few students forgot theirs at the tables, they will be reminded to take them home Monday). If you want to reduce sugar in the recipe look for unsweetened coconut milk and coco water instead of juice. We used regular tapioca pearls as the large boba-tapioca that are normally in bubble tea are too big for regular straws.


Extend learning at home by modifying the recipe for bubble tea, or trying something new. Children are never too young to learn about how to make healthy snacks J


This week students also engaged in some self evaluations/thinking about our own learning by identifying things in grade one they felt they were good at, and were encouraged to explain their thinking by talking about why they were good at that task or skill set.


Mrs. Bell is attending a Science Technology Engineering Mathmatics conference at the university today, and will be looking to bring some cool tech/math/science ideas back to the classroom.


- Report cards come home next week

- Don’t forget to check the lost and found – we are reminding students not to leave their belongings on top of the cubbies (this blocks artwork and looks messy) or on the floor. A large portion of items that “didn’t belong to anybody” have been moved to the lost and found area.


Have a great weekend!

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Jan 20

Apologies for the late blog!  It's been a VERY busy couple of weeks and we only just realized it had not been posted as usual!

Here's what you missed!

Last week we were finishing up our unit on addition.  We are so impressed with how the class has caught on to this concept so well, and we are excited to start subtraction!  

A HUGE thanks to all the parents who volunteered for skating last week.  It could not have been a more perfect day with the weather, and every student had a great time!  Also an extra thanks to Ms. Sikal (grade 2) who completed the field trip proposal and prepared all the paper work - this is no small job for this particular trip as the risk management requirements are "thorough" to say the least :)  The trip was definitely worth the wait!  

Over the past 2 weeks we have also been learning about Chinese New Year and doing some China/new year themed centers for Social Studies.  On Thursday we will be making some bubble tea (a healthier version using fruit and coconut milk), and if time permits we will watch the movie "Mulan" to connect social studies themes to story telling and traditional stories.  We will soon be focusing on fairy tales from around the world as we start our creative writing unit language arts.

Today we started our Young Actors Project - the students are loving using their words, bodies, and expressions to create meaning.  We may have a few drama club students in the making!

Make sure you check out the school calendar on our website for upcoming dates, report cards, and non instructional days. 

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Team Grade One

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Jan 13

Hooray! We went outside today!! The students were playing so nicely in the snow that we gave them a little extra time instead of writing an agenda message today. We were very impressed that there was very little adult intervention needed around throwing snow or arguing over forts!   Way to go grade ones J


Thanks to Ms. Sikal (Gr 2) for planning (and re-planning) skating for next Thursday! We are really looking forward to that. Thanks to everyone who has volunteered so far. Everyone is welcome and we can’t have too many hands helping to tie skates!


In addition to our regular activities (Student of the week, journaling, phonemic awareness games etc), this week’s theme in Language Arts has been following up on our winter unit (science) and learning about Chinese New Year (social studies). Students have watched videos about celebrations in various places in the world. They particularly enjoyed watching fireworks in New York and Singapore! We are also reading about Chinese New Year, making arts and crafts, and writing about what we are learning.   Elements of Chinese New Year we have observed and discussed:

- We noticed lots of red and gold colours, and learned that these are lucky colours in Chinese culture

- We learned the tradition story about Nyen the dragon, which is why people traditionally light firecrackers/fireworks, make other loud noises, and perform lion dances (to scare Nyen away)

- We noticed many elements of Chinese New Year that are similar to Western holidays (e.g. families get together for special meals, wish each other wellness/prosperity, and give gifts)

- We observed that there are special animals significant to Chinese New Year, and that these change with each year

- We observed that in China, it is Spring. We already learned in our seasonal changes unit in science that the earth is tilted, so places on the other side of the planet have different seasons. We saw dragon boat races, blossoms, and outdoor festivals that we would not see in Canada because our January is WAY too chilly!


We would love to finish up our study of Chinese New Year with a “Making bubble tea” centre on January 26th. If you would like to volunteer for this (2:15) or donate supplies please let Mrs. Bell know!


In math, we have completed our addition unit! We focused on friendly pairs (addends that make 10), doubles (e.g. 2+2, 3+3, etc), and near doubles (2+3, 3+4, etc) as strategies we can use to get faster at addition. We will be able to use many of these strategies in different ways as we move into our subtraction unit in the next few weeks!


Ask your child about these topics at home, and encourage them to explain things like math strategies, things they know about Chinese New Year, and what animals do in the winter!


Enjoy the outdoors this weekend and we will see you Monday!

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Jan 6

Welcome back and happy 2017!

We hope that everyone had a joyful and relaxing winter break!

The children were all very excited to share all the things they did over the break with all their friends.


We will be resuming our classroom jobs next week. Student of the week will be Riley and Knox. Bear backpacks are Falyn and Harlow.

If you are not sure when your child’s turn is for these activities please feel free to speak to us and we can give you another copy of the schedule.


This week was mostly just getting back into the routine of our daily schedule and catching up o things that we did not get a chance to finish up before the break.   We have quite a few kids still on vacation and will introduce new concepts once most of the class returns.


In Language Arts the children started journaling about all the wonderful things they did over the winter break.   Students are being encouraged to edit their own work for periods and capitals. We often remind students that periods are for separating our IDEAS and don’t appear at the end of each line J


- Now that most grade ones are independent writers, they are being encouraged to break larger words up into syllables when sounding out. We put our hand under our chin, and every time our jaw moves down, that is a syllable! We know that every syllable has a vowel in it somewhere, even if we can’t always hear it.


- If your child is not yet an independent writer, you can practice segmenting small words with them at home, asking them to “stretch” out the word by saying it slowly. Prompt them to see if they can identify a beginning, middle, and end sound.

We also continued our studies on short vowel sounds and word families with interactive smart board activities.


In Math we reviewed our addition strategies, friendly pairs and ways to make numbers.   Students were reminded that when we do vertical addition equations, we put the solution underneath instead of beside. We are awesome at addition and will be moving on to word problems and subtraction next week!

-If you notice your child reversing digits or printing numerals backwards, ask them to edit them and ask why it might be confusing to leave them switched around. While this is not unusual in grade one, a good goal for end of year is to be able to find mistakes and edit our own work for reversals J


In social studies the children started a new mini booklet called “our school” and were introduced to the celebration of Chinese New Years. We watched some cool videos and made some observations about what we saw.  We will write about the next student of the week on Monday!


In science we continued our daily discussions about weather and temperature, connected our knowledge about the season of winter to language arts in our writing, and worked with Mr. Pav in our groups. Our living wall is looking great and survived the break!

Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

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Dec 16


This week we had various winter and holiday themed activities to practice reading, writing, and math while we explore celebrations in different cultures. Students asked some great questions about cultural traditions, such as “am I still allowed to play the dreidel game if I don’t celebrate Hanukkah at home?” It was a great opportunity to remind the students how lucky we are to live in Canada, because everyone is allowed to celebrate their own traditions. Having lots of differences is what makes us interesting and unique, and everyone is welcome to learn about and share each others’ traditions. It makes people feel included and valued when we invite them to share fun traditions with us, even if they do things differently at home. We also learned that even though lots of us celebrate Christmas, how we do so in each of our families can be very different!


For Social Studies/Language Arts (when we come back from break), we will be writing about what we did for the holidays. You can help your child prepare for this activity by reminding them about things you did as a family.


Math – we continued practicing addition strategies, and introduced “Friendly Pairs”. Friendly pairs are 2 numbers that add up to make 10 :) Here are some games to help remember friendly pairs for addition you can try at home.


Use the friendly pairs rainbow that went home in agendas to help you if neededJ


  1. Online “alien” pairing game


  1. Play fish, but instead of pairing same numbers (like 4 and 4 or 6 and 6), collect "friendly pairs"!   You will need to pretend the face cards are zero and the ace is one.  Memorizing these combinations is how good math students become quicker math students and develops good number sense.  Knowing these can also help kids solve other addition problems, or subtraction problems in the same number family.  


For both the online game and cards, you can add an extra challenge by changing the game to pairs that make 15 if you like.


If you don’t have time for all of these activities or just need to “decompress” and give your child a break, don’t worry - the most important thing you can do is read with them as much as you can.


Have fun and see you on Tuesday, Jan. 3rd!

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Dec 9

Hi everyone!

These long days of indoor recess made for an interesting week! Hopefully the weather will break from this and we will be able to get outside for fresh air and fun in the snow! As we are in this cold snap I will just take a moment to remind everyone to ensure you are sending your child to school with proper winter clothing. We would hate to have to keep children in if they are not dressed properly when we finally can get back outside again. 
This week we read the story "the Mitten" by Jan Brett.  We are beginning a unit on "animals in winter" as we work on curricular expectations for language arts and science. We discussed with the children how the author used intricate boarders in her stories to make her work "pop".  We had the children create their own story called the mitten, and they were able to really let their creativity take off. We also had them stitch together their own mitten to put their stories in.  We told them that this project is something that we would like to see their best work, as it is something we will be looking at for effort on illustrations, and how they respond to literature by creating something new out of something old.  All the children really enjoyed this activity and we definitely have seen some very creative ideas shine through! We are looking forward to you all being able to read the wonderful variations they came up with!
We also started discussing what animals do in winter. The class discussed what they know about migrating and hibernating animals, and we introduced the animals that adapt in winter. Once they understood the idea they were all able as a large group to come up with a long list of animals that hibernate, migrate and adapt.
In Math this week we started talking about shapes. We read the story "The Greedy Triangle".  This is a story about a triangle who kept wanting to be a different shape, but then realized it was happiest being itself. After the story we all made a shape booklet and the children had to identify how many sides and angles/points each shape had. They all did excellent at this activity and had lots of fun!
We are continuing to review our counting by 2's and 5's. 
We have some new art work that is getting put on on display thanks to Kirby. Please take a moment to come down and look at it and check out our living wall that now had plants growing in it!
Today we had a winter concert practice with all the elementary classes in Mrs. Richards foods room. The grade ones did an excellent job listening to instructions and sang their song in their best voices. We cannot wait to preform it for you next week!
Please stay warm and have a great weekend!
Mrs. Bell & Ms. McKinnon
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Dec 1

Wow, December is here! 

Thanks for the 2L bottles, we have almost enough so keep them coming! Our living wall will be finished over the next week or so. We have 10 photos on our “families” wall in the classroom, so if one of them is not yours, please send one (or an email copy) to Ms. Mckinnon as soon as possible.

 Today we had (another) impromptu fire drill that left us all very chilly. Maintenance thinks they have identified what the problem with the alarm is, and hopefully we won’t have any more alarms going off for no reason with the even colder weather coming!

Due to the delay we didn’t have time to do agendas today, but we sent them home anyway in case you would like to do some Mathletics or Raz Kids over the weekend and need your login cards.

This week we started our study of Jann Brett’s “The Mitten” and will continue next week with some artwork and making our own adaptation of the story.   We did some sight word practice work, and did some writing that connected math to literacy by completing our addition stories.

In math, we are continuing to practice completing addition equations and focused on using both labeled and blank number lines as a strategy. The most common error kids make with number lines is forgetting to move their finger before counting the second number (so for 8 plus 3, they should put their finger on the eight and then JUMP 3 spots forward; 9, 10, 11. Often kids don’t move their finger, so they end up counting the 8 again and will tell you the answer is 10).   Some other strategies/tools students can use to solve addition problems:

  • manipulatives (could be blocks, pennies, candy, glass beads from dollar store)
  • using tallies or small pictures to count up totals
  • using a ruler for a number line
  • fingers for “counting on”
  • touching fingers to your table or your chin to count when numbers start getting bigger
  • using an empty number line or “counting on” using jumps after the first number
  • rearranging questions for easier counting (so for 3+8, it is easier to start at the 8 and count 3 more instead of doing it in the order of the question)
  • visualization

Strategies we will focus on/learn about next:

  • ten frames (thinking about “friendly pairs” that make 10)
  • doubles (remembering doubles and visualizing what this looks like, such as 2+2 is like the 4 tires on a car, or 3+3 is like legs on an insect, etc). Once you know your doubles, you can easily solve “doubles plus one” questions!

 At home, you could extend learning by:

-Practicing a few equations at home, and asking your child to explain to you how they know the answer. If they need a prompt to do so, ask “can you tell me a story that shows what 4+7=11 means?” or “what is the beginning, middle, and end of your equation? Can you tell me a story with your words or pictures that shows me that same story?”.

-Find some other stories by Jann Brett at the library or online and compare/contrast them with The Mitten. What is different or similar about the stories or the illustrations?

 Thanks to parents for attending interviews this week, we are so proud of all the students so far this year and are happy to show off their achievements! Have a wonderful and warm weekend! Remember that we will exchange library books on Monday in lieu of our missed exchange today (book fair).

See you on Monday!


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Nov 25

We spent this week reviewing our addition and skip counting strategies.   The students’ counting is getting more consistent every day!


We are also working on some mini booklets on our families, our homes, our school and our community in social studies. After completing the booklets, students will be reading aloud to each other before bringing the books home. You will find them in your home reading bags when your child is finished so that you may read them together.


Please send in a family picture to add to the “Our Families” web, if you have not done so yet. The children love being able to see pictures of their families and they have started some very interesting conversations over them. 


Mr. Pav’s science groups have been one of the highlights for the grade ones this year so far. Many of the students cheer as if they won the lottery when their group gets called to go next! J Right now, the students are working on a living wall that will be in the classroom – thanks for those 2L bottles! We will be using the wall to make observations and predictions on multiple topics such as seasonal changes, needs of living things, and building things. Extend at home for science – observe/discuss what animals in your neighborhood are doing to prepare for winter. Which animals are no longer around? What do you see squirrels doing right now? Have you noticed any other changes (e.g. fur colour of hares).


We are looking forward to meeting with parents next week at conferences. For home this upcoming week, continue trying out mathletics and Razkids at home (remember raz kids teacher name is abell67, and your child’s user name and password are same as the mathletics ones glued to the front page of your agenda). Check out last week’s blog for some math strategies/suggestions!

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Nov 18



This week we have been practicing addition, and other foundational skills that help students understand addition (numerals, 10 frames, counting by 2 and 5, counting backwards, making numbers different ways, using vocab “more, less, in total”, etc). If you are doing practice equations at home, your child will be much more likely to transfer success to harder/more complex addition if they have strong number sense and are able to explain why they know an answer rather than simple memorization. Ask your child to tell a story that illustrates all the parts of an addition question.   Next week we will be writing addition stories that correlate to equations in order to strengthen this skill and connect math to language arts.  Addition will be practiced, discussed, used in tandem with other skills, and connected to other curricular areas as the year progresses.  Right now we are focusing on equations up to a sum of 10, but are giving strong math students a chance to try some more difficult ones.  

Tip for struggling math students - practice basic numeracy skills counting forwards (to 100), backwards (from 20), and skip counting by 2/5.  Use the following vocabulary whenever you can:  before, after, next, more, less, total, sum, altogether, in all, greater than, less than, plus, equals.  Practice using different strategies to count and add  - number lines, fingers, pictures, and manipulatives.  Practice saying aloud the numerals in the "teens" and "twenties" and printing those numerals.  Children who find math more difficult often take longer to develop number sense (understanding number value).  You can tell if a child has good number sense by asking them to find a number on a hundred chart.  Do they understand around where the number should be, or are they scanning all over the place?  Do they understand the pattern of number or do they make random answers when you ask them what numbers come next?  Do they understand place value enough to tell you why 19 is less than 31?  Students who struggle may only see the 9 and assume this is biggest, because they do not understand the value of the digit places or cannot visualize number.

Tip for challenge math students - Please resist the urge to give your children a "head start" memorizing multiplication tables; in my experience they often confuse them with addition when doing mental math, and most five/six year olds are not ready to understand the meaning of "times" or the application of this skill (which makes it useless).  Instead, try some challenge skip counting (e.g. count by 3s or 4s or 6s), which will prepare them for multiplication when they are a bit older - grade 3 curriculum introduces formal multiplication.  Skip counting will VERY quickly turn into excellent multiplication skills in the future, and your child will better understand multiplication if they can visualize that "times" is actually just repeated addition...just like skip counting!  :)

 In LA we have continued our work with vowels, sight words, and the conventions of writing. Students are now being asked to edit work for finger spaces and the spelling of small sight words. Students already doing this are being challenged to incorporate periods and appropriate case into print with purposeful sizing. Today we followed up our field trip with some writing about our experience. Students shared how they thought the music made parts of the puppet show more exciting or scary or fun. Others liked that the CPO ending of Peter and the Wolf (the wolf is taken to the zoo!) was different than some other versions of the fairy tale they have heard (hunters shoot the wolf). Many wrote about their favourite instrument they heard. We will continue our study of winter stories now that winter weather is upon us!  This will connect with our science and social studies units as we will be discussing changes in the environment, animals in winter, winter celebrations, and personal/family experiences and traditions of winter time.

Have a great week everyone!

Recap of email message dates/reminders if you need them later:

Please remember to book your interview on Nov 21st for conferences. Choices of times are:

Nov 30 – afternoon/evening times (students are dismissed at 12:50)

Dec 1 – afternoon/evening times (students are dismissed at 12:50)

Dec 2 – morning until 1pm (non instructional day)

 If you are not planning on attending, please let Andrea or Christine know so that we can allocate unused time to meet with colleagues and allow Andrea to attend her own children’s conferences. Alternately, if none of the times work for you we can explore some other options.

 You should receive a link from Linda in the office announcing that conference manager is open for booking. You can also access conference manager from Rideau Park’s homepage. If you need assistance contact us and we can book a time off for you.

Volunteer opportunities: 

Centre volunteering (we have a painting and crayon melt centre that needs an adult for each day) – Nov 22, Nov 24, Nov 28, Dec 6 and Dec 8   2:15-3:15. Please contact

Mornings on any day remain a great time to volunteer.

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Nov 10/11


This week in math we started our unit on addition. We discussed with the children different strategies that we can use to add, such as: using a number line, your fingers, mental math facts, as well as counting on.

As a challenge for children who have already mastered addition, we introduced the children to a new math tiling game in which the children have to use the numbers 1-9 to solve the addition problems in the puzzles.

 Language Arts:

Harlow and Fayln were the students of the week and we continued working on our student of the week writings. The children’s writing and drawing skills have made some wonderful growth in the last 2 months! 

Many of the children have graduated to the next level of their feeling books, which consists only of lines and no prompting words on it. Mrs. Bell and I are very proud of all the children for challenging themselves to work towards their writing goals.

We worked on some activities that focused on the middle vowel sound in words.  Grade ones often confuse vowel sounds, so practicing stretching out small words and identifying the vowel in the middle of words can help them differentiate short sounds.  Children who have mastered this are now encouraged to follow the silent e rule when writing and sounding out words!

Social Studies:

We watched a video about Remembrance Day and then discussed things we are thankful to the veterans of our beautiful country for. After which we had the children write in their journals. The children really enjoyed this activity and they all had lots to discuss about their family’s history.

 We had a Remembrance Day assembly today. The children were all very polite and respectful during this ceremony.

Science:  Students have finished all of Mr. Pav’s colour experiments and are focusing on seasonal changes for classroom work. We created some beautiful fall colour birch tree art!


Pink eye seems to still slowly be spreading its way throughout our class, as well as our school. We are discussing with the children the importance of proper hand washing and not sharing snacks.  We have also been encouraging students to take their own initiative to make safe choices such as walking in the hallway and using our helpful words to solve problems.

 We look forward to sharing more child specific information in our upcoming Parent Teacher Interviews this month.  Please note that the Thursday evening interview date will have a limited amount of spots in order to respect Ms. McKinnon’s part time status. If you are unable to make it to the times indicated foor Wednesday/Thursday evening or Friday during the day, please do not hesitate to ask about a time with us that works better for your family. It is greatly appreciated if you book interviews as soon as you can (opens Nov 21!) so that so that Mrs. Bell can book her own childrens’ interviews at Copperfield School.  If you are not planning on coming to interviews, please let us know to avoid unnecessary reminder letters, etc.

If you have volunteered to join us on our field trip to the Philharmonic next week, please note that we sent home with your child the parental volunteer form in their agendas. Please have your child retuned it to us once you have filled it out.


Have a wonderful long weekend!

Andrea and Christine

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Nov 4


We continued working in skip counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s and ways to make numbers booklets. We also worked on our numeracy and number sense skill building with Tens and ones and subitizing ten frames.

Today we went to the computer lab and students worked on their mathletics assignments.

Feel free to check out remaining assignments, Mathletics live, or other activities on the site. If you need your log in info again, please check agendas next week as we will be gluing log in cards to the first page after the plastic pocket.

Language arts: 

Students were introduced to a new level of feeling books and a variety of different ways to say hello/good-bye in other languages, which they were all very excited about!

This week in our Power Word Stations groups we focused on the words: like/was and come/was.  

 Students listened and responded to stories watched in Tumblebooks and read to them by both Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Mckinnon.

Thursday was Library day.

Please try not to put your child’s library book in their home reading bag. The students are not remembering that they are there, and are putting their library books into the home reading bins, which then are not getting signed back in to the library computer and are showing up as an over due book for the children. 

We continued our observations on seasonal changes. After looking at pictures of birch trees in different seasons and discussing what the students observed in the photos the students have the opportunity to create their our birch tree paintings, using tape and tempura featuring warm colours. 

Thank you to the Marsh family for making the popcorn for our movie day on Halloween. It was delicious and the children really loved the little surprise in the bags!


Reminders and links for at home to follow via messenger shortly.

Have a great week!

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Oct 28

Math Math:

 Place value:

Students used ten frames and base ten blocks to demonstrate their understanding of 2 digit numbers.

 Numeracy and representing number values:

We played 2 digit numeral bingo.   We also brainstormed how we can represent number in multiple ways. Some of the ideas students had at large group time were:

-using a numeral

-using a number word



-ten frames



-base ten blocks

-addition or subtraction equations


We watched a cool interactive movie about subitzing!

Subitzing is when you can identify number without counting, like when you look at dice or dominoes.


Language Arts:

“At” word booklets – we focused on the –at word family and brainstormed lots of words containing this phonic. Students were given the opportunity to complete a challenge activity choosing appropriate adjectives missing from a sentence. 

We learned about ABC order/alphabetical order and practiced putting letters and words in order.

 We wrote about the student of the week and completed feeling books. It’s wonderful to observe how sharing times are allowing students to develop confidence in oral reading.

Social Studies/Science:

 We discussed fall traditions and did “October” themed activities and used illustrations to describe seasonal changes.

We had lots of fun on our dress up day! We watched some magic school bus episodes that had some cool information about bats and sounds. 


We completed centres for patterning and skip counting, and will begin new centres next week. Please let Mrs. Bell know if you would like to join us for centres (2:15) on the following dates:

Oct 31

Nov 2

Nov 8

Nov 10

Nov 14

Nov 16

The more volunteers we have for the dates the more hands on and in depth our activities can be. The next set of centres will be on place value, seasonal changes, my family, and using razkids (which I just found out we get this year, YAY!).


Place value:

Students used ten frames and base ten blocks to demonstrate their understanding of 2 digit numbers.

 Numeracy and representing number values:

We played 2 digit numeral bingo.   We also brainstormed how we can represent number in multiple ways. Some of the ideas students had at large group time were:

-using a numeral

-using a number word



-ten frames



-base ten blocks

-addition or subtraction equations


We watched a cool interactive movie about subitzing!

Subitzing is when you can identify number without counting, like when you look at dice or dominoes.


Language Arts:

“At” word booklets – we focused on the –at word family and brainstormed lots of words containing this phonic. Students were given the opportunity to complete a challenge activity choosing appropriate adjectives missing from a sentence. 

We learned about ABC order/alphabetical order and practiced putting letters and words in order.

 We wrote about the student of the week and completed feeling books. It’s wonderful to observe how sharing times are allowing students to develop confidence in oral reading.

Social Studies/Science:

 We discussed fall traditions and did “October” themed activities and used illustrations to describe seasonal changes.

We had lots of fun on our dress up day! We watched some magic school bus episodes that had some cool information about bats and sounds. 


We completed centres for patterning and skip counting, and will begin new centres next week. Please let Mrs. Bell know if you would like to join us for centres (2:15) on the following dates:

Oct 31

Nov 2

Nov 8

Nov 10

Nov 14

Nov 16

The more volunteers we have for the dates the more hands on and in depth our activities can be. The next set of centres will be on place value, seasonal changes, my family, and using razkids (which I just found out we get this year, YAY!).

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Oct 21

The theme of the week was science! The class had a wonderful time completing our scavenger hunt at Stanley Park. Thanks again volunteers for helping out to facilitate that! In the afternoon the grade ones came up with some great ideas about why some things were easy to find and some things were hard.


“The temperature is maybe too cold for mushrooms” – AP


“There are no duck prints because the ducks migrated” – NZ


“brown leaves are easy to find because the fall is here and leaves turn brown in the fall” – JB


“It would be hard to find pine cones under the leaf trees because those are pine tree seeds.” – OJ

“Grass was easy because there is no snow yet” - LH 

We did a follow up activity today where students collected a leaf that interested them from outside. They used some describing words to explain what they observe in their leaf, and made a diagram. We will continue our exploration of the fall and leaves in future art projects.

Mr. Pav’s latest colour mixing experiment is very cool. Students are making their own playdough and dying it themselves using natural substances. On Thursday the first group to try used blackberries! This is a longer experiment and we predict it will take another few weeks to get through all of the students. Students are also excited to see what happens to our celery after it has been sitting food colouring in the room for a few more days.

 Math -We are continuing to practice skip counting by 10, 5, and 2 as a large group. Some students have mastered this already and are ready to complete some challenge activities. Others will take longer which is completely fine – practicing at home will help us get there quicker, but we have all year! Numeracy activities will be ongoing.

We also introduced the use of ten frames to represent number and talk about place value.   Most students already know how to subitize (know number at first glance) using dice, and we will practice doing the same with ten frames. We will send you an email message on Monday containing links, so look for the game “Koala carts” that works on this skill. 

In literacy we are continuing to use feeling books, writing about the student of the week, hearing others read orally, completing power word centres, and using literacy games and songs to learn about new sound blends. The focus this week has been “th” words. Thanks to parents who have been helping to get home reading and library books back on Thursdays! Please note you do not have to bring back the books every day, only Thursdays (some students are quite insistent that they are supposed to bring them back into class every day!).

Next week: On the day of the family dance (Oct 26) students are welcome to wear their costume, and we will be doing Halloween themed work. The Jr Highs will be running a haunted house (optional for scaredy cats like Mrs Bell). Please bring your $2 donation and/or food item for the We Scare Hunger campaign.

 Students will NOT be dressing up on the 31st – it is instead “black and orange day” and we will have a movie/popcorn day (thanks C+K for offering to pop some popcorn for us!).






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Oct 14

Weekly update:

 We started grade one centres this week. Thanks volunteers for making this an easy transition! In grade one, centres include more academic/structured components before students are allowed free exploration. For example, students at the beading centre had to complete a plus 5/skip counting by 5 pattern and practice their skip counting before creating their own pieces. Students are also rotated through all centres instead of being allowed to choose their favourite centre each day. For this rotation of centres, initial activities include practicing/exploring:

  • skip counting by 5 (beads)
  • identifying and continuing patterns (Geoshapes and Lego)
  • identifying attributes and cores in patterns (Geoshapes and Lego)
  • using the word wall and forming high frequency words out of playdough
  • technology skills and caring for our ipads
  • traditions in the fall – colours, Halloween, decorations 

In math we also did large group activities reviewing 2D shapes, comparing number, colour words, numerals 1-100, skip counting by 5/10, and labeling patterns. 

Bear backpack and Student of the week continued as we explore “about me” in social studies and described our experiences from the long weekend during sharing time.

In science we are continuing through Mr. Pav’s experiment groups and moving some of our focus to seasonal changes now that we are seeing more of them outside.

In language arts students are continuing to work on segmenting words when reading and writing. We have also done another set of “power word stations” for the words “and” (gr 1 group) or “went” (challenge group).

 Home reading and library day will be every Thursday so remember those books!

We had our first computer lab time today – some students had a chance to try out the Mathletics program. You can access this program at home by going to Your child has written their user name and password in their agenda today. I will also print out a copy of their log in code to glue into the front of agendas in case yours is difficult to read. It takes a long time for many of the students to become independent logging on due to the mixed case and dash needed for the user name. Once this is done, it is a great way to practice math concepts. We will eventually be personalizing each student’s account to give them assignments that focus on areas needing improvement or areas that will challenge stronger math students.


At home:

Discuss vocabulary we used this term – ask your child “what does that mean when you say ___” or ask them to give examples. Model this vocabulary when you find the opportunity to do so or discuss if your child is confused by any of these terms.

  • attributes (what we call categorization words such as colour, shape, size, position)
  • core (identifying the part of a pattern that repeats, can be labeled with letters A,B, etc)
  • pentagon (5 sided shape)
  • hexagon (6 sided shape)
  • octagon (8 sided shape)
  • trapezoid
  • comparative number words such as greater than, less than, after, before, larger, next
  • primary colours
  • secondary colours
  • tall, short, “fishing” letters
  • capital (letter)
  • period (.)
  • season, day of the week, month
  • growing pattern, shrinking pattern, counting pattern




New! – weather permitting, we are going on a leaf hunt/science walk to Stanley Park on Thursday, October 20th. We need at least 3 parent volunteers to come with us, but there is no limit if we have more volunteers, and you are welcome to bring your coffee!   The walk will start at 10:30 after recess, and will take between 60 and 80 minutes depending on how nice it is outside. A letter with more details will be sent via messenger on Monday. If you would like to volunteer, please email Christine or Andrea so that we can confirm our ratio. You do not need clearance to come on this trip but you do need clearance to count as one of our 3 minimum volunteers.

- Picture Retakes – Are Nov. 1st. To ensure your child is called down for pictures, you need to return your proof package (if you got one) and contact the office to let us know you want your child to participate in retakes.


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Oct 7



This week we had lots of fun with literacy centers. Children had to opportunity to work on power words with a variety of mediums (play dough, paint, print and blocks). Students are continuing to work through feeling books at their own pace, and many have already moved on to a more difficult booklet.

At home: Keep reading! As your child brings feeling books home, read comments on the front with your children to discuss how to improve the next one!


Our home reading program began this week and your child was able to pick out a book that was appropriate for their level. If they happen to come home with a book that is not at their level (too easy/ too hard) please know we will be starting formal reading assessments after thanksgiving to get a better idea of where everyone’s instructional reading level is (90% of words read correctly on first reading).  A typical reading level for this point in the year is "C".  If your child is not reading "C" books yet,  they will have many opportunities to focus on reading over the next few months.  Often kids getting off to a slow start will plow through reading levels quickly once they get going.  Update sheets will come home in reading bags after one on one time has been received with a teacher or support staff to let you know how they are doing!   


Social Studies:

Students have been learning about the student of the week and practicing classroom citizenship skills. “Audience manners” are practiced during the presentations of others, while follow up writing activities allow students to comment on what they think is unique about their classmates. In keeping with the tradition of Thanksgiving, we discussed and wrote about what we are thankful for, and made some cute turkeys!



The children had the opportunity to participate in seed survivor this week and at the end they all planted their own sunflower.  On the cup that the seed came home in is a website to some games that the children can play if they wish to learn more about seeds! We watched a time-lapse video of seasons changing over the course of the year. Then we had a discussion with the children about their predictions as to what they thought would happen and whether or not they were right. Students are enjoying their special projects classes with Mr Pav!





In math we continued our learning of patterns. Children learned some more complex patterns such as growing and shrinking patterns as well as ones that had multiple changing attributes. We continued to practice identifying numerals 0-100. We also started learning about ordinal numbers. These are numbers that tells the position of something in a list, such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc.


Ideas for extending activities at home:


When working with your children to learn their sight words a fun idea is to have them create the word in a variety of different ways. They can paint the word, make it with Play-dough or build it with blocks. Not only does this help to learn the word it is also helping them with fine motor skills as well. 


Math extension from this week could be having your child find patterns in the world and talk about the core of the pattern and which attributes are changing.

You could also play “guess my rule” and take turns making patterns and guessing what the “rule” in the pattern is what attribute is changing. 


Have your child choose a few of their favorite toys in a line then have them count them bases on their position in the line (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.).


The kids also learned a new card game this week called “two-digit war”. Ask your child if they can remember how to play!


We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing everyone back at school after the long weekend! 

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Oct 3 - Volunteer info


Now that your children have had a few weeks to settle in, we are looking forward to having interested and available parents visit the classroom to assist with reading, centres or preparation. When you email us please let us know what you would most like to do in the classroom.   Mornings are the times that we are in our room the most, as apart from recess we stay in our own space. Mornings provide a nice balance of volunteer time in the classroom with helping small groups/individuals or doing prep work. Tuesdays and Thursdays already have parents volunteering in the morning, but if those are your only available times we can still work with that!


Below are some other times that regular volunteers are extra appreciated:


12:45- 1:35 each day – at this time, Mr. Pav rotates through the kids in groups to do a special hands-on science/math project. Mrs. Bell has the rest of the class working through other tasks or doing small group work.


Centre times – “A” days (2:15-3:15) Our days follow an A-B alternating schedule. “B” days our class is in music, so if you choose to come on a “B” day it will be for more general organizing/prep. We will provide interested parents a schedule to let them know which days are “A”.  You have been emailed A days for October already via school messenger.


Fridays@11:05 - 11:40– we are usually in the computer lab. While we are still learning, the process of logging on and navigating through a task requires extra adult help. Once the kids are more familiar with the computers, volunteers can still help supervise computers while teachers are doing specialized assessments.


Special days coming up requiring volunteers:

  • walking field trip to Stanley Park – after the long weekend – date TBA (weather)
  • Popcorn on Oct 31– will do microwave if needed, but if someone wants to prepare air popped corn at home and bring in for the 31st less sodium is always appreciated 
  • Nov 17 (am only) bus field trip to the Calgary Philharmonic (limited amount of volunteer tickets, so first to volunteer gets the tickets!)


For those that can’t come into the classroom, our wish list for October includes the following items:


- fall themed/Halloween stickers or small craft items

- playdough, either store bought or home made (we can never have too much playdough!)

- plastic “pony” beads (pea sized beads that have larger holes)

- beading string (must be either stretchy or breakable if it gets caught on something)

Please let us know if you have any questions!  Thanks everyone.

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September 2016

It’s hard to believe September has flown by so quickly! The class is off to a great start. We have a few new families this year in our class here at Rideau Park, and we (Christine and Andrea) would like to welcome them and let them know they are joining a wonderful community of learning and a highly involved/valued parent group. Thanks so much for all of the interest in volunteering and donating items for special projects this year!


The first few weeks of school were focused on establishing a routine, growing confidence, and getting students used to the longer day/increased expectations. Students started out with lots of choice/play based opportunities, and over the weeks, there have been an increasing amount of more structured and academic tasks.   The class participated in Terry Fox activities today that were inspiring and fun! Ask your child who Terry Fox was and how we celebrated his legacy today.


Since this is our first blog it’s a little long. Future ones will only include the week’s activities/extension activities and will take much less time to read!


We have been reviewing/assessing concepts to get a sense of where the students are in their learning. Some things we have done so far:



– each student has been seen one on one to determine how many letter names and letter sounds they know. Children coming out of kindergarten from a position of strength can identify all letters and can attribute at least one sound to each letter.

- Feeling books journaling activity– students have been practicing using sentence starters from the smartboard, printing, and using segmenting/sounding out to form their own words.

- We have been doing activities focusing on colour words. For example, students created their own book based on Eric Carle’s “Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you see?”. Students are encouraged to spell colour words properly, as they have the words listed for them on their desk plates.

- Student of the week and Bear Backpack projects have started up. We wrote about our first students of the week on Monday and Tuesday. Our focus for printing is using appropriate size and spacing. We learned that letters can be “tall” (e.g. t, R, b), “short” (e.g. m, c, a, e), or “fishing” (q, y, p, g, j – because they dangle past the bottom base line like a fishing rod dangles a string underwater).

- We wrote about our favourite things using sentence starters and discussed quality illustrations.

- We recorded observations in our science books about colours and made predictions about seasonal changes.



  • Practiced numeral formation and correct directionality for numerals 0-20.
  • Compared number and introduced vocabulary such as “larger than, greater than, less than, equal to”.
  • Used a hundred chart to count, identify numerals 0-100, and recognize pattern
  • matched number words to numerals
  • counted backwards from larger numbers using a model
  • Skip counted by 10s and made observations about 10 patterns in math
  • Discussed patterns and introduced new vocabulary “core” and “attribute”.
  • created and continued more complex patterns using multiple attributes (ABBC, AABCC, ABCD, etc)
  • Completed review/practice booklets. More complex pages were reviewed together a class so that students could identify errors and edit.


Extend at home activities to reinforce our September learning and prepare for October topics:


  • When reading identify “power words” (sight words or high frequency words) and play “I spy” after doing nightly reading. If your child already knows all the early grade one words (the, and, is, was, etc), try some grade 2 ones from the “Dolch” word list sent to you via email.
  • Ask your child to help you print out things like shopping lists or “to do” reminders. Sound out the words together and encourage them to record the sounds they hear as you “stretch” out the words. We will be covering the blends “th”, “sh” and “ch” more explicitly over the next few weeks.
  • Review your feeling book your child brought home. There is a literacy goal written on the front that your child can discuss with you. Ask them what they will try on their next book to keep their writing growing J
  • Challenge – see if your child can remember how to spell colour words without a model!
  • Play math games with your child. We will be sending home instructions for a 2-digit comparing numbers game that can be played with dice or cards.
  • When you see 2 digit numbers in your environment, ask your child what they are to see if they are reading numerals with 2 digits correctly. The “teens” can be tricky and are often mispronounced by first graders. If your child already is confident with all numerals to 100, ask questions like “how many tens are in 72?” or “how many ones are in 54?”.
  • Write numbers on random scraps of paper and ask your child to order them from smallest to largest and vice versa.
  • When your child brings home practice work discuss their numeral formation, ask them if they thought the activities were hard or easy. If there are uncorrected mistakes on practice work that your child forgot to edit, ask them to look over the question again and ask them why they chose the answer that they did, and if they could use a strategy to find a better answer.
  • If you see patterns around your environment, ask your child to identify the core (the piece that repeats over and over), and ask what attribute is changing (colour? shape? size? More than one attribute?)



Upcoming: Oct - Science walk to Stanley Park TBA – weather permitting – Janet will let you know when we are going and invite you to volunteer!


                     Oct 6 – First home reading will be sent home with kids (return each Thursday). Remember to return library books too!

                     Oct 6 - “Seed survivor” presentation/booths we will explore as a class

                     Oct 7 – Non instructional day

                     Oct 10 - No school for Thanksgiving Monday

                     Oct 13 - Fun lunch

                     Oct 26 - Family Dance, students may wear costumes to school

                     Oct 27 – Fun lunch             

                     Oct 31 - Movie and Popcorn day. Wear black and orange clothing J

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