Wow! What a fabulous four days at the Science Center! Your blog homework over the long weekend is to tell your parents everything that you can remember about your experiences at Spark (and I can guess that some of you have already been doing that each night when you got home!)
Now, for your two Secret Blog Questions, I'd like you to think about 3 - 5 things that you learned about that you know well enough that you can write a few sentences about each one. Include as much detail as you can and write them in your Learning Log.
Next, think about the projects that you were asked to do that required working with others - either in a partnership or with your table group. What are your thoughts about collaborating? (Think about: What worked well? What was more challenging? Did you feel it was successful or not? What are the benefits / drawbacks of working with others?) Write a few sentences to explain your thoughts using examples from your collaborative experiences at Spark.
Have a great long weekend! See you back in class on Monday morning!
This week we celebrated the winter season by learning “Bonhomme de Neige” in French! If we are able to learn the words by next week, we may have an opportunity to sing it at one of the morning caroling assemblies. We’ve also been practice saying the date and learning numbers up to 20.
Everyone now has their Secret Santa name so they know who to buy or make a gift for that has a value up to $10. Students can start bringing in their wrapped gift with the name of the person they are giving it to on Monday. Remember to NOT put your name on it because we want it to stay a secret for a few days. Putting your wrapped gift into a plastic or cloth bag will help to keep it a secret when you bring it into the classroom. All gifts must be at school by Tuesday so we know we have all of them here. We will also continue our holiday sock tradition next week along with some other special days that the whole school will be involved in if they’d like to participate. (See below in Reminders)
For our novel study this week, we had a chance to read Chapters 8 and 9 and write a Connector response. This is the same as a personal response but has only two connection paragraphs. Then students needed to write a thoughtful question related to each connection that they could ask their group members to start a good discussion. This is the next “role” that students may be responsible for when we begin Literature Circle discussions.
On Thursday and Friday, we used all of the information that we had gathered about how nature takes care of its waste and drew a complete food chain in our Creative Journals. Then we added the 7 definitions of the parts of the food chain that we drew. This was a good review of our science terms (producer, consumer, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, decomposer and food chain). Have a conversation with parents about these terms this weekend.
We have been reviewing the step by step systematic approach to taking jot notes from informational material using our social studies textbook, Our Alberta. We are taking notes as a group about the Canadian Shield Region of Alberta to prepare students for their independent research on one of the other geographic regions. We may have a chance to start this next week – or it may have to begin in January.
We continued to work with numbers up to 10 000 this week and were recognizing patterns in numbers using skip counting. For the Secret Blog Question this weekend, write these two patterns in your Learning Log and fill in the blanks with the correct missing numbers:
- 5165, 5175, 5185, _____, ____, 5215, _____
- 3425, 3450, ____, _____, 3525, ____, _____
For a challenge question, make up your own pattern using numbers up to 9999!
We are almost organized for our Telus Spark Science School experience in January. Mrs. Lake’s class still requires several parent volunteers each day from January 13-17th to make her week a success. Please check your schedules and see if you can help out. As well, if you haven’t paid your $50 on-line for Science School, please do so by next week.
- Monday – wear your holiday socks! If you have any library books at home bring them back!
- Tuesday – wear your favourite holiday sweater, Secret Santa gifts need to be at school
- Wednesday – wear red and green
- Thursday – wear your pajamas, popcorn day
This week we completed a different kind of response to our novel study, Ticket to Curlew. Instead of writing a response we illustrated a response to chapter 7. We chose a scene from the chapter and then we made sure we had 7-10 details in our picture from the scene. After, we learned how to have a discussion based on our illustrations. We asked our group members to guess our scene and see if they could pick out any details. We ended with giving thoughtful compliments based on the illustration to each person. Eventually, we will be learning different roles throughout the rest of our novel study so we can then implement them later on when we begin Literature Circles.
“The ability to generate, read, use, and appreciate multiple representations of quantity is a critical step in learning to understand and do mathematics.” (Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics) In math, this week we focused on place value and representing numbers up to
10 000. A thorough understanding of place-value concepts permits us to work with very large or very small numbers. Confidence in decomposing and recomposing numbers is an essential skill for computation. We are working on developing a number sense to know when an estimate is appropriate, when operations can be performed mentally and which strategy to use for computation. For the Secret Blog question this week, represent the number 6 387 in your Learning Log using the 5 different ways we practiced in our math scribblers.
On Monday, students will have a quiz on telling time, area and perimeter. Each student is bringing home their math duotang so they can review concepts and they each have a sheet on telling time that needs to be completed by Monday, if it isn’t already.
An important notice regarding Science School and volunteering is also coming home this weekend. We are so excited and can’t wait to go! Because we are going right after Winter Break it is important that we know who our volunteers are ahead of time. Please consider volunteering for this amazing opportunity - we would love to have you! We need forms returned by Monday, please. Acknowledgement of Risk forms and Media Release forms will be sent home next week.
1. Library on Monday - bring back books.
2. Math quiz on Monday.
3. Return volunteer form for Science School if you are able to help out.
4. Please pay the $50 fee on-line (or by cheque / cash) for Science School if you have not done so
5. Answer the Secret Blog Question in your Learning Log
Thanks to all of our families who were able to join us last week for Student Led Conferences. It is an important time for us to be able to share our accomplishments and set goals for the next two months. I know there are many parents who are probably curious about our “mystery artifact” and enjoyed taking part in our guessing game as we learn more about Alberta’s history through examining objects from the past. Our artifact was used to wash clothes before washing machines were invented. It was the beginning inspiration for the center agitator in today’s top loading washing machines…all you need is a big bucket, some soap suds and your muscle power!
This week we have begun to learn more about the different geographical regions of Alberta. For the Secret Blog Question this week, tell your parents which region you started learning about and a few things that you found out by looking through the textbook with your partner. Now write the region in your Learning Log along with some of the information you discovered. For a bonus question, see how many of the Environment categories you can remember (Hint: There are 6 categories and Landforms are one of them). We will share more about our research in the coming weeks.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been spending time with our grade 2 buddies. We are interviewing each other to find out about our families, some of our favourite things to do and then drawing a picture together. Other leadership opportunities presented themselves this week when we were asked to help supervise the younger classes during our indoor recesses. We are very proud of the many ways our grade 4s have contributed to a positive school community.
Reaching out to our larger Calgary community, we designed some beautiful Christmas and birthday cards for the Meals on Wheels organization. The volunteers like to include a special card designed by students for the people who have meals delivered to them during this time of year. With the time and effort put into these cards, we know that they will fill the buckets of all of those who receive them.
Parents – we hope you have had a chance to check your work schedules for the first two weeks of January and will be able to volunteer for our Telus Spark Science School experience in the new year. Next week we will send out a letter asking you to let us know what days you might be available so we can start to organize our weeks. We require up to 5 adult volunteers per day to make our experience a success. If you do not yet have a Police Security Clearance and would like to volunteer, please contact our school office to get the process started for you. From there, you are able to apply on-line. Thank you as well to all of the parents who have paid the $50 fee for this amazing opportunity.
- Library on Monday – bring back all library books.
- Popcorn orders due Friday, Dec. 6th
- Pay $50 on line for Telus Spark Science School
- Answer Secret Blog Question in Learning Log
Even though we had a four-day week we were able to pack in a lot of learning! We also wrapped up our initiatives for our Canadian Veterans by packing up a huge amount of food and collecting the last of the money donations. Next week, we’ll let everyone know how much food and money was donated. Way to go Citadel Park School!
We continued to work on designing our Dream Schools in math and we began reviewing addition strategies for larger numbers. There are many ways to add bigger numbers such as using the algorithm, drawing base ten blocks on a place value chart, adding partial addends, expanded notation adding and using a number line. For your secret blog question this week complete the following 3 questions in your Learning Log using at least 2 strategies for each question.
1. 258 + 467 =
2. 164 + 656 =
3. 312 + 598 =
As we continue, with our numeracy we will be reviewing strategies for subtraction and then we will begin to work with numbers up 10 000.
We began doing some research in science this week on how nature takes care of its waste. By using a website about food chains, we have started to find out about producers, consumers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and decomposers and how they are an important part of food chains. We will continue this research next week.
Bonjour! This week we also started learning the French alphabet and numbers from 1 – 10. We are looking forward to sharing a fun French game with you at conferences next week.
On Thursday night and Friday morning of next week we will be welcoming parents and students into our classrooms for Student Led Conferences. For those of you that are new to us, that means your child will be your tour guide and will take you through some of the learning projects and activities they have been working on this term. Then you will have a very good understanding of how their skills and knowledge is progressing by looking closely at their work. Ms. Coutts and Mrs. Lake will sit down with all of the families at some point during the hour to review students’ progress as well and set goals for next term. Please book a conference on line and make sure you allow up to an hour to complete activities with your child and have a conversation with their teacher(s).
1. Library on Monday
2. Book your student-led conference on-line
3. Answer the Secret Blog question in your Learning Log
Our students have all become architects this week! In math, we are designing our very own dream schools. We have some guidelines we have to follow and we must include 4 classrooms, a regulation size gym, washrooms, an office and hallways to connect everything. Then we can add any other interesting features we want. We have to keep track of the area and perimeter of each element on a chart to ensure everything fits. We look forward to sharing these incredible schools with parents when we see them at student-led conferences which are in two weeks.
After reading chapter 5 of Ticket to Curlew we reviewed what is expected in a grade 4 level personal written response. Each response should include a minimum of 3 paragraphs that have a connection to the novel, a personal connection and some supporting details. After writing the response we use COPS to help us edit our writing. C – capitalization, O – organization (does our writing make sense), P – punctuation, S – spelling. By focusing on one aspect at a time we are able to edit our work more closely. Students will be completing a self-assessment on this response and teachers will also be assessing and giving feedback. Parents will have the opportunity to see these responses at our up-coming conferences.
This week we spent much of our time focusing on Remembrance Day and the importance of honouring our veterans. We were extremely proud of our student leaders as they made daily announcements for our school community, picked up food from classrooms for our Veteran’s Food Bank and for their incredible performance during our Remembrance Day Assembly. We would like to thank Cyril Blanchard of the Calgary Police Pipe Band for playing the bagpipes at our assembly. It was an honour to have him join us at our assembly and afterwards we enjoyed learning more about the bagpipes and the pipe band from him as he joined us in our classroom. For the secret blog question this week tell your parents how you felt about being leaders in our school for Remembrance Week and then write your ideas down in your Learning Log. On Monday, we hope each family is able to take a few moments to remember our veterans and all they have done to help Canada be the wonderful country it is.
1. No school on Monday – Remembrance Day
2. Fun Lunch is on Thursday, November 14th.
3. Bring back library books.
4. Food Bank items and poppy donations will be accepted until Friday, November 15th.
We have been learning how to read an analog clock (the one with an hour hand and a minute hand) over the last couple of weeks – most students are growing up in a “digital world” and digital clocks are the ones most familiar to them. This weekend, students can help their parents turn all the clocks back one hour and practice telling time on an analog clock (if you have one!)
We wrote a personal response to Chapter 4 this week and had a chance to reflect and make connections to being a settler in 1915. Many students wrote about looking for water and the process of digging a well in last weekend’s blog question. While many students commented that they had moved to a new house, city or even a new country, it is pretty hard to imagine coming to a new place and not even having a water supply!
We are well organized for our Veterans Food Drive starting next week and we have 32 of our students involved in going to classrooms to introduce this important food project as well as collecting money for the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund. If you are one of those students, make sure to practice your script over the weekend and BRING IT BACK on Monday – you will need it to do your presentation first thing Monday morning! To the other 17 people in our classroom who volunteered to help out, you will be given your announcements next week so you can be practicing the night before as well!
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we created some beautiful artwork to represent the poppies that grew on Flanders Fields after World War 1 ended. We will be displaying them at our assembly and keeping them in the Gathering Space as we continue to collect food items for our Veterans. If you are able to come to our assembly, we invite you to bring a food item along to add to our collection.
Now, for the Secret Blog Question – think about everything we’ve done this week and have a discussion with your parents. Now, think of your own Secret Blog Question that you believe most people in our class could answer and write the question in your Learning Log for Monday. Make sure you answer it, too!
Finally, we spent part of Halloween with our Grade 2 buddies and watched “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” all together in our classroom. It was so nice to share this tradition with them! As a reminder, please leave Halloween candies and treats at home next week. It is important that we stay focused and alert as we prepare for our Remembrance Day assembly and avoiding sugary lunches and snacks will help us do our best. Happy Halloween!
- Library on Monday - please bring back all library books
- Bring back your script for classroom visits on Monday
- Leave candy and treats at home please
- Start bringing in items for the Veterans’ Food Bank starting Tuesday
- Remembrance Day Assembly starts at 10:00 am Friday, November 8th
- Create and Answer your own Secret Blog Question in your Learning Log
On Friday, we are sending a letter inviting all grade 4 students to be part of our Leadership Club. We hope that you will read it over together and discuss which opportunities might interest you and what it means to make a commitment if you decide to take part. We are already looking forward to our leadership role with the Remembrance Day assembly and Veterans Food Drive.
In Science this week, we focused on taking jot notes while viewing a video about plant growth. This is a complex skill. Students were first given the 7 questions that we would like them to listen for in order to focus the note-taking process. Then we paused the video a few times so they could jot a few ideas down. The next day, they used their notes to answer as many of the questions as they could. After seeing how much information they gathered the first time, we refocused on what was missing, watched the video again and tried to fill in those parts on the question sheet. “Managing and evaluating information”, “constructing meaning and making connections through listening” and “creating understanding through a variety of media” are three of the descriptors on the report card that students are assessed on. Activities such as this one help to develop all three of those essential skills for future learning.
Our Math task this week was to look at the design of Sam and Pa’s house and figure out what the perimeter and area of each room was. Then we looked at another house plan and started to design a small doctor’s office. This is an effective way to add problem solving to our understanding of measurement.
Chapter 4 of our novel, Ticket to Curlew contained some very interesting information about what was important for the new settlers to Alberta to think about. In order to be able to live on this new land, they had some tasks that had to be done fairly quickly after they arrived. For your Secret Blog Question this weekend, tell your parents what Sam and Pa (and their helpers) had to do on their new land. Describe the tasks in your Learning Log and explain why it was so important.
- Library on Monday, return ALL library books
- Photo Retakes on Monday – dress your best!
- Halloween costumes on Thursday, Oct. 31st (afternoon only)
- No school on Friday, November 1st – Professional Day for Teachers
- Answer the Secret Blog Question in Learning Logs
Last week was very busy with our Indigenous residency and we continued to discuss our learning and document our thoughts in our Creative Journal. This has been a great experience that we will come back to over and over again as we begin to have a better understanding of Alberta’s history.
A big focus for us this week has been on building the skills needed for writing personal responses. A good written response to a novel can really help teachers to know the level and depth of students’ comprehension skills. We provided an example of a well written response paragraph for Chapter 2 of our novel Ticket to Curlew. After reading Chapter 3, partnerships were given a full three paragraph response with each of the sentences on a separate strip of paper. Their job was to put all of the ideas back together in a sequence that made sense – each paragraph including a topic sentence from the novel, a personal connection and supporting details. This was an excellent activity to help develop an awareness of the importance of clearly organizing their ideas when writing.
We had another opportunity to spend time with our grade 2 buddies this week – this time we taught them two Power of Ten card games to help them develop their number sense, basic facts and understanding of what numbers add to ten.
In Math this week, we focused more on standard units for measuring area. We calculated the area of a variety of rectangles, squares and more irregular shapes using square units (mostly centimeters). We continue to challenge our thinking by using measurement skills to solve problems. For your Secret Blog question this weekend, answer the following question in your Learning Log. If a piece of paper has a width of 5cm and a length of 8cm. what would the perimeter AND the area of the piece of paper be? Draw a picture, label the sides and calculate the area and perimeter for this piece of paper. For a challenge question, write the multiplication fact that helps you calculate the area of the paper.
Finally, we completed a “beginning of grade 4” writing sample using a picture prompt as inspiration. Students had an opportunity to discuss ideas in a group of 3 or 4, plan out the events and then had 60 minutes to write a complete story based on the picture. This will be a good beginning sample as we continue to develop our writing skills throughout the year.
Ms. Coutts and Mrs. Lake’s classes have been busy preparing to host the Remembrance Day Assembly on Friday, November 8th. This is an important Leadership opportunity for all of our students as they will be responsible for being Masters of Ceremony (MCs), learning songs, playing instruments and setting the tone of respect for the rest of our younger audience members and family members who may be in attendance. We will be sending more information home about our assembly in future blogs.
- Library on Monday – return all library books
- Answer the Secret Blog Question in Learning Logs
This week we were so fortunate to have Spectrum Collective with us to learn more about the Indigenous way of life and experience parts of the culture of the Treaty 7 People through the program, “Around the Fire”. This residency allowed us opportunities to learn about Rhythm and Poetry (R.A.P.), contemporary dance (Hip Hop) and traditional dance and the connections between the two styles. We also had a chance to play a drum made from one of four animals that can be found on Treaty 7 lands.
To prepare ourselves for this residency, we built important background knowledge by reading pictures books about a girl’s experience in a Residential School as well as what it was like for her to come home again to her family. We also learned more about Treaty 7 by role playing what it might have been like for the people of the Blackfoot Confederacy to be part of the signing of the treaty with the Canadian Government in 1877. We all have a clearer understanding of why we start our assemblies by Acknowledging the Land that we now live on and call home.
For your blog question this weekend, spend time with your family talking about your experiences learning about the Indigenous People of Treaty 7, the sessions that you were part of and the things you are thankful for in your life. Then write a few of those positive things you are thankful for in your Learning Log.
Please enjoy your Thanksgiving long weekend and be grateful for the land we live on.
- No school on Friday, October 11 (PD day for teachers) or Monday, October 14 (Thanksgiving Holiday)
- Bring back all library books (in case we can schedule a library exchange time)
- Think about the person you chose for your compliment and appreciation over the weekend and we will have a class meeting on Tuesday so you can deliver the compliment to them
- Enjoy time and conversation with your family and answer the Secret Blog Question in your Learning Log for Tuesday, October 15th
Wow! That was quite the snowstorm that blew in last weekend. Looks like we’re back to some sunny fall weather for a few days, though! It was a good reminder to be ready for the changing season and most students did have boots, snow pants and mittens to wear.
This week we started our new novel study called, Ticket to Curlew by Celia Barker Lottridge. This story is connected to our study of the history of Alberta and will be an important part of our discussions and learning. As well, we had an opportunity to share some of the information we learned after browsing through our Alberta textbooks last week. For your Secret Blog Question this weekend, tell your parents some of the things you’ve learned about Alberta so far (either from the textbooks, each other or our novel study). Now write 2-3 sentences in your Learning Log about what you shared with your parents about Alberta.
As well, we started a read aloud novel (just for fun!) called Ragweed, by Avi. This is actually a “prequel” to the novel we read last year where we met Poppy, the deer mouse that lived by Dimwood Forest.
We have now learned how to form five letters of the alphabet in handwriting (cursive writing). This seems to be a pretty popular activity for most students. Eventually we will be using our handwriting skills to do our Learning Log each day.
In Math this week, we continued to explore the perimeter of shapes and have now started to explore area. Area measures the space inside a shape. It is usually measured in square units but we were using triangles with our pattern block shapes to determine its area.
We changed desk groups this week so we have a new plant to look after now. In each group, there is one student who researched the needs of the plant so they are now the “expert” and will be teaching the rest of the group how to take care of it. So far, we are pretty proud of our “plant mommies and daddies”!
We ended our week with a class meeting. Students delivered thoughtful compliments and appreciations to each other and took turns making sure all of our invisible buckets were full for the weekend!
Next week we are honoured to welcome Storytellers, Drummers and Dancers from the Indigenous Culture to learn more about the People and Land of Treaty 7 Territory. We will recognize and build on our understanding of the meaning of Orange Shirt Day and begin to develop an appreciation of their history and culture. We encourage students to wear an orange shirt (if they have one) on Wednesday, Oct. 9th and Thursday, Oct. 10th.
- Library on Monday – bring back all books
- Wear orange on Wed. and Thurs. (if you have it)
- Answer the Secret Blog Question in Learning Logs for Monday
We are so excited to be starting our classroom blog again. It was nice to re-connect with our returning parents last week at Conferences and meet our new families as well. Several parents asked if we were continuing with our blog this year and here it is!
By now, you have probably read and/or reviewed the purple notice in the Learning Log that tells you what our blog is and why we do it. We are looking forward to communicating with you each week!
Our biggest piece of news, of course, is our opportunity to go to Telus Spark Science School for a week in January. We will be sending more information about this home with students in the next few weeks.
If you were able to meet with us at Conferences, you will also notice we all have a small plant on our desk group. This week we researched how to care for it and what each of the different plants need for water, light, temperature, humidity and fertilizer. It will be the students’ responsibility from now on to look after their plants and make sure they all have what they need to survive.
This week we met our grade 2 buddy classes! We are so proud to be able to develop as leaders and be able to model skills and behaviours that will be helpful for the younger members of our Citadel Park school community. For your Secret Blog Question this weekend, tell your parents how you feel about the opportunity to be a “big buddy” to our grade 2 students. What are you looking forward to as you work with them and what skills do you bring as a leader? Now write 2-3 sentences about your thoughts and feelings about being a big buddy in your Learning Log. We look forward to reading your responses on Monday.
On Thursday, we started to brainstorm “What we think we know about Alberta” to start our Social Studies learning this year. We have only had a chance to quickly browse through our textbook so far but are excited to learn more about the province we live in.
We’ve started our first math unit by focusing on Measurement concepts. The book, “Millions to Measure” taught us the importance of having a standard unit of measure. We have been using linear tools such as our ruler, a meter stick, measuring tape and a trundle wheel to determine sizes and distances. As well, we are learning about perimeter using pattern blocks and have been solving perimeter challenge questions!
We had a successful week collecting donations for the Terry Fox Foundation which supports Cancer Research. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate for our run on Thursday afternoon but we are still very proud of the efforts of our students to do chores at home, stay active and bring in their donations. If you would still like to make a donation, please bring it in on Monday and we will add it to our total!
Enjoy your weekend, stay warm and have your winter clothing ready…
- Bring back all library books from home – library on Monday
- Last day to bring Terry Fox donations
- Answer the Secret Blog Question in your Learning Log for Monday