November Halls

I spent some time this week looking in on classrooms.  Students busy working on ecosystem projects, computer coding, literacy centers, math lessons, using Freshgrade, grounds clean up, french lessons, pyramid building, and  volleyball skills were things I discovered in my travels.  Here is just a snapshot of what I came across.

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Students in grade 4/5 have been studying the different tidal zones and the creatures that live there.

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Students in grade 5/6 have been preparing for “An Hour of Code.”  This is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.  During the week of Dec.7-13 students spend an hour learning the basics of computer coding.  Educational and fun!

 

Next week, students will be receiving either a report card (2 possible versions) or a reminder/highlight to look at your child’s FreshGrade portfolio.   We will be having an early dismissal on Dec.3 at 1:30.  If you would like an appointment with your child’s teacher, please contact the office at (604)531-2828.

 

 

Moon, Mars and Beyond

This week was very exciting with our grade 4/5 students being part of the Moon, Mars and Beyond Project.  Students were tasked with finding a lost spaceship in our solar system.  Using Science, Math, Technology, and Art  they problem solved in teams, with guidance from Mission Control in Colorado, to find the lost ship.  Students were successful in their mission.  Experience their excitement below.

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Mission Control. Students used Skype to stay in contact with Colorado over the day.

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Talking to Mission Control in Colorado.

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Charting the data.

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Working on the problem tasks in groups.

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Getting closer to an answer.

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Some of our grade 6/7 students have been learning how to use our new 3D printer. Students have been designing name tags using a program called TinkerSuite and then printing out their work using the printer.  Take a look at our time lapse movie of one student’s projects.

Our hard working and generous PAC has given $200 in books to each of our classrooms from the proceeds of the book fair.  See our thank you video below.

Some of the art work I discovered up around the school this week.

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Our grade 6/7 students have been working on shoe box packages for students in developing countries through Operation Christmas Child.

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Paige, Dakota, Hailey and Mary packing up their boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

 

Next week is report card week.  This may look very different than in the past.  Some classes are using the traditional report card ( to be phased out at the end of the year), others will be using a new paper Communicating Student Learning template, while others are using FreshGrade to report in an ongoing, continuous way.  If your child’s teacher is using FreshGrade, you will not receive a report card.  Please check your child’s portfolio often to see their individual progress.

 

 

 

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is a truly important time for me both personally and as an educator.  My grandfather fought at Dieppe during WWII and was fortunate to survive.  For years I have spent a great deal of time teaching about the importance of this day to my grade 7 classes.  I have worried that students no longer have a personal connection to the significance of Remembrance Day.  How wrong I was.

Not so many years ago, I was talking with my students about this perceived lack of personal connection, when one of my students put his hand up at the back of the room and, when called upon, said these simple words: “My older brother leaves for Afganistan in February.” I was completely taken aback by his comment.  How wrong of me to assume our young people today are unaffected by war.  This was a life lesson for me.  One I will never forget.

Unfortunately, war is very much still a part of our daily life.  With the horrific events that have taken place this past weekend in both Paris and Beirut we are reminded that war is still very much a part of our existence.

While we talk about both past and present travesties of war with our students, our focus is ultimately to talk about peace and how we all need to continually work towards it for all regardless of colour, religion, or beliefs.  Our Remembrance Day assembly this week focused on lessons learned and our goal of peace.  Lest we forget.

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In grade three this week the class read a book about Remembrance called Why?  Charlie shared his thoughts with me.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  See Charlie’s work below.

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Charlie and his work.

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Why?

Next week we will share work of our grade 4/5 students and their Mission Control project, and a time lapse video of our new 3D-printer at work.  Stay tuned!

November Learnings

This week at Pacific was busy with learning.  I had the opportunity to experience, view and share poetry in grade one, building and tinkering in grade 4/5, inventing and problem solving in 5/6,  imaginative play in K, learning evidence displays in 3/4, work by our leadership team, checking out life in our Sea-Aquarium, and teaching grade 3.

I was fortunate to have the chance to spend an hour teaching grade one this week. We spent time looking at our word of the day.  Students read a poem together and then spent time completing their own. The highlight for me was students sharing their favourite poem with me!

Charlize is reading her favourite colour poem to me in grade one. Notice her tracking her words with her

Charlize is reading her favourite colour poem to me in grade one. Notice her tracking her words with her “reading finger.”

In grade 4/5 students were busy building, tinkering and learning through hands-on activities.  A group of boys were experimenting with different designs of MarbleWorks in the hall, and a group of girls playing a word game on an a device called an Osmo. An Osmo, turns an iPad into an interactive tool for learning.  Word creation, number work are all possibilities in a fun way!  At the tinker station, a group of boys were dismantling an iron to see how it works.  I asked if they would put it back together, and they responded with,”no way!”  Perhaps they will tackle that next week!

Adam, Nick and ______ with the beginnings of their marble structure.

Adam, Nic and Armaan with the beginnings of their marble structure.

This group is playing a word game with the Osmo. The game involves both letter and picture clues. The students have to try to create the word on the table using letter tiles, before the other.

This group is playing a word game with the Osmo. The game involves both letter and picture clues. The students have to try to create the word on the table using letter tiles, before the other.

Ashton, Turner and Jordan are busy taking apart an iron at the tinker station.

Ashton, Turner and Jordan are busy taking apart an iron at the tinker station.

In grade 5/6 students were working on their weekly problem solving, hands-on challenge.  This week, students were given a variety of supplies:  a water bottle, elastic, and some wire.  Their challenge was to create a machine that could draw by itself.  Many were successful.

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Steven and Daniel working on their drawing machines. Daniel said the hardest part was connecting the elastic that drives the machine. Steven came up with his own unique design!

Steven and Daniel working on their drawing machines. Daniel said the hardest part was connecting the elastic that drives the machine. Steven came up with his own unique design!

I’m always surprised by the level of creativity displayed by our newest students.  I have visited our Kindergarten classes on a few occasions during center time and the imaginative creations are a sight to see.  On this visit, a group of boys were busy creating spaceships, boats and cars using all sorts of building materials.  The group below had created an incredible castle and village.

The castle and village.

The castle and village.

Walking the halls, I came across the finished projects and posters of some of our grade 3 students.  They have been learning about different ecosystems and had the opportunity to create diaramas of their work.

Ecosystem Diaramas.

Ecosystem Diaramas.

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Our leadership team has been very busy collecting food donations for the Surrey Food Bank.  They called this drive, We Scare Hunger!  Great work students!

Some of the food collected for

Some of the food collected for “We Scare Hunger.”

Last week, our Sea-Aquarium received an entire new population of critters.  It has been very exciting to experience first-hand the relationships between prey and predator.  Students crowded the tank as a hermet crab found a meal in a sea snail and watched our resident squat lobster reach for a meal of shrimp just added to the tank.

My favourite part of this week was spending a morning teaching our grade 3 students.  I arranged for Mrs. Darby and Mrs. McIntyre to visit a neighbouring school to experience a Literacy program they have introduced in their own classrooms.  It is called the Daily 5.  The Daily 5 is a framework for structuring literacy time so students develop lifelong habits of reading, writing and working independently. Students select from five authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring. I had the opportunity to see this program in action in Mrs. Darby’s class and work with students in small groups.  It was a pleasure to see students so actively engaged in their tasks.

Next week is a short week for students.  We have a Remembrance Day assembly on Tuesday at 10:45 and we would like to extend an invitation for our parent community to attend.  There is no school for students for the rest of the week.  Wednesday is Remembrance Day, Thursday is Curriculum Exploration Day and Friday is Pro-D.

Our Curriculum exploration day is an opportunity for teachers to spend a day learning about our new Provincial curriculum. Teachers will be busy both here at our school and at sites around the district for learning.  Our Pro-D day on Friday will be spent with our teachers learning about a student self regulation program called Zones of Regulation.  The Zones is a systematic, cognitive behaviour approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones.  The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of, and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts.  Friday also includes a field trip for some of our teachers to the Aboriginal Library at our District Education Centre to see what aboriginal resources are available to us as the new curriculum imbeds learning about our First Nations culture into all curricular areas.