Thursday, 22 October 2020

Prayer & Gratitude


October is the month of the rosary. To make this form of meditative prayer accessible for us little ones in Grade 1, we prayed one decade each day for five days.

To prepare for our Decade-a-Day prayer journey, we made single-decade rosaries.  The decade of 10 beads can be moved around as each prayer is shared.

To connect our daily decade to the full rosary, we coloured in the 10 beads we prayed each day. 

Learning the Hail Mary prayer has been central to our exploration of the rosary. A "puzzle-piece" prayer came home this week. Consider praying this prayer as a family. 


We. Love. Thursdays. We really do!

We call this day "Thankful Thursday" and recently we have begun journaling about what we are thankful for. Gratitude breeds positivity and it is a wonderful lifelong practice that will help our students see the blessings God has sprinkled into our lives!

This year we are journaling in beautiful Grateful People journals. This is a year-long practice that will help us to see and appreciate all of the goodness around us!

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Building Number Sense: JUNK IT!

In grade 1 we learn how our number system works by examining numbers up to 100. First, we went hunting for numbers! Where do we see numbers? When do we use numbers each day? Why are numbers so important?

Right now we are working very closely with numbers to 20. 

  • How are numbers related? 
  • What are some different ways to make a number? 
  • How can we take a number apart? 
  • How can we count carefully?

Keep hunting for numbers with your child! Road signs, recipes, flyers ... they're everywhere and so important!

Junk It Game

In case you haven't heard, we were introduced to a fast-paced card game, Junk It! It helps us recognize numerals and order them to 10. 

Junk It is a 2-player game. Remove face cards, but keep Aces. 

Put 10 cards in two rows of 5 face down in front of each player. Place the remaining cards in the centre. 

The first player flips a card over, and places it in its numerical spot. 

He picked up a 2 ... 

... so he put it down where the 2 goes. 

When he placed his card in the 2 spot, he picked up a 7 (formerly face down in the 2nd place). Off the 7 goes to spot 7!

When he put the 7 down, he picked up a 3, so off that card goes to the 3rd place. 

Notice how when he put his 3 down, he picked up the card in that spot? It is another 7! He already has a 7, so he gets to call JUNK IT and discard it in the middle. 

His opponent can either pick up the card that was just discarded, or select a new card from the pile. Keep playing!

The first player to get all 10 cards flipped over in order wins! 

It is a little confusing to explain on our blog, but the kids are definitely the experts! Will you challenge your child to a game of Junk It?!? Learning is so much more fun when it's a game! 

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Heaps of Gratitude!

 This week we spent a little extra time exploring how blessed we truly are. Our blessings so are abundant and we seized every opportunity we could to thank God! 

With just the mention of the word "thankful", the students' hands were shooting up and ideas were overflowing. They were bursting with gratitude!

In the spirit of fostering a "growth mindset" and giving the students (and their teacher) the opportunity to practice perseverance and patience, we tackled a challenging Thanksgiving project, woven place mats!

We began by writing and colouring.

Then the students learned to weave paper strips over, under, over, and under. Many also showed off their patterning skills!

Amazing work! These will, without a doubt, be the center of the Thanksgiving tables this weekend!

We have been blessed beyond measure and it is so important to take time and give thanks. God is indeed SO GOOD! 

If you and your family are feeling energetic and grateful this long weekend, give this scavenger hunt from Natural Beach Living a try together!

On a personal note, I want to share how very thankful I am for each child in my class. Each student is a special blessing and I recognize what a responsibility & gift it is to spend eight hours a day learning alongside your little one. I am also very grateful for the support I receive from our classroom families and am thankful beyond measure for this support each and every day.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Every Child Matters

Orange Shirt Day (September 30th) is a day when we honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada. The “orange shirt” in Orange Shirt Day refers to the new shirt that Phyllis Webstad was given to her by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned.

The message that Phyllis wants to pass along on Orange Shirt Day — and every day — is that every child matters. Orange Shirt Day was started by Phyllis to educate people about residential schools and fight racism and bullying.

Orange Shirt Day is an important day. The message that every child matters was our focus. We are all made in God's image with boundless love and incredible care.

We read several stories over the past few days that helped us explore and appreciate our Indigenous history and culture in Canada.

One story that resonated with us was My Heart Fills with Happiness, written in both English and Plains Cree by a Canadian author and illustrator. It highlights the simple joys in life, and connects beautifully with our districts theme this year, "choose joy".

We reflected on what fills our hearts with joy and happiness, then let our creativity shine with watercolour paints!

Our exploration of Orange Shirt Day was rich with learning, and will continue throughout the year as we continue to honour our Indigenous history in Canada.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Pattern Puzzlers

Our first Math unit focuses on patterning. We have worked hard to find a pattern, describe a pattern, continue a given pattern, and create our own pattern. Now the students are exploring how patterns can be related!

We examined the patterns below. We practiced describing these patterns using words (e.g. glue, glue, post-it), letters (e.g. A, A, B...), and numbers (e.g. 1, 1, 2...).

Ask your child to describe the patterns below.
How are they similar? Different?

It is so important for the children to verbalize and justify their thinking. This helps deepen understanding not only in Math, but in any subject or situation. Don't be surprised if your child struggles with this skill at first. With daily practice together, we will only get better at explaining and justifying our thinking. The phrase we keep reminding ourselves of is "everything new is hard at first"! 

Watch for our completed Patterning unit, as well as a rubric highlighting your child's learning, coming home soon!

Up next? Exploring and manipulating numbers up to 20!

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Building Connections Each Day

 Before we can learn and grow, we need to understand and trust one another. This is why, each morning, we begin our day with "Connection Time"! This invaluable time helps us ease into a busy day and prepare us for our best learning!

When we gather, we sit in a safely distanced circle so we can see eachother. We are lucky to have an empty classroom nearby so we can spread out. While the room isn't as fancy as our classroom, we know it's the people in the classroom who matter!

Have a peek at some highlights from our morning Connection Time meetings:

1. Prayer

God is at the center of all we do and all we are, and we always begin in prayer. "Father in Heaven, I give You today, all that I think, and do, and say. Amen". 

2. Say Hello!
We have learned the importance of eye contact when greeting our classmates. To ensure we can greet eachother while maintaining a safe distance, we have several silly ways to greet one another, too, and we are still adding to our collection of hellos!

Practicing making eye contact

3. News

This time allows the students an opportunity to share what's on their minds, thereby helping us focus on learning later in the day. News can be both good or bad, and everyone is given an opportunity to share if they wish. So far we have heard about pets, glow mini-golf, birthdays, lost teeth, jazz lessons, roadkill, and even discovered how one crafty grandma made a money birthday cake! 

4. Social Scenario Problem Solving
To help the children develop age-appropriate critical thinking skills, they are presented with a social problem to solve. In partners, they brainstorm (at a safe distance) possible ways to solve the problem and then we come together as a large group to share and discuss. 

Some of the problems we have tackled include:

  • a classmate pushes ahead of you in line
  • you notice a friend crying at their desk but don't know why
  • someone wants to be your partner but you don't want to work with them
  • someone said there is a wasp nest in the forest

It is important for the students to see that there is no one way to solve a problem and that they do not always need an adult's help. 

5. Story
We close Connection Time with a story. Each book is carefully chosen and has an important lesson. 

We come "close but far" in the middle of
 the room to enjoy the chosen story!

A few of the stories we have shared

We sprinkle other little literacy and numeracy skills throughout Connection Time, depending on the skills we are focusing on and the time of the year. We have recently been adding in the Rhyme Bag, which makes for an engaging guessing game!

Stuffy - fluffy, rock - sock, and glue - shoe!

While Connection Time seems packed, it rolls along rather quickly and sets a positive tone for our day! This is time very well-spent and thoroughly enjoyed. Connection time truly is about building relationships and seeing the masterpiece in all of us. 

Connection Time is inspired by the structure outlined in the Morning Meetings by Kriete and Davis

Good Morning Sunshine cards from Keepin Up With the Kinders

Social Scenario Problem Solving Task Cards from Pathways 2 Success

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Make Your Mark!

 This week we celebrated International Dot Day!

What is Dot Day, you ask?  It all starts with a book by Peter H. Reynolds, called The Dot! This book encourages children to embrace their own creativity and uniqueness and take a risk! It is celebrated on September 15th-ish and encourages kids to make a positive mark on the world!

Creative juices got flowing and we designed brightly coloured dots ... and then brought them to life! Using the augmented reality app QuiverVision we made our dots 3-D! (think Pokemon Go). Check the bottom of your child's art page for directions on how to download the app and make magic!

Feeling inspired, we kept our creativity flowing as the children set to work making their mark! Using dots and paper strips, plus heaps of creativity, we made spectacular 3D art!

Such colorful, joyful dots!

Keep making your mark on the world, kiddos! You are amazing little humans who will change the world!