A Letter from Nanuk

We have some very exciting news to report!

This week, Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello received a mysterious letter in their school mailbox. We opened the letter and you wouldn’t believe what we found…

The letter was from a mama polar bear and her cubs named Sakari and Siku! 

This is what the letter said: 

Dear Girls and Boys,

My name is Nanuk. I am a mama polar bear with 2 cubs named Sakari and Siku. 

I live in the Arctic, a place covered with ice and snow. Usually, living in my habitat up north is lots of fun…

But now I am in great danger! There are changes happening here. These changes are making it hard for me to find food for my cubs. We are getting very, very hungry! I am so scared for me and my family. 

We need your help!

Love, 

Nanuk

We were amazed by this, and of course had many questions…

How do polar bears write?

What is happening?

Why are they in great danger?

HOW ARE WE GOING TO HELP!?

We were really concerned for the polar bears! We had a lot of ideas right away about what we could do to help the polar bears. But we quickly found out we didn’t actually know a lot about polar bears. 

We decided we needed an action plan. 

The first step in our Action Plan was to ask questions.

Luckily, we spent all of first term learning how to ask questions. We are question-asking professionals! And WOW… We sure did have a lot of questions! But we needed to organize them to make it easier to research information to help us answer them. Our teachers taught us how to categorize, or put our questions into groups. In other words, we sorted our questions into four different groups.

  1. Appearance – anything that had to do with how polar bears look
  2. Food – anything that had to do with what polar bears eat
  3. Habits – anything that had to do with what polar bears do
  4. Habitat – anything that had to do with where a polar bear lives

Sometimes sorting got a bit tricky, because some questions didn’t seem to fit into a category. We learned that we needed to justify our sorting before we could put up our question – we couldn’t just put it anywhere without having a reason. Overall, we did a great job!

During the next few weeks, we will be dedicated to answering all the questions we can. If Nanuk and her cubs really are in danger, we need to find out more about what is wrong and what we can do to help. 

Parents, can you support our learning journey and help us solve our polar bear problem? 

Ask your child – What questions do you have about polar bears? 

Take a trip to the public library and sign out a book about polar bears. Have your child bring it to school so we can search for information together and share our findings with the rest of the class!

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome back everyone! Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello hope all families had a wonderful winter break. We shared all the memories we made over the break with our classmates during our first week back at school. It sure sounded like we had a great time! 

We have a lot to look forward to in 2018. This week we talked about some Canadian New Year’s traditions. We made some goals (or resolutions) for 2018. 

Some new year’s traditions include having a party or a family dinner, lighting off fireworks, and counting down to midnight.

This term, we will continue to work on our relationships within our classroom community, as well as with the world at large. We will be looking at the world through a scientific and compassionate view this term, and exploring how our actions effect the world in which we live in. We will be working on developing skills to express ourselves – through our bodies by exploring dance techniques in gym, as well as through descriptive writing. In math, we will continue to work on building number sense, develop our understanding of math in the real world, as well as work on our addition and subtraction skills. 

Happy to be back in the classroom! Centres time with friends is a great opportunity to work on social skills and teamwork.

Take a look at some fireworks we watched in class! Some of us had never seen fireworks before. We created some of our own fireworks during Art too.

Happy New Year! 2018 will be a year full of learning and fun! Ask your child how we created our “fireworks” art. What materials and method did we use to make the fireworks “pop”?

Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello would like to thank all Division 21’s families for their thoughtful gifts. We appreciate your kindness and generosity! 

Let the New Year begin!

Winter Wonders

For science, our class has started a snowflake inquiry. We began by writing down our wonders about snow. We sure have a lot of very interesting wonders. Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello were impressed by our thoughtful questions!

Over the next few weeks before winter break, we will be working hard to answer all of our wonders about snow. 

So far this week, we have been reading a non-fiction book about snow. We did an experiment and made our own cloud in a jar. We have been drawing some diagrams about how clouds form and how snow is made. 

We learned that snowflakes form when the air in the sky gets very cold and cools down the water vapour in the clouds. The water vapour freezes, and crystals begin to form. The crystals attach to a little piece of something, like dirt, pollen, salt, or bacteria. Then, as the crystals fall through the clouds in the sky, more crystals join together. A snowflake forms!

Take a look at this video we watched in class to further explore these questions: How are snowflakes made? Where do snowflakes come from?

We have also been reading some fiction books about snow and winter, and responding to the books with writing. We read the book “Winter is for Snow” and made our own winter poems. We read “The Wish Tree” and created winter landscapes using watercolour and sharpie. 

And finally… the most exciting part of our week…

Not only did we enjoy some warm, sweet, delicious pancakes at the Pancake Breakfast… We ALSO had special mail delivered to our classroom… from SANTA and an elf named SNOWFLAKE!!! 

There are still a couple of weeks left before winter break… We wonder what else we’ll learn and all the Christmas fun we will get up to!

Ask your child – How does a snowflake form?

Exploring Matter’s Three States

This week we have continued to explore solids, liquids, and gases. Because most gases are invisible, we can’t see them around us. We can feel wind against our faces – and wind is a gas. Sometimes we can see steam, or water vapour, rising up from a hot drink – that’s a gas too. If something is burning, we can see smoke – which is also a gas. 

We did an experiment to help us observe gas in a different way… trapped inside a balloon! 

We asked this question: What happens when baking soda and vinegar mix together?

First, we watched this video to give us some information about chemical reactions.

Then, we made a hypothesis – what did we think would happen if we put baking soda and vinegar into a bottle, with a balloon on the top of the bottle? Here are some of our predictions:

  • The balloon will shoot off the bottle
  • The balloon will blow up
  • The baking soda and vinegar will spill out of the top of the bottle
  • The balloon will explode

First, we used a funnel to put 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a balloon. Then, we filled a bottle with 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Next, we carefully stretched the opening of the balloon over the top of the bottle. Finally, we let the baking soda from the balloon fall into the bottle of vinegar. The balloon inflated!!! Of course, we recorded all our observations. 

We learned that when you mix vinegar (a liquid) and baking soda (a solid), a chemical reaction happens and creates carbon dioxide… a GAS! The gas filled the balloon and it inflated

Although the balloon did not explode, we thought about what would happen if we put a lot more vinegar and baking soda into the bottle. Would that make more gas? Would the balloon inflate more? Try this experiment at home and find out!! Watch the video below for the steps. 

Later in the week, we explored the water cycle using the idea of the life cycle of a snowman. We watched these two videos and talked about what was happening in each. We then did some step by step writing and sequencing. 

We learned that water can be all three states of matter.

  1. Ice = solid 
  2. Water = liquid
  3. Water vapour = gas

You can get from one state to the next by adding energy – or HEAT

These are a couple of lovely books we read about making a snowman friend. See if you can find these at your local library! 

Image result for snowman magic Image result for making a friend snowman book

We can’t wait for it to snow so we can build our own snowman and get some hands-on experience with water’s three states!

For math, we have continued our study of 2D and 3D shapes. We used shapes to create our own pictures. We have been practicing using the proper names for shapes. We learned that sometimes two shapes can be put together to make another shape. For example: 

  • 2 trapezoids connected on the long edge = 1 hexagon 
  • 2 squares connected = 1 rectangle 
  • 2 triangles connected = 1 diamond 

We made these discoveries by playing with shape manipulatives. 

(Top left) Creating multiple pictures using shape blocks. (Bottom left) Tracing shapes to make a snowman. (Top right) “We made a rocket ship with some trapezoids and hexogons and some other shapes.” (Bottom right) “I made a guy dancing!”

At Centres time, we had fun exploring shapes, colours, and light. 

What 3D shapes can you see?

Ask your child …

  • Can you make a picture using shapes? Can you name all of the shapes you use? 
  • Can you explain what happens in the life cycle of a snowman?

Matter Chatter

What fills your heart with happiness? We read a book by an aboriginal author, Monique Gray Smith, and the book asked us this question. 

In the book, Monique talks about several things that are important to the First Nations culture. Some examples are: 

  • watching bannock bake in the oven 
  • singing
  • listening to stories (part of the rich oral tradition that has been going on for generations)
  • dancing 

We made connections to the ideas in the story and thought of our own experiences that fill our hearts with happiness. 

We are lucky to have so many things that fill our hearts with happiness!

In Science, we are learning about matter. What is matter?

  • Matter is everything around us. 
  • Matter has 3 states: 
    1. Solids – don’t change their shape. They can be broken (like when you break a crayon), but they can also easily be pieced back together again (unless you add heat and the solid changes state)
    2. Liquids – change their shape depending on the container they are in (like when you pour water from the tap into a glass), and they can change states if heat is added or taken away
    3. Gases – are usually invisible, change shape to fit the container they are in, and take up a lot of space 

 We watched this video in class to help give us some examples of the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Listen to this catchy song to learn more about matter!

We brainstormed examples of solids, liquids, and gases with a partner. We drew pictures and labelled them.

We did a very fun experiment with Mrs. Perello! We made oobleck using 1 1/2 cups corn starch, 1 cup water, and a few drops of food colouring.

Check out this video to learn more about oobleck, and try making some of your own at home: 

Matter also has attributes – things we can use to describe it. Some attributes are colour, shape, size, and texture. We actually learned about attributes when we were studying patterns in math. 

Now, we are studying 2D and 3D shapes in math. 

2D shapes are shapes with no thickness, only height and width. Many 3D objects are made up of 2D shapes. 

  • Examples: triangle, circle, square, diamond, rhombus, rectangle

3D shapes are shapes with height, width, and depth – in other words, objects around us. 

  • Examples: cube, cylinder, sphere, pyramid 
  • Examples of objects that are 3D: ball, box, door, house

We had a great discussion about 2D shapes this week. We were able to determine the number of sides and corners each 2D shape had. We were also able to name some objects in the real world that had 2D shapes in them. Shapes are all around us!!

Start taking a closer look at the matter around you at home!

Ask your child – What 2D shapes do you see around us? Can you name an example of a solid, liquid, or gas?

What do we need to be happy?

For Social Studies in the month of November, we have been learning about how we can live happy lives. We learned about needs (things we need to survive) and wants (things that we would like to have, but don’t need to survive). We also learned that there are four important things that we need to be happy:

  1. Freedom – We can make choices. We have minds of our own.
  2. Power – We can feel good about ourselves. We are proud of ourselves.
  3. Love – We can show love and we can  be loved. We love and belong.
  4. Fun – Having fun means being kind to everyone when we play and when we live. We can do things we enjoy.

We talked about how these things affect us at school and at home. At school, we have lots of choices – at Daily 5 time, at Centres, on the playground. Making choices makes us feel powerful. We get to do things we enjoy at school, like art, math games, and reading stories. At school, we are loved by our friends and our teacher.

“I Have the Right to be a Child” is a book we read that illustrates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, using simple language and powerful images to help children come to know and understand their rights. Exploring the right to healthcare, education, shelter and play, this book shares a powerful message about what every child needs to grow and learn.

Here are some books we read and discussed in class:

What does freedom, power, love, and fun look like at home?

We Certainly “Measure Up”!

This week we have continued our work on measurement. We practiced comparing the weight of objects using balancing scales. We put a series of math manipulatives in either side of the scales. The heavier objects sunk down to the ground, while the lighter ones rose up. We recorded which object was heavier. Then, we created some comparisons of our own. We also used unifix cubes to measure how long different parts of our bodies were.

Using balancing scales to measure which set of objects is heavier. We practiced counting out the objects and recording our observations.
We used cubes as a unit of measurement to measure how long different parts of our bodies were. We recorded the number in our “measure me” booklet.

Did you know sewing has a lot to do with measurement? When you sew something, you have to be sure you measure it correctly so it doesn’t turn out too big or too small – clothing should fit just right for us to feel comfortable! 

The aboriginal peoples create mittens out of animal skin and fur. This helps keep their hands warm in very cold temperatures. They often sew patterns or beadwork on their mittens. We created a drawing of mittens that would fit our hands just right. We traced our hands, drew a pattern on the tracing, and added a piece of string (that wasn’t too long or too short) to join the mittens together. 

Ask your child – Why is it important to measure just right? Can you think of a time when you need to measure?

Poppy, Poppy, What Do You Say?

This week we have been preparing for Remembrance Day by learning what the special holiday is all about. We have had some very thought-provoking discussions about war and peace. We have talked about what the poppy flower represents and why it is so special. Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello were very impressed with how thoughtful their students have been in regards to these sensitive topics.

We have read some books to help us understand more about war and peace.

A Poppy Is to Remember explains, Once there was a long and terrible war – a war some called the Great War. Many young men went off to fight, and many did not return home to their families. This book shows readers how poppies are used today when remembering the contributions of present day members of the armed forces as well as veterans, those who care for them, and those who sadly have dealt with their passing. 

The Peace Book explains how peace looks like, sounds like, and feels like in ways that we can understand. For example: Peace is offering a hug to a friend, or peace is having enough pizza in the world for everyone. After reading the book together, we brainstormed and wrote about what peace is to us.

Peace is…

From Far Away is based on a true story and written by a little girl named Saoussan in collaboration with the author Robert Munsch. Saoussan and her family flee a war-torn Lebanon, where bombs and gunshots were part of a daily life. Now safe in her new country, Canada, Saoussan starts school. But not knowing any English made the simplest things difficult. We learn how Saoussan adapts to a new culture while also keeping her own in the free country that is Canada.

This week, to honour the soldiers of the world who go or went to war to fight for a better life for people in their country, we used special watercolour pencil crayons to draw poppies of our own.

We used watercolour pencil crayons in three ways:
1. Drawing with the dry pencil crayon and painting over it with a wet brush
2. Dipping the pencil crayon in water and then drawing with it
3. Making the paper wet and then drawing on it
Each technique gives a different effect. We had fun experimenting with this new material.

A poppy is a reminder of how terrible the world is with war, and how wonderful the world can be with peace.

Each day we are working on becoming happier, more peaceful individuals.

Some children have been sharing their family stories about war and peace, or making connections to the idea of war or sadness because of the loss of a loved one. Parents, do you or another family member (grandparent, uncle, aunt, etc.) have a story about an experience with war that is suitable to share with your child? Share the story:

  • by telling it
  • by drawing pictures
  • by writing it down

You may be surprised with how insightful your child can be. 

Aboriginal Perspectives in Math

In Math this term, some big ideas we have been focusing on so far are:

  • Repeating elements in patterns can be identified
    • We are able to make patterns with different colours, shapes, sizes, heights, etc.
    • We are able to find and describe patterns in nature
  • Numbers to 20 represent quantities that can be decomposed into 10s and 1s 
    • We are able to show numbers 1-10 on a ten frame
    • We are beginning to explore combinations of numbers that make 10
    • We are beginning to explore “number stories” and showing our thinking in math through writing and manipulatives
  • Objects and shapes have attributes that can be described, measured, and compared
    • We are able to use non-standard forms of measurement (ex. use cubes to measure how long something is, use a balance scale to compare the weight of objects, etc.)
    • We have explored measurement using standard forms of measurement too (ex. measuring cups when baking, rulers and measuring tapes to measure height and circumference of pumpkins)

We have also been incorporating First Peoples’ perspectives in relation to math concepts. 

Did you know that aboriginal peoples used their body parts to measure? Here are some of the body parts they used:

  • one inch = first thumb nail joint
  • seven inches = spread between little finger and thumb
  • twelve inches = elbow to end of fist = one foot
  • thirty-six inches or one yard = spread between one open arm and middle of the chest
  • one fathom = spread between open arms

We practiced using one of our body parts to do some measuring too, just like the First Nation’s peoples may have done.

We used our thumbprints to measure how long items were. First we made an estimate. We recorded it. Then we stamped our thumbprints along the side of the item we were measuring. We had to make sure we didn’t leave big gaps or overlapped our prints, or else our measurements wouldn’t be accurate. We recorded the number of thumbprints it took to measure the length of the items.

We also practiced counting using an aboriginal method – with our fingers and toes. We worked on some word problems, or math stories, that were written under the direction of Katherine Mills, and instructor of Tlingit. Tlingit are Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America.

We read the math stories together as a small group. We used counters to show our thinking. Then we showed our work with symbols under the equations.

Check out the workbook by typing “The Tlingit Math Book” into Google – it should be the first PDF that comes up in the search results. 

Ask your child – Can you answer these math stories?

  • Two eagles and three ravens were flying. How many were there all together?
  • Five birds are sitting. Four flew away. How many are left?

Can you use a body part from the aboriginal measurement system to measure something at home?

Happy Halloween!

The highlight of this week was the October holiday we have all been waiting for… Halloween! 

We started the week off by asking the question:

What can you use a pumpkin for?

We watched these videos to give us some ideas:

Here are some things we brainstormed:

  • Carve a jack-o-lantern
  • Bake or roast the pumpkin seeds
  • Use the stem of a pumpkin as a hook to hang something
  • Bake pumpkin pie
  • Make pumpkin smoothies
  • Use a rotten pumpkin for compost and soil to grow another kind of plant
  • Bake pumpkin cookies

What can you use a pumpkin for?

We also learned that pumpkins can be used in rather unique ways… For example, to make music!

Did you know that the Aboriginal Peoples used pumpkins as a part of their diet? They used to put a whole pumpkin on a fire and let it roast. They would chop it up and use it as a nutritious meal. Pumpkins are full of vitamins like Vitamin A and C, and fibre too to keep our tummies feeling good!

We baked some pumpkin cookies together! Did you know that baking is a combination of reading, science, and math?

First, we had had to read the recipe:

Here is the recipe for pumpkin cookies. Try baking some at home 🙂

Then, we had to carefully measure each ingredient and put them into bowls. 

We used measuring cups and measuring spoons to add all the ingredients for our cookies. If we put too much or too little of an ingredient, the cookies wouldn’t bake properly and they would taste yucky! So we had to be very precise.

As we added the ingredients, we used our senses. We touched, smelled, observed, and tasted.

Some ingredients have a very strong smell. These ingredients were vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the pumpkin puree.

Next, we mixed all the ingredients together. We noticed the colour and texture of mixture changed as we added the dry flour mixture to the wet oil, pumpkin, and sugar mixture. It got more orange-brown and sticky as we mixed the two bowls of ingredients together. 

Finally, we put the cookies in the oven to bake. They sure smelled good as they baked!

Mixing the ingredients together and scooping the mixture onto a baking pan. Don’t the cookies look delicious as they bake in the oven?

Of course, the best part of all was taking a bite of our scrumptious cookies!

YUM!!!

We did a team maker challenge with Ms. Boyle’s class on Halloween. The goal of the maker challenge was:

Can you create a haunted house for a monster to live in?

To celebrate Halloween, we shared a healthy(ish) snack and watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. We participated in the Pod 3 Costume Parade. It was great to see everyone in their costumes!

Ms. Romano and Mrs. Perello hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!