We are critical thinkers. – Ms. Chan's Class Blog

Category: We are critical thinkers.

Dear families,

What an exciting week because we have not one but TWO new families joining our class! We welcome Jason and Senara and their families! Please help us show them what Kitchener families are like by being warm, welcoming, kind, and supportive.

My heart felt extra joyful and grateful this past week and so much of that was because of your children and you! It brings me such joy to see you in the mornings and after school and to spend my week with your beautiful and kind-hearted children. The warmth, kindness, friendliness, and compassion they showed to not just Jason and Senara, but each other, demonstrated the core values you instilled in them. Every day, I feel so blessed and grateful to be their teacher! I feel so fortunate to be at Kitchener so thank you for your part in making this school feel joyful. I love you all!

We are responsible digital citizens.

On Monday, Femi from Telus joined us for an in-class field trip to teach us about digital footprint. He reminded us about the importance of being kind, how what we post is permanent, and raised awareness about how to keep ourselves safe (like keeping personal information private).

Please have a follow-up conversation with your child especially if they are on platforms like Roblox or they have a phone where they have opportunities to chat with others worldwide. If your child has an account with Roblox, here is one article that helped me understand. I recommend you do your own research and help your child better understand how to keep themselves safe online too. Having regular conversations about this is very important so they understand their responsibility to be good digital citizens.

I remember one time when I was reminding my teenage son about being safe and respectful online, he said, “Don’t worry, Mama. I’m a good digital citizen.” My hope is that your children can assuredly say this to you as they grow up too.

How to support at home: Common Sense Media is a trusted resource and I highly recommend you check it out. Watch this short video together with your child about digital footprint from Common Sense Media.

For more resources, CLICK HERE to go to Telus Wise. You can also find resources for yourself too on this page. Click on Audience for the drop down menu and choose Adults and Parents.

We are mathematicians.

We continued to learn about subtraction with regrouping. Please ask your child to teach you how. If they can explain it simply, then they fully understand the concept.

Ways to support at home: I noticed that students can use some extra practice at home with their subtraction facts and of course, continue to learn their addition facts. The goal is to be able to quickly recall their basic facts to 20 with speed and accuracy. The curriculum says that most students are to be fluent by the end of grade 3. Grade 2s can get a leg up if they memorize them before then! Check out the curriculum that will be covered this term on our Mathematicians page.

We are scientists.

Currently in our Library, we have salmon eggs so we studied them last Wednesday and again this Wednesday. As scientists, we used our observation skills to see if we noticed anything different. We wonder what changes we will notice this Wednesday!

How you can support at home: Take a look at the image to sneak a peek at our salmon eggs. What do you notice? I invite you to have a conversation with your child about what we saw and the questions we collectively came up with. Our goal is to become experts on the salmon life cycle. If you would like to take a look with your child, please let me know and you are welcome to come with me after school to take a look for yourself!

How else to support at home: CLICK HERE to check out our Science curriculum for this term. Talk about the differences between metamorphic and non-metamorphic life cycles. Choose a life cycle to learn together. Demonstrate your curiosity and critical thinking skills by asking questions and evolve to deeper thinking questions.

We love Passion Projects!

We are busily working on our research for Passion Projects. I appreciate how collaborative and cooperative each partner group is working! Each pair used their curiosity to come up with questions that will drive their research.

On Friday, we started setting up our PowerPoint presentations. They got a refresher on how to create a new document, name it, add a title slide image, and choose a design. Their new learning was how to share the document in O365 with me and their partner so that they can both work on the live document at the same time. I demonstrated what an effective and engaging presentation would look like (clear slides with a title on each with some information and an appropriate image) and talked about presentation skills using body language and voice.

How you can support at home: Ask your child what they are researching and what are the questions that are driving their interest. Help them find YouTube videos or visit the Burnaby Public Library to take out books on their topic. Find websites to learn more together. Review how to use PowerPoint at home so they can become more proficient at finding, inserting, and resizing images. They can use some extra practice with adding text boxes and playing around with fonts and sizes too.

We are authors and storytellers.

Story writing appears to be a crowd favourite. They are enjoying using their creativity to tell their story. Some students started working on publishing their stories. For choice, students were excited for the opportunity to use comic strip templates to further explore their creativity through storytelling.

How you can support at home: Encourage and model creativity through oral storytelling. Create or write a story together!

Friendship Fruit Salad on Valentine’s Day

We will be making and sharing friendship fruit salad on Wednesday, February 14 in the afternoon. I will be sending home a paper copy on Monday but I wanted to share the class list for anyone who wants a head start on making Valentine’s Day cards. For a sneak peek at the notice, CLICK HERE.

Ice Skating Field Trip

Wow! We have an incredible number of volunteer drivers for our field trip to Bill Copeland. THANK YOU! As such, if you would like to change your mind about driving (especially for our first session on February 12), please let me know via email or write a note in the planner.

If you will be driving, we will need parent supervisors on the ice or on the bench. They have new rules this year for supervision: Children 7 years of age and younger must skate with an accompanying person 16 years or older. Ratio of child to accompanying person is 3:1. Thank you for driving and supervising! Please dress warmly. Thank you for your support!

Can’t wait to go! I LOVE skating!

As always, if you have any questions or need any support, please reach out. I am here for you and we are all here to support each other. Through our vulnerability and with courage, we can open ourselves to share especially if we are struggling or facing challenges. Grant us the opportunity to show we care.

Thank you for your continued partnership in your child’s education. I am so grateful for you and your child in my life. ❤️

With love and sincerity, Ms. Chan

Dear families,

What a fun-filled week of learning about different literacies!

On Monday, we celebrated reading, writing, and listening literacy. Our whole school listened over the P.A. to the story “I Hope” by Monique Gray Smith, an Indigenous author. Every class projected it for all to follow along. Then we talked about our own hopes and recorded one of our own. Every class was asked to place their response sheets on our classroom doors. It’s been great to walk around to see everyone’s hopes displayed. Click on the image for a closer look!

Also on Monday, we worked on our math literacy by completing our understanding of addition with regrouping. Their assessments went home today. For grade 2s, their goal is to be able to add 2-digit plus 2-digit number with a sum to 100. For grade 3s, they aim to have a proficient understanding of adding 3-digit plus 3-digit numbers with a sum to 1000. Student need to understand the idea of regrouping (or some may say carry over). How to support at home? Continue to practice their addition and subtraction math facts for fluency and accuracy. Using a random numbers chart or a deck of cards to review is fun and a great way to practice together!

On Tuesday, the focus was on social emotional literacy. Over the past number of years, learning about our emotions has become more important. This includes expanding our vocabulary for different emotions. On this day, my uncle also came to read “The Name Jar” to us and shared some stories about names and how our culture values names. They also had an opportunity to develop their artistic literacy by following a directed drawing of a dragon. Can’t wait for you to see it when it’s finished!

On Wednesday, we learned more about physical literacy. Stick to School came for a visit to teach us about the importance of education and lacrosse. During Wondering Wednesday, we walked around the school and then went for a story walk to read “The Snowy Day” which is posted along the fence by the flagpole. This day, we also tried some interesting yoga poses! Ask your child to show you “pretzel” and then give it a try with your child. Mr. Klarich walked in just at that moment so we got him to try it too. Fun times! 🙂 I always love it when kids say, “This is the best day ever!” and I heard a couple of kids express that.

Also on Wednesday, we learned about subtraction with regrouping. Please feel free to review at home to develop their proficiency level. A grade 2 example (2 digits only): 52 – 38 = ___.  You need to regroup the 2 in the ones place. For grade 3s, they will have questions with 3 digit numbers like 521 – 439 = ___.

On Thursday, we welcomed families into our school for a reading time for cultural literacy. It was so heartwarming to see many of you join us and to see different books brought from home. For those who were not available, we will set up another day because they enjoyed it so much!

Also on Thursday, we had an in-class field trip hosted by Science World. We learned about our changing climate and what we can do about it.

We started talking about Passion Projects. Please have a conversation with your child about what it is they are so passionate learning more about. Their first passion project will be working with a partner so they can continue to develop their core competencies of communication, collaboration, and social competencies. Last year, all but one at the end of the year said that their favourite thing in school was working on Passion Projects! I am excited to see their excitement once they get going. One of the trickiest parts is discovering what they are passionate about learning and then coming up with questions that will drive their research. My hope is that they will learn how to learn, learn that developing passions can be a source of joy, and that they can eventually reflect on all of the core competencies and curricular competencies they are learning as a result!

On Friday, we celebrated all literacies. We met up with our big buddies to work on our Minecraft designs (digital literacy). Each group was given an opportunity to go in front of the class to present their creations. I was impressed with how they used their core competencies of communication, collaboration, and creativity!

Field trip: Ice Skating at Bill Copeland

I created a new Field Trip page. Here you can see information so it is easier to find, rather than hunting through emails or blog posts. Feel free to save the date for our field trip to the Aquarium. We will be travelling by school bus and will need some parent volunteers.

We apologize for the small error on the field trip form. Since our skating time is at 9:30am, parent volunteer drivers, please arrive at 8:55am with your children. School Cash Online is now open for payment. Thank you to parents who have already indicated you would like to be a volunteer driver. We are not able to have these field trips without your support, which we greatly appreciate!

In-class field trip: Telus Wise will be coming on Monday, January 29 at 1:00pm to teach us about digital footprint.

Family Movie Night

Kitchener School and the PAC will be hosting a family movie night on Friday, February 2 at 6:30pm. For more information, click here to check out the post on the school website. There is no registration necessary.

Thank you for your continued support. It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through the school year already! Time sure flies when you are having fun! Have a wonderful weekend!

With much appreciation, Ms. Chan

Holiday Fun 14th Week

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Dear families,

Thank you so much for your support for the Winter Concert. It brought so much joy to see them perform!

We would love to welcome Lydia and her family to our class! We are so glad you are here! Please help us make them feel welcome.

We are artists who communicate, collaborate, and work well together.

Ms. Kapusta says:
This week, students put together an amazing, Christmas-themed communal art inside the classroom. We had previously planned for this art a couple of weeks ago and now students were able to carry out their plans. We started off the day by going over the expectations for this art activity and what skills students would need to use in order to successfully accomplish the art. Many students answered with: leadership skills, flexibility, self-discipline, and collaboration. We went over examples of how they could use these skills and how they might come in handy if any problems came up with their partner. Students worked in randomly selected groups of 2s and 3s for this activity to practice working with different classmates. Students had most of the morning to create this artwork before their winter concert and as always, they blew me away with their creativity! In the art, you can a see a scene from the North Pole, including Santa Claus, a Christmas Tree, many presents, snow people, elves and even a reindeer. Even more so, I was so happy and impressed with the class’s leadership skills and self-discipline when it came time to clean up before lunch time. Many students took ownership of tidying their spaces and the classroom.

We are mathematicians who use our critical and flexible thinking.

We do Math Talks in our class. This is a fantastic way to have students learn to expand their understanding of numeracy concepts to see connections and develop flexibility in their mathematical thinking. They also get to work on their core competencies of communication and curricular competencies (reasoning and analyzing, understanding and solving, communicating and representing, connecting and reflecting). Look at how many learning standards this one activity fosters!

  • Use reasoning to explore and make connections
  • Develop mental math strategies and abilities to make sense of quantities
  • Visualize to explore mathematical concepts
  • Develop and use multiple strategies to engage in problem solving
  • Communicate mathematical thinking in many ways
  • Use mathematical vocabulary and language to contribute to mathematical discussions
  • Explain and justify mathematical ideas and decisions
  • Reflect on mathematical thinking
  • Connect mathematical concepts to each other

The content learning standards: Grade 2 students are expected to be able to add and subtract to 100 (2 digits) and grade 3s to 1000 (3 digits): using flexible computation strategies, involving taking apart (e.g., decomposing using friendly numbers and compensating) and combining numbers in a variety of ways, and regrouping. In the past, I taught addition and subtraction as separate yet related concepts. I learned from a few well reknown Math gurus that learning addition and subtraction at the same time is better. This is so that they see the connection between the two related concepts. Also, we want children to see that regrouping (carrying and “borrowing”) is not the only way we add and subtract.

Ways to support at home: (1) Review rounding numbers to the nearest 10 to ensure that your child has a solid foundation. This concept will really help in understanding how to decompose using friendly numbers, which is nearest 10, and compensating. (2) Review place value concepts to ensure they completely understand the value of numbers. For example: 56 = 50 + 6. (3) Feel free to review addition and subtraction concepts.

This week, we continued to add to our addition fact fluency tools the strategy of doubles + 1. Using a deck of cards, we first practiced our doubles and then made it more challenging to think about our doubles + 1. These are: 1+2, 2+3, 3+4, 4+5, 5+6, 6+7, 7+8, 8+9.

Ways to support at home: Please continue to review math facts regularly at home with your own random numbers chart or a deck of cards (Take out the Jack and King. The Queen can represent zero and the Ace represents 1.) Flip the card over quickly to practice the strategies learned so far: adding & subtracting 1, adding & subtracting 2, adding & subtracting 10, combinations that making 10, doubles, and now doubles + 1. This upcoming week, we will learn the +9 and – 9 strategy with the power of digital roots! Do you know this strategy? Try it!

We are authors.

We have been working hard on our stories. This week, we had an opportunity to meet in our Author’s Circle. This is a special time where authors who wish to, will share their story and ask for feedback or suggestions on how to make their story better. Through this exercise, we learned the the importance of building our characters so that readers have more ways to connect with them in the story. We also learned that adding descriptions to where our story takes place helps the reader paint a better picture in their mind. We are using sentences strips to write our story because I discovered over the years that it is easier for students to insert and add details as strips rather than written on a whole page. This helps them organize their story too.

Ways to support at home: Ask your child to tell you what their story is about. Ask them questions to help them think about adding details about character development, setting, problem and solution. Ask them about how they plan to end their story. Challenge them to be creative! Another option would be to have fun writing or telling a story together with your child!

Gingerbread Houses

Students had so much fun building their gingerbread houses with their big buddies. Thank you for sending treats with your child.

Field Trips in the New Year – Save the dates because we will need parent volunteer drivers, please. Thank you for your support!

  • Friday, January 12 – South for the Winter at Michael J. Fox Theatre (Collaborative dance performance with four Burnaby secondary schools). The notice went home already. CLICK HERE if you need another copy. The cost is $2 which can be paid on School Cash Online.
  • Monday, February 12 & Monday, February 26 – Ice skating at Bill Copeland from 9:00 to 11:00 am. The notice will go home in January.

Learning Updates

These are also known as report cards but we now call them Learning Updates. I have enjoyed spending hours thinking about our class, each child, smiling with my heart warmed, and celebrating their achievements since the beginning of the year. I reviewed our blog posts too and feel so proud of all the learning we have done since September! Each child has shown improvement in many areas. In these Learning Updates, you will see that I wrote TO your child. This may be different from what you have seen in the past. This is based on the philosophy that we want to empower each child to deeply play and active role in their learning journey by recognizing and reflecting on their strengths, stretches, and to set attainable goals. These are all a part of developing their core competencies of communication, critical and reflective thinking, and personal awareness. You will also see some next steps for how we both can further support their learning at school and at home.

You will not be receiving a paper copy but instead, will be given access to view on Wednesday, December 20. Please check the emails from the school office for more information on how to access. I recommend that you download the PDF copy to save for your keepsake. This is what I did for my own children’s reports. I keep them in digital form in a folder in the cloud. If accessing the Learning Update is a barrier, please let me know and I can support you.

As part of their Learning Update, your child’s self-assessment of core competencies can be found in SpacesEDU. Thank you to all who have already initiated your access.

If you would like to have a conversation after you view the Learning Update, please send me an email and we can arrange a time. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 20 is also Pancake Breakfast and Pajama Day. Students are welcome to bring their favourite stuffed animals to school too! We will also have an after sing-a-long!

Thursday, December 21 is the last day of the 2023 year.

My heart is always so filled with joy to spend my time with your children and to compose these updates just for you. I appreciate you for your continued support at home. One of the best ways to support them is by reading these weekly blog posts so I appreciate you for your time.

So grateful for you, Ms. Chan

Dear families,

I had the greatest pleasure to present to 250 educators in Nevada over Zoom yesterday morning! I shared about how we can shape our mindsets to see CONNECTIONS as the key to being an effective educator and teach students how to build positive relationships with each other, inspire them to see their own POTENTIAL as we lift them up by believing in them and providing opportunities to grow in their stretch zones, and cultivate leadership skills to EMPOWER them to be the best versions of themselves each day.

Every atomic interaction is a moment of connection that offers an opportunity to intentionally uplift others through our love, kindness, and gratitude. We not only brighten someone’s day but also create lasting imprints on their heart, cultivating joy within them and ourselves. I strive to live by this motto and encourage your children to do so too as we work together to foster a connected community of caring learners and leaders. 

Ways to support at home: Have conversations about how every interaction can be a positive one to build the kind of relationships we want to have. It takes great self-discipline especially when we are in the midst of challenging situations to have grace for others and to speak with love and kindness so that others feel heard and supported. “I can solve problems in peaceful ways.” Getting along with others and effective communication is key to our well-being. It begins with our mindset about how we value relationships.

It’s always interesting to learn what resonated most with participants in my sessions. Today, it seemed that sharing love and joy struck people most. Here are four of the most powerful statements I shared and say to your children regularly:

  • I love you.
  • I appreciate you.
  • I believe in you.
  • You bring me joy.

Brushing with Cedar Leaves

Last weekend, I had the greatest pleasure to join our Mentorship Network at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge for an overnight retreat. I have been a part of the organizing committee for five years as a supporter to beginning teachers in our district. One of the sessions was led by Ditta Cross who led us into to the forest to teach us about the Indigenous ways of connecting and respecting our land. One lesson that deeply resonated with me was called brushing. Here’s an explanation found on ChatGPT:

The Coast Salish people have a deep cultural connection with cedar trees, considering them sacred and using them for various purposes, including ceremonial practices and crafting. Cedar leaves, with their aromatic scent, are often used in brushing ceremonies.

Brushing ceremonies involve gently sweeping or brushing a person with cedar leaves to cleanse and purify their spirit, mind, and body. The fragrant essence of the cedar is believed to carry healing properties, removing negative energy and promoting balance and harmony.

This practice is conducted with reverence and respect for the cedar tree, acknowledging its significance in Coast Salish culture. The act of brushing with cedar leaves is considered a form of spiritual cleansing and renewal, often performed as part of traditional rituals or ceremonies within the community.

This practice has really resonated with many of the students too! There is something very calming about this.

We are scientists.

Water is really important to us!

We are grateful to have had a guest speaker, Diana, from Skye Consulting, come to teach us about the water cycle, local watersheds, water conservation, and to answer these questions:

When we turn on the tap, where do you think this water comes from? What are different ways we use water?

We learned that our water in Burnaby comes from the Seymour Watershed.

Then we had an opportunity to draw the water cycle and do a sort to figure out the order with images.

Ways to support at home: Ask your child to explain the water cycle and tell you about watersheds. Practice water conservation!

Candy cane crystals

Watch a video to learn more about how our Borax crystals formed! If you like, make some more at home following this recipe. I enjoyed seeing the creativity. We didn’t just see candy canes, we saw beautiful crystal stars, snowflakes, and a heart too! Please note that these are made from Borax so if you have young children in the home, it is best to put it out of reach.

OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) in the Classroom

On Thursday, we had an informative session to learn about falcons and owls. We met a barn owl named Alba and a American kestrel, Willa. Check out the videos and more images in SpacesEDU. Students learned:

  • The function of the OWL Society
  • The basic biology and behaviour of raptors
  • Sizes and types of raptors
  • Dangers to raptors and other wildlife
  • What students can do to help raptors and other wildlife


Ways to support at home: Ask your child to share five facts they know about owls. Be curious! Model curiosity and tell them what you wonder about. Visit the public library to take out books on owls, go online to look for more facts, or watch videos on owls. Anytime you search online, this is a great opportunity to talk about staying safe as they search and to teach them about using key words to type in the search bar. Adding “for kids” is a simple way to narrow your search, for example.

If you’d like to learn more, visit: OWL Rehab. They offer 30-60 minute guided tours on the weekends (by donation). Be sure to make an online reservation before you go.

They are located at 3800 – 72nd Street Unit 3, Delta, BC.

Self-reflections and Goal Setting

Two of our core competencies is reflective and critical thinking:

Critical and Reflective Thinking encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking and that of others. Students apply critical, metacognitive, and reflective thinking in given situations, and relate this thinking to other experiences, using this process to identify ways to improve or adapt their approach to learning. They reflect on and assess their experiences, thinking, learning processes, work, and progress in relation to their purposes. Students give, receive, and act on feedback and set goals individually and collaboratively. They determine the extent to which they have met their goals and can set new ones.

We spent some time reflecting on how we are as learners, what we feel proud of, and set some goals to work on for next term. I also gave them an opportunity to give me feedback on what I am doing well and how I can be a better teacher for them individually and for the class. I want to model reflective thinking and am in constant pursuit of learning and betterment. So, if you have feedback for me, please let me know too. I appreciate your support!

Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 12 (Two Performances)

We have been working hard with our buddies and Mr. Turpin on the songs and actions! Please have your child wear a white top and black bottoms on Tuesday. You should have received two red tickets to attend the evening show on Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 pm. Please bring your tickets to the evening concert.

6:00 pm (or later) – Bring your child to the Annex – A2 (Strong Start room)
6:00 pm – Gym doors open (The PAC will have a concession stand. Thank you for supporting them!)
6:30 pm – Concert begins
After the performance – Pick up your child from the Music room in the Annex.

*Please let me know if you do not plan to attend so I can expect their absence. Also, we can release your tickets to other families when you return your unused tickets to school.

1:30 pm Concert – An option for families with young children or if you don’t have enough tickets for the evening performance. You do NOT need a ticket for this concert.

To practice the songs at home, check out our Musicians page. Here, you will also find the overview of what was taught this term by Mr. Turpin, which you can refer to when you receive your child’s Learning Update on December 20.

Gingerbread House Making

This Friday, December 15, we will be making gingerbread houses with our big buddies. Please have your child bring small assorted candies (nut free) in a labelled bag to decorate their own houses. They can start bringing them to school anytime next week.

Every student will be provided with a paper plate, royal icing, and graham crackers to build their houses. We are looking forward to this fun community building activity and can’t wait to see the creativity and joy that this activity will bring! Thank you for your ongoing support in making these moments memorable for our students.

Field Trips in the New Year – Save the dates because we will need parent volunteer drivers, please. Thank you for your support!

  • Friday, January 12 – South for the Winter at Michael J. Fox Theatre (Collaborative dance performance with four Burnaby secondary schools). The notice will come home early next week.
  • Monday, February 12 & Monday, February 26 – Ice skating at Bill Copeland from 9:00 to 11:00 am.

Every time I get to present to educators, I cannot help but feel so appreciative that I am your child’s teacher. Thank you for sharing them with us and for your part in supporting their education with me. I appreciate you!

With love, joy, kindness, and gratitude, Ms. Chan

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