Visit to the SFU Trottier Observatory

Today Division 5 and 6 walked over to visit the Trottier Observatory at Simon Fraser University. We were introduced to how researchers study space and each student received a star chart for use the next time they’re looking at the night sky.


Next we went outside to check out the telescope in the observatory. We learned about how the telescope is used and what it can see. We weren’t able to see anything through the telescope today, though, because there was some cloud cover.

In the courtyard around the observatory, there were some interesting features such as a sun dial, some of the basic elements of the universe, picnic tables with detailed moon phases, and big star charts. They pack a lot into this small area!

Here is a link to the SFU Starry Nights page if you’d like to visit again.

Division 5–what was your favourite part of our visit?

Portfolios of Learning

Students in Division 5 have been gradually developing their computer skills and learning about the educational tech tools such as Teams, Outlook, and the class blog. Today we embarked on using SpacesEDU to communicate self-assessment and reflections on learning. This will become a digital portfolio for each student as we move through the year. The Core Competencies will be the basis for each student reflection, and will be part of the communicating student learning process.

We are still in the early stages of learning how to log in, and what makes a thorough reflection. I previously used WordPress-based digital portfolios, so I, too, am in the learning process of using this new format–we’re all learning together! At the moment we’re sticking to just text posts to keep it simple, but in the future, we hope to add photos, small videos, and/or audio to our posts. Also, right now, only the student, their family, and the teacher should be able to see and comment on each post.

I hope this will be an interesting and engaging way for students to share their voice in their learning journeys.

Speed Stacks Group Order

Division 5 has been learning speed stacking, and this week we participated in the Stack Up! annual event. This event aims to set the world record for the most stackers at the same time in different parts of the world. The goal this year is 750 000! Division 5 has taught three primary classes how to speed stack this week–amazing!

Families have the opportunity to buy their own set of stacks from Speed Stacks Canada with the link in the “Group Order” image. Purchasing a set through this link helps us get more speed stacking supplies for our school. Ordering closes on December 1.

Happy stacking!


Zooming In – Digital Bulletin Board

Division 5 has been working on writing a lot about a little. Just like a camera can zoom in on part of a subject, we aim to improve our writing by “zooming in” on important descriptive details when telling a story. This helps a reader visualize and experience what the author is telling them. To help us practice this writing skill, we looked at a couple of different model texts.

The first model text is called The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Each item in The Important Book is broken down to its essence–telling the reader all the most important things about that object. The author uses a lot of sensory detail when explaining, telling us what the thing sounds like, looks like, tastes like, etc.

The second model text was a poem called Bat! by Anna Ferguson Montague. In this poem, the poet uses sensory detail, but also captures the movement of the animal by choosing specific verbs to help paint the picture.

Division 5 students chose a wide range of different animals for their poems. Please enjoy some of our poetry.

First Day in the Garden

Today was Division 5’s first day of Roots2Grow for this year. Due to some scheduling issues, we had to reschedule a couple of times, but we lucked out today with good weather and lots to do!

Today we were exploring the garden and schoolyard. We looked for spaces that might pose problems for the school community when it rains, and other areas that have significant seasonal water activity. Students worked together in groups to plant grass seed, identify signs of water movement, pick up garbage, and explore some of the ways for water to move through the landscape without producing damage (erosion).

Super Speed Stackers

Sine the beginning of the year, Division 5 has been working on their Speed Stacking skills. It is a relatively new sport that is based on… that’s right… stacking cups!

Sport stacking, also known as cup stacking or speed stacking, is an individual and team sport that involves stacking 9 or 12 (usually 12) specially designed cups in pre-determined sequences as fast as possible. The cups are specially designed to allow for speedier times, so the sport doesn’t work so well with regular cups. People of all ages and from all over the world compete in sport stacking.

Just as with any sport, there are particular rules that guide speed stacking. Division 5 has been learning these rules, and developing their muscle memory by learning the Competition Cycle (3-6-3, 6-6, 1-10-1). One of the rules of cup stacking is that the player must use alternating hands in order to set up each cycle of cups–this action of alternating hands actually strengthen the right and left brain connection.  There are also competition events such as partner stacking where each person performs the actions of either the right or the left hand.

Division 5 has been focused on learning the cycle carefully to avoid fumbles and falls. Once students are familiar and fluent with the cycle, they will be developing their speed! It’s important to start with the fundamentals of a sport before adding in speed and power.

If you want to learn more, check out these official speed stacking YouTube videos.

Traditional Place Names

Division 5 has been discussing how traditional Indigenous place names are tied to the land; including living things, geographical features, and resources that have been important to the people living on the land.

We discussed some Indigenous place names around BC and what those names tell us about the land. Here are a couple of resources we looked at today.  a resource to learn more about Indigenous territories, languages, lands, and ways of life. (This didn’t project well in our classroom, but feel free to have a look at home!)

Pronunciation of some place names in Vancouver

From the CBC article:  Road signs along the Sea to Sky Highway offer insight into the history of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people

Draw What You See 👀

Division 5 has been starting our school year focusing on some drawing and colouring skills. One of the most significant ways for students to move forward with their art is to focus on drawing what they ACTUALLY see and not what they THINK they see. This way, students are able to develop greater detail in their drawings, in addition to developing observation skills used across the curriculum.

At this time of year our subject of choice is the beautiful leaves around us. The colours are so vibrant, and the shapes and textures are varied. Each student chose a leaf they liked, and set to work sketching the shape. They had to pay attention to small details like a bit of the leaf that was torn or missing, the shape of the stem, and if the leaf had points or texture around the edge.

Today we talked about how we add colour to enhance the texture of our drawing, and how we can blend colours to create depth and interest. We also looked at how colouring in one direction can help define the “maturity” of our art–as we could see from my examples below, it makes a difference!

Try this…

…instead of this.

Check out some of the students’ art so far!

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