Ms. Gourlay's Class – "It's better to know how to learn than to know." Dr. Seuss

Math Questions

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Division 8 has been working on sorting and graphing.  We can sort objects and pictures by one or more attributes and follow a sorting rule (colour, shape, size or type).  We can collect data using surveys and record the answers using tally marks.  We can collect, organize and display data on pictographs and bar graphs, and analyze and describe data on graphs.  We can also describe the probability of familiar events using such words as, always, sometimes, never, possible impossible. 


Parkcrest School has chosen the book The Six Cedar Trees as a catalyst to incorporate indigenous worldviews and perspectives into our learning. The Six Cedar Trees features the core competencies, each represented by an animal (bear, beaver, orca, raven, salmon and wolf) from the Pacific Northwest Coast. As we explore each animal’s characteristics and habits, we learn about how we can develop the intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that we need in order to engage in deep and life-long learning.   Each animal, and the corresponding core competency, will be introduced at a school-wide assembly throughout the year.

The first animal that we have learned about is Wolf.  Wolf is a good communicator.  Wolf reminds us to cooperate, listen with respect and share our ideas.  The children of Division 8 have completed a self-assessment of how they see themselves as a communicator; emerging, developing, proficient or extending.   Please visit your child’s blogfolio to view his/her response.

Recently, all the children of Parkcrest School were invited to answer the question, “What makes a good pet?”  Depending on their experience, some drew pictures and answered orally or used words, most responded in writing.  The purpose of this exercise was to analyse how the teachers could help the children to move forward in their writing.  We noticed that the students needed to add more description and details to justify their thinking.  To see what your child can do independently, please see his/her blogfolio.

Division 8 is beginning an inquiry-based science project on bats.  We are starting with the question, “Would a bat make a good pet?” Instead of giving them the information about bats, the students are responsible for asking questions, giving their ideas and opinions, and investigating and researching the facts.  When the children settle on an answer to the question, “Would a bat make a good pet?”, they will have a richer explanation for their choice.  Stay tuned to see how we are doing.

Come and see the bulletin board in the hallway.  It’s a hoot! 


Perfect Pumpkins


Describing the properties of objects is an important learning objective in science.  The little scientists of Division 8  are developing this important scientific skill by using their five senses to develop a detailed description of our class pumpkin.

We described what our pumpkin looked like: orange, round, small, short, rind, stem, ribs.  We shook the pumpkin and heard it rattle.  We took off the lid and looked inside: pulp, seeds, stringy goo.  We smelled the pumpkin:  phew!  We touched the pulp and counted the seeds.   Finally, we cooked the seeds and tasted them: delicious!

We were surprised by the number of seeds that were in our pumpkin.  We found out that there were 601 seeds inside our small pumpkin.  We learned that if a pumpkin is dark orange and has a lot of ribs, it has been growing longer and will have more seeds.  We also learned that the stem of a pumpkin is called a peduncle.

Ask me to describe our pumpkin for you.

Math in Class


You are probably wondering what math looks like in our classroom.  We do have whole-group and small-group lessons, but the majority of our time is spent actively practicing new strategies and developing math fluency through centres, games, puzzles etc.  We also work together because cooperative learning encourages different ways of thinking while representing math concepts. 

Here we are being mathematicians.

Aldor Acres 3

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After visiting the animals and playing on the hay bales, we took a ride out to the pumpkin patch.  Then we got to pick out our own pumpkin to take home, but which one should we choose? Finally, we picked the perfect one and it was back to the bus. 

We had a wonderful trip!  Thank you to all the parent volunteers that came with us. We could not have had this experience without your support.

Ask me if a saw something that surprised me.

Aldor Acres 2

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The children were delighted with the animals – horses, goats, lambs, donkeys, baby pigs, baby bunnies to name just a few.  They loved touching them, hearing their noises and experiencing all the different smells.  One of the highlights was holding the baby bunnies.

Ask me which animal I liked the best.

We had a magical day at the Aldor Acres Pumpkin Patch!  The weather was perfect – sunny and warm – a beautiful autumn day.   Aldor Acres is a family-run farm that is celebrating its thirty year anniversary.  

The purpose of the visit was to enhance our studies within science.  This field trip encouraged the children to make observations about plant and animal life cycles, and experience first-hand the structural features or behaviours that allow plants and animals to survive in the environment.

Ask me about what I learned about living on a farm.

The curriculum competencies within science expect that children be able to ask questions and make predictions, make observations and represent these observations by drawing charts and simple pictograghs.

Our question was, “Will an apple sink or float in water?” Most of us predicted that the apple would sink. The results of our test are recorded on the chart below.

Ask me what my prediction was?

Can you believe the weather that we have been having?  Through our classroom window, you can see the beautiful sunny Autumn day.  Division 10 has been learning about the seasonal changes that affect apple trees.  We know that in winter, the apples tree rests.  In spring, the rain helps apple blossoms grow on the branches.  In summer, the flowers turn into tiny apples.  The apples grow and grow.  In fall, the apple are ripe and ready to pick.  We having been working on describing these changes clearly and concisely.  To hear our recordings, check out our blogfolios. 

Ask me how I made these apples.


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