Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year. We are looking forward to getting to know our new students and families. Kindergarten students will begin gradual entry in small groups on Thursday, Sept. 5. Please see the gradual entry schedule on the Westridge website.
Grade 1 students will attend on Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 9:00 – 10:00. Information about the remainder of the first week will be sent home on Tuesday.
October has come and gone in a flash! Division 11 has been a busy place full of learning and exploration.
We continued to build on our literacy routines, Read to Self and Literacy Stations, and we began Word Study with a weekly phonics focus. We started with short vowel sounds in CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. For example, for the “short a” family -an, students practiced hearing the sounds and spelling the words pan, can, fan, man, etc.
In Writing Workshop, students wrote Beginning-Middle-End books. Strategies we currently use in class when we write include using the Word Wall and bubble-gum stretching sounds (slowly saying a word and writing as many sounds as you can hear). Students are also practicing identifying the beginning, middle, and end events of a read-aloud story. This is great to practice after reading together at home. For example, “What was the problem at the beginning of the story?” “How did the story end?” or “How was the problem solved?”
In Math, we continue with Counting Collections on Mondays and Number Sense Fridays. The math focus for October was representing numbers in different ways, specifically with 10-frames and tallies.
Our exploration themes for the month were Apples and Halloween Traditions. We did lots of learning about apples leading up to our field trip to Taves Family Farm – what a fun day! Of course, we were busy with Halloween stories, art, and celebrations.
Other special activities in October included tennis and Diwali.
One of our first class explorations of the year was thinking about the books Only One You and You Be You by Linda Kranz. Both books celebrate being yourself and recognizing your unique qualities. The illustrations in the books use painted rocks or “rock fish.”
First, we read both books as a class. Then, we studied the different ways the rock fish are painted. We began by making our own paper rock fish. They look beautiful on our classroom wall.
Next, we chose a rock and painted it white. Then, we added colourful designs.
Our rock fish live in a school on our window ledge. They represent all of our students’ unique gifts.
One of the most popular and meaningful times in our class is “Your Time.” Your Time happens in the afternoon and students are able to choose their activity. We love to listen and observe the many wonderful conversations at this time.
Your Time helps students develop their social language and collaboration skills. Activities fall under several categories – building and engineering, art, writing, and pretend play.
We observe the interests of students and provide a variety of tools and materials. We also set out seasonal choices and those based on what we have been exploring in class.
During Your Time, teachers talk to students about what they are doing, help them extend the activity, and support problem-solving. We also spend time reading with individual students during Your Time.
We have started “4-Corner” Reading in our classroom. Every Monday, four students select a book at their level. We help these students practice reading their book throughout the week. We will also send the book home for extra practice. On Friday, the four students will read the book to a small group in their reading corner.
Students practice their book to build fluency (a smooth, natural speaking voice) and expression. Students listening to the book practice audience manners.
We are looking forward to our first round of readers this Friday!
A few reminders about upcoming activities at school:
Class Photos – Thursday, April 19
Bring your smiles!
Professional Development Day – Monday, April 23
Student Led Conferences – Thursday, April 26 (2:00 – 6:00) Please join us in our classroom for Student Led Conferences. Your child will share their learning and demonstrate a few of our classroom activities. We look forward to seeing you. Please note there is early dismissal at 1:45.
Westridge Warrior – Friday, May 4 (9:00)
The Westridge Warrior is a school-wide fitness event. In Kindergarten and Grade 1, students complete one lap of the school, do 20 jumping jacks, and then complete one more lap. Our class is training for this event on dry afternoons.
Please email us if you have any questions about upcoming events.
Pancake Breakfast/Pajama Day Wear your pajamas on Wednesday! It is also the Pancake Breakfast. Our class is scheduled to go to the gym to eat breakfast and see Santa between 9:00 – 9:45. Parents are welcome to join.
Holiday Celebration of Learning Assembly We are performing the Merry Hula at the Celebration of Learning (in the gym at 1:00). You are invited to attend. We are asking students to wear bright t-shirts and we will provide flower leis. We will be decorating cookies in our classroom after the assembly. Please join us if you wish.
Reading Practice Kits We will not be sending our home practice kits out over the break. However, if you would like some books for reading at home during the holiday, please let us know.
Report cards will be sent home on Thursday.
We are thinking about parts of a story. Soon, we will be using what we have learned to write a holiday story with our big buddies.
We started thinking about what a character is and how readers learn about characters.
Students took a gallery walk around our room to look at books with some well-known characters. Then, students drew a picture of a character they like.
Favourite characters in our classroom include Elephant and Piggie, Pete the Cat, and Fancy Nancy.
Next time you are reading a book with your child, try asking questions such as:
“Who is the main character?”
“What can you tell me about the character?”
“How do you think the character is feeling now?”