Ms. S. Sokugawa

Making connections is the key to learning.

Home Reading

Written By: sokugawas - Feb• 02•18

As of February 2, the students have new bins in which to pick their home reading books.  As reading has two components, decoding and comprehension, we went over four steps for them to follow as they read their books at home.  Between the two components, the latter (comprehension) is more important .  In class, I have the students track the words with their fingers (point to each word) so that they do not miss any word, interchange the words, or skip any words.  We also focus on looking at the punctuation marks.  The period indicates a statement and is a complete stop so the reader can take a breath.  The exclamation mark invokes emotion (sad, angry, excitement,…) so the sentence needs to be read with emotion, and the question mark poses a question so the voice should have an inflection at the end.  Reading pass these punctuation changes meaning to what the author has written and is trying to tell us.  We will continue to focus on all of these things when we continue to work in our reading groups.  As for the home reading, the four steps that I have asked the students are as follows:

  1. Picture walk (before reading, look at each page so that they can think about what the book will be about)
  2. Read it (read it through, sounding out unfamiliar words and looking at the picture clues)
  3. Read through again until they are fluent and feel comfortable with all the words.  
  4. Tell a family member (one person something about the story.  They can elaborate with more details.)

Finally, please check my blog pages located at the top for updates as I continually add information. 

Star of the Week

Written By: sokugawas - Jan• 31•18

We are on the last person of our “Star of the Week” rotation.  Next week (week of Feb. 5-9), we will begin the rotation again.  To continue with the opportunity for the Star of the Week to speak in front of the class and talk about themselves, I am asking each student to bring a special item to present.  I ask that they not pick a toy or a stuffed animal, but rather something that holds meaning for them such as a photograph, book, souvenir,…   I will send a letter the Wednesday before they are the Star of the Week explaining all the details.  When your child is picking their special item, please use the 5 W’s as a guideline (who, what, when, where, why).  The item should be something that is important so that they are able to speak about it with ease and comfort.  

New Set of Words

Written By: sokugawas - Jan• 29•18

Starting Monday, January 29th, the words that the students have written on the cue cards will have a “p” on the upper right hand corner.  We have now finished our “pre-primer” (pp) list of high frequency words, and are now moving into our “primer” list(p).  These are words, together with the pre-primer list, that are the frequently used words in kindergarten level books.  We will continue to get a new word Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Please continue to have your child review these words as often as possible so that they are familiar and help to make the reading more fluent.  I will continue to post them on my blog in the order that the words are presented to the students.  For example, the last word from our pre-primer list was “you”.  Our word today was “all”, and it will be after “you”.  Thank you for your continued support.  

Setting Goals

Written By: sokugawas - Jan• 15•18

A new calendar year has begun.  2017 flew by so quickly and here we are at the start of 2018.  On January 10th, Division 14 talked about setting goals, and how goals help us to make improvements in ourselves.  We talked about the importance of looking at ourselves and setting realistic goals that require effort.  If very little effort is needed, then those goals are too easy, and if the goals require a lot of effort and are very difficult to accomplish, then the goals are too hard.  Finding goals that are “just right” are important in helping us to grow, improve, and get better.  As a class, we brainstormed a list of realistic and attainable goals.  I then had the students think about themselves and reflect on the three most important goals that they needed to work on personally, and not pick the goals that their friends were picking.  When they picked the goals they wanted to work on, they wrote them down on the “Setting Goals” sheet.  I have put them all up on the wall beside our classroom door so the students can look at their own sheet each morning before they enter the classroom and know what they need to work on.  It was neat to see how each student picked the appropriate goals for themselves and were not be influenced by their friends’ choices.  

Season’s Greetings

Written By: sokugawas - Dec• 19•17

As we have begun our final week before the holidays, I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots of exciting and fun moments spending time with loved ones.  

During the break, please continue to practice the words as often as possible and read books so that they can continue to build their confidence.  If possible, try to find these words, or any words that can be sounded out in the “world around them”.  This can be done while walking or driving around, shopping, on the various store windows or awnings, or any signs that you may see.  Cooking and baking with a recipe is a great way to get your kids engaged and using their reading skills in the real world.  I am always telling them that reading isn’t just at reading time, but something we do all the time.  It is important to make the learning fun and relevant to them.  

Also, thank you to those parents who came in to see me during parent teacher conferences.  It was great to touch base with you about your wonderful children.  If you did not get an opportunity to come in, please don’t worry.  We can touch base when you have a moment or when you are dropping off or picking up your child.  Please let me know what works for you.

Finally, if you have not already done so, please send back the report card envelope signed, so I can use them again at the end of Term 2 (we can be environmentally aware so not to waste extra envelopes). 

Thank you again, and all the very best for the holiday season.  

What’s Next?

Written By: sokugawas - Dec• 04•17

Wow! What a great first term! It’s hard to believe how Term 1 has come and gone so quickly. We did a lot and learned a lot. Division 14 is full of inquisitive individuals who love learning. It has been great teaching them. Term 1 was spent learning and building the fundamentals of reading, writing, and math. Now as we begin Term 2, we are going to put those skills to work.
Last week (November 27), we began reading groups. This is where a small group of students who are around the same level, sit with an adult and read a book. We use skills such as reading the title, looking at the pictures, reading familiar words, and sounding out the words we aren’t sure about. With all of these skills, we begin reading the book, and also begin making meaning of the words used (building our comprehension skills). It is so exciting to see how the students are using their skills and becoming better readers. Way to go!
Also, we began our home reading program today (December 4). Each student has a Ziploc bag with an explanation (blue notice) and a pink sheet (a way to keep track of the number of days the students read). Please have your child return the book each day so they can exchange it for a new one. This helps your child become responsible for bringing his/her things between home and school, similar to the planners. Happy Reading!
Please keep checking the “Our Learning (Literacy)” and “Our Learning (Math)” pages as I update when we learning new things and words.

Is Saying Sorry Enough?

Written By: sokugawas - Nov• 02•17

When we do something by accident, the first word that often comes out of our mouth is “Sorry”.  As adults, we have encountered many situations where an apology is necessary, but have we ever stopped to question its sincerity?  With our children, we teach our children to “say sorry” when they have done something hurtful.  However, if the apology is not sincere, but rather said as an attachment to the situation that occurred, it now becomes an empty apology.  Today, I read a book titled, “Sorry!” by Trudy Ludwig.  It is about a boy named Charlie who feels that saying sorry will undo the hurtful things he does until one day he is asked to show that he is sorry.  Up until the point where Charlie has to demonstrate his apology, he had learned that saying sorry would make the situation disappear that he would intentionally hurt others knowing that a “Sorry” would solve the problem.  After reading the book, we talked about the four steps to being sorry.  

  1. I’m sorry for…: Be specific.  Show the person you’re apologizing to that you really understand what they are upset about.  (Wrong: I’m sorry for being mean.  Right: I’m sorry for saying that nobody wants to be your friend.)
  2. This is wrong because…: This might take some more thinking, but this is one of the most important parts.  Until you understand how they feel, I can’t tell you how much of a difference this makes!  Sometimes, people want to feel understood more than they want an apology.  Sometimes just showing understanding -even without an apology is enough to make them feel better! (Wrong: This is wrong because I got in trouble.  Right: This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.)
  3. In the future I will… or Next time, I will…: Use positive language, and tell me what you WILL do, not what you won’t do.  
  4. Will you forgive me?: This is important to try to restore your friendship or the relationship.  Now, there is no rule that the other person HAS to forgive you.  Sometimes, they won’t.  That’s their decision.  Hopefully, you will all try to be kind of individuals who will forgive easily, but that’s not something you automatically get just because you apologized.  

Touch and Personal Space (TAPS)

Written By: sokugawas - Oct• 30•17

On October 30, 2017, Ms. Blair, the school counsellor, came into our class to talk about “Touch and Personal Space” (TAPS), a program developed by the Vancouver School Board to help us with our understanding about personal space.  We all have an invisible boundary (personal space) that is like an invisible bubble.  Usually our bubble is bigger the front and back, and smaller on the sides.  Sometimes, our bubble shrinks depending on the situation such as a line up or at carpet time.  For strangers, the bubble needs to be much much bigger.  Humans cannot survive without touch so touch is important.  However, the touch needs to be healthy  and mutual where both people or beings (pets) like it.  There are nine (9) kinds of touches that Ms. Blair talked about.  

  1. No Touch – Lining up or carpet time is an example of “No touch”.  Hands are to ourselves and it is not necessary to touch the person beside us or in front of us.  
  2. Loving Touch – Another way to view this would be family touch.  This is the kind of touch that families share such as hugging one another.  
  3. Friendly Touch – This is the kind of touch that occurs when we give a friend or a teammate a high five for doing a good job.  
  4. Fix-it Touch – This is the kind of touch given by a doctor or dentist when they are taking care of our bodies and keeping us well.  
  5. Accidental Touch – This kind of touch is done accidentally when losing our balance or not paying attention to our surroundings.  
  6. Space Invader Touch – This kind of touch happens when we are not mindful of our invisible bubble and we slowly start to go into someone else’s bubble.  
  7. Hurtful Touch – This kind of touch happens often when we are angry and lash out due to our emotions.  Calming our bodies down first rather than retaliating with help alleviate this kind of touching.  
  8. Confusing Touch – This kind of touch is one where we are not sure whether it was an accident or intentional and more questions need to be asked before we understand why it happened.  
  9. Problem Touch – This kind of touch is not appropriate to talk about at school or in public.  If this kind of touch occurs, it is important to let a tusted adult know right away so it can be resolved.  

We will use these names to help identify the kind of touching that occurs so that we can become more mindful and make better choices.  

Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

Written By: sokugawas - Oct• 18•17

During the week of October 16, we have been reviewing the words of  the Tribes Agreements and the importance of each meaning.  We have been revisiting each component of our Tribes Agreements and learning how our actions are sometimes hurtful when we are not thinking about their implications.  Therefore, remembering to make good choices will result in safe, kind, and fair behaviour, which are “The Big 3” and the goal here at Gilmore school.  Furthermore, we have been reading books to help us with our understanding so that we can demonstrate appropriate behaviour and model how we are being safe, kind, and fair.  

  • Willow Finds a Way by Lana Buttons
  • Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne
  • A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  • We’re All Friends Here by Nancy Wilcox Richards
  • All for Me and None for All by Helen Lester
  • Jerimiah Learns to Read by Jo Ellen Bogart
  • Me First by Helen Lester
  • When Pigs Fly by Valerie Coulman
  • Listen Buddy by Helen Lester
  • I Can’t Believe You Said That by Julia Cook


Written By: sokugawas - Oct• 18•17

Welcome to Ms. Sokugawa’s blog.  Please visit the “About the class” page to learn more about the classroom.  

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