Friday, 24 September 2021

Patterns and Community Building

Patterns and More


We have begun our math unit sorting objects and making patterns.  We are using toys and manipulative that we have in the classroom. The skills we have been practicing are: making a pattern, naming patterns and extending patterns.  The students have strips of paper with the name of a pattern, their job is to replicate the pattern. After we practice several times, the children will create a pattern and write the name on a strip of paper. 

We willl be looking at different ways to use objects to make patterns such as by the colour of the object, the shape, the size and the direction which the object faces. 

Next week we will continue with patterns and play a game with pattern blocks and police cars. A child makes a pattern with a mistake in the pattern. A second child then drives the police car along the pattern until they find and correct the mistake. 

We will continue with pattern practice through next week and then begin working on number sense. 

Community Building

Stick and Stone

We have been enjoying many read aloud books about school and friendship. On Wednesday, we read the story Stick and Stone. This is a wonderful book that shares the story of an unlikely friendship between a stick and a stone. After we read the story the brainstormed all the types of playground equipment at school. The students were asked to work in groups to draw equipment that Stick could play on, that Stone could play on and what they could play together.

Once they had generated their ideas, on Friday they were given the task of building a playground for Stick and Stone to play on using toys in the class. 

Working together, sharing materials, sharing ideas and deciding on how to build together is really tough work. 

Growth Mindset

We are also reading books about growth mindset which have the message that it is okay to make mistakes.  When we make mistakes we learn and stretch our brain. We have been talking about what it means to be present and practice mindfulness. We have been talking about the parts of our brain (prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala) and how each helps us at school. As well, we have been talking about our elastic brain and how we can stretch our brain to try new things that are hard or challenging. We have also been talking about the "power of "YET". 

Our Emotions

We have been giving our emotions colours, not as a value or in judgement but as a way of differentiating which colours support learning and which colours are better for other situations and may make learning harder. 

We have been talking about how all our feelings are valid and that there is a time and place for all of our feelings. When we have strong feelings at school, those feeling are valid. The children are being introduced to tools and techniques that help to manage big feelings. In class we have a selection of fidgets and a calm corner to support kids at school. 

Our feelings

Blue (sad, tired, moving slowly) - For example. these are appropriate at bed time but not when you want to play tag or build a pattern in class.

Red (anger, yelling)- For example, it is appropriate to yell loudly when playing soccer and you want someone to pass the ball but not during quiet reading. 
We also want to be cautious with these feelings, sometimes our actions can be unkind when we are in the red zone. 

Yellow (wiggly, silly, frustrated)- For example, being silly is appropriate with family and friends or during a silly song but may not be appropriate during an assembly.

Green (calm, ready to learn, focused, feeling okay)- These are the ones that help us to learn and make good decisions during lessons and work time. 

The colours I am using come from a program called "Zones of Regulation

For parents

Things you can do at home:

  1.  Let your child have unstructured time to play. At this point in the year, they are very tired and need play time to process all that has happened in the day.
  2. Ask your child about the bubble gum brain and the brick brain. 
  3. Have your child use the pipe cleaner they brought home to show you how to identify the core (le coeur) of a pattern. 
  4. Have crayons and art supplies on hand and encourage time to draw and colour. This helps to process their day and it supports writing. In the primary grade (through grade 3) we often start with a drawing to facilitate writing and generating ideas for writing. 
  5. Count in French, especially higher than 30! There are links to videos that have the French counting words under the tab "Songs we are singing" at the top of the page. 

Friday, 13 August 2021

Welcome to Vicki's class

Welcome to our classroom home!

Blog posts

Welcome to your peek into our busy class!  I use this website to send updates about what we are doing in the classroom. The posts will include themes that we are exploring as well as interesting things that I want to share with you about our days. These blog posts are a newsletter and I try to send one out once a month or so. I generally send out an email notice when I put new information here on the blog.

Often with a post, I will include a section for you titled "Things you can do". This will include suggestions of things to do at home to extend the learning that happens at home, as well as suggestions of specific questions you can ask that may get a more detailed answers than "What did you do today?". These suggestions are ways for your child to share with you what they can do. You can see for yourself how your child is learning and growing their brain!

FreshGrade Connect

I also use an app/ website called FreshGrade Connect where I post pictures and video of your child working and participating in learning activities. The posts will also give you a peek into what is happening specifically in your child's day. The posts are based on a subject of study or a theme that we are exploring in class. I try to post two posts a month that include several pictures of your child at work. When I first put a post on FreshGrade Connect it usually has a description and/ or only 1 picture, as the month goes on I tend to add more pictures as your child continues to work and explore in class. 

With the pictures and videos are detailed explanations of what the children are doing and the learning goals of the activity. Some of these posts will include evaluations that I add and self-evaluations from your child. I will send an email home sharing when there are new posts and new evaluations on FreshGrade Connect.

Resources for you on this website.

Tabs along the top of this webpage:

As you can see there are many pages along the top of the site with resources for you and your child. They are there for your convenience and to extend the learning that we are doing in class. They are by no means meant as homework. If you child is asking to read or wants to share a song with you that we have been singing in class, the links are at the top of the page. 

These pages also include many resources that I have chosen and curated that I feel are appropriate for the grade and stage of my class. Feel free to explore and use these pages as best fits you and your family.

Links to September newsletters:

Here are copies of the Welcome Letter and Parent Handbook that will becoming home in the first few days of school. Please read both documents as they give you an overview of our class routines for the year. 
Every year the school district requires us to send out the Code of Conduct for the school. This document sets up how we interact as a community with the roles for both staff and students. It also outlines the responsibilities and possible consequences for all members of our community.
Please note the following relevant topics to look for in the Code of Conduct:
  • No toys/ stuffs at school- we have plenty of balls and toys at recess for kids.
  • Birthday invitations- If you must hand them out at school please have your child give them to me to hand out discretely

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Canada is diverse

A focus on literacy 


Since the March Break, we have been focussing on oral language and writing. As these activities do not lend themselves well to being captured for Freshgrade, there have not been any recent updates. Instead, you will see a complete writing sample coming home Monday the 26th at the end of the day. 

To support everyone with their French oral language we have started a new French game involving wearing bracelets in class. There is so much rich conversation in French in class right now! Everyone should be commended for the fantastic effort and risk taking that they are doing every day!


Social Studies

We have been reading Robert Munsch books. Robert Munsch writes books about the children he meets across Canada. By reading a variety of these books, it is giving us jumping off points to talk about the various regions of Canada. We have been adding each book to our map of Canada. So far, we have talked about:

·     --Québec- Carnaval 

·     --The prairies- the immigrants who came to farm the land and the Metis and Cree who live there.

·     --Ontario- the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, the Algonquin peoples and rural vs. urban settings.

·     --The North- Inukshuks as signposts, the Dene people and Arctic animals.


With all our conversations and discoveries about various regions and peoples we are comparing them to our own Vancouver Island and the Cowichan Tribes. As we continue our conversations, we will explore the Atlantic provinces. Robert Munsch presents limited views of family groupings so we will also be exploring books that present more diverse families to better reflect our Canadian culture.


Addition and mental math

In math the class is working on different strategies to add. The grade 1’s are working on making 10 and using doubles as mental math strategies. The grade 2’s are working on finding the nearest 10 to help with mental math. For example 18+5 can be more easily solved as 20 + 3. 

We have been using a variety of materials in class to gain fluency with addition. Some of the items are; dice, Power of 10 cards, Cuisinaire Rods and cubes.

Outside Playtime

We have turned our garden in to a play community. The students have a variety of loose parts to play with and create. So far we have had a scientific laboratory, a crystal castle and a fairy garden. 

Questions to ask at home:

To help your child elaborate more on their day you can ask:
  • What was your math centre today?
  • Did you have reading centres or read with a partner? 
  • What letter sounds are you practicing this week? 
  • What is the story you are working on this week? Did you draw your picture or write today? What happens next in your story?
  • Wednesdays- What did you do in library? In Music?
  • Thursdays- What did you do in Fine Arts?
  • Fridays- What did you do in Fine Arts? Did you have 3+ choices today? What did you choose?

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Our Winter Explorations

Water- solid and liquid water

We spent the early part of the month exploring water and building our winter vocabulary. One morning we discovered that our Lego people were frozen in ice! This led to a discussion about what makes an object a solid or a liquid. We also took time throughout the day to draw what was happening in the plates on our tables. As the ice began to melt we explored and watched a video about the water cycle. We talked about where in our homes we have seen condensation and steam. 

As part of our explorations with solids, we used plasticine to model how the plasticine does not change shape unless we pull it, roll it or otherwise use force on it.

We also explored liquids in class. We gathered material and recorded if we thought that they would float or sink. The next day we tested the object to see if our predictions were accurate. 

Observing the states of water


Over the last several weeks we have continued to explore 2D shapes. We have been playing "What's my rule?" (C'est quoi ma règle?). The students work with a partner. One child sorts the shapes based on an attribute (size, colour, thickness etc.) and the second child has to guess the rule for sorting. The grade 1's are sorting by one attribute and the grade 2's are using two or more attributes. 

We went on a shape scavenger hunt in class. The students searched for 2D shapes in the 3D objects in class. For example our class table groups make a hexagon. 

Recently the students have been creating 2D shapes using geoboards.

Exploring 2D shapes

Core competencies

As we prepare for report cards to come out at the end of the month, the students are preparing their self-evaluation of the core competencies. These competencies include communication, thinking as well as personal and social responsibility. We engage in these competencies all the time with our activities. 

Over the last few weeks we have been reading books that illustrate each of the competencies so that the children have concrete examples of what each of the competencies look like. We are watching a movie "Meet the Robinsons" to continue to explore the competencies. At the beginning of the movie the character Lewis does not demonstrate many of the core competencies. As we watch the movie we are pausing and talking about which competencies he demonstrates and which ones he is working on. 

Next week the children will complete their own self- evaluation.

Here is a link to the BC core competencies

FreshGrade Connect

If you haven't checked in recently, please log in to FreshGrade and leave a 👍 or a 😀 in the comment box of the assessments in the portfolios. The evaluations that you find on the portfolio are the basis of the upcoming report card. 

Recently the students have started to take their own pictures of their work. The pictures that they take have their name in the picture (so I know whose work is in the photo) and a card with a self-evaluation. The ⭐ means that your child thinks that this is their best work, a 😀 means "I did it" and the 😑 means your child thinks that they would like more support or practice for this activity. 

Home reading

As I read with students next week, we will begin our home reading program. Your child will choose a book that they can read independently and bring it home. Students benefit from rereading books. To that end, please keep the book at home until your child has had a chance to read the book on three different occasions. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you do not want books to come home at this time. This is not a mandatory activity or homework. 

Things that you can do at home:

  1. Look for 2D shapes in furniture and objects in your home. For example the side of the couch could be a rectangle. 
  2. Talk about the temperature outside relative to the rain and (maybe) snow. We discussed the freezing temperature of water in class. 
  3. Read books with your child that they enjoy. Look at the library books with you child, ask them what words on the page they can read or find. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Geometry and Gingerbread

 The Gingerbread Man

We have been reading a version of The Gingerbread Man (le garçon de pain d'épices). We are continuing to talk about story elements. We read the story together projected on the board. Then we talked about who the characters were in the story. The children were given copies of the characters in the story and coloured them.

We read the story a second time and acted some of the story out. Later that same day, the children worked in groups to build the various settings from the story, the house, the farm and the woods. (See the photos above.)

After they had finished the setting, they got their characters and retold the story using the characters in the settings. (See the photos below.) Later this week, the children will get a copy of the story to read and colour. They can bring it home and share the story with you.


Over this past week we have been exploring 2D shapes. The children have been using the pattern blocks in class to build triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons and trapezoids. 

We will build Christmas Trees using the pattern blocks and green paper using what we know about the sides and corners of each shape. We are also going to talk about circles and compare them to shapes with sides and corners. 

After the break, we will continue to build shapes with a variety of materials, sticks, geoboards, and natural materials (when the weather is favourable). The grade 1's will compare and sort shapes based on one attribute while the grade 2's will compare and sort shapes using 2 attributes. We will also look for shapes in our environment.

If we have snow in January, we will also explore snowflakes and symmetry.

Later in the year we will explore 3D shapes.


There are some new evaluations on FreshGrade are:
  • a writing assessment which includes a picture of your child's writing, their assessment of their work and my evaluation of their work.
  • a math assessment. For grade 1, it is an evaluation of their understanding around decomposing numbers. For grade 2, it is an evaluation of addition and subtraction facts to/ from 20.
Please take a look at your child's portfolio and add a 😃 or a 👍 or a comment in the comment section of these assessments. The work that I post on the portfolio is there to give you an idea of what we are working on and the progress your child is making. The comments that I write are to help give you a clear picture of where your child is and what the next steps are. These assessments are what I refer to when I am writing the report card in January. 

Things you can do at home:

  1. Give your child an opportunity to draw, build or find the different shapes we have been exploring at home. Ask them what the French name for each is.
  2. Write random numbers (10-60) on a paper and ask your child what it is called in French. I have noticed a number of the children are only able to say the French name when reciting the numbers in order. This is important vocabulary for all their time in French Immersion. The first time they will have Math in English is grade 10ish.
  3. Read the booklet "Le garçon pain d'épices" with your child when it comes home. 
  4. Ask your child about the pictures on FreshGrade. You could ask:
    • What is the activity you are doing?
    • What is challenging about this activity for you? or How could you make it more challenging? 

Monday, 23 November 2020

Elements of Stories and the Numbers 11-20

Story Elements- Characters, Setting and Problem

We have started a unit on story elements. We used the story "Gros Ours Grincheux" to introduce story elements. We talked about the characters (les personnages), the setting (l'endroit) as well as the problem in the story. We glued the characters on a chart paper. The main character (the bear) was in the cave and the secondary characters were in the forest. The problem was under the 2 settings. 

This is our sorting of the characters from the story "Gros Ours Grincheux"

Next we drew a picture of our bedrooms and labelled the picture. We then read a story about a lost Teddy Bear, "Trouvé." In the story a bear finds a stuffy in the woods and tries to  find the owner. From this story we were inspired to have lost a toy in our stories that would introduce a problem into what we were writing about our rooms. 

The grade 1's will draw the missing toy hidden in their room somewhere and copy writing. The grade 2's will write about the toy being missing, who finds the toy and where they find the toy. 

The pictures below show a vocabulary building activity we did before writing.

The Numbers 11-20

In the next week we will be working with the numbers 11-20. We will be looking at all the different ways we can describe numbers relative to 10. Describing numbers relative to 10 is an important concept as our number system is a base 10 system. This is the very beginning of Place Value. 

In our morning math baskets we are practicing addition and decomposing numbers which are based on the activities that you read about in the last post. The grade 1's are working on representing decomposed numbers and addition stories using drawings and numbers. The grade 2's are working on writing accurate number facts using + and =. They are also self-evaluating which facts they have memorized. 

FreshGrade Connect

For those who have not left a comment yet, could you please leave a 😀 or a 👍in the comment box for the "Readers's Workshop" or "Making 9" so that I know you have seen the most recent activities. FreshGrade is one of the tools I have to touch base with you about your child. It would be helpful to me if you could use a quick emoji so I have some feedback that you have seen the items. Thanks so much to those who have left comments so far this fall. 

Please do not feel that you have to go back and acknowledge every item I just want to ensure that  you have access to your child's portfolio. I know you do not have a lot of time as a busy parent as there is so much to do and you may not have anything you wish to add as a comment. 

If you have not yet logged on to FreshGrade or downloaded the app, please email me as your invite will have expired and I will have to resend the invite. 

There is a post that you can find on the right hand column that describes how to log on to FreshGrade.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Fall Leaves and Number Sense

Fall leaves

We began this unit by brainstorming all we knew about fall. We made a list of questions that the class was wondering about fall and leaves. Some of the things that they were wondering were; why the leaves fall, what happened when the leaves are on the ground and if the leaves are living after they fall. We have spent the last few weeks exploring these ideas.

As you have seen on FreshGrade, we went outside and looked at the trees. We brought leaves into the class to classify and sort. We read several books about leaves and the different kinds of leaves. 

This week to summarize the unit, I asked the children to draw all the things that they know about leaves and have learned about leaves. They shared their drawings with a partner. This learning routine is called "Give 1 Get 1" where the children make a list of knowledge and then shared it with others.
We then watched a video about why the leaves change colours. The children went back to their drawings and added the new information about why the leaves change colours. 


We have started our unit on number sense. This week we are working with the numbers 7-10. The grade 1's are focusing on all the different ways to decompose each number. Decomposing numbers means showing numbers in parts such as 7 is 1 & 6, 2 & 5, 3 & 4. The grade 2's are taking the opportunity to memorize (or review) addition facts for each number. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring the numbers 11-20 which will include an introduction to place value. 

We are using a variety of materials to explore numbers from 7-20. Some of these materials are pictured below including: dice, cuisinaire rods and 10 Frames. 


FreshGrade is the digital portfolio that I am using to share your child's learning with you as the learning  is in progress during class time. This allows you to see what is happening throughout the year and leading up to the report cards in January and June. There is a website post about how to log on in the column on the right of this webpage.

I use FreshGrade to share pictures and videos of activities we are doing at school. I also post  assessments that have detailed written comments and sometimes a snapshot of where the child is on the "proficiency scale" (Proficient, developing etc.). The purpose of these assessments are so you can quickly see what your child is doing at school and what the next steps for your child are. 

The children give consent for me to take their picture. This means that they are sharing work that they feel is complete and meets the criteria (the expectations of the activity). I encourage you to ask your children about the things you see on FreshGrade.