In the Loop June 13, 2021

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: Students will have their last week of literature circles. They should be working on their cursive packets.
  • Math: Students will have a geometry assessment on Tuesday. There will be problem-solving this week, as well as work with tessellations that will continue into next week.
  • Twelfth Night: Students should be editing their scene summaries best on feedback from the newspaper committee. All students should have their lines memorized and have their own costumes and props at school and ready to go.
  • End of the Year Evaluations: Students will be working on a MORC (My Own Report Card) and a Core Competency evaluation this week. Both self-assessments will be sent home with students report cards.

Calendar:

  • Thursday, Friday June 17: Virtual VPL: We will have an online meeting with he Vancouver Public Library to learn about their summer reading program. Thanks to Ms. Lucas for organizing this event.
  • Friday, June 18: Locked Room Virtual Field Trip: Thanks to our PAC, we are being treated to a virtual field trip in a locked room! We will do this activity in the afternoon. We also plan to go to Maple Grove Park in the morning, but I will email closer to the date as our trip is weather-dependent.
  • Thursday, June 24: Final Performance of Twelfth NightThe current plan is to livestream (and record) our performance for Division 17 families. Stay tuned for time and details.
  • Friday, June 25 is the date for our end-of-year class picnic at Maple Grove Park. (Yes, this date changed–again–since last week. We’re sticking with Friday!
  • Tuesday, June 29: Last day of school for students–reports sent home.

Scenes: Once again, we had a week of playing drama games (for movement and improvisation),

practicing scenes,

and doing our committee work behind the scenes.

Ultimate: This group learned ultimate–the skills and the game–so quickly that we could get right down to business.

Botany: Thank you to the Chau family for sharing a beautiful bunch of peonies with us!

June is Pride Month!

In the Loop June 6, 2021

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: Students should prepare for their second meeting with their latest literature circle group. (Some of the books students are reading: Schooled, Shiloh, and The Cay.) Meetings are either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on what each group has arranged. After this, there will be one more week of literature circles. We will also begin cursive practice that will continue for the next couple of weeks.
  • Math: Students will have problem-solving and geometry work this week. Next week (the week of June 14), all students will have a geometry test, reviewing concepts we have studied this term.
  • Anatomy Inquiry Project: An impressive collection of projects came in last Friday. A handful of students will share their projects on Monday (tomorrow).
  • French: After reading them in French, students are working on writing their own stories.
  • Drama / Twelfth Night: We will be spending the majority of our class time preparing our play for the next couple of weeks. Students should be memorizing the lines for their roles (ideally, we are off-script next week), but they are also all expected to: 1) complete a summary for our newspaper, 2) bring in their costume (for June 9), and 3) complete responsibilities for their committees (newspaper, dance, costumes, set, music, directors).

Calendar:

  • June is Pride Month: Thanks to Ms. Lucas, Ms. Alexis and the Pride Alliance, we will be learning about and celebrating our LBGTQ community.
  • Tuesday, June 8: All books are due to the library.
  • Wednesday, June 9: School-wide assembly: It will be livestreamed at 1:15pm. Thanks to Mr. McDonough for coordinating the technology to put together videos from all the classes. Here is the link to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHYmIW1dn4c. It goes live at the scheduled assembly time.
  • Friday, June 18: Locked Room Virtual Field Trip: Thanks to our PAC, we are being treated to a virtual field trip in a locked room! We will do this activity in the afternoon.
  • Thursday, June 24: Final Performance of Twelfth NightThe current plan is to livestream (and record) our performance for Division 17 families. Stay tuned for time and details.
  • Tuesday, June 29: Last day of school for students–reports sent home. It is also the date for our end-of-year class picnic at Maple Grove Park. (This is a change from the tentative date of Friday, June 25.)

Week of Orange: Our class has had many discussions last week about the recent revelations from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation that unmarked graves of 215 children were found at a Kamloops residential school. Thanks to Ms. Adams’ initiative, supplies from Mr. Land and Ms. Carriere, as well as the helping hands from Ms. Lucas’ class, we were able to add to a tribute to the victims of residential schools. We were also able to reflect on the families that continue to be affected by the legacy of the schools.

Anatomy Projects: Here is an incomplete snapshot of some of the anatomy projects that were shared on Friday. Apologies to students whose projects I missed. Other topics included: asthma, scoliosis, the affect of altitude on lungs, cat anatomy, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, colour blindness, diabetes, plus more to come.

Anatomy Reflection: Which organ system is most important? Student reflected on this question…with some interesting, critical responses.

Drama, Drama, Drama: We have been busily ratcheting up our play preparation. We have been doing committee work….

…drama games and activities,

…and practicing scenes:

Botany: Students continue to create beautiful art with botany. If you have any spring flowers to share, send them our way.

Outside: We are so accustomed to eating outside that students insisted on being outside in the rain on Friday.

In the Loop May 30, 2021

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: Students will have their last grammar assignment this week. The last round of literature circles will begin next week (and continue for a total of three weeks). This time students their literature circle book and group. The should be prepared to meet on Wednesday or Thursday next week. I extended the due date for the Shakespeare themes assignment so some students may be turning that assignment in this Monday.
  • Math: Students will have problem-solving and geometry work this week.
  • Anatomy Inquiry Project: Projects are due next Friday (June 4). Students should be sure to have a list of resources to accompany the work they turn in. Students who are completing oral presentations should turn in their outlines (or power points) on Friday, though we may end up hosting their presentations on Monday. 
  • Drama / Twelfth Night: In addition to working on memorizing lines and practicing scenes, students should be begin working on a scene summary that was assigned to them by the newspaper committee. These summaries are due during the week of June 7. Students are also expected to share their costume plan with the Costume and Props committee by Wednesday, June 2.

Calendar:

  • Friday, June 4: Anatomy Inquiry projects are due.
  • Friday, June 4: Morning at Maple Grove Park. I am tentatively planning for us to spend Friday mornings at MG Park for the remainder of the year, but I will let you know each week. Students who would like to meet us at the park this Friday should meet us on the NE corner of the park (Yew and 51st) by 9:30 am. We will be using this time for our morning walk, class meeting and practicing scenes. I see that currently, the forecast calls for rain, so stay tuned for a change of plans.
  • Tuesday, June 8: All library books are due to the library.
  • Thursday, June 24: Final Performance of Twelfth Night The current plan is to live stream (and record) our performance for Division 17 families. Stay tuned for time and details.
  • Friday, June 25: Tentative Plan for an end-of-the-year party at Maple Grove Park.
  • Tuesday, June 29: Last day of school for students.

Anatomy: Students had their final lesson on the brain this week. This week all science work will be devoted to the anatomy inquiry project.

Drama: We approached drama from many different angles this week with several activities using movement to express ideas. Ms. Alexis guided students’ through a lesson based on Roy Vickers’ book, Peace Walker, based on a story from the Tsimshian village of Kitkatla. We also worked on voice at Maple Grove Park on Friday–see below.

Friday at Maple Grove Park: On Friday we had our class meeting and took some time to film for our pod song. We also did some voice exercises for drama practicing the four Ps: pronunciation, punch, pause and projecting with our lines).

We also had time for another P: play!

Ultimate with Elevate: This was our last week with the folks at Elevate, Miu, Jazz and Emma. Again, we are thankful to the PAC for funding these lessons. We learned a lot in three days! Here is information about Elevate’s summer camps , some of which will be hosted at Maple Grove. Other offerings include a 1/2 day of STEM activities (with one of our instructors, Jazz).

Botany: Students continue to find creative ways to capture our spring flower samples.

In the Loop May 23, 2021

I hope all Division 17 families are having a relaxing holiday weekend.

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: Students will have a grammar assignment this week. The only groups that have literature circles this week are The War that Saved My Life and Kensuke’s Kingdom.
  • Math: Students will have problem-solving and geometry work this week.
  • Science: We will be taking a look at our senses and our brain as we start wrapping up our human anatomy unit. Most of science time will be devoted to their inquiry science project.
  • Anatomy Inquiry Project: At this point every student should have an inquiry question and should have done a large chunk of their research (with recorded notes that they can bring to class). (It is okay if students alter the wording of their original inquiry question as they work through the research however it is expected they stay with their original topic.) Next week students should be finishing their research and should begin creating their presentation. Starting the presentation will help students see if there are any gaps in their research they need to fill so it is highly recommended that they begin working on it this week. 
  • Drama / Twelfth Night: In addition to working on memorizing lines and practicing scenes, students have a new assignment: identifying themes in Twelfth Night. This is a formal writing assignment that was handed out with specific instructions and criteria on Friday, May 21. It is due Friday, May 28.

Calendar:

  • Monday, May 24 is Victoria Day. There is no school for staff or students.
  • Friday, May 28: Morning at Maple Grove Park. We are planning to enjoy some outdoor time at Maple Grove Park Friday morning to film some video clips for our pod song’s music video. In order to make the most of our time at the park we will be leaving very soon after the bell rings, so please ensure your student arrives on time. If your child will be meeting us at the park, please let me know via email by Wednesday. They should meet us on the NE corner of the park (Yew and 51st) by 9:30 am. As we will be recording video we ask that students wear neutral earth tones, such as blacks, greys, and dark greens and that they avoid images and text on shirts. Students may also want to bring additional sun protection on Friday as the weather calls for a lot of sun. 

Anatomy: Students are studying the nervous system with Ms. Alexis. This week they looked at the way we use our senses to gather and respond (electrochemically!) using our senses. Students (loosely) applied the Scientific Method to activities testing their reaction time to visual and tactile stimuli. Ask your child which sensory input brought a quicker reaction–sight or touch…and why that might be.

French: Students are reading books (well, very short books) in French!

Twelfth Night Character Map: See some interpretations of the character dynamics in our play.

Drama Scenes: Now that students have their parts, we are working through scenes one by one. Groups will have time to practice their scenes during work periods next week. Students should have their lines memorized by June 7. Our final performance will be live-streamed on Thursday, May 24.

Committee Work: In addition to taking on parts in the play, students are serving on committees to make everything go smoothly behind the scenes for our final production. Students are planning costumes, set, music, dance, graphics and a newspaper. There will also be student directors (and assistants) for every scene.

Pod Song: Students quickly learned our (adapted) pod song to the tune of “The Cup Song.” We will recorded last week and will work on the filming next week. Families will be able to see our final work at the school wide assembly on Wednesday, June 9.

Ultimate: We are so grateful to our PAC for funding our sessions with Elevate Academy. Students have shown much improvement in their frisbee skills in only two days–and did I mention we are having lots of fun? We have one more lesson with Elevate on Wednesday and will continue with ultimate for the next couple of weeks.

School Grounds Clean up: We pitched in and did our trash pick-up duty this week. Not much to clean–is this a sign or less litter? More waste-free lunches?

It was a big week!

In the Loop May 16, 2021

Assignments for the Week:

  • Language: There will be a grammar assignment this week. Students are in the third week of literature circles. For some groups, this is the last week of their literature circle, other groups will have one more week.
  • Math: Students will have problem-solving and geometry work.
  • Science– Anatomy: We will be taking a quick look at the renal system this week before studying the nervous system.
  • Inquiry Project: This week, most students selected their questions for the anatomy inquiry project (tentatively due June 4).  As a reminder, although some class time will be provided for the project, it is expected that students will also work on it at home. This week, students should be looking for reputable resources and beginning to take notes. I (Ms. Alexis) will continue putting links related to their chosen topics on the class blog for students.
  • Drama / Twelfth Night: This week we will begin looking at the literary themes in Twelfth Night, with a related writing assignment due Friday, May 28. Now that students have their roles, they should begin memorizing their lines. They will also have committee work to do, starting Monday when they get their committee assignments.

Calendar:

  • Friday, May 21: Trip to Maple Grove Park: We will be walking to Maple Grove Park soon after the bell rings, arriving by 9:30 am. If your child will be meeting us at the park, please let me know via email by Wednesday. He or she should meet us on the NE corner of the park by 9:30.
  • Monday, May 24: Victoria Day Holiday–There is no school for students or staff. Enjoy your holiday!
  • Friday, June 4: Anatomy Inquiry projects due.

Pod Song: Thank you to Ms. Burghall who created lyrics for the Montessori intermediate pod, the Douglas Fir Pod. Students need to learn this song (to the tune of “The Cup Song“) pretty quick–we will be recording ourselves singing it on Friday morning (May 21) at Maple Grove Park.

Literature Circles: Students’ experience shows in this second round of literature circles with developed critical thinking and lively discussion.

Geometry and Grammar: Montessori geometry and grammar is designed so students make close observations to then draw conclusions about the qualities of our space and our language.

Let’s Talk Science: Let’s talk science came back this week to speak to the class about stress. We spoke about how stress affects the different systems in our body. To demonstrate how stress increases our heart rates, students “acted” as hearts moving a bead from a plate to a cup with the pace of an average resting heat rate. When the speed and challenge increased, most students found that their heart rate increased as well.

Science: Inquiry Project for Anatomy: Creating a question to guide inquiry work is a challenging but important skill. Ms. Alexis conferenced with almost all students last week and will meet with the rest of the class next week.

French: Students are weaving as well as learning The Virtues in French.

We Love Our Library: We are lucky to have a beautiful new library that is well-stocked, cared for, and curated by Ms. Tornroos and Ms. Adams. We visit the library every Monday afternoon.

Drama / Twelfth Night: We are enjoying our time outside playing drama games and reading through our script.

Spring Baseball: PE: We finished volleyball and baseball units this week. Mr. Land even joined us for a bit of baseball in the sun! Next week Elevate is coming in to teach ultimate. Thank you to the PAC for providing this program for us. 

Outside learning…and eating: We continue to feel lucky to be able to enjoy our lunch outside every day.

In the Loop May 9, 2021

Assignments for the Week

  • Language: Students will have a grammar assignment. Literature circles for Walk Across the Sea and Music of the Dolphins (reading pages 1-59) will meet on Wednesday. On Thursday, Kensuke’s KingdomThe War that Saved My Life and Breadwinner will meet. Students should have their reading done and come to their meeting with three comments on their lit circle bookmark.
  • Math: There will be geometry this week, as well as problem-solving this week.
  • ScienceAnatomy: This week we will look at the urinary system to wrap up digestion/excretion. Students will also be starting on an inquiry-based project which will be ongoing until early June. By the end of the week students should have at least one question they may like to research and have begun investigating the topic to ensure they are interested enough to take on a long-term assignment. Students will have a lot of agency with this project, they will be selecting thier own topics as well as deciding how they would most like to present thier learning. 
  • Drama/literary study: A character map of Twelfth Night is due on May 10.

Calendar:

  • Thursday, May 13-Let’s Talk Science: Let’s Talk Science will also be coming back, virtually of course, to present another morning of anatomy lessons.
  • Wednesday, May 19, Thursday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 26–Ultimate frisbee workshops will be taught by a local group, Elevate, during our PE times. Thanks to our generous PAC, this activity will be free for students. (Stay tuned to also hear dates for an Escape Room activity in late June, also funded by the PAC!)
  • Monday, May 24 is Victoria Day. There is no school for students and staff.

Anatomy: We almost finished our study of digestion this week. A brave volunteer (below) helped demonstrate that peristalsis will still move food (saltine crackers) down the digestive tract, even if it means defying gravity.

Some of our discussions about digestion have run longer than anticipated because of the thoughtful questions brought up by the class. These tangents might make our conversations run long but they are so interesting and engaging! As we continue to work with questions, we spent some time looking at what makes a good research question. Some questions are too “big” to manage (“Do our brains control everything?”), other questions are too “small” and can be answered with just a few words (“Why does a baby have more bones than an adult?”). As a class we talked about what makes a question the right “size” for a research project. This should give students a good starting point for creating their own research questions. 

Drama: Drama games continue, outdoors as much as possible, as we continue to practice skills skills for movement and voice. This week we tried Hot Seat, Darling, Bang, and Museum. We are also reading through the play as part of our literary study. Students have submitted their initial requests for roles which should be complete by Friday, May 14.

French: In French, students are learning about Métis culture. Last week, they learned to dance a jib.

PE: Improvement continues in baseball and volleyball. We will be running mini games for both next week as we finish up the units so we can move on to other exciting things. 

After a big week, we had some time (but not much) for games:

In the Loop May 2, 2021

Assignments for the Week

  • Language: Students will have a grammar assignment. Students received books today for a second round of literature circles. On Wednesday, Walk Across the Sea (reading pages 1-68) and Music of the Dolphins (reading pages 1-59) will meet. On Thursday, Kensuke’s Kingdom (reading pages 1-40), The War that Saved My Life (reading chapters 1-14) and Breadwinner (reading pages 1-53/chapters 1-4). Students should have their reading done and come to their meeting with three comments on their lit circle bookmark.
  • Math: There will be geometry this week, as well as problem-solving this week.
  • ScienceAnatomy: Students will continue to study the digestive system this week. We will also be spending some time talking about inquiry questions. These are skills we will be using as we begin a new individual, inquiry-based, research project.  
  • Drama/literary study: Students will have an assignment to create a character map for Twelfth Night. This will be due the week of May 10. For Monday, students should be prepared to comment on the list of drama skills (yellow handout) that they were given on Friday: 1) Which skills do they think are most important? 2) A question for their parents: Which skills have been most important in your life?
Grade 4 students created different adjectives to describe a donut. (We eliminated the “meh” adjectives on the right.)

Literature Circles: Students culminated their first literature circles last week and will begin new ones next week. After that, students will do a third literature circle that they organized by themselves.

Anatomy: This week students simulated the process of digestion…with crackers, bananas, Anatomy: This week we began our discussion around the digestion system by doing something gross! Students modeled the digestion which occurs in their bodies by mashing bananas and crackers with saliva (water) and stomach acid (vinegar). They then pulled the mixture through nylons to represent thier intestines and saw how the body pulls out liquid nutrients and leaves behind solid waste.