Monday, October 6, 2014

Working on our Math

We have worked our way through a lot of diagnostic work this September, and reviewed strategies for addition, subtraction, and multiplication.  We will continue to brush up our skills in multiplication with some work using base ten block this week.  Check out the following video on the topic of 'completing the square' to solve for multiplication questions.  There is no sound, but it does give a simple overview of what we will be doing in class this week.

We have also been working on some very tricky patterning problems.  Ask your child about constants, and how they help us to solve for pattern rules.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Flying into October

We are cruising right along into the merry month of October, and things are starting to get really busy.  A big thanks to all of the parent volunteers who came out to help with the trip to the park, and in class last week.  We now have group snack up and running (thank you Ruth for setting the schedule), and our reading program has started up (thanks Robyn and Karyn for coming in and listening to students - we have gotten through a large number already, and are hoping to set some lofty goals...if you have time to come and listen to readers, let me know), and we will be going again to the park this week (McKellar) so if you have time to join us for the walk and some exercise in the park, that would be great.
In Science we have been exploring the properties of air, and how it relates to flight.  The experiments in class have been pretty interesting, but the rocket launching at the park was the highlight by far!  For anyone who is interested, the rocket package costs less than $20, and can be purchased at the Aviation Museum (water powered and very safe).  The video above is an online posting of the Bill Nye video we saw in class last week.  This week we will be constructing various items and testing their ability to glide through the air.
Just a reminder that Friday is a PD day.  If you ordered subs for all the days on the order form, the PD days that were incorrectly included on the form will be tacked on as two extra sub days at the end, which takes us into December.  See the CASC calendar for specific dates.
Just a reminder that picture day forms went home this past week.  The cross country run is on the same date, but we will have our photos done before the runners leave, so they can bring a change of clothes for the run.
And a note for all of your calendars...Our class will be hosting a Family Math Night (Math Freaks Come Out At Night) on October 30th, at Churchill.
Happy October!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Meeting Our Reading Buddies!

Today we had our first reading buddy session with students in the kinder class.  Everyone was really excited.  The sixes were great reading role models, and the kinders had fun showing us around.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The days ahead...

This is the week of our big Terry Fox Run.  We have been collecting 'Toonies for Terry' all week, and will continue for the next week.  If you have any loose change kicking around, send it in to help us reach our fundraising goal, and if you have those pledge sheets at home, remember to go online and donate, or to send in any donations you collect with the pledge form in the coming week.
Just a reminder that we need volunteers to help with the walk to the park, and to supervise during the run.  This is a great community event, so come on out and run!
If your children have been talking about a new sport they are learning in school, it would be tchoukball that they are referring to.  This is a great cooperative sport that is played internationally, but is not overly well known.  There are two links below that explain the concepts and benefits of the game.  Basically it is a court or field styled game, without player vs player defence.  Defenders guard the court, much like in volleyball, and opponents are not allowed to interfere when the other team passes or shoots.  This allows for less anxiety when participating, and opens up more chances for students to feel success.  Check it out!                                 1)   Overview of Tchoukball

2)  Benefits of Tchoukball

Cricket delivery??? - We have two firebellied toads in our class, and they need a dozen crickets each week.  Is there anyone who may be purchasing crickets for a pet at home regularly, and wouldn't mind grabbing some extras for our class pets?  Please let me know.

Alpha-Biographies - We started our first big writing project for the year this past week.  Students have been brainstorming words/topics that reflect themselves/their lives/dreams for each of the letters of the alphabet.  For each topic they will write one to two paragraphs explaining how this word is related to them...(ie. S is for South Korea.  When I was 24 years old I travelled to South Korea to work as an English teacher.  This was an amazing experience and it started me on my path....)  Students who do not have a completed list of topics are starting to write on the topics that they have been able to come up with.  The brainstorming of additional words for their lists will be going home to be finished, as it is hoped that some assistance from family who knows them best can help them to come up with their final topics.

Pizza forms are overdue, but could be accepted Monday.  Sub forms are due by Tuesday, and Pita Pit information went home for families to order online.

Again a huge thanks to everyone who put in time this past week with either our parent meeting, our bike trip, or our BBQ (or all three)  It was a very community oriented week at Churchill, and a great way to get the year rolling.

Regards, Ray

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cycle Success!!!

Wow, what a day!  Yesterday's trip to the National Gallery was an overwhelming success from all accounts.  The smiles, laughter, and tired faces that pulled into our school yard at about 2:20 yesterday were easy to read.  Students, volunteers, and teachers involved with the trip all felt an overwhelming sense of achievement at the end of the day, and you could easily sense the cohesiveness of the group after such an experience.  That was definitely a bonding event for the whole group.  
Our morning started off well, with everyone settling into their bike seats for a departure around 9am.  The ride downtown took around an hour, and was followed by a climb uphill to Major's Hill Park.  Once we were in the park the students ate some snack, and got a second wind, which led to some running and playing in the field.  We made our way into the gallery for a presentation in the auditorium, as part of the Ottawa Animation Festival, which is going on this week.  (  There the students took part in a huge lesson/presentation on sound in animation.  They were able to go through the process of adding voice, music, and sound effects to animation, and I think we may have seen seeds of inspiration taking root for future animators in our group.
The ride back seemed like a downhill coast for some of us, and a bit of a slog for others (especially the last km or two), but we all made it back with smiles (and some muscle aches).  A huge thanks goes out to all the volunteers who were able to make it out to help us.  We can't give the students these wonderful experiences without your support.
Just a reminder of the CASC BBQ tonight from 5 - 8.  And anyone who has not picked up their child's bike already, needs to make arrangements to get them home by the end of today, as they will be taken out of the lobby to make room for the BBQ setup.
Finally...just a reminder that the class blog is

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Class Meeting Overview and Math Blurb...

Let me first say thank you to everyone who made the trip out tonight for our class meeting, whether you came at 6, and had to go back home, or if you were there for the 7-8 time slot.  I appreciate all of your efforts, and I am very sorry for any inconveniences caused in the time change.
As I explained in the meeting tonight, I originally sent home the time as 6-7 in the newsletter on the first day, which I also posted on the blog at that time.  I was trying ahead of the curve with planning for the meeting, but subsequently the timing for the whole school's schedule shifted our time slot to the 7-8 period.  On Sunday, when I posted the time for the meeting as 7-8, it was just to remind everyone of the schedule that had been sent home in the newsletters from the office, email blasts, and syner-voice messages over the past couple of weeks.  I now realize that I should have emphasized the change in times, which brings me to the first topic of the meeting tonight....Communication!
We will not have paper agendas, so we will rely heavily on blog updates, and emails, to keep families informed of events and what is going on in the class.  Please register your name on the class blog so that you can be alerted to new posts, and take a moment to scan it and see if there is anything urgent to attend to.
The class this year is made up of 15 returning students to room 308, and 12 new students.  There are two students who have just joined Churchill this year.  There are 11 girls out of 27 students overall.
We are working hard to get multi aged groupings through our work with math, reading and writing buddies.  It will mean lots of mentoring opportunities for our students.  
Tree Families are weekly meetings with students from all classes throughout the school to read, talk, and do activities together on Wednesday mornings.
Our balanced day is made up of three 100 minute blocks.  The first block for us is Math, French, and Gym on two days.  The second block is a Language block each day with gym on one day.  The third block has some math, along with all other subjects.  Music is last period on Monday.  Keep these blocks in mind when you plan doctor/dentist/etc visits.  If your child is struggling in math, later in the day would be better timing for taking them out of the class.
Forms for trips need to be in at least 24hrs before a trip, or students will be staying back, for logistical reasons dealing with bus manifests, reservations, etc.
Indoor footwear is needed, separate from what is worn outside.
I am looking for a class volunteer coordinator to make up group snack schedules, and help with some parent communication for big events possibly.  It would also be someone who would be used by CASC as a class contact to help distribute information on occasion.  Please let me know if you can take on this role.  I am also looking for volunteers to share experiences/expertise/time in class.  We have a reading program I would like to work through to get students reading out loud regularly, and if you are strong in math, I could use you to help guide some students through math challenges once a week, or every two weeks, if your schedule will allow.
Finally, I wanted to mention (though I did cover a number of other items) that math is an area where students all need extra support, and often parents are unsure of where/what is needed.  I was short on time...ok I talked too much on other topics I guess...and I didn't get to share the math tips I wanted to at the end of the meeting so....
All students need to work on conventions of math.  Basic adding, subtracting (up to four digits, up to two decimal places) is good practice if you can work with them.  Multiplication and division is always needed.  However, to really flex their math brains, and build the skills needed to do those, and other math related activities, I would recommend doing the following with your children at home if you are able to...
Identify numbers as even, odd, or prime (divisible by only one and itself, but no other whole number)
Identify multiples of a number (what you get if you double, triple, x4, x5 etc of a number)
Identify factors of a number (what numbers can be multiplied to get that number)
Count up from any number by tens or hundreds, or backwards by tens or hundreds.
Challenge students to find half of any number, quarter of it, or one third of it.
Give numbers and have students give number pairs to get to an agreed upon round number (ie 6 and 4 = 10 or 89 and 11 make 100 or 55 and 45 make 100)
Exercising their math brain with any of these can really get students more comfortable with these convetions of math, and it goes a long way to making student understand that you find math important.  We all find value in reading with our children, or giving them access to reading opportunities.  Every study shows that improvements in reading will not help math skills, but by developing stronger math skills, reading skills also improve!

So, there it is.  Some of the highlights of tonight, and my little blurb on math.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and please allow for two days turnaround on emails.  If something is urgent, do not email it to me.  Send in a note, or call the office.  I will not be online checking emails in the middle of the day, I will be working with your children.
Again, I apologize to anyone who missed out due to the scheduling conflict.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 3!

It is hard to believe that we are starting our third week already!  So much has happened, and yet it seems like the year just started.  The class is really doing a great job with team building activities, and have been able to dive into some really interesting discussions this past week.  There are lots of hands going up, and a wide variety of student offering to share ideas throughout the day, and when I ask for help or volunteers for a task, I barely get the question out of my mouth before a dozen hands go up.  That being said, this is the third week...I hope the honeymoon isn't over!
This week we have a bit of excitement to look forward to.  The class meeting is Tuesday evening, from 7-8.  We will be meeting in Room 308.  Our room is on the third floor, beside the computer lab. The meeting should be approximately 45 minutes.  If anyone wishes to discuss their child, we can touch bases at this time to set up a future meeting.
Our big bike trip is this week.  Hopefully you have all read through the form, and letter home, and have been oiling chains to prepare for the event.  We will be taking 81 students this time out, so volunteers are indeed wanted, and needed!  Please let us know if you have any concerns, or if you are having trouble locating a working bike, or helmet.  Just a reminder that students need to dress for a long ride, bring a backpack with their lunch, a full water bottle, and a helmet for the trip.
We have started a mini report writing project in science.  This is purely an in school project.  We are doing research, and reporting on a flying machine that each student selected (hot air balloon, ultralight, glider, biplane, monoplane, the Concorde, etc).  This is not meant for homework.  Any homework that students might be talking about for this week would involve bringing in their favourite book (that was assigned a week ago) or a favourite object (talisman- which was part of a communication entry this week).
Forms will go home this week for our Terry Fox Run.  The run on the National School Run Day, Wed Sept 24.  Please look closely at the form for information regarding the time and place.  This is a great school event, so please come on out and support this great cause.  Our class will be collecting Toonies For Terry each day from the other classes.  Please send in your own toonies to support the event.
I know you might be getting a bit overloaded with trips to the school, but how can you stay away from the big CASC BBQ?  It is all set for Thursday evening.  Come on out to meet and greet the greater Churchill community.  There will likely be some local musical talent on hand to provide entertainment.
Churchill's Most Wanted are posted in the hallway on the third floor.  Make sure you take time to check them out when you are in the building.  You want to know what you are up against when you come for a visit:)
This week we will be diving into an overall math diagnostic, and working on some basic number skills.  Ask  your child about prime numbers, factors, or multiples.  I will give you all a quick rundown of some simple math skills you can work on with students at home during our meeting Tuesday, and then you can go home and terrorize....I mean support, your children in math:)
See you Tuesday!
Regards, Ray
ps.  Ask your children about Paul Klee...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rain Check!

It looks like our trip to McKellar Park today has been cancelled due to inclement weather.  We have plenty of other opportunities coming up, so it is not too bad.  
Please return the end of day/email slips, if you have not already done so.  That way I can create a comprehensive email list.  
Also try to get those green cycling trip forms in ASAP so I can gather the information needed to see who is in need of bikes/helmets, or alternate arrangements.
Regards, Rainy Ray

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trip Help

Soooo, think happy thoughts and maybe our park trip will be dryish...
If it is teaming down we will not go.  If it is not raining, we will go and do some field games in the morning.  I have had several offers to come along, but it sounds like not everyone can make it tomorrow.  Please email me if you are going to be able to join us.
Regards, Ray