Category Archives: inquiry

How does the bat light work?

More learning in sound and light today. We spent lots of time in the dark today!

We learned that light travels in a straight line. We also learned that light can be stopped (ABSORBED) by some materials. I.e. the bat symbol

We also learned that light can reflect off shiny surfaces and pass through some surfaces.


We used prisms to learn that light is made up of many colours!

Two Weeks In

We have had a great first two weeks! Everyone is settling in nicely. I am very much enjoying this new class and I think they are enjoying me.

We have busy with lots of work reviewing and doing some diagnostic work so I can see where everyone is at. Below is a snapshot. If a child’s face is covered it is because I do not yet have a media consent form. Please send this form in as soon as you can.

We have a new friend temporarily visiting our room. DWEEBLE, as our hermit crab is affectionately known as, is helping to get us excited about HABITATS in science inquiry.

In art we are leading to a bigger project. We have reviewed warm and cool colours, and had a lesson on lines.

In math, we have been reviewing our mental math strategies from grades two and three. Check out all of the different ways our classmates get to an answer in their head! We learned that making tens, looking for doubles, and using friendly numbers like 20 or 30 is efficient. We have also been working on place value, expanded form, standard form, and written form. Today we started rounding, but we slowed down because many students had trouble remembering how to round 2, 3, or 4 digits to the nearest ten. We will work on rounding some more next week. The goal is to round 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand.

In literacy/language we have been building our reading stamina. We have listened to a few read aloud stories and have written our first story. This writing piece is a diagnostic so that I can see where their skills are at and was completed with little upfront teaching. We will be doing more story writing in the next couple of weeks with more targeted lessons.

Here is a shared writing piece we did, modelled after one of the read aloud we heard.

Have a great weekend everyone. Remember to read at least 5 nights a week with an adult. 😃✌️

Picture Post

So when things get busy, I fall behind on my blog. Then I avoid it because we have done SO SO much in the classroom and I start to stress about how to share it all. Then I fall further and further behind. Also, reading posts without pictures is boring. Sometimes I’m so busy running around the room helping kids, I don’t get to take photos. Hopefully our remind messages and conversations with your child have filled the gap and given you some insight into all the great learning we have been doing. As always, please remember I have an open door policy. You can come in any day after school to look around or make an appointment otherwise.

In the meantime, I’m going to do a picture post to share some of our many photos over the last few months.

Jump Rope for Heart

Light Inquiry

Ted Harrison Art

Patterns with three changing attributes

example: the pattern changes by colour, size, and shape

Kindergarten Reading Buddies

Canada – Political and Physical Regions

We have been leaning about Canada. Help your child at home by practicing the names of all of the provinces, territories, capital cities, and capital of the country (Ottawa). Can they name and label them all? This is a great opportunity to discuss how to read a map.


As well, practice naming all of the physical regions and look up some of the characteristics that make each physical region unique.

Calculating how much toxic waste is in Hamilton’s Randle Reef

Last week in math, we finally found the solution to a tough problem we have been working through in steps.

As a result of our inquiry on clean water, students have been asking about the Randle Reef project.

Check out our problem:


Last week the students first calculated that the volume of our portable was 140 cubic meters.

We discovered that the toxic waste in the Randle Reef area of Hamilton Bay would fill 4964 portables like ours! YUCK!

This problem was great! We talked about linear measurement (metres), volume (cubic metres), the formula for volume, addition options, subtraction options, multiplication options, and division options. It has even opened the door to decimals and partial numbers which we’ll discuss further next week.

Many students are still using addition and subtraction when solving problems like this, but these big numbers are beginning to help them see why multiplication and division might be more efficient.

Of course with such large numbers, students are allowed to use a calculator once they understand which mathematical operation to use and understand how it will help them to solve the problem.

Class Trip

We had a fantastic trip yesterday to Green Ventures Echo House and to the Hamilton Steam and Technology Meuseum.  Thank you to all of our parents for the financial contributions that make these trips possible. The kids (and I) learn so much!

When we returned at the end of the day and I asked the students to rate the trip and what they learned with a show of fingers 1-10, almost all students gave the trip a rating of 8 or higher. I would say that is a success.

I took lots of photos, but I was only with one fifth of our entire group of 66 students so I am missing many faces from our class.  Also, many of the other classes students are in my photos because the groups were mixed and I need to check if they have a media consent.

Here are a few photos of some things we learned about and of some of the literature we saw on our trip.  Ask your child to tell you about some of these photos.

I am going to put a bag in the tank of my toilet to use less water. Students: What idea did you take away from our trip? What change will you make in your life to help conserve and preserve water?

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Inquiry on Water


Over the past few weeks, we have been building up our inquiry program to dive into our research on clean water.

We have learned about asking good questions. These are “thick” questions that require deep thought and research to formulate an answer. This is different from a “thin” question that leads to one, easy to find, simple answer.

We have talked about all the places we can find information:

  • Books
  • Charts
  • Maps
  • Magazine
  • Experts
  • Online/internet/Web – use different tools (Expert Space, Britanica School, Learn 360, etc.), be careful when using Google
  • Newspapers

We’ve talked about how to break our questions down into smaller sub questions and how to choose good search terms to help us get to those answers. As well…

How do we search?

  • What do you really need to know?
  • What are the key words?
  • Can you say it in a different way? (Where does our water come from? OR What is our water source?)
  • Try searching with many different words (e.g. dog OR puppy)
  • Try using the advanced search to say what you don’t want (NOT…)
  • Use the advanced search to write in the EXACT PHRASE you want or…
  • Put your EXACT PHRASE in quotations in the search bar
  • Use an asterisk to look for variations of a word e.g. Discover* will look at discover, discovery, discovered

Today, students refined their questions and many began the research process. Below is the list of questions that our class came up with. Each student has chosen one to look further into. Help your child at home by looking into video and news clips related to their question. This is a good way to do home reading. Many of our students need lots of support on learning how to take notes. This is a great thing to help them with at home. Any research done at home will be welcome at school.


Class 4A – Our Inquiry Questions

Where does our water come from?

Where does the water people use come from in other parts of our country or the world?

Why is there not enough water for everyone in some places?

Why can’t everyone get clean water?

What happens to us if we can’t get enough water?

How did the bacteria (in the Hamilton boil water video) get into the water?

Can the bacteria in the water spread?

What happens if people use water that has bacteria in it?

Will there be a solution to the problem with the infested water?

What is the Randle Reef Project?

How do we know the water in the sink is healthy water?

What are the effects of dirty water on land and animal resources?

What are the effects of the dirty water on the animals in the Cootes Paradise Marsh?

Is there anywhere else in Canada that has had a problem with unclean water? What’s being done?

If most of the world is made up of water, why is there not clean water for everyone?


The Inquiry Process


The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Last week we had a lesson on reliable sources and the 5 Ws of Online Comprehension. Students were then directed to a website and asked to research the Endangered Tree Octopus. This was a fascinating animal to learn about! One of its predators is even the Sasquatch! They thought it was amazing that there was a half ape, half human species that ate octopuses who lived in trees.

They were surprised to learn today that the photos, video, and website they had been reading was all made up. A tough lesson on checking your sources was learned today.



Wonderful Trip Today

We had a wonderful trip today. Although cold, it was busy, fun, and full of great learning! Can’t wait to see what we do with all of our new findings in tomorrow’s discussion. We will discuss which questions from our previous inquiries have been answered and discuss what new questions we have. A special thank you to our volunteers for helping make this trip possible.

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Reading and Research Excitement

Late last week we had a guest speaker from our school boards library facilities come in and show us how to use the HWDSB virtual library. Through students can access the Hub where they will then have access to the virtual library and many online reading resources.


Here students will be able to search to see what books we have in our school library, as well as any electronic books and audiobooks that are available.

Our students were told they can access many resources through both the JK-3 resources, as well as the 4-8 resources. It is a good idea to look in both, as there is some overlap, but may be additional resources fitting their searches in each.

Using the eMax app through this library is a great way for students to quickly search the ebooks we have available. Students were given a sticker in their agendas that provides their library borrowing code.


We talked about some of the other great resources found through the virtual library that can be great for research. For example, Britannica School. These reading resources will always be reliable and current. This is much better for students than having to sort through the thousands of possibilities that might come up on on a Google Search.



The even better news!

Students can access all of this from home. All they need is their school log on information and library borrowing number. All of this I provided to them in their agendas. No longer is not having a lot of books at home a problem! If you have a device to read with, the possibilities for home reading are endless! Get started here. Just click on I am a student and then go the HUB.

Leave a note for your classmates in the comment section below this post to tell us about a great book or article you found through searching on the virtual library.