Category Archives: language

Classroom Happenings-Loving Literacy

We have been working to expand our vocabulary and improve our spelling during word work. We have added new words like agile, exclaimed, balance, and biome to our vocabulary.

Here students are sorting words with vowel-R combinations. We talked about how vowels with r can sometimes sound the same, such as -ir (girl), -er (nervous), -or (working), and -ur (purple). We also looked -ar and -ir, and noted how the sound changes with another vowel like -ear in hear and -air in pair.

In writing, we are pulling apart and ordering stories to better help us understand how we organize writing in this form. We are working to ensure our story beginnings have well developed characters, descriptive settings, and a problem or action that will move us into the middle of the story.

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. 😃✌️

Valentine’s Post Office Writing

To put practice applying our recent sentence writing lessons, we wrote letters for our school Valentine’s post office today.

As you may know, the grade 7 and 8’s have organized a Valentine’s post office. Students can purchase stamps for 10 cents to have a kind letter sent to another student in the school. The money raised will add to our fundraising causes that support school needs, such as buying technology or special class supplies.

We will add names to our letters on the last day before the post office closes. Our letters will be sent to grade 1 and 2 students who did not have a letter mailed to them by a friend. This way we helped have fewer students feel left out. I have purchased enough stamps for each student in our class to create one of these letters. If you wish to contribute to our class’ good deed, please feel free to send in some change and we will add another letter to the pile. Any support is appreciated.

We still have a few corrections to make before they can be sent out, but here are a few examples of what we started.

For those who wish to participate, we will still do a regular Valentine exchange in our class on Valentine’s Day and have a small celebration. Here is a list of our class names:

Writing Personal Narratives

We have been working on Personal Narratives for the past few weeks now. We have been using personal narratives as a tool to work on many elements of our writing:

  • Using paragraphs
  • Using lots of detail to create a picture in our readers head (visualize)
  • Using adjectives (describing words) to add voice to our writing
  • Using transition words such as first, then, after, next, finally to organize and order our writing
  • Revising – This is when we make changes in our writing to add sections to improve our readers picture of what happened and to help them better understand how we felt. Revising is also taking out unimportant or repetitive detail
  • Editing – This is when we fix spelling, make sure things make sense, and check for capitals and periods

Currently, most students are typing up their finished product and we are conferencing about what they can do better on their next personal narrative story.

Check out all of the support resources for this and the marking rubric in the HUB.

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.



Reading and Rounding

Now that we have established everyone’s reading levels, we have begun guided reading. This week we are practicing how to problem solve and work independently when Mrs. Davies is unavailable because she is working with another group.


In in our morning brain buzzers we have been reviewing how to round to the nearest ten. Tomorrow we will round to the nearest hundred.



Note: If your child’s face is covered it is because I do not yet have your child’s media consent form.

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.