Welcome to our 2017/2018 Classroom Blog!

Dear Families,

Welcome to our 2017/2018 Classroom Blog!  I'm delighted to begin this online journey with your child and YOU - providing you with updates and news of our exciting learning and upcoming events from our "Classroom Community" to your "Comfy, Cozy Home."  This blog is another avenue for US all to communicate, share, and celebrate your child's extraordinary learning in Grade 3/4!!

Please note, I will be updating my blog weekly.  Every Friday, there will be a new post which specifically highlights the academic, social, and emotional learning from that week.  Yes, I will have detailed explanations with pictures about your child's specific learning each week!  Your child and you are encouraged to visit it over the weekend :) This way, you will be informed about what is happening in our class and help reinforce learned concepts at home, too. Together, we will work as a dedicated T.E.A.M. = 'Together Everybody Achieves More' to support your child's academic, social, and behavioural goals.

As a teacher, I strongly believe in sound parent-child-teacher communication and working closely to help my students rise to their highest potential!  Thus far, I have noticed my students are all striving to put in their 'Level 4 Personal Best' in tasks set before them.  I am optimistic we will continue our learning journey with purposepassion, and productivity!

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to all the parents who have already actively supported and engaged in their child's learning at home thus far - together, we can make a significant difference by working together.  I could not do this without your unconditional love and support; it is greatly valued and cherished!

First Day of School Pictures:
How lucky am I to be these amazing students teacher this year!?  Their smiles and enthusiasm says it all J Check us out on our very first day together.  Keep shining and smiling boys and girls!

School Website:
Please visit our school website for news, updates, and upcoming events.  
Here is the link: http://not.scdsb.on.ca/

School Council:
All are welcome at our first School Council Meeting on Mon. Sept. 11th at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.

Classroom Expectations:
Below you will find a variety of photographs which we have worked on in class to establish our rules and routines.  My top priority is to ensure your child is safe at all times and that is why I will continually be reinforcing these expectations.  Please click on the photographs below, have your child explain and share these ideas with you.

Class Promise:
Every day after O’Canada and the morning announcements, we as a class community read aloud “Our Class Promise” to help us set a positive intention for our school day.  It has been going very well this week and students are saying it with pride.  There are hand actions that go along with this, see if your child can show you these as they say the Promise.

Reach for the Top:
I have shared with my students that I am never looking for perfect, only their personal best.  Everyone is at a “different level” and that is something we must respect, but we must all try our personal best to reach our highest potential!  It is my belief that practice doesn’t always make perfect, but “PRACTICE ALWAYS MAKES PROGRESS!”

Perhaps your child has talked about doing “Brain Gym” and “Meditation” in class?  If so, yes we have!  Each day after lunch/recess, I have been leading brain gym exercises followed by meditation.  It serves as a tool for students to exercise their brain helpers to improve their focus, concentration, and being more mindful and present in their learning.  Eventually, I will have one student a day to lead our class in these exercises which they’ll love! 

Please refer to the picture below to see students’ responses about how brain gym and meditation helps us!  Can your child state the “3 brain helpers” and their function?  If not right now, don’t worry, I will be referring to these all year long so students will get a greater understanding of these over the school year J 

Outdoor Learning:
We are very fortunate here at Nottawa to have an outdoor classroom.  It is located just outside our portable!  This year, we will be taking our learning outside too and enjoy Mother Nature by our side. 

This week, students received a math journal which they will be using to write down their mathematical thinking.  Students will be assessed based on their knowledge, understanding, application, and communication skills.  Getting the “correct answer” is not what I'm solely looking for.  An emphasis will be on using the 4-Block Problem Solving Strategy to assist students in communicating their thinking.  If they don't get the correct answer, that's ok!  What is important is seeing the process and strategies they used in which they arrived at their answer.  Partial marks will always be given for showing your work!  

Your child wrote in his or her math journal this week!  Ask them to answer the questions below:
  • Math makes me feel … 
  • In math, I enjoy …
  • In math, I need help with ...

This week, students also received a language notebook which they will be using for reading and writing responses.  Our writing learning goal is: We are learning to write a “Recount” (retelling an event in sequence).  Students had the opportunity to think and write about a special event from their summer holiday.  I learned so much from reading their entries!!  I am delighted to see everyone enjoyed spending time with their family making special memories.  Next week, we will be taking a closer look at these and sharing with a peer to receive constructive feedback (ways to improve).  If you would like to read your child’s recount, simply put a note in the agenda and he or she can bring it home for an evening for you to enjoy!     

Music Recorders:
On Day 3’s, Mr. Morin will be teaching your child music.  He is beginning a unit on how to read music and play the recorder.  Students are welcome to purchase a new recorder from him for $6.00 or they may wish to sign out a used one free of cost.  If you do send in money for a new recorder, please place the money in a zip-lock baggy labelled with your child’s name on it as well as “music recorder.”  Thank you :)    

Meet W.A.L.T.  He is an important member of our Classroom Community.  He helps us consolidate our thinking and learning.  WALT stands for "WAll Learned Today ..."  I encourage you to "WALT" at home and ask your child about their learning from school!

Growth Mindset:
What is Growth Mindset?  "In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.  Brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment."  

Studies have been done to show the significant difference in a child's confidence and belief in themselves and their abilities when they think in growth mindset ways.  Change your words.  Change your MINDset.  In our class, I have dedicated a wall that teaches our children to train their brain to thinking, speaking, and acting in ways that promote growth as opposed to fixed mindsets.  

Terry Fox who is an excellent model for Growth Mindset.  He taught us the importance of never giving up no matter what challenge or obstacle is set before us.  It's hard to believe any greater challenge to face than cancer, yet he continued to believe and his powerful messages of #courage #hope #perseverance lives on to this day! Terry's thoughts, words, and actions will be emphasized daily :)  We can be like Terry's Mindset too, if we TRY.  

Each week, I will post a new Growth Mindset quote on my blog as well as in the classroom for my students.  If we begin thinking in positive ways, we will act in it!  We not only help ourselves achieve our best, but we create a classroom community that emits growth!

"Oops, I made a mistake, let's celebrate!  Making mistakes helps me learn!"

Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog post.  This will be one of many to come!  I look forward to sharing more weekly news, updates, learning and pictures in the next post!  Please visit my blog when you see "Blog Update" written in your child's agenda.  This indicates a new post for you and your child to enjoy and celebrate their learning!  I will be posting every Friday, so you can read and see what we've been up to all week, YAY! 

"Spread your LOVE each and everyday!"

Miss Gill


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