Ice Skating

Next week, on Wednesday, November 20th and on Thursday, November 21, the Home Learners are booked to join  mainstream Beaconsfield classes to go ice skating at  the Trout Lake ice rink.  The cost is $5.00 per student  or $4.00 per student if they have their own ice skates.  This excursion must be paid in cash as allotments cannot be used for this event.  Field Trip Consent Forms are in everyone’s folders and must be signed before a child can skate. Any child without a signed consent form will sit on the bleachers with one of the supervising teachers.

On Wednesday, November 20th, the Primaries can be dropped off to meet me at the Trout Lake ice rink any time between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.  Skating will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  Following our skating session, we will all walk back to Beaconsfield, so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately and ready to walk to school.  It is cold in the ice rink, so please remember to pack mittens, a scarf and a hat if you have them.

On Thursday, November 21st, the Intermediates can be dropped off to meet me at the Trout Lake ice rink any time between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.  Skating will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  Following our skating session, we will all walk back to Beaconsfield, so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately and ready to walk to school.  It is cold in the ice rink, so please remember to pack mittens, a scarf and a hat if you have them.




With the Holidays fast approaching, I receive many requests to “hide” scholastic orders, which I am more than happy to do!  I have put both the November and December flyers in everyone’s folders so orders can be put in well ahead of time.  Also, any purchases from the Essentials catalogue (the teacher catalogue) should be received sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.  🙂



News for the Week of November 11th

There is no school on Monday, November 11th in observation of Remembrance Day.

This week we will be going to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for their Elementary School Concert Wall-To-Wall Percussion.  This is a lively, fun concert, not to be missed!

The performance is on Thursday, November 14th at 10:00 a.m.  Please meet Shannon at the corner of Seymour and Smythe streets at 9:40 a.m. so we can enter as a group.  Please do not enter on your own!  The Ushers will advise you to enter, but please do not! Meet the group so I can ensure everyone is there and where they are supposed to be.

The mainstream classes at Beaconsfield are holding conferences on the 13th and 14th and have early dismissal.  Please note that early dismissal does not apply to the Home Learners.  We will have programming until 3:00 p.m. on both days, as usual.

Portfolio Week is fast approaching! Please look at the calendar on this blog and send me your first and second choices of meeting dates and times to meet with me.  Portfolio meetings are a mandatory aspect of the Home Learners’ Program, so please ensure you book a time with me, and help your child collect important artifacts, completed home learning, etc. to share at the meeting.

Photo Retakes are also happening on Thursday, November 14th, the same morning as our VSO field trip.  If you are planning on having photos taken, be at Beaconsfield at 9:00 a.m. Our office knows that many Home Learners will be having their photos taken that morning and need to get to the Symphony.

Finally,  both the Primaries and Intermediates together are booked to sing Christmas carols for the old folks at Villa Carital down the street from Beaconsfield on Tuesday, December 17th.  Starting next week, I will be practicing songs with both groups in preparation for our visit.

Mary Jane Mosquito November 7th

On Thursday, November 7th  we are booked to see The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito at Carousel Theatre.  Please meet me at the entrance to Carousel Theatre by 9:40 a.m. at the latest, as we are required to have the entire group in attendance to enter the theatre.

We are over-subscribed for this show, so if you find that you are unable to attend, please email Shannon as soon as possible so your spot can be re-assigned to someone on the waitlist.

Thank you!

“Hallowe’en Week”

Both the Primaries and the Intermediates will be celebrating Hallowe’en with their own special events next week!

On Wednesday, the Primaries are invited to wear their costumes to school for the day.  In the afternoon, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. we will have a class Hallowe’en party.  Families are also invited to participate in the party.  Please bring snacks to share with the class.  We have both gluten and dairy allergies in the class as well as vegan students.  Please simply label the snack you bring so we can help the students with dietary restrictions chose their snacks.

On Thursday, the Intermediates will be celebrating with the entire school at the annual Hallowe’en Dance in the gym, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  Intermediates should wear their costumes to school for the day.  At the dance, grade 7’s sell snacks and drinks, so you may wish to send some money with your children to purchase a treat or two.  The dance is for students only – we will not be having a class party.


The Week Ahead

On Thursday, October 24th, Beaconsfield’s annual Walk-A-Thon will take place.  Intermediate students will be participating with the school.  We will be leaving the school at 9:15 a.m. and returning at recess.  All funds raised by the Home Learner students will go towards field trip fees for HL students during the school year.  Typically, the funds raised by our students helps offset the costs of the snowshoeing and tobogganing day at Mt. Seymour.  Please ensure students are dressed for the walk and the weather on Thursday!


Thursday, November 7th:  Carousel Theatre: The  Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito

Monday, November 11th:  Remembrance Day

Thursday, November 14th:  Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

November 25th through December 3rd:  Portfolio Meetings

The Rainbow Fish, Wednesday, October 2

We will be going on our first field trip of the school year this coming Wednesday, October 2!  Please ensure you have signed your child’s name on the Field Trip Announcement Sheet hanging on the wall beside the parent table, if your child will be attending.  Please also sign up for yourself and any unregistered siblings on the “waitlist” column of the sheet.

Additionally, all students attending must have a signed Parent/Guardian Field Trip Consent Form signed and put in my file folder by the end of day on Monday, September 30th.  Please note, students who do not have a signed consent form for any field trip, whether a parent accompanies the child or not, will not be allowed to participate in the field trip.  This is school board policy and I am not able to make exceptions.  Field Trip Consent Forms are on the parent table in the metal shelf.

Everyone attending, please be at Carousel Theatre  (1411 Cartwright Street Vancouver, Granville Island) by 9:40 a.m. at the latest.  The performance is one hour in length.  Programming will resume at 1:00 p.m. at Beaconsfield.


Home Learners’ Vendors

Allotment accounts have now been opened, so families are now able to start applying for the allotment funds to be allocated.  The following are the approved vendors for supplies and curricular materials for our program:



Spectrum Nasco

School Specialty

Education Station

ADS Academic

JUMP Mathematics

Please remember, when tracking your allotment spending, that orders through providers always carry a shipping charge.  We are not able to order materials or supplies through Amazon.

Thursday, Sept. 26th

On Thursday, September 26th there is an event planned for the mainstream classroom community only, not involving the Home Learners.  Mainstream classes will be dismissed at 2:00 and have an open house in the afternoon and evening.  This is intended for parents to meet their child’s teacher and see their classrooms.  In our program, we all meet at the start of the school year and all get to know each other, so this evening is not intended for us.

So, just to allieviate any confusion that may arise:  Our Intermediate students will be in class until 3:00 p.m. on Thursday – their regular dismissal time, and we do not come in the evening.  🙂

Individual Student Photos

Individual Student Photo day at Beaconsfield is on Tuesday, September 24th.  If families wish to have an individual photo taken of their child, please go directly to the basement, on the intermediates lunch-room side, to report directly to the photographer at 10:00 a.m.   Either the substitute or the photographer will have the photo cards with your child’s name on it for their picture and will distribute them there.  Once your child’s photo is taken, you may leave.

Alternately, many parents have asked me if they can simply have their child’s photo taken on the re-take day instead of next week.  The answer is yes, that  is absolutely fine, ( and may be much easier, in fact!)  Photo re-take day will be on Thursday, November 14th.  

Show & Tell Schedule for Primaries

Show & Tell is an opportunity for your child to share what they are learning about, share something they have made, share an aspect of their culture, or something they know about. Please, no toys or stuffies for show and tell.  Show & Tell is optional, if your child does not wish to participate, that is absolutely fine.  Please let me know.   Please note your child’s day on your calendar, as I don’t send out reminders.

Student Date
Sophie Monday, October 7
Neva Wednesday, October 9
Mila Wednesday, October 16
Chloe Monday, October 21
Cole Wednesday, October 23
Owen Monday, October 28
Aprilia Wednesday, October 30
Gwen Monday, November 4
Tisa Wednesday, November 6
Sofia Wednesday, November 13
Audrey Monday, November 18
Theo Wednesday, November 20
Daniella Wednesday, December 4
Alexandra Monday, December 9
Henry Wednesday, December 11
Oren Monday, December 16

A Call-Out to Parents

There is a place in Delta (Annacis Island) which will provide our classroom with free pillows for a “reading corner.”  The business is open 7:30 to 4:00 Monday to Friday, although they ask that people arrive no later than 3:30 p.m.   The pillows are large – the size of regular couch cushions.

Is there anyone who travels near or by there during the work week who could stop in and chose 6-8 pillows for us?  Please contact me if this is a possibility and I will provide you with more specific details.

Thank you!

Preparing for Programming

As many of you know, I am planning a literature-based STEM program with the Primaries this term.  To this end, I am asking parents to collect various items to bring into the school to be used in the children’s projects, such as pieces of cardboard, twist ties, rubber bands, cardboard tubes, unused chopsticks, washed plastic and styrofoam trays, wire, yarn, string, etc.

One of the first projects the children will be doing involves working with broken toys.  If you have any broken toys (electonic and non-electronic) around the house you don’t want, or know anyone who does, we would be very grateful to have them donated for our students!

Thank you!

HL Picnic and First Field Trip

A Home Learners picnic is planned for Friday, September 20th from 12:00 – 2:30 p.m at Trout Lake Park.  We will meet at the old playground/beach area.  We will do our picnic “potluck” style, so please bring something to share!  Hope to see everyone there!

Our first field trip of the school year will be to the production of The Rainbow Fish at Carousel Theatre.  The performance will be on Wednesday, October 2nd at 10:00 a.m.  Ticket price is $12.50 per person.  The sign up sheet is up by the parent table.

An Interesting Article

Keyboards are overrated. Cursive is back and it’s making us smarter

By  Ephrat Livni


The proliferation of devices in daily life has led to an international handwriting crisis. Teachers, parents, and politicians around the world are debating why they should bother spending time teaching what some say is a dated skill. Accustomed as we are to speedy, wifi-connected devices, we’ve come to prize the efficiency of typing and there seems to be no point to picking up a pen and scribbling on paper when keyboarding is so convenient, neat, and easy to copy-and-send.

Yet print and its squiggly cousin cursive are making a comeback in some US schools after scientific studies have proven their cognitive utility and because parents are clamoring for the preservation of the practical skill. For example, starting this fall in Louisiana, third to 12th graders will again study penmanship after a law was passed making it a requirement in 2016 (teachers got one year to prepare). Fourteen states in total are now including cursive in curricula after a decade where it seemed doomed to become an abandoned and outdated art.

Busting penmanship myths

It’s not just nostalgia—the efficiency of the keyboard may be overstated, at least in some cases.

“There’s a myth that in the era of computers we don’t need handwriting. That’s not what our research is showing. What we found was that children until about grade six were writing more words, writing faster, and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting—printing or cursive—than if they used the keyboard,” University of Washington professor Virginia Berninger told the Washington Post. A leading expert in the field of handwriting education research, Berninger’s extensive work with students in elementary school indicates that learning handwriting improves kids’ ability to think.

The reasons for taking handwriting seriously are worth considering even if you’re not a kid or a parent worried about education. Anyone can benefit from penmanship’s cognitive benefits, whether you’re taking notes at a meeting or just trying to figure out what you think.

Engaging the brain

Brain scans during the two activities also show that forming words by hand as opposed to on a keyboard leads to increased brain activity . Scientific studies of children and adults show that wielding a pen when taking notes, rather than typing, is associated with improved long-term information retention, better thought organization, and increased ability to generate ideas.

No one can say why this is exactly, though researchers surmise one reason may be because when we write by hand, every letter of every word demands different actions, engaging the brain more. When we type, we repeat the same moves over and over again, whatever the word.

It may well be that the physicality of shaping letters cements concepts in the mind. For example, to type the word “typing,” I made the same motion on the keyboard six times, choosing which letter to type but not forming them. But if I were to write the same thing by hand, I’d have to shape six different letters and put them together. That takes more effort and seems to both demand more of the brain and leave a deeper imprint on the mind than typing. That imprint appears to be critical when learning new things.

Making choices while we write

Another reason that penning is more effective than typing seems to stem from handwriting’s limitations. Handwriting when taking notes forces us to make choices.

Researchers from Princeton University concluded in three studies of adult students taking notes on laptops and in longhand that transcription was less effective than selective translation of the information. ”We found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand…whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning,” they wrote.

Perhaps when we capture less of what is said verbatim, we pay more attention. Since we can’t scribble everything that’s being said as fast as we can type it, we end up forced to make choices when handwriting, processing the information as we take it in instead of putting it all down automatically.

Reading into the past and future

There are practical reasons to keep the art of penmanship alive, putting questions of cognition aside.

Louisiana state senator Beth Mizell introduced the cursive bill at a constituent’s suggestion after he told her that the high school students he hired for summer jobs couldn’t read old handwritten land-transfer documents. (She didn’t give details about what these particular jobs involved, but it is true, generally speaking, that even when old records are scanned into new computerized systems, they may still contain cursive.

Mizell also heard from parents that their kids couldn’t read old family letters or even sign documents. “People were really upset that kids were no longer being taught to write cursive,” she told the Shreveport Times. “They print where the signature would be. It’s just little things like that.”

Take it from the greats

For adults wondering why they should handwrite when they have no time, rarely have to take in information that comes in lecture form, and have already established a signature, there are also some unscientific reasons to pick up a pen. For one, great writers often drafted by hand and then typed, even after the advent of the typewriter—Susan Sontag, Truman Capote, and Vladimir Nabokov, to name a few. Today, Joyce Carol Oates continues with this tradition, though she’s also on Twitter and doesn’t shirk technology generally. Same goes for Quentin Tarantino, who says poetry can’t be typed on a computer, and Neil Gaiman, whose novels are drafted in notebooks.

Plus, there’s the priceless benefit of limiting distraction. Technology can be a trap. The simple act of shutting your laptop and putting pen to paper can help you to improve focus. There’s less chance you’ll end up spending your time online reading tweets and articles when you should be writing.

Copied from, published July 25, 2017

Welcome (Back!)

Welcome to all the new families and students and Welcome Back to all our returning families and students.  I am looking forward to another exciting and fun-filled year of learning adventures with everyone!

In order to start the students’ programming, I need to meet with every student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) for their Student Learning Plan meeting.  Please look at the calendar on this blog and email me your first and second choice of meetings dates and times ASAP.  Thank you to the families who have already contacted me for their meetings 🙂

Over the next week or two most families will also receive their first email of the school year from the Principal., which are sent out regularly to parents. In these emails, she will outline upcoming dates and in-school events.  Especially for our new families, please note that these dates and events often do not apply to Home Learners – they are only for the “mainstream” classroom student body.  Please always refer to the calendar and notices on this blog for upcoming dates and events.  Thank you!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in the coming days and don’t forget to bring your child’s Reading Bingo cards in!



End of June to September


As this school year wraps up, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how much I enjoyed a year of learning adventures with your children, and how much I appreciate all the support and involvement of the parents.    What a great  community we have in our program!  After today, the school will be closed and all staff away until Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019. 

On September 3rd, the mainstream school students convene at 9:00 a.m. for a whole-school assembly in the gym to find out their classroom placements.  Home Learners do not attend that day.  As soon as practically possible on the 3rd and 4th, Shannon will be contacting all registered student’s families to book or confirm their Student Learning Plan Meetings.  These are very busy days and I will contact everyone as soon as I possibly can.  The Home Learners’ classroom is closed on the 3rd, as all staff have meetings immediately following the classroom placement assembly, for the remainder of the day.

As with the rest of the distributed learning world, for Home Learners’, the first weeks of September consist mainly of planning, preparing, and completing individual Student Learning Plans with the teacher, working on and completing each student’s Activation Assignment, and starting (or continuing) their home learning.

Starting immediately, please click onto the calendar page to view available times to book for Student Learning Plan meetings in September.  Please email the teacher with your 1st and 2nd choice of Student Learning Plan meeting times.  I will book people into meeting times on a first-come, first-served basis. Although I will not be accessing my VSB email over the summer, your email will be saved and read upon my return in September.  For newly registered families who do not have my email, I will contact you during the first week of the school year.

I will do my best to book people into their requested meeting times on a first come, first served basis, and will email you confirmation on, or shortly after September 4th.  

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting our new students and families!

Have a fabulous summer everyone!

Last Week of This School Year

The classroom has been abuzz with preparations for the students’ end of the year talent shows.  For my part, I am really enjoying the various ‘acts’ the children have created and will be presenting.  I am sure everyone will agree with me, once they see the shows, that the acts truly reflect our student’s personalities and interests!

The Intermediates scrubbed and moved all the furniture to prepare for the performances, so Primary parents – please prepare your children that the classroom will look quite different on Monday with all the furniture stacked up and pushed to the sides of the room.

Here is the schedule for the week:

Monday, weather permitting, we will be walking to Trout Lake Park to picnic and play, after a talent show practice.  Also, on Monday, please bring a bag so your child can take everything home from their cubbies, and any classwork remaining to be taken home.

Tuesday, the Intermediates will perform their end of the year talent show.  Families:  Please arrive at 1:30 as the students need some preparation time after lunch to get the room and their props ready.  I also have a little presentation for the students following their performance.  All cubby items go home today.

Wednesday,  the Primaries will perform their end of the year talent show.  Families:  Please arrive at 1:30 as the students need some preparation time after lunch to get the room and their props ready.  I also have a little presentation for the students following their performance.  Also please note:  Classroom toys and items will be put away for the summer.  All primary students and siblings are invited to bring in one of their own toys to play with in the afternoon.

Also on Wednesday, Report cards will be distributed in the parent files.

Thursday, (last day of the school year) is our annual Home Learners Beach Day at Spanish Banks from 9:00 – 3:00.  We will set up at the Spanish Banks West Concession ( 4875 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver).  There is ample parking and shaded picnic tables there.  Bring your beach toys and a bathing suit!!  Please bring food and/or drinks to share as it is a “potluck” style gathering.

NB:  If you have borrowed any books or toys from the classroom, please bring them back asap.  Thank you.