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.


Summer Weather

Now that the hot weather is upon us (I heard on CBC this morning that it is supposed to get up to 30 degrees tomorrow) I will be taking the students out of the classroom on walking field trips and trips to the park to escape the heat of the classroom.  This time of the year our classroom becomes like a brick oven and is quite unbearable for everyone.

To that end, for the next couple of weeks, please ensure you pack a sun hat and sunscreen with your child so we all can take advantage of the nice weather and get outside.  Thank you.

Field Trip to VanDusen Pollinator Days 2019

On Thursday, June 13th, we are going to VanDusen Gardens to participate in Pollinator Days 2019.

Please meet at 9:45 a.m. at Entry Gate 2, which is the entry gate closest to the parking lot on West 37th Avenue.

I need one parent volunteer to lead one group, as we will visit the stations in the garden in two groups – one Intermediate focused and one Primary focused.  Please email me if you are able to volunteer.

I have prepared schedules for visiting the activity stations located throughout the gardens for our day.  Primaries will start their stations at the Elizabethan  Maze and Intermediates will start at the Visitor’s Centre. The two  groups will be formed at the garden and I will provide our volunteer with a map and schedule.  We will all meet for lunch together.  If you would like to keep your siblings together in one group, please let me know via email.

As allotments are finished for this school year, please ensure you give $10.00 per person for the field trip to Shannon ASAP.  Thank you.

The field trip ends at 2:00 p.m.  Children can be picked up at the same location at Entry Gate 2. 

Please note, activity station schedules may change depending on how many other schools are participating that day.  If there are lots of other classes/schools trying to start at the same stations, I will re-route our groups to avoid large groups.


1.      Dress for the weather! Most activities will be entirely outdoors, rain or shine. This may mean hats and sunscreen, or rain jackets and boots.

2.      Litterless Lunches: No refrigeration is available.  Please pack out your waste. Water fountains are available for refilling water bottles.

4.      Photo Release Authorization: Please  sign the authorization I have put in your file folders in advance.  I need to  bring the signed documents on the day of the event. VBGA staff and community partners wish to document Pollinator Days through photos and/or video, which may be used for promotional material including social media, email news and print media.

(Van Dusen will provide teachers with stickers upon arrival that will be used to indicate which students should not be photographed. )



The Garden’s parking lot off 37th Ave.

Sliding Into June

Was it just me, or did May fly by in the blink of an eye?  I think the students had an eventful month with the visit from OWL rescue,  the Author and storyteller Michael Kusugak, Sports day, and the Oxo Bots workshop for the Intermediates.  The Primaries have been very engaged and excited about our caterpillars and butterflies (Thank you Aprilia’s family) and are eager to take them to the community gardens at Beaconsfield Park to release them after the portfolio meetings.


Next week through June 4th are our Portfolio Meetings.  Thank you to all the parents who have booked your meetings.  I still need to hear from some families – please contact me ASAP to book your appointment.  Please remember that portfolio meetings are a mandatory component of the program.


Now that the weather is nicer, and families enjoy staying after school, please note that in order for our garden plants to grow and flourish, students and their siblings are not allowed to be in our school garden without the direct supervision of school staff at any time.  Thank you for your cooperation with this.



Thursday, June 13:  All day field trip to VanDusen Gardens for ‘Pollinator Days.’

Monday, June 24th:  Afternoon class party and Talent Show for Primaries (1:30 – 3:00)

Tuesday, June 25th:  Afternoon class party and Talent Show for Intermediates (1:30 – 3:00)

Wednesday, June 26th:  Report cards distributed.

Thursday, June 27th:  Beach Day at Spanish Banks Beach (West Concession Area)

Sports Day Update

The Grade 7’s are organizing a pizza lunch for Sports Day.  If your child would like a pizza lunch, please fill in a form and bring full cash payment to school by Tuesday, May 14th.  I have put forms in everyone’s folder.  Please put forms and payment together in my file folder.

FYI, choices and prices are:

Cheese pizza   $2.00 slice

Orange, Lemon, or Raspberry Spritzer $1.75 ea.

Juice box $1.00 ea.

Chips  $1.00 ea

Rice Krispie Square $1.00 ea

Sports Day

Beaconsfield’s annual Sports Day will be held this coming Thursday, May 16th.  It is a fun-filled day led by our Grade 7’s who plan fun games and obstacle courses for the students.  The day starts promptly at 9:00 a.m. and runs through to 2:00 p.m.  Please note that pick-up time is 2:00 p.m.

Students are arranged into colour teams.  Our class stays together for the day and rotates around various stations.  Colour teams cheer and participate alongside one another.  Please note the colour team your child is in and, if possible, have your child dress in their colour.  Please bring a snack, lunch, a water bottle, and sunscreen for the day.

Red Team







Green Team







Blue Team







Yellow Team







May Happenings

Well, we certainly experienced  ‘April showers’ last month, and I am wholeheartedly awaiting the May flowers!  The Primaries are celebrating May by planting seeds they collected last Fall on our seed gathering walks.  So far, they have planted Sunflowers, Love-in-a-Mist, Phlox, Spirea, and Lavender.  We will find out which seeds are the most viable and fastest growing as the children all chose different seeds to plant.

As we approach the end of the school year, the Primaries will be working on developing and practicing their performances for our class Talent Show.  More on that later.  The Intermediates are still reading through Shakespeare scripts to find one they all want to do.  So far, they are a ‘maybe’ for Romeo and Juliet, but The Tempest was a most definite ‘no!’

Next week, both the Primaries and Intermediates will have the opportunity to participate in a presentation by the OWL rescue organization, who will be bringing raptors to the school.  I think the students will be quite enthralled by these lovely birds.

Thursday, May 16th is Beaconsfield’s annual Sports Day.  All Home Learners are invited to participate.  The day will start in our classroom at 9:00 a.m. sharp.  Sports Day is from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. with dismissal at 2:00 p.m., so please mark your calendars for a 2:00 pick-up that day.

Finally, the last Portfolio Meetings of the year occur from May 27th through June 4th.  Please book your appointment asap by sending me your first and second choice of meeting dates and times.

The last Scholastic orders of this school year are due by Thursday, May 23rd.  Please remember that allotments are now closed, so a cheque made payable to Scholastic must accompany any orders.

Field Trip to Carousel Theatre’s The Young King


On Thursday, April 18, we are going to see Carousel Theatre’s production of The Young King.  This performance is different from other Carousel productions as it has a different start time than usual, and a slightly different format and location.  Please note that the performance itself actually starts at 9:40 a.m.

Carousel asks that everyone be there 20 minutes early for seating, so please be there by 9:15 a.m. at the latest.  I do have more tickets booked for this production than I did for Salmon Girl, so don’t hesitate to sign up!

Important! The performance will take place at Performance Works on Granville Island at 1218 Cartwright Street. Please check the location in advance; this is not at the Waterfront Theatre, it is a different location further along the street, beside the bus parking area.

Please note that babes in arms cannot be admitted to the theatre.

LENGTH: The play is approx. 60 minutes with no intermission. There will be a participatory pre-show coronation activity – please be aware that this makes the end time of the performance subject to change.

Carousel Theatre Field Trip


This coming Wednesday, April 10th we are going to Carousel Theatre to see the performance of Salmon Girl.  The performance starts at 10:00 a.m., so please meet me in the theatre lounge by 9:45 at the latest so we can enter as a group.  The performance is one hour long.