Making Friends!

Hurray: In-Person Learning begins next week! Soon we will be connecting with friends new and old! The first day for the Mon/Tues group is Tuesday September 27. Kindergarteners will attend for half the day, and will dismissed at 12:05. The Grade 1’s and 2’s will be dismissed at 3:00. The first day for the Thurs/Fri group is Thursday Sept 29th. (Please recall that Sept 30is a statutory holiday)        The Student Learning Plan meetings process is almost complete. It is always tremendous fun to see the creativity, and depth of engagement that is in the works for your days working at home!      Several parents have been enquiring about the Allotment money for this year.  The Allotment is a fund set up in your child’s name that may be used to support aspects of your child’s SLP. Spending must be pre-approved by the teacher. There is $600 available for your child, but please remember to factor in shipping and handling costs as well. Some of your child’s allotment funds may be spent by the teacher for field trips, performances, special materials etc.  I suggest parents plan to spend up to $500.  Once approved, ordering and payment is done by the school office. There are no reimbursements made to parents. Funds are generally used to purchase materials but may also be used for lessons from accredited and ensure venues IF the accredited and insured venue is willing to invoice the school. Any such activity cannot be considered High Risk (ie Swimming lessons = Yes, Parkour = No) Invoicing can be a lengthy process, so please submit requests as soon as possible. Lastly, the firm deadline for spending these funds is April 25th. Unspent funds may not roll over into another school year. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have specific questions. There is also more information in the Parent Handbook.       We have an updated Parent Handbook. A copy will be sent home with your child on their first day of  in-person attendance.  Just for fun:  The city of Vancouver is holding its 3rd annual “Uncycled Art Challenge for students Kindergarten to grade 12.  Details can be found here:  https://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/trashformation-upcycled-art-challenge.aspx

Happy New (school) Year!

Fall has arrived and the excitement for the new school year is palpable. We have some sensational learning activities ahead! There are still a few open spots in the program. Feel free to share my contact info. I look forward to hearing of your summer adventures, and to working together to co-create your child’s individualized Student Learning Plan (SLP). SLPs form the backbone of the work done at home. All students will present the work they do at home at three Portfolio Meetings. Students grade 4-7 also submit interim material every 2-3 weeks. Please watch your email for the SLP Templates over the next few days. Complete as much of the template as you are able and bring it to the SLP Meeting. If you have not already done so, please revisit the blog calendar for available SLP times and email me your 1st and 2nd choices of SLP meeting times. Activation Assignments are a Ministry of Education requirement and are due 3:00pm on Monday September 26. They will also be emailed to you shortly. You are very welcome to complete them early and bring them to the SLP Meeting. COVID Update: Currently, the use of masks and Daily Health Checks are not mandatory in VSB schools. Individuals are welcome to continue wearing masks, and we ask that you do not send your child to school if they are feeling unwell.

Looking Forward While Looking Back

Is it my imagination, or is Time speeding up? Together we squeezed 2 Picnics, a Grade Seven School Leaving Ceremony, 3 Puppet Shows, Sports Day, and Camp Read all into the last week. Such delightful Organized Chaos!  Looking back, it has been a year of growth in spite of Change and Challenges. We have grown in our capacity to learn and to be kind. You know, The Important Stuff. It has truly been a privilege to share the journey with this community as your children blossomed, stretched, shared, and learned together. We have said good-bye to our three Grade 7’s who are off to new adventures. And now we look ahead to September. This Autumn we will be welcoming many new participants into kindergarten. We will also welcome another 8 (so far) participants to the program. To accommodate the large number of incoming students we have shifted the Monday/Tuesday group to range from kindergarten to Grade 2, and the Thursday/Friday cohort to range from Grade 3 to Grade 7. This shift allowed for a few new openings, so please spread the word that there are a few spots available. The office will be closed for the summer on July 1. I will respond to emails when school reopens Sept 6th.  Please watch your email for important messages about Activation Assignments and Student Learning Plan meetings during the first week of September. Consider collecting drawings and/or postcards about your summer activities to add to a Reflection Journal to help lift ‘activity’ into ‘learning’. I wish you all a safe and healthy happy summer.

A full plate!

Our “Kids Helping Kids” crafts sale was a huge success. Together the classes raised $520. These funds have been donated to the UNHCR and Red Cross to help children facing a humanitarian crisis. Each organization received $260. Thank you to all who contributed.

Spread the word: There are a few spots available in the program for next year. Have interested families email me for more info. lbaker@vsb.bc.ca

Musqueam Elder, Lorretta Williams, came to Beaconsfield to share her knowledge about traditional indigenous uses of Cedar. She then taught us how to weave our very own cedar bracelet. We all appreciated this rich experience. The Intermediate group was combined with a Kindergarteners from the main school to help with the weaving. Several of the older students noticed that teaching Kindergarten is both Hard and Rewarding!

The Intermediate group picnic is Thursday June 23. The Primary group picnic is Monday June 27. Bring your own meal, beverages, and utensils. Feel free to send along some finger food to share. I will provide a simple dessert. (Banana and sauce in an ice cream cone)   Both groups will be leaving the school at approximately 11:30 to walk over to Trout Lake. Family members are welcome to join us there if you wish. Look for the blue sunshade near the field house. We plan to return to the school at approx 2:30.

Our lettuce is ready to harvest! Both groups will create a Friendship Salad to enjoy together on our last day of classes. (Intermediate = Friday June 24. Primaries = Tuesday June 28.)  Please send something to go along with the lettuce. For example: vegetables, nuts/seeds, berries, shredded cheese etc. (pre-chopped please)

Also for the Primary group: Sports Day and Camp Read is on Tuesday June 28th. We will join the main school for Sports Day for until Recess and then have our own Camp Read. Please ensure your child is dressed to be out in the sun and send extra hydration and snack for sports day activities. Please also  send your child with a book, stuffed animal, and a blanket to stretch out on during Camp Read.

Report cards will be sent home with your child on their last day of attendance.

Those interested in keeping the learning going with over the summer: Check out the Hakai Institute (on Twitter etc.) They explore the ocean and ocean life around Vancouver and BC. Some parents may appreciate learning that the Vancouver Art Gallery is currently free:  https://www.facebook.com/547816054/posts/pfbid021krhHRVeRZd41MciVtq9CKfhoKbaeTC9WyBxdjaJqWNCaWDgcqqUpMKfgWLRFFTnl/?sfnsn=mo

Gearing up to wind down.

As we begin to look toward the end of this school year, there is much to do, and much to celebrate! Some students are finding unique ways to demonstrate their year of learning…through poems, or by creating board games to represent their learning, and , of course, through art!

Our Kids Helping Kids fundraiser is in full swing. We have once last day of sales on Thursday between 2:30 and 3:15pm. The sales table is outside the school near the corner of 20th Ave and Penticton Streets.  Come check out all the handmade merchandise.

Our year end picnics will happen at Trout Lake. We will leave the school to walk over to Trout Lake at approximately 11:30. Family members are welcome to meet us there. We will locate ourselves near the field house. Look for the pop-up sunshade. Bring your own meal and a blanket of chairs. We will have some games and I will provide ‘Banana Cones” for those who would like to try one. The Thur/Fri group picnic will be on Thursday June 23. The Mon/Tue group picnic will be on Monday June 27. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

Report Cards will go home with students on their last day of attendance. Friday June 24th will be the last day for the Thur/Fri group. And at that time, we will be saying good-bye and good luck to our grade 7s. We will miss them as they head off to high school!  Tuesday June 28th will be the last day of attendance for the Mon/Tue group.

You may have noticed that the Blog calendar is operational once more. Please look at the schedule of year end events, and the schedule for Student Learning Plan (SLP) meetings for September. Feel free to email me at lbaker@vsb.bc.ca with your top three choices for meeting dates/times.

There are currently a small number of spaces in the program for next year. If you know of families who may be interested, please have them contact the school office.

Kids Helping Kids

As a response to current events, the Vancouver Home Learners are holding a craft sale to raise funds for children who are refugees and will be donated to the UNHCR The “Kids Helping Kids” craft sale will take place from 2:30m to 3:10 on Tuesday June 14 and Thursday June 16. Most items would make excellent gifts and are $1 to $5; although, folks are welcome to donate more than the stated price. Items include needle felting, wet felting, sewing and beadwork. Beautiful hand dyed wool and felting craft kits for sale as well. Come support a worthy cause.

Kids have been helping each other in many other ways too. You would be impressed at the level of kindness and collaboration your children are demonstrating. They are quick to help each other with seat work, projects and even helping accompany friends to get help at Recess or Lunch for the inevitable scrapes and bumps. Such a compassionate community!

In recent days we saw an opera about how some forest creatures responded to a nearby forest fire. Later we built on our previous Sock Puppet experience and used some large animal puppets to create  our own one act opera plays.

Those brave souls who joined our excursion to the City of Vancouver TidalWAV event on Friday June 3 had lots of (very soggy) fun! There was Pow Wow dancing, scavenger hunts, free book giveaways, and many interesting displays about environmental science, and outdoor learning.

Here comes the sun?

It’s hard to believe, but the 2021-22 year is rapidly winding down! Please watch the blog calendar for events happening between now and your child(ren)’s last day of attendance. (The last day for Thursday Friday group is Friday June 24, and the last day for Monday/Tuesday group is Tuesday June 28.

Third term Portfolio meetings have now concluded. We celebrated as your children expressed their pride in their accomplishments over the year. Such creativity and curiosity and growth!

Looking ahead to the fall: Parents of students who are attending for the 2022-23 school year to keep an eye out for the Student Learning Plan (SLP) meeting schedule in early September. Before the end of June I will send out lots ideas for learning resources and activities, for your SLPs along with templates to help organize your planning for the Activation Assignments and SLP meetings. Between now and then you may find it helpful to think about the activities and resources you might use to support Literacy, Numeracy, Humanities and Sciences, PE and the Arts.

Hopefully the recent appearance of the sun is a sign that Summer is about to arrive in earnest. We will be taking advantage of the warmer and drier days to spend more time learning outdoors.

June is National Indigenous History month. Included here is a link to a CBC Kids resource appropriate for younger students.       https://t.co/MNG8mFVlgF

It’s a Long(er) Story

This past week our room has been a hive of activity. We are busy creating a variety of items to sell at a “Kids Helping Kids” fundraiser for refugees. The sale will take place at the front of the school at 2:30pm on Tuesday June 14 and Thursday, June 16.  We have made organic fiber bath and kitchen scrubbers, felted and beaded bookmarks, needle felting craft kits, and wool wrapped soaps. All of which would make lovely gifts. (Hint! Hint!)

Our Intermediate students have been busy writing and performing plays starring their sock puppets. Lots of silly fun. Along with creating sock puppet characters, both groups have used story boards, and writer workshop activities to develop longer, more detailed stories. As a follow up to our hard work creating our plays and stories, we will watch an online Opera performance. The Flight of the Hummingbird story is an environmental fable about moral courage and performed by Vancouver Opera in Schools.

By now you will have received an email with a map and information about the City of Vancouver TidalWAV Event on June 3. All family members are invited to attend this event.

Portfolio meetings are well underway now. It is such a pleasure to celebrate your children’s work and accomplishments. For those of you who may be looking for some extra activities during this period without in person classes, here are a couple suggestions: Create another sock puppet character and invent a ‘sequel’ for your sock puppet play. Create a diorama homeland for your sock puppet or another character from your imagination. Draw a squirrel-proof bird feeder (like the ones we saw last week). Label the parts and their dimensions. Build the birdfeeder you invented. Pretend to plan a big feast. Use newspaper fliers from grocery stores to figure out how much it would cost to host your party. Who from the past, present or future would you invite to this feast? Why would you invite them? Write invitations to your feast.

If you know people who may be interested in joining our Home Learner Program, we are accepting applications for the coming school year. Have interested families contact me via email for more information.

Keeping it Fresh

These past days have involved much science and math learning as we explore ways that we can all preserve and protect our precious, clean water resources. We learned about the GVRD water treatment plant, the presence of streams under the city streets and enjoyed the antics of Planet Protectors Goober and Sarah. We followed this up the sharing our reflections on how we can all help reduce the waste of clean water and in doing so, help the health of the planet. We also investigated pond water collected from Trout Lake. We have continued applying measurement and patterning and colour theory skills as we continue to create items for our “Kids Helping Kids Craft Sale” later this year.  We have also been learning about the importance of Persistence and how to handle a challenge. We have been noticing how the squirrel characters in Lynne R. Perkinns’ “Nuts To You” work together to overcome their fears and setbacks. And we have watched some videos about the biology and physics of how squirrels and other creatures can jump long distances. Perhaps you have noticed that, after being knocked offline in early February, our Blog Calendar is working once more. So, with that I mind: Save the dates for separate group picnics on June and a combined groups event on June 3. Both groups are invited to join us at the City of Vancouver “TidalWAV”event in Stanley Park at Second Beach and Ceperley Park on June3rd. Further details will be provided at Portfolio Meetings. Time 10:00 to 2:30.   Please remember that Class Photo Day is tomorrow, Thursday May 19. All students in both groups are welcome to come for the photo, however, only the Thursday/Friday group will stay for classes afterwards. Our class time slot is right at 9:00am, so please arrive at 8:50am. Monday/Tuesday students will be brought back to parents immediately after the photo; approximately 9:10 am.     Attached here is a link to an interesting article by child psychologist Michele Borba. https://t.co/PWUnXbMAz5

Valuing Creativity

Class Photo Day is Thursday May 19. Both groups will be combined in one photo. If you would like your child to be in our group photo, please arrive at our usual location at 8:50 am. We will enter the school at 8:55 as our photo is scheduled to happen first, at 9:00. After the group photo is complete, the Monday/Tuesday group will exit the school by the front doors. Approximately 9:10 am.

Portfolio times are happening soon. Please email me your first three choices of time slots as soon as possible. lbaker@vsb.bc.ca  This third portfolio meeting will be a major component of the assessment for the year as a whole. Please review your child’s Student Learning Plan (SLP) with your child before this last portfolio time of the year so we can celebrate their accomplishments. If you would enjoy a few extra ideas for learning activities/ projects to do over the days that in-person classes are not in session, please let me know by noon on Tuesday May 17th

We are learning that nature can be very resilient. It was nice to observe that our garden is recovering well after a bit of a setback last week. We continue to practice resilience ourselves as well learn and apply new and challenging skills. We are using our new skills to create items to sell at a charity fundraiser later in the year. And we are learning about ‘value’ and Canadian Currency in advance of setting prices of our sale items and how to make change during the sale.

Life’s Lessons and Inspirations

Many of us are discovering that weaving is not as easy as it may look. Neither is spinning raw wool into yarn. But we are learning to persevere in the face of adversity! We shared strategies for what we can do  when we come up against a challenge. There has been a lot of sharing of ideas, and even more offers of help to peers!  This led us into a conversation about the difference between things we truly need, and things we may want. This in turn became a conversation about “Charity” and how we as an individual, or we as a class, might do things to make life easier for other people who may not have everything they actually need. With tis in mind, we are making some woolen handmade crafts and garden seedlings which we will sell to raise funds for charity. The generosity and kindness of our students is wonderful to witness.  Details of the sale to follow.

Thank you to those of you who responded to the survey about excursions and field trip  preferences. Most folk seem to prefer activities held outdoors which are accessible by car. This year we will have 2 excursions. The first will be to attend “TidalWAV” at Second Beach/Ceperly Park from 10:30 to 3:00pm on June 3. Participants in either group are welcome to attend along with any family members who wish to come. The second event will be a family picnic. Each group will meet at the picnic location from 10:30 until 2:30 pm. Location TBD, but save the date: The Primary Mon/Tue group date will be Monday June 27. The Intermediate Thur/Fri group date will be Thursday June 23. Please remember that families provide their own transportation to and from their own homes for both activities. IF you are able to offer a ride to/ from Beaconsfield School for a student whose parent cannot drive, please let me know.

Portfolio season approaches. The last Portfolio Meetings for this year take place between May 24 and June1.  Available times will be 9, 11, 1, and 2 pm. I hope to have the calendar available for viewing soon. Feel free to send me 3 choices of times by email a lbaker@vsb.bc.ca I will update the calendar daily starting May 11.

Lastly, I am certain you all would have been proud of how your children handled a bit of bad news this past week: It happened that an angry, upset small person from another class, pulled the blossoms off most of our much-anticipated tulips and daffodils and trampled the plots of several other classes as well. The student not striking out at any particular person or class, but simply lashing out at the world in general. It was upsetting for many who witnessed the outburst. After the event had passed, we went out to observe the damage. The damage was quite extensive. However, many blooms remained intact and are not yet finished planting our whole plot. Many seedlings are almost ready to plant out next week. When we returned to our classroom, we followed up this disappointing discovery with a conversation about handling an unpleasant experience. Many valuable insights and strategies were shared. The resilience of our children never ceases to amaze and inspire!

Planting Ideas and Weaving Them Together: It’s Sew Exciting!

Over the past week our fingers have been very busy spinning wool, weaving on different types of looms, and planting veggies and flowers for our gardens. We are beginning to create our sock puppet characters and imagining the stories they will star in. The classroom is abuzz with creativity and conversation as we learn to plan out our time and follow through on project goals. Next week we will be shaking things up a bit with an Earthquake Drill on Thursday May the 5th. For those families that do not attend on Thursdays, you may want to use part of that day to discuss and updating your family’s emergency plan and refresh earthquake kits. I will be following up the basic concepts with students next Monday as well.

Save the date: Possible field trip to TidalWAV. This is a family friendly Outdoor Education Event held at Ceperley Park and Second Beach on June 3rd.  Details to follow.

How EGGciting!

Many EGGciting adventures this week planning, collaborating, building various ways to protect an egg from a long fall onto hard ground. The intermediate group had to create a package using only paper or cardboard and the yarn they spun from raw wool. The Primary group were given paper and cardboard and string. Some eggs survived the drop! All of the children discussed the possibility that their plan might not work, and their egg might break.  Everyone chose to go ahead and attempt this challenge. Each successful surviving egg was celebrated by the group. Each broken egg was met with a philosophical shrug and an “Oh well, that’s just science.” Lots of laughter along with our learning. Thank you to those who sent along some Easter treats to share as well.                                                                              There was much singing and dancing this week as well. We watched a video of the award-winning Gladstone Secondary Jazz Band and Choir and danced along with Mr. Gurdeep Pandher. Mr. Pandher is a resident of Yukon, who posts a daily Bangura dance from his cabin just outside of Whitehorse. His dances remind us to find joy and gratitude for the simple things in life.        We continuing to enjoy our garden and watch in amazement as our daffodils thrive and our tulips are almost ready to open. We have planted more perennials to plant after all danger of frost has passed. Soon it will be time to tackle the weeds which also seem to be enjoying the rich and healthy soil of our modest garden!                                                                                                      If you have not done so already, please provide a clean old sock or two for the ‘puppet making project’ we started this week. Making a puppet is also a convenient excuse for learning how to sew on a button and mend a hole! Please be reminded that Monday April 25 is a Professional Day and Thursday April 28 is an early dismissal day for Beaconsfield and Pick Up time is 2:00pm. Please watch your email for a ‘Field Trip Survey” coming your way later today.

Colourful fun!

Its been a week of colourful (and very messy!) fun as we learn about colour theory. We practiced “wax resist” art on eggs and seashells; we painted solid background colours onto rocks, then notice how the colours “popped” when we added them on top.

We have been using drop spindles to turn some of our home dyed wool into yarn/string. We created a loom and will begin weaving with our home made yarn in the days ahead. Some of the eggs we brought for our colour art activity were repurposed for an engineering/applied design challenge: Raw eggs were placed into packages we created from cardboard and yarn/string. Then we threw them from a great height to see if our packaging would protect the egg. Some eggs survived!

Our daffodils have burst into bloom, and our tulips are not far behind. In the days ahead we will be planting/transplanting some annuals to climb on the fence in the space behind the tulips. Consider dropping by the garden after 3:00pm in the next few days to see the results of our labour

On Thursday we were treated to a wonderful jazz concert by Gladstone Senior Jazz Band and choirs. Conducted by Mr. Braverman, these talented performers lifted our hearts had us all tapping our toes and singing along to some tunes!

In the next few weeks, we will be learning how thread a sewing needle, sew on a button, and attach one piece of fabric to another by hand. To do this we will be making sock puppets! If you have some socks that have lost their mates, now is your chance to give them a new life as a character in our puppet theatre. Please send you child with a (clean) sock of two. I will provide the sewing needles and other materials needed to create the puppets.

Reminder: Monday April 25 is a Pro D Day: No school for students. Thursday April 28 is an early dismissal day: 2:00pm pick up time. Third term Portfolio meetings begin May 24. I hope to have the blog calendar fixed by this time next week!

As Covid restrictions are opening up I am considering arranging a couple field trips and would appreciate your feedback. I will be emailing out a survey in the next week or so seeking your thoughts about under what circumstances you would be likely to participate in a field trip. I will use the BCC function; it might end up in your spam folders. Please keep an eye out for it.

There’s a good story in here somewhere.

Colourful wool, seashells fill this vibrant space full of creative kids! We have recently been exploring the ‘elements’ of story. These include plot, setting and character. We all have been given a scallop shell to construct a story around. The scallop has a hinge and has become a tiny treasure box containing a secret treasure. The mysterious treasure will drive our various plots. Each of us will have our own setting and characters as well. Creativity and mystery abound!

We have been discussing the concept of Empathy and what it means to have empathy for other beings. We have talked about world news and expressing concern about children who are refuges and animals impacted by a changing climate. We have been thinking about things that we can do as individuals to protect the environment, and what we as a class might be able to do in order to help make life a bit easier for a refugee child. The conversation continues.

Back by popular demand…the main school kids are holding another fundraiser to support their Year End event. There will be a popcorn sale at recess on Thursday April 7. Items are $1-2.

If you know a family with students who will be in grade 4 or 5 or 6 next year who may be interested in our program, please let them know we are accepting inquiries for next year. Please direct them to this blog for the application form. Or they can email me at lbaker@vb.bc.ca

Spring Sproing! Time is speeding up!

Welcome back! It has been a pleasure to hear about all the wonderful activities your kids got up to over Spring break. Such an active community!

Please ensure you read the Principals’ recent Beaconsfield Family Newsletter about most recent updates to VSB Covid protocols.

Now that we are into the last term of the school year we might notice that Time is Speeding Up! We will be taking advantage of the sunnier days to use our outdoor classroom, to spend more time in our garden, taking our lunches outside for impromptu picnics and exploring our community on foot. Please send along a sun hat and sunscreen for your kids to have at school. Consider sending along a beach towel or small blanket to sit upon when we go outside to read under a tree or picnic on the grass.

We have dyed our wool many bright colours and will soon begin a spinning and weaving project. We will be experimenting with colourful dyes and spun wool in several other challenges as well. Please send along 1 or 2 hard boiled if you would like your child to experiment with ‘wax resist’ art on eggs.  Please send along 1 RAW Egg if you would like you child to attempt an “Wool Wrapped Egg Drop” challenge. Intermediate students will do these challenges on April 7&8. Primary students will l do these activities on April 11 &12.

Please consider sending along an apron or oversized T Shirt to use as an “Art Smock” to keep cloths clear during our messier science and art adventures over the remaining weeks.

As part of our Social Responsibility efforts, we are thinking about ways we could contribute to helping our Planet Earth, and how we might contribute to improving life for people who are less fortunate than ourselves. We have observed that helping others can help our own selves when  The quality of conversation and the depth of insight your children express is quite astonishing at times! I feel privileged to work with such open-hearted citizens.

In other news:

Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has reached out to share that registration for our Go Girls! Spring Term is open. This is an  Arts Exploration program!. Description, schedule, and registration links for the program can be found be below. Arts Exploration gathers every week to connect, develop friendships, and participate in creative activities. This program is about exploring and expressing oneself through art, so any participant with an interest in being creative is welcome – you don’t need to be an artist to join!

  • Mondays 4:00-5:15pm; Apr 25 – May 30 2022 (No session Mon May 23 due to Victoria Day). 5 sessions total.
  • Wednesdays 4:00-5:15pm; Apr 27 – May 25 2022. 5 sessions total.

This program is FREE and Online via Zoom. Eligible participants must be Grades 4-7, self-identify as girls, non-binary, or transgender youth, and be committed to attending all the sessions of the program. Space is limited so we encourage participants to sign up promptly!

If your children are not interested in art, they also have our Go Girls! Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds program which focuses on friendships, self-esteem, confidence, active living, and balanced eating. Our fully trained volunteer mentors lead games, discussions, and activities with a group of participants. This program runs Tuesdays 4:00-5:00pm; Apr 26 – Jun 14 2022 (8 sessions total).

Spring is springing!

Thank you for the magnificent portfolio presentations of the past few weeks. The breadth and quality of your children’s learning explorations is very inspiring!

The bulbs and perennials have begun to Sprout. So next time you have a few minutes to spare at the end of the day, ask your children to show you our garden plot.

As the school year progresses, we have begun to push ourselves a bit further. One way we do this is to practice ‘metacognition’ to develop our critical thinking skills. One way we are doing this through an exploration of various building blocks to thinking and tools for independent learning. These include Selective Attention, Approach to Task, Making Comparisons, Problem Identification and others. The older students have pushed these concepts a bit further with logic puzzles and our own home-grown version of Wordle.

Vancouver Coastal Health has asked the school to distribute forms to have regular childhood immunizations done at school. The forms were sent home on Monday or will go home with older students tomorrow (Thursday March 10) These are generally for Kindergarten and Grade 6 students, but some students who were missed in past years will have received the form as well. They are time sensitive. If you wish your child to be immunized at school, please complete and return the form by mid-day Friday March 11. The immunization clinic will take place at 9:00am on Thursday April 14th. Any students from the Monday/Tuesday group who submit completed forms may attend the clinic with our class, and then go home once vaccinated. Our group is scheduled to go first, so I expect we will be done by approx. 9:30.

There is also a HEARING Clinic for Kindergarten students happening here on Tuesday April 5th. Parents of Kindergarten students will have received that notice on Monday.

COVID Rapid Testing kits for use at home have arrived. One per student. They must be given to an adult.  I will distribute them at 3:00pm this week and Tuesday March 29. If these times do not work for you, please email me to arrange an alternate time.

Reminder: Spring Break starts Monday March 14 and goes until Friday March 25th.  Happy Holidays!

Catching up

Well. it seems that our Blog is back in business! Although our Calendar is not yet accessible, most of our other info and links are accessible once more. For now, if you have questions about the calendar, please feel free to email me directly at lbaker@vsb.bc.ca.

Second Portfolio meetings start next week. Please remember that there are no ‘in person classes’ from February 24 until March 4.

Here is a brief summary of what we have been up to since the last post on February 2nd.

We have been making our own compostable seed filled card paper, and creating ‘flower bombs’ of soil and seeds with which to perform random acts of beauty! We have been observing our heritage tulip and daffodil bulbs poke through the soil, and we have prepared the soil and planted perennial wildflowers to attract and feed pollinators. Soon we will be learning how to identify common plants found in the Vancouver area and how to safely forage for edible leaves and shoots. We have been creating interesting vessels from papier mache. I have been delighted with the creative exploration and impressed with the cooperative end of day clean up! If you haven’t already done so, please send along an ”Art Smock” (an apron or oversized shirt) to help keeps clothes clean during messy mucky projects.

Thank you to everyone who shared treats and sent contributions to the Friendship Fruit Salad we enjoyed together this week as well.

As the weather warms up we expect to spend even more time out of doors.

Our waitlist for next year is now open! Please spread the word.

Happy Goundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Gro…. Hopefully our groundhog enjoyed this cloudy snowy day as much as we appreciate the signs of an early Spring!

Report cards were sent  home with the Primary group on Tuesday, and will be sent home with the Intermediate group on Thursday. Report cards for those who do not attend in person this week will be placed into the envelopes in the Blue Tote on the front steps of the school. Please sign and return the Report card envelope so it can be reused for the next report.

Reminder: Due to the upcoming second term Portfolio Meetings, there are no in person classes from Feb 23 until March 4. The Portfolio Meeting Schedule is filling up. Please email me as soon as possible with your first and second preference from the remaining time slots.

Friendship Fruit Salad: To celebrate Valentine’s Day and Family Day, each student is invited to contribute to a Friendship Fruit Salad. We will enjoy the fruit salad together on February 11th or 14th. Please wash and chop the fruit ahead of time. The chopped fruit will be combined into one big bowl of tastiness! The fruit salad will be served by the teacher. Feel free to send other individually packaged Valentine goodies if you wish.  It is common for younger students bring and distribute cards for classmates. However, this is NOT an expectation. If your child does want to give Valentines, please ensure they bring a card for each child in their group. (Primary class has 15 members. Please Email before 3pm on Feb 8th if you would like a list of their first names.)

As part of our Social Emotional Learning activities we’ve talked a lot about ways to lift spirits and bring smiles to other people. Together we have made over 30 Valentines or Happy Springtime cards for senior citizens living in care. Well done!

February is Black History Month. As one of our activities we will be learning about Canadian musician and activist, Oscar Peterson. We will also learning to sing his composition “Hymn To Freedom.” There are many wonderful versions of this song available online. I hope you will take time to find one, listen to it with your children, and talk about the message in this elegantly simple, powerful song.

Reminder: Friday February 18th is a Professional day.

Looking Ahead

Time is speeding up! Report cards will be sent home next week. The schedule for the second round of Portfolio meetings is now available for booking. Please email me with your first two preferred times in the next week or so.

Over the past two weeks both groups have been discussing  the impact of the residential school system on Indigenous People in Canada. We watched “Spirit Bear”; a video for children produced by the TRC. We used a Know Wonder Learn (KWL) strategy to organize our discussions, thinking, and written responses. The Intermediate students also attended in an online conference on “Black Excellence” celebrating the roles and accomplishments of Black Canadian artists, scientists, athletes, politicians, celebrities and younger peer role models. As part of our Social Responsibility content we read “Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?” and talked about what simple kind acts we can do to make another person feel noticed and appreciated. We are creating Spring cards or Valentines to give to senior citizens living in care facilities as a way to lift their spirits.  In the coming days we will be reading “Mr. Peabody’s Apples” and discussing how hurtful words and rumors are hard to undo, and how we can respond.

Some upcoming events:  “Body Science Boot Camp for Parents”  The  PAC at Beaconsfield  is sponsoring a parent workshop with Saleema Noon Sexual Health Educators. Interested parents are invited you to a scheduled Zoom meeting with Julie Prodor on Monday February 14 6:30 -8:00 pm.                                Join Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85423386312?pwd=Q1B3RjdSdndIeU83WGNGN25qMmdmdz09                                                                                    Meeting ID: 85423386312   Passcode: 724413                                                                                              Student sessions will take place during the school day on Tuesday February 15th so unfortunately, this means that only our Monday/Tuesday group will be able to receive the student workshop. If you wish your child to OPT OUT of the student body Science workshop, please email the teacher no later than 9:00 Tuesday February 15th.     For more information go to www.saleemanoon.com

Please note:  The rules around self-isolation have changed and continue to be updated regularly. Currently this is the information we are following for fully vaccinated adults and children under 18: If you tested positive and are managing your illness at home you can end isolation when all three of these conditions are met: At least 5 days have passed since your symptoms started, or from test date if you did not have symptoms. Fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Symptoms have improved. You should avoid non-essential visits to higher risk settings such as long-term care facilities and gatherings, for another 5 days after ending isolation.    All current information can be found on this website: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/if-you-have-covid-19

For the Grade 4&5 skier/snowboarders among us: The SnowPass program is available on line. Information about the program is available at https://goskiinggosnowboarding.ca/  and parents can apply on behalf of their child in grade 4 or 5 at www.snowpass.ca.