Portfolios Continue…..

Portfolios continued this week.  Absolutely love to see all the amazing learning activities happening in your homes. And I am thrilled to hear about the family friendships being forged as well! In-person learning re-commences on Monday, March 4. Keep in mind that on Tuesday, March 5th the Primary-aged group will meet at Lynn Valley Ecology Center at 9:45am for our guided programs. Monday, Tuesday parents: If you haven’t already done so, please email me with your intention to join us there or work from home.

We are still collecting metal boxes for the Intermediate instrument building activity. Please look around your homes for old cookie tins or chocolate tins. They do not need to be beautiful. They DO need a lid. Round tins are fine if they are wider than they are tall.

Our main school is having a Book Fair from 3:00 to 3:45 on Tuesday and Wednesday next week (March 5 & 6.) We are on a field trip on Tuesday, so will not be able to go to the sale, but all families are welcome to pop into the library between 3:00 and 3:45 either day.

I recently came across a site with science activities that may be of interest to some parents:   https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3iouw9vKUh/?igsh=MW9yNzF4cTF5OTk5eg==

Portfolios and Home Learning

We are deep into our portfolio presentations this week and next. There is so much to celebrate about the projects and progress our kids are experiencing while they work from home. I am continually delighted to learn about the hands-on engagement, philosophical musing, and deep conversations taking place in our community. I’ve loved hearing about science experiments, creative writing projects, video production, robotics creations, coding successes, art explorations, and breakthroughs in math and spelling skills. Even spectacular cooking mishaps inspire learning when the child brings a growth mindset and sense of humour! Thank you for all you do to foster curiosity and resilience!


By LBaker

Friendship & Family (Day)

Portfolio meetings begin tomorrow, so this blog post will be short and sweet!

Friendship and fostering positive supportive relationships were the theme for the last few days. We have been learning to offer support kindly and look for opportunities to show our helpers appreciation. Thank you to those who sent along ingredients for our Friendship Fruit Salads. One salad was quite full of oranges, and one was quite full of green grapes. BOTH were refreshing and delicious!

For the last two weeks, the older group has made papier mâché bowls and seed paper. We’ve also explored sculpting, carving, and engraving with a variety of materials with a variety of tools.

The younger groups have had some fun learning about Opera and performing our own Operas as well as illustrating several classic songs and poems.

Monday/Tuesday group please note we have a field trip to Lynn Valley Ecology Centre on our second day back after Portfolios (Tuesday, March 5th). We will meet at the Ecology Centre at 9:45, rain or shine! Bring a lunch. We will be exploring in boggy wet conditions so wear boots and gloves….maybe a change of socks too! As always for this type of activity, parents provide their own transportation and supervise their children. There is public transportation nearby and plenty of paid parking at the Centre. Please consider carpooling.

If your child is currently enrolled, and you have not already done so, please let me know if you intend for your child(ren) to continue in September. I would like to be able to offer any available space to those on our waitlist.

February 19 is Family Day, but it is also Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. I invite students and parents alike to take some time to learn about his impact on Canadian history.


By LBaker

Fantastic February!

Lately we have been deconstructing song lyrics to look for strong visual language. Lots of tuneful and creative fun with old Traditional Folk Tunes these days! The Kindergarteners had their hearing tested this week… So…no more excuses for any “Selective Listening!”

September 2024: We are victims of our own success and are already bursting at the seams for next year. There is an extensive waitlist of families hoping to join our program. If you have not already done so, please email by noon February 16th me to let me know if you intend to keep your child in the program in September 2024, or will be moving on to other choices.

Students in both groups have been practicing giving and receiving constructive criticism. This week, please watch for a Student Self-Assessment page coming home which is focused on this Core Competency. Please return it to school with your child as soon as possible (or email it back to me) at least 2 weekdays BEFORE your child’s next Portfolio Meeting. These pages form part of the report card file which will be coming home in the week of March 11.

Included here are some parent resources about Core Competencies and Reporting Student Learning:




One way we have been applying these skills is to partner up an older student with a younger student when we are doing group work. I am so impressed with the willingness and kindness your children demonstrate during these activities.

I am going to offer one bit of constructive criticism here myself. Recently I’ve overheard students from both cohorts mention to classmates that they rarely practice writing skills or basic math computation skills on the days they are learning from home. While meaningful learning happens in all sorts of interdisciplinary ways, I strongly encourage parents to remember that frequent reinforcement of basic skills is an important step to understanding. And, more importantly, it builds confidence and fluency, thus freeing up energy for creativity and expression. There are lots of great math and spelling games and downloadable math and sight-word flash cards out there that can help in this area. An easy way for the parents of the Primary students especially, is to look up “Dolch Word Lists” and “High Frequency Word Lists” by their grade level.

February is Black History Month. The Intermediates have begun a novel study about the experiences of a bi-racial student. The Primary students have begun learning some songs that celebrate respectful interdependence. Included here is a link to more Black History resources:  Black History Educational Package – Canada’s History (canadashistory.ca)

February also holds Family Day and Valentine’s Day. On the last day of classes before Portfolio Week (Fri Feb 9 & Tues Feb 13), we will be enjoying an afternoon of music, games and Friendship Fruit Salad in acknowledgement of the support of our families and other helpful relationships. Please send a container of washed and chopped up fruit to add to our happy concoction! Feel free to send along other seasonal treats as well.


by LBaker

February Fun!

How did it get to be FEBRUARY so quickly? And a Leap Year at that?! February is the month of Groundhogs, Valentines, Portfolios, and special school events. It is also Black History Month. And there is Pink Shirt Day, and Family Day. It’s a good thing it’s a leap year so we have an extra day to accomplish everything!

We will celebrate all these good things with an afternoon of games and music, and by sharing Friendship Fruit Salad, on the last day of classes before Portfolios start: Friday, February 9th and Tuesday, February 13th. On that day, please send along a small container of washed and chopped fruit to toss into the mix. We are sure to be surprised and delighted with whatever arrives! Feel free to send along some other seasonal treats for classmates if you wish.

The main school has 2pm dismissal days on February 7 & 8 next week, but we do not. Instead, we will have no in-person classes from February 15th to March 1st due to the second Portfolio meetings.

Movie Night is on Friday!  Come as a family to watch “Luca” in the school gym on Friday, February 2nd. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the movie starts at 6:30. Pizza and other goodies for sale. Floor seating! Bring your own blanket or cushion. Please see the Beaconsfield Banter newsletter you will have received from the school office for information about this, and Pink Shirt Day, etc.

September Intentions: If you haven’t already done so, please be in touch with me to let me know if it is your intension to have your child stay in our program in September. I have a very long waiting list, so this information is very helpful. Next year dates for the cohorts will be the same as this year: G K-3 on Mondays and Tuesdays and G4-7 on Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays for online meetings, etc.



By L.Baker

Playing Catch-Up

Because last week’s blog post was missed due to the Snow Day in Metro Vancouver, I will lead here with some important dates and reminders before I catch up on our In-Person Learning from the past two weeks.

#1 Interim Submissions for our Intermediate students are due tomorrow; January 25th.

#2 We are now booking appointments for the second Portfolio conference. If you haven’t already done so, email the teacher directly with your 3 preferred days. Please also indicate if you      prefer a morning or afternoon appointment.

#3 Hold the Date: Class Photos will be on Monday May 13th. The Thursday/Friday group is invited to come to the school at 9:00 to have a class photo taken, and then leave right after the photo is taken.

#4 Currently collecting biscuit tins: The older students will soon be building “guitars” out of tin boxes. Please send along any tins you have on hand after the holidays. They can be square or rectangular or a circle. But they must be flat. They do not need to be fancy, (although that is nice) but they do need to have a lid.

#5 September 2024 enrollment: We are already starting to plan for next year! Students who are currently enrolled in the program, and younger siblings of students who are currently registered for September 2024 have priority. We are already almost full!  Please email the teacher before noon on January 31 to let us know if it is your intention to have your child remain in the program for next year.

This past week both groups have explored important elements of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Firstly, we have looked at the art of giving and receiving Constructive Criticism. Secondly, we have begun to look at what motivates us to learn, and how to become resilient when learning is challenging. We’ve used Art projects that take a long time to help us practice patience. Through Individual Writing Conferences, we have begun to respond to constructive criticism. Through responding to other students’ art projects and creative writing, we are learning how to offer feedback and suggestions in kind, respectful, and useful ways. I continue to be inspired and amazed by the insights and thoughtful observations these kids share with each other on a daily basis.

The oldest students may be interested to learn about a Writing Contest being offered by CBC radio. It is called “The First Page Contest” and it opens February 1st. You can find more information at CBC.ca or  https://www.cbc.ca/books/the-first-page-student-writing-challenge-is-back-in-2024-1.4269274

Internet safety: It’s just a fact of life these days that many elementary school aged children have iPads. I recently came across something on social media that may be of interest to parents who are considering giving an iPad to their child:  https://www.facebook.com/share/r/xe9aQvwucHTeK5yT/?mibextid=jaSYs6

Originally for January 17: Sometimes we struggle to learn a new skill, but with practice that skill can become second nature. I’ve noticed a shift over the last year or so in the way some students are struggling to form letters and numbers, and that some older students seem a bit foggy about sentence structure, and punctuation, such as quotation marks. I encourage all parents to take a close look at their child’s written work and offer frequent feedback and encouragement to do a bit more writing daily if you notice these gaps. We’ve been doing some worksheet activities on letter formation and grammar here at school just to help “prime the pump.”

We’ve been getting a “charge” out of science: It takes a lot of energy to be a kid, and also to run many of the items we use in day-to-day life. We are exploring Electricity: what it is, how we use it, where it comes from. The Intermediate students have been learning about what happens when a battery is charged, and building electric robotic devices. The Primary students are learning about different sources of energy, and how to stay safe around electricity.

Do you ever wonder where our electricity comes from? Or how it is generated? The BC Electric Powerhouse at Stave Falls offers tours to the public from March 1 onward. Adults $8, Children $7 (5 and under are free.) The powerhouse is located in the BEAUTIFUL Fraser Valley. It is located at 31338 Dewdney Trunk Road in Mission, B.C. Check out  Powerhouse at Stave Falls (bchydro.com) or call 604-462-1222 or email stavefalls@bchydro.com . If you decide to take a trip out there, consider a side trip to Stave Lake for a picnic, or drive the back roads looking for the dairies and nut groves with “Farm Gate” cheese, ice cream and hazel nuts!  Meanwhile, BCHydro offers lots of fun activities for students. Check out schools.bchydro.com.

We’ve also been playing lots of games to build our math skills. Are you interested in more family Math games? Check out @tabletopfamily on Instagram.

Full Steam Ahead!

What fun to see everyone so rested and excited to reconnect with classmates! Just as many grownups like to mingle and catch up in the staffroom with colleagues they haven’t seen in a while, we spent a bit of time on our first day back chatting and sharing our stories of our time off over Winter Break. Lots of laughter and smiles, then we buckled down to work! The Primaries have a goal to learn more about parts of speech, deepening our thinking, and adding details. We’ve started with Nouns and Adjectives. Soon we will move on to Verbs and Adverbs. We will also work toward improving the legibility of our work by focusing on proper pencil grip and letter formation (open web beside the thumb, pull vs push; curves and straight lines pulling to the left, etc.)  The Intermediates have a goal of deepening our critical thinking skills. We will encourage each other to push past “comprehending the main idea” and to look for connections to help develop our skills in analysis and synthesis. Exciting times are ahead!

Thurs/Fri group: Did you rise to the challenge? Just before the break I offered the Intermediate group an invitation to ‘front load’ several Social Emotional Learning concepts and Core Competencies that we will explore in this new term. If you were Intrinsically motivated (see what I did there?) and chose to do the activity, please bring it with you on your first day back.

It seems Winter may have finally arrived. With the falling temperatures Vancouver might even get some snow.  VSB Rarely closes school over snow. But if you are unsure that the school will be open, Please Do Not phone the school! Instead, check one of these sources: CBC (690 AM or 88.1 FM), CKNW (980 AM), CKWX (NEWS 1130 AM), BCTV (Global) (cable channel 11), CITY TV (cable channel 13)  Or check the VSB website for updates.

Looking ahead: Hold The Date for a Field Trip: Mon/Tues group hold Tuesday March 5th. Thur/Fri group hold Thursday March 14th.  Details to follow.


Parents looking for free resources and mini lessons about the quirks of English spelling and parts of speech might want to check out this site on “X” (formerly knows as Twitter):   @englishclasse_

Feather and Stone

As we wind down the year, we have ramped up Science! Both groups have been working with feathers and stones to learn about flight, how birds preen to mend their feathers, and that rocks move through a “cycle” just like water does… only much (MUCH) slower.

Our younger group was wondering what a Solstice is. We looked at how the earth goes around the sun in an elliptical orbit and not a circle as we sometime think. We observed that December 21 is known as the start of winter, and the longest night of the year. But when we deepened our exploration, we realized that December 21 is also the date that the daylight hours start getting longer again… so it’s it actually the beginning of the end of winter!

Words Matter: Some of the older students recently observed and remarked that the lyrics of popular songs can sometimes be a bit ‘questionable.’  I overheard someone say: “That singer needs to grow some boundaries!”  I took advantage of this very “teachable moment” to invite the class to listen to a range of popular seasonal songs and do a bit of informal “literary criticism.”  I used the CBC Radio’s Early Edition Christmas song contest list to conduct an informal poll. I wonder if you can guess their top 3 tunes. (The Vancouver Home Learner Poll results: #1 The Huron Carol by Tom Jackson; #2 River by Joni Mitchell; and #3 Song for A Winter’s Night by Gordon Lightfoot.)

Winter holds many festivals and celebrations. We have been learning fun and interesting elements about Kwanza, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Yalda, Los Posada’s, Christmas, Pancha Ganapati, and Solstice. We have noticed that most cultures practice making a special effort to gather with family and share special foods and rituals. And in this way, people have more in common than differences. Thank you to the parents that sent along some seasonal food and games.

Our primary group spent the day before the start of the holiday in our Pajamas! We enjoyed cozy hot chocolate and peppermint tea. Thank you, parents, for sending along  an abundance of tasty goodies! Basically, I had fun filling your children full of sugar and carbs and sending them home! The Intermediate group will do the same on Friday!

We return from the Winter Break in the week of January 8th.  I will close by wishing you a safe, healthy, happy time with family and friends. I look forward to hearing all about your holiday activities when I see you in the New Year!



-Ms. Baker

Letters, Oranges, Snails, and PJs!

Some folks say that letter writing is a lost art. This week our Intermediate Students refuted this claim by participating in The Great Canadian Mail Race. We received a letter from a student in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan addressed to “Any Grade 4-7 Student” at our school. A classmate volunteered to write back. Then, we all chose a town somewhere in Canada, tracked down the name of an elementary school in that community, and wrote a letter to “Any Grade 4-7 Student” in that school! We wrote to students from Nunavut to Newfoundland. The race is now on to see who will receive a response first!

How well do you really know an orange? The Primary students got to know oranges at a whole new level this week. We practiced Mindful Eating using all 5 senses to observe a mandarin orange before we even peeled it. We noticed tiny oil-filled dimples on the skin, star shapes where it attached to a branch, and slight changes in the colour of different parts of the fruit. We noticed crinkly sounds as we removed the skin. We found the segments cool and smooth. And there were teeny tiny ballons inside each bursting with flavours, both sweet and bitter. Some of us noticed that we had different sensations or tasted different flavours on different parts of our tongues. A fascinating AND delicious experience. Some of us thought we might try Mindful Eating with other foods as well.

The Intermediate students have begun learning how to engrave stones. Using dremels, safety goggles and gloves, we are creating designs on smooth stones from a nearby beach. Eventually, these little works of art will be available for sale as part of our annual charity fundraiser.

Mystery Box Plays:  Small groups were given a box with an odd assortment of puppets, and natural materials. In the course of one afternoon, we wrote and performed plays based on the content of the box. Lots of creative collaboration and silly (SILLY!) fun.

First term report cards have gone home. Those that were not picked up in person are available for parent pick up in the blue tote inside the front doors of the school.

Last call for Gastropods! Please send a clean container to take home a cute little aquatic snail. They come with a “Care and Feeding” page. The last day for pick up is Monday, December 18.

Pajama Party Day is next week on the last day before the Winter Break (December 19 and 22). Wear your PJs, bring a cozy blanket and some goodies to share, as we enjoy hot chocolate, peppermint tea, silly games and stories.

Grade 4 to 7 Interim reports are due tomorrow, December 14th. Please send with your child or submit digitally by Noon.

Looking for ideas to stay active and keep learning over the upcoming Winter Break?

Research your pet snail. Write a story from the point of view of your pet snail…what would they notice going on in your home through the glass of their new home?

Look for birds. Do you see different birds from other times of year? Choose one and research where it travels to and from through the seasons.

Choreograph a gymnastic routine for a snowflake. Why did you choose that particular music for your choreography? Let me know in January if you would like to perform your routine for your classmates.

If you have out-of-town visitors over the holiday, conduct an interview about what their life was like when they were your age. What are some differences? What are some similarities?

YOU Dance (Youth, Outreach and Understanding Dance) was launched in 2007 is a FREE program designed to inspire elementary students, foster a deeper connection to the arts, captivate and enrich imaginations and encourage them to explore the world through dance. YOU dance is The National Ballet of Canada’s signature Community Engagement initiative and reaches a growing range of students from various communities across Canada.



-by LBaker

Snails, anyone?

Student Holiday Craft Market: The main school Grade 6 & 7 classes are selling crafts and baking on Monday December 11th. The sale is a fundraiser for Covenant House, a charity that supports disenfranchised youth in our community. The sale will take place from 2-5 pm in the school Gym. We will go down to the gym to admire their handiwork a few minutes before our regular dismissal time. Feel free to send a small amount of money to school with your child on Monday. Or feel free to come on in to shop for yourself after dismissal time at 3:00pm.

Intermediate students: Dec 14 is the due date for the next Interim Submission. Please ensure you provide evidence of learning for all the areas outlined on the SLP.

Pajama day will be Dec 19 and 22. We will all kick back and relax with games and stories on our last day before the Winter Break. I will provide hot chocolate or peppermint tea. Feel free to send along some goodies to share at our pre-holiday PJ party!

Interested in having a little pet?  Those of you who have been reading this blog for a year or so may remember that my tropical aquarium at home contains a variety of freshwater snails. They are quite entertaining to watch; a super science project, or perhaps a springboard into creative writing about the life of a snail…. Lots of possibilities! Currently, I have an abundance of “Assassin Snails” that I am looking to rehome. These are quite different that the previous year’s snails. Assassin Snails have swirly brown stripes and are pointy. They eat cucumber. If you would like your child to bring home a few of these low maintenance, entertaining critters, please let me know this week. Then send your child to school with a clean glass jar that has several clean stones and a lid with 5-6 holes poked in the top. I will send home the critters next week. I will add seasoned water, and a one-page info sheet for ‘care and feeding’ (and humane disposal should that ever be necessary.)  All I ask in return is a commitment to never release them into the environment.

Check out the updated calendar on this blog. Ms. Bordon has got our program calendar up and working once more! Important dates will be posted as they arise.

A few parents have forwarded me some online resources they find helpful. Feel free to take a look!

Math Instruction:  Time4MathFacts  https://www.time4mathfacts.com/reflex/

Self-regulation for young children:   MrChazz   https://www.instagram.com/reel/CyyUtozut7S/?igshid=MTc4MmM1YmI2Ng==

Upcoming Fun & Holiday Ideas

*Intermediate Parents: reminder that their interim submission is due on December 14th. This can be sent digitally or in hard copy in a folder or binder. You need to address each section outlined on the SLP.

We are still collecting clean metal jar lids and corks for an activity coming in the next few weeks. Please send them to class as you have them.

With the holidays approaching, there are many seasonal and educational activities happening around town. Here are some suggestions….

Arts Umbrella: Upcoming Events – Arts Umbrella  They are also registering now for Spring Break programs.

Burnaby Village Museum:           School Programs | Burnaby Village Museum

Every Winter, the Museum grounds host “Heritage Christmas”, which is a free, beautiful, self-guided tour of the old village, with Christmas lights and displays. It’s a lovely outdoor walk on a clear and cold evening. Add a vintage carousel ride (for a fee) and make the night complete.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum (UBC):          https://beatymuseum.ubc.ca/learn/in-person-tours-and-programs/

Self-guided tours to “discover the interconnectedness of all life on Earth, and our role in preserving these delicate systems.” See a 26m long blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of the atrium. Several times a day there is a film showing of how the skeleton was sourced, cleaned, and assembled.

VanDusen Botanical Gardens/Bloedel Conservatory:     

https://vandusengarden.org/explore/events-calendar-courses/ The Festival of Lights is always a lovely experience. Check if pre-registration is required.

https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bloedel-conservatory.aspx Queen Elizabeth Park is always a beautiful setting. The venue is warm and covered if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Pay parking in effect in the park.

Local Mountain Snowshoeing:

https://cypressmountain.com/lights-to-the-lodge or https://mtseymour.ca/winter/snowshoe

December Events across Metro Vancouver:


In A “Fine Feather”…

There is a taxidermied pheasant and heron at our school. This week we’ve had many conversations about the similarities and differences in their structure, habitat, and what they eat. We shared our prior knowledge and did a bit of research. Then we built our own birds with an entire pheasant worth of feathers. I was given the feathers by a former teacher friend who lives in Saskatchewan.

It’s delightful to see the students’ curiosity and wonder at the beauty of the shimmering iridescent blues and greens on the pheasant’s neck. And to notice and appreciate the symmetry of the brown and black feathers covering the body. And to be surprised by the smooth and fluffy texture of the down. I overheard many variations on the theme: wow nature is amazing!

We’ve been using some logic puzzles to reason our way through some new math. And working together to create our own games to teach math skills.

Sometimes new learning can also bring frustration. We have been delving into strategies for recognizing when we are experiencing a strong emotion, and how to handle our emotions if we become frustrated with an expectation or activity. We also reflected on the fact that we can feel proud of our efforts,  perseverance, and resilience even if we aren’t always successful.

Please be reminded that Friday, November 24th is a Professional Day.


By LBaker

Back in the Swing of Things…..

The first round of Portfolio Meetings have concluded and we returned to in-person learning. It’s been such fun to reconnect! The youngest students used their knowledge of science to write and produce one act plays… all in the space of one day! We have also been learning new math skills, including bar graphs and how to plot points on X or Y axis. Some new logic and reasoning strategies have stimulated much interesting conversation about perception and reality.

Please watch this space for updates about messy science and creative performances in the weeks ahead. Please remember that Friday, November 24 is a Pro-D Day, so no school for the intermediate cohort.


Looking for an engaging Social Studies resource for older students?  Check out @CraigBaird a Canadian Historian and documentarian. He can be found on the app formerly known as Twitter.



By LBaker

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day is upon us. Prior to going off timetable for Portfolios both classes spent time discussing the importance of learning to solve problems in peaceful ways. We reflected on our privilege for being able to live in safety in Canada. The older students discussed how learning about history can help determine how adults behave later in life. Although we will not be in attendance on the day of the school Remembrance Day Assembly, we will be represented through our class’s contributions of art and poems. Please consider attending a community Remembrance Day event on Saturday, November 11.

Today, November 8, is Indigenous Veterans’ Day in Canada. Here is a link to an article about George McLean, an Indigenous Canadian Veteran of Vimy Ridge, and The Boer War. https://t.co/CpSoLzheno

Portfolio meetings are ongoing, and I continue to be amazed and inspired with the depth and rigor of work our students are doing at home. I am delighted to learn of the connections, get-togethers, and learning activities some families are organizing for each other as well. Such a unique learning community!

We return to in person learning on Tuesday, November 14.

A colleague forwarded a FREE multi language literacy resource. Check out https://storybookscanada.ca An introductory video can be found here: https://youtu.be/o0qiM7oeo3E

Here is a link to inspiring winners of a Canadian Student Video Contest. The theme was “Take Me Outside” https://t.co/9ZfCHFQ1Yk

Looking to boost your Upper Intermediate level student’s vocabulary? (Or your own!) Check out comedian Don Huely’s “Daily Word” segment. Entertaining and esoteric words offered with a pronunciation guide and a humorous example. Occasionally a bit cheeky, but never vulgar.


By L. Baker

Lighting A Flame

Portfolio meetings are well underway. It is wonderful to celebrate so many sparks of creativity and growth with the kids!

Just before we went off timetable for Portfolios, we created some delicious Harvest Soups together. We observed that the days are growing shorter and darkness is coming earlier and earlier. We talked about seasons, and the way the sun and earth interact to make this happen. We also noticed that there are many meanings for the idea of ‘Darkness.’ That darkness can be a metaphor well as a physical phenomenon. And that candles and lamps can be metaphors for peace and hope as well. We discussed how many communities and cultures find ways to include the idea of ‘light over darkness’ during the dark time of year between now and the lengthening days of Spring.

For those of you who may be interested, Van Dusen Botanical Gardens is offering an opportunity to enjoy a Festival of Lights between November 24 and January 7th. (Many light displays in the garden, dancing fountains, food vendors, etc.)

I came across Learning Hub Academy. Some families might enjoy this as a resource for activities at home:


We will return to In-Person Learning on November 14.

By LBaker

Sharing is caring

We will be off timetable from Oct 30 to November 10 for portfolio meetings. In order to acknowledge Remembrance Day, we thought ahead about our appreciation for those who have served or serve today to keep Canada safe. We also learned that some Canadians serve as Peacekeepers in other parts of the world. We created 2 wreathes which will be presented at the school assembly on our behalf. The wreathes are made with cut-out handprints affixed in a circle. One was red to represent poppies. One was white to represent our wish for Peace.

The older kids had some fun learning a new game called Kanga Cricket. Although this is a scaled down version of the real game, it is very fast (and noisy!) and can be played indoors in a smaller space.

Autumn is harvesting season and a time when many cultures around the world celebrate by sharing food together. Students in both groups were invited to donate a cup of vegetables to our own Harvest Soup. The whole top floor of the school smelled just marvelous as our soup simmered all morning. It was so delicious even the pickiest eaters gave it a try, and many kids came back for a second helping!! We also investigated the science of soup making and the math involved with comparing proportions and ratios of the various contributed vegetables. We followed this up with a lesson on procedural writing as we wrote recipes for Harvest Soup to make again at home. We also discovered that oil from seeds can be used to make lamps.  A most delicious and enlightening food experience!

Candice Halls-Howcroft, a Weaver, Storyteller, Poet, and Educator of the Squamish Nation, will visit our school and share Water Teachings and Conservation with us at an assembly on Thursday.

Thank you for all the cereal boxes! I am now starting to collect metal jar lids and corks. Please send along clean lids with the lining removed, and corks of any shape or size. Corks with hard plastic or ceramic caps are also helpful.



The Falling Leaves…

We have been having fun making art with fallen leaves. Ask your kids to show you our most recent effort. And while the fallen leaves have been “Blowing’ in the Wind” the Thurs/Fri group also explored  how a song can become a powerful message for peace in the world.

The Mon/Tues group have noticed that some songs tell stories. We learned a very old song called “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night.” Then we used a Story Board to separate main ideas in the song and notice how they flow from one idea to the next in a logical order. Once we understood how to use a story board, each student used one to plan out a new story about tiny ants that live in little tunnels underground!  Some kids got so excited about the writing process they didn’t want to put their pencils down to go for lunch!

Many cultures celebrate the bounty of the Harvest season with a feast of some sort. Our classes will make a savory vegan friendly soup together on Tuesday October 24 and Thursday October 27.  I will provide onions, garlic, spices, and vegan friendly stock. Please send your child to school with one or two cups of pre-chopped Fall Vegetable of your choosing. I’m not going to ‘organize a list’ for these vegetables… we’ll just enjoy the surprise of whatever vegetables appear!!

Safety First! VSB schools have recently practiced Fire drills, Earthquake drills and Hold and Secure drills. Some students were not aware if their families had emergency meet up plans if an emergency happened when the kids were not at school. Please take time to review your family’s emergency preparedness plans. Also, several students were not able to spell their surname or recite a  parent phone number…. please consider practicing this important information with your kids.

Believe it or not, it is time to start scheduling Portfolio #1. The dates for the meetings are October 30 to November 10. Please email me with THREE date preferences, and if you would prefer a  morning or afternoon time slot. The last meeting of the day will start at 2:00pm. I will do my best to book siblings into back to back time slots.

Looking for an authentic and fun family way to forge connection to the SLP? Consider adopting a City of Vancouver Catch Basin. If you adopt one (or more!!!) the city will send you a rake and High Viz vest. Plus, you get to give the Catch Basin a name. It is a bit like having a pet that you don’t have to walk or feed! More information can be found here: adoptacatchbasin@vancouver.ca

Take a look at what @edutopia has to say about the connection between drawing (i.e. Story Boards) and learning:
According to research, sketchnotes and concept maps give students a clearer sense of the big picture.  https://t.co/tf2iXjyBmk

Please remember that Friday, October 20 is a Pro-D Day.


This week we have been sharing our ideas about what we have to be thankful for in our lives. The profound and mature discussions and reflections would fill your heart, I’m sure. We also gathered acorns and leaves which have been used in an art project.

Several silly songs about ducks and geese have been part of our days, along with a sweet old nice song about the moon. Ask your kids to sing them for you.

The whole school practiced a “Hold and Secure Drill”, and we will have an Earthquake Drill next week. With this in mind, if you haven’t yet returned the yellow Reunification Form, please do so as soon as possible.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we use the school gym. Please ensure your child has a pair of shoes with non-marking soles that are suitable for running (laces or Velcro; without a thick sole). If your child does have appropriate footwear they will be asked to participate in socks or bare feet.

We go to the library on Tuesday and Thursday as well… please help your child remember to bring back school library books on these days.

It is now the beginning of the wet and rainy season. With the rain comes the inevitable encounters with puddles and slips on wet grass. If your child attends the Monday/Tuesday group, please send along a change of clothes and a pair of dry socks to keep at school to help survive these little mishaps.

Please save and send to school your empty cereal boxes. We will cut up them up in such a way that one needs to distinguish between the French and English writing to complete bilingual puzzles!

Please be reminded that October 20th is a Professional Day. Teachers will be hard at work but there are no in-person classes for students.

For a special Science/Astronomy lesson, check out the partial solar eclipse in Vancouver on Saturday morning!     

Happy to be Back!

What a fun-filled kick-off to the year! I really admire how our newest students launched themselves with such enthusiasm. I was also very impressed with our returning students, old and young, who helped make new kids feel so welcome and included.

Insightful observations emerged in our discussions. We created a list of expectations and intentions to help us have a healthy, happy, safe classroom experience together. We had stories, games, dance, music, and messy art! We had our school pictures taken, played in the gym and took books out of the library for the first time too. What’s not to love?!

Please remember that Monday is a holiday, and that Tuesday, October 10th is a half-day for kindergarteners. I will take the kids outside to their parents at noon. If you think your kindergarten child would benefit from another day or two of “gradual entry,” please email the teacher.

Here we go!

We look forward to the coming week as we come together to build our community of learners. When the bell goes we will gather in the usual drop off/pick up space in little yard at the North East corner of the school. Then we will head up to the classroom for some ‘get to know you’ games and an art project. Don’t Forget your Art Smock!

There are some important office items to go home as well as some important office items to be collected this week. (School Fees and Verification forms etc.) I will try to do this on Thursday and Tuesday.

Please wear Orange on Friday the 29th in recognition of The Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th.

Photo Day is October 3rd. Please be on time as our classes go first. This is open to students from both groups, but the Thru/Fri group will leave as soon as their photo is done.

Kindergarteners only stay until Noon on October 3 and 10. I will bring them downstairs to the drop off/ pick up place.

I respectfully remind parents that parents need to check in at the school office before heading up to the classroom.  Also, parents are not permitted in the student washrooms.  (There is an adult only washroom near the office for emergencies.)

Allotment forms can be found here on the Blog. Please ensure a there is a clear connection to your child’s SLP before making your request. If in doubt, feel free to add a brief explanation on the form.