Friday, December 20, 2013

Writing for a purpose

Since I am in the classroom half-time now (the other half is my beloved Teacher Librarian IBL position), I don't teach ELA directly to my class anymore. I really miss this because it can be so many things! My teaching partner, Candace, recently did what I think is an awesome activity with our kids.
It stemmed from a typical and never-ending classroom problem. PENCILS. Pencils can be one of the biggest headaches in a classroom. They are always missing, dull, broken or something else other than useful. But there is no way around needing them. I have tried cheap pencils, expensive pencils, mechanical pencils, tying pencils to desks and putting flags on the ends. NOTHING WORKS. This year we have had even more trouble because the pencils we bought for our class seem to be particularly frustrating. We could take a new pencil out of the box and sharpen the entire thing without using it. We sharpen it, the led falls out because it is broken inside. We sharpen it again, it breaks again. THE ENTIRE PENCIL. No joke.
Mrs. Henry and our class decided they had had enough. So they did some letter writing. I love this because it was a real-life problem that they wanted to let the company know about. They also need to learn about the writing process and more specifically the letter writing process. Win-win!
As you will see in the photos, this was a multi-step process that ended in them actually mailing the letter to the company. They brainstormed about the message that needed to be sent, putting their ideas into sentences, letter format and addressing an envelope. I can't wait to hear if they reply!


The final letter:

To Whom it May Concern,
We are grade 2 students at Birds Hill School. We are writing to let you know that we do not like the pencils we bought from your company. They do not work well. They always keep breaking, so we can’t do our work. Sometimes we have to throw away the pencils before we even get to use them because we have sharpened it so many times. The lead keeps falling out or they sharpen unevenly. Our pencil sharpener will jam. All of these problems mean that we can’t do our work. Thank you for your time.

Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Dent’s Grade 2 Class

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gifts of Grace

Our friends down the street in Ms. Clarke's Class posted about this video and project on Friday. I thought it was a beautiful idea so I shared it with the kids in our class today! Thanks Ms. Clarke! Here is the video:

I love projects like this that encourage us to think about other people, especially around Christmas, and take the focus of the material side of the holiday. We talked about how we could participate in this project and decided it was important to write a letter to our families to explain it all. The kids brainstormed the details about what the project is, why we want to help and what we can do.

Everyone has the option of bringing in gently used or new mittens, hats or warm socks and leftover Halloween candy. I will take care of picking up any extra candy we need to fill the packages. Once we have gathered our donations (by Wednesday, December 16), we will stuff the warm items with the sweet treats and make cards shaped like mittens to go with them. Pick-up or delivery of the packages will be arranged for Friday, December 20 in time for their Christmas Eve delivery to Siloam Mission!

If you have warm items or candy you would like to donate too, please email me at and I can add them to our delivery.

Thank You!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

So Much to Talk About!

We have been so busy lately, we haven't kept up with our blog! Here is a bit about what has been going on and what is on our minds:

Snow forts
I made a snow fort with my friends by the side by the music room. We were getting a lot of big blocks by digging them out. We builded our fort really tall but people kept breaking it so we had to start over again. -Carter

I tried to build a snow fort with Sarah but people kept stealing blocks from us so we couldn't build a snow fort. -Rhyann

Me and Mikaela built a little snow fort and we played in it and we found blocks and out of blocks we made an iPod and a computer and iPhones and iPads. And we played a game we were being mean to each other but it was fake and it was fun. I really like playing with Mikaela, we have lots of fun. -Jace

Today I made a snow fort with my friends. It was fun. Me and my friends were playing puppets. I was a white husky named Snowflake. My friend Adrianna was a German Shepard named Cop. -Kami

We worked hard on our portfolios. We put our work in plastic sleeves and then in a binder. We put some stuff in term 1 and some stuff in the growth section. -Anthony

In our portfolios we read to our parents and they left us a comment. -James

Portfolio conferences
On Thursday and Friday there was portfolio conferences and our parents came to look at our portfolio and our teachers talked to our parents about how we are behaving in class. -Rhyann

Portfolio conferences our parents came to see what we have done in our portfolios. We typed blogs on the netbooks and we showed them inside the portfolios. After the portfolios we went to the book fair to get books. -Lucas

At portfolio conferences I saw Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Dent Scarcello and I showed my mom my portfolio and I showed my mom where I sit. -Madison

It was my birthday on November 18th! I turned 7 years old. At school my class sang Happy Birthday to me. -Rhyann

On October 5th it was my birthday and it was fun. On September 29th was my birthday party and I had it at Deer Meadow Farm. After my birthday party me and my dad and my cousin got to go and look at the rest of the animals and we got to go in the horse cage and the sheep too. One of the sheep was black and it was my favorite and it's name was Pepper. There was another sheep, it was all white and it's name was Salt. I got to go through a maze made of wood and we had to look for animals. Then, we went through the corn maze. -Adrianna

It was my birthday on October 30th. I turned 7 years old. I had a big party at Canadinns. It was really fun because we went down the big water slide. -Madelynne

Remembrance Day assembly
We had a Remembrance Day assembly and we had a guest speaking about what poppies are a sign of. -Sarah

Today I played in the snow with my friends and we played puppies in the snow. It was fun. The game was huskies and I was a husky with all black, Adrianna was a brown husky and it was fun playing. -Jace

It snowed a lot. It's not sunny and there is snow on the ground. -Anthony

Today we started a tree art. Tomorrow we are going to paint the background. Today we put on the glue and tissue paper. We are going to cut it out into trees and glue it on the paper that we paint tomorrow. We are going to use cool colours for the background and for the trees we are using hot colours. -Adrianna