Who Wants More Skating?

thanksgivingDidn’t Thanksgiving seem to go by in a blur? Here and gone again for another year. But it’s not really gone is it? If you are anything like me, who ate way too much, those memories are still hanging around. But also, the idea behind Thanksgiving is one that should always be with us.

This year I am thankful for:

My beautiful family

The health of my two wonderful children

The blessings of a wonderful country to live

A living God who constantly challenges me

The students in my class who really have settled in and are working so hard.

All the visitors to our blog!

Enough of the mushy stuff! Just a reminder that tomorrow students will be going skating again. They will be allowed to wear play clothes again.

It has been a busy week with lots of things happening. For Language Arts, we are slowly working our way through the novel, “Safe As Houses”. It is a challenging book but the students are rising to the challenge and are quite excited to see how true events and stories can be turned into an exciting fiction story. Our unit on Ideas is our focus for writing. Students have been working on ways to generate ideas focusing on generating a main idea and building support for it by thinking of a table. The top of the table is the main idea while the legs provide the support.

In Math, we have started looking at division as the opposite of multiplication where you are looking for the missing factor. We started by looking at a math sentence like 2x=8. Solving for the missing number is basically division. You can look at that as saying 8 divided by 2 or how many twos do you need to make 8. Students have caught on  pretty quickly which is nice to see. When you look at it as the opposite of multiplication, it is really not that hard. What will be hard is when we get to the multiple digit division but we will cross that bridge when we get to it! Please continue to practice the multiplication times tables with your children. The better they know the times tables, the easier everything else will be for them.

Speaking of which, there is going to be a 7x tables quiz on Friday! If you need practice pages, you can use the Math Cafe link on the left side of the page. At the Math Cafe, you can create and print off worksheets for the students to practice with for free!

Now that we have eased into the school year, the next couple of weeks are going to be a busy time as new programs come into place. We will be starting spelling lists next week as well as our Home Reading program! Be on the lookout for more information!

It’s Fish for Supper! Must Be Friday!

It’s been an extremely busy week in in 4H/G. Students have been working very hard and still there is just not enough time in the day for everything. We have started our first Novel Study with the book Safe as Houses. It is written by Eric Walters and tells the true story off the tragic events of 1954, when Hurricane Hazel swept through Ontario. As part of our initial discussions, students have been working on viewing the cover and reading the first few pages of the book to help them make predictions. We have also talked a great deal about what makes a good prediction. A good prediction must be deep, clear and plausible. As we finish up Chapter 1, we will begin discussing Literature Circles and the various roles students will have in order to investigate and understand the content and structure of the book. Each chapter, we will focus on a different role: Discussion Director, Illustrator, Responder/Summarizer, Dictionary Dude and Passage Picker.

As part of our look at Chapter 1, I wanted to give students a sense of what life was like back then and what a hurricane was like. To do that I created a Glogster; a “web poster” where I could put media and text related to the book. You can see the Glogster that I created below. If you right click on it, you should see the option to go full screen to see all of it. To go back to normal, just right click again.

The Scary Man – A lesson in Adjectives

t was a wacky day in the wonderful, exciting and interesting Grade 2/3 class. The curious children were gently sharing descriptive, clever, and mysterious words for our lesson on adjectives. We used the very cool website, PicLits to describe the pictures in descriptive ways. We then added them to our blog which you cansee by clicking on the pictures below. The students were very enthusiastic and excited about learning adjectives and can’t wait to use them in their stories.

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Still Here!

kidchemistryIt has been a wonderful week and the students have all been working very hard even with all the distractions with the weather and the bookfair competing for their attention.

In Language Arts, students have finished looking at the organization of a story and have started their second story with this focus. We have discussed and worked through what makes an exciting beginning, how we use things like time to organize our middle and how to end a story so that the reader is left with a feeling of satisfaction. Talking about it is one thing, though. Actually, doing it is another. So students have been practicing these things in their stories. Our latest story is an adventure with a leprechaun which goes with our recent St. Patrick’s day theme. With that story, we did a lot of brainstorming with ways to keep our leprechaun from getting away and we also did a lot of brainstorming of ways to start our story. We are working on and practicing these concepts with the goal of creating a storybook about the adventures of Bob, my evil twin brother. Each child will get to write about one of his adventures which we will then compile into a storybook. We have also connected with a group of classes around the States to create a story with each class taking a section of the story. We are the second class in the list so we are just waiting for the first class to write the beginning before we can add our piece.

The students were very excited for today! No. Not just because it is a half day. It was because the students had their first chance to go to the computer lab. Starting today, we will going to the computer lab on Fridays after first recess. Students will be doing a variety of activities including writing stories, doing art, working with maps and other fun activities. It was really fun and the students did a fantastic job of listening and watching for what they needed to do. I had already worked with a group of “helpers” who had already practiced the techniques for logging on, etc so that when we did go to the lab, they were able to help out those students who were having problems. They did a fantastic and were extremely helpful!!! We also used a new website (start.io/mrhancock) as a way for students to quickly find the resources they need without having to worry about typing in long addresses or searching for websites. It was great fun.

What do you think of when someone says properties of matter to you? If you said, “What’s the matter?” then you need to swing by our classroom at Science time! Students have been learning about the properties of matter as part of our Science unit. If you don’t recall, matter comes in three different forms: solid, liquid and gas. So far we have been looking at different types of liquids and how they react when they mix. We will be doing lots of experiments in this unit and learning lots of things. Here is a cute video to get you up to speed on your properties of matter.

Spelling List For The Week And A Surprise

Well, it is one week closer to our due date (our baby is due on the 23rd!) and nothing yet. The excitement is mounting!!

We are going to do one more Review List before taking a break to work on some of the rules for spelling in our Learning Logs. Here is the spelling list for this week:

Spelling List RV3

Don’t forget to do our Spelling City with lots of fun games and a test you can take to help you practice. You can also bring in your completed test for an extra mark on the spelling test on Friday!

It has been a little while since I uploaded something fun on the blog. So as a fun surprise, here is a new video for you. It is really neat how they built the contraption to use in the video.

Some fun for you today!

Today was a busy day with lots of things happening in every corner. For Language Arts, we started looking at middles of stories and how important to have a story where the middle was easy to follow, events are in order, that it makes sense, and only focuses on the important information. We read two books today as examples. The first book was called “The Doghouse”. It is a very simple story about some animals who have to retrieve their ball from the inside of a doghouse but it is very good at showing organization of events and how one event leads to the other. The other book we read was called “The Great Paper Caper” by Oliver Jeffers; on e of my favorite childrens authors.

I thought I would add a couple of fun things for you today. The first item is some games you can play at the dinner table. Simply print the circles out just like you do for your spelling test, cut the circles out and choose one of the sections to play at supper. Or you can make them into spinners and spin them to see which game you get!

Dinner Games

Finally, here is another video starring one of my favorite cats. Enjoy!

7 Tips to Help Your Child With Their Writing

abc-22I found this interesting post the other day on some ways to help your child with their writing. Whether they are writing a thank-you letter or writing their own little stories at home, you may be wondering if there are any ways you as a parent can help them while not taking over the writing for them. Here are the tips:

How To Help Your Kid’s Writing Without Fighting – Grades 3-5

Here are a few tips that might aide all parents who want to become their kid’s editors.

First of all, ever wonder why it is much easier for your child’s teacher to edit their work than you? We are their teacher, not their parent. The boundaries to our relationship are totally different, so the resistance that you see rarely appears in the classroom. In this case, we have the easy job.

Don’t stop them to edit when they are on a roll. If they are “flowing”, stay out of their way. Correcting them as they go along is going to kill their process. Let it roll and stay clear. Go make yourself some coffee and be happy to have a few moments of time to yourself.

Edit with care. Remember, it’s their piece of writing, not yours. Proofreading their work is one thing – changing their ideas is entirely different. Putting in periods, paragraphs, capitalization, and proper spelling are musts, but don’t mess with their ideas. Encouraging them to develop their ideas is one thing, changing them is entirely different. If an ideas isn’t clear ask questions. Help your child to think through anything that is unclear without telling them how it should read.

What helps?

Three ways to help kids to improve their writing are through the use of periods, spelling and paragraphs.

Almost all of my students, and many adults for that matter, write sentences so long that they could cross the entire country and back. Encourage your kids to cut down sentences. Chop them up and add periods. A shorter sentence usually means that their ideas will be more clearly communicated.

Kids in upper elementary should be able to spell many of the 100 most commonly used words. Print the list and tape it to their desk so they can use it as a reference. Circle words they misspell and do one of two things: either teach them to look up words in the dictionary or show them how to spell them (depends upon your patience level). Add these words to the list so they can use it as a reference. Alphabetize them, organize them by topic, length, whatever works for them. But don’t just throw the new information away. Use the words they learn as reference for future writing.

As for paragraphs, I find that the sooner kids learn to separate their ideas by using paragraphs, the better their writing becomes.  Also, they become more willing they are to develop the ideas about which they are writing. Pick up any book and show them that ideas are separated by paragraphs.

Capitalization is a must. All of my students are expected to use the basic rules of capitalization. Using capitals (or uppercase) at the beginning of a sentence, a proper noun or name and always capitalizing the letter “i” when, as I say, it “sails alone”. No ifs, ands or buts – it is a must. Again, pick up a book in your home and show them that this is what published writers do, whether they are writing newspaper articles, books or reports.

And lastly, should they type their work? I encourage kids to type their writing on a computer because at some point, they are going to have to learn how to do so. Does this replace the need for good handwriting? No way. Word processing makes editing much easier and teaches a skill that they will need in the future.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you to help your child become a better writer.

Thought that you might be interested in these tips. I think they are good general tips to help students out with what is a very difficult process. Writing is one of the hardest skills a student does at school. Whether it is knowing where to put punctuation, remembering to start a new paragraph, coming up with a new idea that fits with the last idea or even knowing how to convert those ideas to letters on a page; writing involves the combination of a number of different processes having to work together. I hope these tips give you some ideas of ways to help when your child comes to you asking for help.

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas break. At our house, there was a lot of laughter and eating happening. In fact, my father brought us a “terduckin” for Christmas dinner, which is a turkey and a duck together in one. Don’t ask me how they do that. It is probably better if we don’t know!

Anyway, we are getting right back into the swing of things. Here is the spelling for this week.

Spelling N 5

Here is also the link for the Spelling City lists. Don’t forget that you can print out your certificate or completed lists to get an extra mark on the spelling test!


Our memory verse this week comes from Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Finally, to start off the year on a fun note, here is another great video from the “They Might Be Giants” Science CD.


Here are two new stories from Storybird. If you have not gone to Storybird yet, click on the link and get going!!! Storybird is the most fabulous website to write stories with and have fun. The first one was written by Faith and the second one was a story I wrote. Curl up with a nice cup of hot chocolate and let Faith and I tell you a story!

This Is Me and My Friends on Storybird

Walk With Me, My Child on Storybird