The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

This Week in Our Room: January 16-19, 2017

img_6443We’re continuing to update our weekly Alphabet Crafts and this week’s cutie is “N is the Night Sky.”  We love it and the children love it as well.  Thanks again to Pinterest and Christy for modifying this project to make it perfect for those sweet Kindergarten hands.  Stayed tuned for our adorable letter “O” craft!

The children found “n” an easy letter to print, having just completed “m” last week.  We’re really nudging the children along to print their names starting with an uppercase letter followed by the lowercase letters we’ve taught so far (a-n).  It’s really exciting to watch them printing their names so carefully.  When you’re printing at home, please watch your child’s letter formation – we typically go from top to bottom, left to right, when printing our letters.  We’re trying to discourage them from printing from the bottom to the top – to gain speed while printing, and staying neat, is going to require some mindfulness to form letters correctly.

img_6442Our big excitement this week was the introduction of the Mystery Box Inquiry.  We’re teaching the children to ask questions.  What better way than by hiding an object connected to our theme or Big Idea in the Mystery Box, and having the children ask us questions so they can make a logical guess about what’s inside?  Although they do make many guesses, we’re re-framing those guesses into questions (eg., is it a blue jay? Reframed to “What kind of bird is inside?”) to teach them the 5W question words (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).  For more on our teaching of Mystery Box Inquiry, click here.

All of this mystery leads to our Digital Literacy project this year, which is the creation of iMovies with our Grade 7 Buddies.  Led by District Innovation Teacher (Elementary), Cari Wilson, and our Buddy teacher, Mr. Patterson, we will be researching penguins to collect data and images.  Ms. Wilson will visit our classrooms in about a month’s time to build the movies with us.

We have our Art favourite projects we like to do every year and our “Snowmen at Night” is really fun.  This project takes us 4-5 art classes to finish; it’s rewarding to observe the children’s patience as they finish each step yet anticipate the next one…excellent self-regulation.

img_6444We start by reading the delightful Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner as an inspiration before drawing our own snowmen with pastels on light blue construction paper.  We love to use pastels with the Kindergarten.  The children are easily able to get bright, vibrant colour from pastels without having to press as hard as with crayons.

Once the children finish the drawing, they use one of our favourite craft supplies, Sparkle Mod Podge, to complete their snowman.  The children find Sparkle Mod Podge intriguing as they are painting with a glue that dries clear leaving a beautiful, sparkling finish.

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Next, they paint a snowy background on a dark blue background. While it dries, they cut out their snowmen and we support any child who has difficulty negotiating around the stick arms.  Finally, snowmen and snowy backgrounds are glued together — another wonderful example of an Art and Literature integration, perfect for Kindergarten.

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Upcoming Events and Reminders

We hope the rainy season is done for now.  We’re wondering if the snow, sunshine and cold weather was a better option than the rain?  Regardless, we’ve gone from snow boots to rain boots, swapped ski jackets for rain coats and many children are continuing to wear gloves and mittens.  It’s still quite chilly when they are outside during the morning recess.  We mentioned last week in our Remind texts to please send along extra socks.  We’re not sure how they do it, but puddle water seems to just jump into those playful little boots and we all know how uncomfortable wet socks can be!

Please ensure the indoor shoes you’re sending to school are runners.  We need those for PE and children are not allowed to wear shoes that may mark our gym floor.

We’re back to our schedule and LIbrary will be on Tuesday this week so please remember to return your Library books on Monday or Tuesday.

 

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This Week in Our Room: January 9-13, 2017

img_0149We had so much fun this week making our “m is a mouse” alphabet craft. Aren’t they cute? Thanks to Pinterest for this great idea and Christy for modifying it so our Kindergarten could make them. While these may look simple, our aim for the alphabet crafts is to create activities that have multi-step instructions (putting our listening skills to work), specific art skills and processes (using a template to cut out the ears), a variety of art materials (paper, googly eyes, pompoms) and tools (scissors, gluestick). People who know us well know that Christy and I love crafting and creating and have been doing so for many years. What a pleasure it is to be able to share our passion with our students! Creating by hand, whether it be crafts, cooking and baking, carpentry or woodwork, brings an immense sense of satisfaction, and feelings of accomplishment and self-confidence in knowing that you can do it yourself. What better grade than Kindergarten to start developing a positive self-image?

At Monday’s cultural event, hoop dancer Teddy Anderson performed for our school. Teddy talked about the importance of seeing all people as a family as part of one world. We can appreciate one another as individuals and each of us bring our own unique gifts to our collective group. That understanding is part of our own classroom culture, where we have really tried to emphasise with our students that we, and the children, are a family. We love one another, we work together; we might not always agree, but as a family, we expect ourselves to be willing to work through issues and come out stronger on the other side.

We’re beginning our next unit of instruction on number sense, including counting and one-to-one correspondence, subitizing (recognising quantities of 6 or less without counting eg., dice and domino patterns) and number conservation (eg., 2 and 4 is 6; 3 and 3 is 6; 6 is 6 no matter what the arrangement). We’ve organised the children into small groups and are moving them through a centre rotation so they have a variety of math experiences focusing on a specific number.

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We started our Winter theme with a true classic, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We’ve done some brainstorming on What is Winter? and made our sparkling snowglobes to decorate our classroom and hallway.

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We’re just loving the family photos the children have been bringing in for their Special Helper and Sharing Day. Thank you so much for supporting your child by helping them to get organised. Everyone loves to hear about the three favourite activities in each family. So far, most of us all love to go to the park, swimming and out to eat or get hot chocolate with our family. We’re posting the family pictures in our classrooms for now and we will return them at the end of the term.

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Please remember to have runners at school for PE days. We must wear runners in the gym.

Our Grade 2 students have initiated a Battery Recycling program here at Ridgeview. We want to remind everyone that you can send your old batteries and small electronics to school. We have a special collection box for them (in the hallway for Mrs. Daudlin; for Mrs. Campbell inside the classroom). Grade 2 students will come by regularly to empty the box. Special thanks to Colin and Colten who will be collecting for Division 16 and Emma and Elika who are collecting for Division 15.

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Tuesday, January 17: Library Book Exchange
Friday, January 20: Professional Day (students are not in session)

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Student Absenteeism

img_0145Student absenteeism is never an easy topic to discuss. However, discuss it we must because when a student is away from class, it impacts everyone – the individual student, the class, the teacher and the school.

There’s a delicate balance when we start talking about students being away from school.

Sometimes it’s sickness and we definitely want you to keep your sick child at home from school. We know you have to get to work and your child may or may not want to come to class – but we, along with the office staff, are really unable to look after sick children. Your children would actually prefer to just be at home with you recovering from their sickness and then building up the strength to return to school to be full and participating members of the class. The other families in your child’s class, and us, the teachers, do not want to get sick. Your support in helping your children understand that they cannot come to school when they are sick, teaches them to have respect for their own health, the health and well-being of their classmates, and one day, their working colleagues. You can read more here about Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health.

Currently, our icy and snowy weather and road conditions have made it difficult for some families to arrive at school on time. Add to that our limited parking spots around the school and it can be an exercise in frustration to run in before the bell. However, when your child arrives consistently late for school, and by this we mean 3-4 times a week, he or she misses out on the first routines of the day which are essential for setting the tone in the classroom. The first bell rings at 8:50 am when children are welcomed into the school building. We sing “O Canada” immediately following the 8:55 bell, listen to the school announcements, then take attendance. Finally, we review the Visual Schedule; this helps the children with their self-regulation so they know what to expect and may reduce anxiety about “what’s going to happen next?” The Special Helper, with a friend, start to walk to the office with the attendance. These morning routines take us about ten minutes so there is ample time to get into the classroom. Because it’s Kindergarten, we still give you a lot of leeway: if your child comes in after we have finished the attendance, but before the Special Helper has left for the office, then we will adjust the attendance form to say your child is “here.” Any later however, and your child is marked absent. You need to sign your child in at the office when you arrive at school and your child will be given a late slip.

Another consequence of being late for school is that teachers need to stop our teaching, or helping a small group or individual, to greet the late arrivals, tell them where we are in the morning and help them to get settled. We also need to remind you that you need to check in at the office if your child has arrived without a late slip This is disruptive to the other students, particularly when we’re teaching the whole class, and the “flow” of the lesson is affected. We understand when you come in late from a dental or doctor appointment; but those are usually infrequent as most of you make them for later in the school day or have given us notice the previous day so we are prepared.

If you are going to be late, please call the school office. Our parent organized school callback line and administrative staff have to phone you, and follow-up with us, when you have not notified them. If you do not remember to sign in your child when you arrive, then the school office must call down to our classrooms looking for your child. We do all of this for the protection of your child so please help us by doing your part.

The other morning, while watching the news, there was a preview of the men’s golf tournament taking place in Kapalua, Maui. You could just feel the heat and sunshine. With the way our weather has been this winter and less expensive flights during the off-season, many of you will hear the siren call of palm trees, tropical breezes and hot sand beneath your feet. While missing two weeks of school is not really ideal, we also understand the need for families to reconnect and bond; and frequently for some that can only happen when they travel. We recognize the importance of family time and creating life experiences with grandparents and other relatives, and that travel is its own unique learning to become a citizen of the world. We can only speak from our perspective as Kindergarten teachers, and the influence of our own personal and professional life experiences.

However, the common understanding we do have with other grades is that we are unable to make up the work your child misses while on holiday. We’re often asked if we could “prepare the work my child will miss while we’re on holiday.” Kindergarten is a difficult grade to send meaningful work along with you. Our read-aloud stories and the class discussions which follow are powerful for the oral language and shared learning that happens among the students. Children are learning their alphabet sounds from the teacher and building vocabulary collaboratively with their peers. When children are working on their number patterns and number centres, they are .using masses of manipulatives that have been specially created or purchased for them. Much of a student’s learning is meant to happen in a larger social context, in addition to an individual one.

As parents, we can create a special activity for our family while travelling. Pack an empty notebook, a small set of scissors, gluestick and fet pens in a ziploc bag and you have all the materials you need to create and write an amazing travel journal. Everytime you go sightseeing, pick up stickers, postcards and brochures and save all your admission tickets. Take some time each evening to reflect on what you did during the day and together, print a few notes about what was your favourite activity and cut and paste in your postcards and brochures. Don’t forget to save one of those cute tourist maps for reference. We know you’ll be taking lots of pictures. You can leave some space for adding a few photo when you get back. If you work on it everyday, on your last day of travel you’ll have a memorable souvenir that your child can bring to school and show the class upon your return.

And while you’re visiting the tourist and gift shops, browse through the children’s book section. When we travel, we always look to see what interesting children’s books, specific to our holiday locale, are available for purchase. A book to read from your holiday destination is another great momento to bring home.

So, snow, sickness and holidays aside, school starts at 8:50 am tomorrow! We’ll see you then.

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This week in our room: January 3-6, 2017

image from google

image from google

Happy New Year and welcome back to school! We hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday with friends and family. This past Christmas was certainly a transitional one for my family as my daughter had University exams for the first term in December, and my son performed in his last Christmas Concert as a high school student. Although there will be more exams and different musical performances in the future, it is bittersweet to see one’s own children so independent (yes, we do want them to become independent and spend most of childhood working towards it) and knowing we are in for years of change as they emerge as young adults. As parents we will forever be adjusting and changing as our children grow up. So we encourage you to treasure this very precious time while your children are still young, filled with wonder and curiosity and the magic we know as Kindergarten.

We started our return to school gently, taking some time to quietly review our classroom expectations and rules. After two weeks of spending time in our pyjamas, grazing rather than a regular meal schedule, and a lack of routines while in the holiday mode, it can be hard for students (and teachers) to readjust to the structure of their classroom. Talking about how we play together cooperatively, the volume of our collective voices in the classroom and following the group plan instead of our own plan are an essential part of getting along so harmony and peace can reign throughout the kingdom.

We’ve been a little tired, but still managed to accomplish a lot this week. We worked on the letter “L,” and made our “l is a letter” craft.

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We were totally impressed with the children’s January self-portraits. The children did an amazing job drawing themselves in their winter outdoor clothes. When we look back to their self-portraits from September to where they are now, we can see the maturity as their fine motor skills have become more refined.

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Mrs. Kennedy read these two fantastic books to us during Library Time.

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Our big news has been the snow, of course. Many children have become very accomplished over the holidays with the speed at which they are able to independently get themselves ready. Our saying is “coat, boots, gloves” so they can still do up their coat zippers with their hands before putting on their gloves or mittens. We are expecting these cold temperatures to continue so consider getting a pair of waterproof snow gloves or mittens. The children really want to play in the snow, make snowballs and pick up pieces of ice. If your child is mostly playing on the play structure or on the swings, wool gloves are just fine. We’re reminding everyone to keep their gloves in their backpacks, although many enjoy drying their toques and gloves on the classroom heaters so they are warm and toasty for the next outing.
Upcoming Events and Reminders
We’ve started our new rotation for Sharing and Special Helper. Our theme this month is “Family.” We would like each child to bring a recent photo of their family on their Special Helper Day and a piece of paper with your family’s three favourite activities of what you like to do together. Please also note all family members’ names for us. Our focus in Social Studies this term is Family and we are launching our unit of instruction by getting to know all of our classroom families a little bit better.

Now that the gym is cleared of the stage, we can go back to having PE. Mrs. Campbell’s and Mrs. Zambon’s class have PE on Mondays and Thursdays; and Mrs. Daudlin’s class has PE on Mondays and Wednesdays. The children should have the runners at school on these days. They cannot really participate in running activities with boots or dress shoes.

Monday, January 9: Cultural Event with Teddy Anderson, Hoop Dancer
Tuesday, January 10: Library Book Exchange

Hot lunch for this term can now be purchased through Munch-a-Lunch.

We’re having a Professional Day on Friday, June 20. Students are not in session.

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Year 2:  Happy Anniversary to The Self-Regulated Teacher!

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Acclaim Images LLC. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0071-0907-2808-3331. http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0071-0907-2808-3331.html

It was a quiet celebration, attended just by Christy and myself, but December 10, 2016, was the second anniversary of our website, The Self-Regulated Teacher.  As of today, we’ve written 147 posts and been viewed 19, 257 times by readers from all over the world.  Although it might not seem like much, we’re pretty proud as our main purpose was simply to provide an extra layer of parent-teacher communication for our classroom parents.  The fact that other educators are reading our work is high praise and we’re delighted that they would also spend a few minutes from their busy day to drop by.

Last year one of our classroom parents was telling us how much their family enjoyed the website, and they loved reading about what their child was doing in class.  They felt so informed about what was happening in the classroom, and could take the information we shared to remind their child about teacher and classroom expectations.  But they also raised a really good question, which was did we regret starting the website?  After all these months were we tired of writing?  She was concerned it was taking a lot of time and we felt pressure to keep writing.

But we’re still very happy with our choice to create and write for a website.  We want to share what we’ve done in our day with our Kinders, our thoughts and reflections about how things are going.  The writing is fun and easy and with Google Docs can be done anywhere (yes, some of the posts have been written on an iPhone).   We take lots of photos of our students’ work and classroom to try to show as much as we can of your child’s learning environment.  Although we still have parent-teacher conferences, and lots of “hallway chats,” it’s wonderful to have a record, in writing and with pictures, of what happened in the magical year we call Kindergarten.

On our second anniversary, we’ve updated our About Us post to reflect where we are now in our teaching.  It’s located on the menu on your right hand side of the home page; you can also read Our Story which is the story of how we became The Self-Regulated Teacher.

 

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This Week in Our Room:  December 12-16, 2016

fullsizerenderWe finished up the letter “k is for kick” in our Alphabet work this week.  We made it almost halfway through the Alphabet so we are well on target to finish teaching all of the letter names, letter sounds and letter formation shortly after Spring Break in March.

All of the Kindergarten participated in the Reindeer Games on Wednesday this week.  For the first time, Mrs. Campbell and I put all the children together in one classroom, and we spread over into the hallway and English Language Learning room.  We worked in small groups with children from both classes.  We’re so used to the rotations from Math Centres that transitions between the five activities went very smoothly.  The children’s self-regulation was excellent, img_2371considering some of them had stayed up late the previous evening making gingerbread houses.  Your child will have brought home everything they made over the past few days.  Thank you so very much to all the parents who came in to help us with our Christmas Centres.

img_2372We made Reindeer Gift bags to hold all of our treasures, particularly the sequin marshmallow deocration we made a few weeks ago with our Big Buddies.  We followed the recipe for Reindeer Food to feed the reindeer on Christmas Even, made a Christmas Reindeer placemat, did our best colouring in our Christmas activity books and cut out shapes with Christmas playdough.

Speaking of Gingerbread Houses, thank you to all the families who came out on Tuesday night to participate in our Second Annual Me to We Gingerbreadhouse Fundraiser.  As you know, our Grade 7 Me to We Team is fundraising to provide a Primary education (K-6) for a classroom of children in a developing country.  Families were able to purchase a gingerbread house kit, extra icing and candy.  The gingerbread house designs were fabulous, and no mess for you to clean up at home!  Our gym was filled with many happy children and families all working together.  We’re not just building gingerbread houses, we’re building a community.

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Upcoming Events and Reminders

Today was the last day to return the Report Card Envelopes. If you have not returned yours yet, please hang on to it and your child can return it in January.  In an effort to reduce paper consumption, we want to recycle the envelopes for your child’s Second and Third Term Reports.

December Homework Calendars can be completed over the holidays and returned in January.  We sent home the January Homework Calendars on Friday.

Vancouver Coastal Health will be visiting the Kindergarten on Wednesday, January 4 for the children’s hearing and vision screening.  Please be on time for school as we start promptly at 9 am.

Our first day back to school following the Winter Break will be Tuesday, January 3, 2016.  There will be no Special Helper or Sharing for the first few days when we return.  Instead, we will all take turns until the new schedule is posted and we have finalised our theme.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy this very special time with your child.  They are growing up very quickly and every day spent with them is precious.  We look forward to seeing you in January!

 

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This Week in Our Room: December 6-9, 2016

img_2326Our big focus this week was our school Christmas Concert.  Thank you to everyone for attending!  Our children worked very hard.  They had a lot of words to learn, actions to remember and how about all that fancy stepping up and down the stage?

As expected, our children felt the “post-performance” euphoria that accompanies performing on stage. But in addition of deep breathing, reading stories and listening to quiet music, we know that playing and crafting are two excellent activities to help channel all that energy in a positive way.

We brainstormed lots of Christmas vocabulary for our word wall.  We’re going to be colouring pictures and printing the labels in our Christmas word books.

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We made these fun “k” kites for our letter of the week.

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We had fun with our December self portraits…lots of cutting, lots of gluing, lots of colouring.

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And our Reindeer feet…our beloved Grade 7 Buddies had helped us to trace our feet and trace and cut out our hands at previous Buddy times we so all we had to do was cut, make the features and glue.  

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We’re still working hard on developing our repertoire of self-regulation strategies, and activities to help us self-regulate.  They might not all be as cute as these reindeer feet…they’ll probably be cuter.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We reached another milestone this week as we are approaching independence as a class of Kindergarten children:  almost everybody can put on their own winter coats and snow boots by themselves.  Every time we go outside, or come back from playtime, it can take 10-15 minutes for us and the Grade 7 monitors to put on hoodie jackets, ski jackets, boots and gloves.  We go outside 2-3 times a day so you can imagine what the cloakroom looks like…”a clothing store,” was how one of the children so delicately put it.  When all the children can put on their coats, do up their zippers, get in and out of snow boots quickly and pull their gloves on, it shortens the amount of time to get ready.  Please encourage your child to get ready for school independently when you’re at home….practise makes perfect.

Temperatures will be very cold this week.  Please ensure your children have gloves or mittens and a hat if they will wear it.  A lot of children do not like to wear their jacket hoods as it blocks their peripheral vision.  You can support us by checking with your child and being sure they are prepared with the necessary winter clothes.

If your child does not have an extra change of clothes at school, we can’t think of a better time than now to send a bag of clothes along.  Many children get soaking wet when they are playing, coming down the slide or simply have a fall.  We want them to be comfortable and dry when they are in class.  It’s hard to concentrate on learning if your pants and socks are wet.

Our Second Annual Gingerbread House Event is on Tuesday evening, December 13 from 6-7 pm, in the gym  We hope to see you there!  We will be helping out in the kitchen filling icing cups for gingerbread house construction.  If you want to join in the fun, but have not yet signed up, please see Mrs. Lytle in the office.  This fundraising event is sponsored by the Me to We Team, to provide the necessary school fees for a Primary Education (K-6) for children in a developing country.

Please return your report card envelopes before the end of the week.

Friday, December 16, is the last day of school for the holidays.  Our school will be dismissing students at 2 pm.  School re-opens on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

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Self-Regulation Reflection: Snow Week

img_6225Well, that was certainly unexpected.

Even though we had all the warnings about significant snowfalls this week, as Vancouverites we carry on in our merry way because we’ve had false hopes before.  Our city trucks are filled with salt, we load up on groceries for snowmaggedon, and nothing much happens.  We get a few flakes.  But this time, when the snow actually fell, it wasn’t so funny anymore.

We started last school week with a Professional Day on Monday, a snowy drive and the good news that UBC was still open so my daughter was among the fortunate university students to write her exams as scheduled.  Our kids might be older but we still worry about them.  The price we pay for parenthood.

Mine and Christy’s biggest concern was that we not have a snow day on Tuesday or Wednesday, as we were well into rehearsing and performing for our Christmas Concert.  Our children had practised on stage, they had their Christmas best clothing organised, they looked adorable with candy cane/reindeer/snowflake crowns and if we did not perform on time, we would miss their “peak,” or when they were performing at their best.  But the snow held off long enough (till Friday, anyways) for us to have a run through and perform three times in 36 hours, surely a new record.  

We had made explicit with our classes that we would notice if all of the self-regulation practise of the various strategies we’ve been teaching in class were working for them, or not.  As we made the procession from our classroom, pausing at the stairs, the hallway outside the Grade 7 classrooms, and in the boys’ changeroom before we entered the gym, we used our deep breathing and our calming countdown strategies.  Many children made eye contact with us as we led our classes in breathing (on the stairs, in the hallways, in the changeroom) so we were calm, focused and ready to perform.  

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And as always, our self-regulation practise paid off.  We sparkled and glittered at the perfect moments!  Special thanks goes to Mrs. Soderling, our new Music Teacher, for teaching our children and producing this year’s Concert.

 

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A Gingerbread House Community

Image from Google

Image from Google

We are fortunate to be a small part of a very special event here at Ridgeview on Tuesday evening, December 13, 2016.  Our Ridgeview Me to We Team will be hosting their second annual Gingerbread House Night.

Our District Innovation Support Teacher (Technology), Cari Wilson (@kayakcari) also teaches Grade 7 at our school, and she sponsors the Grade 7 Me to We Team.  Last year the Team decided to have a gingerbread house fundraising activity to help build a well in Kenya.  It was such a sweet success that we are hosting a similar event for a second year in a row.

Imagine, if you will, the sight of 100 gingerbread house kits, which include icing and candy, ordered and delivered to our school and waiting in the main office.  

For this particular school event, students have to be accompanied by at least one adult, and extra candy and icing can be preordered.

By the time Tuesday evening arrives, Ms. Wilson and the Me to We Team will have picked up the buckets of icing to “glue” the gingerbread house together, packaged many bags of candy and set up the gym with tables and table cloths.

Christy and I, long time gingerbread house builders and decorators ourselves, will be in the kitchen again to help the team by filling cups of pre-ordered icing and to provide support.

When we were ready to open last year, Christmas music was playing and excited students and their families began arriving.  How joyful it was for us to see so many Kindergarten families taking part!  We had never held an event like this before at Ridgeview.  We’ve had Bingo Nights and a spring fair (Mayfair), which brings out plenty of families.  But this particular fundraiser was different.

It was clear from the approximately 200 people in our gym, that the majority of families in attendance were all new Canadian families.  It was particularly moving for us to see so many families interested to to learn about a tradition many of us associate with the spirit of the season.

And it wasn’t just the Ridgeview students and their parents, but the entire family.  Moms, dads, preschoolers and grandparents were at school.  We loved watching grandparents helping their grandchildren with the construction of the houses, while preschoolers and toddlers were assisting or in their mother’s or father’s arms.  We noticed students were extremely focused on their task.  There was very little movement by students visiting other students.  Rather, they stayed very close to their families and seemed to have a deeper understanding this was a family bonding time for them with their family members.  We build strong families when family members across generations play and work together.  

We saw families from the same classroom gathering together around the long tables, talking, sharing candy and icing and getting to know one another better.  Of course, the children know each other from their class, and they were bringing their parents and siblings over to sit down to join a friend’s family.   We have a lot of working parents at Ridgeview so many parents have not necessarily met the parents of all their children’s classmates.  We build a strong classroom community when we strengthen our relationships between families; between classroom parents who are able to support and help each other; and between students when they see each other outside of of the regular school day.

When the night had finished we could see the many gingerbread houses, each one reflecting the personality of its family, but collectively forming a community.  We were united by several common goals:  as a fundraiser to help build a well for those in need; an evening of festive fun for our family; and as a school supporting our student leadership team.  We build a strong school community when we work together and support each other as parents, teachers and students, to provide an exceptional educational experience not only for our own children but all children.

With the money they raise this year, the Me to We Team will be supporting education in a developing country.  It costs $50 a child for a child’s primary education (K-6).  The Team’s goal is to pay for the education of an entire class of students. Please help us work towards our goal so that one day all children can have a basic education regardless of they live, their socioeconomic status or gender.   

It’s not too late for you and your family to come and join us for this fun and seasonal activity!  This year our school is using School Cash Online to complete family orders.  This is different from last year when you could send in a cheque.  You will need to set up your account first so you’ll have to check your Ridgeview Bulletin from November 18.  Your opportunity to order ends on Friday, December 9, so if you’re thinking about coming out, don’t delay.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, visit “Gingerbread Lane” at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Vancouver.  You’ll see an amazing array of gingerbread houses and gingerbread villages of all shapes and sizes.  It’s a family tradition of both of us to have a “Christmas in the City” day and visiting these spectacular creations is at the top of our list, along with the “Festival of Trees” at the Four Seasons Hotel.

A sampling of a few of our creations…

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This Week in Our Room: November 28 – December 2, 2016

imageDespite the rush of December excitement, we are still working hard on our Alphabet letters. Our letter of the week is “J” and we created our sparkling “j jewel.” We will send home the J printing and jewels next week; ‘K” will be the last letter we will work on before the holidays.

Our last story for our mini “Bears in Literature” theme was “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” It was very heartwarming to see and hear so much familiarity with this beloved Fairy Tale. Fairy Tales are an important genre in a child’s literary background. There are many references to Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale characters in other books, including idioms and parodies. The children need a solid knowledge base of these very special stories to help them understand literary patterns; to make connections between new text they are reading with Fairy Tale references; and literary archetypes. We will be teaching a big literature unit on Fairy Tales in the spring; but in the meantime, we encourage you to pull out your childhood Fairy Tale books to share with your child.

We had a delightful Cultural Presentation, “Anne Glover: A World of String Art,” put on for us on Wednesday. Anne is a wonderful storyteller and showed us how she uses string to make many fanciful shapes. She shared with us her inspiration for creating string art, a fictional story and one of the stories of the African folktale character, “Anansi.”

imageWe had two Christmas Concert Rehearsals this week and we are definitely looking very cute in our Christmas crowns. Many thanks to our mom helpers for coming in to make and size the crowns for us. Please remember this is the last weekend to help your child organise their “Christmas Best” clothing to wear on Tuesday (dress rehearsal and school performance for students only) and Wednesday (morning show, afternoon show) next week. The children will come to school in their fancy clothes both days and we will work hard to keep them clean for two days. Please pack “neat” food for both days – no spaghetti sauce, soups or anything that falls easily off a fork or spoon.

Girls: party dress; or top and skirt/pants; party shoes (no princess costumes)
Boys: white shirt, black pants; bowtie or necktie is optional; dress shoes

imageOur classrooms are almost decorated for the holidays. Christmas trees are lighted and adorned, the Advent calendar is filled with sweet treats and Christmas stuffed animals are out and around the room. But Christmas isn’t Christmas without lots of handmade craft projects. So this week we got out our felt pens and Christmas stickers to make these beautiful Angel and Christmas hangers. The children will bring theirs home for the holidays.

We got to see our Buddies twice this week because we had to get started on a very special Christmas craft. We’re using pins, sequins and marshmallows…can you guess? Our Buddies also helped us to trace our feet and hands to make some baby reindeer.

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Our annual tradition of making Christmas Crackers with your generous donations of Hallowe’en candy was a huge success! We got together with our Grade 7 Buddies and made many beautiful crackers. The children worked hard to stuff the paper rolls with candy and wrapped them with festive paper and ribbons.

 

 

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, December 5 is a Professional Day. Students are not in session.

Tuesday, December 6 is a Dress Rehearsal and School Performance for students only. Students must wear their “Christmas Best” clothing. Crowns will remain at school.

Wednesday, December 7 is our Christmas Concert with two shows. If your child is in Mrs. Campbell’s and Mrs. Zambon’s class, parents will attend the 11am concert. If your child is in Mrs. Daudlin’s class parents will attend the 1:10pm show. The children will be performing in both shows but parents are invited for only one.

Thursday, December 8….we rest…and play.

Friday, December 9, first term report cards will be distributed. If your child will be away on holidays and not at school their report will be given to them when we return to school in January.

Gingerbread House Making Family event. Ridgeview’s Me to We Team’s Annual Gingerbread House Night will take place on Tuesday, December 13th from 6:00 – 7:00 pm, in the Ridgeview Gym! Each house kit (which includes some icing and candy) costs $10.00. Extra icing can be purchased for $1.00 and extra candy for $2.00. All profits go to the Me to We team’s efforts to support education in a developing country. Please purchase your house and extra supplies on our new School Cash Online purchasing site. Supplies are limited, so order soon! Ordering will close next Friday, December 9th.

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