The end is near…

Hello families,

It is hard to believe there are only three days left of grade one.  It is such a bittersweet time for all of us as we are excited for the summer break but sad to leave our classroom community behind.  However, the last few weeks are always a time for fun!!

Last week in literacy we read three stories about Alexander and then we wrote stories in the style of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and it was so much fun and they were HILARIOUS to read!  The stories are coming home tomorrow so you can enjoy your child’s creativity and imagination 🙂

We also started our “Maker’s Space” activity where students in our class and Ms. Perkins’ class were broken up into small groups and given the task of building one of three types of structures: a tower, a bridge, or a container.  We put out many different kinds of craft materials and students had to first design their structure and choose materials to use to create the structure.  Then, they made their structures and some groups quickly realized their plans may not have been feasible with the materials provided, or they realized they could make a better structure in different ways or with different materials.  It was fascinating to see the process each group took and to finally see their final products! The students had fun and learned a lot about collaboration and perseverance.

In dance we learned the Red River Jig, the Macarena, and the Chicken Dance!  We practiced these dances along with the Hopscotch Polka and the Cupid Shuffle from the week before, and today we had a Dance-a-Thon!  Ms. Perkins’ class and our class went into the big gym and performed all of our new dances as well as had some “free-style” dance opportunities.  The students were so engaged and had a great time.

Last week we collected toys and books to donate to the children’s ward at the RGH and the generosity was overwhelming. The students were so happy to write cards and make pictures to accompany the toys to bring joy to children in the hospital.  On Friday after school, a few of us went to drop off the donations and it was amazing to see the toy room for the children.  The students who came got to play in the room and witness some of the children staying on the ward enjoying the space.  We know the books and toys will be very much appreciated!  The giving nature of my students was wonderful to experience and I am going to hold these memories in my heart forever.  Thank you all for pitching in and being a part of this invaluable experience.

Today we had a special guest visit our classroom: Norman! The students were over the moon to finally meet him after asking ALL year 🙂  They thoroughly enjoyed watching him run around and were excited to pet him and learn more about guinea pigs.  Norman, however, was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of attention and so his visit was brief!  🙂

Our last few days will be busy.  We will be starting to bring home our extra classroom materials and our school work.  I will send home a bit every day with your child so that they aren’t carrying too much on the last day.  We will also visit with our grade 7 buddies and pass on some words of advice for next year’s grade ones!

Enjoy this last week of school!

Ms. Holmes

Happy Father’s Day!

Hello families,

Happy Father’s Day! What a beautiful day.  I hope all of you have been able to spend time together and really appreciate family-time during this busy season!

Last week was a very busy but fun-filled week!  We began the week with a trip to the Science Center!  The highlights included seeing the live Great Horned Owl, the science show on space and gravity, the “grain elevator” climbing apparatus, and the house where students got to “shingle” and “lay bricks.”  The Science Center is always a favourite place for field trips and I just love seeing the kids interact with the exhibits, ask questions, and make connections between material learned in school and their personal experiences.  We then had a wonderful picnic lunch at Candy Cane Park and luckily the weather was just perfect!  The kids were happy and exhausted when we arrived back at the school!  Thank you SO much to the parent volunteers! Your help was much appreciated.

In health we have continued to work in small groups and act out scenarios that demonstrate stopping, thinking about all possible choices one can make in that scenario, and then choosing and acting on the BEST choice for that scenario.  It has been fun yet very educational as we have had many good discussions for different situations students might face, such as witnessing bullying, playing too many video games, or running out onto the street to catch a ball.

In social studies we have wrapped up our treaty education unit with the importance and significance of the circle.  We have learned so much about our First Peoples and have gained a real respect for their traditions and way of life, as well as our shared history.  We are ALL Treaty People!

In literacy we had our “contraction surgery” activity! It was SO much fun.  Students worked in pairs and were given two cards with two words on them.  They had to decide how to cut the words so that, when put together, they could make the appropriate contraction.  Bandaids were used in place of apostrophes and our surgeons did very well.  The kids really enjoyed this hands-on activity!  We also read three books by Judith Viorst: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” “Alexander, Who Is Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” and “Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever” with Ms. Perkins’ class.  We learned about character traits and brainstormed some together.  In the beginning we found Alexander to be whiney, stubborn, and makes poor choices.  As we read more books and learned more about Alexander we found him to be hard-working and capable of making good choices!  We also had deep discussions about how Alexander was always in trouble and often became frustrated and upset when he thought all these bad things happening to him were due to the actions of others.  We realized that each of us has choices to make all the time and it is HOW we react and what CHOICES we make when faced with difficult situations that can truly have an affect on our day and on our emotions!

We used our new knowledge of character traits when creating our Father’s Day shirt-and-tie craft!  The children had so much fun writing, drawing, and brainstorming personality traits for their dads.  I hope you all enjoyed them as much as we did making them!

In arts ed. we learned two new dances as part of our dance unit: the “Hopscotch Polka” and the “Cupid Shuffle!”  This week we will be learning a few more and during the last week we will have our final “Dance-a-thon” where we will show off all the new dances and skills we have learned. It should be a great time!

Finally, on Friday we welcomed special guest Mr. Henry to our class to kick-off our objects and materials unit.  He described to us what it is like to be an engineer and how engineers work with many different types of materials all of the time (natural and man-made).  We went on a scavenger hunt around the school and looked for the many different types of materials our school is made out of such as glass, brick, metal, wood, and concrete.  It was a great time and we learned so much.  We will be exploring these materials further this week.

This coming week there may be a furry, little guest making a visit to our classroom.  I will be sending out an email about this with some more details!

Have a great rest of the day and have a wonderful week!

Ms. Holmes

June is Here!

Hello families!

June is here already and there are only 14 more days of school left! It is so hard to believe…

Over the past few weeks we have begun to wrap up some of our units.  In arts ed. we completed our beautiful paintings in the style of artist Norval Morrisseau.  The students chose one living organism to paint and then used Morrisseau’s “x-ray” technique to illustrate the inside “soul” of that organism.  The artwork created was amazing, and they are on display in the trophy case outside our classroom.  We will be finishing the school year with our dance unit! Students will be learning several different kinds of dances.

In numeracy we have been engaged in review activities, focusing especially on number sense and adding and subtracting to 20.  It is wonderful to see the growth the students have made this year!

We wrapped up our “Stories Around the World” unit in literacy with the story, “Maui and the Sun” from New Zealand.  Students have really learned to analyze and categorize fairytales and folktales and learned much about different parts of the world!  They have been working on their own fairytales and narrative pieces.  We have also been learning about contractions.  We will be conducting some “Contractions Surgery” very soon! It is a seriously fun exercise!!!

In social studies we read indigenous stories about the origins of Turtle Island as well as the significance and importance of the “circle” and the number 4 in indigenous cultures.  We learned that indigenous peoples believed that life was like a circle with no beginning and no end, that everything on our planet is connected, and that many naturally-occurring things in nature happen in “4s” (the seasons, the four directions, the four elements, etc.)  Most importantly students learned that humans need to take care of the plants, animals, and environment BECAUSE we are all connected.  We also had a parent come in and tell us about Eid and Ramadan (which is currently taking place all over the world).  Many students had excellent questions and were intrigued to learn more about these holidays!

In inquiry students had a great time exploring maps, atlases, and globes. They located and labeled the continents and completed a “Write the Map” sheet.  Students found places on the map starting with all the letters in the alphabet!  Next, we will be starting our new unit on natural and man-made materials.  We will be having a special guest stop by for a fun activity!

Play Day was a great success and we all had a great time!! It was great to see their excitement 🙂

Monday is our field trip to the Science Center!  Please make sure your child has sunscreen, a hat, and a bagged lunch for our picnic lunch at Candy Cane Park.  Thank you to parents who have signed up to volunteer!

Have a great rest of your weekend,

Ms. Holmes

Exciting (and sombre day) tomorrow

Hello families,

Our students have worked hard over the past few weeks to reach their next goal for a “Stuffie Party.”   It has been difficult with such nice weather and exciting activities going on in our classroom and throughout the school, that students have really had to “turn on their listening ears”!  Today, however, they have reached their goal.  Tomorrow, in addition to Smurf Day, we will be having our Stuffie Party at lunch and at the end of day where children can bring their stuffed animals.

Tomorrow is also our last day with two of our friends who are moving away with their family.  We wish them all the best in their new city, new school, and new house!  We will be sad to see them go  🙁

Have a great day and enjoy this beautiful weather,

Ms. Holmes

Amazing Two Weeks!

Happy Friday families!

We had so much on-the-go these past two weeks, it really was incredible!

In literacy we have been working on our own fictional stories.  We made outlines describing what our stories will include (characters, setting, problem, and solution) and have worked diligently to write a rough, first draft, edit them using our “Good Writer’s Checklist,” conference with me, and write up their final copies.  We will be working on other works of fiction over the last month of school!  Their creativity and imagination astounds me!  We have also “travelled” to the west coast of Canada with Ms. Perkins’ class and read “Raven: Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest” as well as to Russia and read, “Matreshka.”  We have really enjoyed hearing different fairytales and folktales from around the world and are really getting better at classifying each story as such.

In numeracy we are beginning to wrap up our last unit on adding and subtracting to 20.  The last few weeks of school will be a review of the units we have covered while engaging in hands-on, small group, and large group activities.  We have really become “mathematicians!”

In arts ed. we are learning more about the artist Norval Morrisseau and his “x-ray” painting technique.  The students were really interested to see many of his works and are creating their own masterpieces using his technique.  We will be painting our canvases early next week!

We have been exploring one of my favourite areas of study in social studies: geography!  We read several books, “Me On the Map” in particular, and have used maps, globes, atlases, and GoogleEarth to locate our place on the map!  We started by looking at our community surrounding Hawrylak school, then our city of Regina, province of Saskatchewan (students remarked how it is very easy to draw, but difficult to spell!) our continent of North America, and our planet Earth.  It has been really intriguing, especially using GoogleEarth to locate exotic and exciting places, such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China.

Finally….we have almost completed our class book on bats!!!! Students have working SO hard with partners to write about various sub-topics on bats and to type up their final products.  Next week we will work together as a class to decide how we want to format the book as well as create a table of contents and glossary to complete our non-fiction book.  There will be two copies made initially–one for our classroom library (where it will stay to inspire future grade ones!) and to sit in our school library to be accessed by other grades!  The students are so proud of all of their hard work, and I am too!

A few notes: Next week on Friday, June 2, it is PLAY DAY at our school.  I will inform students and their families about what colour group the children are a part of so that they can wear the appropriate colours on the day.  On Monday, June 12, we will be going on a field trip to the Science Centre!  I am in need of a few parents, and will send out an email next week with further details.  If you are interested please let me know.  Volunteers are required to have an up-to-date criminal record check prior to the outing!

Have a fantastic weekend 🙂

Ms. Holmes

Happy Mother’s Day :)

Hello families and happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you are having a restful weekend and that all of the moms were spoiled today! What a gorgeous weekend.

The past few weeks have been eventful! A few of our Reader’s Theater groups presented at our kindergarten-grade 4 Learning Assembly to demonstrate what our grade one classes have been learning about!  The groups that presented did a fantastic job, despite a few microphone glitches!

In literacy we are continuing to “travel around the world” by reading stories from different countries and cultures, learning a little bit about each country (the national sport, the flag, the official languages, which continent it is located on, etc.) and identifying whether or not the story is a fairytale or a folktale!  We traveled to Germany and read “Rumpelstiltskin,” to China and read “The Empty Pot,” to Ghana and read “Anansi the Spider,” and to Brazil and read “The Wings of the Butterfly.”  The students are working on writing their own fairytales, remembering that stories have characters, a setting, a problem, and solution.  I can’t wait to see their final products!  We have also learned about compound words by engaging in hands-on activities.  One student pointed out that using the “Chunky Monkey” reading strategy can really help with reading compound words!

In numeracy we are working on our final math unit–addition and subtraction to 20.  Students are using several different strategies to add and subtract (doubles, doubles +1, tens-partners, using adding to subtract, etc.) and solve word problems.  They are even making their own word problems for friends to solve!  They have had a lot of interesting discussions about the different ways they can solve one word problem.

In arts ed. we completed our pointillism art creations and they turned out beautifully!  We will be starting our dance unit in which they will learn to dance the Red River Jig and others very soon.

In social students students learned more about the buffalo and its many uses to the First Nations peoples.  We learned that the buffalo was a very important animal to the people who lived on the plains, therefore, they were a nomadic peoples.  They followed the buffalo wherever they went, but this all changed when the European explorers arrived.  The children were fascinated (and at times grossed out!) by the uses for different parts of the buffalo–example: the bladder was often used as a container when dried!  Next, we will be learning about the importance of the circle in the First Nations cultures.

Finally, in inquiry we have begun to edit our write-ups for our bat book.  Together as a group we decided what we should include in our book and then chose the different topics.  I then broke the class up into groups of two or three and had them write about one of those topics.  When they are finished they are going to type up their documents and we will put it all together in a book!  The students worked SO hard these past two weeks and are anxious to put the final product together.

Have a great week!

Ms. Holmes


Release the Bats!

Hello families!!

Very exciting–the Science Center has finally posted the date for the release of their bats! During the winter, the Science Center takes in hibernating bats to provide shelter and protection.  This Tuesday, May 9th from 8:00-9:00 PM there will be a short talk by Professor Mark Brigham (The Bat Man!!) and then the bats will be released back into the environment.  If you are interested in taking your child/children, let me know and we will all meet there!  It is a late night, but it would be a great ending to our bat unit!  I will be going and will take a video to show the children who are unable to attend.  Here is a link for more information:

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Holmes

A Great Week Back

Hello families,

It appears that Spring may finally be settling in.  Let’s hope for no more snow!  After returning from the Easter break, the students were excited and eager to be back at school.  We did a lot!

In literacy we have been learning about and working on narrative writing.  We have completed some shared-writing pieces and will soon begin on our own creative work.  The students have been working on writing 5 complete sentences with proper conventions.  By the end of the year we will be proficient in using our “Good Writer’s Checklist!” We will also be starting a brand-new unit on Tuesday that will incorporate maps, globes, atlases, etc!  Stay tuned…

We practiced and had our final performances for our Reader’s Theater groups on Thursday!  I am so proud of all of the students.  They worked very hard and demonstrated skills such as fluency, expression, and enunciation.  After each group presented the audience gave the presenters three stars (three things they did well) and when we were finished we had juice and cookies on the playground to celebrate!

In numeracy we have been engaged in activities to strengthen our numbers to 100 skills.  We continue to practice grouping large numbers of objects into groups of 2s, 5s, and 10s (with some left over) to help count the objects quickly.

In arts ed. we have started to learn about pointillism.  We looked at several examples of famous art work by Seurat and Signat and have completed outlines for our pictures.  The students were very excited to do their own pieces! We will fill in the outlines with paint this week!

In inquiry we have finished exploring our five senses.  This week, we engaged in activities that explored the senses of hearing and taste!  Students listened to sounds and wrote down what they think they heard.  We also paired up and one partner closed their eyes so that they could experience what it would be like to be blind, and the other partner used their voice to carefully direct their partner around the classroom!  On Thursday I brought some foods for students to taste.  We learned about tastebuds and how tastebuds located on different parts of the tongue help us to taste different flavours.  We tasted different foods and classified them under sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  It was a delicious experiment!

Finally, we learned more about the initial contact and resulting relationship between the First Nations peoples and the European explorers.  To demonstrate the signing of treaties and the broken promises that resulted, I decided to do a simulation with the students.  I had a representative from the class sign a contract with me.  I said I would give the students popcorn at the end of the lesson as long as they listened and participated really well.  Next, I told the students that the grade 8s have grown so big and there is no more room in their classroom.  They need an extra classroom and they have decided to take our classroom for themselves.  The students were shocked! They couldn’t believe it.  I informed them that we can stay in the classroom as long as we follow their rules.  Then, we decided to make a list of conditions to give to the grade 8s.  We wanted to keep our desks, chairs, lockers, pencil cases, etc. and we wanted to share the room.  I then showed them an illegible document and informed them that I had already spoken with the grade 8s and they made up a contract/treaty with our conditions in it.  I asked the students if we should sign it, and the resulting conversation was interesting!  Half of the class said that they trusted the grade 8s and that they thought they would take our conditions into consideration while the other half did not think we should sign it.  A student called out, “I’m not signing that because I can’t read it!!!”  We discussed how Europeans wrote up treaties for First Nations people to sign and most of the time the First Nations people could not read it–they had an oral tradition.  Many times, the Europeans changed or left out conditions that they First Nations people had discussed initially with the Europeans.  In essence, they were tricked.  After the lesson and our deep conversations I said that the students had held up their end of the contract (listened and participated well) and so I must hold up mine.  I began passing out one popcorn kernel to each student.  There was confusion and a few students called out, “That’s not fair!”  I stopped and pointed out in the contract that I did not specify how MUCH popcorn I would give them.  I asked how this made them feel, to which they responded, “mad,” “sad,” “confused.”  I then told the students that this is how the First Nations felt after signing treaties.  Often they did not receive what they were promised in terms of food, housing, and education.  They had certain expectations that were not met.  It was a very engaging and meaningful exercise.

We will continue to learn about the importance of the buffalo to the plains First Nations peoples as well as the symbolic meaning of the circle in their culture.


I look forward to another great week!

Ms. Holmes



Wacky Day!

Hello families,

Thursday (April 13th) is Wacky Day at our school!  Students are encouraged to wear wacky, crazy clothing and accessories as well as wacky hairstyles for classroom spirit points!

Have a great week!

Ms. Holmes

Easter Art Supplies Requested!

As part of the lead-up to the Easter break, we will be decorating an Easter egg based on the Jan Brett story. I’ve attached an image of one for you to see.  If you have any scraps of ribbon, bows, decorative odds and ends that you would be willing to donate to the class, please send it with your child next week!

Thanks!JB easter egg