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

Working Hard and Having Fun!

Happy Friday families!

The past few weeks have been exciting and very busy!  This is my favourite time of the school year.  The students show tremendous growth and maturity as April arrives!

Following our Celebration of Learning, we have been working hard on our reading and writing skills.  We have continued our Poetry unit and have learned so much about the structure and content of poems, such as alliteration and onomatopoeias!  We also learned about synonyms and antonyms through hands-on activities and group work.  Students have continued to engage in guided reading groups and have shown growth in utilizing reading strategies, fluency, and confidence.  Finally, the students have been working very hard on their Reader’s Theater scripts and have proudly practiced with their groups in front of each other.  They are very excited to continue perfecting their skills (annunciation, fluency, expression, etc.) and are anxious to perform in front of an audience!

We received letters back from our pen pals and we were SO excited to read them!  We quickly read through our letters a few times and began our rough drafts by first answering their questions and then posing new questions to our new friends.  We are currently working on our final drafts and they should be ready to send next week!  I am very proud of the questions, the neat printing, and the overall enthusiasm expressed by my students!  We will eagerly await new letters!

In numeracy we have finished our addition and subtraction to 10 unit and are working on exploring numbers to 100.  We will be working on grouping large numbers of objects into groups of 2, 5 or 10 (more manageable groups that aid in counting quickly and more efficiently).  They will learn that there are many ways to describe a number in terms of groups with some left over.

In health we wrapped our body systems unit by learning about the brain!  We learned that the brain has many functions: it controls our movement, it keeps our heart and lungs and other organs working without us having to even think about it, it controls our emotions and senses, it keeps us balanced when we walk and ride a bike…it is the BOSS of our body!  Without it, we could not function!  Therefore, we learned that wearing a helmet whenever we play hockey, ride bikes, go skateboarding, etc. is SO important.  We played a memory game to show the role of the brain in storing memories (short-term and long-term) and we also simulated the brain sending messages to parts of the brain via our nerves (and back again!)  It was a fun unit!!

In inquiry we learned about food chains, added new definitions to our terminology wall (prey and predator) and have started to learn about our senses.  We went out on the playground and used four of our five senses to observe the environment.  We drew and labeled what we saw, heard, smelled, and felt.  Today we explored our sense of touch by feeling objects in paper bags, drawing the objects we felt (without looking!) and describing what we felt.  We discovered there are so many words we can use to describe objects: hot, cold, smooth, rough, hard, soft, squishy, sticky, spiky, slippery, curvy, flat, etc.  Next week we will explore our other four senses through other hands-on activities!  They will no doubt be noisy, “scent-y”, colourful, and tasty….

Finally, we had our very anticipated “Popcorn Party!”  I am beyond proud of the students for all of their hard work practicing these high-frequency words since the beginning of the year.  I set up several stations where the students played “popcorn word” games like “Kaboom!,” the cup game, roll-a-word card game, SWAT, and read-and-write-the-room.  One of the stations was, of course, a popcorn and juice station.  It was a busy afternoon, but the students were all engaged and were all demonstrating great knowledge of the words.  It was a lovely ending to a busy day!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Easter activities will take place this week–please read above^ for supplies needed for the week!

Ms. Holmes


Spring is Here!

Hello families!

What exciting weeks we’ve had!  We had our field trip to the museum on the 7th and we learned SO much.  The students learned a lot about animals in winter.  We’ve already learned that some animals will hibernate or migrate to adapt to the colder weather but we learned that some animals actually freeze during the winter and thaw in the spring, like frogs, and other animals change colour, like foxes and rabbits!  Once staff realized our class has been studying bats, they brought out a real bat skeleton! It was so neat to see what a bat looks like inside–we found some similarities between human skeletons and bat skeletons!  Students also had questions about the First Nations exhibit and the Treaty 4 document.  We will begin to learn foundational concepts about our collective history of Saskatchewan very soon.   And of course, the snakes (much to my strong aversion) were the highlight!  Students learned that Saskatchewan has nine different species of snakes and that only one is venomous.  It was a really fun and educational day.

In literacy we have continued to learn about and practice visualization when reading.  We have learned about the r- and l-blend words and engaged in some fun, hands-on activities such as read-and-write-the-room and sorting games.  We have also looked for these words in our daily work.  Our class has also been working on our poetry unit.  We learned much about poetry over the year (that poems can have rhyming words or no rhyming words, have a title, can have a beat or rhythm or not, can have repeating words, action words, feeling words, describing words, and even sound words (we really liked the word “onomatopoeia!”))  Poetry is a really fun way to engage students and helps them to realize at a very young age that EVERYONE is a poet!  I am SO proud of their creativity and am currently putting together our first poetry book.  Your child will be able to show you at the Celebration of Learning on Friday!

In numeracy we have continued to learn more addition strategies and will be moving on to our subtraction strategies soon!  By teaching different strategies to all of the students, it helps each child to find the strategy that works best for them.  We are solving word problems every day and working on hands-on activities in small groups and independently to master these skills.

March 10th was an exciting day as we had our pizza lunch–thank you so much to Mrs. Maat for helping out!!–and we also had a guest speaker, Dr. Holmes, in to talk to our us about the importance and function of our lungs!  We learned a lot, especially that the lungs and the heart work together to keep us alive and healthy.  On March 13th we participated in the Brain Walk in the mini-gym.  It was hosted by the grade 6 and 7s and we learned a lot about the human brain.  It was a very nice introduction to the next part of our human body study in health:  the brain!

In inquiry we compared bats to humans in terms of physical characteristics, and then we compared bats and birds.  We originally thought that they would have more similarities but it turns out there are more differences than similarities! We were really intrigued by our discoveries.  We learned about the bat life-cycle and compared it with a human life cycle. We also classified living and non-living organisms based on criteria we generated together.  Students were really interested to learn that First Nations peoples used to and still believe that everything has a spirit–even rocks and water!  For them, they would classify living and non-living organisms very differently than we would.  Finally, we looked at things that living things NEED to survive versus things they WANT, in particular what humans need and want.  Next we will be looking at what bats need to survive, and how bats and humans navigate their surroundings to get what they need.

Friday was St. Patrick’s Day, and while we were not at school that day, we celebrated on Wednesday by listening to stories, creating our own leprechaun art, and writing creative stories about finding a leprechaun.  We had a lot of fun.

In Arts Ed. we will be starting Reader’s Theater.  It is a very new experience for the students so it will be a lot of practice, but I think the end-product will be amazing 🙂

I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy this beautiful weather and happy Spring!

Ms. Holmes

Welcome back!

Hello families,

The first week back after the break was a busy one!  To kick-off the week, we predicted whether or not March would come in like a lamb or lion, and it appears March has come in like a lion!  We analyzed a poem, completed a writing piece, and created cute little lambs and lions to celebrate the start of a new month.  We will wait to see if March will indeed “tiptoe out like a lamb”…..

In literacy we have continued with phonics, word families, daily writing using our “checklist,” and reading in our guided reading groups.  This week we have started to learn about “visualization” which, like connecting, is a strategy used when reading.  We learned that as we read our brains make “pictures” in our head and the pictures change as we read more of a story and are provided more details by the author.  We also did a LOT of writing in inquiry and I am so proud of the students!  We are learning about the writing process and began with the “pre-writing” stage.  We brainstormed facts that we have learned about bats and created “thought-webs” to illustrate this learning.  Then, we used our individual knowledge to write rough/first drafts of acrostic poems about bats.  We went through and self-edited our writing using our checklist and then we were ready to write our final copies!  Our bat poems are on display outside our room in the display case.

In numeracy we have been working hard on learning addition strategies.  We have created and have been practicing our doubles song and have also learned the “counting-on” or “counting-up” strategy.  Students learned to start with the larger number in an equation and count-on the smaller number to find the sum.  The students have also been learning how to count to 10 in Cree!

In health we have continued to learn about the heart and will learn about the function and importance of our lungs this week with hands-on activities and a special guest speaker!  We have also discussed the many ways in which we keep our whole body healthy.

To accompany our bat poems, we also drew our own diagrams of bats which we then labeled to show the different body parts of a bats.  Many students were surprised to learn just how similar our own bodies are to bats (we both have four fingers and a thumb!)  We also got to see a real bat house this week when a student brought in one that he and his grandfather made over the break, and we were SO excited and engaged.  I have a feeling we will have more questions about bat houses as we move further into our inquiry unit!

Finally, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday on Thursday.  He would have been 113 years old if he were still alive!  We read several Dr. Seuss books, including Yurtle the Turtle, and engaged in literacy and numeracy activities throughout the day!

This week we have our field trip to the museum on Tuesday.  Thank you so much to all of the parents who are volunteering their time and energy to help out!  I will also be sending out information in regards to our “Celebration of Learning” conferences which are coming up on March. 24th.

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Holmes