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


Calling All Parent/Guardian Volunteers!

Dear families,

Our field trip to the museum is one week away!  We will be attending a workshop on animals in winter called “Winter Whys” as well as take in the different, exciting exhibits the museum has to offer.  I will need between 3-5 parent/guardian volunteers to meet us at the museum and lead a small group of students through the exhibits.  The trip is March 7 at 9:45 am.  Volunteers will need an up-to-date criminal record check in advance as they have to be submitted and approved by our administrators and board office.  Please email me to let me know if you are interested!

Thank you so much,

Ms. Holmes

Domino’s Pizza and Booster Juice Lunch!

W.S Hawrylak HSCC is excited to host fun lunches on the following dates:
Friday March 10, 2017 – Domino’s Pizza and Booster Juice
Thursday June 8, 2017 – Quiznos and TCBY

The use of the website was a great success last year. As a result, the W.S Hawrylak HSCC will continue to use this website for ordering and processing of all fun lunches. Cash payments will not be accepted for any fun lunch orders.

Please go to where you will be able to create an account, view all upcoming special lunches, place an order for all dates or just one at a time, and pay online. For families that already have an account, once you log in you will need to once again add your child(ren) and choose the correct classroom teacher prior to placing an order. Orders can be placed online until 5 days prior to the dates listed above as this is the cut-off that the website uses to close orders.

Classroom Supervisors, two parents per class, (11:35am-12:30pm) are needed. If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact your child’s teacher directly.
Thank you from your Hawrylak School Community Council special lunch committee.

(I have heard from one parent volunteer already–it would be wonderful to have one more!  Please let me know ASAP 🙂 Ms. Holmes)

Field Trip!

One more note:

On March 7th, we will be going on a field trip to the museum.  The fees and the permission slip are attached to your online parent account so please take a minute to log in, pay, and check the box for permission.  After the break, I will be sending a call out for parent volunteers as I will need a few extra hands to lead smaller groups through the exhibits.

Enjoy this beautiful weather 🙂

Ms. Holmes

Day of Pink!

Hello families!

What a busy but wonderful couple of weeks!  Last week we began our new health unit on the brain, heart, and lungs.  Dr. Dehghani was kind to come in and speak with our children about the heart and even brought in two real, human hearts in formaldehyde!  We also were able to listen to some heart beats using a stethoscope with bluetooth!  We were so surprised to hear how different our hearts sound.  We will continue to learn more about the function of these important organs and learn about ways in which we keep our body healthy.

This week we started with our 100 Days of School celebrations!  We engaged in several writing activities and numeracy activities.  We took our 100 items and compared and contrasted the weight of our objects with those of our friends, and then we lined up our objects to see whose items made the longest and shortest lines.  It was a lot of fun and we had some very creative objects that were brought in!

In literacy we learned about the “when two vowels go walking” rule.  When two vowels are side-by-side in a word (not always, but sometimes) the first vowel “does the talking” and says its name and the second “doesn’t say a word.”  For example, in “rain” the “a” says it’s name and “i” is silent.  Students had fun watching a video explaining the rule:    and looking in books to find words that demonstrate this rule.  We looked specifically at words that have “ea,” “oa,” “ay,” and “ai” vowel combinations.  Students have also been practicing how to choose “Good Fit” books.  This is a concept we have been working on for a while but it seems as though students are really starting to use the strategy more frequently and independently!  Students use a “I PICK” acronym when choosing library books.  They look for: Purpose (“Why do I want to read this book?”)  Interest (“Does it look interesting?”) Comprehend (“Do I understand the book?”) and Know (“Do I know most of the words?”)  Students are using the “Five-finger rule” to assess whether or not they know and comprehend what they’re reading.  As your child reads the first page of a new book they put up their five fingers.  As they come across words they do not know (and can’t use their strategies to figure out) they put a finger down.  If they get to the end of that first page and all five fingers are down, they know that they book may be too difficult for them.  If they find that they still have all of their fingers up, the book may be too easy.  However, if the child is reading the book for a purpose (to learn more about a topic or for fun) they can continue reading.  Ideally, children should be able to choose a book independently that is neither too challenging nor too simple.  They had some opportunities to practice this week and we will continue to do so for the rest of the year.

In numeracy we have begun our addition and subtraction to 12 unit.  The first step of learning to add and subtract is to learn about adding “doubles” (1+1, 2+2, etc.) automatically.  This makes adding and subtracting different numbers easier.  For example, if we know 5+5 is 10, then 11 is 5+5+1.   We created our own doubles song, played doubles activities and have also used manipulatives to figure out the “word problem of the day!”

In inquiry we have been learning about the difference between mammals and non-mammals. They have engaged in sorting activities and are really interested in finding out that there are only two mammals that lay eggs!!  We have also been adding new definitions to our terminology page and documenting our learning about bats.  We were absolutely THRILLED to meet the “Bat Man” Professor Brigham from the University of Regina.  He brought a real, live brown bat which fit in a little, fleece bag! We heard it echolocate and got to learn more about bats from around the world.  We learned a lot of new information, including that some bats can actually swim if they need to!

Valentine’s Day was filled with literacy and numeracy activities.  Mrs. Crawford’s class joined us for a craft and we made valentine paper chains.  We also decorated paper bags that held all of our valentines and treats.  Thank you to all of you for sending these lovely gifts!

Today was Pink Shirt Day! It was a really nice reminder for our students to keep being bucket-fillers and go out of their way to make someone’s day brighter.  We read the book “Oliver Button is a Sissy” and we had wonderful in-depth conversations about how every person is different and it doesn’t matter if someone is a boy or a girl, they can participate in any activity they want to if it makes them happy.  We also launched our 100 Acts of Kindness initiative:

In honour of Pink Shirt day and in our celebrations for the 100th day of school, our classroom (and Ms. Perkins’ class) has pledged to complete 100 acts of kindness throughout the remainder of the school year. We talked to our students about how these acts were physical acts of kindness above and beyond their normal everyday chores or expectations.  Perhaps they see a neighbour struggling with shoveling their driveway and they volunteer to help, or their little sibling is struggling with a game and they help, etc.

Please let me know if you have any questions and if your child does something above and beyond for you or someone you know, please send a quick note so I can add it to our chart.

Tomorrow is Backwards Day!! It is also our February birthdays party, so it will no doubt be a fun-filled day!

Have a wonderful February break.  Take time to rest, relax, and spend time with family.  Hold your loved ones close and be so thankful to have them there with you.


Ms. Holmes


Important Dates to Remember!

Hello families!

We have a very busy couple of weeks coming up! Our class has been working towards a goal for good behavior—a “Bat Party!” On Wednesday (Feb. 8) afternoon we will be reading fiction and non-fiction stories about bats and watching a short, educational video. If students have any bat-related items at home that they would like to bring they are welcome to do so! Now that we have reached our goal, we will choose another goal to work towards…

On Monday, Feb. 13 it is the 100th day of school! As such, we will be celebrating in different ways. I ask that students bring 100 items, such as 100 pieces of lego, 100 cheerios, etc. If your child brings something that is edible they will be asked NOT to eat it (as we will be doing several activities with the items).

On Tuesday, Feb. 14 it is Valentine’s Day! Your child may bring valentines for their peers and we will have a card exchange! We will also be having a very special guest visit us in the morning!! The students will be VERY excited, they may even go a bit….”batty!”

A list of students in our class: Moiz, Simon, Sam, Rylee, Aryan, Alexis, Jesse, Connor, Irene, Joshua, Jalen, Avery, Kaitlyn, Lydia, Ayyan, Amanda, Quinn, Nevaeh, Anoushka, Nia, Yahya, Gauri, Chec, Tharaa, and Eric. We also have a few grade 3s that join our lunch room: Emily, Louisa, Alex, and Elliot. If you would like to send a treat that day please email as soon as possible!

On Thursday, Feb. 16 we will be celebrating Pink Shirt Day at our school (the official day is Feb. 22). Your child is to wear a pink shirt (it doesn’t have to be an official shirt) and we will be engaging in a variety of activities that involve anti-bullying and inclusion.

On Friday, Feb. 17 it is Backwards Day!! Your child is to wear everything backwards (as much as possible!!) We will also celebrate our February birthday (only one this month!) at the end of the day.


Thank you! Please email if you have any further questions,

Ms. Holmes

Mid-term Report Cards!

Hello families,

Mid-term report cards have come out and I am so proud of the growth the students have shown, and I know you are, too!  I am excited for the next few months!  If you have any questions or concerns, always feel free to email or call me.

Over the last two weeks, students completed rough drafts, learned how to self edit and peer-edit, and completed their final copies of their letters to send to our pen pals!  We use a “Good Writer’s Checklist” in our classroom which helps to remind students of what they need to have in their writing, as well as allows students to make and work towards their own personal writing goals.  Students need to remember capital letters, finger spaces, correct punctuation, neat printing, labeling necessary pictures, correctly spelling popcorn/sight words, and add details to their writing to make it interesting (which we will collectively work towards as the year progresses).  The students learned about the long-vowel sounds and that Magic E helps the other vowel in a word to “Say It’s Name!” When reading, students have been using our final reading strategies to help navigate sentences with tricky words: Skippy Frog (skip over the tricky word, finish the sentence, and go back to see if you can figure out the word,) Tryin’ Lion (re-read a sentence if, after reading it, it doesn’t make sense.  You might have to try a different word!) and Flippy Dolphin (when sounding out a word, if it sounds funny, try using the long-vowel sound instead of the short-vowel sound.)   Ms. Perkins’ class and our class have also been switching classes for more specific guided reading instruction and it has been going very well!

In numeracy we have been working on estimating, making equal and unequal groups to build numbers (ex/ 8 is 6 and 4 (unequal groups) and 8 is 4 and 4 OR 2, 2, 2, and 2 (equal groups.))  We have also been working together to solve our “problem of the day” which will help as we start our adding and subtracting unit.

As it was just Chinese New Year on January 28, our class learned more about the Chinese Zodiac, the traditions and customs surrounding the holiday, and learned a few dance moves from one of our classmates who celebrates Chinese New Year!  We made dragon masks and watched a short video of a traditional Dragon Dance.

In health we have wrapped up our unit on emotions and appropriately expressing those emotions.  We learned how to play the “Moods Charade Game” which challenged students to role play and demonstrate various emotions like jealous, shocked, frustrated, etc.  The students had a lot of fun!  We will now learn about the function and importance of internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain!

In inquiry we have continued with our Bat research.  We have learned so much, like what exactly bats ARE (animals, mammals, insectivores, etc.), where they LIVE (in roosts in trees, caves, under bridges, etc.), and that there are two main types of bats (megabats and microbats).  We are working in our special “bat journals” where we are recording our findings and writing down our new terminology.  It is incredibly exciting to watch how engaged and invested the whole class is during our work periods!  We also had Elder Betty in to tell us traditional stories about animals and the importance of certain of animals to the First Nations peoples.

It was lovely to see some of you at our SCC Movie Night!  What a wonderful end to a busy week. 🙂

I hope you have all had a restful weekend!  Have a great week,

Ms. Holmes