Friday, December 31, 2010

January Schedule

The calendar won't be coming home until January 6 (in the Thursday folder). The first few weeks of January follow the same schedule as December, if you still have it.

Please note that starting in January we will have POOL EVERY WEEK! The morning class will be swimming right at 9:00 so we will be heading down to the pool straight from outside at 8:55. Pool mornings will be a bit "rush rush"!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stuff needed

It may be too late to ask for old wrapping paper, but I thought that I'd throw it out there! Used, crumpled -- it's okay! Especially the metallic or foil kind that you can't put in the recycling!

Old holiday cards -- feel free to tear the sentiment side off -- or leave it.

White, clear or silvery "little stuff". It needs to fit in a jar..... Think little bits of yarn, glitter, sequins, broken jewelry, ribbon (used curly ribbon is great). We will need this asap.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate it!

I can't show the special gifts that we made for the parents because they involved portraits of the children. But they were awesome! I wanted to save every one to put up in our classroom.

For readers who aren't part of our school community: Most of the children in our class celebrate Christmas. I am very sensitive towards the students who do not. We discuss as a class how some people do not celebrate Christmas. We focus on many cultural festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Our gifts to the parents were not "Christmassy" I took photos of the children and adjusted the brightness and contrast then printed them onto regular photocopy paper (black and white prints) Then we glued the papers onto canvas, and coated them with an acrylic medium. Then the children chose 2 primary colours to work with, and they painted the backgrounds, mixing the paints on a palette, or right on the painting.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Aren't they so cute? I especially like the one with one big eye and one small eye!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


During the last week of school before the break we had lots of fun making rubbings.

This was like an archeological adventure. What would you find when you rubbed the page with crayons? Oh, there's a letter! I found an S! There was great discussion happening!!!

One of the discussions was "How did the letters and pictures magically appear?" I finally showed them at the end of the week!

We used the crayon cakes that we made last year. We peeled the labels off of the old, broken crayons, then put a tiny bit (1/2 tsp) oil in the bottom of each cup of an old muffin tin and placed in some broken crayons in each one until they were 2/3 full. Then we heated them in a 250 F oven for about 15 minutes. The peeling of the crayons took months! I had them out on a table and occasionally a child would wander by and sit down for some quiet time spent peeling.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Learning about symmetry is easy when you use mittens as an example!

As part of my seasonal gift to the children, I made mittens and they decorated them. The catch? I wouldn't glue anything on until they made the mittens symmetrical. (I used hot glue -- it's a bit fiddly to glue the little bits, so the children don't get to help with the gluing) (I glue with a bowl of cold water beside me to dip my fingers in when I miss a bit)

These were the steps:
1. Try on the mittens that you like. Do they fit? Okay, go to the next step.
2. Place the mittens on the table, thumbs together.
3. Pick 3 things that you want to put on your mittens. Place them on one mitten.
4. Find those 3 things again and put them on the other mitten, mirroring the first one.

That "mirroring" step was a bit tricky for some children. Try it at home!

(and a special thanks to Clare's mom for helping with the morning class!)
(yes, I sewed the mittens from scraps of polar fleece from ArtsJunktion -- it's what I do in my cool basement in the summer when I need to escape the heat)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


After talking about where WE are in the world and beyond (Earl Beatty, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Planet Earth, the Universe) We talked about the sun and stars. We talked about how important the sun is to our planet (for heat and light). Then we talked about how most of the stars that we see in the sky are other suns. That seemed a bit unbelievable to most of the students, so we just settled on "stars are stars" .

Then we talked about stars and groups of stars that they know. We started with the Big Dipper ("It looks like a spoon". "No, it doesn't, it looks like a pot"). We talked a bit about how stars could be used for navigation (to help us find our way) ("Like a map in the sky" someone said "Yes! Just like that" ) But the concept of the "map in the sky" is still a bit difficult to grasp, so we were back to "stars are stars, and they make pictures in the sky".

So we made our own constellations. We cheated a bit (a lot) by drawing the lines first, then putting the stars up in our skies..... They look pretty spectacular up in our classroom -- especially when we turn the lights off. They don't glow in the dark, but with the lights off, you can't see the lines -- just the stars and the shapes that they make! Constellations!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We learned about Primary colours (red, blue and yellow) and how other colours can be made by mixing these colours (Secondary colours -- green, orange and purple). We mixed the colours as a group and put them in the window in mason jars. Don't they look beautiful?

Ask your child about mixing colours. What do you get when you mix blue and yellow? What colours so you mix to make orange? How do you make brown? (that's brown in the smaller jar on the right end)
(we haven't talked about tints and shades yet!)

Then I put some coloured water out and students mixed their own "potions"(their words) in small containers. They had to use eyedroppers to transfer the water. It takes a while to figure out how to use an eyedropper!

We made something special by mixing colours. But I can't show them here! You parents are going to have to wait a few weeks to see them :). And the general public? Well, you're just going to have to hear me talk about them......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Be a Santa to a Senior

This year, Earl Beatty will reach out to members of our community with the 3rd annual Be a Santa to a Senior Program. Extendicare Guildwood have identified 35 residents who could benefit from the warmth and care shown by Earl Beatty.

Extendicare Guildwood wishes for a stereo for their lounge area, and also appreciate any small items that can serve as prizes for their Bingo Program.

Our morning class will be sponsoring Betty, and our afternoon class will be sponsoring Andre.
Both of these seniors are wishing for socks, unscented soap or lotion, a stuffed toy, and facial tissues.

Other items that they may be able to use are:

items such as Kleenex; socks without tight elastics; undershirts (size large); unscented bodywash; shampoo; shaving cream; toothbrush and paste; butter cookies(no nuts); pencils or pens; word search or crossword books; small photo album; mints or fruit candies; hat or gloves. (this is from last year's request list)

I will put a gift tag on each gift stating what is inside to make sure that each senior gets appropriate gifts (i.e. -- no candy to a diabetic patient)

Please send your donations in by Friday December 10 -- you can send in a small cash donation or the items themselves. (This is completely voluntary-- please do not feel obligated to participate). I will be shopping on the weekend for any items that we need to "fill in the gaps".
On Monday December 13 the classes will be wrapping gifts and making cards! If you have any extra wrapping paper or gift bags at home, feel free to donate them (our class already has a few rolls, but some other classes may not).

The gifts will be delivered between December 14th-17th.
I saw the photos from last year and heard some wonderful stories-- they brought tears to my eyes -- the seniors truly do appreciate this.
If you would like more information about the Be a Santa to a Senior program, you can visit the website here!