Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mondrian and line art

Dear Parents,

First, reports went home today. I hope I have connected with everyone about interviews. If there's any challenge or confusion, please contact me via email asap. Also, don't be concerned, I'll be in to do interviews after school, but have called in sick because I'm not yet 100%.

I did want to share student art with you this week though.

We looked at the work of Piet Mondrian and did some great art that's up on our walls. Here's a sample:

When doing this work, we used cardboard to make straight lines and then filled in the spaces with primary colours using oil pastels, in the style of Mondrian. I love the way these look across the wall, but each one has its own charms as well.

Some of these look like maps

Some are sparse and some are busy

One looks like a xylophone here

The one on top looks like a stained glass window to me

Students really loved the title of Broadway Boogie Woogie and this delightful brief video shows Mondrian's development as an artist, while you listen to some boogie woogie:

Our follow up to this is based on the work of Jean Dubuffet: still working with primary colours and lines, but curved lines and busy patterns instead of solids. I'm really curious how this will turn out. We've been turning some of our lines from the pumpkin art that went home into patterns for this new work

Here's some samples of Dubuffet's work. 
arte bruto - capital del arte

Can't wait to see how that turns out. 

As you tour down the hallway, all our timelines are up in the hall and the subject of ongoing fascination:

Thank you for all your hard work. I think the kids learned a lot from this process (and so did I).


Ms. Goegan

Thursday, November 8, 2018

That Most Wonderful Time of The Year.

Dear Parents,

Reports go home next week and I've decided to offer you the opportunity to book your appointment online directly. Here is the link to be able to do so:

To claim your preferred slot that is available either on November 15 3:30-7:45 or on November 16 8:45-11:15, click on the time and follow the instructions on the site. If it doesn't work, you have questions, or want to arrange an alternate time, you are welcome to email me and I'll do my best to sort it out.

A letter will be sent home on Monday to make arrangements for those that don't follow the blog as well.

Reports will go home on November 15th and there's a lot packed in there. I hope you've seen work coming home, or we've chatted, and that you have a sense of how your child is doing already, but I'm looking forward to chatting with you anyways.

Image result for patterning

In math, we've moved on to patterning, which is both easier and harder than it sounds. I'm leaning on the Jump Math for this unit, because it has a good sense of detail management that asks students to identify patterns that might be confusing and ways to fix patterns that are broken.

Top tricks so far include:

1. Patterns always repeat the first term after the core.

E.g.: In the pattern ABCDABCD...., ABCD is the core because it needs to start at A again.

2. Patterns include all the different parts in each core.

E.g.: In the pattern ABACABACABAC..., ABAC is the core because you can't forget to include C

3. When you're trying to figure out a tricky pattern, read the pattern out loud like a sentence, using your finger to help you keep track of each part. You can hear the pattern better when you say it out loud.

4. Some patterns start and end with the same thing and it's easy to get mixed up. Look for doubles of the first term especially.


A lot of students are instinctively good at recognizing patterns, but it does get trickier as we go along, so it's good to have a firm grasp of what to look for.

I've set up an assignment on Prodigy, if you want to practice these skills at home as well. (If you need a reminder of the Prodigy log in, let me know and I can hook you up.)

Social Studies Projects are (mostly) up on the walls (one just keeps falling down) in the hall by our class. Go look at all that hard work and all that cuteness.

New art and writing is up on the walls of the class. I'll endeavour to make a picture filled post really soon.


Lisa Goegan

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween in Grade One

Dear Parents,

I'm assuming you caught up later in the evening, but for those that missed the costume parade yesterday, this is a picture heavy post where I asked students what they wanted to show me on their costumes. Several students weren't sure they wanted to be photographed individually, so I gave them their space, but many were all too happy to show off their favourite part of their costumes. Here you go:

The group photo

What's the coolest part of your costume?
"I got a cool scar"

"I've got a cool scar too"


"These handcuffs"

"I like my arm bandages"

"The claws on my pockets"

"This lightening bolt is pretty cool. I'm the Flash"

"My favourite part are the wings"

"I like this mask."

"I love this dress and how it moves"
Looking forward to hearing about last night's adventures today. 


Ms. Goegan

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reading in Grade One

Dear Parents,

I've been finding myself challenged to take pictures of all the learning going on in the classroom, while trying to facilitate it. It's been a couple of weeks now and I keep meaning to take photos and post them, then realizing I haven't. But there is still great learning going on.

Here's a little bit about the language program in my room, to keep you in the loop:

Students read independently or in partners on a daily basis and I frequently read aloud to the whole class as well.

We began our reading buddies program, pairing with Ms. Oseghale's Grade 3 class, and reading together weekly.

We've also been lucky enough to have Mira and Tiffany (parent volunteers) reading together with students, especially those that need extra support.

On a weekly basis, students also cycle between a number of reading related activities:

  •  Levelled Reading Groups with the teacher, where we read a book together and practice a reading related concept with me.
  • Word Work, where they get to practice that same concept independently
  • Word Games, where students play games in groups and partners with current spelling vocabulary or focus words
  • Journal, where students write about their lives or tell me stories and practice writing concepts
  • Reading Responses, where students reflect on read alouds in words and pictures. 
I frequently read aloud, either books relating to concepts in Social Studies, Math, or just great stories to share together.

Some examples of books students have been asked to respond to include a picture book called Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski (a favourite artist who makes pop up books). Students were inspired to make pop up cards of their favourite parts. One of my favourite things about teaching is being able to share books like this that have so many hidden treats in the illustrations to explore.

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My favourite part on this page is the spaghetti monster in the fridge, but all the treats hidden in the cupboards are pretty fun to explore.
Image result for haunted house jan pienkowski
The crocodile in the bathtub was a class favourite.

Friday, in honour of the first pizza day of the year, we read a picture book called Pete's a Pizza, where the parents of a little boy named Pete make him into a pizza to cheer him up when it starts raining. We talked about what cheers them up in their responses. Some like downtime to watch tv, some liked tickles or hugs, and still others talked about going to play with their mom or dad, so it was quite sweet as well.

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Pete's parents pretend to make him into a pizza to cheer him up. 

Today, Ms. K read a Todd Parr book: It's Okay to Be Different, and students reflected on the things that make them unique on the inside and the outside.

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Not all our stories end up as Reading Responses though.

Last week, we finished our second class novel "Junie B. Jones, First Grade at Last". Students identified with Junie, I think, and enjoyed acting out the story as I read and trying to figure out what some of her made up expressions meant. There are many Junie B. Jones books, so if your child really enjoyed this one, it might be a series to explore. Our first novel was Nate The Great (also a great series to explore together).

Image result for junie b jones first grader at lastImage result for nate the great

Hopefully, this gives you some points of conversation to begin talking to your child about what's going on in the classroom. I'll try to connect about our math program next time, since we're finishing the Number Sense and Numeration unit and beginning a quick look at Patterning.

Monday, October 8, 2018

First Project (and a more general update)

Dear Parents,

I sent home a timeline project outline earlier this week with students, which I hope you've had a chance to look at. Please let me know if there's been any slip between home and school. I've given a month, but I know that Halloween will be very busy for everyone, so please plan accordingly.

In my letter yesterday, I said I'd show some examples of other student projects from the web to inspire you. Here they are. The balance of words and pictures will of course depend on student ability. There are 6 events requested, and I would advise chunking this to do one a night with students.

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In class, we've also brainstormed some questions for students to ask their parents. Here's a sample student letter and the big list of questions we generated this morning. The letter went home on Wednesday afternoon.

In math news, we continue to work on triangle numbers and using manipulatives to help count bigger numbers. I'm noticing students using their own patterns to help them sort things in the wild as well:

Organized by colour

10 of light, 10 of black
Matching numbers is more fun with a magic cube
These guys made their own triangles

Dice games help build counting skills

In Social Studies news, we looked at residential schools as part of the Orange Shirt Day initiative. I used the book, "When I was Eight" and we compared our school experience to that of its protagonist, Olemaun. There's a display up in the hallway to show our thinking:

Olemaun had to sleep at school/I get to sleep in my own bed

Olemaun did not like the school/I love school because I love math

 You can see that students are relating their own experiences to those of Olemaun. It's not always clear if students get the big picture yet, but by introducing these things early and building empathy, one hopes to start the process.

We also read another book called "Shin-Chi's Canoe" about a little boy sent to residential school, who keeps his toy canoe. Students talked about what they would keep from home to remember. Answers ranged from photos of their families to stuffies that grandmothers had given them.

In reading news, we played some games with letters. This group was practicing using magnetic letters to make their words and then using some fancy writing skills to write them on the white board:

Hope this gives you a good picture of the work we're doing together and a sense of the kinds of games we play to help us learn.


Ms. Goegan

Friday, September 28, 2018

Meet the Teacher Night

Dear Parents,

It was lovely to meet many of you again last night. For those that missed it, I've attached a copy of my 2018 brochure that outlines our year together.

2018 Brochure

Students were super excited to share student journals, family trees and their portraits with their parents. Stamps, lego, and our book centre also came up.  I'll update this post with a few pictures later as well.
I would like to be a dragon

I would like to be me

Student self portaits in our classroom

Who Am I? Student Questionaires

A family tree--students have compared similarities and differences

Some excellent questions were asked about schedule and routine. Here are some notes:

1. Having a pair of indoor shoes that stay at school is so helpful. Please send in a pair to help spare our carpets and keep the inside clean. 

2. Gym is Day 2 and Day 4. Students need to wear clothing they can move in and running shoes on these days. Mr. Dantowitz is our gym teacher. 

3. Library is every Day 4. It is normally taught by Ms. Smith, but please send library books back to school in Mr. Zippy and I'll make sure they are returned. 

4. Music is Day 1, 3, and 5. Ms. Fraser has asked students to bring in music from home for next week. (A note detailing this was sent home in Mr. Zippy)

5. Reading buddies are also Day 5. We're paired with Ms. Oseghale's class. 

6. If you forget any of this, or don't know when Day 1 is (right now, Tuesdays, but it will change!), you can always check our schedule posted right outside our door. If you would like a copy of this schedule for your fridge, email me and I'll send you a copy. 

(Disclaimer: It's meant to be a working document and a rough guide...we might do more art one day and make up social studies the next, for example.)

See you tomorrow!


Ms. Goegan

P.S. Pizza Money has come due. I have not received as many forms as I would expect. It's online and was emailed to you. If you need a physical form, let me know.

P.P.S. Snack forms went home yesterday. Please send back the form and monies as soon as possible.