Friday, 20 October 2017


Have you noticed this? Perhaps you recognize it from the bottom of my emails. 

Each school year, our district comes together around a common theme. This year, we focus on the words of Isaiah, "Here am I. Send me!"

God calls us. Each and every one of us. How do we answer? 

Students, staff, and families of EICS are encouraged to answer God's call boldly, with enthusiasm and joy! YES! #ChallengeAccepted

We've been unpacking this challenge and Isaiah's words as a school. Pictured below is our recent school-wide buddy project. It reminds us to raise our hands and say yes to God! I can do it, God! Send me!

Each month, our Superintendent Michael Hauptman is challenging us to grow in our faith. For October, he has challenged us to pray the rosary. 

To make this form of meditative prayer accessible for us littles in Grade 1, we will pray one decade each day. 

To prepare for next week's Decade a Day, we made single-decade rosaries. The beads can be moved around as each prayer is shared.

To connect our daily decade to the full rosary, we will colour in the 10 beads we pray each day. 

Learning the Hail Mary prayer has been central to our exploration of the rosary. A "puzzle-piece" Hail Mary prayer is coming home this weekend. Consider praying this prayer as a family. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to pray the rosary, this How to Pray the Rosary infographic is spectacular as well as the free app Laudate

Single-decade beaded rosary craft from Catholic Icing
Puzzle Piece Hail Mary activity from Pearson's Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ Grade 1 resource

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Building Number Sense

In grade 1 we learn how our number system works by examining numbers up to 100. First, we took a speedy march around the school, hunting for numbers! Where do we see numbers? When do we use numbers each day? 

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

For now, we will be working very closely with numbers to 20. 

  • How are numbers related? 
  • What are some different ways to make a number? 
  • How can we take a number apart? 

Keep hunting for numbers with your child! Road signs, recipes, flyers ... they're everywhere and so important!

Junk It Game

In case you haven't heard, we were introduced to a fast-paced card game last week, Junk It! It helps us recognize numerals and order them to 10. 

Junk It is a 2-player game. Remove face cards, but keep Aces. 

Put 10 cards in two rows of 5 face down in front of each player. Place the remaining cards in the centre. 

The first player flips a card over, and places it in its numerical spot. He picked up a 6 ... 

... so he put it down where the 6 goes. 

When he placed his card in the 6 spot, he picked up an Ace (formerly face down in the 6th place). Off the Ace goes to spot 1!

Notice how when he put his Ace down, he picked up the card in that spot? It is a 6! He already has a 6, so he gets to call JUNK IT and discard it. 

His opponent can either pick up the card that was just discarded, or select a new card from the pile. She needed a 6, so she chose to keep it. 

The first player to get all 10 cards flipped over in order wins!

It is a little confusing to explain on our blog, but the kids are definitely the experts! Will you challenge your child to a game of Junk It?!?

GIANT SHOUT OUT to the Ecole Edwards grade 1 classes in Airdrie (@Grade1Wiggles) for teaching us this game via Twitter! We love it!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Gratitude Changes Everything

This week we spent a little extra time exploring how blessed we truly are. Our blessings so are abundant and we seized every opportunity we could to thank God! Gratitude breeds positivity!

One of our Read In Week guests was our very own EICS Catholic School Trustee, Michelle Szott! She shared two WONDERFUL books that got us thinking about gratitude and blessings! With just the mention of the word "thankful", the students' hands were shooting up and ideas were overflowing. They were bursting with thankfulness!

In the spirit of fostering a "growth mindset" and giving the students (and their teacher) the opportunity to practice perseverance and patience, we tackled a challenging Thanksgiving project, woven place mats!

We began by writing and colouring. 

Then the students helped each other weave paper strips over, under, over, and under. Fantastic teamwork! Many also showed off their patterning skills!

Amazing work! These will, without a doubt, be the center of the Thanksgiving tables this weekend!

What are YOU thankful for? Take a minute to leave your reply. Simply double-click on the "wall" below to leave a "sticky note". There is no log in. Just type your idea and click GO. The students and I have left a few responses already (signed, Student). When leaving your response, feel free to sign your name as Mr. or Mrs. and your last initial (e.g. Mrs. S, Mr. H), or something equally appropriate. Thank you for not mentioning first or last names on our blog. 

Made with Padlet

We have been blessed beyond measure and it is so important to take time and give thanks. God is indeed SO GOOD! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Zoo School Project: Kids With Character!

As you know, our class is headed to the Edmonton Valley Zoo for AN ENTIRE WEEK in January! HOLY MOLY GUACAMOLE! To qualify for one of the highly sought-after weeks at the zoo, a year-long project must be submitted and selected. Drumroll, please!......Character education will drive OUR awesome year-long Zoo School project! 

Our Zoo Project

Character Education is when we intentionally teach our students about the traits that will help them become successful, caring individuals. We strive to encourage our children use their God-given gifts to be the hands of Jesus to others! 

Throughout the year, our project will focus on 6 key character traits; trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring & perseverance. We’ll read zoo animal stories that feature these character traits, and then students will deepen their understanding through journal prompts, reflections, activities, and Bible readings.


We began our project by reading the folktake Give Up, Gecko! When the animals find themselves thirsty and without water, they decide to dig. The large animals try, but give up. The medium animals try and give up, too! Even small animals try, but quit. Then an itty bitty little gecko tries and tries, and eventually finds water! He sure didn't give up!

This story highlights perseverance and promotes a "growth mindset", which is what we celebrate and encourage here at Holy Redeemer. We value hard work, persistence, & effort! Have a look!

After reading Give Up Gecko!, we focused on something tricky we wanted to learn that we promised not to give up on! 

I won't give up until I learn to build a robot.

I won't give up until I learn to do a handstand.

I won't give up until I learn to BBQ.

We will continue to read animals stories featuring perseverance! Isn't everything new a little tricky at first?

Psssst! Hang on! Stay tuned for part 2 of our Zoo School Project ... it's really exciting! (Hint: This second part of our zoo project is digital, eeeek!)

My blog posts from last year's phenomenal zoo school week can be found here, here, here, here and also here! Get excited!
Writing prompt courtesy of Deanna Jump can be found HERE

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Our Village!

Our staff, regardless of the grade we teach or role we play, gets to know each and every student throughout the year. The beauty of our small school is that we are truly a family!

There are a few people your child will cross paths with a bit more than others. Introducing . . .  our "village"!

This is Miss. Dubuc. She is our spectacular secretary! Not only is she the friendliest face in Holy Redeemer, but she has recently done many renovations in her house ... all by herself! Amazing!

Miss Dubuc

This is Miss McMillian, our custodian. She loves walking her dogs and listening to audio books. If you attend 10:30 mass, you might even be lucky enough to hear her sing in the choir!

Miss McMillian

Meet Mrs. Hill! She is our Librarian and is here Mondays and Tuesdays. Mrs. Hill loves reading Stephen King books in her pjs and especially loves spending time with her 7-year old son!

Mrs. Hill

This is Miss Akhtar. She is a world-traveller who loves fitness! Miss Akhtar is our Counsellor and she teaches our class Health every Wednesday. 

Miss Akhtar

This is Mrs. Chrystian, an Educational Assistant in our school! She is a dynamo in the kitchen, has an amazing green thumb, and loves to Ukrainian dance!

Mrs. Chrystian

This is Mr. Grudzinski! He eats, sleeps and breathes music! He has a recording studio in his house and he DJs events on the weekends! Mr. G is at our school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will teach our class Music and one Phys Ed class each week. 

Mr. G

Across from our classroom, teaching Grade 3, is Mrs. Lefler. She was married this summer! She loves camping and country music. Mrs. Lefler will be teaching our class about Seasonal Changes (Science) once a week on Fridays. 

Mrs. Lefler
(fun fact... She was Mrs. Beliveau's
student teacher a few years ago!)

This is Mr. Dumont, our fearless principal! He loves Star Wars and Noodle Box (yum!). Our boys and girls love seeing which pair of funky socks he is wearing each day!
Mr. Dumont

It truly takes a village to educate our children! We are so blessed to have such an enthusiastic, caring staff! 

Friday, 8 September 2017

Reading & Rhyming!

Rhyme Bag
We are working hard in class to develop the necessary skills for reading, and rhyming is an important part of the reading process. Rhyming allows children to play with words and makes language fun and engaging. It encourages children to listen to language and notice its sounds. Rhyming also helps children discover word families (e.g. pot, hot, and spot are in the -ot family). Rhyming is such a rich language activity! 
We have a Rhyme Bag that students are taking turns bringing home. Only items that rhyme can be placed inside! This student had fun with us by only showing us her first item, a bat! We all enjoyed guessing what else might be inside (as well as what probably wouldn’t be inside). Look at the rhyming items that filled her bag!
bat, cat & hat

When your child brings the Rhyme Bag home, feel free to not only choose items to place inside, but illustrations, words, or images printed from your computer. All items will be returned. Happy rhyming!

Each morning the boys and girls are paired up and share their Home Reading books with each other! Then they exchange their book for one at the same level and quietly read the new book. I am able to read individually with 4 to 6 students in this short time, allowing progress to be assessed, feedback to be given, and book levels to be adjusted. What phenomenal readers we are becoming!

For the next few weeks, the books that come home will be basic pattern books. My goal is to build confidence, make the experience of reading enjoyable, and develop reading behaviours! 
Here are a few strategies to support your child as he or she reads:
  • Finger-track: Ask your child to follow the words with their finger. Today we used googly-eyed reading buddies to remind us to track!

  • Look at the Pictures: The pictures are loaded with information that our beginning readers rely upon. Please never cover the pictures. For example, we can see flowers painted on Froggy's picture!

  • Check the First Letter: When stuck on a tricky word, ask your child to say the sound of the first letter. For example, in the picture below, when we check the first letter and see an "h", we know the word cannot be "chicken". Must be "hen"!

We have keen readers and rhymers in our class! 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Beep Beep! The Wheels on the Bus

Our first week together has wrapped up and it has been absolutely spectacular!

We all love a good book, but EVERYONE loves a book that you can sing along to! Well... maybe not everyone, but it is certainly true for 6 year olds (and their goof of a teacher). We enjoyed singing The Seals on the Bus together!

Then we practiced singing the song with our names! We focused on using the first letter in our names to make our own verses. 

This little lady's name begins with an L, so her bus says "lumpity lump"!

Participating in literacy-based centers!

Then we set to work making our own buses!

We added the first letter of our names and completed the Wheels on the Bus poem!

This project gave me an opportunity to get to know my students so much better! I was able to see how the children played with and manipulated sounds. I got a good peek at the children's ability to cut, print, colour, glue, and follow two-step directions, as well as several other work habits, including perseverance, time-management, sharing, and problem solving. Whew!

Pop by to enjoy our bulletin board! (Disclaimer: This tune can get stuck in your head!

Spectacular week, kids! You knocked my socks off with your hard work and kindness!

The Wheels on the Bus names activity is inspired by Deanna Jump's Names Unit: Literacy and Math Fun With Names.