Back to Reality - February Update

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 4:30 PM

I have to say after spending 12 Days in Grenada it was very hard to return to the real world. Thank you to each of you that reached out before and after the break, it was simply the greatest time ever. On the Monday I was back, the students were very excted and asked to see photos and videos from the wedding and Grenada. It was a lot of fun sharing that. I also have to say that the marriage advice each of them wrote for me was amazing - some serious gems in there. Mrs. Flanagan, who MC’d the wedding with her husband Wes, read some of them out and had every guest in stitches. The best part being I could see and hear each of the kids saying what they wrote. 

I haven’t sent one of these out for a while and so I do have to apologize. I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of monthly updates. So, here we are for February...

Important Dates

Friday, February 1st – Lieu Day (no school)

Tuesday, February 12th – Pier 21 musical 9:00am (all students)

Wednesday, February 13th – Code Mobile Presentation (grade 5 students only)

Wednesday, February 13th – Valentine’s Day Celebration (pm)

Thursday, February 14th& Friday, February 15th – Teacher’s Convention (no school)

Monday, February 18th – Family Day (no school)

Friday, March 1st – PD Day (no school)

Language Arts: We should be finishing up “Wonder” in the next couple weeks, and will celebrate the end by watching the movie in class. Please let me know if you would prefer your child not watch, and I can have them doing something else. We continue to have some very rich discussions about the events from the book, and several of them coincide with units covered in our Health curriculum. Over the next term, Students will be focusing on improving their comprehension skills, by completing weekly leveled reading exercises. We are also participating in the Flames “Give It A Shot” reading program, where students are encouraged to use their reading minutes to earn hockey cards from the Calgary Flames. I will be using minutes read in class to calculate these, as well as minutes written down on monthly logs that are returned to school. Thank you to those that are still using these logs and I sent home one for February yesterday. 

Beginning this week, students were enrolled in which is a platform aimed at improving reading comprehension skills by first assessing a student’s reading level and then serving leveled reading material to them and asking relevant comprehension questions. I have not used this program before but so far I am quite pleased with it and the students all seem to quite enjoy it. They are welcome to log into their accounts at home and you’re welcome to read along with them BUT… please let them read and answer the passage independently. When students answer a question incorrectly, it lets them know but also explains why. Feel free to review this with your child. Students can find a link to the website on the Language Arts Resources page.

For writing, we will spend the next few months focusing on descriptive writing, and lessons aimed at improving written content in terms of detail. Right now, students are working on "stretching out" main events, by adding: action, description, thoughts/feelings, dialogue, and sound effects to their sentences. Students are also learning about the importance of planning out their thoughts prior to writing. Tied to this, students will practice acting their events out prior to writing, which will also help to add rich details to their sentences. Lastly, students will practice using more precise verbs, and adding adjectives to nouns. 

Math: We are cruising through our patterning unit, as students are working with t-tables to find both pattern rules and table functions. We will spend the next week or so focusing on word problems using patterns, before moving on to our next unit in math, which will be Fractions and Decimals. As next week is a new month, we will definitely be having our February fact frenzy! The end goal for our focus on Fractions and Decimals will have us using them to predict the winner of the greatest and most intense basketball tournament in the world… NCAA March Madness!!! This is also part of our regular focus on exploring ‘real world’ math and seeing how it can be used in daily life.

Science: Students have been loving the chance to work with different materials to create circuits and learn about electricity. They recently discovered how to build their own switches, and learned about the dangers of short circuits and how resistors are used. They will also learn about parallel vs. series circuits, conductors vs. insulators, and how magnetism is related to electricity. At the end of our unit, students will be building their own electric cars, which we will require parent volunteers for. The date for this build day has not yet been confirmed, so please keep your eyes peeled for an email about this. Once they are built, students will be able to take them home, supe them up however they want and then… we race!! This is always an awesome time as students explain how they (or they and their parents ;) haha) made the chages to their car. You can check out some of last year's entries in the FCS 500. It was seriously fun.

Social Studies: To wrap up our unit on Newcomers to Canada, students have been creating their own posters, encouraging different cultural groups to immigrate to Canada. This is part of our exploration of how Canada was advertised to different parts of the world and having a great discussion on advertising for what is included and what is not included in advertisements. Students also took some time to explore the roles that different cultures and groups played in the development of Alberta and Canada. From religous newcomers to Asian immigrants, FNMI (First Nations Metis & Inuit) groups to European settlers, students explored how and why different groups participated in the growth of Alberta as a province. 

For more information, you and your child are encoruaged to explore the available Web Links, an interactive Migration Map, examples of how the government Advertised the West while Promoting Settlement in the West. Lastly, there is an excellent and interactive resource where students are able to explore and read Letters from Settlers.

Once this is complete, we will move back to our study on the geographical Regions of Canada

Other Information

Bell Let’s Talk Day: We spent a good chunk of time yesterday morning talking about mental health and the many, many reasons why this is so important. We watched two really great videos (Talking Talking Mental Health and End the Stigma), and each student had so many insightful and helpful things to say to add to our chat. With that being said, there might be some lingering thoughts and feelings that arise from this sensitive subject, so please don’t be alarm if your child comes home with some questions, or if this is an area you would like to chat with them about. 

Museokit/Car Kits/Recorders: A notice was sent home yesterday to collect fees for our Museokits in Social Studies and our electric car kits in Science (these fees were mentioned at our September conferences). There's also another form coming home about recorders for music. Please return all forms ASAP.

Valentine’s Day: Since there is no school on the actual day, we will be celebrating with a small school party on Wednesday, February 13th. I have attached a list here of all the names of students in our room. If your child would like to bring in Valentines (totally optional), I kindly ask they bring one for everyone.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome rest of the week and enjoy the weekend.


Daniel Polsky
Grade 5 Teacher | Learning Leader
Fish Creek School |
t | 403-777-6400 | twitter @mr_polsky