Create, Be Curious, Learn, have Fun and GLOW

A Morning at the Assiniboine ZOO!


This morning we went to the zoo on the bus (Zoe and Aude). The first thing we did was we went into the ZOO classroom (Maevyn). We checked out some bear claws and we got to feel the fur of different bears (Anton). The zoo classroom had a lot of different animals  around us (Quintin). We got to feel a Polar Bear and Brown Bear skull – it felt hard and the teeth were very sharp and the nose was very big (Luca and Levi). We asked the zoo expert Bran our 5 questions that we could not find the answers to (Julia). We learned that:

  • Bears Tarpor instead of hibernate. Which means they don’t sleep as soundly as animals who hibernate – they may wake up to eat or move.
  • We learned which bears are carnivores and which bears are herbivores.
  • Bears don’t hibernate together – but different bears may have different bear dens that would be in the same place but they wouldn’t be in the same dens together. They can be found side by side but not in the same den.
  • There are 8 different kinds of bears; Spectacled Bear, Panda Bear, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, American Black Bear, Asiatic Black Bear. Brown Bear, Sun Bear and Sloth Bear.
  • The Polar Bear is the biggest bear and his hair is see though (translucent or clear)

We checked out the Reindeer and we learned that when they are walking it makes a rice krispy noise (Levi). The reindeer boys grow antlers to attract girls (Keito).

We saw two Polar Bears playing in their den. We also got to watch a 10 min video about protecting the Earth so that the animals can continue to roam free.

We learned that the zoo uses Beet Juice on the zoo sidewalks to keep the sidewalks from becoming slippery. We thought it smelled like soya sauce or pizza.

We saw a red fox named Simon. He was walking into a hole(Anton).

We saw a pack of Wolves there were 5 of them. 1 girl and 4 boys they were brother and sister and cousins. (Levi)

We saw Buffalo and I thought they were disgusting, because they smelled gross. The Buffalo dad was walking weird. (Mira and Levi)

We finished the morning with a snack. Aude and her  mommy made some awesome Banana Bread with chocolate chips for all the Grade 1/2 Montrosians. It was so good, it was BANANAS!!

We love the zoo and can’t wait to go back again!




Knowledge Building Circle

Today we had a Knowledge Building Circle. I learned about Knowledge Building Circles last spring at a Natural Curiosity two day workshop Montrose Staff attended.

The term Knowledge Building Circle refers to the seating configuration of students as they engage in Knowledge Building Discourse. The circle is an intentional physical configuration that is conducive to successful Knowledge Building for several reasons:

• Circles promote attentive listening and communication. The physical shape facilitates face-to-face dialogue amongst students. Eye contact and ‘attentive’ body language – physical signs of respect and active listening – are more visibly apparent.

• Circles eliminate hierarchy. All students enjoy an equal place in a circle. No one student takes precedence over another. The teacher takes his or her place within the circle as a co-learner. As members of this egalitarian knowledge building community, students both learn from, and contribute to, each other’s understanding. They take turns speaking and wait patiently for their turn. In Early Years classrooms, or in classes at any grade level that are new to Knowledge Building Discourse, the teacher may direct the conversation by selecting which student with their hand up will speak next. The goal is for the students to eventually raise their hands and wait for the student who has just spoken (not the teacher) to choose who will speak next. (Natural Curiosity 2016)

It was extremely inspiring to see the students sharing what they have learned, listening to their peers and then making connections to what was said. It is always important to share what we have learned or what we are learning. As students were sharing – I was madly listening and typing out their words. Their words were instantly projected onto the smart board with their names attached to their comments. You could see how proud they were of themselves and you could see their confidence increasing as learners, zoologists and scientists.

Knowledge Building Circle – February 10th 2017

  • Polar Bears like to tackle each other and slide on the snow. The cubs get to ride on the back of the mama Polar Bear.(Janna).
  • Grizzly Bear and Polar Bears are dangerous. (Shayle)
  • Polar Bears can blend in or camouflage into the snow. (Shayle and Luca)
  • Grizzly Bears like to eat fish especially Salmon and grubs and berries. (Georgia and Keito)
  • Grizzly Bears like to play in the water. (Georgia)
  • Right before summer Polar Bears build dens and they are like freezer in the summer to keep them cool. (Julia)
  • Grizzly Bears like to eat insects, bison, fluff on dandelions. (Julia)
  • Polar Bears can eat Moose, Elk, Caribou, Seal, – they are the only animals that can eat and kill large animals. (Levi)
  • Polar Bears like to eat plants and berries. They live in Dens. (Sari)
  • Sometimes tackle each other. I think they might be playing. (Zoe)
  • Black Bears hibernate in caves. Black Bears also hibernate for a very long time. They also like to dig holes in the ground to sleep in. Polar Bears sleep for 6 months. (Shayle and Quintin and Julia and Anton)
  • Polar Bears become camouflaged in the snow from their fur. (Maevyn)
  • Polar Bears are very big animals. (Anton) Polar Bears are as heavy as a washing machine and as big as a car. (Julia) A Polar Bear is 10 feet tall and a Grizzly Bear is 8 Feet tall. (Levi) A Polar Bear is the largest bear on Earth. A Brown Bear is second biggest. (Room 129)
  • I learned that Polar Bears have black skin to keep them very warm in the winter. Sometimes you can see if when they come out of the (Finnley)
  • A Queen Black Bear gets a set of large fangs and long sharp claws. The male has stronger bones than the Woman. The male is the bear who fights off the enemies. (Mira)

So much learning. I’m a pretty proud teacher.

 Have a great weekend and keep exploring Bears!


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Staying Mindful in a busy World

It’s 2017!!! Yea! What a year it will be! So exciting!

We are often excited at the passing of time. Anticipating the happy things that will happen to us this year. Thinking about all the good we can do. Some of us make resolutions. As a teacher and a mom I often think about what the passing of years means to kids. Does it make them excited? Do they have the skills to think about the year ahead and make goals for themselves?

I think they are beginning to understand.

I blogged in the beginning of the year about how we practice mindfulness in our classroom. I have come to believe that it is an essential skill in our hectic World today. Kids are shuttled around from home to school to afterschool activities and back again, sometimes (often) with no transition time or down time. We all hope that children can lead happy, relaxed and calm lives, but often we neither teach them how to do this nor do we lead by example. So this year, I am teaching them more. They have always had their regular day 4 yoga class with Murray. He does an excellent job of leading the students though yoga and mindful activities. I just feel like it needs to be more and as I do it more, maybe it will become more at home too.

Mindfulness and relaxation have many health benefits, Relaxation and a child’s ability to consciously relax the body and clear the mind can also help address issues such as:

  • Anxiety – kids have anxiety. When I talk to my class about what makes them anxious they talk about being worried about who they will play with at recess or lunch. They talk about being nervous to start a new school or meet a new teacher in their school.
  • Sleep disorders and nightmares – many parents have talked to me about the sleep habits of their 6 and 7 year old. There are many obstacles that are keeping them awake or  waking them up in the middle of the night.
  • Anger issues
  • Focus and concentration issues
  • Depression
  • Low-self-esteem or negative attitude
  • Grief
  • Life changes such as a move, divorce or change at school

Mindfulness can also address everyday challenges in children’s lives including:

  • Being afraid of the dark at bedtime
  • Having a bad day at school
  • Anxiety about school
  • Missing a parent at work or who travels
  • Feeling frustrated over school work or at home

Sometimes we do some mindful activities using you tube videos to help guide us. We sit on the carpet together and let the words guide our thoughts and breath.

Here are some examples:



Most of the videos we watch are about 5 minutes or less and then we talk afterwards about what we notice about our body and mind after.


I also use the Imaginations book – Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids by Carolyn Clarke. I have the students find a comfy, cozy place all by themselves in the classroom. They have their sketch books with them. They can choose to sketch as I tell a story (meditation) or they can just close their eyes, breath and imagine. Most students choose to draw as I talk. Today we did one called A day at the Beach. Seemed fitting with three indoor recesses and an Extreme Cold Warning outside our classroom window. We all needed an escape to our minds and breath. So we imagined our breath was the Ocean and were guided from there. It was lovely. At the end we shared our sketches with friends and talked about what we noticed as we were listening and  meditating.

I hope you and your child can find or have found peacefulness, happiness and a sense of calm in your life. I hope this blog inspires you to maybe try some being mindful activities at home. Perhaps your child can lead you through some.

Have fun and happy relaxing.



Sky Sisters Art



Suddenly, I hear my sister exclaim, “Look. They’re here!” High above us are the SkySpirits, dressed in my favourite green and Nimise’s blue. We watch them sway and flicker in the four directions. Streamers of pink and purple swirl and flow across the sky. Twisting and turning, the SkySpirits join together. Around and around they spin. Faster and faster. Their shimmering parkas and scarves lift with the wind as they dance in the northern sky.

They wave down to us. And we wave back. Over and over.

~ Sky Sister ~ Written by Jan Bourdeau Waboose


Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the Canadian Northern Lights. Their colour and sequence. We have been wondering about how they happen. When they happen. And ofcourse why they happen. We were inspired by the Sky Sisters book to create our own Northern Light Art work. They turned out so well, we are going to do something very special with them.

We also had a guest speaker come, Alex, from Yellowknife to speak about what it is like to live there and he spoke a lot about the Northern Lights. Alex can climb up a hill or even his roof to see the Northern Lights almost every single night in the winter.

Come enjoy our beautiful Art. They are posted outside of our classroom on our bulletin board.



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A Porcupine in a Pine Tree





We had a great day performing our amazing rendition of A Porcupine in a Pine Tree!

Thanks to everyone for coming to see!



We are beginning our Inquiry into Canada. I am asking that students bring in a picture (or a few ) of a place that they have visited in Canada. We will be grouping the pictures into provinces and territories and then seeing where the learning takes us with the students leading the way. It will be very exciting to travel Canada in the coziness of our Room 129 classroom! If you have a contact that would be interested in skyiping with us, we would love to meet different people from different provinces.

O Canada! We are so inspired by our Country!



SNOW Wonder


Students were up at the window, amazed at the beautiful snow. It proved quite inspiring to our writing. We are working on some pretty interesting books and poems. Using these first few snow falls as inspiration!

Cheers to Snow!!


Wow! Time sure does fly when you’re having Fun in Room 129!

October, October, where did you go?


It was a busy month – and I was lagging in the blogging department. Sorry about that. A quick catch up is needed for all of us!

We finished out Leaf and Autumn Inquiry. Students worked through the scientific method and discovered many interesting facts about leaves. We experimented with leaves in many different ways and even made some beautiful leaf mobiles for your homes (Shout out to Aude for the awesome idea!!).  As well, we took weekly walks around our community looking at all the leaves around us and on the trees. Riverheights is a great place to be in the Fall time!  It was interesting that the students were most fond of this little Maple Tree that has been obviously recently planted on Elm street – right beside the fence by Montrose Playground. They loved looking at the leaves and because the tree was “just planted”, it was easy to investigate the leaves, stems on the trees and branches. The students all took turns smelling the leaves each time we passed and it was amazing to see all of the different colours a Maple Leaf can turn. They also keep their shape so nicely, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if these little leaf lovers grow up and plant Maple Trees all in their yards!

Our Favourite Maple Tree!


20161109-204424.jpg So many interesting leaves were brought in daily. This one had frost on it!



Hope you have found a neat spot for your Fall Mobiles. They turned out so well!




October gave us our Annual Montrose fundraiser. This year the theme was a Triath-A-Thon. We danced, did yoga and math back in the classroom. I am so proud of the efforts the students and parents in Room 129 made. Together we raised so much money for our great school. Our class came in SECOND PLACE for the we money raised . . .  in the whole school! We won a Fruit and Veggie PARTY and an Extra Recess! I think we will wait to use them on a sunny day in January!

20161109-204630.jpg We Got some Mooooooooooooves though, right??!!



We continued to go for lots of walks in October! We did community walks, we did listening walks and my favourite let’s slow down and take pictures walks; Each group of three was given 1 camera and they each had to take three pictures each (no more, no less). It was amazing how with a bit of thoughtfulness put into their photography, the things the students noticed around the community to take pictures of. We will definitely do this lots more!  Students shared their pictures with their peers and it was so neat to hear “I noticed this cool bird feeder in the trees above the far park”, “I took a picture of a branch shaped like a diamond”, “I saw the most beautiful leaf on the ground, look at my picture!”.


Listen, Listen, What do you hear?

20161109-204739.jpg Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!







The Authors in Room 129 continue to write in copious amounts! We celebrated #NationalAuthorsDay, but really, EVERYDAY is National Authors Day in Room 129. The students write and share, write and share, write and share. They continue to get inspired by published books and books written by the writers in Room 129. Lately they have been really noticing the details of books; the publishing company, contents page, page numbers, all the details! I think over the winter we will start our own Publishing company and have a publishing station where students can choose books they want to publish and then shelve them on a special book shelf for their peers to read during Drop Everything And Read Time (Independent Reading Time). I think my little Authors would really enjoy this process!





We did HALLOWEEN (On a Monday! Why? Why? Why?)

We had our Annual Halloween Math and Carving Morning. Thank you to all the parents who took time and joined us. We love having parents come in to help! You are welcome ANY time!!

We weighed pumpkins, measured the circumference of the pumpkins, did estimation with size and how many pumpkin seeds, we grouped and tallied the seeds, predicted and checked if pumpkins can float, chose how to carve the pumpkin as a team and drew names for who got to take the pumpkin home at the end of the day!





The afternoon brought Fun Costumes! Great food! SPOOKY, SPOOKY Gym time, Computer Games and a little dancing!




And now November is here! Isn’t it lovely! I can’t remember a November so warm and beautiful. We are enjoying all the moments and continue to get outside as we are fully into our Community Inquiry.




Celebrating National Author’s Day

From the Author’s in Room 129!!



A Fall walk to inspire Fall poems











Stay tuned for our whirling, swirling, crisp fall poems. Happening this week!

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