Online Learning for Early Primary

“I miss going to school and also missing seeing you and all my friends too. I told my mom that if the corona virus is done maybe we can go to the places where we always went. I can’t wait for that to happen, but I understand that for now staying home is the safest thing to do.” (Kendra, Kindergarten student in Ms. Cuthbert’s class).

What a true and profound statement made by one of our youngest students at Berkshire Park, and I am sure she speaks for so many of the other students.  School is all about learning through our human connections with each other.  And though social distancing is what we have to do for now, I am happy to note that learning is still happening among students from the youngest age group to the oldest. Many of the Kindergarten and grade one students are learning through play in their homes by working on tasks provided by their teachers.

The above photos are some of the students from Ms. Cuthbert’s Kindergarten class.  Fahad enjoyed making his rock art and placing it with his action figures.  After the children read Mrs. Lintott’s book, “I Went For a Walk in the Woods”, they were asked to gather some natural materials such as sticks, rocks, and pinecones to create a “nature picture.”  Deborah came up with a creative stick figure.  The children were also given a recipe to make homemade paints and asked to paint a spring tree.  We see a Arjun’s sample, which included a red sun.  Deborah didn’t have the ingredients for making paint, so she improvised and use the parts of a tree to create her own lovely tree.  Kylee especially enjoyed making her homemade playdough.  Kendra was proud of her lovely collage: “During a time when the world needed everyone to stay apart…together was our favourite place to be.”

Saint collected 5 rocks and sorted them from smallest to biggest and engaged in math stories with them.  For instance, 1 little rock + 4 big rocks = 5 rocks (1+4=5) and 3 round shaped rocks + 2 sharp edged rocks = 5 rocks (3+2=5).  He ended the project by painting the rocks he collected and put them outside by his lawn.

By engaging in these simple yet meaningful tasks, the children are learning important skills.  One parent thanked the teacher the variety of learning activities because it made her child forget about watching TV and videos!

The Kindergarten students from Ms. Eaket’s class in the photos above enjoyed the same activities as making homemade play dough and paints.  Many of them also learned how to make their own lunches after a video demonstration from their teacher.  As you can see, many of the children are proud of their accomplishments.

Ms. Eaket’s students enjoyed rock art, creating math pattern with whatever materials they had at home, doing acts of kindness around the house, and using sidewalk chalk to spread messages of joy and happiness in the community.

The Kindergarten and grade 1 students in Ms. Nijar’s and Ms. Rakhra’s class were challenged to create AABB patterns after being provided a sample to learn from.  They also created other patterns, important foundation skills for mathematics.  While unloading the dishwasher, Aliyah thought of using the items for her patterns assignment.

Aliyah made a lovely picture of the world while Akira worked with her younger sister on a letter scavenger hunt around the house.  Jovan not only did the letter scavenger hunt but practiced his printing and spelling of items.  Abigail learned how to draw a cat after watching a video with constructive feedback.  The class did a mini unit on community, so the children drew pictures and maps of places that are important to us.  For Earth Day, they also created some art projects using recyclables.

The grade one students in Ms. Johnson’s class have big smiles on their faces after completing their projects: “Trash to Treasure” and “Family Handprint”.  They get the weekly instructions via email and send back photos of their finished products.  We are thankful for all of our parents’ support with the learning of their children at home together with the remote guidance of the teachers.

 

Fall Art

As we progressed through the month of October, the students participated in a variety of art projects.  Mr. Ferguson’s grade 5 students used water paints to create fall trees while the grade 4 and 5 students in Ms. Peters’ class used oil pastels and did a finger rub to create a different effect with their lone wolf art.  The grade 3 and 4 students in Ms. Callegari’s and Ms. Russell’s classes used water colours to create a fun haunted house scene.  (Click a photo to enlarge for a better view.)

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The 2/3 students in Ms. Heinrich’s class looked at portraits by Picasso and then created their own Frankenstein portraits inspired by the Spanish painter.

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Mrs. Mazinani’s grade 4’s enjoyed creating witch portraits using chalk pastels using Picasso’s cubism style.  They used side view and front view profiles to create their portraits.  Note how they used two different colours for the faces and broken lines to create to make their pictures more scary looking.  

 

Wax Museum

Each of Ms. Younger’s grade three and four students in division 9 researched about a famous current or historical figure and wrote a biography on him or her.  They had the joy of demonstrating their learning by dressing up in character and hosted a “wax museum” in our learning commons library.  They stood like wax figures until someone would approach them with a greeting or a question, at which point, they gave a short oral presentation on their character’s major accomplishments.  What a fantastic way to display their learning!

Gymnastics

What a fantastic opportunity for all our students from Kindergarten to Grade 7!  Teachers said, “The kids loved it!”  Many of the children became more confident using the equipment such as the climbing ropes and the jungle gym.  The staff noticed students were encouraging and collaborating with each other.  They developed their balancing skills and in some cases learned, “it’s ok to fall down and to take risks with play.”  As a staff, we were very impressed with the instructor from Delta Gymnastics and were glad to see that safety was always a priority.

Hands On Science Lessons

The best way to learn science is through hands on experiences.  It is often more fun and engaging then just reading about the topic of study.  For instance, the grade one students in Mrs. Johnson’s class dissected an owl pellet.  They learned that owls eat their prey whole, and they regurgitate what they can’t digest by spitting out a pellet containing the indigestible bones and fur of the prey.  The children used gloves to pull these pellets apart, found different skeletal parts, and tried to identify them using a chart.

The intermediate students in both Ms. Russel’s and Mrs. Peter’s class enjoyed a “fantastic field trip” the Mount Seymour Watershed.  The students learned about the protected water shed and how important it is to have clean water to drink.  They reviewed the water cycle, and they discovered the importance of certain trees, plants, and fungus in our forests.  They also played games that helped them learn about the food chain and the animals that live in our forests.  They had beautiful weather in late May and found their guides very knowledgeable and friendly.

All three kindergarten classes had the joy of seeing the four stages of butterfly development in their classrooms starting with the larva stage.  And when the weather was warmer in June, they were able to release them into the wind.

 

Ozobots

The students in Mr. Groberman’s grade 2/3 class have been working with their teacher and their librarian, Mrs. Lintott, on a collaborative ADST (applied design skills and technology) project.  They have been learning coding skills to manipulate our new ozobot robots that are equipped with colour sensors to move along lines drawn by the students.  The students use various colour combinations to code the robots and control their movements.

Once the class mastered the basic colour coding skills, the students were challenged to build a cart out of lego for the ozobot to push or pull without losing contact, even as it turned corners or performed “tornado” zigzag movements.  They were encouraged to test their carts and then rebuild to improve their carts’ performance.  It was wonderful to see the variety of designs that were tested.

This project gave students an opportunity to use technology, to practice designing an object for a specific purpose, and to use problem solving skills in order to meet challenges.

Some students’ reflections after the activity:

“I made a cart that worked, but it stopped close to the finish. The ozobot got off the lego at the zigzag.  I think it was because the zigzag is too fast.  Maybe the ozobot needs to pull it like a wagon.”

“I made a cart that could push and pull. It worked, but sometimes it didn’t.  But if it did not work, I would keep trying.”

Science World

The grade one students from Mrs. Welch’s, Mrs. Johnson’s, and Mrs. Boudreau’s classes boarded a yellow school bus and headed to Science World at the end of February.  They were engaged in play based learning, exploring the many exhibits including the Eureka Gallery and The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  The grade ones participated in a lab on light and shadows.  Working in small groups, they explored how reflected images appear and how a pair of mirrors can create endless images.  The grade ones also investigated what happens when light meets water and developed theories to explain their observations.  What a fun way to learn science!

Winter Olympics

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Many divisions included the Winter Olympics in their lesson plans.  One morning, five divisions met in the library for a live Skype with six olympic athletes, who challenged our students to set goals, to share them, and work hard to achieve them.  Some of their takeaways from the live Skype were: you have to set small goals to get bigger goals; it’s not a good goal unless it scares you; and don’t give up if you’re worried that you’re not good enough.  We all play for @TeamCanada!

Ms. Meynert’s grade 6/7 students together with Mrs. Younger’s grade 3 students had a lot of fun with the Berkshire Park Winter Olympics!  They learned to work together in teams and learned important values personified in the olympics.  Flag bearers were chosen, teams were formed, opening ceremonies were held, and the athletes participated in “olympic events”.  They ended with a formal closing ceremony, where medals were presented.