Today was a GREAT day! It was so much fun to see so many of our students get into the spirit of Halloween and dress up as a favorite character. Students were treated to a very special lunchroom set up too! Our Lunchroom Ladies set out Halloween Decorations and Table settings at each lunchroom. Spooky-Chic!
After lunch we broke into our #belfasty Houses and spend the afternoon thinking and creating. During our #belfasty days we organize in cross grade groups to learn together or participate in challenges. Today students participated in a S.T.E.A.M. challenge. After doing some research about how spiders spin their webs students were tasked with creating giant spider webs. One group even coated their web with syrup to test whether it could "catch" the insects students also made.
These challenges give students the opportunity to learn from each other, take risks, plan and revamp their plans as they go along. Every #belfasty House approached the challenge slightly differently and the results of an afternoon of hard work were enjoyed by all at the end of the day.
At the end of the day we students paraded through classrooms to show off their costumes AND to see the webs that had been created! It was a great way to tie real learning to our Belfast Traditions!. Throughout the afternoon, music was randomly played encouraging students and staff to drop everything and dance. Interestingly, many groups didn't drop everything and dance. They were too engaged in tackling their challenge!
All in all, a great day, with great students and staff!
Happy Halloween everyone!
And a little shout out to our staff who aren't afraid to show their Emoji's !
We had the best turn out yet for our Reading Coffee talk today. Thank you all of our eager volunteers and parents who are really interested in helping children get better at reading.
For the benefit of parents who would have liked to attend but weren't able, I'm posting more detailed information that was covered in the session today.
We can certainly offer this discussion again if there is interest. Please email me and let me know that you are interested.
For now, here are the notes from our discussion. I'm told that the handout loses something in translation so I am considering videotaping future Coffee Talks. Thanks SR for the suggestion!
Click here for the Reading Coffee Talk Hand Out!
What is useful homework?
This question is one that we revisit often in schools. There are different beliefs about the role of homework and much research has been done on whether or not homework is effective. In a nutshell the amount of homework a child is doing should be reasonable (the 10 minutes per grade rule is common) and it should be used for one of 3 purposes.
One area that is a go-to for reinforcing students skills at home is home reading. There are many ways students can engage with books and online reading and all of them benefit their overall reading proficiency. Here are 3 suggestions:
Just right reading - Children are taught in class to choose books that are interesting to them and an appropriate level. We call these iPick books. If your child has a book that they are reading themselves it is helpful for them to have support as they read. Try some of the following:
Read Alouds: Often we think that read alouds are only for younger children but older children enjoy them too. One of the biggest benefit of reading aloud is that it gives you and your child quality time together. Another benefit is that it provides modeling of reading behaviors that a child can emulate in their own reading. It also helps them to start to experience more complex language, plots, vocabulary and ideas than they would be able to explore on their own. When you are reading to your child consider these suggestions:
Raz Kids - Our fundraising council has generously paid for licences for our students to use this online reading program. This platform offers many leveled texts that your child can choose from, and provides supports with new vocabulary as well. Children can check their comprehension at the end of each reading by taking a quiz. For students who are not quite independent yet there is an option for books to be read to them. This builds their awareness of story and auditory comprehension skills.
This week we are hosting a coffee talk about how to read with your child at home. It is geared to helping parents read with their early readers. Join us Friday at 9 am in the learning commons.