Friday, December 18, 2009

Dancing Santa: Special Holiday Greeting From Aviva's Class

The students in my class made a special holiday greeting during computer time today. I showed them how to use My Avatar Editor to create their own avatar and save it. Then they had the option to use this avatar to make a Dancing Santa Card. The students could create their own greeting, and many of them changed their greeting to match those for holidays that they celebrate.

Here are the avatars that four of my students created:

While a fun activity, this computer activity also taught the students some basic computer skills including saving, resizing, and uploading images. Sometimes when I watch my students and see their amazing skills, I forget that they are only in Grade 1!:)
Please click on the links in the posts below to see our holiday greetings to you. Have a very happy holiday! See you again in January!

Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #6

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #5

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #4

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #3

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #2

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Santa Yourself - Holiday Wishes From Student #1

Santa Yourself - Turn yourself into a dancing Santa

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Animoto Video On Our Creative Process -- Making Our Wild Things Movie

Here is the video that my students made today after creating their own Wild Things movies. They took the photographs off my camera, uploaded them to the Animoto website, and chose the music. They were very excited to make a movie to remember this wonderful day. Thank you so much to the Director's Cut for giving us such a phenomenal learning experience!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Glogster: What is a glog?

On Friday, I introduced my students to Glogster: a wonderful online tool that allows the students to experience media literacy in a fun way. They learned how to create their own glog (almost like an online poster) using a combination of text, images, and backgrounds that are part of the program. We first made a glog together on the SMART Board:

Students learned how to choose, rotate, and resize images and how to edit text. I then took the students up to the computer lab where they got to start creating one of their own glogs on a subject of their choice. In the coming months, I want to use this program as part of our literacy centres, for it provides a great opportunity to combine literacy with science and social studies topics.

Here is an example of a glog that a student created on Christmas:

She independently found the images in the gallery, resized them and placed them where she wanted them, chose a background, and inserted a textbox and wrote a message of her own that corresponds with her glog theme. I think that this is a great first attempt at creating a glog. Way to go!

I love that my students are so eager to explore new tools that they can use to help them in their learning journey!


Where The Wild Things Are

From December 14th-17th, all of the Grade 1 students will be creating their own videos as part of the Director's Cut. The students have been using a storyboard to plan their movie, and they are so excited to create what they have planned. Feel free to send in costumes or props for your children to use when filming the movie. Talk to your children about costumes and props that they might need. We have some available for the students to use too.

In preparation for this video experience, we have been completing lots of literacy activities at school that relate to Where the Wild Things Are. Here is a video that documents some of the different activities we have done in class:

This is our first Animoto video, so we hope that you enjoy it! Please comment below and let us know what you think.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Using Technology With The Students: Your Thoughts?

It was great to sit down and talk to all of you during the Parent/Teacher Interview Process, and in many cases, we had the opportunity to talk about the use of technology in the classroom. While many of you are thrilled that the children have so many opportunities to use various technological tools (i.e., Twitter, blogs, Bitstrips, Diigo, VoiceThread, Google Docs, and numerous other websites), some concerns were expressed about if the students have enough time to write using a pencil and paper.

Here are my thoughts on this subject:

For every time the students write on the computer, there is an equal opportunity for them to write using a pencil and paper. In many cases, students are also given the chance to decide if they want to use a computer or use a pencil and paper. As an adult, I know that I spend more time on my laptop than I do with a pen in my hand. Most times, I need to borrow a pen for the few times that I do need one. We live in a technological world, and I feel that it is my responsibility to help prepare the students for this world. That being said, the curriculum expectations always drive my instruction, and technology is just one of the tools to help deliver these expectations.

With writing being our current school focus, here is the link to an article that I found through Twitter that provides statistics that children who use technology are better writers. If you can, please take the time to read this article and comment here to let me know what you think. All points of view are welcome, as it is through sharing that we learn more.

Have a great weekend!

My Montage 12/5/09 at

Here is a short slideshow of my students completing the last round of literacy and math centres. Watch this slideshow with your children and discuss what they learned during these different activities. As you can see, the students are learning lots and having fun too!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving A Technology Twist To Math Homework

We were all amazed at the quality of work that we got for this week's math homework. From tweets to VoiceThread comments to digital photographs and typed responses, the children showed us a variety of ways to share what they know about shapes. Best of all, when we asked them what they thought of the math homework assignment, they couldn't stop talking about how much fun they had doing it. This is what learning should be about: gaining knowledge in an exciting way!

The students from all of the Grade 1 classes enjoyed showing their homework to their peers on the SMART Board too. In fact, when the lunch bell rang, many of them wanted to stay to continue discussing math. Teaching doesn't get more rewarding than this!

We would love to hear your thoughts on using technology for homework. In what way, if any, does the use of technology affect your children's attitude towards doing homework? How do they respond to having "choice" built into their homework assignments? Your feedback is much appreciated!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

VoiceThread on Shapes

This was a VoiceThread on shapes. It was our math homework. We had five ways to do our math homework. One way was VoiceThread, one way was drawing and writing, one way was tweeting, one way was photographing the shapes, and one way was e-mailing. This math homework was fun!

Written By,
Miss Dunsiger and Her Class

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video of Editing Our Tweet -- Aviva's Class

Using the Notebook recording feature, I recorded the class as we edited the tweet that two groups of students wrote during today's literacy centre rotation. On the SMART Board, the children used the Twitlong website and the SMART Board keyboard to write a "letter tweet" to the parents about their day. They used peer editing to correct grammatical and spelling issues with the tweet. For our first group editing activity, the students did an awesome job reflecting on and improving their writing. Way to go!



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Using Diigo With My Students -- Aviva Dunsiger's Class

Since I have started using technology in the classroom, one teacher that I have been following regularly is Zoe Branigan-Pipe.  Zoe is a Grade 6 teacher at Lawfield School, and she is one of the most incredible teachers that I know.  Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Zoe at a SMART Board Symposium, and since that time, she has been a huge inspiration to me to try out new technological tools with my students.

From Twitter to Blogs to Google Docs to Bitstrips to VoiceThread to Wallwisher, and now, to Diigo, Zoe has been the push that I needed to try these amazing tools.  Of all the tools that I use in the classroom, my students were most excited to try out Diigo because they knew that Grade 6 students used it, and they are only in Grade 1.  For my first Diigo activity, the children commented right on the website about the accuracy of predictions that they made before a modelled reading activity.  Diigo allowed the students to look at what they initially wrote and what they wrote after reading the book: making it easy for them to compare the two.  For my second Diigo activity, the students worked in pairs on Google Docs to write about connections that they made between a book (Owen by Kevin Henkes) and a comic strip that they found on Google Images featuring Linus and his blanket.  Students also wrote their inferences about the comic strip.  When the partners were done, they used the SMART Board to copy and paste these connections and inferences into a floating sticky note: one of Diigo's tools.  As you can see from what the students wrote, they shared many ideas about the texts, made use of a couple of different reading comprehension strategies, and used their dictionaries well to write using predominantly conventional spelling.  Students used phonetic spelling well too.  I am so impressed with what the children were able to complete in a very short period of time (about 20 minutes).  I can't wait to use Diigo more!

The other day, one of my students told me that she "visited Mrs. Branigan-Pipe's Twitter Page" because she "wanted to see the person that told [us] about these great new activities!"  Thank you, Zoe, for inspiring my students, inspiring me, and inspiring the entire Grade 1 Team!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Montage 11/14/09 at

Aviva's Class -- See our short video from our last round of literacy and math centres. Watch the children working hard and learning a lot too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tweeting With My Students

Over the summer when I started to look at using Twitter with the Grade 1 students, I saw it as more of a way for the Grade 1 teachers to keep parents up-to-date about upcoming class and school events. I never even considered the possibility of having my students tweeting. Hey, I love technology and I check my e-mail constantly, but when it comes to using social networking sites, I am still a novice. Truthfully, I was always hesitant about using these sites. I read a lot about keeping information private on the Internet, and the thought of making the Grade 1 classes and Ancaster Meadow School so public, worried me a bit. I am so glad that I gave Twitter a chance though. I think that starting to tweet is one of the best decisions that I have ever made in teaching.

Using Twitter with my students has allowed me to teach my students about being safe online, and in a very meaningful way too. While they have connected with other students from around the world, they know that they still need to keep important information about themselves private. They refer to themselves and their friends by their initials, and if they do use names, they never use last names. They see that I either refer to myself online as "Aviva" or as "Miss D.". Again they know that this is a way of keeping private information, private.

Letting my students tweet though has been an incredible experience for all of us. I watch even my most hesitant writers challenge themselves to write more and improve their writing skills because they are writing for an audience. They love that other classes are reading their tweets, and most of all, they love that their parents are reading their tweets. They also love writing on the computer: they see me write on the computer, their parents write on the computer, and even their older siblings write on the computer. They see word processing as a sign that they are growing up. I think that it also amazes them that with the daily opportunities to word process, their word processing skills are improving, and now they can help each other on the computer and even help older students on the computer too.

Two weeks ago, I took my students up to the computer lab, and I had them write a tweet about their day. A few Grade 6 students came to join us in the computer lab as my students were typing their tweets, and a number of them stared open-mouthed at my Grade 1 students typing away. My students know how to change the font style and size, how to correct their mistakes, and even how to find the space bar, backspace key, and numerous punctuation marks on the keyboard. These Grade 6's couldn't believe that these Grade 1 students could type like they were, especially without a list of ideas in front of them. At this moment, I felt so proud of all of my students!

I was most impressed on Thursday night though when I challenged my students to write a tweet in response to one of our shared reading poems. Much to my delight, I was overwhelmed with the number of tweets that I received! The students not only had fantastic ideas to share, but they are excited to share them with a global audience. They loved reading all of the tweets together yesterday as we looked at them on the SMART Board. This was such a well-received homework assignment that I challenged students again to write me a tweet, but this time to tell me what they are doing this weekend. Already I have had a number of tweets to respond to. One child wrote me four tweets yesterday and four more tweets today. Seeing children want to write is an amazing thing, and having them use technology to write is even more amazing.

I hope that I am not alone in these thoughts about Twitter though. Please leave a comment here and let me know what you think about my class's use of Twitter. If you want, you can even leave me a tweet with your thoughts. Just start your tweet with @grade1, and you are all set. I look forward to reading your replies!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Our New Virtual Pet

We noticed that Mrs. Cassidy has a virtual pet on all of her student blogs. We thought that a virtual pet might be a fun way for everybody to get a chance to help care for a class pet, so we added a virtual guinea pig to the sidebar of our blog. You can feed and even brush the guinea pig too. It's actually surprisingly entertaining!

Please let us know what you think about this new addition to our blog. You can post a comment here, or even send us a tweet letting us know what you think. Sign into your own Twitter account, and start your tweet with @grade1. You can also e-mail us ( your tweet, and we'll add it to our Twitter Page. We are thrilled to see that so many students have already started tweeting to us.

Have a great weekend, and we look forward to seeing you on Monday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2.0 Continued: Our Friends in Missouri All Dressed Up!

Mrs. Lamb, the wonderful Grade 2 teacher from St. Louis, Missouri, just e-mailed us a photograph of the Grade 2 students in their Halloween costumes. Since the quality of Skype screenshots is limited, here is a much better photograph of the students that we spoke to yesterday:

Talk to your children about the similarities and differences in their costumes as compared to our costumes. Please post any comments here on your thoughts. We would love to hear them.

Have a very happy Halloween! See you on Monday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween 2.0

Thanks to two amazing teachers (Mrs. Cassidy in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and Mrs. Lamb in St. Louis, Missouri), the Grade 1 students were able to "travel" outside of their classroom today to celebrate Halloween with other Grade 1 and Grade 2 students. Just after our Halloween Parade this afternoon, we Skyped Mrs. Cassidy's Grade 1 class and shared a Halloween Poem with them. They shared a Halloween Poem with us too. We learned that even though we live so far apart, both classes knew both poems and both classes celebrated Halloween in similar ways: by dressing up and having some special activities too. We found out that Mrs. Cassidy's class was having a party in the afternoon, and we told them that we created plasticine Wild Things in the morning. The students there knew the story, Where the Wild Things Are, and were excited to know that we knew the story too. Here is a screenshot of Mrs. Cassidy's incredible Grade 1 class:

Look at this screenshot with your children and talk to them about this special phone call.

We then ended our day with a Skype call to Mrs. Lamb's Grade 2 class in St. Louis, Missouri. Our students loved all of the great Halloween jokes that Mrs. Lamb's students told us. Her class also read us a poem that they wrote full of "juicy words." It was great! They liked listening to our poem too. I think that Mrs. Lamb's class was surprised to learn that even though we live in Canada, it is not too cold here to go trick-or-treating. In fact, both the students in Missouri and the students here go trick-or-treating in the evening. Maybe we're not so different after all! Here is a screenshot of Mrs. Lamb's terrific Grade 2 class:

We hope that looking at this screenshot with your children will remind them of our special Halloween celebration.

Here is a Google Map to show just how far we travelled today and all without leaving the classroom:

View Our Halloween Skype Calls in a larger map

Technology truly is a wonderful thing!

We hope that you'll leave a comment here to let us know what your children thought of Halloween 2.0: a new take on an old tradition!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Virtual Pumpkin Carving -- Aviva's Class

Check out this video of our Virtual Pumpkin Carving Activity. We voted for which shapes to use for the different parts of our pumpkin face. Students had to interpret the graph to determine which shapes they had to make. They loved this interactive activity!



Saturday, October 24, 2009

With Halloween Approaching ...

Halloween is coming up next week, and the Grade 1 students will be celebrating it on Friday, October 30th. We have a number of special events planned for this day including two Skype calls: one to a Grade 1 class in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and one to a Grade 2 class in St. Louis, Missouri. In preparation for these calls, Miss Dunsiger's class will be writing clues about possible Halloween costumes. We will be posting these clues as tweets on our Grade 1 Twitter Page. The Grade 2 class is going to try and guess our costumes based on these tweets.

All of the Grade 1 classes are also going to learn a special poem that we will be reading to the other classes during our Skype call. The other classes are going to read us a poem too. The students can't wait to share their reading skills with other students from around the world!

The Grade 1 classes are also going to be completing a special 3-D art project based on Where the Wild Things Are. They will be making their plasticine models on Friday, and then commenting on these models next week. This art project lines up directly with our new Arts' curriculum document.

We can't wait for what is sure to be a very exciting day!
The Grade 1 Team

Important Note: Please do not send in any treats for Halloween. We have a number of life-threatening allergies in Grade 1 and in the rest of the school, and we do not want anyone to have an allergic reaction due to the treats. Thank you for being so understanding about this!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Visits With the Guinea Pig -- What can I do?

Chocolate Alvin Cherry Munching On A Carrot: Something That He Loves To Do!

In our last round of literacy centres, the students compiled a list on Google Docs about activities that they can do with the class guinea pig at their house. I put all of the lists together and created one list of 18 different ideas. Here is the link to view this list. Please note that you may be prompted to sign-in when accessing the link. You can use any e-mail account and password to sign-in, and then you should be able to view the list. My students did a great job at applying what they know about lists (the need to have a title, number each item, and offer specific information about each item) when they created this list. Way to go!

I hope that this list of suggestions helps you out when you're thinking about what to do on your weekend visit with the guinea pig. Thank you to all of the parents that have already booked visits with the guinea pig. If you haven't done so yet and you're interested in booking a visit, please e-mail me ( with some possible dates. Thank you!

Have a great weekend, and if you're spending it with our guinea pig, I hope that you're enjoying your time with Chocolate Alvin Cherry!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miss Dunsiger's Class -- Guinea Pig Visit Information

Miss Dunsiger's class would like to welcome our newest member: Chocolate Alvin Cherry, our pet guinea pig!

I am excited to let you know that Chocolate the guinea pig can begin his weekend visits on Friday, October 16th. Any parent that would like the guinea pig for a weekend visit can definitely have this opportunity.

Here is some important information about the visits and about the guinea pig:

1. The guinea pig needs to be picked up by an adult from my classroom by 4:30 on the Friday night of the weekend visit.

2. The guinea pig needs to be returned on Monday morning before school starts (anytime between 6:30 am and 9:00 am). The guinea pig can also be returned to my classroom.

3. The parent that let us “borrow” this class pet will provide you with some food to begin your weekend visit. She will also provide a list of some foods that the guinea pig likes, including spinach and carrots. Please feed the guinea pig regularly.

4. Borrowing this class pet is a great opportunity to help your child become even more responsible, but a pet is still a big responsibility. Please help your child feed the guinea pig and clean the cage too.

5. Like all pets, a guinea pig needs to be handled with care. I will be modelling in class how to gently touch the guinea pig, as if the guinea pig gets scared, it may bite. Thank you for reinforcing this need to be gentle at home too!

Here is the link to a full-year calendar. Please look at the calendar and indicate in an e-mail ( five possible weekend dates that you could take the guinea pig for a visit. I will take all of the e-mails that I receive and start scheduling visits on Monday, October 12th. I will then e-mail you and let you know about the visit dates. All interested parents will receive one visit date first before additional visit dates are arranged.

If you have any questions, please just let me know ( Thank you for your help with our new special pet!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update on our Waliacam Wikispace

Yesterday all of the Grade 1 students got together to view some replies to our posts on the Waliacam Wikispace. First of all, we viewed a reply to our Wordle (see the blog entry on September 15th to view a JPEG image of this Wordle). Here is a JPEG image of the reply as well as our response to the teacher that replied (all the way from Oklahoma):

Click on this image to view it in a separate window.

Please note that the Grade 1 students wrote the reply on their own using the keyboard on the SMART Board. Our students did a great job at using the words that they know along with the resource of the Word Wall to spell all of the words correctly in this reply. They also edited their post, making sure that the first word in the sentence started with a capital letter.

After the students wrote this reply, we looked at the response to our Sun and Shadows Project (see the blog entry on September 24th for more information on this project) from Mrs. Moore, a teacher in Australia. Instead of writing our reply, we used Audacity to make a podcast of our reply, but due to technical difficulties, we were unable to save this podcast. (We will try more podcasts in the future though.) We then took the information that the students shared in the podcast, and wrote a reply to Mrs. Moore. Look below to see her question and our reply:

Click on this image to view it in a separate window.

We hope that you enjoy seeing what we do on the Waliacam Wikispace. Please comment here if you or your child have any feedback about our involvement in this project.

Have a great long weekend!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tweet Poll

Please take a few minutes to answer our Tweet Poll below:

Any additional comments that you would like to give us about this poll question would be great too! You can comment directly on our blog or e-mail us at

A Meaningful Inferring Activity: Behold the Wordle :)

On Friday, October 2nd, the Grade 1 classes got together to view one of the Wordles that another school involved in the Waliacam Wikispace Project made. In order to make this activity more fun, we took a screenshot of the completed Wordle and added the "popping balloons" on top of it (available in the Notebook Gallery). Aviva learned about this trick at the planning inservice that she attended on Wednesday, September 30th.

Children took turns coming up to the SMART Board and popping the balloons (just by tapping them). The children then looked at the words that were revealed, and inferred what story this Wordle is about. As more words appeared, their inferences changed. We tried recording a podcast of their thinking, but since the students were talking from their spot on the carpet instead of directly in front of the microphone, their voices were hard to hear. We will try recording another podcast soon though.

In the meantime, look at the Wordle pictures below, and see if your child can use all of the words to help determine the title of the story. (We did this in class as a group, but we would love to hear individual explanations.) Please post your thoughts here. Without using any names, we are going to take all of the comments and post them in a reply on the Waliacam Wikispace. Thank you for your help with this special project!

Click on the images to have them open in their own window.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sun and Shadows Project Completed on Thursday, September 24th

This is the information that we published on the Waliacam Wikispace under "Sun and Shadows Project." This Wikispace is password protected though, so since you can't view the information there, we thought that we would share it with you here.

We hope that your child enjoyed this project as much as we did! This was a great way to integrate Science, Math, and Language Arts in a meaningful context.

Have a great weekend!

Sun and Shadows Project -- Results For Ancaster Meadow School

It was supposed to be a sunny day according to the weather forecast, but it actually ended up being more cloudy than sunny in Ancaster. We therefore didn't get the best results for this project. We learned though that the strength of the sun has a direct impact on the size of the shadow. While the shadow decreased in size between our first and second visit outside, it increased in size between our second and third visit because the sun came out from behind a cloud.

The Grade 1's at Ancaster Meadow School would like to thank the Grade 7 students for helping us learn how to work a compass and measure shadows using a metre stick and measuring tape. We had fun working with you!

On our page here, you will find some photographs of us measuring the shadows, some photographs of a follow-up writing activity that we did after our initial measurement this morning, and a table of our data. The children predicted if we would have the same pattern of results as the Australian school that already completed this project. They also explained why they thought what they did.

Thanks for including us in such a fun project!
The Grade 1 Classes at Ancaster Meadow School

Click on the collage of images to make it bigger.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our First Class VoiceThread: "Best Pet" Activity

After reading The Best Pet last week as our modelled reading text, the children got into groups and created their own "best pet." They had to think about why this pet would make the best pet. Here is a link to our VoiceThread discussion on this topic (connect speakers to your computer when listening to this VoiceThread if possible). It is great to hear the various responses of the students. After completing this activity, and after having the children listen to what they said, they also reflected on what we did: they loved sharing their ideas with the other students in the class, but they realized the importance of speaking in a loud, clear voice, so that others can hear what they have to say. We will have lots of opportunities to practice this with future VoiceThread projects. This activity was definitely a great way for the children to extend their understanding of the text while also continuing to develop their oral language skills. We hope that you enjoy what we did!

Miss Dunsiger's Class

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Slideshow of Miss Dunsiger's First Round of Literacy and Math Centres

Here is a slideshow presentation of our first round of literacy and math centres. Look at this slideshow with your child, and see if he/she can tell you more about these activities by watching the slideshow with you. Enjoy!


Google Docs

This week, I used Google Docs with my class as a new way for completing interactive writing activities. The children have been using the word wall and their picture dictionaries as well as letter-sounds to help type sentences together on a variety of topics. Here is a link to the interactive writing activity that we completed on Friday. This activity was a lead-up to the one that the children completed independently in their Friday Journals:

Try using Google Docs at home to complete different writing activities together. All of the Grade 1 students will be using Microsoft Word and Google Docs for full-class, small group, and independent writing activities.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grade 1 Wordle on Waliacam Wikispace -- September 15th

All of the Grade 1 classes got together today in Miss Dunsiger`s Room to watch a special TumbleBook and create a Wordle for the Waliacam Wikispace (see the previous post for more information on this Wikispace). Here is a copy of the Wordle that the students made on Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch (click on the image to open it in a new window):

The students did a great job recalling the important characters, events, and phrases in this book. Look at this Wordle with your children, and see if they can use it to retell the story. This was a very fun and meaningful shared writing activity!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Waliacam Wiki Project

We're very excited to be involved in the Waliacam Wiki Project, which allows our students to get involved in authentic reading and writing opportunities. The children can learn from other students in other schools in Wales, Australia, and the United States. Ancaster Meadow is one of three Canadian schools involved in this project.

Involvement in this Wikispace is also great because the students can gain a more global perspective but in a safe Internet environment, for only those schools that have asked for and been granted permission to participate in this project can view information from other schools and post to this Wikispace. At different times throughout the year, we will be taking screenshots of some of the activities that our students complete as part of this Wikispace project.

Miss Dunsiger showed her class the Waliacam Wiki on the SMART Board today. The students were amazed to learn that people in Australia would be sleeping at the time that we are in school. One student commented, "This means that we will be sleeping at the time that they are in school." Being involved in this Wikispace certainly gives a much deeper and more meaningful understanding of the concept of "time."

The students also loved seeing the different schools in Wales, Australia, and the United States. They commented on the environmental differences that they saw (even just the difference in greenery in the different places) and the school differences that they saw too (one school almost resembled a wooden cottage versus a brick building).

As part of this project, we also have different activities to complete. Our first activity is a Wordle one. Here is a screenshot of some Wordles on the Waliacam Wiki (click on the JPEG image to view it in a separate window):

As a class, we discussed what fairytale we thought the top Wordle was about, and we talked about the evidence in the Wordle that supported our guess.

We then completed a Wordle of our own (in black at the bottom) about a back-to-school book that we read this week. Here is the link to a bigger version of our class Wordle: title="Wordle: Wordle 1"> src=""
alt="Wordle: Wordle 1"
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd">
. See if your child can use this Wordle to discuss the characters and events in The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson. You can also visit the Wordle Website together, and make a Wordle about one of your favorite books. E-mail us the Wordle (, and then we can post it on the Waliacam Wiki too.

Have a great weekend, and we look forward to seeing you again next week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An Introduction To Skype

Today all of the Grade 1 classes got together to Skype a Grade 6 class at Lawfield School. It was an incredible experience! We got a chance to see the Grade 6 students and their teacher in the classroom, and we had the opportunity to talk to them about our goals for the year. They read us a poem by Shel Silverstein about Captain Hook, and even showed us the special lion toy that they have in their class that refuses to behave. All he does is giggle, even when the teacher asks him to stop. The lion loves to roll around on the desk and laugh and laugh and laugh. The Grade 6 teacher asked us if we had any solutions for how to get the lion to stop laughing. Talk to your child about this. If your child has a good solution to share, please post it in the "Comment Section," and then we can share these good ideas with the Grade 6 class. We hope that the children enjoyed this special introduction to Skype! A very special thank you to the wonderful Grade 6 students and teacher that made this terrific learning opportunity possible for us!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mister Poll: Feelings About School Starting

With the start of school almost here, we would like to know how you're feeling about this new school year. Please click on this link to vote in our new web poll. You can also add a comment below to tell us more about how you're feeling or why you're feeling that way.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
Mister Poll: Feelings About School Starting

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Guess the Wordle

Over the summer, we learned about a new website: Wordle. We will be using this website with you this year, and we decided to try it out first. Here is a Wordle of one of our favourite books. Take a look at this word picture and see if you can guess the book. How do you know that this is the book? Please feel free to post a comment with your prediction and the evidence you used to support this prediction, or e-mail us your thoughts instead ( We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Favourite Author Poll

We want to find out a little bit more about you. Please complete our "Favourite Author Poll" below with your mom or dad. (Note that there are two different ways to vote.) If you want to tell us more about your favourite author, or if you like an author that is not included in the list, please add a comment in the "Comments" section. You can also e-mail us your thoughts at We look forward to hearing about your favourite author.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Now a Grade 1 Blog

As I move to Grade 1 next year, the blog is becoming a Grade 1 Blog too. After all of the positive feedback that I received about the Kindergarten Blog, I'm very excited about continuing blogging next year too. Regular blogs will begin again once school starts in September.

In addition to the blog and the website, you will also be able to follow us on Twitter next year. The Grade 1 Team will be using Twitter in addition to the regular agenda to give you daily updates about important class and school information. I hope that you enjoy the daily "tweets."

Have a great summer! See you on September 8th!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Year End Slideshow -- June 25, 2009

This is a copy of the year end slideshow presentation that we played in the classroom on June 24th (B Day) and 25th (A Day). Thanks to Mrs. Kunz for making this amazing slideshow that really captured our terrific year in Kindergarten. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful summer!

Aviva and Cassi


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Forty-Third Post -- The End of the Year

I cannot believe that this year is almost over! It has been a wonderful year, and I think that the students and I have both learned a lot. For the last journal activity of the year, the children were asked to write about what they learned in Kindergarten. Since this is my last year in Kindergarten too, I thought that I would write about the top 5 things that I learned in Kindergarten (in no particular order):

1) Young children are capable of far more than we think. They can learn to read, write, and think, and they are excited about learning all of these skills too.

2) All students can learn. Some students may learn faster than others, but all students can still learn.

3) Kindergarten does not just need to be about "play." Play can be incorporated into a structured environment, and students can learn through hands-on, focused centres that target higher-level thinking skills.

4) Teachers do not need to have all of the answers. Students can help us learn too. If I didn't believe this, I would have never learned how to use a SMART Board, let alone a set of iPods.:)

5) Technology helps engage students. One of the most valuable teaching and learning tools that I have in the room is the SMART Board, and I know that my students agree with me.

Thank you to all of the wonderful parents, incredible students, supportive colleagues, and fantastic administrators that helped me learn and become a better teacher. Teaching is all about working as part of a team, and I am lucky to be part of such a terrific one.

I would love to hear about what you and your children learned this year. Please feel free to post a comment here or e-mail me directly ( I hope that we can add to my list of five.

Have a great weekend! I will see you next week for the last week of school.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our Forty-Second Post -- Report Card Information

Report cards will be sent home with your child on Monday, June 22nd (B Day) and Tuesday, June 23rd (A Day). Here are some important things to remember about the report cards:

1) SK students should be receiving primarily M's (demonstrates most of the knowledge and skills) on their report card this term. If your child still has some S's (demonstrates some of the knowledge and skills) on his/her report card, this indicates areas of need. Next steps in the report card will focus on these areas. These next steps suggest ways that you can help your child over the summer and ways that the classroom teacher can continue to help your child next year.

2) Some students receive C's (consistently demonstrates the required knowledge and skills), which is our top mark, but is not necessarily equivalent to an "A" (the top mark) in Grade 1. In Grades 1-8, an "A" indicates that children exceed expectations, where in Kindergarten, a "C" indicates that children consistently meet expectations. Sometimes the wording can be confusing.

3) JK students should be receiving primarily T's (additional time and experience needed) and S's (demonstrates some of the knowledge and skills) on their report card, as the children have not been exposed to all of the specific expectations yet that match up to the overall ones that we assess. Please remember that the Kindergarten Program is a two-year continuum, so the JK students should be receiving higher marks next year as their skills continue to develop.

4) Most importantly, even though it is difficult to overlook the marks, please take a closer look at the comments first. These comments really reflect what your child is doing well and what your child still needs to work on. They also indicate growth regardless of the marks, and that is really the most important thing to see.

After the report card is sent home, please take some time to complete the last page of it with your child before returning Page 3 back to school on the next school day. Kindergarten students are now being asked to reflect on their own strengths and needs, and this is a great opportunity for them to do so.

If you have any questions about your child’s report card, please let us know ( We hope that all of you can use this report card to help celebrate the gains that your child has made throughout the year, while also helping your child set some goals for the next school year.

Have a great day!
Aviva, Cassi, and Dianne

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Forty-First Post -- Almost Getting Knocked Down By Sponge Bob

As I was helping clean-up at the Spring Fling last night, I was chatting with a Kindergarten parent, who warned me just in time to "watch out" before getting hit in the head with the Sponge Bob board that was being carried inside. I told this parent that this Sponge Bob incident would be in the title of my next blog entry, and I didn't want to disappoint her.:)

This Sponge Bob anecdote though is the perfect segue to my Spring Fling discussion. I would like to thank all of the parent, student, and staff volunteers for making this year's Spring Fling such a tremendous success. I feel very fortunate to work at a school with such a strong community atmosphere, and last night, the community really came together to have fun and celebrate with each other.

I think that the pie toss/wet sponge toss was the highlight of my night, even though I was one of the pie toss "victims" too.:) Watching the pie and water fly made for a fun and amusing evening, despite the mess.

Thank you to all of the parents and students that came to Spring Fling last night! It was great to see so many of you there. If you came, what was the highlight of your night? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to post them here or e-mail me directly (

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Our Fortieth Post -- Slideshow of Literacy and Math Centres

This week we completed our fifteenth round of literacy and math centres. The children have come so far since September! It is amazing to watch them read, write, and talk to each other, and to really see just how much they have grown as learners. Using One True Media, we created a slideshow presentation of the children working at their literacy and math centres. Click on the thumbnail image below to view the slideshow. Watch it with your child and talk to your child about these exciting centres.

Have a great weekend!
Aviva and Cassi

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our Thirty-Ninth Post -- The "Play" Problem

We had another busy and exciting week in Kindergarten! It's hard to believe that it's June already. The children are continuing to develop their literacy and numeracy skills as they prepare for next year.

This week, I (Aviva) decided to devote our blog to a Letter to the Editor that was in Friday's Hamilton Spectator. This is one of my favourite topics to discuss, and I am very interested to hear your thoughts too. Please post your comments here, or you can e-mail them to me directly too (

When people talk about learning in Kindergarten, the discussion often quickly changes to a discussion on "play" and the merits of "learning through play." In most cases, it is expected that Kindergarten classrooms will include shelves of toys, lots of blocks, a sandbox, a water table, and a house centre, and that children will spend much of their day using these items. When I first started teaching Kindergarten eight years ago, I structured my classroom much like this, and my children spent much of the day playing too.

My teaching has changed a lot in eight years, and the look, feel, and sound of my classroom has changed too. Over the past two years, as I have had the benefit of team-teaching, my program has become a lot more structured, and due to space restrictions in the room, one of the first things that I got rid of was the house centre. I have very little "free choice" time during the day (15 minutes at most), and not only do my students not miss it, I think that they even benefit more from not having it.

In my opinion, the key to having children love learning and learning literacy and numeracy skills at the same time, is to incorporate hands-on learning (structured play) into meaningful learning centres. As just a handful of examples, this year the students made bear puppets to retell Goldilocks and the Three Bears (art and literacy), scooped out and identified words and letters from chicken soup, hot chocolate, and Spooky Stew (water centre and literacy), completed numerous SMART Board and computer literacy and math activities (technology and literacy and numeracy), identified and used three-dimensional figures to build dinosaur houses for various plastic dinosaurs (play and math), created pattern apartment buildings out of cardboard boxes (art and math), and measured the volume of different containers using scoops of sand or rice (sand/rice centre and math). All of these centres were differentiated, and all of them allowed students to develop their academic skills at their level while having fun and being creative too.

Just yesterday, I told the class that beginning the week of June 15th, the children will be working on their own to complete the math problems that we are now completing in small groups, and initially, completed as a class. Here is the response from one of my students: "Oh yeah! We are so ready for Grade 1!" I couldn't have said it better myself. This child is not sad about a lack of free choice time, but excited about the many possibilities of academic learning time. As a teacher, I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than this!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Thirty-Eighth Post -- Blog Feedback

This year, we added the Kindergarten Blog to our Kindergarten Website. As the year comes to an end, we are looking for some feedback from you on the blog:

Are you a regular reader of our blog?

Do you find the information here helpful?

What are your thoughts on the slideshow presentations, video presentations, and photographs that we add to our blog?

Is there anything that we do not write about on our blog now that you would like information about?

We would love to hear your opinions so that we can continue to improve our communication with you. Please feel free to post your opinions here or e-mail us directly (

Thank you for your help!
Aviva, Cassi, and Dianne

Our Thirty-Seventh Post -- May 29, 2009

It is hard to believe that it is the end of May already. This week, we introduced our new literacy and math centres, and we will post guiding questions and photographs of these centres on the Kindergarten Website in the coming weeks. Ask your child about these exciting new activities.

Please note that we are still in the midst of the new computer roll-out at school, so our Internet and e-mail system continues to be interrupted in the process. Thank you for being so understanding about this!

Have a great weekend!
Aviva and Cassi

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our Thirty-Sixth Post -- FirstClass Still Down

The FirstClass server is still down, so we are unable to check our Board e-mail accounts. The Kindergarten Website is down too. Our June Newsletter is complete now, and we will post it and e-mail it out to you when FirstClass is up and running again. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at

Have a great evening!
Aviva, Cassi, and Dianne

Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Thirty-Fifth Post -- Humpty Dumpty Experiment

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses,
And all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Poor Humpty Dumpty! Would Humpty have had a different fate though if he was protected before he fell off of the wall? That is what our students tried to find out on May 19th (A Day) and May 20th (B Day). They worked together to design a contraption to keep Humpty safe as he fell off the wall (or, in our case, got dropped off a ladder).

Thank you to all of the parents that sent in the multitude of recyclable materials for the children to use to build their contraptions. Many of the groups considered cushioning (cotton balls, foam peanuts, and/or shredded paper) and space (small versus large boxes) as they designed their plan. A special thank you to Mrs. Wolsley, the Grade 7/8 class, and Mrs. Ryan for all of your help with this special activity. We could not have built these contraptions without you!

Many eggs went flying on the 19th and 20th, and a few broke too, but the majority of the eggs survived the fall. Two more eggs would have survived the fall, but due to Miss Dunsiger's clumsiness (many, many apologies), we had a few additional casualties. At the end of it all, it was clear that we have quite the engineers in our classes!

Please click on the thumbnail image below to view the slideshow presentation of our Humpty Dumpty Experiment. Use this slideshow as a way to talk to your child about this exciting day. We would love to hear your feedback on this special activity. Please post a comment with your thoughts, or encourage your child to post a comment with what he/she thought of this experiment. The more comments, the better.

Have a great weekend!
Aviva, Cassi, and Dianne

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our Thirty-Fourth Post -- May 16, 2009

It is hard to believe that it is the middle of May already. We definitely had another busy week in our classroom. The students continue to work in their new groups on the latest round of literacy and math centres. Ask your children about these exciting centres. Next weekend, we will post guiding questions and photographs of these centres on the Kindergarten Website.

On Thursday, May 14th, we also had four teachers visit our room in the afternoon. These teachers came to observe our literacy block, and they were all amazed at how hard the children worked independently, in small groups, and as a large class. These teachers are excited to try some of our activities out in their rooms. We were so proud of how well our students worked on this difficult day: not only having people in observing them, but also having the power out for part of the day too.

Thursday, May 14th was also the date of the Teacher Appreciation Lunch. Thank you to all of the wonderful parents that sent in special treats for this amazing lunch. All of the food was definitely overwhelming and certainly appreciated. Many, many thanks again!

Thanks to all of the parents that also sent in recyclable materials for our Humpty Dumpty Experiment. We are excited to complete this experiment on Tuesday, May 19th (A Day) and Wednesday, May 20th (B Day). Our next Blog entry will update you on this exciting experiment.

Have a wonderful long weekend!
Aviva and Dianne

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Our Thirty-Third Post -- May 9, 2009

It was another busy week in our room! We finished our thirteenth round of literacy and math centres and we introduced new literacy and math centres too. The children are working so hard and learning so much. Please click on the thumbnail image below to view the many photographs of the children completing our last round of literacy and math centres. Watch this slideshow presentation with your children and talk to them about what they are doing in class.

Please remember that starting on Tuesday, May 12th, you can start sending in recyclable materials with your children for our Humpty Dumpty Experiment. More information about this experiment is in our May Newsletter. Thank you for your help with this!

We hope that you have a wonderful weekend, and to all of the mothers out there, we wish you a very happy Mother's Day!

Aviva and Dianne

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Our Thirty-Second Post -- May 2, 2009

It is hard to believe that it is already the beginning of May. Our students are continuing to grow both academically and socially, and they are becoming even more prepared for next year. This week, all of the children have been hard at work completing our latest round of literacy and math centres. Ask them to tell you about these exciting centres. We will be starting new centres next week (beginning May 6th) and posting information about our current round of centres next weekend (May 10th).

This week the children also completed a visualization activity that will be displayed for Open House. We have a couple of photographs below of the children working on this activity in class. Look at these photographs with your children and ask them about what they visualized and why they visualized what they did. We were amazed with their thinking!

Have a great weekend! We hope to see you on Thursday, May 7th in the evening for Open House.

Aviva and Dianne

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our Thirty-First Post -- Dancing, Dancing, and More Dancing

Thanks to Ms. Stretton's fantastic organizational skills and the Home and School Association's generous contribution, our students were able to participate in a Mac Dance lesson on April 23rd (A Class) and April 24th (B Class). Our A Class students learned a creative dance and our B Class students learned a hip hop routine, and both classes had lots of fun and a wonderful workout too.

Please click on the thumbnail image below to check out the many photographs of the students completing their dancing routines. Have your children use these photographs as visuals to help them when telling you about the new dance that they learned. This is a great oral language activity!

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather!
Aviva and Dianne

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our Thirtieth Post -- April 18, 2009

This was another busy week in our room. The children were excited to finish our twelfth round of literacy and math centres. Talk to your child about the different activities that he/she completed in class, and visit the Photographs link on the Kindergarten Website for guiding questions about these activities. We took so many photographs of the children completing these different centres that we used One True Media to create a slideshow presentation of the children hard at work. Click on the thumbnail image underneath to view the slideshow. We hope that you like it!

Have a great weekend! Enjoy the beautiful weather!
Aviva and Dianne

Our Twenty-Ninth Post -- Syllable Game Explanation

Listen to this short video to hear and see how to complete the Syllable Game from our twelfth round of literacy centres. JPEG images of this game are available under the SMART Board News link on the Kindergarten Website. We hope that you have fun playing this game with your child!

Have a great weekend!

Aviva and Dianne


Friday, April 10, 2009

Our Twenty-Eighth Post -- April 10, 2009

Even though it was a short week, we had a very exciting week in our room. Along with completing literacy and math centres on Monday and Tuesday, we also completed our special paper mache activity this week (on Wednesday and Thursday). A special thank you to Ms. Laporte, Mr. Clemens, Mrs. Wolsley, Mrs. Ryan, Mr. Borean, Mrs. Wohl, Shawna, and the entire Grade 7/8 class for making this paper mache project such a success and such an enjoyable experience for everyone involved! We cannot wait to show all of you the final product on May 7th from 6:30-8:00 for Open House. We are also preparing a special slideshow presentation of the entire paper mache process to show at Open House too. In an attempt to keep this special literacy and art activity a secret until Open House, we are not going to post all of the photographs beforehand, but we are posting a couple of photographs below as a little sneak peak of what to expect. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful long weekend and a very happy Easter to everyone that celebrates it!

Aviva and Dianne

Friday, April 3, 2009

Our Twenty-Seventh Post -- Video Footage Of Our B Class Math Problem

Today we used the recording feature that is part of the Notebook Software to record our B Class math problem. It is great to listen and see the children work together as they use the "T-Chart Problem Solving Method" to solve this math problem. Watch this video with your children, and talk to them about the steps in solving this problem. Going through this math problem together will not only help your children develop their math skills, but also develop their language skills and their metacognitive skills!

We are definitely enjoying this new way of using technology in our classroom to help our students learn and to share what we do with you.

Have a great weekend!

Aviva and Dianne


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our Twenty-Sixth Post -- Video Footage Of Our A Class Math Problem

After our 102nd day of school, we replaced our calendar routine with a math problem routine. The children are learning how to use the "T-Chart Problem Solving Method" to solve math problems and explain their thinking as they solve them. We have been completing these math problems as a class on the SMART Board, but in the coming weeks, we will have the children complete similiar problems in small groups and individually. These math problems are a wonderful way to link literacy and numeracy, and they are helping children develop their metacognitive skills too.

On Saturday, March 28th, I (Aviva) went to a SMART Board Inservice, and I learned how to record lessons on the SMART Board. We used this recording feature today to record what the children are saying and doing as they complete this math problem as a class. Since we did not use an external microphone to record this activity, sometimes it is difficult to hear the audio portion of this video recording. Speakers improve the sound though. Have your children listen and watch this video with you and explain the math problem to you as they do. You are sure to be amazed by their new skills!

We hope that you enjoy our latest attempt at bringing technology into the classroom! Please check back here soon for a B Class math problem recording.

Aviva and Dianne


Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Twenty-Fifth Post -- Everything is working again!

We want to let you know that the Board server is up and running again, so our e-mail system and our website are working again. Thank you for being so understanding with our Internet woes.

Have a great evening!
Aviva and Dianne

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Twenty-Fourth Post -- Board Server Down

We wanted to let you know that the Board server is temporarily down, which means that we cannot check our Board mail and our Kindergarten Website is down. If you have any questions for us, you can always e-mail us at Hopefully the Board server will be working again soon.

Have a great evening!
Aviva and Dianne

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our Twenty-Third Post -- Slideshow on Literacy Centre and Math Centre Activities

Since we finished our last round of literacy and math centre activities this week, we wanted to share the centre information with you this weekend. Instead of posting photographs on our website, we decided to try something new. We made a slideshow of photographs from our literacy and math centres using One True Media. Click on the thumbnail image underneath to view this slideshow. Please note that due to some camera difficulties, we have more photographs from our A Class than our B Class. We have resolved the camera issues though so this should not happen again. Sorry about that!

Have a great weekend! We hope you enjoy our latest attempt at using some new technology!
Aviva and Dianne

Our Twenty-Second Post -- B Class Literacy Centre Video Footage

Here is some video footage that we took of our B Class literacy centres on Wednesday and Friday. We used One True Media (a website) to merge the four videos into one. We hope that you enjoy the result!

It is great to see the children learning from each other as they work at the various literacy centres. They continue to progress in their reading, writing, and oral language skills. The ease in which the students use technology to enhance their learning is also wonderful to see. We are so proud of them! Click on the thumbnail image underneath to go the website to view our students in action.

Have a great weekend!
Aviva and Dianne

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Twenty-First Post -- A Class Literacy Centre Video Footage

Here is some video footage that we took of our A Class literacy centres yesterday. We used One True Media (a website) to merge the three videos into one. We hope that you enjoy the result!

It is great to see the children working and learning together. They have obviously progressed a lot in their reading, writing, and oral language skills. The ease in which the students use technology to enhance their learning is also wonderful to see. We are so proud of them! Click on the thumbnail image underneath to go the website to view our students in action.

Have a great day!
Aviva and Dianne

View this montage created at One True Media
My Montage 3/24/09