Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nothing Better ...

Every year, when the winter holidays come, I think that the students and teachers are both equally excited for a break. We all love school and enjoy our time at school too, but having some time to rest and relax is important as well. Just before starting this break, I wanted to thank all of the students, parents, teachers, and administrators for a great four months of school.

Yesterday, a child gave me this card, and it quickly reminded me why I teach:

You can "read" the happiness and excitement in her card, and I can't think of a better gift. This student definitely had me smiling all day yesterday.

Happy holidays everyone! See you again in 2011!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Goodbye Miss Ho!

Today was a difficult day for me and for my students too, as we all had to say goodbye to Miss Ho. Nicki did her first teaching placement in our classroom since November, and she is already an amazing educator. She always looks at the needs of students first, and has done everything possible to ensure that all students meet their full potential. She is a great addition to the teaching profession.

As a special Friday Journal, all of us included a special sticky note or two on this Lino Wall, letting Miss Ho know just how much she means to all of us. All the best in your next placement, Miss Ho! We'll miss you!

Miss Dunsiger And The Grade 1/2 Class

Explaining Their Thinking

In math this week, my student teacher, Nicki, planned some exciting centres that reviewed money and introduced patterning for Grades 1 and 2. During centre time today, I sat down with a group of Grade 2 students completing a money activity. They needed to make different coin amounts using different numbers of coins (e.g., make me 85 cents using 6 coins). I recorded the students as they explained their thinking. Wow! What amazing math talk! Thank you, Nicki, for planning such engaging centres that not only allowed the children to think, but to communicate their thinking too.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trying Out Lino

For Reading Buddies last week, my Grade 1/2 students worked with their Grade 4 buddies to add sticky notes to a Wallwisher Wall detailing what they learned from various books. This week, we focused on asking questions. The students read books with their reading buddies, and then added sticky notes to a Lino Wall (embedded below) with their questions and even some possible answers too. It was great to watch the students working together to formulate the questions and post their notes.

It was also great at the end of the process when I asked the students what tool they liked better -- Wallwisher or Lino -- and why? All of the students agreed that they liked using Lino more. They said that it was, "easier to grab the sticky note than to double-click and make it appear." The Lino sticky note is also "bigger," so it's "easier to type on and post." Students also enjoyed all of the "colour choices." They had so much fun using this tool that they almost forgot that they were reading and writing too!

So for now, all I'm thinking is, what can I try out next week? If you have any ideas to share, I would love to hear them. Thanks for your help!


Use your mouse to move around the canvas and see the different sticky notes. Feel free to add one of your own too.

Reflecting On Our Musical

Completing The Wallwisher With Their Partners

With special thanks to Ms. Ledroit, Mrs. Lucarelli, and Ms. Doyle, all of the primary students were involved in presenting a musical for the holiday season. The students spent months practicing for this musical during their weekly music classes as well as during some special nutrition break practices. On November 30th and December 1st, they got to share their months of work during two daytime performances and one evening performance.

For a special Friday Journal this week, my students worked in partners to reflect on their performance: what did they do well, and what could they improve the next time? The students quickly realized that nobody is perfect, and while they all worked hard, they also realized their areas of weakness too. This reflection fits perfectly with our new Arts curriculum, and allows students to do some meaningful writing as well.

Read through these sticky notes with your child, and feel free to add additional sticky notes too. Thanks for your help with this activity!


P.S. Since I got to perform alongside the students, I added a reflection too. Please note though that one of the students used my laptop for this activity and so my username appears on her sticky note as well. I did manage to stand "quietly" on the stage ... or at least relatively so. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Real Collaboration

For Reading Buddies today, our class worked with the Grade 4 class to add a sticky note to this Wallwisher Wall (embedded below) on books. Students reflected on the books that they read together. Some of my Grade 2 students used Wallwisher last year, so they were the experts, but for the majority of students, this was a new tool. Students had access to the wall on nine computers and the SMART Board.

It was amazing to watch! The students were working together on these computers and on the SMART Board too. They were problem-solving together, writing together, and even sharing ideas both orally and in written form. This was real collaboration! It wasn't about the teacher showing the students what to do, but about the students showing each other what to do and helping each other along the way. Now the only question is, what exciting thing can we do next week for Reading Buddies?

To really help make this Wallwisher Wall a global activity, we would love for you to add a sticky note here about a lesson that you've learned from a book that you've read. Thanks for your help with this activity!

Aviva (Grade 1/2 Teacher) and David (Grade 4 Teacher)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Blogger's Cafe Is Open

Over a week ago, @j_allen tweeted me and mentioned that my professional blog was discussed in a Blogging Session at #edcampkc. I was really excited about this, so when Josh tweeted out the link to the recorded session, I had to watch it. I was fortunate to watch three amazing members of my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter present on blogging. One of these presenters was Nick, also known by many as @thenerdyteacher. Nick was talking about the Blogger's Cafe that he has in his high school English class. I've read some of the posts on his blog about this Blogger's Cafe, and again, I was intrigued by the idea. When I saw that his students used Kidblog to do their blogging (a platform that I use too), I knew that I needed to give this a try.

Nick's Blogger's Cafe operates as a backchannel in his classroom, where basically he has two students blogging about the teaching and learning that's happening in the classroom as it's happening. I loved this backchannel concept, and I knew that I wanted the same set-up too.

Having students blogging throughout the day though sounded like too much, so I thought that I would "open" the Blogger's Cafe during our Literacy Centre and Math Centre Review. It would be interesting to have a written student perspective on this review process. Since I wanted the cafe feel too, I decided to set up a comfortable area in the room for blogging (with some pillows and stuffed animals to help create an ambiance). To make the blogging portable, I thought that I would have my students write on the iPod Touches.

I initially set it up for students to blog in Kidblog, but I quickly found out that Kidblog was hard for the students to operate on the iPod Touches. One of my first students got her post published, but the other student got frustrated making it work. I then thought that the students could micro-blog on Twitter, and they liked this, but wanted a blog post that was not confined to 140 characters. A student actually suggested that we use our Litcircuits Blog for this, and that's when I remembered that @mrjarbenne told me to download the WordPress app onto my class iPod Touches. Perfect! The Litcircuits Blog was the way to go, and the students were the ones to come up with the idea too. Awesome!!

The best part though was not in the set-up but in the blogging. All of my students are anxious to be our daily bloggers. They are excited to write, and they don't even realize that they're writing. They are completely engaged in this writing process. They also told me that they need to be "even better listeners," so that they "don't forget to include anything important." Wow! They really get it! These six and seven year olds are developing their listening comprehension skills in a meaningful way.

Thank you so much Nick for inspiring me to try something new in my classroom and giving my students another wonderful way to write! For the parents out there, what do think of the Blogger's Cafe? What are your child's thoughts on it too? For the educators out there, have you used a Blogger's Cafe in your classroom? How do you make it work? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Students Explaining Their Thinking

Last weekend, I wrote a post on the Live With Livescribe Blog about metacognition. I think that it's really important that students of all ages explain their thinking. Below is a Glog where I've embedded three videos of students demonstrating metacognition in both reading activities and math (right-click on the Glog to view it in full screen).

For parents out there, I'd love to hear about how your child demonstrates metacognition when completing different literacy and math activities at home. For teachers out there, I'd love to learn about different metacognitive activities that you've done with your class before. Hopefully we can all learn from each other.


Friday, November 5, 2010

What Does Freedom Mean To Us?

In class today, my students watched this amazing video called, A Pittance of Time.

We used this video to discuss why we celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11th. Then the students got to discuss with each other what peace and freedom means to them. We used the information from this discussion to create our own slideshow on What Freedom Means To Us.

This slideshow will be shown at our Remembrance Day Assembly on November 11th. We would love to know, what does freedom mean to you?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reflecting On Works Of Art

As a special literacy and art activity, the children watched and listened to Pinky Dinky Doo And The Far Out Adventure On Planet Vroom Vroom. As a follow-up to this listening activity, they had to create their own plasticine spaceship for Pinky Dinky Doo. To connect with our new Art Curriculum expectations, the children had to reflect on these plasticine spaceships and explain what they liked best about them and what they would add or change. Below is a VoiceThread where the Grade 1 and 2 students used the webcam feature to record their thoughts.

I love all of their various ideas and how they explained all of their answers too. What do you like about these spaceships? What would you add or change too? Any positive feedback would be much appreciated!


P.S. My apologies about some of the photographs! I still have much to learn about how to become a better photographer.:)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reading Buddies: Giving Students Leadership Opportunities

My class started Reading Buddies today. For the first time ever, I am pairing up with younger junior students (a Grade 4 class) for Reading Buddies. The students meet every Day 3 for 20 minutes to read to each other. Both the Grade 1/2 students and the Grade 4 students have specific reading tasks, and they both get an opportunity to self-assess and peer-assess their reading.

Today was fantastic! About 10 minutes into our Reading Buddy time, the Grade 4 teacher said to me, "Isn't this amazing, Miss Dunsiger?!?! Look at the students. They're all engaged, they're all reading, and there are no problems either." It really was great to see!

Throughout our Reading Buddy time together, the students are also going to get a chance to respond to books together using different technology tools too (including blogs, Wallwishers, VoiceThreads, and even our Palm Treos). The Grade 1/2 students will get to teach the Grade 4 students how to use these tools, and both groups of students can experiment and learn together.

What are some different activities you've done with Reading Buddies in the past? I would love to hear your ideas!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Story VoiceThreads

A couple of weeks ago, my students wrote a Halloween Pattern Story that Mr. McDonald's class in Manitoba illustrated. They then wrote a story that we illustrated. Today, we connected with Mr. McDonald's class via Skype and read the stories together. Below are the VoiceThread stories. I hope that you enjoy them as much as the students did!

The Story We Wrote (Illustrated By Mr. McDonald's Class):

The Story Mr. McDonald's Class Wrote (Illustrated By Our Class):

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Math VoiceThread: Creating And Commenting On Graphs

Last week, we had a Skype call with @jgriffith2 as part of our Grade 1 and 2 graphing unit. The students in her class surveyed my students on a variety of topics, and my students surveyed her students on a variety of topics. Today my students worked in groups of four to take the results of the survey and record them in a tally chart. Then they looked at these results and offered some commentary on them using VoiceThread. Listen to their comments below and feel free to add some of your own. We would love to hear your response to these results.

Thanks for your help with this graphing activity!

P.S. I learned that we need to make smaller tally charts the next time because neither the document camera nor my camera can capture the entire graph.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our Special Collaboration: A Halloween Story

For Halloween, my class decided to join with Mr. McDonald's class (from Manitoba) to write a Halloween story. Each class wrote their own pattern story, and then we exchanged the stories to illustrate. We are going to take these stories and put them into VoiceThread to create digital storybooks that we will read together on Halloween. This will be a very special shared reading activity brought to life thanks to Skype.

Today, my students worked in partners to illustrate the stories. They needed to work together using one piece of paper to create a picture that matched the text in the story. Here is a short Animoto slideshow of this great teamwork. I was so pleased with what the students did! Please use this slideshow to help talk to your child about this exciting Language and Art activity, and then check back on the blog on Halloween weekend to see our completed VoiceThread stories.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Animal Story Show And Tell

As my students are using a variety of tools more often, they are quickly realizing the different purposes for each of these tools too. Today, one student was getting ready to start her Show and Tell, and she said to me, "Miss Dunsiger, can I use the document camera? I want everyone to see the pictures in my book as I explain them." What a great reason to use this tool! I happily agreed, and she opened up the Notebook software (on my laptop), clicked on the document camera button on the toolbar, and turned on the document camera too. I love how independent my students are becoming at using these tools as well!

After she started her Show and Tell, I realized what great information she was sharing, and we decided to use the recording feature (from that point, on) to record her presentation. Hope you enjoy it as much as my students did!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Typical Day In Our Grade 1/2 Class

For the Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday, October 7th, I created a short Animoto slideshow to show a typical day in our classroom. I hope that you're able to watch this slideshow with your children and discuss what they are learning in our new Grade 1/2 class. Please add a comment here, so that we can all share our learning together.

Have a great long weekend, and I look forward to seeing all of you again next week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Little Leaders

I took this video footage this morning of one of my students explaining our Read to Self Centre. Listen as she discusses the Reading Strategies (you may need to turn up the volume). This video clip makes me realize that students of all ages can be leaders. We just need to give them the power to do so. I hope that you'll share your great little leaders' experiences here too.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Leading Up To Student Led Conferences

During our PA Day on Friday, my principal was talking about Student Led Conferences. I've heard of these conferences before, and they've always intrigued me, but I've never thought about settting them up with my students and parents. After my principal's talk though, I've spent a lot of time thinking about these conferences. Then I saw this blog post by @smartinez all on Student Led Conferences. Reflecting on my principal's talk and then reading this blog post led to these questions of mine:

1) How can I prepare my Grade 1 and 2 students to lead these conferences with their parents?

2) What would they discuss?

It was as I was brainstorming these questions that I started to think about the rationale for having these conferences in the first place: they give students independence and control over their learning. I have started to do this a lot in the classroom already. I have the children take turns reviewing math and literacy centres with the class. I ask them questions to get them thinking and talking about their learning.

I use the scaffolding approach a lot in my teaching, and I'm starting to think that what I'm doing now will help my students as we try to prepare for student-led conferences in November. The next step is to get the children to self-assess their work: what do they like about it, and what do they need to improve on? I can't wait to hear what they have to say!

For those of you that have tried out student-led conferences before, I would love to know your thoughts on them. What are your words of advice? It's great when we can learn together!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Slideshow Of Literacy And Math Centres

Below is a slideshow of our first round of Literacy and Math Centres. Watch this slideshow with your children and talk about the different activities. What did they learn? Which activity did they enjoy the most, and why? I'd love to hear what you have to say.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Special Kind of Show and Tell

My students are really excited about our Document Camera, so we tried a different kind of Show and Tell today. Using both the Document Camera and the recording feature on Notebook software, this student made a video of his Show and Tell. Hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Best Pet Video

For our Read Aloud this week, we read the story, The Best Pet. The students then created a pet puppet that merged two different pets. For this design challenge, they needed to use a combination of paper bags, construction paper, and crayons and/or pencil crayons. Then they used the document camera to take a picture of their pet, and together, they made this video. Please leave a comment here helping us name these wonderful pets! You can also visit the Live With Livescribe Blog to see how we used the Livescribe Pen during Meet the Teacher Night to help us with this activity too!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So Proud!

I love this video clip of two of my students reading together during literacy centres today. Watch them track the print in the book, problem-solve the words, and work on reading fluency too! Way to go! I just had to celebrate this success!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

After catching this moment on video the other day, I was walking around yesterday during literacy centres, and I saw these two students reading together again. They said to me, "We're going to finish Andrew's Loose Tooth today. You can get the rest of it on video now." They were so excited for me to videotape them again that I just had to add the update here. Enjoy!

Seeing this wonderful learning, problem-solving, and collaboration in action is really what teaching is all about!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our First Week In Grade 1

It has been such an exciting first week in Grade 1! The students are fantastic, and I have had so much fun learning with them. Below is an Animoto Slideshow showing some of the highlights of this week. Enjoy watching this video with your child! What did your child enjoy most about this week? I would love it if you would leave a comment here and let me know.

Can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mixbook: An Electronic Yearbook Documenting Our Year In Grades 1 and 2

I love learning from so many amazing educators on Twitter, and earlier today, I was reading a tweet from @plnaugle. She teaches Grade 4 in New Orleans, and when I started tweeting last year, she was one of the first teachers that I followed. Paula always shares amazing ideas and really inspires me to try some new things in my classroom.

Today, @plnaugle was tweeting about Mixbook. She really just had a question about it, but having never heard of Mixbook before, I thought that I would take a look at her link. She just started a class yearbook on it, and her photographs and captions are amazing. I loved the idea of documenting our year in the classroom, so I thought that I would try it out too.

Paula just blogged about her Mixbook, and I was so inspired, that I thought that I would blog about mine too. I really just created the cover, but here is what our Grade 1/2 Yearbook is going to look like. I'm excited to add in more photographs throughout the year and document what is sure to be a very exciting year in Grades 1 and 2.

Thank you, Paula, for teaching me something new today and creating such a wonderful memory for my students!


| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Whole New Way To Do #FollowFriday

I wanted to try something a little different for #FollowFriday this week, so I thought that I would create a Voki and let my PLN on Twitter know just how much they mean to me! Each and every one of you deserve to be followed for all of the wonderful ideas that you share and all of the help and support that you provide. One of my favourite educational quotes is, "To teach is to touch lives forever," and you have all touched my life: teaching me so much and making me a better teacher as a result. Thank you!

This Voki is for you:

Get a Voki now!

Since I can't mention all of your names in this brief message, and since even when I do mention them, I may not pronounce them correctly, here's a glog of all of the wonderful educators that I follow on Twitter. Happy #FollowFriday to all of you!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Final Centre Activities

Here's a short slideshow of the students working at the final round of our literacy and math centres. Watch this slideshow with your children and leave a comment here telling about their favourite centre and why they enjoyed it. I look forward to hearing about what my students have to say.

Have a great summer!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saying Goodbye!

I can't believe that there are only two days of school left! This has been such a wonderful year. Last year, I left Kindergarten (after teaching it for eight years) to move to Grade 1. I wanted this move, I even asked for this move, but as I was packing up my classroom to move, I was worried that maybe I had made the wrong decision. I loved teaching Kindergarten, and for years, I told people that I couldn't imagine teaching anything else, but here I was doing just that. I'm so glad that I did! This has been an incredible year of teaching and learning, and I truly do LOVE Grade 1!

Since I team-taught SK last year, I basically taught all of the students that are now in my class. Saying "goodbye" to these students after two years is a very difficult thing to do, and while the excitement of the summer is definitely looming, so is the sadness of the end of the year. I want to dedicate this blog post to my amazing students that have taught me so much over the past two years.

Here are the top five lessons (in no particular order) that I have learned from you:

1) Don't be afraid to try something new! It's okay if it's hard the first time, for it won't be as hard in the future. My students learned lots of new concepts this year and tried lots of new tools, and despite any difficulties they may have had, they knew that what they were doing would be easier in time.

2) Never give up! I remember a few times that my lesson wasn't working according to plan, and my students chimed in with, "Don't worry, Miss Dunsiger! You can do it!".

3) Set expectations high, and students will meet everything that you expect of them and more! If I ever mentioned that an activity might be difficult, my class always replied with, "We're in Grade 1 now. We can do it!" And you know what? They always did!

4) Be genuine. Show you're having fun because you really are having fun! Six- and seven-year-olds are always genuine -- they always tell you what they're thinking and feeling -- and they can tell if you're not being genuine too! If they see you enjoying yourself, they will as well, and the learning will come through this enjoyment.

5) Don't be afraid to admit that you don't have all the answers! Let your students teach you something new, and let them teach each other new things too. I learned something new from my students every day, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thank you, Grade 1's, for an incredible two years of learning and laughter! I will miss you next year, but I wish you all the best in Grade 2!

Aviva, or as my students would say, Miss Dunsiger :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Team Work

I am lucky to work as part of such a wonderful team. I was reminded of this on Wednesday when the music teacher came to tell me that her video was complete. All of the Grade 1 and 2 students have taken a special interest in Waving Flag, and so the music teacher used her incredible talents to put together a video of the students dancing to this song. She gave me the video, and my class helped embed it on one of the Music Glogs that they created during literacy centres. They loved watching themselves singing and dancing on the "big screen" (in this case, the SMART Board). They asked me to tweet about this video being on the glog, and I did. Within minutes, @rmcdonald17, direct messaged me to say that he shared this video with his class in Manitoba, and they liked it so much, that they requested to watch it again and again. My students were thrilled! We have collaborated many times with Mr. McDonald's class, and they loved knowing that their successes could be celebrated by their "other Canadian friends." I am fortunate to be a part of so many wonderful teams, and in this case, I can thank many of them: from Mrs. Ledroit (the amazing music teacher) to my students (the awesome people that thought of tweeting this video out in the first place) to my Twitter PLN, and in this case, more specifically @rmcdonald17 (the fantastic Grade 2 teacher that I'm lucky to consider both a colleague and a friend)!

I hope that all of you have had some wonderful experiences like this one, and I hope that you'll leave a comment here and share them too. Can't wait to read about some of the highlights of your year!


Right-click on the glog and choose "Full Screen" to make it bigger.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spring Fling: What A Night!

Friday, June 11th was Spring Fling, and it was quite the night! The weather was perfect, the attendance was great, the variety of activities was fabulous, and the food was yummy. It was an evening to remember, and one that would not have been possible without the amazing volunteers on our Home and School Association. These volunteers worked for months to plan the activities, order the tickets and prizes, arrange the food, and ensure that the evening was a great success! Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with these same volunteers on a number of different activities, and I cannot say enough positive things about them and what they will do for the students at the school. We could not have had this event without you, and the countless hours you put into it have not gone unnoticed. Many thanks for all that you do and all that you continue to do to ensure the best for all of the students at the school. This blog is for you!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Building Park Structures

On Friday, all of the Grade 1 classes built park structures. The students had to use a variety of 3-D recyclable materials to build their structures based on the plans that they created. They needed to explain why their structures held a small toy, and what they would add or change if they were to re-build their structures. Above are some photographs from this exciting day. Look at these pictures with your children and talk to them about this building activity. What did they learn from this activity? Please add a comment here letting us know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Three Little Pigs Meet The Big Bad Blowdryer

As part of our Structures Unit, the students were divided into groups of two or three to design a house to keep a little pig safe when the Big Bad Blowdryer came for a visit. Please watch this short Photopeach Slideshow with your child and talk about the different houses and why they worked in protecting each little pig. The students will use their newfound design knowledge to create their park structures on Friday. They can't wait!

Hope you enjoy this slideshow as much as the students enjoyed the designing and building process! Who knew school could be so much fun?!?!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Video Of Our Exciting Week

Below is a video of our exciting week in Grade 1. Watch this video with your children and add a comment here letting me know what they enjoyed the most. I would love to hear their thoughts!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hip Hop Dancing

Thanks to the generosity of the Home and School Association, all of the primary students received two dance lessons last week. The Grade 1 students learned jazz and hip hop. Above is a short video clip of our hip hop lesson. Talk to your child about this dance lesson. Did your child enjoy it? What did your child prefer: learning jazz or hip hop? Why? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Collaborative Storybirds

On Friday, Mrs. Howe and I put our classes together, and we let the students create Storybirds with a partner. My class has used the Storybird website before, but this website is new to Mrs. Howe's class. This gave my students the opportunity to teach Mrs. Howe's students how to use the website. The children also needed to agree on pictures and text, and they had to work together to edit their work for conventions and ideas so that they could publish their Storybirds. The results were great! Check out the completed Storybirds on my student blogs and on Mrs. Howe's student blogs. Talk to your children about this activity and leave a comment here letting us know what they enjoyed the most.


A Slideshow Of This Storybird Experience

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Math Centres: Watch The Children Learning And Having Fun

Here is a slideshow of my class completing their latest round of math centres. Watch this slideshow with your children and talk to your children about their favourite centre. Why did they enjoy it so much? Please add a comment here sharing this information with me. I would love to hear what they have to say.


Slideshow From Open House

We hope that you enjoy this slideshow that we created for Open House. Watch it with your children and talk to your children about what they like most about their plasticine pictures. Add a comment here letting us know. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Making Maps: So Much More Than Social Studies

For the past month, we have been working on mapping skills in class. The students have learned how to create and read a legend, as well as learned how to create and read a map. They now know the important information to include on a map, as well as information that does not need to be included on a map. They understand the importance of a scale, and they know why objects on a map are smaller than objects in real life.

Today my students worked in partners to create community maps. They needed to include at least five street names on their maps and use the items that we created in our group legend on their maps.

It was amazing watching the students work together on this activity. Every child was engaged, and every child was contributing to the final product. The incredible thing about this activity though was that it was about so much more than Social Studies. When students were asked to reflect on their maps, they all thought that they did a "great job," and when asked why, they commented on the fact that they helped each other well, they worked together to create one final piece, and they learned that it's okay to not always get your way. Who knew that a Social Studies activity could be as much about mapping as about character education?

I'm so proud of what my students did today, and here's a little slideshow that they made -- from uploading the photographs to choosing the music -- to showcase their amazing work. After watching this video, please leave a comment here with any feedback you have on this mapping activity as well as any mapping activity suggestions that you may have. I would love to hear what you have to say!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Next Day ...

As a follow-up to this activity, we did a more formalized self-assessment the next day at school. All of the students contributed their thoughts to a couple of Wordles: one where they looked at what they liked about their maps and one where they looked at what they would add to or change about their maps the next time. These Wordles will be up for display at Open House on Thursday, May 6th. I was so impressed with my students' reflections.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Marvelous Monsters -- Our Movie

For our Fridge List activity this week, the students are learning about adjectives. Here are some monsters that they made thanks to an idea from @rmcdonald17. Please have a look at this Monster Movie, and leave a comment here letting us know what adjectives you would use to describe these monsters.

We hope you like our movie!
Miss Dunsiger's Class

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Look At Our Week

Below is a slideshow capturing what we did in class last week. It was definitely a very busy, but very exciting, week! Please watch this slideshow with your children and talk about what they enjoyed doing most last week. Add a comment here to let me know. I would love to hear their thoughts!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Telling Time To The Hour And The Half-Hour

My students were so excited to use the Palm Treos when I introduced telling time to the hour, that I used them again when showing the students how to tell time to the half-hour. After reviewing this concept, the students had to take photographs of different times: some of which were to the hour and some of which were to the half-hour. Watch this slideshow with your child and discuss this activity. What did they think of it? What did they find more difficult: telling time to the hour or telling time to the half-hour? Why? Please post any comments here. I would love to read what you have to say.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun And Learning All In One!

I have always believed that learning should be fun, and one thing that I love about using technology in the classroom, is that it helps make learning fun. Last week, my students used their Palm Treos in a new way: to take photographs to demonstrate their learning. In class, I am teaching the students how to tell time to the hour using an analog clock. I used Destination Math to introduce this concept, and then I gave each student his/her own analog clock, and we reviewed some of the different times together. Then the children had to cut out a sheet of various times (from 1:00-12:00), make that time on their individual analog clocks, and take a photograph of this time on their Palm Treos. As they were taking photographs of their clocks, I was taking photographs of their learning, as the slideshow below will demonstrate. It was incredible! Everybody was engaged, everybody was having fun, and everybody was learning!

The second part of this slideshow does not involve the use of technology at all, but instead, uses art to engage the children and have them develop their problem-solving skills as well as their artistic abilities. Students are creating their own plasticine pictures as part of an author study on Barbara Reid. They are learning how to mix colours and add texture to their art work. All of the Grade 1 students are excited to show off their completed plasticine pictures during Open House in May!

Please watch this slideshow with your children, and talk to them about these different activities. What did your children learn while engaging in these activities? What did they enjoy the most? Why? Please let your children add a comment here to share their thoughts.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

It really is about making it meaningful ...

Over the course of the year, my class has had the opportunity to connect with some amazing teachers and students from around the world. Whenever possible, I use all of these wonderful connections to help create meaningful reading and writing opportunities.

One of these connections is with @rmcdonald17's Grade 2 class. When my students first started their own blogs, Mr. McDonald's students commented on all of their blogs. These comments helped encourage my students to continue to write. I am now fortunate enough to be at the point that when my class is given the choice to either have 15 minutes of time to draw or write in their creativity books or 15 minutes to blog or comment on blog posts, all of them choose the latter. Wow!

Since my students are so excited about blogging, yesterday I signed out the laptop cart, and I had my students work in partners to comment on @rmcdonald17's student blogs. Each group of students was given one or two student names, and they read a variety of the posts, and chose which one they wanted to reply to. We wrote a sample reply together first, and we even included a question in it. When reading through the posted replies, I noticed that some of my students included questions too. Yeah!

The best part of this blogging activity though was that when it was time to stop responding and shut down the laptops for lunch, nobody wanted to tidy-up. The students were so engaged that they wanted to keep on reading and writing. Isn't this what learning should be all about?

Here's a short video of my students writing these replies to Mr. McDonald's students. Please talk to your children about the blogs that they read, and then let them leave a comment here to share their thoughts on this activity. I would love to hear their feedback!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Animoto Video Of Our Busy Week In Grade 1

Below is an Animoto video that highlights our busy week in Grade 1. Watch this video with your child and talk about some of the activities that they enjoyed the most this past week. Please comment here to share these favourite events. I would love to hear them!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Self Assessment Of Our Birthday Party Pictures

Self assessment is a really difficult skill to teach and to learn, as in order to self assess, people need to realize what they can do to make their work better. I always tell my students to "do their best work," so if this work is their best, then how can it be better?

We have been working for a while now on self assessment, and in follow-up to an art activity completed on Friday, I had my students reflect on their work. They were asked to answer these two questions:

1) What did they like about their picture?

2) What would they like to add or to change about their picture?

Here is the completed VoiceThread with their self assessments. I was really pleased that everybody thought of something that they could do to improve their work!

I'm sure that my students would love to hear some of your positive feedback too, both on their assessments and on their work. Please feel free to leave a comment here with your thoughts or add one to the VoiceThread. Thank you for encouraging my class to learn and to want to learn too!


Friday, April 2, 2010

VoiceThread For Our TLCP: Inferring Activity

The Grade 1's decided that for this TLCP Goal (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways Goal) we were going to use technology as part of our final task and find a way to share our work with a larger audience. This would help make this inferring activity more meaningful, providing an opportunity for others to comment on the work and hopefully help our students reflect on their thinking too.

Some students feel more comfortable than others in sharing their thinking orally, but as you can hopefully tell from the slides, all students got to use pictures and words to brainstorm their ideas first. The assessment of this activity is based on both what the students share orally and share in their graphic organizer too.

We hope that you enjoy our first attempt at getting all of our Grade 1 students to record their ideas in a VoiceThread, and talk without the use of a script but just with some ideas brainstormed first.

If you have read The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist, please comment here and let us know what you think Sister Bear is thinking now (being the end of the story) and how you know this. We would love to hear your ideas too!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What Is A Community?

My class has been fortunate enough to be involved in this amazing Community Project that allowed my students to connect with other students from the United States and even India. All of us shared information about our communities, asked questions about the other communities, and ultimately defined "a community." Involvement in this project really benefitted my students and made this Social Studies topic a lot more concrete and far more exciting: it made it real. I also got the opportunity to connect with some amazing educators including @jgriffith2, @mcarls, @dgrice, @amsgoodwin, @atkauffman, @JillKathleen, @kditzler, and so many more! A special thank you to @jgriffith2 for including us in this amazing project and putting together the final slideshow too. It looks great!

What do you think of this project? After viewing the slideshow, does your definition of "a community" change? How? Please leave a comment here and let me know.

Happy viewing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Progressive Story Project Video

Thanks to @kditzler, my class is involved in the Progressive Story Project. We are writing a short story with four other classes: one in Virginia, two in Texas, and one in Pennsylvania. My class got to write the second paragraph in the story. We wrote the paragraph together as a class, and then the students worked on their own to draw the picture cues to accompany the text. Below is a slideshow that my students made of their pictures for this story. Looking at these pictures and what we wrote, what do you think might happen next in the story? Please leave us a comment here and let us know. We can't wait to read what the next class writes!

Miss Dunsiger's Class

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Community Project Google Wave

Today I got a chance to participate in the Google Wave that was taking place as part of the Community Project. Many of the different schools involved in the Community Project contributed to this wave. It was interesting to hear about the similarities and differences between these communities.

Since we're off on March Break this week, I knew that my students couldn't participate, but I wanted to give them the "live" experience. I used the SMART Recorder to record part of the Google Wave (see the video above or click on this link to view it in a bigger window). Once we get back to school next week, I'll go into the Google Wave with my class, and we can read what the other schools said and contribute some more ideas too. I'm interested in hearing what my class thinks about this tool when they're not "waving" in real time. Will the students like it as much? Why do they feel this way? I will definitely be sharing their thoughts with you!

After watching this recording though, please let me know what you think about this Google Wave experience. What do you like about it? Is there anything that you wish was or was not a component of Google Wave? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks to @mcarls and @jgriffith2 for making this Community Project Google Wave such a success today! I'm glad that I could take part in it!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Animoto Video on Latest Round of Literacy and Math Centres

This is an Animoto video of the students completing the latest round of literacy and math centres. Watch this video with your children and talk to them about what centres they enjoyed the most and why. You can also talk to them about what they learned at each of these centres. I would love to hear about what your children learned too: comments are definitely welcome.

Have a great March Break!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flat Stanley Video

This is a video of the Grade 1 classes opening up the Flat Stanley letter from Mrs. Adams' class. Her class is recording a video of opening up our letter. We can't wait to see their video too!


The Grade 1 Students and Teachers

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Math Homework Wallwisher

For our weekly math homework, we are trying to expose the students to some different online tools that they can use to share their learning with others. Wallwisher is one of our favourite tools. In this post, we embedded the Wallwisher activity that the students completed for homework on March 3rd. Thank you all for contributing to this Wallwisher! Try reading through some of the comments that others left here and discuss these comments with your children. Your children can also add another sticky note to this Wallwisher: sharing more information that they are learning in class!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Working At Latest Our Literacy and Math Centres

Below is an Animoto video of my class completing the latest round of literacy and math centres. Watch this video with your child and talk about the different activities. Which one did your child enjoy the most? Why? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Visit From A Fireman

This morning, a firefighter came here and did a presentation. He taught us about the smoke mask, and if we don't have one, we need to try to hold our breath without breathing in the smoke. He taught us the Firefighter ABC's. He taught us that if we have fire on our clothes, we need to roll over. He taught us about having a fire safety meeting place. He taught us a lot.

Thank you!
The Grade 1's

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Learning During Centre Time: Aviva's Class

Here's a video of our last round of literacy and math centres. Watch this video with your children and talk to them about what they were doing and learning during these centres. What did they enjoy the most about these centres? Please leave a comment here to let me know. I love hearing what the students think!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Video Of Our 100th Day Of School

Today was a very exciting day in Grade 1: our 100th day of school! Watch this video of our special day with your children, and talk to them about some of the exciting things that they did at school today. We would love to hear about what they enjoyed the most! Add a comment here letting us know.

Have a great evening, and we look forward to seeing you at school tomorrow for Day 101!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Community Project: Our Global Collaboration

Through Twitter, I was able to get my class involved in a Community Project that allows us to connect with ten schools in the United States and learn about their communities while also sharing about ours. This Community Project ties in perfectly with our current Social Studies Unit.

My students are really excited about this project! They have already used Google Docs to contribute to a slideshow about communities and Google Forms to answer questions about the importance of different community helpers. As long as we can work out the timing issues, they will be involved in a Skype call next week with @jgriffith2's class to discuss communities and community helpers. @jgriffith2 is a Grade 2 teacher in Randolph, New York, and she is the person in charge of this project.

In the upcoming weeks, my students will get to use Google Earth to find these different communities on the map, and Google Wave to talk in real time with students at these different schools in the United States to pose and answer questions about communities and community helpers.

Involvement in this project has really showed me the power of communication on a global level. My students are so engaged in this Social Studies Unit because they're not just reading about it in a book, but experiencing it with other students too. It's amazing to me that my students are now proficiently using tools that six months ago I didn't even know existed. While these tools are fascinating in their own right, more than that, they are allowing my students to learn and making them want to learn too.

What do you think about this project? What are your child's thoughts on this project? Please comment here and share your opinions. I would love to know what you're thinking!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mrs. Howe's First Blog Entry: Our Special Dental Presentation

Today Mrs. Howe and her Grade One class decided to write their first blog. We hope you enjoy it.

This morning we had a dental presentation from one of our parents and two other students who are attending the Ontario Dental Education Institute. The students learned about good brushing and flossing habits as well as healthy foods for teeth. The presenters came dressed in Tooth, Tooth Fairy and Dental Hygienist costumes which excited the children and helped them to better understand the importance of good Tooth Care!

Here are some of the comments the students had after the presentation:

Maleeha liked when she saw the Tooth Fairy.

Victoria and Nicholle said, "I liked when we got the loot bags with new toothbrushes".

Shay's favourite part was when she brushed Bob the Builder's Teeth.

Milan liked when the Tooth Fairy told us the story.

Jenna liked seeing the tooth.

Zain said, " I liked when I got to see my mom helping the Tooth Fairy".

Sabrina said, "I like when the dentist brushed off the sugar bugs".

Here is a VoiceThread presentation that we made to comment on some of the photographs that we took today. You can comment on this VoiceThread too. We hope you do!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Hat Wordle By Miss Dunsiger's Students

Click on this link to hear our auditory blog entry that we made today using JING.

Hope you enjoy it, and hope you comment too!

Miss Dunsiger's Class

Saturday, January 30, 2010

JING Blog Entry On Symmetry

Click on this link to view this week's video blog entry.

At the Brock Tech Showcase on Friday, @mrjarbenne taught me about Jing: an online tool that allows you to record screencasts. I used this tool today to make a video screencast of a Symmetry Wordle that a group of my students created last week during math centres. I would love for you to comment here and let me know about other symmetrical items that could be added to this Wordle.

Thanks for your help!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Opening Up The Walls Of The Classroom: Aviva's Thoughts

When I started teaching, it was always up to my students to let their parents know what they were doing at school. Since I have always taught Kindergarten or Grade 1, these discussions usually resulted in student responses such as, "nothing," or "playing," or "I can't remember." If I wanted parents to know about school events, I needed to call and tell them or send them a note. While I often did this, I knew that there were still big gaps in what parents knew about classroom activities and what was actually happening in the classroom.

The Internet has changed this though. Now I can tweet about daily activities, add classroom information to the Grade 1 Website, and blog about exciting classroom and school events. I love the fact that parents know about what's happening in the classroom and can reinforce the skills learned in school at home too. Talk about the ultimate home-school connection.

This all became apparent to me last night though. I got a tweet from one of my students commenting on a Wordle that we made in class. It was apparent that she looked at this Wordle with her parents and discussed it with them too. Talking about our Wordle was a great way to review our read aloud activity from the week. This single tweet showed me that our classroom activity was no longer just an activity for the classroom.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic too. Has the use of the Internet (and more specifically, the use of the Twitter account, website, and blogs) changed how connected you feel to the classroom environment? What else can I do to strengthen this home-school connection?


Monday, January 18, 2010

Math Homework Tutorial

All of the Grade 1 classes got together today to try out the Math Tool Chest Activity that is being assigned for Wednesday's homework. The students need to create a symmetrical picture. Watch this short video to see how the Grade 1's created their symmetrical picture, and watch them use the Notebook tools to draw on their lines of symmetry. Awesome job everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For the District Review

On Friday, January 22nd, various members of the Board (including principals and superintendents) will be visiting our school for the day. The Board representatives will be divided into teams of two and going into each classroom for about 20 minutes to talk to the students about their learning. We have been talking to the students about this visit for a while now, and we know that the children are excited to share their learning with these Board representatives.

In an attempt to show the power of an online community, we are asking for some comments here from your children about activities that they enjoy the most during literacy centres and what they think the purpose of these activities are too (e.g., I like the listening centre the best because it helps me become a better reader by thinking about what I'm reading.). If your child would rather e-mail us their comments, they can send their e-mails to

Thank you for your help with this!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Request For Your Help

Happy New Year! Starting on January 4th, I will be having a student teacher in my classroom. Bryan Rancier is from Charles Sturt University, and he is completing one of his practice teaching placements at Ancaster Meadow School. My students met Mr. Rancier in Decemember, and they are very excited to have him return.

When I was in the Faculty of Education and completing my teaching placements, I always wanted to learn more about my students and find out what motivated them in school. I feel the same way now too. While I will be sharing some of this information with Mr. Rancier, I'm sure that he would love to hear some of this information directly from you too.

Here are some questions for you to think about:

1) What is your favourite subject (i.e., Language, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, Drama, Health, or Phys-Ed)? Why?

2) What classroom activity do you enjoy the most (e.g., literacy centres, using the SMART Board, tweeting, Show and Tell, agendas, etc.)? Why?

3) How do you feel about coming back to school tomorrow? What are you looking forward to the most? What are you looking forward to the least?

With your parents' permission, please post a comment here answering as many of these questions as you would like. Even if you are not in my class, feel free to comment here, as through various group activities, Mr. Rancier will be working with all of the Grade 1 students during his time at Ancaster Meadow School.

I can't wait to read what you have to say!