Vanier News – February 24, 2012

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Enjoy this week’s edition of the VANIER NEWS. This publication is meant to offer the opportunity for TWO-WAY communication. You will see at the bottom of each edition a COMMENTS section. Please share your ideas and thoughts.

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DON’T FORGET our upcoming FAMILY PHOTO DAYS coming up on Saturday, March 9th and Sunday, March 10th. There are still appointments available and the sitting fee is only $10 and includes a 5″x7″ photo. All proceeds go towards student equipment and activities. Please give our office a call to register: 604-596-1030.

IN THIS ISSUE

POLL QUESTION of the WEEK (held over from last week)

Previous poll questions and results:

  • Which grade model do you feel is best for student learning? K-5–6-8–9-12: 50% K-7–8-10–11-12: 30% K-12 all at one site: 20%
  • Does year-round schooling improve student learning? YES: 56% NO: 44%
  • Should standardized tests such as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) be used to measure student learning? YES: 50% NO: 50%
  • Does the use of technology in classrooms improve student learning? YES: 87.5% NO: 12.5%
  • Do you think students are physically active enough? YES: 50% NO: 46% UNSURE: 4%
  • Should school uniforms be considered at Georges Vanier Elementary? YES: 57% NO: 43%
  • Does violence in video games promote violent behaviour in children? YES: 80% NO: 20%
  • Should security cameras be used at our school? YES: 83% NO: 17%

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QUOTE of the WEEK

“If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror…look a little closer…stare a little longer…because there is something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit!” – Shane Koyczan

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BASKETBALL

A successful basketball season recently concluded. Our girls team hosted their playday on Monday, February 18th, going 4-0 while going 4-1 during the regular season. Well done, girls! Our boys hosted their competitive playday two days later on February 20, finishing with a record of 1-2, and 3-2 during the regular season. Records aside, we are most impressed with their learning and progress this season, as well as the sportsmanship demonstrated.

Congratulations on a fabulous season!
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SCIENCE FAIR
Our school Science Fair took place on Friday, February 22 from 8:45 to 11:45 am. Thank you to Surrey Principals Solomon Lee and Chris Baldry, as well as our own Mr. Dhaliwal, who assisted in judging our projects.

Judge Solomon Lee addresses Vanier scientists.

Judge Solomon Lee addresses Vanier scientists.

We are very proud of all of our participants and their thoughtful projects:
Cardboard and Tinfoil – Simran P.
Which food item forms mold faster? – Jyoti A. and Stephanie M.
Egg-cellent – Theresa H. and Blea Z.
Scared Pepper – Harshveer S. and Arshdeep D.
The Moon – Gurcharan K.
Hockey Sticks – Keshav N. and Harjas K.
Liquids and Fruits – Zaeema S. and Ria S.
Coke versus Water – Roshni U. and Sahar G.
Hairtastic – Ruqaiyah H. and Marianne E.
Why do volcanos erupt? – Surya S.
Effect of Video Games on heart rate – Jorawar D.
Wash it away – Rohin C.
How can you use a battery? – Akash U.
Hovercrafts – Keeton O.
Rocketships – Sahil K.
How to make crystals – Taniya K.
Effect of different chemicals on fabrics – Anmoal H.
Water Filtration – Desiree A. and Trisha M.
How batteries stay charged – Aryan C.
Can I make an egg float? – Hayden A.

Special congratulations to the following scientists who will be representing Georges Vanier at the District Fair at Central City Mall on March 6, 2013:
Energy Drinks – Akash A. and Harman S.
Bouncy Surfaces – Amanjot K. and Harveer D.
Filtration – Josh S.
Toothpaste – Rhea A.
Tasty Water – Kye H.

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MATH PUZZLER of the WEEK

Parents, as you work with your child, remember that communicating one’s thinking is an important part of problem-solving. Encourage your child to explain their thinking. You might ask questions such as:

  • Can you think about a time you were in a situation like this?
  • What do you know? What don’t you know?
  • What assumptions are you making?
  • What do you think that?

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PARENTING CORNER: Helicopter Parents/ Attachment Parents- One in the Same?
Source

Just to set the record straight: attachment parenting will not turn you into a helicopter parent. (In fact, much of what attachment parenting stands for is the exact opposite of helicopter parenting.)

The “attachment” in attachment parenting might make you envision having a baby Velcro-ed to your chest for the first two years of your child’s life (Velcro, of course, is just a stand-in for a really cool baby carrier).

But don’t be fooled, that woman with the baby on her back is not a helicopter parent. Au contraire.

The physical contact recommended in attachment parenting, especially carrying your baby in a sling, breast feeding and co-sleeping, are all methods for developing a loving, secure relationship between you and your child. The aim is for your child to develop and grow with confidence.

Helicopter parenting stay close to their children but this creates children with poor self-esteem.

Click here to keep reading…

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VIDEO of the WEEK
If you ever wondered if the saying, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was true or not, think again!

Talk to your children every day about how they treat others and about how others are treating them. Our kids need us!

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WHAT’S COMING UP?
February 26 – PAC Hot Lunch
February 27 – Anti-Bully Day – Assembly at 1:30 pm
March 7 – PAC Meeting – 9:00 am
March 12 – Public Skating – Divisions 2, 13, and 14
March 12 – Vanier Choir to Choral Festival – Bell Centre – 12-2 pm
March 13 – Fine Arts Performance – Metaphor
March 15 – Spring Dances
March 18-28 – Spring Break – Classes not in session
March 29 – Good Friday – Classes not in session
April 1 – Easter Monday – Classes not in session
April 2 – Term 2 Reports Home
April 2 – Kindergarten Dental Screening
April 4 – Early Dismissal at 1:27 p.m.
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Parents, please leave a COMMENT…

Vanier News – February 17, 2013

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Enjoy this week’s edition of the VANIER NEWS. This publication is meant to offer the opportunity for TWO-WAY communication. You will see at the bottom of each edition a COMMENTS section. Please share your ideas and thoughts.

IN THIS ISSUE

POLL QUESTION of the WEEK

Previous poll questions and results:

  • Which grade model do you feel is best for student learning? K-5–6-8–9-12: 50% K-7–8-10–11-12: 30% K-12 all at one site: 20%
  • Does year-round schooling improve student learning? YES: 56% NO: 44%
  • Should standardized tests such as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) be used to measure student learning? YES: 50% NO: 50%
  • Does the use of technology in classrooms improve student learning? YES: 87.5% NO: 12.5%
  • Do you think students are physically active enough? YES: 50% NO: 46% UNSURE: 4%
  • Should school uniforms be considered at Georges Vanier Elementary? YES: 57% NO: 43%
  • Does violence in video games promote violent behaviour in children? YES: 80% NO: 20%
  • Should security cameras be used at our school? YES: 83% NO: 17%

Back to In this Issue…
Vanier STARS
Congratulations to the following VANIER STARS selected for the month of January!

  • Division 10: Rhea, Kheelan and Sia
  • Division 11: Angela Shahroz and Peter
  • Division 12: Kiera, Jeremia and Kaitlyn
  • Division 13: Ashton, Harbanjot and Ria
  • Division 14: Jatin and Sierra
  • Division 15: Armaan, Archana and Lema
  • Division 16: Jordan, Hanna and Aidan
  • Division 17: Caleb, Sabrina and Sammy
  • Division 18: Joban, Savek and Prabhroop
  • Division 19: Lakshmi, Alisha and Nihal
  • Division 20: Violett, Saachi and Peter
  • Division 21: Jacob, Emilee and Kayla
  • Division 22: Shabad, Parkerit, Tamana

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QUOTE of the WEEK

“The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see. ” ~Barry Neil Kaufman

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ANTI-BULLY DAY – Wear Pink on February 27

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SCIENCE FAIR
Our school Science Fair takes place this coming Friday, February 22 from 8:45 to 11:45 am. In class, students have been learning about the scientific method and answering questions by doing experiments. Several students and/or teams from most intermediate classes have been selected to take part in the event on Friday. Participating in a science fair helps students understand that science isn’t just a body of facts, but also a process by which questions are answered. Parents, you are more than welcome to visit us this Friday and enjoy the projects!

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MATH PUZZLER of the WEEK
Picture 6
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SEE SOMETHING – SAY SOMETHING. Anonymous Reporting

Image: A. Vendramin

Image: A. Vendramin

Students often have troubles on their mind they don’t feel confident sharing with others. But students at Georges Vanier are continually reminded that if they see or know of something that is wrong, it is their responsibility to help and to report their concern. Last week, the VANIER NEWS shared information about the PSST website that allows for anonymous reporting. We want to give students and parents another outlet. Visit back here often and if you see something and you want to say something, you can do it here. Always remember that there are many people at the school who care and who you can talk to in person. But, if you feel that is not an option, report here. Scroll to the comments section below. Your report will be confidential.

Your SOLE purpose here should be to help others, not to get others in trouble.

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“STAND BY ME” ANTI-BULLY PROGRAM – A Teacher’s Perspective – Contributed by Nicole Williscroft
On Tuesday, February 5th, my grade two class had the opportunity to be a part of Teresa Triggiano’s Stand By Me friendship skills workshop. Teresa was an excellent facilitator to whom students quickly warmed, due to her kind and caring demeanour.
Picture 1Prior to the students’ arrival, Teresa organized the classroom chairs into a circle formation, ridding the class of desks which created an open and trustworthy environment. She began the morning by introducing herself and insisting the students do the same, by not only sharing their name, but also sharing an animal that they would want to ‘shape shift’ into. Her reactions about their respective animal choices were encouraging and she frequently praised them for their creative choices.
Following her icebreaker activity, Teresa turned to a story that she used to introduce her ‘topic of the day’. She presented the story One, by Kathryn Otoshi, to the group. Briefly, One is a story of bullying. It highlights the challenges many of our young ones face in their peer groups. A central character in the book, Blue, is constantly belittled by personality Red. Red grows in size when he makes Blue feel worthless and inferior. When ‘One’, the hero of the book, shows up in the story he stands up to Red using language such as, “I do not appreciate the way you are speaking to me Red” and “I would like you to stop!”. Teresa discussed how friends can make us feel when they say hurtful things. Teresa used the story as a platform to introduce the appropriate language students should use in order to diffuse a situation where they are being bullied.

Picture 2Teresa made every student feel valued and important. It was fascinating to me how she quickly remembered and addressed students by their name, having met them merely minutes before. She told students that she believed every child was good, and although we can make mistakes, the most important thing is to learn from those mistakes. Additionally, Teresa comforted students by letting them know that experiencing feelings, such as anger and frustration, was perfectly normal. She stressed the significance of the actions that we take following those feelings. She encouraged students to be brave and to always address situations with a calm and courageous heart. She guided students to recognize that they should be approaching their peers when they feel hurt or upset by taking action with their words. She then provided them with the tools to do this assertively and proactively.
Teresa had students practice the CALM method and the sandwich technique to approach challenging social situations. Teresa invited student volunteers to help her portray these techniques through role plays. The students were prodded to use peer-friendly language. The students were extremely engaged in the role plays and the lessons that surfaced from them. Teresa’s ideas and techniques empower children to solve their own conflicts using effective resolutions.

Picture 3To culminate her presentation, Teresa facilitated an apology circle. She explained to students that they could be very brave and take the opportunity to apologize to someone in the group. Students apologizing were instructed to say: “(Name of the student they were apologizing to) I’m sorry for_____________.” The person to whom they were apologizing was instructed to respond with either: “I accept your apology” or “Apology accepted”. I felt quite nervous as Teresa was explaining the apology circle, unsure if any students would express an apology. However, children never cease to amaze me with their honesty and bravery, and soon many students were expressing apologies, having them accepted by their peers. It was a powerful moment to observe! Following the apology circle, Teresa thanked the many students who had courageously shared an apology, and assisted students to make ‘apology appointments’ for recess.

Without a doubt, Stand By Me provides students with powerful and effective language to help them deal with social situations, including bullying and friendships. My perception was that students finished the workshop feeling empowered and better equipped to handle themselves should a peer conflict arise. Stand By Me is an effective program from which every student, from primary to high school, will most certainly benefit.

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PARENTING CORNER: 7 Simple Parenting Strategies That Work
Author: CHRISTY MATTA, MA
Source

If you’re a parent, then you are likely interested in finding ways to interact with your child or children that create a strong relationship, foster positive behavior, and respond to behavioral problems.

Take a look at any bookstore and the shelves will be full of advice. But figuring out which strategies are actually effective can be a challenge.

In this month’s American Psychological Association’s  Monitor on Psychology, Amy Novotney asks leaders in child psychology about the best parenting strategies.  Her quest was not for someone’s idea of the best way to parent, but for strategies backed by research studies showing their effectiveness in improving behavior, strengthening the bond between parents and children, and reacting to behavioral problems that arise.

The following seven empirically tested parenting strategies were the result… Click here to continue reading.

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LEARNING COMMONS NEWS
In the Learning Commons students in Divisions 7, 8 and 9 are creating books about how much they like to read. We decided to use shadows for the book covers. Students cropped, oriented, saved and uploaded their pictures to their individual blogs. Student blogs may be viewed here. Check out our video:

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VIDEO of the WEEK
Basketball season wraps up this week with the Girls Playday at Vanier from 12-5 pm on Monday, February 18, and the Boys Playday at Vanier from 12-5 pm on Wednesday, February 20. Come check out the action! In a tribute to our student athletes, enjoy the VIDEO of the WEEK of a 5′ 7″ player who conquered giants:

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WHAT’S COMING UP?
February 18 – Host Girls Basketball Playday – 12-5 pm
February 19 – Fine Arts Assembly – Axis Theatre Co. – 8:45 am
February 20 – Host Boys Basketball Playday – 12-5 pm
February 22 – School Science Fair – 8:45 – 11:45 am
February 26 – PAC Hot Lunch
February 27 – Anti-Bully Day – Assembly at 1:30 pm
March 7 – PAC Meeting – 9:00 am
March 12 – Vanier Choir to Choral Festival – Bell Centre – 12-2 pm
March 15 – Spring Dances
March 18-28 – Spring Break – Classes not in session
March 29 – Good Friday – Classes not in session
April 1 – Easter Monday – Classes not in session
April 2 – Term 2 Reports Home
April 4 – Early Dismissal at 1:27 p.m.
Back to In this Issue…

Parents, please leave a COMMENT…

Vanier News – February 10, 2013

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Enjoy this week’s edition of the VANIER NEWS. This publication is meant to offer the opportunity for TWO-WAY communication. You will see at the bottom of each edition a COMMENTS section. Please share your ideas and thoughts.

IN THIS ISSUE

POLL QUESTION of the WEEK


Previous poll questions and results:

  • Does year-round schooling improve student learning? YES: 56% NO: 44%
  • Should standardized tests such as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) be used to measure student learning? YES: 50% NO: 50%
  • Does the use of technology in classrooms improve student learning? YES: 87.5% NO: 12.5%
  • Do you think students are physically active enough? YES: 50% NO: 46% UNSURE: 4%
  • Should school uniforms be considered at Georges Vanier Elementary? YES: 57% NO: 43%
  • Does violence in video games promote violent behaviour in children? YES: 80% NO: 20%
  • Should security cameras be used at our school? YES: 83% NO: 17%

Back to In this Issue…

STUDENT HEALTH
We are in the middle of Flu and Cold season. Children are given reminders daily about reducing their likelihood of becoming ill. Among the precautions mentioned, students are reminded to…

  • Cough into their sleeve
  • Wash their hands often
  • Avoid touching their ears, nose and mouth

Parents, you can help by ensuring your child reminders home for at least 72 hours after exhibiting their last flu-like symptom, and informing our office if your child is away due to flu-like symptoms.

At the school, we monitor illness rates carefully and report illness rates of +10% (due to similar symptoms) to the District. When this occurs, extra cleaning is ordered for those classrooms affected.

Visit the Fraser Health website to learn more about influenza (flu).
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CLOTHING DRIVE

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 7.36.45 PM

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Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 7.38.27 PM

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SEE SOMETHING – SAY SOMETHING. Anonymous Reporting

Image: A. Vendramin

Image: A. Vendramin

Students often have troubles on their mind they don’t feel confident sharing with others. But students at Georges Vanier are continually reminded that if they see or know of something that is wrong, it is their responsibility to help and to report their concern. Last week, the VANIER NEWS shared information about the PSST website that allows for anonymous reporting. We want to give students and parents another outlet. Visit back here often and if you see something and you want to say something, you can do it here. Always remember that there are many people at the school who care and who you can talk to in person. But, if you feel that is not an option, report here. Scroll to the comments section below. Your report will be confidential.

Your SOLE purpose here should be to help others, not to get others in trouble.

Back to In this Issue…

HOW CAN I REALLY KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING AT SCHOOL?
Students hear announcements every day at school. The purpose of these announcements is to share information regarding what’s happening that day as well as upcoming events. Morning announcements are also used to discuss important issues. So how can you “listen in”?

  • Sign up for a Twitter account and follow @georgesvanier36
  • Check this blog everyday and read the Twitter stream on the left
  • Text “follow @georgesvanier36” to 21212
  • Google #gvnews

Back to In this Issue…

WE ARE ALL LEARNERS – A TEACHER’S EXPERIENCE – MRS. PULVERS

It’s true – we are ALL learners, including teachers. Children and education continue to change and teachers and school need to change as well. Teachers are encouraged to continue taking coursework and learning from their peers. When teachers do this, students benefit. This year, staff at Georges Vanier have the opportunity to visit other schools and learn from others. Enjoy this entry from Mrs. Pulvers…

DSC_2683The best thing that I have done for my teaching practice over the past 18 months was to join Twitter. On Twitter, I am able to connect with so many inspirational teachers from ALL over the world. Twitter is like sitting in the staffroom and sharing the BEST ideas and meaningful conversations on a daily basis. While the district has set specific professional development days, I feel that I am learning EVERY day with my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter. We share ideas about projects, have meaningful conversations about best practice and even “vent” in private about the challenges we face in our classrooms.

I have been very fortunate to meet many of the members in my PLN in person and I jumped at the chance to spend the day in one of their classes last week. Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) and I have been chatting about our classes on Twitter, over text and even in person. We have been trying to find a day where one of us is in session and the other isn’t so that we can visit…..well the stars lined up for me on Friday! Surrey had a Pro-D, but Abbotsford didn’t, so I drove the 35 minutes east on Highway 1 to spend the day at Prince Charles Elementary. Continue reading…

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PARENTING CORNER: 13 TIPS FOR MONITORING KIDS’ SOCIAL MEDIA
Author: Jeana Lee Tahnk
Source

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released findings from a comprehensive study on the impact social media has on kids and families. Although there are real benefits to kids using sites like Facebook, including increased communication, access to information and help in developing a sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing too. Read the rest of this article…

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LEARNING COMMONS NEWS
This week in the Learning Commons students from Kindergarten to Grade 4/5 learned about collecting postage stamps. Check out this Slideshare to see some of their great work. A lunch time stamp club will begin on Friday 15th for interested students in grades 5, 6 and 7.

The Strong Start program has begun a new program in the Learning Commons. Pre-schoolers and their families are learning how to use the iPads. The children are exploring apps to help develop early literacy skills and fine motor skills.

What Do You Love? To help celebrate Valentine’s Day, our school community has been writing on the Learning Commons wall! Parents and school visitors are invited to share their ideas and what they love on our display. Markers available in the Learning Commons.

Click here to check out all the Learning Commons news!

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FREE FAMILY COUNSELLING

In addition to services provided at Georges Vanier by counsellor Lisa Jouzy, students in Surrey School District and their parents or guardians have access to a range of free family counselling services through a partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education.

SFU provides counsellors for the centre — qualified staff and graduate students conducting practicums — while the school district contributes the clinic facilities.
Counselling promotes the mental health of individuals and families and this often also addresses barriers to student learning.

Counselling services are available for a range of personal issues, including parenting, bereavement, depression, anxiety, bullying and sexual orientation.

The SFU Surrey Counselling Centre, which opened in 2009, is located at L.A. Matheson Secondary, 9484 122nd St. Call 604-587-7320 to make an appointment.

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WHAT’S COMING UP?
February 14 – PAC Popcorn Day
February 18 – Host Girls Basketball Playday – 12-4 pm
February 19 – Fine Arts Assembly – Axis Theatre Co. – 8:45 am
February 20 – Host Boys Basketball Playday – 12-4 pm
February 22 – School Science Fair
February 26 – PAC Hot Lunch
February 27 – Anti-Bully Day – Assembly at 1:30 pm
March 7 – PAC Meeting – 9:00 am
March 12 – Vanier Choir to Choral Festival – Bell Centre – 12-2 pm
March 15 – Spring Dances
March 18-28 – Spring Break – Classes not in session
March 29 – Good Friday – Classes not in session
April 1 – Easter Monday – Classes not in session
April 2 – Term 2 Reports Home
April 4 – Early Dismissal at 1:27 p.m.
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Parents, please leave a COMMENT…

We are ALL Learners – A Teacher’s Experience by Jodi Pulvers

DSC_2683The best thing that I have done for my teaching practice over the past 18 months was to join Twitter. On Twitter, I am able to connect with so many inspirational teachers from ALL over the world. Twitter is like sitting in the staffroom and sharing the BEST ideas and meaningful conversations on a daily basis. While the district has set specific professional development days, I feel that I am learning EVERY day with my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter. We share ideas about projects, have meaningful conversations about best practice and even “vent” in private about the challenges we face in our classrooms.

I have been very fortunate to meet many of the members in my PLN in person and I jumped at the chance to spend the day in one of their classes last week. Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) and I have been chatting about our classes on Twitter, over text and even in person. We have been trying to find a day where one of us is in session and the other isn’t so that we can visit…..well the stars lined up for me on Friday! Surrey had a Pro-D, but Abbotsford didn’t, so I drove the 35 minutes east on Highway 1 to spend the day at Prince Charles Elementary. Continue reading…

Vanier News – February 2, 2013

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Enjoy this week’s edition of the VANIER NEWS. This publication is meant to offer the opportunity for TWO-WAY communication. You will see at the bottom of each edition a COMMENTS section. Please share your ideas and thoughts.

IN THIS ISSUE

POLL QUESTION of the WEEK


Previous poll questions and results:

  • Should standardized tests such as the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) be used to measure student learning? YES: 52% NO: 48%
  • Does the use of technology in classrooms improve student learning? YES: 87% NO: 13%
  • Do you think students are physically active enough? YES: 50% NO: 46% UNSURE: 4%
  • Should school uniforms be considered at Georges Vanier Elementary? YES: 57% NO: 43%
  • Does violence in video games promote violent behaviour in children? YES: 80% NO: 20%
  • Should security cameras be used at our school? YES: 83% NO: 17%

Back to In this Issue…

SEE SOMETHING – SAY SOMETHING. Anonymous Reporting

Image: A. Vendramin

Image: A. Vendramin

Students often have troubles on their mind they don’t feel confident sharing with others. But students at Georges Vanier are continually reminded that if they see or know of something that is wrong, it is their responsibility to help and to report their concern. Last week, the VANIER NEWS shared information about the PSST website that allows for anonymous reporting. We want to give students and parents another outlet. Visit back here often and if you see something and you want to say something, you can do it here. Always remember that there are many people at the school who care and who you can talk to in person. But, if you feel that is not an option, report here. Scroll to the comments section below. Your report will be confidential.

Your SOLE purpose here should be to help others, not to get others in trouble.

Back to In this Issue…

HOW CAN I REALLY KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING AT SCHOOL?
Students hear announcements every day at school. The purpose of these announcements is to share information regarding what’s happening that day as well as upcoming events. Morning announcements are also used to discuss important issues. So how can you “listen in”?

  • Sign up for a Twitter account and follow @georgesvanier36
  • Check this blog everyday and read the Twitter stream on the left
  • Text “follow @georgesvanier36” to 21212
  • Google #gvnews

Back to In this Issue…

WE ARE ALL LEARNERS – A TEACHER’S EXPERIENCE

It’s true – we are ALL learners, including teachers. Children and education continue to change and teachers and school need to change as well. Teachers are encouraged to continue taking coursework and learning from their peers. When teachers do this, students benefit. This year, staff at Georges Vanier have the opportunity to visit other schools and learn from others. Click here to visit the first blog post from Mrs. Gray.

Back to In this Issue…

PARENTING CORNER: WHEN A PET DIES
Source

My son Jake with our beloved dog, Floyd, before Floyd's passing in early 2000.

My son Jake with our beloved dog, Floyd, before Floyd’s passing in early 2000.

Losing a pet is never easy. The experience can be even more difficult for young children. Pets are like family members, so helping children understand the passing of a pet is an important job. Read more here…

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LEARNING COMMONS NEWS – 3 APPS in 90 SECONDS
This week in the Learning Commons, primary students at Georges Vanier Elementary used Doodle Buddy, Balloon Stickies, and Pic Collage apps on the iPad to demonstrate their learning about the Rainforest. Enjoy the video!

3 Apps in 90 seconds from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

Check out more Learning Commons News at: http://georgesvanierlibrary.edublogs.org/

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FREE FAMILY COUNSELLING

In addition to services provided at Georges Vanier by counsellor Lisa Jouzy, students in Surrey School District and their parents or guardians have access to a range of free family counselling services through a partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education.

SFU provides counsellors for the centre — qualified staff and graduate students conducting practicums — while the school district contributes the clinic facilities.
Counselling promotes the mental health of individuals and families and this often also addresses barriers to student learning.

Counselling services are available for a range of personal issues, including parenting, bereavement, depression, anxiety, bullying and sexual orientation.

The SFU Surrey Counselling Centre, which opened in 2009, is located at L.A. Matheson Secondary, 9484 122nd St. Call 604-587-7320 to make an appointment.

Back to In this Issue…

WHAT’S COMING UP?
February 5 – PAC Meeting at 9:00 a.m and 6:00 p.m.
February 8 – Professional Development Day – Classes not in session
February 11 – Family Day Holiday – Classes not in session
February 22 – School Science Fair
February 27 – Anti-Bully Day
March 18-28 – Spring Break – Classes not in session
March 29 – Good Friday – Classes not in session
April 1 – Easter Monday – Classes not in session
April 2 – Term 2 Reports Home
April 4 – Early Dismissal at 1:27 p.m.
Back to In this Issue…

Parents, please leave a COMMENT…

We Are ALL Learners – A Teacher’s Experience by Erika Gray

Blog contributed by Georges Vanier Educator, Erika Gray.

A visit to Karen Lirenman’s Grade one class in the Surrey School District – January 29, 2013
Picture 5
I took the opportunity to explore some features of the school before the school day started.
Karen’s school has a really great home reading program whereby each wing of the school has home reading books leveled and labeled. These are the books shared among the K/1 classes in their wing of the school. Every morning after planner check, students go into the hall and choose a new book, based on their level, to take home to read that night.
Picture 6
I met a wonderful Grade 1 teacher, Megan, before the school day started. She mentioned that one of her most popular activities is “Kid of the Week.” Each week, a new student gets this “honour.” They are in charge of teaching the class about themselves through a speech, pictures, sharing special items from home, and through completing different writing activities.
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The “Wonder Wall” is the first thing you notice when you enter Karen Lirenman’s classroom. It is a way for students to learn about asking and answering questions. It is also a way to feel comfortable and take ownership of their classroom. Students are allowed, at any time, to write questions on the wall. Karen encourages feedback from the class and scribes their answers to these questions on a post-it note. Students can ask questions about the classroom, things they are wondering about with their work, or they can ask direct questions about their teacher and build rapport in that way.
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It was very special to observe “community read.” This takes place first thing in the morning where parents, caregivers, and even siblings (along with mom or dad) are invited to come and read with their children. A neat feature of “community read” is that students are also able to read using the iPads that are loaded with interactive stories.
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These grade ones have been learning about blogging. As an authentic writing assignment, Karen read the students a book called “Boy and Bot.” After hearing the story, students blogged about the story and the author responded personally to each blog. The students even tweeted about their reading, and had the author tweet back to them. In this picture the students are reading what the author wrote to each student.
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Students in Karen’s class have their own folder of books. When it is quiet reading time, they access their books quickly and have a nice selection from which to read.

Picture 13 Picture 14It’s writing time! Karen’s philosophy is all about choices and authentic learning. I observed many different kinds of writing in Karen’s class. There is one rule: the first 10 minutes of writing time must be silent. The format and style of the writing is up to each student’s personal choice. Some students choose to blog about a topic of interest on an iPad. In the second picture, students are writing with “smelly felts” on coloured paper. Students also have a “free write” journal where they can write stories, and there is a paper including “First, next, then, last,” for those students who feel comforted by a highly structured format. The book pictured below is where Karen has gotten many of her ideas for an authentic writing experience for her students.

Picture 15 Picture 16 Picture 17 Picture 18In the last part of the day I observed a math lesson on area. Again, students have the freedom of choice in choosing a math centre. Examples of math centres include:

  • choosing different sized mittens and finding out how many shape-blocks it would take to fill each mitten
  • taking off one of their shoes and counting how many objects it takes to fill one shoe
  • choosing a number, for example 10, and making shapes with unifix cubes using 10 cubes each time to show that the area can be the same although the shape may look different

Because Karen is lucky enough to have a class set of iPads full-time, students always have access to their blogs. They have the choice to blog their learning in math after they have completed the task.

The way Karen teaches her students to use technology to display their learning in an authentic way is something I am working toward in my own classroom. Her philosophy about student-driven learning is evident in the way she offers choices for many activities in her classroom. I had an interesting and inspiring day in Karen Lirenman’s Grade 1 class.

A special THANK YOU to Karen Lirenman and her wonderful class and parents. Thank you as well to the staff and administration at Karen’s in Surrey, B.C.