Vanier News – May 10, 2014



Parents, don’t forget that this coming Wednesday, May 14th is an EARLY DISMISSAL at 1:27 p.m. The purpose of this early dismissal is for you to attend Student-Led Conferences. Your child will prepare work for you to see. This allows you to understand the learning progress they are making, as well as how you can further support your child’s learning at home if there are challenges.

So what role do you, as a parent, play in Student-Led Conferences?

Be supportive! Encourage your child to talk about what they have learned. If you know your child is struggling with something, ensure them that hard work WILL pay off and that together with the classroom teacher, you will be there to support them with their learning.

Be specific! Avoid comments like, “Good job”, “Nice work”, or “You’re so smart”. Use comments like, “I am really impressed by how you…”, “You worked really hard to…”, or “Tell me about…”

Let your child lead the way! Encourage your child to take a lead during the conference. Whatever your child shares with you, ask them good questions and encourage them to explain to you why they are sharing that particular piece of learning evidence.

Student-Led Conferences will run from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. and you do not need to make an appointment. Remember, your involvement in your child’s education is crucial to their success.

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A Message from Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney regarding Phase 1 of Teacher Job Action:

Dear Parents,

As you know, teachers are in a legal position to strike and beginning April 23rd, they will be in phase one of their job action. This first phase will see teachers reducing some activities like supervision and communications with management but these actions should not directly impact your child.

While there likely will be no direct impact on children in phase one, it is important to know that it will not be business as usual in our schools. Your most important point of contact for your school will remain your classroom teacher and principal as they will have the most current information as the strike progresses.

We appreciate your patience and we will continue to provide system-wide communications through our website,

Jordan Tinney
Superintendent of Schools

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PARENTING CORNER: How to Give Unconditional Love When You Didn’t Get It Yourself
Author: Dr. Laura Markham

“The key is unconditional kindness to all life, including one’s own, which we refer to as compassion.” –David R. Hawkins

All parents know that children need unconditional love to thrive. But how can we give our children something many of us haven’t really experienced?

The answer is that each of us CAN experience unconditional love — by giving it to ourselves. We do this by actively, thoughtfully, accepting our selves — imperfections and all. When we miss the mark of our own standards — as we all do, all the time — we give ourselves a compassionate hug, and resolve to give ourselves better support so we can keep moving in the right direction.

Compassion — whether it comes from inside or outside — gradually moves humans from a state of being “self-centered” to a state of being “centered in self.” Researchers say this deep self-love is the opposite of selfishness.

We become so secure in our ok-ness that we’re more emotionally generous. Anger and defensiveness begin to melt away. That lens of love softens our judgment of ourselves, which in turn makes us more loving. We’re happier people — and more peaceful parents.

Here’s how: Continue Reading…

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  • May 20 – Hot Lunch Day
  • May 28 – Parent Appreciation Tea – Please RSVP at the office or call 604-596-1030
  • May 30 – PAC Meeting – 11:00 a.m. – Noon

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This information retrieved from Georges Vanier’s Learning Commons Page.

This week in the Learning Commons we have been getting ready for Pirate Day which will be held on Thursday May 15th. Students are invited to wear a shirt with stripes, a belt, a scarf and a ‘scurvy dog’ scowl. We will be meeting our buddy classes in the gym and reading together, watching a short video and singing a pirate song or two. All primary students have made a Pirate hat to wear at the assembly.

‘Let’s Stuff the Learning Commons’ has been a great success. Next week we will take a few photos, blog our pictures and send the toys home at the end of the week on Friday.

Many students in Grade 2 have created animal research eBooks using My Story App in the Learning Commons. Check out this sample of their great work “A Moose”

Division 8 began work on making art using the work of Monet as inspiration. Students are using the ProCreate App to blend colours and creating their own ‘impressionist’ art. Next week students will be adding poems to go with their artwork and blogging their creations.

Anna Crosland M.Ed. – Teacher Librarian

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VIDEO of the WEEK: Mother’s Love
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Thank you for all you do…with no questions asked.

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  • 14 – Early dismissal at 1:27 p.m. for Student-Led Conferences
  • 15 – Pirate Day – Buddy Reading at 1:30 p.m. in gym
  • 19 – Victoria Day – Classes not in session
  • 20 – PAC Hot Lunch Day
  • 21-23 – Divisions 1-4 – Camping at Camp Elphinstone
  • 26 – Professional Development Day – Classes not in session
  • 28 – Parent Appreciation Tea – 8:45 a.m.
  • 30 – PAC Meeting – 11:00 a.m. – Noon


  • 3 – District Track Meet – Bear Creek Park
  • 9 – Welcome to Kindergarten Event – 9-10 a.m.
  • 12 – Year-end Grade 7 Band Concert – Assembly – 9:00 a.m.
  • 13 – Sports Day
  • 20 – Grade 7 Celebration – 9:00 a.m.
  • 26 – Year-End Assembly – 9:00 a.m.
  • 26 – Term 3 Reports Home/Early Dismissal at 1:27 p.m./Last day of classes
  • 27 – Administration Day for staff

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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
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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.
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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.