PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE December was a busy and exciting month at Georges Vanier Elementary. Report cards went home at the start of the month and reading teacher comments, I can tell that many of our students are making good personal progress and responding to our efforts to make learning experiences as interesting and authentic as possible.
From December 9-13, our school held our first ever INNOVATION WEEK. It was an opportunity for students to learn about anything they wanted to, and to share their learning with others. I was particularly impressed with students’ ability to be self-directed. While INNOVATION WEEK was taking place in the gym, students in other classes were participating in Learn A New Skill week and building Rube-Goldberg machines. How fun!
Last week, we held our Christmas Concerts. Based on the feedback I received from parents, our concerts were a great success.
Thank you parents for the tremendous amount of support you give the school. On a personal note, I want to say THANK YOU for the many gifts, cards, and well-wishes I received last week – it means a lot to me and makes me feel very fortunate to be part of such a warm, welcoming, connected community like ours!
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing you all back at school on January 6, 2014!
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AUTHENTIC LEARNING: Mystery Number Skype Last week, students in Ms. Henderson and Ms. Warkentin’s classes had the opportunity to participate in an activity called Mystery Number Skype. Essentially, students connect via video conference with students from other schools trying to guess a mystery number based on questions asked. For example, students can ask questions such as:
Is your number greater than…
Is your number a prime number?
Is the digit in the hundreds place odd?
Activities such as this help students develop number sense, or an understanding of what numbers represent and how numbers are related to each other. Students also learn that playing with numbers can be fun. In fact, once we had finished the session in Ms. Henderson’s class, a student immediately asked, “When can we do this again?” What a great sign!
This week, we worked together with classes from Beaver Creek Elementary in Surrey. Thank you Mr. Monroe and Mr. Mann. We look forward to connecting with other schools in Surrey and beyond!
LEARNING COMMONS NEWS
The weather outside may have been frightful but inside the Learning Commons it was so delightful! This week we served warm apple cider, sat by our virtual cozy fire and listened to some great Christmas stories.
Students in the Vanier Learning Commons are sharing their learning with the world. Follow us on Twitter @VanierLC to find out what the students are tweeting about. All tweets are moderated by the Teacher Librarian. We only access tweets that originate from other classes, schools and educators or those we can learn from. We are excited to explore the possibilities with this new way of connecting with the world.
VIDEO of the WEEK: Paying it Forward
It feels great when people do something special for us. It feels even better when we do something special for others. Please watch and discuss this video with your child:
Here is the Monthly Math Challenge for November.
Information can be found on the bulletin board just outside the Multipurpose room in the main hallway. Solutions should be creative and can be submitted in the appropriate box at the office. Have fun!
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AUTHENTIC LEARNING – Mystery NUMBER Skype
You’ve been hearing about the many ways Georges Vanier students have been participating in authentic and fun learning by connecting with learners in other parts of the world. This past week, Grade 1 students in Mrs. Bolton’s class participated in a Mystery NUMBER Skype with students from a class in Alabama, United States. The goal of this activity was to guess the mystery number of the other class, while the other class did the same. Students learned about number sense and how to ask good questions.
PARENTING CORNER: The Changing Face of Education
Everything around us continues to change, including learners in schools. Therefore, our education system needs to evolve in order to reflect these changes. Our curriculum is currently undergoing significant change, with more focus being place on COMPETENCIES and less focus on CONTENT.
Parents, if you think back to all the facts and content you were taught in school, it is incredible to see how much of that information has changed or is no longer accurate. More and more, we are realizing that students need to focus on the development of crucial skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and personal and social awareness.
You will be hearing more and more about these changes and how these changes will be reflected in how school’s communicate student learning to you at home. Read more about these changes…
A huge thank you to all the families who came by the Learning Commons to support the Book Fair. It was a busy week with lots of special events, prizes, stories and fun. Georges Vanier students and staff also joined other schools in B.C. and across Canada to Drop Everything and Read – D.E.A.R. Students from all over the province were reading at the same time.
A new little library that lends books to families with preschoolers will be starting shortly at Vanier. More information to follow soon.
What is Innovation Week?
During the week of December 9-13, students from Grade 4-7, plus any primary students referred by their classroom teacher, will be given the time, space, and support to work on a project of their choice. Our hope is to provide independent and motivated students with a meaningful experience that will help them develop a passion for learning by giving them the chance to pursue individual learning interests.
Students will not attend their classes during this week. Instead, they will work in the Innovation Week area (gym and multipurpose room) for the entirety of their school day. Staff members will be supervising and supporting students during this time.
On the morning of Friday, December 13th, Innovators (as individuals, pairs, or groups of 3) will share their learning during an open house open to the whole community.
Here are some ideas from other schools:
Write and perform your own piece of music.
Create a how-to tutorial/video on how to do something you didn’t know how to do before.
Paint a still life on canvas of a nature scene.
Write and perform a one-person comedy act.
Research and present on the concentration camps of the Holocaust.
Choreograph and perform a dance.
Create a video highlight reel of basketball moves and plays.
Create a video documentary.
Here are the details:
Why? To foster creativity and a love of learning
When? December 9 – 13, 2013
Who? Individuals, pairs, or small groups of 3 in Grades 4-7
How? Applications will be given out during an information meeting. Listen for details.
Applications must be completed in AS MUCH DETAIL as possible.
Applications due to Mr. Vendramin by November 25th.
AUTHENTIC LEARNING – KIVA AT GEORGES VANIER
Watch the video below to learn about Kiva…
Last year, our Grade 7 students raised close to $4000 during their 30-Hour Famine. They decided to devote a third of the money raised to Kiva. This past week, students themselves researched loans they would support. Check Georges Vanier’s Kiva page to see entrepreneurs in third world countries that our students decided to support with loans: http://www.kiva.org/lender/georges5119
Students learned about poverty and global issues, while giving actual loans through KIVA. Read more below…
Kiva Ninjas making loans – making a difference.
This is an example of the real-world learning we are trying to promote at our school. Students learn first-hand about poverty, global issues, and financial responsibility. The best part is that when loans are repaid, money can be used again to fund new loans.
WE DAY – 2013 This past Friday, Mrs. Rempel and members of our Leadership Team had the opportunity to attend WE DAY at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. They heard many speakers, including Martin Luther King III. He challenged kids to do their best at whatever they choose to do. The example he used was that of a street sweeper…if you are a street sweeper, then sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry.
Students are now challenged to look at their own schools, communities, and the world, and ask the question, “What difference can I make?”
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES – October 24, 2013
YOU ARE INVITED to attend “Student-Led Conferences” at Georges Vanier Elementary on Thursday, October 24th from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
What are “Student-Led Conferences?” Student-Led Conferences are an opportunity for your child to personally share information about their learning. Your child will take the lead during the conferences, share samples of their work, demonstrate skills, discuss goals, and answer any questions you might have.
Encourage students to accept personal responsibility for their academic performance
Help students recognize and take ownership for the things that interfered with their learning success
Teach students the process of self-evaluation
Develop students’ oral communication skills and organizational skills
Increase students’ self-confidence
Enhance communication between student and parents.
We hope you are able to attend this special event. Students will be working hard to gather work samples and reflect on their progress so far this term. Please indicate below if you are able to attend your child’s Student-Led conference. If you are not able to, your child will conduct the Conference at home. Thank you in advance for your support.
PARENTING CORNER: Calm Mom: 5 Ways to Be a Present Parent
Author: Julie Kailus Source
Let’s face it, life with kids is challenging. Yet you see those moms who seem to breeze through it all, unflappable. They have an annoyingly effortless way of seeming cool, collected, kind, peaceful and in control — even when surrounded by chaos.
That composed way of mothering isn’t out of reach for you, say mindful mothering experts and moms who are borrowing techniques from practices like yoga and meditation to boost their calm-mom powers.
Congratulations to all of the great readers at Georges Vanier. Our school has circulated hundreds of ebooks from our new online collection. Most students have a login and user id. The last few class notices will be going home next week. Check it out via our Learning Commons website: http://georgesvanierlibrary.edublogs.org/ > Catalogue > Scroll to Georges Vanier > Follett Shelf
VIDEO of the WEEK: Creativity Takes Time
We know that education is much more than remembering facts and taking in as much information as possible. Education is much more about encouraging students to be creative problem solvers. Today’s students will be required to solve problems in the future that do not yet exist. Watch and discuss this video with your child. Do you give your child the time to be creative?
We know that when student work on authentic learning tasks, they see purpose in what they are doing and are motivated to do their very best. At Vanier, we continually try provide these opportunities and our students are responding. Mrs. Tracey’s class recently had the opportunity to participate in an activity called Mystery Skype. Students from different places in the world video-conference and take turns asking questions of each other, guessing where the other class is from. Students had a great time talking with students from Quakerville, Pennsylvania. We look forward to connecting with more students from around the world.
IMPORTANT PAC MEETING: Tuesday, October 8
An important PAC Meeting will take this coming Tuesday, October 8 at 9:00 a.m. Important matters are discussed at every meeting, but this week, parents will be nominated and elected to executive positions. These positions include: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
We greatly appreciate executive members who have served in the past and welcome all parents to participate in PAC meetings and events if possible.
Please see below for upcoming PAC events. See you on the 8th!
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Our cross country meet this past Tuesday was cancelled due to heavy rain, but our boys and girls soccer team managed to squeeze in 2 games each. Both teams are improving with every game and will continue with matches this coming week. We hope that the weather cooperates and we are able to attend our final 2 cross country meets on October 8 and 15 at Bear Creek Park.
Special thanks to teacher sponsors who dedicate their free time to students so athletics can take place. We are thankful for the contributions from Ms. Henderson, Mrs. Porpaczy, Mrs. Willis, Mr. White, Mrs. Silversides, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Vendramin.
We also can’t forget you – our supportive parents – for driving student athletes to games!
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PARENTING CORNER: Does Popularity Really Matter?
Author: Barbara Rowley Source
cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Ed Yourdon
My daughter Katie was only a second-grader when she used a phrase I didn’t think I’d hear for years. “I’m not popular,” she announced matter-of-factly at dinner one night. “Me and Izzy think Zoe is the most popular girl in our class.”
Instantly, I found myself defensive on her behalf, eager for my daughter to be every bit as popular as Zoe. “But you have lots of friends!” She looked back at me, seeming a bit confused. “I know,” she said. “But Zoe is popular.”
I had missed the point. At 8, Katie understood the difference between friendships and the high social status that is popularity, a distinction that kids sense—and can begin to play to—as early as preschool. “Even very young kids know who has the social power in the classroom,” says Tracy Vaillancourt, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, “and by fifth or sixth grade, popularity can become nearly all-consuming.”
Well-meaning parents (like me) encourage their kids to pursue popularity—as if it were synonymous with success. It’s not. What makes kids outcasts in school—usually an unwillingness to conform—often translates into success as an adult. Many companies—including Yahoo!—prioritize hiring quirky individuals who shun conventional thinking. When you grow up, you see that the most popular kids aren’t necessarily the ones who come out on top, but you don’t understand that when you’re 11. Social science researchers are emphatic that it doesn’t guarantee adoration, either. “Being popular is not necessarily about being well-liked,” says journalist Alexandra Robbins, who studied school society for her book The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. “It’s more about clawing your way to the top of the social hierarchy and then working your tail off to stay there.”
Georges Vanier students are reading eBooks. Our school is helping the District to pilot a new electronic book program. Students are able to browse picture books, novels and non-fiction materials. Items may also be ‘checked out’ for home reading with a student username and password. The collection is growing but already has lots of new titles and some old favourites.
Also, mark your calendars: Fall Book Fair Oct 28th to Nov 1st. Yahoo!
Our yearly Emergency Dismissal Practice took place Friday, October 4th. While nothing is perfect, feedback from both parents and staff indicate the event was a great success. We commenced the event with a fire drill, accounted for every child, moved down to the grass field, then began to dismiss students to their parents.
Thank you parents for your support and patience, and thank you staff for your leadership and teamwork. We hope we will never need to dismiss students after an emergency such as an earthquake or fire, but it is comforting to know that if it were necessary, we have a plan in place!
The world is changing rapidly. We have the challenge of preparing our children for a future that does not yet exist. Learners now need to be creative, culturally aware, problem solvers, innovators, effective communicators, collaborative, curious, responsible, productive, accountable, and leaders. Please watch and discuss this video with your child.
A “Special” Visitor creates questioning Kindergarten Students
We were fortunate this past week (though some who don’t like spiders would debate that) to have Roan, one of our Kindergarten students, share his pet tarantula with us. The most important aspect of this sharing was the wonder and awe created in our youngest students. Here is a sample of the thoughtful questions asked about Roan’s tarantula:
Question: What does it eat? Answer: Crickets. He eats four crickets once per month. He only eats live crickets that he catches in his cage. The tarantula will spin a web around the cricket and save it for feeding later.
Question: Is it poisonous? Answer: Yes, the tarantula’s spikey hairs are poisonous. If he senses danger he can project the poisonous hairs up to 6 feet to protect himself from attackers. When a human gets stung by one of these tarantula hairs, it will causes a very itchy blood blister.
Question: Why do we have to be very quiet around him? Answer: The spider is scared of loud noises and if he feels scared he might make himself look really big and then project his poisonous hairs. We want to respect the spider’s needs and also protect ourselves.
Question: Do they eat people? Answer: No, he’s too small for that.
Question: Why does he sleep? Answer: He gets tired like you and me and then he needs to sleep so he’s not tired.
Thank you to Ms, Bujan for compiling and sharing these questions.
Children who turn 5 before January 1, 2014 are eligible to begin school in September, 2013. Registration begins at all Elementary schools in Surrey on Monday, January 21, 2013. Please click here to read more…
PARENTING CORNER: PARENTING WITH LOVE AND LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES Source
How does parenting with love and logical consequences work? It works because it emphasizes learning of what the consequences are and understanding the purpose of the consequences. It teaches independence and responsibility, not only from the child learning from theconsequences of his behavior, but due to the fact the child participates in determining the consequences. Parents must always be prepared to modify the consequences depending upon the situation and the child.
A healthy child needs the setting of consequences and consistent limits because as he grows toward adulthood he will, eventually, have to face the consequences of his actions anyway. Parenting with love and logical consequences will properly prepare your child for the future.
Parenting with love and logical consequences applies to limit setting too. Limit setting refers to your expectations, regarding how you expect your child to act or behave each day. It’s important for care givers to discuss their behavioral expectations with the child in advance so that he comes to know and agree with these expectations before he breaks any of the rules. Parenting with love and logical consequences teaches the child what
the rules are and what to expect when the rules are broken.
For example, one rule of conduct might be no swearing. It’s important to go over words considered swear words, and what the consequences will be for breaking this rule. An example, of a consequence, depending upon the age of the child, is having him spend time in his room writing about swearing. How he feels hearing other kids swear? How he thinks others react to his swearing. Where he learned to swear? What are his future swearing plans? Why he swore this time? One can make the list longer in proportion to the depth of the problem. Then one can discuss the problem with the child and make the length of that discussion, also, proportional to the problem.
Hence, in parenting with love and logical consequences, the child learns about his negative behavior. Rather than simply being punished for it, he is made to think about it, and its consequences.
Setting limits work better if reasons for the rule are explained, in such a manner, that the child, not only understands the reasons, but, also, realizes it is for his own betterment. This is what parenting with love and logical consequences is all about.
What’s more, the explanation and the consequences must be age appropriate. A five year old might be simply told that swearing sounds bad, where a ten year old might be asked what he thinks of someone who swears, or that you don’t like swearing because it is often loud and upsetting, and other people find it disturbing as well. Moreover, it might be explained that swearing indicates a lack of emotional control, and we all need to learn to control our emotions to a certain degree. Thus parenting with love and logical consequences takes into account the age of the child.
Consequences work better when they can be agreed upon by both parent and child since then the child is more likely to comply with a consequence he helped create. It might be that a five year old will take a five minute time out as her consequence, but a ten year old might agree to a 10 minute time out spent in his room thinking about what he said and why it happened. As mentioned previously, they could write about what caused them to curse and what they could do to prevent it from happening next time. Then they might explain to you what they wrote. Hence, parenting with love and and logical consequences increases the child’s commitment to betterment by encouraging him to contribute to the program.
It is important to keep in mind that parenting with love and logical consequences is not a one size fits all program. The five year old might spend two minutes sitting down in the kitchen thinking about what he did and then be able to talk to you about it when he’s done. Different consequences are appropriate for different ages and different children. Tailor consequences to suit your children.
Keep in mind punishment is not the goal, but improved behavior. It is important to see that limits are consistently enforced and not changed haphazardly. This can confuse the child and prevent the consequence from effectively decreasing the undesirable behavior. If the child thinks he can talk you out of a consequence, then he will try. It is best not to listen to excuses, but simply demand the child face the agreed upon consequences forthwith. Therefore, simply tell the child to go to his room or whatever behavioral consequence was agreed upon. The more you allow the child to delay, control or change the consequences once he has misbehaved, the less effective they will be, and the more the undesirable behavior will remain or worsen. Although parenting with love and logical consequences is tailored for each unique child, it must be consistently followed and enforced.
On the other hand, it is important not to apply consequences that are too harsh. The point is not to make the child suffer, but to help him learn from his mistakes. This page isn’t meant to discuss limit setting and consequences in a detailed manner, on account of the fact that this is such a vast subject that books have been written about this topic. Reading one or two of these books and discussing any questions you might have with a counselor should save any parent a lot of time and trouble.
Unlike the Ten Commandments, these books are guides and needn’t be followed verbatim. Rather, such materials can be used as a resource upon which you can develop your own approach to limit setting, one that you can tailor to suit you and your family.
Despite my cursory introduction to parenting with love and logical consequences, this topic is extremely important for it is through the experiencing of parenting with love and logical consequences that a child becomes prepared to live with real world consequences for her actions once she leaves the safety of her home. It is through the setting of reasonable limits and consequences that a parent teaches the child to control her own behavior.
In other words, this is how the child learns self-control. This self-control applies to the child’s control of her own emotions. Imagine how difficult and confusing it must be for a child that never had the good fortune of learning how to cope with and control her own emotions? Imagine how much you can help your child with this task by providing them with, not only proper limits and consequences but providing the older child with the logical reasoning behind such goals that she can understand.
Limit and behavioral consequence setting by the parent is crucial in order for children to learn to reason what the consequences of their actions will be, and to develop the inner control to calm themselves down, after a stressful
situation. Children learn all these abilities and more chiefly from their parents.
The following is a summary of how to parent with love and logical consequences:
Make sure your child clearly understands how you expect him to behave.
Discuss the consequences of misbehavior and get his input on what those consequences might be.
Remember children are more likely to comply with consequences they helped create.
Have your child explain to you and role play what behaviors you expect of him.
Consequences for misbehavior should not emphasize punishment but learning to do the right thing by thinking about the problem and discussing it.
Have him explain the consequences so you can be sure he understands them clearly.
Don’t forget to praise and point out positive behavior and the consequences of good behavior!
Catch your child behaving positively and praise him. Try to see there are three praise statements to every
Be sure the child understands that the consequences, both negative and positive, are for his own betterment.
Be sure all behavioral expectations and consequences are age appropriate and child appropriate. Remember kids are different. Tailor consequences to suit your children.
LEARNING COMMONS NEWS
Students in Divisions 7, 8 and 9 are enjoying a lunch time reading club in the Learning Commons. We are reading ‘I Survived Hurricane Katrina’ by Lauren Tarshis. Our slogan is ‘Learning Gives you Super Powers’. Students will be learning about hurricanes, global warming, sustainability and recycling.
We will be creating student designed books, painting T Shirts and finding stamps from the countries we discuss and will have a celebration at the end of the project in March. Students will be creating a video which will be presented during an assembly and posted on the Learning Commons blog.
Reading Gives you Super Powers! – Josh Z.
A reminder that Division 7 meets on Tuesdays, Division 8 on Wednesdays and Division 9 on Thursdays.
AUTHENTIC LEARNING: Mystery Skype
This past Wednesday was a busy day for Ms. Chohan and Ms. Lutz’s class as they each participated in Mystery Skype sessions. During Mystery Skype, classes ‘virtually’ connect with other classes around the world using free video communication software called Skype. We can see them and they can see us. Classes take turns asking strategic questions, trying to figure out where the other class is from. Students learn about questioning skills, as well as directions and geography. Click here to learn more about Mystery Skype. This past week, Ms. Chohan’s class connected with a class in Budd Lake, New Jersey, while Ms. Lutz’s class got to know a class from Dominion City, Manitoba. Listen to what our students had to say about this authentic learning experience: Rohin: “I liked it [Mystery Skype] because it took us a long time and we got to answer questions and we had jobs to do.” Puneet: “At the beginning I was shy to talk, but after I spoke once or twice I wasn’t shy. Also, I really had to think twice before I wasted questions.” Aden: “I enjoyed Mystery Skype because it challenged me to pin point a location.” Risham: “I felt really good about Skyping because I liked my job. I would like to do it again!” Jocelyn: “It felt really good to meet new people from somewhere else. At first, I thought they were British. It was fun!” Maegan: “I liked it [Mystery Skype] because it was fun. I enjoyed my job as the ‘Runner’.” Kye: “It was fun doing the Mystery Skype because I liked my job, it was a bit hard in the beginning, but it was really fun afterwards.”
Ms. Chohan’s class connects virtually with students from Budd Lake, New Jersey.
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.
WHAT’S COMING UP?
January 16 – Uzume Taiko fine arts performance – 10:45 a.m.
January 21 – Kindergarten Registration Begins
January 28 – Clothes on Wheels at Vanier
February 8 – Professional Development Day – Classes not in session
February 11 – Family Day Holiday – Classes not in session
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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