Saturday, 21 December 2013

Happy Holidays

Dear Parents:

I feel so honoured to be your child's teacher. These first few months as we grew to know a bit about each other have been a time of enrichment and amazement. I teach a wonderful group of skilled, mature, curious, enthusiastic and talented learners. I so look forward to the next term, where the learning will continue, confidence will increase, and leadership should bubble up.

I am very thankful for the lovely Christmas cards and gifts you sent my way, as well as for the baking and prep families helped with, in order to make our small party this afternoon such a success. Many thanks for your thoughtfulness and evident support; it means a lot to a teacher!

The snow outside our window was like frosting on the cake today... you couldn't have scripted it better if you tried. Just a few magical days left and then it will be Christmas! I hope yours is a time of family, relaxation, warmth, and ease.

See you in the new year!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


This is an example of how students can share their thoughts collaboratively online, in a safe, closed "chat room". I typed a question about a novel we're reading, and students began to answer using the school's iPads. Not only can they see my question, they can see their own and everyone else's responses on their iPad. This "room" will delete in one week. Check it out! After clicking the link above, scroll down to view my first question, then the students' answers, and subsequent questions and answers.

This free collaborative space is called TodaysMeet, and requires no account or email to set it up. Great for backchannel conversations in the classroom.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Gr 4: p. 76 # 1-6 (F) (except choir singers who are exempt tonight)
(Any Gr. 4s who re-wrote their 3 x tables quiz should bring it home for a parent signature, and return to Mr. Clarke (F)
Gr 5: p. 130 # 4, 6, 7, 8 (F)

Social Studies:
Gr. 5: Text p. 135 and Natural Resources chart (T)

Div 5 did their first "Genius Hour" today (and it was great! See pictures below), and will present next Tuesday.

Div 4 has their first Genius Hour tomorrow (Friday) and they will present next Wednesday.

Our first Genius Hour prep period with Ms. Reichert's Div 5 class:

Monday, 2 December 2013

Math Homework:
Gr. 4: p. 74 # 1-7 (Th)
Gr 5: p. 129 # 1-3 (Th)

Natural Environment handout coloured (T)

Prepare for Genius Hour:
Div 4 ( (for Friday Dec 6)
Div 5 (Thursday Dec 5)

Vancouver Giants "Read to Succeed" draw will happen soon. Completed passports due asap

Report card *covers only* are to be returned to Mr. Clarke asap. You keep the report card.

3 x tables quiz ought to be signed by a parent and shown to Mr. Clarke. Next opportunity to write the quiz is this Thursday Dec 5)

Friday, 29 November 2013

Genius Hour!

Genius Hour

 Both Division 4 and Division 5 are getting ready for their first ever "Genius Hour" as part of our Science unit on Weather.

When?  Div 5 (Reichert) Thurs. Dec 5;  Div 4 (Clarke) Friday Dec 6, 2013.

What? Students need to come up with a topic of inquiry related to weather over the next few days. Any weather-related topic that lights up their enthusiasm and passion! Next week on their respective days, students will have an hour to get their presentation prepared. It is done in-class... it is not homework, although many will want to do their research at home so they are ready next week with an idea for their presentation.

I'll have paper, glue, sissors available for those who wish to make a poster about their Genius Hour topic, but if students wish to embellish, they'll need to bring in extra supplies from home. And they don't need to make a poster: their presentation could be in the form of a quick iMovie (made in-class next week), a skit, or a model they build (in class), or something they bake in our school's oven, or a voice-only recording (made at school), or whatever they can dream up. Head's up: our school does not allow internet access for devices from home, so plan accordingly.

Their burning question has to be something they can tackle themselves, and something they are passionate about. It's a chance to take a break from the teacher telling them what to study, and for an hour they get to follow their own interests.

Following their hour-long preparation class,  they'll actually present their topic during the next science class they have (Reichert's Div 5: Tues Dec 10; Clarke's Div 4: Wed Dec 11). They will have just 2 minutes to present their whole topic!

I don't mean to restrict thinking or imagination, but some typical questions students might want to find out about:

How do research planes fly into hurricanes?
Why are snowflakes crystals?
Why does cold air hold less moisture than warm air?
If the sun went out NOW, how long would it take for us to find out? 
What weather can you find on Mars?
Where is the windiest place in North America?
What animals, if any, would benefit from global warming?
What clothing would Canadians have worn 300 years ago to ward off the effects of cold winters?
What adaptations have polar bears made to withstand Arctic temperatures?
What happens in the desert when it rains?
Who was Anders Celsius, inventor of the temperature scale named after him?
What causes the 4 seasons?
Why can't scientists be better at forecasting the weather?


Math Homework:
Gr 4: Subtraction Quiz (Th); re-take of 3 x tables quiz (Th)
Gr 5: p. 124 # 8-13  and Measurement title page (M)

Handout on Natural environment coloured in pencil crayon (T)

Weather: Genius hour (Reichert's Div 5: Thurs Dec 5; Clarke's Div 4 Fri Dec 6)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Math Homework:

Gr. 4: Sign the 3 x table quiz (F), and complete handout p. 30, # 1, 2 (F)
Gr. 5: p. 124 # 1 a, c, 3, 4, 7


Genius Hour is coming soon! Ask your child all about it!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Math Homework:
Gr. 4: Be prepared for a 2-minute timed quiz on the 3 times tables (Th)
Gr. 5: p. 66, # 1-6, 10-13 (Th)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Gr. 5: p. 58 #1-7 (Th) and a Rounding Quiz (F)

Social Studies:
Gr 4 & 5: Be prepared to present your famous person interview (Th)

Tonight, students are to add their thoughts to our collaboration wall which is located here:

Students are to write a sentence or two in response to yesterday's Mystery Skype.

Speaking of the Mystery Skype, two student reporters will be posting a full debrief soon, but for now, suffice to say it was fun, and hard, and although we had narrowed the other class's location down to USA, and specifically the state of Oklahoma, we did run out of time without finding their actual town (which we subsequently found out was Piedmont, Oklahoma). Here's just a few pictures of us in action:
Mystery Skype call is underway

Each of the students has a specific job

Students collaborating to come up with the next smart question!

Congratulations to our students for sticking with it over 40 intense minutes! This town would be hard to find on most any map due to its size, but here is where it is:

Piedmont, Oklahoma, just north-west of Oklahoma City.

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Gr. 5: p. 55 # 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 (M) (Use number line for # 1, 3, 7)

Parental signature on quiz (T)
Be ready for interview (T)

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Social Studies for Div. 5 (Reichert)

Go to from your computer at home, add one new note and name it with your last name only. (F)

Social Studies for Div 4 (Clarke):
Gr 4 & 5: Parent signature on test (due next Tuesday)
Make all necessary preparations for interview (also next Tuesday)

Gr 4: Study the 7 or 8 math questions we went over in class today in preparation for tomorrow's quiz

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Social Studies:
Gr. 4 Complete the title page for the Coast Salish, using the blue sheet for criteria (W)
Gr. 5 Immigration (W)

Gr. 4: Driverless cars: article to be read and questions answered (W)
Gr. 5: Google Science Fair: article read and questions answered (W)

This was a busy weekend with lots of great posts by our student bloggers, and lots of comments as well! If you have a moment, we'd love your comments too. Just head over to and read a post or two and leave a comment. It means a lot!

Friday, 8 November 2013

What a beautiful and moving Remembrance Day ceremony today. Our class did a great job in many ways: some were in uniform and were part of the Honour Guard, some were in the Choir, some were part of the recitation of "In Flanders Fields", and some were part of a beautiful movement piece. Thanks to Ms. Dunkley who outdid herself again this year: a stirring, memorable event that was so meaningful from the youngest kindergarten students, to the grandparents at the back of the gym. I am so very proud of the respect shown today at Brooksbank.

Because Remembrance Day is a holiday, there will be no school of course on Monday 11 November.
Classes will reconvene on Tuesday 12 November.

Math homework
GR 5 only: p. 51 # 1, 3, 4, 6a, 7a, 8, 9 (Th)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Parents, I'm sure you have already bookmarked or favourited this page so you can return easily and often, but I've been asked if there is a good way to get notified when I've posted something new. Accordingly I'm reposting this from my September 15 post...

If you would like automatic email notification whenever I post homework here, you might consider using

This free service will ask you for the address here. It is

When you sign up, you'll automatically get email notification within 15 minutes or less of when I post here. The notification has ads, unfortunately, but at least it is fairly immediate (and free).

The widget on this page to the right, "Follow by email" works fine, except it only sends a summary notification once per day, usually in the middle of the night or often the next day. For this reason, I prefer the free

Monday, 4 November 2013


Gr. 4: p. 53 # 1, 2 (Th)
Gr. 5: p. 45 # 4, 6-8, 10-13 (Th)

➜Note: Photos went home from MJM Studios for those that ordered prints.

➜Vancouver Symphony Orchestra:
On Friday 22 November we are going on a field trip by transit to the Orpheum Theatre for an hour-long concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Most of the Intermediate classes will be going on different days and times, but the VSO is able to offer a reduced rate of just $7.50 per child. Earlier this year we were the recipients of free Translink day passes, so the bus/Seabus there and back will be free for our class. Please return your form and cheque for $7.50 as soon as possible.

Friday, 1 November 2013


Gr. 5: p. 45 # 1-3
Gr. 4: none

Students should complete their first blog this weekend. They should start here:

...then choose their name and enter their own password. From there, they can go to their control panel and create a first post, or if they've already started, carry on (it will be in drafts)

Reminder: Social Studies quiz next Tuesday!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween approaches!

[But first a reminder that Div 4 has a Science test on Weather on Friday, and a socials test next Tuesday].

As for the day of Halloween, students can (optionally) bring a costume to school tomorrow: we'll keep them in bags until the afternoon when we put them on. No masks, no weapon look-a-likes, no blood etc... that will have to be saved for the night of!

We, in Division 4 will also have a little party in the afternoon. Students are encouraged to bring a small contribution (cookies, etc), but not enough for the whole class... just enough for a dozen or so (otherwise we get inundated with food), they can also bring music if they like, I'll provide drinks, and Ms. Rublee and I will have several Halloween activities planned for the afternoon.

Ms Rublee leads a cool-down stretch in PE

FSL for the Gr. 5s

Trying to guess the French Halloween image

Qui est-ce??!

Monday, 28 October 2013

We're back from a great two days at the Bighouse. Pictures to follow asap. Parents if you were up there (thank you for volunteering!) and you have pictures, please do send me a link.


Science test this week: Division 5 (Reichert) Tuesday; Division 4 (Clarke) Wednesday. Students should know the definitions we covered in class, the water cycle, the difference between weather and climate, the major understandings we learned as a result of our water temperature study, the effect of the ocean, and altitude on temperature and precipitation, the need for and the limitations of measuring devices such as thermometers. All these topics we went over last week in class, and if students were missing notes, they were encouraged to seek out a classmate to borrow them so they could get caught up.

Ms. Jessie Rublee (our teacher-candidate from UBC) will be with us daily for the next two weeks, so we'll be involved in some exciting and fun activities!

Halloween costumes on the day of, but only in the afternoon, and with several restrictions which were sent out in an email by Mrs. Martin. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tomorrow the Gr 4s need to be at Brooksbank by 7:45 a.m. to catch the bus to the Bighouse. I received an email this morning from the Vice-Principal there who had this to say:

"...It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Paradise Valley.  Rather cool though.

It is cool at night, please encourage everyone to pack lots of warm clothes and a blanket that can go inside the sleeping bag.  That way our blankets can be added to the top of the sleeping bags."

Reminder: students need 2 packed bags: in the big one, (eg: duffel bag or similar) goes sleeping bag, pillow and all clothing; in the other, a small backpack which students take on the bus with them, containing rain jacket and rain pants, water bottle, and a snack for the bus. They should wear boots on the bus, but consider packing runners in their big bag.

Grade 5s: While the 4s are at the Bighouse, you'll be joined by the Gr 5s from Ms. Reichert's room, but will be taught in our room.

Gr 4s have no homework for this week... but...

Social Studies:
Gr 4: Finish and check the food, clothing, and shelter handouts (due next Tuesday)
Gr. 5: Chapter 3 handout: Part C poster (Th) and Part D paragraph (due next Tuesday)

A final reminder for all: no school this Friday as it is a District-wide Professional Development day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Two more days till the Grade 4s go up to the Bighouse, and the weather is looking promising!

For the Grade 5s, well they get to enjoy two days without their teacher bugging them! Well, actually, it will only mean that another teacher other than me will be bugging them! Small blessings I guess.

Math Homework:
Gr. 4s: p. 48 # 4-9
Gr. 5s: p. 38 # 1-7 (W)

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Gr. 4:  p. 47 # 1, 2, 3 (F)
Gr. 5:  Unit 2 Whole Numbers title page (M)

Social Studies homework:
("Where We Live" map quiz re-write for some students (F))
Gr. 4: Finish the clothing handouts (T)
Gr 5: Create a poster of famous Canadians... try to find out their background, in other words, what country their parents or grandparents emigrated from, if possible. Here's an example:

Earthquake Drill! Just a drill... not an actual earthquake. We practiced with the whole school what to do when an earthquake happens... Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Spot the teacher!

Spot the hidden kids!

The students took it very seriously... especially as I had Ms. Reichert's class for Science while she had our class for Social Studies. We talked about how school is a very safe place... only one story high, overbuilt, lots of exits, and teachers (including myself) that will not go home to their own families until every Brooksbank child is looked after, or until we are told to go home.

Then, this being Thursday, we were joined again by Ms. Rublee, our teacher-candidate currently studying Education at UBC. Last week we heard about her dedication to the sport of Sprint Canoeing, including attending the BC Games, and eventually being nationally ranked as one of the top female athletes in her sport, stopping short of the Olympics only because at that level it is a male-only Olympic sport. We saw some of her medals and we were able to lift her incredibly light but strong Canoe racing paddle.
Ms. Rublee and her Sprint Canoe racing paddle

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Science Homework:

Draw 3 thermometers showing 30° C, 5° C, and -10° C; indicate whether you would have snow or rain at each temperature, and what sort of clothing a person would be wearing at that temperature (F)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

For most students, no homework today.

In the classroom, just so you know...

We've recently started a new read-aloud novel (one of my favourites) "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle".

We've been talking in Health & Career Education about activities that students are, or are not fully in control of (choosing bedtimes, making a new friend, buying clothes, deciding what to wear, etc.)

We are making good progress in our Science unit on Weather, and there will be a quiz coming up the end of this week or next week on the content covered to date.

Grade 4s are just a little over a week away from their trip to the Bighouse on Wednesday 23 October 2013.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

No homework for the weekend unless students need to complete...

Gr 5 French Poster (T)

Gr 4 Math handout ("p 16/17") (T)

We worked on these "Major Understandings" for 2 activities:

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Gr. 4:  Get 2 times tables quiz signed; also do p. 44 # 3, 4 (F)

Social Studies:
Gr. 4: Clothing Handout p. 2 only (not p. 1)... use the drawing on the back to find answers (T)
Gr. 5: Chapter 3 Handout: Part C (a, b, c) (T)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Grade 5s: Complete your French poster tonight or if not, then in class tomorrow. Also, if a Gr 5 student has not yet brought in a picture of a famous person to introduce to the class, please help ensure that happens as soon as possible.

Social Studies:
Gr 4: Finish the food handout
Gr 5: Finish Chapter 3 glossary.

Note: Where We Live quiz (Grades 4 & 5) (Th)

Reminder regarding Bighouse for the Gr 4s: We'd like the last few parents to hand in your cheques and medical/diet forms as soon as possible. The Outdoor School staff need advance notice, and we'd like to send off all our forms as soon as we get the last few in... make cheques post-dated if you like, but please get them in to us as soon as possible. Thanks!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Math Homework:

Gr. 4s: p. 44 # 1, 2 (Venn Diagrams) (Th)

Gr. 5s: p. 27 # 1-9 (M)

Note: The Grade 4s are learning their times tables. This takes a lot of practice at home. Today I tested them on their 2 times tables (from 2 x 0 up to 2 x 12) in a timed test (2:00 minutes) where to pass no more than 3 mistakes are allowed. I'll have those marked for next Math class (Thursday). If your child gets 22/25 or better, they will have passed the test of rapid recall of the 2 times tables. If they aren't fast enough, or not accurate enough, they can retake the test no sooner than 1 week from Thursday if they and you feel they are ready. No point in retaking the test unless they have improved their speed or accuracy or both. I'll keep track of individual progress.

Just so you know, the tests look like this:

Two-minute timed test of the 2 times tables requiring 22 correct out of 25 to pass

And on another note, the class was so happy to hear that Amy was selected in 1st Place in her age group at the Lynn Valley's Got Talent event on Saturday! Congratulations to Amy and her family, and to the other contestants too. Amy was supported by family and friends as you can see from the pictures below. Wow. 1st Place!!!! What a voice!

Amy and supporters!

Amy being congratulated on her 1st Place finish by one of the judges, Holly Conway- host of the morning show on TheBeat 94.5fm,