Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Thank you Baby Ben (and Tanis)!

As most of you know, we have been a Roots of Empathy class this year. Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression. P1 was proud to be Swansea's first Roots' class and to be a part of the 500,000 children who have participated in ROE programming.

On Monday, we will have our final meeting with Dr. Andrea, Ben and his mom Tanis. It has been an incredible experience. I have very much enjoyed watching Ben and the students grow and develop over the year. A huge thank you to Dr. Andrea, Ben and Tanis for sharing this program with us.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Going for a walk

On Monday, June 3, we will be walking to the Runnymede branch of the public library. The library program coordinator has a couple of activities planned to introduce the library to the students, help them locate books that might be of interest and tell them about summer reading programs at the library.

We will leave right after lunch (once attendance is done) and will return for afternoon recess at 2.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Tips for Watching French TV/Movies

We have been enjoying Téléfrançais in class, and I am impressed with how well the students seem to be following along and what they are able to pick out and understand of the French dialogue.

Movies are a great way to practise their French listening and comprehension so if you have access to French programming or can flip the language settings on their favourite DVDs, here are some tips to help your student. (I would recommend about 20 minutes in French.)

Strategies for watching a movie in French

* Look at the pictures / animations and try to figure out what is happening.
* Watch the expressions of the characters and pay attention to their body language to help you understand the movie.
* Look up a summary of the movie in French (une sommaire).
If at home you could watch the movie in your first language before viewing it in French. This might help improve your understanding.
* Use your prior knowledge (that's your schema at work again!) to help you understand the movie. Listen for words you know already (les mots connus) and for words that sound like English words (les mots amis).
* DON’T STRESS OUT if you don’t understand every word! Focus on listening for words you know, watching the action in the movie, and trying to piece together what’s happening.
* Enjoy the movie and enjoy practising French in a really fun way!

Friday, 3 May 2013

What's coming in May

May is shaping up to be a busy month in P1.

We will participate in Music Monday and the tree dedication ceremony for Mr. Samson this Monday (May 6). Several of our students have advanced to the conference track and field competitions to be held May 24th. Félicitations! And several of the girls will be joining me May 15th for the Grade 6 girls soccer tournament at Rockcliffe PS.

On the academic side, we have begun our study of le Moyen Age in les études sociales and it will take up a lot of our time in French as well as students work to learn the vocabulary as well as the history of the time. In Science, we are part way through Lights and Sounds. In math, we have moved on to division and will probably be working on fractions by the end of the month.

I am pushing the students towards more independence in French and most are rising to the challenge. Please encourage them to read out loud to you and use our strategies (looking for familiar words, words that are similar to English and using context and/or pictures) to increase comprehension. We have been watching some French programming and I am pleased with how much they catch. They can pratise this at home by flipping a favourite DVD to the French language track.

We have a couple of exciting activities for science and les études sociales planned for later in the month, early June. I will send more news home closer to the dates.


Friday, 12 April 2013

Les Bescherelles

As we move towards more and more independent reading and writing in French, students might find it beneficial to have access to a Bescherelle, a guide to conjugating 100s of French verbs. This is the type of resource they can, and probably will, use throughout their French schooling careers. I still double check mine for some of the irregular verbs.

I was not able to find any in stock at Chapters in Bloor West Village, but it is available on the Chapters website. I also located a (less expensive) version on Amazon's website. You may have some luck at local bookstores as well.

It is not a mandatory resource.

Chapters Indigo


Bonne fin de semaine!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Coming up in April in P1

Well, it looks like spring might finally be making an appearance. I know I am looking forward to the warmer days so we can, maybe, head outside and not just for DPA. We will be starting lights and sound in science so it'd be great to have some sunny days to experiment with sounds, sunlight and shadows outside.

We'll wrap up perimeter and area in math this week. Next up is multiplication and division and measuring elapsed time. In les études sociales, we'll soon be starting le Moyen Age.  I think we'll have a lot of fun learning about les chevaliers, les chateaux and la noblesse.

We've been doing a lot of work with verbs and simple sentence structure in French and I am encouraging students to select French books from the library. If you have a few minutes at home, please ask them to read to you and encourage them to use context clues like pictures and familiar words (les mots amis) to support their comprehension.

I am very excited about a project we are working on with Mr. Higgins. The students have worked very hard and stretched their creativity on this wrap up to our work in the drama workshops. I think you will be very impressed!

Last, but not least, this Wednesday is International Pink Day, a day to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of bullying and discrimination in schools and communities. Swansea students and staff will be putting on the pink to celebrate this important day!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Welcome back!

It sounds like many of the P1 families had some great adventures and also found time to relax over March Break.

Today, we started a visual arts project to support Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Households and businesses are encouraged to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.

This year's Earth Hour is Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m.  Swansea will hold our own Earth Hour Friday, March 22 from 2-3 p.m.

Earth Hour 2013 Official Video

Friday, 1 March 2013

More Messy Science

We wrapped up our unit on rocks and minerals with a few quick hands-on activities today.

The first was our graham cracker earthquakes. The graham crackers represented the tectonic plates (part of the earth's crust) and we used blobs of white icing as the earth's mantle. The experiment demonstrates the forces that create earthquakes. It also shows the tension that can build up before a quake and the resultant debris created along a fault.

Our grand finale was the baking soda-vinegar volcano. Though it doesn't really demonstrate a true volcanic reaction, it was a fun way to wrap it all up.

I promised the students I would post the directions so they can, with permission, try a larger volcano at home (I kept them quite small and contained -- minimal cleanup!)

So, here they are:
1/4 cup vinegar (up to a cup if you have a large bottle)
2 tablespoons baking soda
jello granules (about a tsp or two; add more if you want more colour)

Mix the baking soda and jello crystals and use a funnel to get the mixture in the bottle. That's it. When you're ready for the erupting volcano, use a funnel to pour all the vinegar into the bottle at once, then take the funnel out quickly. The key is to get all the vinegar into to bottle as fast as possible and move out of the way. It won't explode, but lava bubbles do ooze out pretty fast once the reaction starts.

Have fun!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Wear Pink on Wednesday

Just a reminder that Wednesday is our Pink Day. Students are asked to wear pink in support of anti-bullying. The entire school will participate in an assembly Wednesday morning where the Grade 4s (and Grade 3) will perform Stand Up (Make Some Noise.)

Also, another reminder to send your contact information to our classroom parent Kathy Richmond ( if you haven't already done so. Thanks! 

This week's dictée sentences are on the dictée page.

Bonne semaine!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Make Some Noise!!

Good news!

The Character Education assembly has been rescheduled so that we will be able to participate. I am attaching two links to Stand Up (Make Some Noise): the official video and a second copy of the video that has the lyrics. There are some spelling and grammar mistakes in the second video, but it gives you a starting point to learn the song.

Practise, practise, practise and we'll show Ms Vlassis what great performers you are at the next Grade 4 choir practice!

Stand Up (Make Some Noise) -- official video

Stand Up (Make Some Noise) -- lyrics

Stand up and make some noise! :)

If you see this link, please let other P1 students know. Not everyone checks the website regularly. Merci!

Get Connected

Swansea School Counci is starting up a class coordinator program.

Each class coordinator is a parent in your child's class who will help the teacher and school council communicate with parents and recruit volunteers as needed. They will also collect and share contact information with parents.

Our coordinator is Kathy Richmond, Hannah's mom. If you want to be on the class list, please email Kathy with the following information:
  • Your child's name
  • Your name
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address

Kathy's email address is

Friday, 8 February 2013

Buses cancelled, schools open

As of 6:00 this morning, TDSB has cancelled buses but the schools will remain open.

Updates will be posted here: TDSB main page

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Let it snow, let it snow...

Bonne fête Gian.

Enviornment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the city of Toronto. Parents and/or students can check a variety of sources in the morning for bus and school updates:

The Weather Network

The TDSB main page

CP24 and Breakfast Television both carry updates on air and on their websites.

I will try to post any updates here, as well.

Stay safe if you are on the roads tonight, and I hope to see everyone in the morning.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Commander Hadfield in Space

We have had a great day in P1. I am amazed at how brave the students have been with these simple drama exercises. They have really put themselves out there and taken risks. I am looking forward to using these strategies in English and French!

In talking about flight, freedom and different ways to view the world, we had a brief discussion about Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He is currently on the International Space Station and has been broadcasting some fantastic videos and photographs.

I am attaching a link to his 20-minute "chat" with a group of students at Milton's Chris Hadfield Public School. If you have a chance to watch it, it is a fun and fascinating chat.

Commander Hadfield in Space

Sunday, 27 January 2013

What's on this week?

We are all looking forward to Monday in P1.

In the morning, Dr. Andrea will be visiting to set the stage for our next visit with Tanis and Baby Ben (February 4th). I know the students love their visits with Ben and his mom, but Dr. Andrea's visits are also a lot of fun and I think we are learning a lot! The students have been very respectful of Ben's needs and ask well-thought out questions about his growth and development.

Monday afternoon, we will welcome a very special visitor. Miss Lorna Wilson will be leading us in the first of four half-day workshops in drama. This is a TDSB initiative that allows me to work, and co-teach, with a drama specialist. Watch this space for pictures, maybe even some video!

Just a reminder that we do have swimming first thing Monday morning. And students should bring their library books, too, please.

Oh, and don't forget to check out our camouflaged chameleons artwork page. I am very impressed with the work they did.

À demain!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Les lutins cordonniers

Next Tuesday (January 22nd), our class will have the opportunity to see a play presented by the Little Red Theatre. The presentation will be in our gym and will the Grimm's Fairy Tale Les lutins cordonniers (The Elves and the Shoemaker.)

I was able to find a French audio file of the story:

Les lutins cordonniers

It can be helpful for the students to hear and/or read the story in English, as well, especially if they aren't already familiar with it.

An English online version can be found at:

The Elves and the Shoemaker (with printable colouring pages)

And finally a video version of the story:

The Elves and the Shoemaker (animated)

The cost of the performance is $2 per student. I will send home permission forms tomorrow.


Friday, 11 January 2013

School is open!

I know it has been a yo-yo, but Swansea will be open today (Friday, January 11). If you are sending your child, please remind them that it is a regular day so we should have swimming first thing this morning.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Welcome-Bienvenue 2013!

Bonne heureuse année à tous!

I hope all of my P1 students and their families have had a relaxing holiday full of fun, family and friends. Thank you all for the cards, gifts and donations in Tom Samson's name -- I appreciate them all very much!

Just a quick reminder that the students have gym first thing in the morning. With all this fluffy white stuff on the ground, please be sure to bring your gym shoes so you can change out of your boots.

I'm really looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow and hearing all about your holidays.