Friday, March 20, 2015

Commenting on Blog Posts

Now that we are pros at posting to our Kidblogs, we are ready to start commenting on each other's posts! We have talked about what quality comments look like and everyone understands the criteria. Just like with posts, comments must be approved by me so if they don't meet the criteria they don't get published. The purpose of commenting is to generate conversation, just like you would in person. If someone tells you a story you respond to them and ask questions to get more details. This is what we are trying to do with commenting on blog posts.

It always feels great to get a comment and know that there are people out there reading your posts, but we are hoping to generate discussion with our comments. "Dead end" comments are kind and usually involve a compliment. For example, "Great job on your post, Leslie!" A "highway comment" is kind and complimentary but it also opens the door for discussion to begin. For example, "I really enjoyed reading your post, Leslie. I am reading it in Vancouver, Canada. Can you find that on a map? In Vancouver it is warm and sunny right now. What is the weather like in Winnipeg?" When a commenter asks a question, the blogger can reply to their comment with the answer and perhaps another question.

Our criteria for quality commenting on blog posts is: 
Be kind and appropriate. 
Give a compliment or make a connection. 
Ask a question. 
Re-read your comment for spelling, punctuation and upper case letters. 
Sign your first name only.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The New Canadian Kid by MTYP

Today we saw a play called "The New Canadian Kid" by MTYP.

It was about a boy named Nick from "Homeland" (a pretend, foreign country) who moves to Canada. -Kate

At first he didn't like it because everything was different and then he liked it because Mencha (a boy) was being really nice to Nick. -Ciera

Mag (a girl) and Mencha were not nice to Nick at first at school but then Mencha starts to be nice. Mag was still a bully to him. The play was really perfect. -Anthony

In the end, Nick and Mencha were best friends. Mag and Nick got along. -Addison

The actors were very serious and they didn't laugh when we laughed. -Addison

All the people in the play live in Winnipeg. The play was awesome because they were really good at acting. -Ciera

Two actors ate real stuff! One ate crackers and one ate pudding (or maybe applesauce). -Jaden

It was funny and it was nice. -Abbey

The whole play was in another language when the Canadian kids were talking. The author made it up because they wanted to make it for us to feel like we are the new kid that doesn't know the language. Everything they did at school was the same as us but just in the made up language. -Haylee

I thought this play was brilliant in that the author created a situation for the audience to experience coming to a new country where they don't understand a single word. The "newcomers", Nick and his mom, speak in English and the "Canadians", Mag and Mencha, speak in this made up language that has similarities to English. So we could kind of get the gist of what they were saying but really had to rely on watching their actions. It was also interesting to me how in the 45 minute play I could pick up some of the words they used and their meaning. You can see more information on this play at MTYP by clicking on the title link at the top of this post. -Mrs. Dent Scarcello :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Buffalo Represents Respect and the Bear Represents Courage

Today we had a special guest, Mr. Delorme who was talking to us about the 7 Sacred Teachings. He focused on the bear which represents courage and the bison which represents respect. We talked about when kids need to have courage and respect. He also passed around parts of the bison that Aboriginal people used. It was really neat! Things like a tooth, horn, fur, bladder, hoof, etc and he told us how they used each of those items for a purpose. 

Each class in our school will get to learn from Mr. Delorme and then we will all be doing a letter writing project with another school.

I got to touch a real bird's feather. It was cool that we got to touch the buffalo's bladder.  -Gabby

It's cool that I got to touch a buffalo's tooth! -Adam

I like feeling the fur on the buffalo. -Evan

The horn on the buffalo was smooth. -Ciera

It's cool that I got to feel the buffalo's tooth. -Kate

It's like cool that I got to feel the buffalo's fur because it feels kind of rough a little bit. -Jaden

When the buffalo has to go pee the bladder holds the pee. The people use the bladder as a bag! -Kate

It was cool feeling the brains because it was softer than I thought it would feel like. -Adam


Today we did a Fit-a-thon. When we do a Fit-a-thon we run. -Kate
We have 2 pylons set up in front of us then the one near the track is the mailbox then after you run you get a stick from the middle of the circle. -Addison
It is called the mailbox because there are lots of them and you have to run around them. The inside pylon is called the house. That's where you wait for someone to run around and then come and high five you. The sticks are for keeping count of your laps. -Evan
You run around all the cones. They are in a circle. I didn't get tired. -Gabby
We couldn't run our fastest because Mrs. Rand said to go medium pace so you don't trip and fall or run out of energy. -Haylee
In the Fit-a-thon you have 2 or 3 people with you and you run for a long time and you have to take turns running and it's really fun! -Adam
We ran for 15 minutes. We put music on and we went through 4 or 5 songs in 15 minutes. -Jaden
It felt like we ran for 2 hours! -Sean
Mrs. Rand and Mrs. Knoll and Mrs. Dent Scarcello and 2 parent volunteers were watching us. -Ciera

An Exciting Guest Reader!!

This week we were very lucky to have a special guest reader! Frankie Hollywood from Energy 106 came and read "Yuck, A Love Story" to us. It was so fun! He was a very energetic guest. He told us that he has been a morning radio personality for 25 years. He has to wake up at 2:45 AM!!! That is so early! He reads for 2 hours before he goes to work. He has to read the latest news, celebrity gossip, and sports news so that he knows what is up for his radio show. He told us reading is very important for his job. He also recorded us saying "Bird's Hill School loves to read" and then played it on the radio twice the next morning! We got to ask him questions too. His favorite sport is hockey and his favorite team is the Jets. He has met a lot of celebrities like Zach Bogosian and Taylor Swift!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

We Are Live!

Our Kidblogs are live! We got to start our posts on our very own student blogs today! I bet the hoots and hollers could be heard in Portage la Prairie! 
The students have worked very hard to navigate through digital citizenship, internet safety and creating their paper blogs. You can read more about that over on this post. Today we learned how to find our blogs (here or the Kidblog link on the right side of this page), login, change our avatar, we voted on the background and we started typing our first posts! Some of the kids were so excited about it all they decided they would finish them from home tonight!
As we wrote our first posts on paper, we followed this criteria:

We will keep you updated as we continue to publish our posts and hope you will leave us a comment. Comments are what encourage the kids to keep posting!

~ Mrs. Dent Scarcello :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Juice, now Jello!

What's the best way to end the week? Making a treat to eat and learning at the same time, of course!
On Friday afternoon, we made Jello for Science. Monday, we reflected on our learning from our time in the kitchen.

I asked the kids: Why did we make Jello?
Evan explained that it would be a good way to show different states of matter when he said:
Its solid, and then liquid and then solid.

I then had the students think about and walk through our Jello making process:

We poured the sugar into the bowl, and it was a solid. (Adam)
Observing the solid crystals.
 We added hot water and we mixed it. The solid crystals dissolved. (Haylee)

Mixing to help the solid crystals dissolve in the liquid,
Next we put cold water and mixed it more, and then put it in the fridge (Sean)

And now... we wait!

Some further thoughts a few students had about the different states of matter that the Jello moved through,..

When we put it in the fridge, it made a solid, and when we ate it, it turned into a liquid in our mouth. (Katelyn)

When the Jello mixed with our saliva, it turned to a liquid (Sean)

Once the Jello was ready, everyone enjoyed a serving, and then we discussed how we could tell that the finished product was a solid. We did this by checking for the three properties of a solid.

It has mass/weight (Gabby)
It takes up space (Evan)
It keeps its shape (Chantal)

When I turned the bowl upside down, the Jello held its shape and didn't come out (Charles/Ciera)

Last but not least, the students shared some thoughts about eating the Jello!

Enjoying the finished product,
It tasted really good (Adam)

It was really delicious and I wanted another bowl (Gabby)

It tasted awesome (Katelyn)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Making Science?!

We are exploring properties of matter in Science. At the beginning of the unit, we filled out a KWL chart (What we Know, What we Want to know, and What we have Learned) about Solids, Liquids and Gases. One of the wonderings we had as a class was: what happens when you mix solids and liquids together?
We discovered that some solids don't change when mixed with a liquid, when we poured water over a wooden block.

Up next was to try and see if we could dissolve certain solids with a liquid. We found out that rice would not dissolve, but sugar would! 
Then everyone in the class got to explore with some juice crystals.

I think it’s a solid. (Gabby)

It sounds crunchy! (Evan)

Its tasty! (Sean)

Its just like orange sugar. (Kaz)

When you stir the crystals it sounds like a rattle. (Anthony)

Getting a closer look at the juice crystals.

After we added the liquid (water) we observed what happened...
Stir, stir, stir!

The water turned yellow. (Brooklyn)

It smells like orange juice. (Haylee)

The crystals are gone! (Gabby)

I think it will taste like orange juice. (Adam)

It looks yummy! (Ciera)

When you added the water the crystals dissolved! (Nathan)

After we tasted it...

It tasted awesome! (several shout outs)

Taste- testing
When the crystals and water mixed together, it tasted kind of sour, and the crystals tasted different before we added the water. (Gabby)

It’s kind of good. (Kaz)

When I was done, there were still some crystals at the bottom of my cup. (Ciera)


The class can't wait to continue exploring with different materials and states of matter. We will keep you posted on our next adventure in Science!

-Mrs. Chubey

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our Student Blog Journey. On your mark, get set, start with paper. What!?

We are on the Kidblog journey! Very soon we will each have our own live blogs. This was the plan all along but the plan was quickly put into motion when we had a few students head off on vacation after Christmas.
Typically when students go away I send a travel journal with a few activities for them to do while they are away that they get to keep after as a vacation keepsake. This time I decided to give them the option of a paper travel journal or doing it on their kidblog. I gave them a quick how-to and they were off. You can check out their awesome travel blog posts here. Also take a look at the conversations that were generated in the comments section. Very cool.

When I introduce student blogs there are some safety and ethics conversations that need to happen first. We start with a conversation about what exactly a blog is, what all the different parts are about and what it means to be a responsible digital citizen. Much of this vocabulary is new, like posts, gadgets, commenting, global audience and digital citizenship. The children need to make the connection between what they say to someone in person and what they say to or about someone online as being the same thing. They need to understand that just because they are posting to their blog on their own doesn't mean that what they post does not affect other people. And they need to understand that unlike when they write in their notebook which stays on the shelf, when they post to their blog it is for a global audience. All of this comes with great responsibility that they need to understand and take seriously.

Next we tackle blog design. I want them to take time to think about catchy, thoughtful titles, writing posts that have purpose and make sense and the fun things like gadgets and backgrounds. I have found that they take more time with this and can focus on it better if we do it on paper first. They create a paper blog, doing the fun design parts first, and then will write and edit their first blog post on paper. We discuss the elements and process expected for writing a quality blog post. Once that is complete we will discuss and create criteria for quality commenting and use sticky notes to leave comments on each others paper blogs.

It may sound like a drawn out process but I feel very strongly about the teaching that needs to take place around digital citizenship and using social media responsibly. In this day and age, we need to take online safety, responsibility and respect as seriously as we do in our classrooms and hallways.

I have adapted some of these ideas from @pernilleripp.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


My name is Mrs. Chubey and I am Mrs. Dent Scarcello's teaching partner. We share a classroom and students. I teach every day in the morning, and Mrs. Dent Scarcello teaches in the afternoon.
So far we have really enjoyed working as a team at school. We have also found many things that we have in common, such as our adorable children at home. Here is my little guy, Liam!
Liam and his Elephant (21 months)
And another, with Liam's dad and me!

Mrs. Dent Scarcello has graciously invited me to post on her blog, so that I can share what our class is up to in the morning half of our day.
Stay tuned for more posts about Math, Science, and other adventures in learning!

-Mrs. Chubey

Friday, January 16, 2015

Brilliant Children

You know those moments when a young person just amazes you? We had that today.

Yesterday afternoon I was at a meeting for all the early years technology coordinators in our school division. One of the teachers shared a few links she thought were neat. There was one that I thought would be cool to try with our class and we happened to have computer today so I decided to go for it. I spent about 5 minutes or less showing the kids the basics. Click here, type your name, pick some of these and go! This is when the magic happened. They thought it was a neat website and jumped right in. Every single student in our class created a story with actions, characters and more than one page! Some added in extra details, some focused on the actions, all of it was awesome. As our time came to an end I was bombarded with proud requests like:
"How do I keep it?"
"Can you send this to my parents?"
"I want to  make another one!"
"I want to keep adding more sentences!"
Yes please! We will definitely keep exploring this one! This time we were trying it out, the students hadn't done any pre-planning about their story. Another time I will have them plan out a beginning, middle and end before creating. But sometimes it's fun to jump right in and play first.

I managed to grab a few samples to share. You can check them out by going to this link and using any of these codes:
LPP697 (Adam's story)
NWE077 (Kaz's story)
AUP417 (Alexis' story)
ADM774 (Anthony's story)
SDT043 (my story)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's SO Cold!

We got back to school this week after our Christmas holiday. It is SO cold outside!

It's so cold that if you weren't dressed properly you could get frostbite. -Jaden

If you go outside you might get your tongue stuck to the rail. -Addison

If you were going sledding you would be going sledding once and then you would be like "I'm done" because it's so cold outside. -Katelyn

If it's very cold you should stay inside and have hot chocolate. -Anthony

On a very cold day don't walk if you want to go sledding because as soon as you get there you will want to go home because it is so cold. -Chantal

We listened to 50 Below Zero on Tumblebooks because it is so cold. -Sean

You can listen to the story here:

50 Below Zero By Robert Munsch

(retsd books)

-Mrs. Dent Scarcello's Class :)

We're Back!

Happy 2015! I am back from my mat leave and enjoyed my time with my children very much. Aren't they adorable?

Once again I will be teaching grade 2 in the afternoons and Teacher Librarian doing Inquiry Based Learning with all the classes in the school in the mornings. I love this mix very much because I still get the close connection to the students in my class and can watch them grow and learn directly and then I also get to work with all the students on a wide variety of exciting projects. I will continue to blog here about both.
I will be introducing blogging to our grade 2 class this week and we will have things to share very soon! Stay tuned!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Writing for a purpose

Since I am in the classroom half-time now (the other half is my beloved Teacher Librarian IBL position), I don't teach ELA directly to my class anymore. I really miss this because it can be so many things! My teaching partner, Candace, recently did what I think is an awesome activity with our kids.
It stemmed from a typical and never-ending classroom problem. PENCILS. Pencils can be one of the biggest headaches in a classroom. They are always missing, dull, broken or something else other than useful. But there is no way around needing them. I have tried cheap pencils, expensive pencils, mechanical pencils, tying pencils to desks and putting flags on the ends. NOTHING WORKS. This year we have had even more trouble because the pencils we bought for our class seem to be particularly frustrating. We could take a new pencil out of the box and sharpen the entire thing without using it. We sharpen it, the led falls out because it is broken inside. We sharpen it again, it breaks again. THE ENTIRE PENCIL. No joke.
Mrs. Henry and our class decided they had had enough. So they did some letter writing. I love this because it was a real-life problem that they wanted to let the company know about. They also need to learn about the writing process and more specifically the letter writing process. Win-win!
As you will see in the photos, this was a multi-step process that ended in them actually mailing the letter to the company. They brainstormed about the message that needed to be sent, putting their ideas into sentences, letter format and addressing an envelope. I can't wait to hear if they reply!


The final letter:

To Whom it May Concern,
We are grade 2 students at Birds Hill School. We are writing to let you know that we do not like the pencils we bought from your company. They do not work well. They always keep breaking, so we can’t do our work. Sometimes we have to throw away the pencils before we even get to use them because we have sharpened it so many times. The lead keeps falling out or they sharpen unevenly. Our pencil sharpener will jam. All of these problems mean that we can’t do our work. Thank you for your time.

Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Dent’s Grade 2 Class

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gifts of Grace

Our friends down the street in Ms. Clarke's Class posted about this video and project on Friday. I thought it was a beautiful idea so I shared it with the kids in our class today! Thanks Ms. Clarke! Here is the video:

I love projects like this that encourage us to think about other people, especially around Christmas, and take the focus of the material side of the holiday. We talked about how we could participate in this project and decided it was important to write a letter to our families to explain it all. The kids brainstormed the details about what the project is, why we want to help and what we can do.

Everyone has the option of bringing in gently used or new mittens, hats or warm socks and leftover Halloween candy. I will take care of picking up any extra candy we need to fill the packages. Once we have gathered our donations (by Wednesday, December 16), we will stuff the warm items with the sweet treats and make cards shaped like mittens to go with them. Pick-up or delivery of the packages will be arranged for Friday, December 20 in time for their Christmas Eve delivery to Siloam Mission!

If you have warm items or candy you would like to donate too, please email me at and I can add them to our delivery.

Thank You!!