Author Archives: Ms. McClellan

Term 3 Week 4 Update

Here we are at the end of Week 4. Today was an important day here at HFS with our CIS inspection. The students in Ottawa class happily greeted Mr. Eric and were pleased to have him visit us during our story time and our PE time.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in interest during developmental play time. The children have really started noticing all the craft supplies we have around the classroom and wanted to get creative. We played with sequins, Popsicle sticks, coloured paper, and a mess of white glue. The children made some beautiful creations! This creativity hasn’t been limited to just arts and crafts either. There’s been an increased interest in using Lego to create structures and automobiles and imaginative re-purposing of small toys and string as popcorn, pasta, and cake.

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In Phonics we began looking at digraphs. This week was TH and CH. We made posters with words we knew that had those digraphs, built words with magnets, and practiced our reading with flashcards.

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We’ve added some new centres and students are showing their amazing reading development. Each group is moving on to more complex centres.

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We saw the last of our seeds get potted this week and now everyone’s bean is growing. We learned about how we can eat all the different parts of a plant depending on what vegetable it is (did you know broccoli was a flower?) and we learned about the plant life cycle from seed to seedling to sprout to adult plant. All of this was recorded in our lapbooks.

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In writing we worked on guided writing and writing from a prompt. The students are making excellent progress.

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In Math, we’re slowly working through addition to 10. These skills need to move a little more slowly so students have a strong base of understanding to help them as they progress through school.

That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you well-rested on Monday ready for another great week of learning.

Week 3 Update

Here we are at the end of another wonderful week. And what a way to end it – a Green Day cleanup in the park. The students had a great time and especially loved the ice cream at the end.

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And as we celebrate this wonderful weather, we took advantage of the play structure here at the Hanmaeum Centre for our PE classes this week.

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The weather is certainly helping our plants that we’re observing in IPC grow. 4 more seeds were germinated enough to pot as we learned in our observation walk. So, we potted them and they’re being well taken care of.

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But we’re not just observing plants grow. This week we learned what plants need to grow and about the different parts of a plant and what those parts do. This was recorded in the lapbook we’re making.

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We finished up all our short vowels (finishing with U and a review) this week. I’m so impressed by how well the students can read and write CVC words.

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In writing we did a language experienced shared writing. We wrote about our field trip to HHI arts last week. In a shared writing, the students compose the text as a class and I scribe what they say. We also edited the piece. Then, I typed it up, we reviewed it, and we created a poster to publish the piece.

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With all this learning we certainly didn’t forget about Parents’ Day on Wednesday. I hope you like the flower art we created for you!

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We continued learning math using centres. This week we started addition.

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Lots of learning was packed into this short week and there’s more to come next week. Have a restful weekend and we’ll see you on Monday!

Term 3 Week 2 Update

What a fun week we’ve had! Finally the sun came out and we were able to go outdoors for play. Also the sun is helping our beans germinate. We’ve been looking at our beans and drawing their progress in our seed journal. We’re also observing the beans of all of our friends in the class. One bean was ready to be potted this week so it’s in soil now and growing strong. Hopefully with sun over the weekend even more will be ready next week.

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We also began creating our All About Plants lapbook that we will be adding to as we continue to explore how things grow and the lifecycles of plants.

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Math centres is proving to be a successful way to teach all the varying levels of math necessary with such a diverse group of children. We have several stations and the children rotate through the stations doing activities targeted to their learning needs.

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We focused on the short vowels E and O this week in phonics as we continue making words with our phonics knowledge. I am very impressed with the learning all the children are doing! And of course we balanced our whole-group phonics lessons with targeted centres.

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Today was a very special day as we went to HHI Arts to see a gallery of illustrations by various children’s authors. The students got to participate in some hands-on activities and also tour the gallery.

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Have a great long weekend and we’ll see you after the break!

Term 3 Week 1 Update

Well we’re back! I hope everyone had a restful break. We’ve got a short term with lots to pack in. The weather hasn’t been nice this week so we’ve had a lot of indoor recesses. The forecast for Saturday is bright and sunny so please take advantage of that weather and get your children outside. The rain starts again on Monday.

We kicked off a new phonics unit called Letters to Words. We’ve begun building words with our phonics knowledge. We’re currently working on CVC words which is Consonant Vowel Consonant words (such as cat, sat, pig, etc). This week we focussed on short A and short I words. The children did wonderfully. They built their CVC words using magnets independently, read flash cards, built words on the board for the whole class to see, and even wrote words independently on their whiteboards.

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Instead of alternating days of phonics and centres this term, we will be splitting our lesson into half phonics, half centres. During centres time one group a day will do guided reading with me.

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Our Writer’s Workshop has moved onto our narrators unit. As the children develop we will be doing a combination of free writing and guided writing. We will also be writing with more prompts. One of the prompts I’d like to begin with is recalling a past vacation. Please email me at a great photo of your child on vacation so they can write a story about it. I would like to do this activity on Thursday so please have all photos emailed to me by Wednesday.

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As the math we are doing becomes more complicated for the younger children, we will be working more in a guided math/centres style for math with each group of children getting lessons targeted at their level. This will begin next week.

In IPC we began our Green Thumb unit all about growing plants. We began by taking a walk around the Hanmaeum Centre looking at all the new plants growing in the spring.

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And we’ve started an experiment. We are growing beans in bags. The students put a wet paper towel and a cannelli bean into a ziplock bag. They drew what it looked like in their Seed Journal and then I hung the beans in the window. If all goes well, we will see some roots and sprouts starting soon. When the beans are germinated, we’ll pot them.

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We kicked off this first week back with our Conflict Resolution morning meetings. This week we talked about anger, our reactions to it, and how we can keep our anger at a reasonable level and move to calm down.


That’s all for this week! Have a great weekend and please enjoy that sun!

Week 13 Update

Wow! We made it! Another term is here and gone and now it’s time for a much-deserved holiday.

We continued with Morning Meetings as we do every day although we didn’t have a specific focus. We played some developmental games such as lining up by order of which floor we lived in our apartments without speaking, making a clapping pattern go around the room, and trying to stand up back to back with clocked elbows. All of these showed the need for teamwork and cooperation.

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Our themed Morning Meetings will begin again next term where we will learn about conflict resolution. We’ll focus on how to deal with our own anger and how to react when someone is angry at us. This curriculum lasts about 8 weeks so it will take us for most of the term.

We finished our initial sounds phonics unit this week and the students were excited that their phonics book was complete. We will begin our 3rd phonics unit next term Letters to Words. We’ll be looking at CVC words, CVCe words, blends, and digraphs.

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Our Storytellers unit in Writer’s Workshop is complete and we will be moving on to writing narratives as our first unit after the holiday. We completed this unit by writing our own storybooks which the students proudly took home yesterday.

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In IPC we finished off our unit by looking at different houses around the world and the different materials they were made of. Then we made our own houses. Next term we’ll begin by looking at how things grow. A great unit for the spring.

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The students had some really creative developmental play this week. They are speaking more and more English to each other and that’s wonderful to see. The language development of the children is beautiful to behold. They love to tell jokes and stories both to me and to each other.

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I hope your holiday is restful and everyone comes back to school refreshed and ready to learn in Term 3. See you on April 22!

Week 12 Update

Another week has come and gone. We’ve nearly made it to the end!

Many of our units are beginning to wrap up. Our Kindness Morning Meeting curriculum has come to a close with a reminder that just because we’re not talking about kindness every day doesn’t mean we stop being kind. Kindness is part of our everyday lives here at HFS and at home.

We have two initial sounds left in our phonics curriculum. As such, we will not be doing centres or guided reading next week. In the new term we will begin a new phonics unit and continue to rotate it with centres and guided reading. I’m excited to see the students growing already with this targeted learning.

A couple weeks ago, we initiated something new called Fast Finishers. The students now have a workbook of literacy exercises they can work on when they finish their work early. These workbooks are different depending on each child’s literacy needs. Sometimes the students still have the opportunity to explore books silently and sometimes they work on their Fast Finishers. Speaking of exploring books, I placed the two books our class made during Term One into our class library and the students really love reading them.

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As our IPC unit begins to wrap up, we will be adding another homemade book to our collection. As a consolidation of learning, we had a little friend named Mr. Mole come visit our class. Mr. Mole doesn’t like the sun and was in need of a sunhat. The students used their knowledge of different materials to design a hat that would keep the sun out of Mr. Mole’s eyes. We even went outside and tested our hats on a sunny day. I took lots of photos and we collected them to make a book. We will be presenting this book at the final assembly. Mr. Mole will probably make an appearance.

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In PE we played a few new games. We played a parachute game called Cat and Mouse where one student (the mouse) crawled under the parachute while another student (the cat) crawled on top trying to catch the mouse. The other students in the class made the parachute wave up and down giving the mouse plenty of places to hide. We introduced a new game of tag where the person being chased got a 5 second respite if they stepped inside one of the hula hoops placed around the floor. Since last term we’ve been trying a teamwork exercise where the students hold hands and pass a hula hoop around the circle, up and over their bodies, without breaking hands. I began timing the students last week and we started with a time of 1 minute 19 seconds. Today we had our best time yet of 37 seconds. We also worked on coordination and teamwork by playing Carry the Ball in Pairs. The students couldn’t use their hands and had to press the ball between their bodies in any number of ways to carry it across the hall. They had great fun.

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During math we worked with some pretty high numbers. The students were excited to show that they could count by twos to twenty without looking at the number line and most of them could count by fives all the way to 100! We spent a lot of time placing higher numbers in order and we even made a 100s chart which is now hanging on the wall.

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Our play dough stock has been replenished so the students were excited to use that during some of their developmental play time. The students are still playing many types of make believe situations with family and home life often being the centre of the play right now.

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Our storytellers unit is coming to a close. We learned how to extend our stories by asking the 5 W’s (Who? What? Where? Why? When?). Next week we will focus on making sure our stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We will finish by making small storybooks. I am please with what all the children can do so far.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Monday for one last week before the break!

Week 11 Update

Wow! Another week is here and gone. We’re nearly at the end of the term. Our learning isn’t slowing down, however.

We’re continuing to alternate phonics and centres. Today was an exciting day: we began guided reading. On Wednesday, I measured all the children’s heights so they could be issued their Guided Reading License (check your child’s backpack, it should have gone home today).


During guided reading, the children stay with their Just Right Groups and come sit with me for small-group, targeted reading lessons. Some groups worked on letter sound and recognition, others worked on identifying rhyme, many learned how to point at each word when they’re reading to learn 1:1 word and print recognition.

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During our Writer’s Workshop, we continued on our Storytellers unit and began looking at some of the mechanics of writing. For example, we practiced when to use capital letters when writing.


There was a lot of learning packed into our Math Buddies this week. We learned to skip count by 5’s to 20. We practiced tallying. We counted out 100 objects in groups of 10 to practice counting by 10’s to 100. Finally, we started working on place value. We learned that numbers 21-29 are two tens and some ones. We will continue working on groups of “ten and then some” as we continue with numbers higher than 29 next week. And, of course, we continued to review our teen numbers.

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In IPC we continued to explore “What’s it Made Of” and examined what happens to different materials when we apply different forces to them. We organised our findings into a report poster.

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Building with Lego has become a favourite passtime during developmental play. It helps students with creative thinking, problem solving, and manual dexterity.


As our term comes to a close, so does our Kindness Morning Meetings. The lessons we’ve learned these last 7 weeks have really impacted the class. They are becoming a more empathetic group of children and it’s wonderful to see. This week, we began by visualising how our kind words and actions ripple out into the world. Next week we will review the lessons learned and that will close off the unit. That doesn’t mean we’ll stop learning about kindness or stop having morning meetings however! You can view the teaching plan for next week here: Week 8 kindness project review

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As always, have a great weekend and we’ll see you refreshed and ready to learn on Monday!


100 Objects for Math

In Math Buddies we are working in depth with the numbers to 100. To this end, each student will be counting 100 objects on Thursday.

Please send your child to school with 100 small objects on Thursday March 21st.

These objects can be:

  • paper clips
  • bottle caps
  • stones
  • pompoms
  • beans

Those are just some suggestions. Any small object will do.

Unless you indicate you do not want the items returned, they will be returned when our unit is complete.

Week 10 Update

Whew, another week is complete. It was great to finish the week off with our Pajamma Day. Congratulations to Olivia who won the school “craziest pajammas” award. We had a full day of learning while feeling comfortable.

We’re continuing to alternate days of phonics and centres. The students still needed some practice working on their centres independently so we will try guided reading again next week. During writer’s workshop, we continued trying to write stories. I’m very impressed by the work the children are doing.

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In Math Buddies, we’ve moved onto our unit of numbers to 100. We started skip-counting by twos to twenty. Also because our math is a spiral curriculum we also spent time reviewing shapes from last week and teen numbers from our previous unit.


In IPC we continued looking at What’s It Made Of and made a craftivity exploring our favourite object and its materials.


In our Kindness Morning Meetings we finished off the week signing a Friendship Promise which now hangs proudly on our door. Our kindness curriculum is nearing an end with only two weeks to go. Next week we’ll learn about random acts of kindness. You can find the curriculum here: Week 7 random acts of kindness


Have a great weekend and we’ll see everyone back on Monday.