Author Archives: Jan Smith

A Little Alphabet Soup

Welcome, new visitors from this year’s Student Blogging Challenge!  To help you learn more about us, Huzzahnians are starting to publish their ABC of Me posts on their blogs.

[Missing links are from unpublished posts.]

Follow the links to find out who…

  • thinks artichokes look and smell weird;
  • is a fan of Messi from Argentina;
  • has driven in a Mustang convertible;
  • absolutely loves playing the guitar;
  • is a master of DIY;
  • knows what a katana is;
  • likes the colour of eggplants but not their taste;
  • is a Ravenclaw;
  • thinks Umbridge and Voldemort are jerks;
  • knows something about the octopus that I didn’t know;
  • hates zombies;
  • traps her brother at the top of the teeter-totter;
  • loves hashbrowns;
  • doesn’t like vanilla ice cream;
  • hopes to visit Italy one day;
  • thinks that the Xenomorph looks both creepy and cool;
  • knows that quail eggs are quite small;
  • has a unique collection of a certain reptile;
  • is a fan of bacon;
  • hates how onions make it look like you are crying when you chop them;
  • has held a baby kangaroo;
  • would love to meet a quokka;  
  • likes the quality of Rawlings baseball gloves;
  • knows sign language;
  • has seen elephants in Florida;
  • likes opening presents at Christmas;
  • thinks the Hubble telescope is mind-blowing;
  • is interested in a new gadget called Popsockets;
  • is curious about zebras: are they black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

Aren’t we an interesting bunch? Please follow the links, read the posts, and comment with a few ABCs of your own.

Happy blogging!

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds Flickr via Compfight cc

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The ABC of Me

As a new school year begins in the southern hemisphere, we north-of-the-equator types are heading into spring. Time for a shiny new Student Blogging Challenge! In the first week, Miss Wyatt is suggesting we reintroduce ourselves. We are drawing inspiration from Brianna’s Alphabet Post and writing our own.

Me first!

This lovely Mason Bee hatched in my backyard and enjoyed my rosemary.

I love watching people in the airport arrivals lounge. The anticipation and then the hugs when family and friends reconnect–that makes me happy. I am fascinated by bees and take pictures of them whenever I can. Mason bees in particular fascinate me. Chocolate is my favourite treat. Dark, of course.  I admire Queen Elizabeth II for her lifetime of service. I find felines far too finicky. Spring, summer and fall…you’ll find me in the garden. I have a bad habit of losing my keys. Not infrequently, either. My real first name is Janet. I come from a long line of knitters and people who laugh a lot. My mediocre superpower is that I can tell you when milk is about to go bad. I have never bungee jumped, and don’t regret it one bit. I like old things, so I collect vintage Pyrex, quilts, and rare Christmas ornaments. I would like to travel to Scotland and take part in an archaeological dig at Hadrian’s Wall.

Isn’t this a beautiful bowl? We have popcorn in a bowl like this.

In 2004-05 I sailed around the globe on a tall ship with my husband, our two kids, and  65 students and adult crew. It was a unique experience, very challenging and immensely rewarding. I learned the world is a beautiful place, and that I live x-actly where I want be. To remain young at heart, I will stay curious about people, places, and new experiences. Perhaps I will even revisit Zanzibar again after I retire!

 

And there you have it, all about me, A to Z. If you’d like to comment, why not leave a letter or three about you.

Soon, Huzzahnians’ alphabet posts will be popping up on their blogs. I hope you’ll take time to learn their ABC’s!

Photo Credit: KitchenCulinaria Flickr via Compfight cc

My Students Have Mad (Snow) Dance Skillz

Snow Dance

Canada is called the Great White North by some because of the blanket of snow that covers our country in the winter months. Neighouring provinces have already had their first blizzards and people are dealing with snow and cold weather. Our local ski resort, Mount Washington, already has 1.5 m of snow at the top.

Here in the valley, though, snow is a rarity, and snow days that close the schools are rarer still.

But the power of Snow Dance came through! A bit of wiggling, hand twinkling, turning in circles, and squinching of the eyes….and taa daa! Snow Day! I hope all my students get out, make snowmen, build snow forts, and have a snowball fight with family and friends today.

And thank you for your dance moves, Division 12.

Emergency!

Are you prepared for the Zombie apocalypse?

This silly video (aside from ArhArhArh meme that has taken over our classroom) reminds us of the three rules of emergency planning:

  • Know the risks
  • Make a plan
  • Create an emergency kit

Here in coastal British Columbia we don’t prepare for tornadoes (or zombies, for that matter), but we do anticipate earthquakes. We do regular drills where we drop-cover-hold-on-20mmacg

then evacuate the building. At our school we have first aid kits, a large emergency preparedness container, and organized plans for students to stay safe and be reunited with their families. Our staff train often to be prepared for a variety of emergency situations. Doing drills means we will stay safe, feel calmer, and be able to help each other through a difficult time.

Our Canadian neighbours in Fort McMurray, Alberta know that preparedness saves lives. Last year a devastating wildfire destroyed buildings and property in and around their community. Yet 88,000 people were safely evacuated in a very short time thanks to government organizations, local businesses (from gas stations to airlines), emergency responders, and individuals stepping up and helping.

Readers from the Student Blogging Challenge, here are your possible choices this week:

Activity #1
Readers, what natural disasters or emergencies are factors where you live? How have you prepared? If you have faced a large-scale emergency, how did you deal with it? Do you have any advice for us? Please let us know in a comment (and please leave your blog URL!).

Activity #2
Write a list post of items that a student can put in an emergency bedside kit. If you had to leave in a hurry, what could you have ready to grab-and-go? (Come back when you are done and leave your URL so we can read your post).

Activity #3
Write a post describing a natural or human-caused emergency that has happened in your community. What were the consequences? How did you, your family, or emergency responders deal with it? (Come back when you are done and leave your URL so we can read your post).

Activity #4
Please take our Emergency Preparedness Survey. We will share the results and our conclusions by mid-November. Thanks!

Stay safe, fellow bloggers!

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What is Home?

In our Global Read Aloud novel Pax, Peter tells Vola he must go home:6339990758_fd1241ebce

“So which is it? You going back for your home or for your pet?”
“They’re the same thing,” Peter said.

Inspired by  Ms. Bunker’s grade 6 & 7 students’ writing, Huzzahnians explored their own ideas of home. Some quotations from their posts with links to their blogs are below.

Home is the place where you always want to return to. Where you feel accepted, loved, needed even…It’s the place they belong. The place with their hearts. The place they call Home.. ~ Kimberly

Home is camping, campfires and making s’mores and home is Christmas, having family over and shredding the snow-capped mountain. ~ Carson

One blogger said, “Home is where you want to be but can’t” and for me that’s Hogwarts!…I also feel at home when I am in my imagination (usually imagining myself in the world of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson) cause in there everything is perfect. ~ Arielle

My other home is a hockey rink. I think that it should be a nice place to relax and a place that you can give it your all. ~ Josh

Home is where you sleep, where you are loved, where family is. ~ Kaya

My home is one of the best places to relax in. We always have super tasty cookies in the tin, have a comfortable couch to lounge in, and best of all is roasting  a marshmallow at the fire pit in the back yard. ~ Daniel

I love coming home every day getting that feeling that I know I’m safe. I’m grateful every day for my house and I always will be. ~ Kaiya

Home is a place where some rules are put in place, but it is still a very free and open place where no one is judged for being themselves. ~ Jayden

Home is were there is always someone you can rely on. Home is knowing that my dog is always open for hugs….Last but not least that weird noise that the fish tank makes is the sound of my home. ~ Kayley

Home is a place where we can feel safe and loved. When I walk up to my house and see my dogs in the window all excited to see me that puts a warm smile on my face. ~Tyler

School is also a place I can call home. I’m very grateful I get to go to a great school with awesome teachers and people.  My school friends are like family too, they can always make me laugh and smile. ~ Livea

But above all else, above home in a house, home for me is theatre. Home is opening night jitters, filled with excitement and nervousness, but mostly excitement. Home is onstage during the finale, giving it your all for that final night. ~ Lyric

It’s also a place that you know you’re loved and trusted and you can let out any emotions you have. Home is the best place! ~ Jack

Home is when you feel happy. Home is what you love. ~ Briana

If you are reading Pax (and even it you aren’t) what does “home” mean to you? Please let us know, or better yet, visit our class bloggers to share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Neuro74 Flickr via Compfight cc

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What *Does* the Fox Say?

As far as I can tell, there aren’t any foxes on Vancouver Island (correct me if I am wrong). Although we have a pretty good idea of what red foxes look like, we don’t really know what they sound like. But we are willing to guess! Some of our students took a risk and did their best uneducated fox impressions. Take a listen.

So here are actual fox vocalizations. What do you notice?

And here is a fox interacting with a dog. Notice how it moves. What do you think it is trying to communicate?

In your comment, please describe the appearance of the red foxes you see, what their vocalizations are like and how they move. Paint a picture with your words that will help us really visualize Pax.

Global Read Aloud: Pax

Today we launched into a new novel, Pax by Sara Pennypacker, along with thousands of other readers world-wide. We’re connecting with other classes through a “slow chat” on Twitter, through comments on class blogs, and through conversations with other classes right in our own building.

We began with a Breakout, designed by Nova Scotia teacher Jeff Hennigar. To keep things interesting I added a Pigpen cipher and used a QR code to access some documents. We managed to solve many of the interesting multi-step puzzles and crack four of the five locks to get into the box. But alas the clock ran out on us. Just thirty seconds more, re-checking the order of that pesky four digit lock, and we were out! The images below are captioned (mouse over the bottom of each one) so you can follow the action. Note the “sad face” photo at the end. I secretly think my students prefer posing for it more than smiling for the victory shot.

All that thinking and team work generated curiosity about the characters, conflicts, and plot of this human and animal story. Huzzahnians, you have two things to tell us in your quality comment comment today: first about the Breakout, then about your predictions for Pax.

Refer to our commenting guidelines. Make it a good ‘un!

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