May 15

Grade 4 – Self directed study

As the Grade 4 year begins to ebb closer to summer this means Grade 5 is looming… I begin to introduce skill sets that will prepare or at least give insight into what Grade 5 could look like. Self-directed study is one of those areas. I deliberately choose a topic that has high student engagement and a topic that they all have studied before (setting them up for success by building upon prior knowledge).

A study from Waterloo University states “Learning independently can be challenging, even for the brightest and most motivated students” and for the years in which I have completed Self-directed study units, I see this every single time. Despite this, I have never had one student give up. What I do see is an increase in student collaboration, thought partners to problem solve, and a quiet buzz (this year not so quiet!) of curiosity. It is a point in the year when I sit back and observe the students and how far they have come. This is not a task that one simply ‘does on a random day that nothing is planned’, there is a build-up of trust between students and teachers. In fact, the lessons that look like they have the least amount of structure, have the most amount of background structure (See John Spencer’s – awesome ‘out of the box’ educator’) .

The self-directed study needs four key stages:

-being ready to learn,

-setting learning goals,

-engaging in the learning process,

-evaluating learning.

As per my personal growth project this year, I have been working on (re) introducing Language Arts into Makerspace and building assessment tools that include 21st-century skill development and evaluation. Here is one of the tools that I am currently using, it is taken from the Bank of Resources at the University of Waterloo.

Let me show you the start of how we are moving through this exciting unit this term. Here are the first two stages as planned by a Grade 4 Student – Being Ready to learn and Setting Learning Goals:

Engaging in the Learning Process:

Students completed research and extended their learning beyond the classroom by bringing their own rock collections:

Students working on their projects:

Here we are taking our learning outdoors:

The final stage is evaluating learning so check out the individual student blogs to see what we produce… Students will produce their own assessment tool. Here is a John Spencer thought video about students owning their own assessments.

April 25

Ms. M’s social studies class had an unexpected visitor!

We had an unexpected teacher in our Social Studies classes this week… Mr Z! Mr. Z had recently vacationed to Costa Rica and took his learning outside of the classroom! We have been studying early civilizations in Social Studies and one area in particular stuck with Mr.Z… the creation and development of chocolate! Although, Costa Rica did not have a thriving indigenous culture such as the empires of the Mayan, Aztec or Inca people. The native people were culturally influenced by Mesoamerican peoples from Central America and cultures from northern South America which is why many will find Mayan, Aztec or Inca links when visiting that area.

Mr Z brought Cacao beans to show the class and explained the process of indigenous methods of making chocolate! Here he is in action:

Thanks Mr Z! We all look forward to what you will bring into class next time!! Keep exploring and keep being curious!

April 21

Weekly updates

Upcoming events
– Grade 4/5 night out (please see below)! Please see the email or blog post about this.
– Yom HaZikaron will be commemorated on Tuesday April 25th, Grade 4 will attend an assembly in school.

– Yom HaAtzmaut will be celebrated on Wednesday April 26th. A full day of fun activities has been planned!

-DRESS DOWN DAY! See below

-The Grade 8 Silent Auction is live! Check out the fabulous list of prizes that can be yours. All funds support our Grade 8 trip to NYC. Bidding is open through May 5.




Check out the homework board!


Whats happening in Grade 4:

4A enjoyed their virtual field trip to the Humane society:

We prepped for the French play on Friday with a bilingual context talk with the Stage Director Elyse:

Students started planning for their public speaking – please see my blog and Ms Gordon’s email explaining the new format!

Please see my blog about Book club podcast development! Exciting!

We will be starting a self directed science module based around Rocks and Minerals. I will be sharing a post about how it works and the combination of student autonomy and the teacher as a guide facilitator. The end products are so interesting, I can not wait to see what is produced this year!

March 20

Mises à jour de la semaine!

(An English version will follow below)

Bonjour les familles de 4e année!

Bienvenue à la Semaine de la Francophonie ! Les étudiants seront plongés dans une variété d’activités cette semaine avec notre Franco-fête le jeudi soir! Passez une merveilleuse semaine!

Rappels de devoirs :

Veuillez consulter le tableau des devoirs. Assurez-vous que l’onglet indique “Mars 2023”.

Rappels pour les événements à venir

a) Le vendredi régulier (15 h 45) commence le vendredi 24 mars jusqu’à la fin de l’année scolaire.
b) Pas d’école pour les élèves le vendredi.
c) Nous recueillons de la nourriture pour la Banque alimentaire casher d’Ottawa.

d) Les élèves sont encouragés (et les parents sont les bienvenus) de porter les vêtements indiqués, le soir du 23 mars !
Franco-fête Outfits.png
La Journée de l’Innovation est bientôt arrivée ! Le jeudi 30 mars, il y aura une visite en personne des projets de 4e année de 9 h à 9 h 45.
Hello 4th grade families!

Welcome to Francophonie Week! Students will be immersed in a variety of activities this week with our Franco-fête on Thursday evening! Have a wonderful week!

Homework reminders:

Please see the homework chart. Make sure the tab says "March 2023".

Reminders for upcoming events

a) Regular Friday (3:45 p.m.) begins Friday, March 24 until the end of the year
b) No school for students on Fridays
c) We collect food for the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank
d) Students are required (and parents are welcome) to wear the following on the evening of March 23!
Innovation Day is almost here! The date on your diary is Thursday, March 30. There will be an in-person tour of Grade 4 projects from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
March 13

Weekly updates

Reminders for upcoming events!

Teacher parents conferences are this week! Thursday, March 16th is a 2 pm dismissal and no school on Friday, March 17th.

Innovation Day is coming and we are in-person!

Francophone Week: Outfit reminder for Thursday’s Franco-fete!


Please check the homework board for this weeks tasks!

What has been happening in the Grade 4 classroom?

Ruach week!

From teachers to 80’s madness to PJ’s… and a hold lot of Purim sprinkled in the middle – what a great week!

4A took part in a virtual workshop with the Ottawa Humane Society where we learnt about what Urban wildlife is, how to live alongside  and what to do when you find injured animals. Our cute host Snickers, the bulldog was a hug hit!


We made Hamantashan!

Innovation Day – the building starts…



February 13

Weekly update and reminders

Reminders for this week:

  • WINTER FUN DAY IS ON THURSDAY!!! Here is a list of FAQ’s about the day that has also been shared with students and will come home with them tonight.



Whats happening in grade 4:

  • Our JOIN competition submissions are coming in thick and fast. I will be reaching out with consent forms next week for those who are submitting entry. Those who chose to learn Sign Language, I will post a video update on there progress!
  • Our Stop Motion project is coming to a close. I AM SO PROUD of each and every student, their dedication and perseverance whilst completing. We most certainly have some budding directors, producers, set designers and editors even voice over actors… in our class!
  • We have been learning about persuasive writing; the tools and features that make our writing more convincing such as rhetorical questions, using facts and statistics to back up our opinions as well as repetition, exaggeration and emotive words.
  • Our Habitats projects have come to a close also – please see individual blogs for updates on this, this week.

Global connection:

Two students connected with a sign language interpreter from Israel – they connected for introductions and have sent a list of questions to assist with their JOIN project: