A Visit to UBC's First Nations House of Learning

At the end of April, the Kindergarten students were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the UBC First Nations House of Learning and the Xwi7xwa Library.  During this trip we participated in a variety of hands-on Literacy, Social Studies and Fine Arts activities. We also enjoyed an amazing tour of the Longhouse.  The children were fascinated by the spectacular house posts!

Celebrating Pi Day!

The fourteenth of March was a very special day for the grade sevens of Immaculate Conception School. This was because it was National Pi Day. As you may know, the most well known numbers and decimals of pi are 3.14, and the date was 3/14 (the third month, March and the fourteenth day). On this day, the Grade Sevens not only celebrated pi, but pie as well. There was a pi memorization contest, where one of our contestants had an astonishing amount of digits memorized: 122! There was also a no-hands pie eating contest of mini tart shells and blueberry or strawberry rhubarb filing, which got pretty entertaining. Another of the activities was “The Pi Hunt.” The object of the game was to find the circumference of a circular shaped  object by using string, and then measuring the string. Then, each group had to find the diameter of the object by using a ruler. Finally, we had to find the pi of the object, by dividing the circumference by the diameter. Whoever was the closest to the exact digits of pi, won. There was also regular pie for those who did not want to hurl mini pies down their throats. (I was one of them.) All in all, it was a very “filling day!” For those of you who celebrate a birthday on Pi Day, firstly, happy birthday, and secondly, I hope you enjoyed your pie over cake!

Studying Salmon

Over the past months, the Grade One students of Immaculate Conception School have been studying the life cycle and anatomy of different types of salmon. On March 12th, the Grade Ones, alongside their Grade Seven buddies, were able to take part in a once in a lifetime experience - the dissection of a sockeye salmon. A leader in the area of salmon enhancement took us through the intricate steps of a dissection. He highlighted the outer parts of a salmon such as the fins, mouth, eyes, and lateral line. Alongside our buddies, we drew a chart comparing and contrasting a salmon’s body with standard human anatomy. We also studied the salmon’s innards! Both classes oohed and ahhed at the fascinating sight of the salmon’s organs such as the swim bladder, heart, liver, as well as the long awaited brain.

Overall, both classes loved the intriguing sights and the interesting facts they gathered from an exciting day in Grade One!

Holy Thursday Retreat

On Holy Thursday, the community of Immaculate Conception school held its annual spiritual retreat. Family groups, comprised of students from each grade, gathered for opening and closing prayers in the church, planned and led by our Grade Seven class. In between the prayer services, the students participated in three breakout sessions focusing on the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.

Our retreat leader invited parents and the Grade Seven students to reflect upon and explore the blessings of these holy days. The retreat was a spirit-filled experience for all of us!

Kindergarten students take their learning to the forest . . .

At the end of January, the Kindergarten students began a weekly Forest Exploration Program at Chaldecott and Pacific Spirit Parks.  Our goals for this inquiry journey were to explore the forest using our senses, gather student ideas and “wonder” questions, acquire new information to address our questions, share our discoveries, and develop an appreciation for the environment. 

Studies indicate that outdoor learning has physical, mental, cognitive and social-emotional benefits.  In addition, outdoor learning helps children to overcome adversity, to enhance personal and social development and to deepen their relationship with nature.

Garden Buddies Get a Head Start!

We really dug into the dirt yesterday as we investigated what soil is and how it’s made.  We found out that while all soil is comprised of 4 main elements: minerals, water, air and organic material, it’s structure varies greatly depending on the proportions of each of these elements.  Simply by feeling 4 different types of soil (forest loam, garden loam, clay soil and sandy soil) the students were able to quickly determine which two soils plants would thrive in and why.  Not only do the forest and garden soils feel lighter, softer, and full of organic material, they also smell better!  Students even noticed little critters happily scurrying about in these two soils. 

Since much of our soil in B.C. is forest soil, we studied the soil layers found under our forest floor, and we also learned that only about 5% of the land in B.C. is suitable for growing crops.  This makes our farmland a precious and yet disappearing resource.  Our Grade 4 students have already participated in the process of making new soil by composting garden refuse so they know first hand just how long it takes to make quality new soil.  We discussed how all life on earth depends upon the health of our soil and how we should treat our top soil like the pure gold it is!

Winter Carnival Proceeds to Support Covenant House

In December, the Grade 7 class went to Covenant House to help sort out donations. Covenant House is an organization that helps youth aged 16-24 who don’t have a home or family to take care of them. All the money collected from the carnival will help Covenant House with their expenses and what they need in order to support the youth they help.

If you weren't able to attend our carnival, or if you want to relive the fun-filled day, keep reading . . .

As I walk through the gym doors, I see a million different colours. Basketballs are flying crazily through the  air and then being chased. Kids are playing games, their pockets stuffed with candy and a cookie in their hands. Everybody is excited and can’t wait to try every activity. The photo booth has Christmas lights strung from a piano bench, the ice fishing station has a green screen and a fishing pole to take pictures with.

People are singing along to the Disney music. Everything looks like a lot of fun and the money that is being brought in is all going towards Covenant Houses’ new building. Right when you walk in, you see a beautifully decorated booth with bowls of multi-coloured icing and rainbow sprinkles. The vibrant reds and greens of the toppings look perfect when layered on top of a tasty sugar cookie. When I look the other way, I see people throwing basketballs and a  line a mile long with kids waiting patiently for a chance to shoot the balls and get a candy cane reward. Behind that, there is another station with kids standing in front of it. They are holding poles with strings and a magnet on the end. As I look closer, I see a kid pull up his pole and triumphantly take a little fish off the end; the ice fishing booth looks exciting.

Across from that, the snowflake booth has little white pieces of paper strewn all over their table and kids are laughing while they cut out different kinds of snowflakes. At the back of the gym, there are tennis balls and soccer balls, tunnels and tables all set up into an obstacle course. Kids are throwing, running, and jumping with others cheering them on. Finally, in the back corner, there are camera flashes and people holding silly props against their faces to give them a moustache or a funny pair of glasses. There is a black background and Christmas decorations around the bench. All of the booths have a fun and exciting look to them and every little detail makes it look like the perfect Winter Carnival.

Fly Me to the Moon!

In Science class, we are studying the solar system and its planets. We have researched and written about many different planets in the solar system. This has been interesting because we have learned that planets are similar but can have so many different features, such as moons, rings and more.

Once we learned a good chunk of information about our planets, we went to the H.R. MacMillan Space Center to learn more about our universe. One highlight of our field trip was shooting homemade pop bottle rockets two stories high. We pumped air into the bottles to create pressure, and then pulled the trigger to release the bottles, which sent them flying.

Another highlight was the show ‘Planet Hunters’. We learned that to find the materials of a planet's atmosphere, you look at the light that is reflected from that planet. Some colours will be missing in a certain pattern for each element that is there. This field trip helped us to learn about the space outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

In conclusion, the Grade Six class had a wonderful time being entertained by the HR MacMillan Space Centre staff.

Written by Grade Six students.

“Sometimes, it’s good to be picky”

Last December 6th, 2017, our Grade 7 class had the opportunity to visit Covenant House’s donation room on Drake St. in downtown Vancouver. There we helped sort through the many donations that Covenant House received for the holiday season. There were so many donations to go through, that we were told to be very picky and only keep the items that we would use ourselves.

Before going to Covenant House, we all had some ideas about what Covenant House was. We thought of it as a place to accommodate homeless youth and help get them off the streets. We thought of it as an outreach program that gives youth aged 16-24 food, clothes, and education and job opportunities.

After about one and a half hours of sorting through donations, we had some new thoughts about Covenant House and the donations that they received. Here are some of the things we learned and thought:

“Right now, Covenant House has 58 beds and they aren’t at max capacity!”

“People donate many things that are of no use or are bad quality.”

“A lot of people are in need and we need to help them.”

“So. Many. Donations.”

“They are very picky when it comes to keeping clothes.”

“Covenant House helps other charities by giving those charities the things that they do not need.”

“I know after visiting Covenant House that they treat homeless people to the best of their ability.”

“Sometimes, it’s good to be picky.”

“Donations affect everyone.”

As we begin the year 2018, let us remember to be generous and think of those in our communities that need our help.

The Kindness Project

As part of the Grade One unit on "Helping Each Other as Friends and as Learners,"the students were inspired to share their learning with others.  As a class they came up with the idea of doing a "Kindness Project." For this "Kindness Project," they thought it would be good to share a little kindness with our local community.  Thus, on Thursday, December 21st, the students were divided into small groups and stationed at different places on Dunbar Street. They handed out candy canes to pedestrians and shared a special "kindness" message written by each one of them. The purpose of this “Kindness Project” was twofold: to teach people that we value kindness in our world and to spread some Christmas cheer.

The students shared this small act of kindness with over 200 people on that day.  Examples of some the statements given by the pedestrians were: "We need a lot more of this in our world," "My heart grew so big today," "Each kindness message is important and beautiful."  The students were happy and excited to be a part of something so special.  One of the students stated that "my heart has grown 1000 times bigger today!" This feeling of happiness was shared by all that participated.

Remember that when you share kindness with someone you "make them colourful".

The Grade One students sure made a lot of people colourful on that day and now you can go and do the same!