It’s a brand new year with brand new opportunities for students! Below you will find information about two separate clubs that will begin this month! Please note that both clubs require parent consent, especially with The Innovator’s Club because it will be an after-school program. Further, the Innovator’s Club will also require the student to have his/her own Micro:Bit card. You can find more information below.
The Silver Birch Reading Club
The Silver Birch Reading Club is an annual tradition at Sir Adam Beck. Silver Birch is part of the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program that encourages students from all ages to read both French and English fiction and non-fiction books from Canadian authors. Students who read a certain number of books get to choose their favourite book from the fiction and non-fiction sections and vote for that book during the voting period in April.
In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. – Mortimer Adler –
We have offered The Silver Birch program to students in grades 3-5 in both English and French. Mmes El Boury and Rovas help to facilitate the French program while Mr. Gard and the TPL staff help to facilitate the English program. Students select a book they would like to read and then return the book for another title once they’ve finished reading. Students are encouraged to read as many of the books as they can during the duration of the program. The program ends in April.
Start Date: January 15th – Introduction
Frequency: Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:50 – 12:20 PM until the end of April
The Innovator’s Club
We are launching a new club this year. The ‘Innovator’s Club’ will focus on working Micro:Bit cards. These electronic cards teach students how to code computers and build various devices using the unique design of the Micro:Bit. During the course of this club, students will have an opportunity to create and innovate using the Micro:Bit. It’s a great way to witness the fruits of coding using an inexpensive device.
This club will run every Wednesday after school from 3:45 PM until 5 PM beginning January 30. Students will meet Mr. Gard in the SAB Library Learning Commons. Students in grades 3-5 who wish to participate will need to purchase a Micro:Bit card. This club is for Sir Adam Beck students only. Find the details below:
Please return the attached form to Mr. Gard by January 25th
Students will require a Micro:Bit Go Box (includes a Micro:Bit, USB cable, and battery pack) Approximate value: $25.00
The Forest of Reading program will begin in January 2019. Students in grades 3-5 will have the incredible opportunity to read Canadian authors – both French and English – and extend their reading prowess by reading as many of the selected books in 3 months. Sir Adam Beck has participated in this program for well over a decade. The Toronto Public Library Staff of the Alderwood branch partner with us to facilitate the program and together we add both fiction and non-fiction materials to our library written and illustrated by Canadian authors. Students in the grades mentioned above will be able to come twice a week during their lunch periods to choose books, read and re-select as necessary. The goal of The Forest of Reading program is to get as many students reading as many books from the selections listed below. If they read five titles in a given category they get to vote for their favourite book in April. Student voice is so important in this reading program that authors covet this beloved prize of being selected ‘best book’ by student readers.
Beginning in the new year SAB will be launching two new creative teams to explore and highlight all that goes on here at Sir Adam Beck. We are currently looking for students who want to capture all of these news stories using the sound and visual mediums.
SABSound was an inspiration a number of years ago that never fully launched for various reasons. We are, however, happy to bring this podcasting initiative back to life! Since Student Voice is something we respect at SAB we want to make sure that you hear and see it in full swing in the new year. Students will focus on interviewing other students on various topics, including favourite books that students read and want to recommend, as well as events that various classrooms will participate in and host.
Also, we will be introducing a Movie Making element as well. Once we get going we’ll be working with students to determine what it is that we need to explore and record via movie making. Lots of exciting stuff coming to SAB in January!
Students were eager to participate in Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week at Sir Adam Beck JS! In just about every classroom on one day or another, you would find students engaged in coding using various platforms from Scratch to Tynker and LightBot to other coding activities made available to students from Code.org. A Big Thank you to every teacher who went out of his/her comfort zone to encourage students to code. Much was learned, and gained through this empowering experience.
Why code? Not every student will end up with a career that involves professional coding. We code for different reasons, some obvious, and some not so obvious. Computational Thinking is the ‘buzz phrase’ for the philosophy behind coding in education. We encourage coding because coding helps to develop some crucial skills that lead to computational thinking. This kind of thinking can apply to just about every problem, simple, or complex, that we face in our modern world. When we encourage students to develop computational thinking skills we are asking them to perform logic, apply algorithms, decompose, recognize patterns, abstract and evaluate. These are skills that are easily transferred to STEM. These skills are often developed in collaborative environments and require ‘soft skills.’ Students are expected to persevere through various tasks, to collaborate, imagine solutions and use and develop creative thinking. Again, skills that are required in every day living.
At Sir Adam Beck we believe that the earlier we start to develop these skills the more likely the students will develop deep learning in these skill areas. More and more research is showing that the earlier we expose children to these concepts – often taught in a STEM setting – the more likely they will become successful in those same subjects later in their more advanced school years. And perhaps more importantly, students develop a positive attitude towards science, math and engineering that stays with them in later years.
We could go into great detail here about the benefits of coding in a young student’s school career, however, suffice it to say, coding is alive and well at Sir Adam Beck and will be for the foreseeable future! Currently, all grade 1-5 students are coding on a regular basis, and some kindergarten classes are beginning to introduce coding in simple ways as well. And this coding is being taught in the context of STEM. STEM education at Sir Adam Beck follows the principle that young children should be exposed to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Science in a cogent and powerful way. This exposure should introduce to them real-world scenarios in a setting where students are free to explore various problems from different angles in a supportive, encouraging environment.
“Although young children often show great natural curiosity about the world and remarkable capacity to learn on their own, they need adult assistance to foster, guide, and build on their interests to ensure adequate early STEM experiences.”
How can you help develop a positive attitude towards STEM at home? Every time you are out with your children you have an opportunity to engage them in discussions about STEM. Talk about buildings and their particular design, the weather and why it changes so quickly, or why we need green spaces in a city space. You can also develop positive discussions around math and science by assuring your children that these subject areas are NOT reserved for the few – skills in math and science are not innate. We can develop these skills by persevering, taking risks and learning from our failures. Do math and science together! There are many opportunities to engage your children in family time where everyone works together to solve a problem. It’s time well spent and it will pay dividends in the future!
The holidays are just around the corner and there’s so much happening at Sir Adam Beck! Many of you experienced some holiday spirit when you visited our annual Winter Bazaar. Sir Adam Beck was buzzing with the typical sounds you hear when large groups of people from the community come together to share stories, purchase holiday gifts, and taste the various treats that were offered by both vendors and our School Council. A huge big thanks to our School Council for their tremendous efforts organizing and directing the efforts of many for Sir Adam Beck’s 65-year-old tradition. Such a delight!
Next week is Hour of Code Week! Teachers at SAB are gearing up to make sure their students get even more opportunities to code. Currently, all grade 1 to 5 students are coding in STEM class. And in the next little while, all of these students will be working with robots to apply their coding knowledge in real-world projects. If you want to help your children code at home there are a number of resources they can use. Even Google will use their Home Page as a jump off to various coding activities. In the past, they’ve added one coding activity a day for the whole month of December – and the students love the broad range of activities that are offered for coding.
Here are some suggested sites for your very own Hour of Code at Home:
Speaking of robots and coding, students in grades 1-5 will be working on various projects with a real-world application. Students will get an opportunity to develop deeper critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills through their work in these projects with a curriculum connection to Data Management and Probability in Mathematics, and Structures and Mechanisms in the Science curriculum.
Junior students will be working with Root Robots. These robots are built to survive in student use contexts and offer many different opportunities to challenge students with their problem solving and critical thinking skills via the plethora of built-in sensors the robots have including touch sensors, light and sound sensors. Also, the robots can be coded to draw on dry erase or vinyl sheets with a dry erase marker to create shapes determined by their coding.
Students can progress through the coding software via 3 levels with each level offering a progressively challenging coding context. Students can begin with graphical coding, move into computational coding and in the later grades explore full-text coding using Apple’s Swift programming language. In short, this robot rules! For more of what Root can do, visit this page.
New French and English Coding Books
Thanks to a visit to The Toronto District School Board’s Book Fair we were able to purchase some much-needed non-fiction books in STEM topics and First Nations history. Students will be able to find these books in the library stacks now!
Also, we’ve picked up some coding books for younger readers exploring some of the more difficult concepts of coding, and some coding books providing resources using Scratch. Again, all books are available!
March – National Reading Month
If you didn’t already know, March is National Reading Month. A number of teachers and the Alderwood Branch of The Toronto Public Library are partnering together to offer some great activities highlighting the importance of reading! Stay tuned for more information!
The Forest of Reading Book Club
The Forest of Reading Book Club will begin in the New Year. Many great fiction and non-fiction books from Canadian authors will be featured. Students will get an opportunity to spend one day a week at lunch in the library learning commons reading as many of these books as possible! The book club runs until the first or second week of April.
There’s always something new going on at SAB’s Library Learning Commons (SLLC)! The Toronto Public Library staff have been busy presenting Hallowe’en stories, arranging some visits for the primary FI students from Reptilia, and we’ve updated our conference room to include an interactive panel. We continue to build our current SLLC into a true learning commons by adding resources, changing the space and slowly changing the philosophy about what a school library learning commons should ‘look’ and ‘feel’ like.
We’re also providing some resources that will be used in both the SLLC and Mr. Gard’s STEM program. One such resource we’ll be using this year is a kit from SAM Labs that allows students to build devices that can be controlled through a wireless connection.
SAM Labs kits are bursting with wireless electronic blocks that each have a personality of their own. From lights to motors to sliders to buzzers, every Bluetooth-enabled block can connect to the others via the app to do something different. Press a button to turn a light on! Use a light sensor to activate an alarm! With the app, students can code the behaviours of blocks in any way they can imagine, enabling them to make anything from simple reactions to complex creations in minutes. (SAM Labs)
Using iPads students will be able to build devices with purpose! Talk about hands-on fun that incorporates critical thinking, problem solving and innovation!
Stay tuned next month when we reveal another device that we include in our SLLC space and in our school’s STEM program.
The week of October 15 – October 19, 2018, is our annual Scholastic Book Fair. This year we have decided to put the book fair in our library. The library space is larger and the students and families can navigate through the various selections of books much more easily. We have also provided more time on Thursday for families who wish to do their book purchasing together. On Thursday, the book fair will be open until 8:30 PM which is the time the Alderwood Branch of The Toronto Public Library closes. Access to the book fair will be through the main doors of the Alderwood Branch. Turn right and head to the West end of the library – just follow the excitement!
We hope that you make every effort to purchase a book or two for your children. Not only is your child getting a good-fit book that helps them develop a love of reading, but you are also helping Sir Adam Beck raise funds to purchase more resource material for your library and our students.
Help us make this the best Scholastic Book Fair yet!
The Sir Adam Beck annual Scholastic Book Fair is just around the corner! The week-long book fair is a great way to show your enthusiasm for reading by encouraging your children to purchase a book in a genre that interests them. And by purchasing a book you also invest in our library collection. This year all proceeds will be used to purchase new library materials for both French and English readers.
This year the book fair will be held in the children’s end of the Alderwood Branch of the Toronto Public Library. The theme will be ‘Enchanted Forest’. As many of you know, Sir Adam Beck JS partners with the TPL to give SAB students the best literacy experience possible. And this year we will hold extended hours on Thursday, October 18, 2018. Parents can come with their younger children from 3:35 PM until 8:30 PM.
The book fair runs from October 15th until October 19th, 2018. Flyers will be sent home a week before the book fair begins.
Volunteers are needed! If you are a parent of a child attending Sir Adam Beck, we would love to have you help us make the book fair run smoothly. You can either drop by the office or send an email to Mme Kamel-Zia or Allison Kenney if you wish to help out.