Mental Math, Peace Day and 2A Assembly

by jackierendina on September 22, 2017


Congratulations to all of the 2A superheroes who wowed the audience today during the 2A assembly!  Students put on an extremely entertaining show, involved the audience and brought tears to the eyes of teachers and parents alike.  A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the parents who took time out of busy schedules to come along for the show, it really means a lot to our performers.  If you were unable to attend the performance or would like to watch the recording, please visit the CDNIS Lower School Assembly uStream channel.  (The actual performance begins at 17m 30s) This channel is password protected so please refer to your email for the password.  To view more photos from the assembly and from this week check out our album by clicking the photo above.

This week, amid all of our preparations for our 2A assembly, students began to stretch their mental math muscles.  As we launch into a deeper study of number concept and place value over the coming weeks, students will be strengthening their quick recall of basic number concepts.  For example: students should be able to identify and name skip counting patterns, count forward and backward by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s, compose and decompose numbers into their parts (hundreds, tens and ones) and use all of this knowledge in problem solving situations.  While parents often focus on helping children to learn counting and skip counting forward, we find that many students are much less skilled in counting backwards.  This is a key foundational skill and we recommend that you practice this with your child in fun ways while waiting for the lift, riding in the car or just passing the time.


This Thursday Sept 21st was International Peace Day.  To mark this occasion 2A took part in a giant collaborative art project in which they created a peace forest and added individual drawings of how they could promote peace in the world.  This art is on display for the whole community to see in the 9th floor lobby, along with peace flags created by the entire school.


Parents interested in learning more about grade level expectations, programmes of inquiry, mathematics, literacy, Chinese studies and more are encouraged to check out the Grade Level Guide, available on the main school website under “Brochures”.

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Do you like green? Do you like getting dirty, working with soil? Come and join the Green Roof Gardening Club with Miss Koo, Mr T. Brown, and Ms Sandra on Tuesdays from 2:45 – 3:45. We will be weeding, planting, watering, and of course, enjoying the space and fruits of our labour. If you are interested and can attend every Tuesday, please send an email to or to, sharing your interest, your name and class.  Our first meeting will be on October 10th. Please meet in the library and wait for either Mr Brown or Miss Koo by the MakerSpace.


Pancake and Pyjama day will be next Wednesday the 27th of September.  Students can wear their pyjamas to school (no dress down fee).  Pancakes will be served in the cafeteria.
–  Prep to Grade 1 – $34 (comes with drink, veg, salad and Sausage)
–  Grade 2 to Grade 6 – $37 (Includes sausage, drink and dessert)
Like last year, Students in Prep – G2 who are buying pancakes on the day should bring exact change in an envelope labeled with their name and class.

CDNIS welcomes Dr. Mark Gandolfi from the St. John’s Cathedral Counseling Team Wednesday, September 27 at 7pm-8:30pm in the LLAC Lobby. This parent workshop will focus on how to parent children in a digital world. The Internet is a vital part of our world and an important tool in education.  Research shows young people are spending an average 44.5 hours per week online. Do you have the skills to parent against that type of influence? Please RSVP here.



A big thank you to all of the parents who were able to make it to Wednesday night’s curriculum night.  I hope you are feeling as inspired as we are about project innovate and the new focus on maths in the primary school.  If you were unable to attend or would like to have another look at the slideshow, click here or view below.  You will find valuable information regarding our units of inquiry for the year, field trips, math learning, literacy, assessment and reporting.

This week CDNIS celebrated international library day.  Students had the opportunity to “visit” more than 20 countries, get their passports stamped and find out about great literary traditions from around the world.  Click the photo below to see more photos from this fun event.

Students enjoyed several challenges this week involving balance scales to measure mass.  Students were asked to find lightweight objects in the classroom, estimate the mass and then weigh the items using the balance scale to verify.  Also, students grappled with a 3 Act Math problem, “How many multilink cubes will equal the weight of an orange?”  After watching the video below and making their estimations (ACT 1), students moved on to figuring out (ACT 2) with the added knowledge that each cube weighs 3 grams and the orange weighs 165 grams.  Many various strategies were used by students and it was a challenge for everyone in the class.  We learned to use the squares in our math books to draw representations which helped us to solve the problem.  This task covered all of the 7 Math Processes from the Ontario Curriculum including, Problem Solving, Reasoning and Proving, Reflecting, Selecting tools & strategies, Connecting, Representing and Communicating.  To find out more about our current Math Learning, don’t forget to check out the G2 Maths Memo.

We watched a video to support our inquiry learning this week which helped us to understand how what we eat affects our brains.  It was a TEDed video which you can view below and it was quite challenging to understand.  We used the pause button, rewinding often and discussing big ideas to help us to grasp some of the big ideas.

Our first Friday Fun in the Forum of the year is next Friday, September 22 during lunch recess. Check out this post on Ms. Benusa’s blog for more information on this performing opportunity.  Friday will be a paid Dress Down Day and the proceeds will be donated to Room to Read on behalf of the Bear House.  Cost to dress down is $20 and the theme is: dress as your favourite book character.


Health and Well Being, Bar Graphs and Grilled Cheese

by jackierendina on September 8, 2017


Students worked in pairs to develop a question, survey the class, collect data in a table and create a visually appealing bar graph.  We extended our knowledge of bar graphs through a fun Flocabulary lesson featuring Bar Graph Girl (the only bar graphing super hero in the world!)  Students learned about the important parts of a bar graph and how to create one on their own.  When finished, students presented their graphs to the class and reflected on their learning as well as what they would improve the next time.  This project addressed 5 of the 7 Maths process skills from the Ontario Curriculum.  To view the 7 Maths processes click here.

2A students also began to investigate and understand measuring of mass with standard units, grams.  We pushed ourselves with some open-ended challenges.  For example, we tried to find how many ways we could balance the scales using only 9 weights.  Estimating the weight of items in grams and then checking with a scale or on package labels, is a great way to practice at home.

Students had the opportunity to choose 2 of 6 wellbeing activities to try out this week.  Before the activities students rated their happiness and alertness.  After participating in various experiences students re-evaluated their ratings.   The experiences included: Positive Thinking, Nature Relaxation, Calm Coloring, Movement and Stretching, Vegetable Taste Test Challenge and Sensory Art.  Check out your child’s blog to view his/her reflection on the experience.

2A researched answers to many health and well-being related questions.  They constructed paragraphs to answer the questions and drew illustrations for a class book.  Check out the class book below.

On our first visit to the CDNIS innovation lab we learned how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  We used our newly acquired knowledge to write detailed instructions about making the sandwich.  Check out some of the photos by clicking below.

Please note that grade 2 students are not allowed to make purchases on their own at school.  Using Octopus cards and buying food items with personal money is a privilege that begins in Grade 3.  We kindly ask you to ensure that your child understands this and is not bringing a loaded Octopus card to school.  There have been many grade 2 students caught this week making purchases which are against our school rule.


What Are Grade 2 Learning?

by jackierendina on September 1, 2017

Students took part in many exciting and engaging activities.  We began digging deeper into some of the relevant questions from our unit and we explored ways of representing numbers in math.  There was also a special visit from Mr. Grantham, Hank and Stanley.  They taught us about the importance of what we say and how we say it, to our relationships with others. To see all of the fantastic photos from this week, click on the link below.

Below you can click on the Unit Overview for Parents which will give you a thorough idea of all the big concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes and attributes which your children will be exploring in the Who We Are unit.  This overview also includes a vocabulary list, links to specialist subjects and suggestions for how you can continue the learning at home.

In the Maths Memo below you can view the grade 2 maths overall expectations for data management, measurement and number sense.  You will also find more specific expectations as well as vocabulary and ways to support your child at home.

Starting this week, as part of our unit of inquiry on well-being, your child began learning about mindfulness through a classroom-based curriculum called
Paws b.  The lessons are led by our certified mindfulness teacher, Ms. Jackie Rendina.  Mindfulness involves training our attention to experience the present moment with greater curiosity and kindness. This helps us to not only appreciate what is going well but to respond more skilfully to life’s inevitable challenges.  Students will be learning about many things, including:

  • Specific areas of the brain and how these affect our ability to focus, make good choices, recognise  when we need to steady ourselves when our body or mind is busy or out of balance.
  • Ways that mindfulness can support them in many day-to-day activities, including concentration and memory, behavioural self- management, and in relationships with family and friends.

Should you be interested in reading further about the body of research evidence around mindfulness for children, you may wish to read the following document by Professor Katherine Weare:
Finally, if you have and further questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Rendina.

This week we watched a great Brainpop Jr video about the effects of sugar on our bodies.  Many students wanted to watch this video again so here is the link if you wish to watch it at home.


Graphing, Good Fit Books and our Essential Agreement

by jackierendina on August 25, 2017

Should parents set their children’s bedtimes or should children have a say in the matter?  This is one of the questions we discussed this week as we looked into making choices which affect our health and well-being.  We enjoyed a lovely, healthy picnic together on Thursday where we exhibited qualities of a risk-taker by trying out various fruit or veggies that were less familiar to us.  As part of our picnic we also visited the green roof to enjoy a little sunshine, get closer to nature and play a few team building games designed to strengthen our relationships with peers.

 This week students deepened their thinking about data handling and graphs.  The example below shows open-ended questions which we tackled.  The questions challenge students to think about the meaning of data presented in this way as well as the importance of labels in creating graphs.  In the coming weeks we will be designing surveys and creating our own graphs.

Having good fit books is just as important as good fit shoes!  We had some fun this week comparing the two and learning how to choose just right books for us.  In 2A students are learning to choose books which will fit their purpose, interest them and help them grow as readers.  You can encourage this autonomy in choosing books at home as well.  Engage your child in discussions about why they choose the books they do and what shows that these are “good fit books.”

This week we discussed the purpose of reading and children learned that “Reading IS understanding!” We talked about the importance of comprehension when we read.  Throughout the week students have been practicing our first reading strategy called “CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING.”  This involves stopping yourself during reading and asking “Do I understand?” “Can I tell WHO it’s about and WHAT is going on?”  Many students still struggle to remember to stop and check.  Please encourage this self regulating behaviour at home to build students’ abilities for thinking while reading.

Over the first two weeks of school 2A has spent a lot of time discussing what we want our classroom to be like and how we want to feel while we are here.  Through these discussions we have developed our 2A Essential Agreement.  These are guidelines that we will all follow to make our class a wonderful place to be for all.


Picnic This Thursday

August 21, 2017

This Thursday August 24th 2017, 2A will go on a class picnic.  We will be walking to a park across the street to enjoy some fruits and vegetables together.  Each child should bring some fruit or vegetable for sharing which is washed, cut and ready to eat.  We will be working on being risk takers […]

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Busy First Week

August 18, 2017

It has been a busy and productive week of learning in 2A. To view our photos from the week you can always click on any of the photos on the blog to view the entire album.  As well as learning about each other through art and games, students discussed a wide variety of emotions which […]

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Friday Shared Snack

August 17, 2017

This Friday, Aug. 18th, 2A will have a shared snack to commemorate the successful completion of our first week of grade 2.  Each student should bring a snack that they would like to share with some students in the class.  We do not need students to bring enough for the whole class, as everyone will […]

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Welcome to 2A!

August 10, 2017

Dear 2A students and families, What an exciting year we have ahead of us! I can’t wait to meet you all and find out about your special talents and your interests.  You can look forward to a wonderful experience in Grade 2.  We will build a strong and supportive community where we will use everyone’s […]

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