Sunday, September 16, 2018

Welcome to Week 3!

Welcome to week number three!

        Like the last one, this week promises to be filled with great learning and fun! Our priority is to stay rested and healthy so that we can do our best learning. We will be having conversations in class this week about how this is the time of year when we all start getting colds etc. from the adjustment back into the school year, and we will be encouraging each other to take care of our bodies by staying hydrated (keep bringing those filled water bottles), by getting adequate sleep, exercise, and having great eating habits.


This week we will focus on agenda usage. ALL students will be expected to:

a)   Write their agenda items daily (handwriting is strongly encouraged).

b)   Take the agenda home and have it signed/initialled by a parent --once each item has been addressed/completed.

c)   Return the agenda to school each day for writing first thing in the morning.

d)   Hand in the agenda to be checked on Fridays.

*Students who do this daily and are successful for the entire week will be given a scholar dollar at the end of the week!

Meet the Staff Night

*Thank you to everyone who came out to 'meet the teacher' and checked out our learning space. It was great to see you all and I am very excited to be working with you this year!

*Thank you to everyone who signed up to bring snacks to our celebrations taking place throughout the school year. You people are awesome; the list is almost full! We are looking for someone to bring fruit for Valentine’s Day and for the last day of school. Please let me know if you didn’t have a chance to add your name and I’ll put you down for something! Of course, you don't have to be signed up in order to send something, we just want to be sure the basics are covered. A reminder of who signed up for what will be posted on the blog when we get closer to each celebration.

Toonies for Terry

*As is tradition, we will be collecting Toonies for Terry to support The Terry Fox Foundation (there will be a jar on Ms. Bourassa’s desk for this purpose). Mike Mountain Horse has a goal of $3,000.00. Thats approximately two toonies/student, though any amount big or small is welcome. Thank you for helping keep Terrys dream alive.

*Join us on our walk to and around Nicholas Sheran Lake on Friday September 21st if you can. We will leave around 8:50. 

*Students: Our school is known for having a special spirit, let’s show it by being great ambassadors of MMH during the walk. Let’s be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and MMH gear on Friday as we guide our learning buddies and keep them safe during the walk!

Yay! A Leadership Opportunity:

We have many occasions over the course of our year to demonstrate our leadership abilities as grade five students. One such activity will begin next week as we serve as student helpers in the classrooms of grade one, two, and three students during the eating portion of the lunch break (our class does it on Wednesdays only). Student partners will go eat their lunches with their assigned grade one, two or grade three classes and be available to help in whatever way they can (opening packages, reminding students to stay focused on eating, helping tidy etc.). Our classroom is full of wonderful leaders, what a great opportunity to help the younger people in our school!

**Our First Field Trip!

Your student may be bringing home an application form for a public library card (if they don’t already have their own). If you are in favor, please fill out the form and return it to school on or before Friday so that your child can obtain his/her own card (no cost) to borrow items from the public library!

On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 26th, our class will be walking over to the Crossings Branch Library. We will have a tour, learn about how the library is organized and what is available to use or borrow. In addition, we may borrow up to two books on that day (these will need to be returned independently, please keep in mind that the Bookmobile has traditionally stopped near our school every Monday afternoonnew schedule is not available).

**Parents: we would LOVE to have an extra supervisor or two join us on our walk to and from the library. If you are available and willing, please let Ms. B. know as soon as possible! ThanksJ.

A comment about our stretching exercises/yoga:

Unfortunately, we don’t always have the gymnasium available to us for Phys. Ed. classes and on some of those occasions, we will take our physical activity time to stretch out our bodies and ready our brains for great thinking. In many years of teaching, this has proven very beneficial for students and their learning. Please know that the yoga poses we do are for the purposes of stretching and focusing on our breathing only, there are no spiritual or religious practices or intentions involved. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I aim to let students know the day prior, so they may come prepared. Students should wear clothes that allow for stretching and if they have their own mats and would like to bring them, they are encouraged to do so!

Sneak Peek at the Week:

Language Arts:

What is a homophone? Well, many would say that homophones are the reason English is one of the most difficult languages to learn! Encarta dictionary states:

A homophone is a word that is pronounced in the same way as one or more other words but is different in meaning and sometimes spelling, as are "hair" and "hare."

Our 100 most commonly used words includes many homophones. This week we will work to demystify the ‘They’re, their, there’ issue with creating sentences such as:

They’re playing with their dog over there by the tree.

We will continue to take a look at a few more from our list like you’re and your as well as to, two, and too, etc. and will take our first try at mastering the top 100 words on Thursday. Study, study my friends!

We will continue a more formal practice of 'Handwriting Without Tears' this week and will begin reviewing strategies of strong readers with our novel, Frindle!


Last week we reviewed addition, subtraction, and multiplication strategies. From this review, and from previous years teaching grade five, I’ve learned that we need to spend quite a bit more time on our multiplication strategies! I believe our class is up for the challenge of improving these facts, so while we want students practicing all multiplication facts, we will give special focus to ‘mastering’ one at a time (one each night). We can eliminate the easier facts from too much further practise (0, 1, 2, 5 and 10 times tables) and will begin by attacking the 3’s, 4’s and 6 times table facts this week. I am requesting/ strongly suggesting/desperately hoping that students spend a MINIMUM of 15 minutes each night reviewing and practising their facts. This could be done in a variety of ways: websites, flashcards, games, or simply spending time with 'frustrating facts' and developing strategies for memory to make them 'friendly facts'. For example, 8 x 7 = 56 always seems to be a tougher one. Students could spend some time creating meaning around this equation: "I notice that 8 and 7 are only one digit apart, and so are 5 and 6! (5,6,7,8)" Or for 9 x 8 = 72: "I know that 10 eights = 80, so I need to take one 8 away from 80 and that will get me 72." This also works for 12 x 8; "I know that 10 x 8 = 80, and 2 x 8 = 16, so I add 80 + 16 = 96!"

Students have been checking out sites and are encouraged to showcase their finds in class. A few old favourites include:

Study Jams: Multiplication


I am encouraging students to continue asking themselves: “What am I doing to help myself get better at math facts?” Thank you, parents for supporting your child at home by encouraging their practice or by spending time directly helping them to review facts. Every little bit helps!

We will jump into our first math unit: Statistics and Probability this week, and by the end of our week your scholar should be able to:

*explain the difference between first-hand and second-hand data

* formulate a question that can best be answered using first-hand data, and explain why

* formulate a question that can best be answered using second-hand data, and explain why

* find examples of second-hand data

Social Studies:
We will open our study of Canada by finding out what students already know about our great country...and the world! Students will also be preparing for and giving a 1-minute presentation of 'My Special Place in Canada' on Wednesday. Though we will review expectations for the presentation in class, I've included the guidelines here in order to help students get set for success.

Guidelines for informal oral presentation:

1) Pick any location in Canada. It may be a spot you’ve visited, somewhere a relative or a special friend lives or a place to which you would like to travel someday.

2) Be prepared to:

a) name the place,  

b) locate it on the big map of Canada and

c) explain why it is special to you!

3) Students may choose to enhance their one -minute presentation with a picture or other souvenir/significant object.


Bonjour les amis et bienvenue a la classe francais! /;{

Last week students discussed viewpoints about why learning a second language is important. This week we will start through our review of concepts learned last year such as l'alphabet, les nombres, et les jours de la semaine!

Let’s have a super week!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Welcome to Week 2!

What an incredible first week of school! I feel very blessed as our classroom community seems to be a very kind and caring group of individuals who are all ready and eager to try their best and have fun learning!

I know I spent a lot of time resting over the weekend to get ready for week number two, I hope everyone else did too!

Meet the Teacher Night:

On this Wednesday evening from 6-7pm, students and families are invited to attend our annual ‘Meet the Teacher Night’. There is no formal presentation taking place, but this is a great opportunity for students to bring parents into the classroom and show them around. Parents are invited to explore and ask any questions they may have. The celebrations snack sign-up will also be available!

*Families are invited to ‘Bring Your Own Picnic’ and gather on the playground to eat prior to the event (5:30-6) if the weather cooperates.

Picture Day is Thursday! Please bring your best smile!

Sneak Peek at the Week:

Each week the blog will feature highlights of Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and French to give students a ‘sneak peek’ at the upcoming week.

Language Arts:

Aside from celebrating reading, this week we will focus on finding out where our students are in terms of reading interests and spelling abilities. This will help determine our direction in the coming weeks!

*Top 100 words: We will begin our year with mastering the spelling of the most commonly used words. The Reading Teachers Book of Lists claims that the first 25 words of this list make up about one-third of all printed material in English, and that these 100 make up about one-half of all written material. It is essential that students know how to spell these words; therefore a test will be given weekly for as long as is needed
 in an attempt to get as many students to master the words as soon as possible. Once a student scores 100%, he/she will not be required to retake the test and will have free time while others continue working toward mastering the words. Our first attempt will be on Thursday, September 20th (yes, ALL 100!)

A list will be coming home this week and can stay at home. As well, I've added the list (in two parts) to Spelling City. Check out the link below and search lists by teacher: Bourassa to find them!


*I would like to applaud students for giving their best efforts to handwrite their work, keep it up! We plan to begin a more structured practise of our handwriting program this week.


Our focus this week is on the basic math facts of multiplication. We will practise and do a quick assessment to determine a base line. Students will be charting their own growth as we progress through the year.

*In addition to nightly reading (minimum of 15 minutes each night), it is my expectation that students are spending time reviewing basic math facts (minimum of 15 minutes each night) as well. Students may wish to check out the math sites available on this blog (click on Math tab above) in preparation (of course any other way of practising, i.e. flashcards, competition with parents and siblings, games etc is also great). As was discussed in class last week, if these facts are quick, we clear obstacles to learning new math concepts all year long! Parents, please be your child’s biggest cheerleader in their efforts to improve their facts and lend a hand if at all possible. Thanks!

*Facts Friday will begin on September 14th!

Social Studies:

Students will have the opportunity to explore and explain what they already know about our great country and will begin preparations for ‘travelling’ across our country with a map and passport! Students will also be encouraged to choose a favourite place in Canada for a one-minute presentation next week (details and expectations will be given in class).


Madame Bourassa is very curious about what students remember from last year, so after an introduction and discussion about why we learn a second language, we will review from grade four!

Family Discussion Topic: Why should we learn a second language?

BRAIN CHALLENGE: Check out the Logic Games under 'Quick Links' on the right side of this page for some fantastic and often frustrating fun!

BRAIN BREAK: The Brain is 78% water. It would be wise to keep the brain hydrated throughout the day by having water readily available. Students are encouraged to bring a clean, filled water bottle at the start of each day!

Have a terrific week!

Please feel free to contact me via email if you have any questions or concerns.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Welcome to grade five at Mike Mountain Horse!

I hope that you enjoyed a relaxing summer vacation
and are looking forward to a fun-filled, exciting, and rewarding year together!

Communication for the school year will take place primarily through this blog which will be updated on a weekly basis. Students are encouraged to explore the pages and links of our classroom blog in order to enhance and extend their learning. It would be a great idea to make checking the blog a part of your Sunday routine in order to have a ‘heads up’ about the next week at school!

This promises to be a very special year as I believe we have a really neat group of scholars who are: keen, bright, funny, cooperative, kind and fun-loving.

Although I have much planned, I can't wait to see where this year takes us!

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at: