Human Innovation is Amazing

I was inspired by this article “You’ll Be Amazed By These Soccer Balls From Around The World“. It was a great reminder about the need for innovation and appreciation for all that we have in this world.

Joy can be found with a simple game of soccer. We don’t need fancy shoes or leather soccer balls. All you need is some plastic bags, string and a place to play.

Watch a tutorial on how to make your very own plastic bag soccer ball here.

What could you invent this summer using only stuff you can find in your recycling container?

Critical Creative Thinking Challenges

We stretched our brains the other day with these challenges.

1) Make the tallest free standing structure you can using masking tape and newspaper.


2) Make a structure that is at least 46 cm long using 3 pieces of dry spaghetti and an index card. There were some interesting interpretations on what a structure was…

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Take Me Outside to the Maple Grove Garden!


last week our class helped out with the school garden. We helped by building a new compost, picking lettuce, and then cleaning it, cutting down old rasbery cane and planting garlic. I helped out with almost every thing accept building the compost but I helped take out the old one. Ms. G’s parents came and helped out with building the compost and planting galic. Gardening was a lot more fun then I thought it would be. I thougt it would be hard making new beds for the garlic and picking lettuce but it was fun. I really enjoyed gardening and I hope we can do it agin! by RL






And in between…

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Welcome to Our Learning Journey!

Dear Parents,

My name is Michelle Griffiths and I will be your child’s teacher this year. I am happy to be back at Maple Grove Elementary and would like to say thank you for the warm welcome I have received.

I am looking forward to working with you and your child as they embark upon the next stage of their learning journey. We will encounter many opportunities to learn and grow in the days ahead.

During these first weeks of school we will be getting to know one another. Creating community is a vital part of establishing a positive learning environment.


Our day begins at 9am with Mindful Breathing. A child who is late and rushes into the classroom, where the routine is already in progress, has less time to collect their thoughts and settle into learning mode. In addition, the learning of the other students is disrupted when someone enters during a lesson or when the routine has begun. Please help your child develop a routine at home that will ensure they arrive at school prior to the start time, thus beginning on a positive note. Thank you!

Note: We have a Safe Arrival program at Maple Grove Elementary. If a student arrives late, please check in with the office before coming to the classroom.

Planners & Home Reading

Every day your child will take home their planner. Please review and sign their planner every day. It may contain important announcements or homework tasks. It is very important that your child brings this back to school each day.

I would also like you to sign their planner to acknowledge that they have done at least 30 minutes of home reading every day. This will help to create a “homework” routine at home.

Please use your child’s planner as a way to communicate with me. For example, if your child is doing something different from their normal schedule or is having a bad day or even is very excited about something, please send me a note to let me know. I will check their planners every morning.

Note: Payment for school fees and the planner is due by September 30, 2013. No child will be denied supplies or field trips due to financial hardship. Please let me know if your family is facing financial challenges. The school can make alternate arrangements.


I believe that parent-teacher communication is very important to creating a positive school experience for your child. You are one of the best sources of information on your child. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at any time. Don’t forget to also share the positive experiences your child has as well as the negative. If I know what they have enjoyed doing in the classroom, it will be easier to plan more positive experiences like it.

Please feel free to visit me in the classroom, send a note, or email me. I will also do my part by sending out an email each week to update you on what we have been doing in class as well as things that are coming up. Pictures and information will also be posted on our classroom blog.

Learning Inside the Classroom

Students will be expected to complete their work while at school. This will require time management skills, as well as being independent, responsible and self-disciplined. These are skills and traits that we will work on developing over the year. Please help your child practice these skills at home.

Success at school also depends on being prepared. Please help your child develop a routine of packing their bag with the necessary items and dressing appropriately for the weather or the activity planned for that day. Please keep in mind that we have PE on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please wear or bring a pair of runners. Also, Junior Band will be on Mondays and Thursdays.

Students are expected to be outside until the first bell at 8:55am. They are also expected to be outside for recess and lunch unless it has been declared a “Rainy Day”. On Rainy Days students will be allowed to play games in the basement.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Upper Elementary is a time when the child is encouraged to take their learning outside the classroom. It is a time for them to participate in the “Going Out” activities.

“Going Out” activities are thought of, planned, organized and carried out by the child with an adult chaperone. These activities give the child the opportunity to experience their learning first hand. It also gives them a taste of independence and responsibility. After the child has created their proposal, the “Going Out” activities must be done with the permission of both the teacher and the parent(s).

In addition to their own planned outings, I hope the children will also enjoy some of the events planned for them this year.  I hope that you will be able to join us as a volunteer!

In fact, if you have any skills or talents you would like to share with the class, please let me know. Photography, knitting, drama, music, yoga, soccer, gardening…


You can help. I will be expecting all work assigned in class to be completed in class. Of course, all children do not work at the same pace. Some children will get their work done in class and some will not. Your cooperation is essential in developing a positive homework habit. First and foremost, you can encourage your child by showing interest and demonstrating helpful attitudes towards homework.

Some suggestions for homework:

  • Provide a noise-free, well-lit place to work.
  • Establish a regular “homework time” in the home and have a special place free from excessive noise.
  • Help your child organize adequate time to complete activities neatly and carefully.
  • Encourage your child to ask for help when he/she doesn’t understand something or is frustrated. Teachers, like parents, can help only if they know there is a need.
  • Decide when it becomes too frustrating of a task to stop and take a break. Any work done under duress or frustration is not a positive or healthy learning experience.

Food & Drink

Many intermediate students go through a growth spurt (or at least an appetite spurt), and waiting until lunch is difficult. With a long stretch between breakfast and lunch, a hearty snack is very important. I encourage you to send a healthy snack with your child such as cheese, crackers, fruit, dried fruit, yogurt, etc. No candy or junk food, please!

After recess, many children are thirsty. Staying hydrated is important. It would be wonderful if your child could bring a reusable water bottle to school. They are welcome to keep this at their desk. We will also be drinking tea in our classroom this year. Please send a mug to school with your child. We will be making tea with mint, lemon thyme, sage and rosemary.


On Monday, September 9th, please have your child bring:

  • a 2 inch (or more) 3-ring binder
  • 8 dividers
  • a box of tissues
  • a mug
  • a reusable water bottle
  • a silent reading book

I look forward to meeting you next week at “Meet the Teacher” night on Wednesday, September 11th!