T4EA Literacy News

November 2018

National Aboriginal Veterans Day

“Indigenous peoples’ contributions to military service are an important part of our shared history, and it is their dedication to continued military and peacekeeping operations that we must reflect on and honour. First Nations and Indigenous peoples have been known to respond to the calls to service, and today we reflect on those we have lost in the defense of Canadian values of peace, and democracy. We must also reflect on the persistent gaps in wellbeing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and we must strive to work harder to close these gaps. As we continue to work towards true lasting reconciliation based on recognition of Indigenous Rights, and Title, we must never forget the sacrifices and accomplishments of Canada’s Indigenous Veterans.”

- B.C. Regional Chief Terry Teegee

National Aboriginal Veterans Day is commemorated each year on November 8. There are many informative and engaging activities, videos and websites that are available online for all age groups. Here are a couple of our favourite:

Indigenous Veterans: Veterans Affairs Canada


This website provides information in a variety of formats, from essays to videos. They also provide some learning activities at the bottom of the page. An activity that is great for Grades 6 and up is the Remembrance Dog Tags activity: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/information-for/educators/learning-modules/aboriginal-veterans/dogtags.

The Legacy Series: Stories of the Second World War to Engage Your Class bridges the generational divide between veterans and youth, bringing the stories of our country’s history to life for today’s students. Share these stories of sacrifice and courage with your students to commemorate Remembrance Week.


Forgotten Soldiers

This is an opportunity to guide students through a research project that focuses on specific questions that explore the extent that aboriginal people were involved in both world wars.


Big picture

Reading At Home

The more that we can build our children's literacy skills at home, the more prepared the children are when they attend school. There are many resources out there with helpful suggestions to aid parents in supporting their children's literacy skills at home, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network provides some excellent resources to get started.

I have attached two excellent resources that we recommend you take the time to look at and consider sending home with your students. Both of these resources, along with many others, can be found on the Saskatchewan Literacy Network website, http://saskliteracy.ca/, under resources.

Confident Learners

It is now November and your classroom is in full swing. Students are getting used to the daily schedule and are learning to work within your expectations as the classroom teacher. Lessons are becoming more individualized as you learn the strengths and needs of your students.

Confident Learners is an excellent resource that enables you to teach your students where they are at. It allows you to pinpoint the needs of each student and challenge them to gain new skills and move forward along the Literacy Pathway.

If you are not already using the Confident Learners Web Application to find resources and lessons for your classroom, we encourage you to log in as soon as possible and get to know the website, including the Web Application and the supporting resources that are available.

Throughout the instructional application you might notice that beside each student name there is often a magnifying glass. If you click on this magnifying glass there will be an option to 'View Report.' This is where you can download a summary of where the student currently are in both Language Skills and Code-Related Skills. The summary explains what each step focuses on and lists a couple activities the parents can do at home to support the skills the students are currently working on. This is an excellent resource to hand out during Parent-Teacher interviews or to send home with report cards.

If you are unable to log in for any reason, or you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sarah Ballard at sballard@educationalliance.ca, Rhonda Kayseas at rkayseas@educationalliance.ca or contact Confident Learners directly by emailing cl-support@thelearningbar.com.

We recommend pinning the website to your task bar for easy access to the Confident Learners website. You can also access the Confident Learners website by going to our educationalliance.ca website and click on resources then scroll down to our list of programs we use within T4EA.

This is the direct link: https://app.confidentlearners.com/#/login.

Big picture

Book Of The Month

At the end of the last school year, we handed out multiple copies of the 2016 Willow Book Award books to each of the schools. We want to make them as useful to the classroom teachers as possible so we will feature a book a month and provide the resources for teachers to use the books in their classrooms.

If you are wanting to use a book that we have not yet featured, you can visit the Willow Awards website at https://willowawards.ca/previous-years/2016/ and click on the book. A window will pop up with some information about the author, the illustrator and some suggested activities.

Big picture

We Are All Made Of Molecules

"Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically brilliant but "ungifted" socially. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson is the undisputed "It" girl of grade nine, but her marks stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. "The Brady Bunch" it isn't. Stewart is trying to be 89.9% happy about it, but Ashley is 110% horrified. She already has to hide the truth behind her parents' divorce; "Spewart" could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, no matter their differences, they share one thing in common: they--like the rest of us--are all made of molecules.

Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation."

Written by Susin Nielsen, this book is aimed at students grade 6 and up. It is recommended that this book be taught as a read aloud, while also doing an in-depth character analysis of all of the characters.

Several resources have been added in PDF form for you to access and print.

Big picture

B.E.A.D.S. Activities and Making Connections

When it comes to teaching B.E.A.D.S. words, or sight words, there are a lot of different approaches. These are words that are not easy to sound out and are best memorized by the students. Teaching these B.E.A.D.S. words helps your students read more fluently, fluidly and helps them become more efficiently as well.

Within the B.E.A.D.S. program, there are flash cards provided. This does not mean that the only way to teach B.E.A.D.S. words is by flashing flash cards and memorizing the words. This might work for some students, but the danger is that students might become accustomed to the order of the words and be reciting them by the order rather than their ability to recognize the word.

If you google ideas to teach dolch words, sight words, or high frequency words, you will come across many different activities that will help your students learn the B.E.A.D.S. words. We recommend that your students be working on the words that they currently need to learn, with a few words that they already know. You can identify the words that your students still need to know by completing the coloured B.E.A.D.S. Assessments with your students.

The best way for students to learn sight words is through hands-on activities and games. You can make these games with the words that your students are currently working on. Games like sight word bingo can be played as a class as opposed to a small group. This is a good place to start if you are unsure how to incorporate the games and activities into your class.

There are also websites that have free online games that help students recognize sight words. If you are currently doing centers in your classroom, you can make a computer, tablet or the smartboard a center where the students are working on learning sight words.

Another suggestion is to use a word wall that only includes the words that your students have learned or they are currently learning. Learn to only add new words once students are able to identify and find the words. As you add new words, review the words currently on the board. You can make the word wall a working resource where students know how to find words and are able to move them around and categorize them during different activities.

You can also get in the habit of pointing out words as you read them in your morning messages, or leave parts of the words out and have the students fill them in when you write sentences, instructions or even the daily schedule on the board. You can use sticky notes to cover words in poems and stories during circle time and have the students guess what the word is and then spell it for you and write it on the sticky note as you go through the text.

You can also connect the B.E.A.D.S. words to lessons that are already in Confident Learners. The beautiful thing about a lot of Confident Learners lessons plans and resources is that you can fill in any words that your students are already working on. So if you find a lesson or game that you think would work great in your classroom, you can modify it to fit the words that you are currently teaching.

I have provided 4 different Confident Learners lesson plans with the required materials below so that you can download and print them and use them in your classroom with the words that your students are currently learning.

Big picture