40 Book Challenge – Let’s get started

We’re officially starting tomorrow:  Ready, Set, Read….

Tuesday I’ll take time to finish up giving instructions for the challenge and to ensure students understand the instructions.  *If your child is unclear after Tuesday –  please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Each student will be encouraged to read books at their ‘just right’ reading level and I will take time weekly to check in with students about what they’re reading and how it’s going.

Today your child is bringing home a sheet in their planners titled:  

Encouraging Words (see above).  Please take the time to read a little about the challenge here and then to write your child a ‘letter of encouragement’ as they being their reading.  Please encourage your child to bring the letter you’ve written back to school either Tuesday (tomorrow) or Friday to insert into their reading journal.  

Students will be introduced to a variety of different genres that they might select books in the coming weeks (see genre overview chart)

As your child reads they’ll also be filling out a ‘weekly schedule’ (see above) as well as completing other activities related to their reading.  I will be sending home more information as we get started.  

Mrs. Lariviere and Mrs. Kelland our library clerk are also supporting this challenge and together we’ll support students with in-class reading time as well as support in the library with book selection.

Every day we’ll have a silent reading period for a minimum of 30 minutes when your child can read for the ’40 books challenge’.  ***If your child wishes to also read at home; that would be a wonderful bonus!  

I’ll also be challenging myself to read 40 books as well as  modelling and teaching lessons related to the challenge in the coming weeks.  

Happy Reading…. 




What are you curious about? Our Curious Classroom!

Monday we’ll  be opening  a  ______?  (It’s a surprise!)

What’s inside you ask?  

Have we peaked your curiosity?  

We hope so!


P.S – This week please bring a ***rock in a Ziplock bag clearly marked with your name on it!  

*** smaller than a hockey puck (any shape)!

~Mrs. Lariviere / Mrs. Bystrom


Elements of ART poster – due Thursday, Sept 27th


Tonight your child is bringing home their ‘Elements of Art’ poster, which we’ve been working diligently on for over a week.   The results are very impressive to date. Thursday at 2:30 posters are due in for assessment.  Students will have class (30 min) time Tuesday and another additional (30 min) Thursday to complete; but otherwise they may also choose to work on them for homework should they need to additional extra time to create a ‘quality’ assignment.

I’ve included all the details here from the site where the lesson was inspired from at the: TinyARTroom . By clicking on this link students will have all the guidance they need to complete their assigned work.  

Separate sections of the poster include:

Students are the ‘artists’ and the artist gets to decide what level of depth and complexity they’ll take this assignment to.  I can’t wait to see your child’s finished work; which will also be one of their first assignments to be posted in their E-Portfolios.

If you have any questions about this assignment; please don’t hesitate to contact me for details.

Parent Drivers Needed

download (1)Might you be able to drive from Aspen Park Elementary to Mt. Washington on Thursday, October 4th?   We have an opportunity to spend our day together outside learning in the great outdoors while hiking Paradise Meadows to Lake Helen McKenzie, Battleship Lake and returning to the nordic lodge.  ***However to go ahead with planning this experience we need to confirm that we will have enough parent drivers.  To date we have drivers for 9 students but still need 17 rides.  We’d be sincerely appreciative if you might be able to support this learning opportunity. ***If we have enough drivers by Tuesday, September 25th we will send permission forms  Wednesday, September 26th.  

We also need a minimum of three parent chaperones to attend, help chaperone and go on the hike with us. Might you enjoy to join us?  We’d be extremely appreciative.


If you might be able to help drive please e-mail Mrs. Bystrom right away at:  jbystrom@sd71.bc.ca 


Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom

What’s New for 2018 – 2019?

Welcome to our blog!  Together we’ll learn to take responsibility for adding content to our blog and to become wise and responsible users of technology.   Our blog will be a place to celebrate our learning, inquiry and reflection! It is my hope that you’ll experience our classroom as a safe place where you can confidently take learning risks and grow your leadership capacity.

At Aspen Park we’re a ‘Leader in Me’ school!   Recently, I read an article titled:  Three Ways to Help Students Achieve Goals  by  Andy Cindrich written June 21st, 2018. You can retrieve the article by clicking here



The article suggests: :”Going forward, let us educators, parents, and coaches (adults) work together to better prepare our young people for the next stages of life.” (Cindrich, 2018) It’s going to take proactive team-work and we’re looking forward to working together with your children and with your our parent team to create leaders ready to set goals, take accountability, ownership and responsibility for their learning with your loving guidance, support and consistent encouragement for their efforts, persistence and risk-taking as they get messy, make mistakes and learn to succeed by reflecting on their failures and growing through them.

It’s my hope that our learning environment will be such a place where each of us feels at home, content and confident!

Let’s have an awesome year together,

Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom / Ms. Amanda Lariviere

June 29th Update – Last Email (Please read)

Dear Parents / Students in Division 8,

Thank you for a great year.  Thank you for your generosity in year end hugs, cards and gifts… which were much appreciate and every so thoughtful.  I look forward to welcoming families back to Aspen Park in September and for those of you moving on to new schools and locations I wish you all the best.

I have a couple of last minute reminders/ lost & found items:

  • do any of the items below belong to you…. AT, JF, etc…
  • I found the aboriginal art work (see example below).. and if you’d like yours you can drop by next week and ask at the office as I will leave them there for pick up.
  • If there are any found library books – please drop them off at the office in the next couple of weeks while the office is open.

This will be my last official e-mail to you through the subscription to my blog as I will clear the cache of e-mail addresses over the summer.

However if you wish to contact me I will be checking my e-mail over the summer at jocelyn.bystrom@sd71.bc.ca

Dr. Claire visits Division 8

Dear Parents,

Today grade 3 students had their first of two visits with Dr.Claire, our district’s sexual health educator. Dr. Claire taught students about ‘private parts’.  Students learned the scientific words to describe their private parts; so that they can confidently and knowledgeably discuss what they learned with you. 

Dr. Claire reminded students that they can always trust their feelings and that if they’ve got questions they’re to seek a ‘trusted’ adult (usually a parent).  She reiterated that students should not be looking for information about ‘body parts’ online and that if they would like more information the best references are parents and books on sexual health that we have in the library at Aspen Park.  She told them that it is not their job to share the information they learned or teach friends; however they can talk to their ‘trusted adult’ about what they learned.  If you’d like to know more about what reference materials are available to teach sexual health for your child then please drop by and talk to either our teacher librarian; Mr. Todd Phillips, or library clerk: Mrs. Helena Kelland.

The private parts vocabulary that was discussed today included:

urine stool anus nipples
penis erection breasts



It’s Auction Time – June 25th

 Monday, June 25th the Division 8 hammer will drop on the 2nd inaugural classroom auction.  With Bystrom Bucks, wallets and bank books in hand students will be able to bid on items they wish to purchase.  

  • What strategies might be helpful to have the winning bid? 
  • What rules will we use for our classroom auction?
  • What items will students be bidding on?  
  • Do we get to keep what we bid on?  YES!  

These questions will be answered so that students are ready to actively participate, have fun and think strategically while bidding.  Watch for a newsletter coming home with further details.  

Might you have any gently used, pre-loved items in excellent condition that other kids might like to purchase?  We’ll  welcome  any items you may wish to donate for our auction the week of June 18th-22nd.   Thank you in advance for your contributions of pre-loved items. * Please start setting items aside with the auction in mind or consider donatinga new item you think kids would love to bid on. 

Thank you also for supporting this exciting event.  This will be a highlight for sure to our year end classroom economy.  Student wallets are currently getting fuller with cash; eagerly awaiting the big event Monday, June 25th!

Helping your Child Feel – Secure & Calm

I recently attended the Heart Mind Conference at the Dalai Lama Center in the lower mainland and signed up for the Heart Mind Challenge, which started this week.  During this first week of the challenge we’ve been encouraged to seek a better understanding of helping our students / children to feel

‘Secure and Calm’.  

After a first glance at several of the articles, links and resources I want to pass on to you the opportunity to check out this excellent article and read further if you’re interested.  Click the link below to also find a selection of children’s books which are excellent to read aloud to your children aloud, several of which I believe are available in our Aspen Park Library.

Here’s the link to the article:  Secure and Calm 


Gymnastics starting tomorrow – Forms Attached Here

Tomorrow is a big day for Divisions 7&8.  Both classes will head off walking at 12:30 to the Comox Rec. center for the 1st of four gymnastics lessons between 1:00-2:00 p.m.  All students in both classes have signed walking field trip permissions forms; so all students will attend.  However only students, who have completed parental permission forms returned by tomorrow will be able to participate.  

***Please help us ensure that your child can participate by looking for the forms in your child’s back pack / window pocket / planner; which need to be signed ( both sheets) and returned to your child’s classroom teacher.

Students will also need a t-shirt and shorts to participate.  Comfortable walking shoes also make the walking trip a pleasure rather than one with sore toes….  Please make sure your child also has a wind/ rain /sun appropriate jacket for a walk rain or shine to the rec. center.

Thank you again to all parents, who’ve made considerable efforts to help us get there forms completed as promptly as possible.  We’re incredibly grateful!

Jocelyn Bystrom / Pam Merritt

Forms Attached Here:

Bystrom Bucks – Our Classroom Economy

Coming soon to our classroom will be a new classroom economy and each student will have an important job!  Their job will be to be the best student they can be!  

They will earn a regular salary by working to become successful learners, follow the 7 Habits and ‘Bucket Filling’ philosophies and trying hard each and every day.

Students will be paid in Bystrom Bucks.  Details will be coming home shortly with students.  Posted below you’ll also find the details.

This week,  I will be introducing the classroom economy, we’ll be making wallets, and students will be introduced to how the system operates, open accounts and earn a bank book to record their employment, earnings, expenses and more.

At this time I’d also like to plant a seed so that you might put away items for a classroom auction which will take place in June.  If you have items that you think students might value, please just tuck them away for the time being and I will start making a collection of auction items in early June.  Lisa Murphy has used this program with her grade 4’s for years very successfully and its always a big hit with students.  They’ll look forward  to saving their money, earning bonuses, participating in random small auctions and specials, being able to purchase school supplies if they’ve lost theirs or save up till the year end auction.

As the coming week unfolds if you or your child have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Summary of Learning – A.K.A. ‘Report Cards’

Last week I posted the February ‘Summary of Learning’ in your child’s E-portfolio.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 6th you will receive a printed copy of the summary in your child’s planner (in the window pocket).  Please look for it and review it with your child.  

If you have any questions about the information printed there please don’t hesitate to contact us. 




I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce Mrs. Michelle Brookshaw to you, who will be replacing Mrs. Ria Volkers temporarily on Wednesdays while Mrs. Volkers works full-time in the grade 5/6 classroom upstairs. Please help welcome and support your child as we welcome Mrs. Brookshaw and together we’ll make the change as seamless as possible. 

Take it Apart Challenge – Applied Design, Skills & Technology

Do you have broken, small appliances that are just sitting around?  Toasters, hand mixers, cassette players, DVD players are prime examples.  Anything that has interesting moving parts.  Division 8 would love to have it brought to school and dropped off in our classroom March 15th – March 16th in preparation for the big event!  Here’s the key: GET a pair of scissors and cut off the plug off I don’t want anything that can still be plugged in.  Here’s an example of the broken blender I’m bringing for our




Monday, March 19th -Tuesday, March 20th

  • Students: Who might you borrow a variety of hand tools for our ‘Take it Apart Challenge?’ Think Ahead and ask respectfully.  Taking responsibility for someone else’s tools is a BIG responsibility that you have to earn.
  • Make sure you label any tools you bring with your name on them; so it’s clear who brought them and who needs to take them home.
  • Ask your parents to ask their friends…. for small, broken or damaged appliances that you think might be interesting to take apart and investigate.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Here it is – the Valentine’s Day list!   Please, if your child chooses to make cards remind them of  the importance that there be one for every child in the class.  The names on the right side of the list are optional and provided for students, who may wish to create cards for significant adults that have helped them to grow, learn or become more confident, capable kids!

May I take this opportunity to say:

My Valentine’s  Day Wish is that every day students at Aspen Park would know and believe they are valued and important as well as learn the value and importance of consistently working toward building strong, caring ‘relationships’.  

Showing kindness, care and compassion for each other ought to be an every day occurrence. 

I’d like to also take this special opportunity to say to each of you ‘parents’; how much I appreciate and  value your strong support, encouragement and kindness, which have made teaching your children a pleasure.  Your kids are pretty, darn special and I can only imagine how precious and important they are to you!  As a parent – I understand!   My own two beloved kids, a.k.a ‘young adults’ were home from university for this Family Day weekend and that was my most treasured Valentine’s Day gift!  Children bring incredible joy into our lives and YOUR CHILDREN bring joy into mine every day too!  Happy Valentines’ Day!

  1. Everett,
  2. Dexter,
  3. Breanna,
  4. Traiten,
  5. Hannah,
  6. Max
  7. Joey,
  8. Caleb,
  9. Matthew,
  10. Beau,
  11. Azrael,
  12. Imehjen,
  13. Jensen,
  14. Chloe,
  15. Patrick,
  16. Pearl,
  17. Griffin,
  18. Sofia,
  19. Aiden,
  20. Andrew,
  21. Taylor,
  22. Colten,
  23. Dawnovan,
  24. Svetlana,


Principal: Mrs. Scheck,

Music Teacher:  Mr. Flesher,

Gym Teacher: Mrs. Lewis,

Division 8 E.A.: Ms. Iris,

Librarian: Mrs. Kelland, Mr. Phillips,

Admin Assistant:  Mrs. Ballantyne,

Speech Language: Ms. Jennie Rankin

Counsellor: Mrs. Susan Murray

Support Staff for Reading Groups:

Ms. Billie, Ms. Shelley, Mrs. Alberti,

Volunteer Extraordinaire:  Bill

Lunch Supervision:

Mrs. Bohmer, Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Hambley


Family Math Party – Tuesday, February 20th

Dear Parents, Grandparents & Invited Guests,

Students in Division 8 are hosting a: 




Tuesday, February 20th 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Aspen Park Library (upstairs)

Why:  For Fun!  We’ll be introducing our invited guests to a variety of math games that you can play at home to practice multiplication math facts and other mathematics skills, which are the building blocks for Math success!  




How might you become an explorer?


The month of February will see students in Division 8 research  on North American Explorers. Each student will do a mini-study researching an explorer they’ve selected and have had approved by me.

Note-taking Assignment – due Tuesday, February 13th

The purpose of our research will be to enable students to learn about early contact, trade, cooperation and conflict between First Peoples and European peoples by reflecting to these key questions:

1) What motivated explorers and settlers to come to Canada?
2) How did the geography of Canada affect European exploration?
3) How did exploration of North American effect our First Peoples?
Students will be using a variety of websites and research tools to complete their research including a minimum of two book sources:

Step by Step:  Getting Started

Step 1. Go to our Aspen Park library and check on line about what we have in our library using the research tools Mr. Phillips taught you.

Step 2. With parental permission read and take notes from  a variety of reliable sites  (see below) and consider various explorers as you seek to choose one that interests you personally. What questions might you want to answer? learn about? share with your classmates when you share you learning.

Step 3. Be thinking about how you might like to share your learning. We’ll have a discussion in class in early February about the possibilities for how you might report on your learning.

Recommended Sources & Websites:

*Parents please ensure that you child is asking for your permission to access the Internet under your supervision to work on their explorers research. Adequate time will also be given at school to work on this assignment although the keen students will definitely want to dig deeper and invest themselves more fully, which may require additional time at home!  
If you have any questions about this research project; please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom

Division 8 Spelling Bee – Step into the Courage Zone

News Update: Congratulations to Sofia Robichaud from Division 8 who placed 2nd in the school spelling bee  February 7th.  We wish Sofia and the other Aspen Park spellers the best as they represent us at the District Spelling be February 14th!  Congratulations also to all the grade 4 students in our class who had the courage to step out of the comfort zone into the courage zone and participate in the spelling bee last week.  We were exceptionally proud of you!


Below are some words to practice at home for:

  • our classroom spelling bee Friday, February 1st
  • The Aspen Park School Bee is  February 7th and
  • The S.D. 71 Spelling Bee is February 14th.
  • See below for  Spelling study lists.

Although grades 3/4 will practice in our class and participate in our class bee only interested grade 4 students in our class will participate in the school bee.

It takes lots of courage to spell in front of the whole school and despite their best efforts this can be extremely intimidating.  However it can also be a fun and rewarding experience if they go into it with the right attitude.  The required positive attitude is:

  •  I want to try my best,

  • have fun,

  • experience participating in the school bee and

  • no matter how I do; I can be proud of myself for stepping out out my comfort zone into my courage zone (even if I spell my first work incorrectly – sometimes this happens! Rats).

Spelling Resources: 

What’s DI – Destination Imagination?

It’s time to inspire your child to say “yes” when given the opportunity to check out Destination Imagination.

***Next week there will be an announcement and a first meeting for interested students grades 3-5 in the multipurpose room at 11:45 a.m. ( bring your lunch).

 It’s a great opportunity! There are technical, structural, fine arts, improvisational and community outreach categories.  Teams of between 2-7 students at elementary, middle and secondary levels for fun and the honour of representing our district at the DI regionals (held March 17th, 2018),  provincials and possibly Global finals in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Want to know more about DI – read here.   It’s my hope that we will have several parents, who might be willing to be team managers under my direction and that Aspen Park Elementary will be host several teams at regionals.


If we have 7 interested students and at least *one parent sponsor per team (in addition to me!) interested we can get underway.

My daughter competed in teams through grade 12 and earned opportunities to work collaboratively with teammates and learn incredibly important life skills.   Now a student at SFU after graduating from Isfeld Secondary she still participates in DI.  It’s just a great organization.  She’s traveled with her DI teams over the years to the lower mainland, Knoxville, Tennessee and even to China where her team placed 2nd world wide!  School District #71 is known worldwide for the strength of our DI teams.  An article about past teams from the valley- link here!

Grades 3-5 is a perfect time to get involved for the first times as elementary teams are teams, which have students from any of these grades.  Once a student’s moves to grade 6 they compete on middle school level teams through grade 8.  Getting involved while still competing at the elementary level gives our teams significant advantages, experience, expertise! 

… and a whole lot of fun!

Learn to Curl – A Cool opportunity!

Dear Division  8 Parents,

*** Note UPDATED Information!

We are still short of parent drivers for Division 8!  Last Tuesday we needed to be covered by drivers from the other class to be on our way!  If you can help out for the next several Tuesdays please contact me a.s.a.p.


This year the students  may have an opportunity to  participate in the ‘Learn to Curl’ Program.  This will consist of 4 lessons at the Comox Valley Curling Rink.  The dates and times are as follows:

January 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th all between 9:30-10:30

We will be traveling using parent drivers to and from the rink and will need to leave Aspen Park School at 9:00 to arrive and prepare for our lessons.  We will be returning shortly after 11:00 and resume regular classes. Please contact Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom if you might be able to drive along with the number of students you can take so that I can get a tentative sense if we’ll be able to have enough drivers.

The cost for these lessons will be a one-time fee of $26.00 per student.  Please send cash or a cheque made out to Aspen Park Elementary.  It is expected that ALL Divisions 7 & 8 students are to participate in these lessons as part of our P.E. lessons therefore, if you are unable to pay the fee, please let me know or contact the office as there are funds available.

We hope to have a more detailed  curling newsletter, a the necessary waiver and permission forms for parents to sign coming home Monday or Tuesday.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Thank you…curling 1

Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom