Learn to Curl – A Cool opportunity!

Dear Division  8 Parents,

*** Note UPDATED Information!

***To date we do not have enough parent drivers, forms or payment returned.  All of this must be completed prior to the Christmas break or we will need to cancel.  This is one of the best field experiences I’ve done with students to date and it would be very sad to miss out.  There is a 1:2 coaching ratio for this program so our students get incredible, individualized coaching.  Please return forms and payment a.s.a.p. and let me know immediately if you might be able to drive any or all of the curling classes. 


Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom

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

Sewing – Let’s get started!

needle-and-threadTuesday it all begins!  What you ask?  Our first lessons on hand sewing.

We’ll begin with basic hand sewing technique and each student will make a pin cushion, followed by an elf… Later as we gain proficiency  we will plan a pattern for a small felt stuffed animal. 

We’re still looking for helpers:  Grandparents, neighbours, Aunty, Uncle, Mom or Dad!  Might you be able to help guide our first steps in hand sewing.  You don’t need to be an expert; just a willing helper.  We’d be sew appreciative.  

sewing-kitYour son/daughter may also ask to put together a small sewing kit.  We do have needles and some thread; but extras are always appreciated.  Please make sure their name is on their sewing kit and that it’s in a small container.

Below are a few links we’ll be previewing and learning from in the coming days.  Feel free to preview or review with your child if you wish. Practice at home is encouraged; but not expected.  I think your kids are going to be very keen.

Check back soon for an updated post with hand sewing videos – It’s time to get inspired!  It’s going to be great fun & learning!

All the Math Facts You’ll Ever Need To Know!

Tomorrow we’ll be doing a pre-assessment of which math facts students in division 8 already know… this is not meant to be an evaluation; but rather an assessment of what our starting place is.  This is called:

Image result for Assessment for Learning

“Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.” (Retrieved from: Website, November 22, 2017) 

Tomorrow, I will have the students try all the addition and subtraction facts as well as try the multiplication and division facts they’ll ever need to know.  For many students they may not have done much work with multiplication in a formal way and may have not worked with division at all.  This is OKAY!  We’re going to start where they are… next week.    Others who are ready for next steps will also be challenged to move forward from their current skill level.

Parents, grandparents, friends, neighbours and after school caregivers are also be important teachers of math facts too.   Many parents ask:  “What can I do at home?”  The following website in addition to many others which I will send links for at a later date can be very helpful to get you started.  We’ll also be having a Family Math Party in January!  Date to be announced in early January.

For copies that you can use at home to practice: Click here! 

Here are some of the Math Facts multiplication & division patterns we’ll be learning shortly:

Resilience – Learning to Bounce Back

Division 8 spent a good part of the day Thursday discussing ‘Resilience’.


  • Second, we completed a mandala activity retrieved from here p. 25 where students ‘explored feelings through use of colour’. (I will post their mandals to their E-Portoflios shortly.  Most students chose to bring these home Thursday in the window pocket of their planner to share with you.) *Students coloured various sections of the mandala to show how they’re feeling about:  self, friends, school and family.


  • Next, we completed an activity to help students begin to recognize, explore and accept the gifts and qualities they have, which can increase their resilience. Retrieved from here p. 27-29


* It is my hope that you’ll take the time to discuss the idea of resilience with your child and to help support their emotional resilience through a family discussion. Quite a few students asked that their mandala be ‘private’ so we’ve chosen to show them in this group photo only. 

November Spelling Focus

Today we started a Spelling duo tang, which contains three separate word lists:

  1. List 1 / List 2 (November 6th-10th)
  2. Grade 3 Dolch List
  3. Grade 4 Dolch List

I’ve attached these below.  In addition, I’ve updated Spelling City for student practice with these lists and the first 25 words from each list.  Although some students will find these very manageable; other will require practice. The goal is that each students will be able to use these words with accuracy in their daily writing.

Your child has chosen one of the following two lists to study the week of November 6th-10th:

Homework: Parents Know Best!

*Updated with November practice.  For the remainder of the year the updates to this post will be on the PARENT CONNECTION page. 

Every year I think back to parenting our two children and remember the question of “How much homework is too much?” if any. Every year I have parents who request ‘homework’ to create a routine of ‘practice’ while other families have busy schedules and prefer no homework at all.

outside-playHere are my thoughts!  I think parents know best!  Please decide what works best for your child.  As a teacher I have told my students that I assign 30 minutes of homework every day!  Wait a minute you’re asking.  I encourage students to ‘play’ outside for 30 minutes a day!

If on the other hand you’d like to set up a routine for your child to have daily practice of Mathematics in particular, I’ve come across a possibility which might suit your needs.  I have paid for this download to use with my students. If you wish you can print it off at home and create your own homework routine.

Please find the attached document for November Practice

*Although this homework sample is from a previous year; it still provides lots of current ideas for appropriate student practice.


Gallery Access to E-Portfolios

I’ve added the spooktacular Halloween photos from our costume parade this morning, in addition to all the other photo albums for your enjoyment in our class gallery. Thank you for your patience; especially those who tried to access the gallery at the E-Portfolio evening and could not. 

Here’s the solution:

  1. Open your child’s E-Portfolio by going first to the Aspen Park website.
  2. You child will need to login when prompted with their username and password. 
  3. Click below where it says ‘Portfolio’ (see image above)
  4. Choose your child’s class from the list of classes (see image above)
  5. You should now see a prompt for the gallery.
  6. Please send me an e-mail to confirm that you’ve been able to access our classroom gallery. 


Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom




Place Value – Quiz Thursday

10 Place Value vocabulary words and a unit end quiz on place value this Thursday, October 19th. These skills have been taught, practiced, reviewed, and reinforced; but a little study at home goes a long way to increasing student confidence.

Linked below is a sample copy of the pre-assessment students completed approx 6 weeks ago.  The quiz format Thursday will be identical with different numbers and digits.  This quiz is not meant to test reading so I want students to be familiar with the expected question format.  This way they’ll have the best opportunity to show their learning confidently and successfully.


Spelling List to be Tested:

ones tens,  hundred, thousands digit
addition subtraction multiply multiple place value

*Challenge Place Value List: * Extra words to study if you’re confident with the list above or got over 80% on the pre-test.

challenge tenths hundredths decimal expanded
thousandths fourteen base ten divide standard


Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Games!

Assemble five items found from around your home that you are allowed to bring and willing to share. Please bring in a Ziploc bag for Monday, October 24th.

As part of the new Applied Design, Skills & Technology curriculum we’ll be Making, Tinkering and Engineering in Division 8.  Next week’s design challenge will be to design a simple game that uses objects found around your home .  Remember, makers are creative and resourceful with materials.

  • Be thinking of each object.  Pick up the object and think of all the things it can do.
  • Remember there’s no such thing as a silly idea…
  • How might you re-invent a game you know using these objects?
  • How might you make the game more or less challenging?
  • If at first your idea doesn’t work, re-think and re-imagine more possibilities.

Can’t wait to get started… I hope I’ve made ignited your curiousity for this upcoming maker challenge!

Gum & Stuffies

chewing-gumLet’s talk about gum!  Yes, to sugar free gum, that’s chewed quietly, respectfully and for the purpose of self-regulation. Unfortunately, there are some students who require consistent reminders about classroom expectations. There are pros and cons to chewing gum in the classroom setting and the debate continues. Students in Division 8 who wish to continue to chew gum however must abide by these considerations:boy-blowing-bubble

  1. We’re proactive and only chew gum in our classroom. We know that any adult at Aspen Park may ask us at any time to put our gum in the garbage and that we will respectfully follow their instructions.
  2. We’re proactive and choose not to chew during music, gym or while eating.
  3. We’re proactive and choose not to chew while public speaking or when sharing our writing aloud.
  4. We begin with the end in mind and  choose to chew quietly, respectfully, with our mouth closed and to not blow bubbles.
  5. We know there are consequences to our choices and actions:  If consistent reminders are needed we will lose the privilege of chewing for the remainder of the day! If the problem persists the privilege will be removed altogether.

stuffiesStuffies are warm, furry, cuddly and comforting!  They’re also an incredible distraction to many students.  I have asked all students to refrain from bringing stuffies to school.  I have also suggested that soon we will  have a special day, (date – TBA) where students will be invited to bring one special stuffy to school for the day.  Please help support your child to keep these beloved creatures and furry friends at home (unless they’re invited)!stuffed-cat


Many thanks!

Mrs. Jocelyn Bystrom

You’re Invited – Tuesday, October 24th

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.28.03 PM


An introduction to your child’s ‘E-Portfolio’ and ‘My Site’. 

Part 1.  (10 minutes) A teacher-led presentation on access, features and what’s new.

Part 2.  A student-led conference with an explanation of what’s in their portfolio & and opportunity to add comments.


Aspen Elementary School – Enter at main doors  and head upstairs. We’ll meet beside the library in the computer lab.


Tuesday, October 24th  6:30-7:30 p.m. (We promise to start and wrap up on time!)


Parents, Caregivers, Grandparents & Invited Guests – Anyone invested in your child’s learning. (Please bring your son/daughter. If you can’t attend please consider sending your child with a caregiver, relative or invited guest, who can share the information they learn with you afterward.  The goal is for your son / daughter to have an opportunity to share, teach and celebrate their learning with you.)


  • 10 minutes just isn’t enough to share everything your child and I want to share with you at parent/teacher  interviews.  
  • Gives your child a chance to be part of the conversation!
  • Opportunity for working parents to attend an evening session (*although this is not the time for a one on one p/t conference).
  • Help make sure you feel confident with the technology and how to access the assessment tools we’re using to share ‘reporting’ with you.

We’d be delighted if you can take the time!

Our Gratitude Tree: Let’s Be Mindful What We’re Grateful For!

I was pleasantly surprised what deep thinkers your kids are this afternoon as we discussed our ‘Classroom Gratitude Tree’.  One student suggested they were thankful for a doctor who  had saved their life, another student wrote about the unconditional love  they receive from their family and many students wrote about their appreciation for quality time with their families.  Come see our tree next week and watch it grow throughout the year as we reflect on just what we have gratitude for.  Idea retrieved October 4th from a blog titled: Premeditated Leftovers (click here to check it out).

Students were then asked to close their eyes and consider the following questions and how they might respond (silently in their heads) while I read these 25 Journal Prompts. A few sample question are listed below:


  • What is one thing that made you smile today?

  • What is one thing you love about yourself?

  • What is something beautiful that you saw today?

  • What is something you love about your parents?

  • What is something you love in nature?

  • Read more gratitude prompts! (Click here)


***Can each member of your family make a leaf for our Gratitude Tree? Each family member might make a leaf, write on it what you are grateful for.  Bring the leaves to school next week and  add them to our Gratitude Tree! 


Thank you for Returning Forms! – Re: IPAD / Computer Usage

Unless you haven’t had a look at the form yet; I’ve included it here.  One of the first apps we’re looking at is SpellingCity, which you can have a look at here. [* This is a free app for you to use with your child at home.  I have paid to use it as a teacher and set it up with our 1st spelling list including Place Value vocabulary. Your child can pre-test or test themselves on the list at any time using the app whenever they are ready by using the testing feature of the site.  We will also test in class next Thursday.  I have given each child a login and password to use and the program can be used on any electronic device including computers, IPADS or phones. The app keeps track for me each child’s progress and I will be monitoring their use of the app regularly.]  I’ve made it abundantly clear to division 8 students that they’re always to ask for parental permission and that using the app at home may be an earned privilege. They must always consider the use of the app as a responsibility which they must use in an ‘expected’, appropriate way.  

I suggested they ask you for 10-15 minutes and that they set a timer on the stove if you say ‘yes’.  Then when the timer goes off they take personal responsibility to log out as expected without reminders. 

Thank you to parents, who’ve already returned the signed forms re: IPAD apps or who’ve asked questions where they needed clarification.


Jocelyn Bystrom

5 Interesting Facts Challenge – due Thursday!

We’re just getting started with this challenge:  

(*see file below) 

  • The first step is just to think of and record your facts,
  • The second step is to bring them Thursday.
  • The third step will be to insert them into your E-Portfolio. We will do this together on Thursday in the computer lab. At that time I will also teach you  how to access your E-Portfolio if you don’t already know how. 


Thank you Division 8 for a Great Day at Mt. Washington

One of our proudest moments came at 7.0 km. 

A couple of hikers stopped us to say “that of all the school groups they’d met along the trail today (Psst: there were 8 other classes on the trail)  they felt our class was the most respectful and well-behaved!”  Way to go Aspen Park ambassadors!  

At 8.1 km we  celebrated with high fives and  many celebratory snapshots of our tired, but happy hikers!  Aspen students most assuredly demonstrated grit, perseverance and attitudes of kindness and positivity!

Thank you to each of the parent drivers & the chaperones extraordinaire: Tracy, Louis, Lana, Sarah, Nicole, Kim, Sonia, Sarah and Bill.  Forgive me – I hope I didn’t miss anyone!  This teacher was extremely proud of our exceptional students. I’m also pretty darn tired and ready for bed!  I wonder if your kids are as sleepy and filled with wonderful shared memories of our special day?  I hope they’ll share stories with you of our most marvellous adventures.


Parents who took photos – please do share them with me so that I can share them with the students. A reminder to please share them in a confidential way (usb stick or e-mail).  Please do not post any photos publicly on social media.    I will be adding many of the student requested photos to our class gallery for you to enjoy with your children. Next week,  I will be taking division 8 students to the computer lab for the first time, teaching them how to access their E-portfolios and to reflect on our glorious day up Mt. Washington!

Watch for an invite coming soon:  Parents, families and invited guests will be invited to a special ‘Family night’ for division 8.  It’ll be an opportunity to  learn about our E-Portfolios, how to access and enjoy the contents of student E-portfolios and what special plans we have in mind for Division 8 students and their families this year…

Please watch for details of the date and timing t.b.a. next week!

Our Big Hike – Thursdays Forecast: Sunshine & Fun!

Thank you to all our parent drivers and parent chaperones, who’ve volunteered to go on tomorrows hike in addition to ensuring all of the required paper work is in place.  We’re very grateful and look forward to an exceptional hike tomorrow up to Lake Helen McKenzie, Battleship Lake and around Paradise Meadows.  The weather forecast is for pure sunshine!  Hurray!

Parent & Student Reminders:

  • Please wear runners or hiking boots – no rubber boots, sandals or flip flops.
  • Dress in layers (*it’s often cooler up the mountain).
  • Parent discretion: sunglasses, hats and sunscreen as needed.
  • Please bring a water bottle and a large nutritious lunch.
  • Please choose a positive attitude and come prepared to have fun, get to know one another better as we walk, talk and visit and leave electronics at home. 
  • Students: Use kind words, encourage each other and be excellent ambassadors of Aspen Park Elementary, while sharing the hiking trails with other park visitors!

Reminders for Parents Chaperones / Drivers: (Please review)

  • Chaperones / Drivers: Please arrive, park and come into the classroom Thursday morning (tomorrow) at 8:45.  I will review expectations for students, drivers and chaperones prior to our departure at approximately 9:00 a.m.
  • Needed: I’d appreciate if one of the chaperones might be willing to carry a First Aide fanny pack (I’ll have it ready)…  It would also be helpful to be aware if any of our chaperones have current first aide training. Please e-mail me at: jocelyn.bystrom@sd71.bc.ca
  • Parent Chaperones –  Please bring cameras to help take lots of photos of students,  wildlife,  alpine plants the students would like to identify or just great ‘happy kid’ photos.  If you can later provide these photos to me on a usb stick,  or in another convenient, confidential way that would be most appreciated.  To honour confidentiality I would ask that no photos from the hike be posted anywhere publicly; but rather only provided to me for student reflection and E-Portfolios.  We will take a group shot at the end of the hike by the Paradise Meadows sign (please all meet at the sign prior to going to cars).
  • Drivers: Please ensure that you have the students I’ve assigned to you prior to leaving the school, that they each have a lunch, backpack to carry there own belongings and that their back pack is not too heavy.  If it is too heavy; we may want to leave unnecessary items (check with me) in cars; so that students are not carrying excessive weight!  This takes all the fun out of the hike!  
  • Drivers (return trip to Aspen Park Elementary) – Please make sure you have all the assigned kids back with you, and check in with me prior to leaving the parking lot.  All students must remain in the assigned cars unless I have confirmed alternate instructions with individual parent drivers.

    Thank you again for joining us on what will most assuredly be an amazing day of outdoor learning and fun.


Math Vocabulary – Homework Challenge



It’s challenging to learn and use the language of Mathematics without some of the basics.  Please help support your child at home to learn the following vocabulary, which we will also be practicing in class.

Extra Challenge – Can you identify the one word I spelled incorrectly?

digits two seven thirteen eighteen multiply expanded
one  three eight fourteen nineteen divide standerd
ten  four nine fifteen twenty equal place value
hundred  five eleven sixteen add  fun decimal
thousand six twelve seventeen subtract challenge base ten


Might you be a possible parent driver?

parent drivers 2015We’d like to get an initial feel as to the availability of  parent drivers for field experiences.  If you are available during the daytime on occasion or throughout the year, willing to ensure all your driving forms/paperwork are filed at the office and would like to join us or drive on the occasional field trip please send me a brief note at      jbystrom@sd71.bc.ca.  At this time we’re considering the possibility of a fall walking/hike up at Paradise Meadows; but it would be a very short turn around time to organize and make happen. We would need to hear back very quickly from the necessary parent drivers, send out permission slips and get them back very quickly to make this work.   We’re currently considering Thursday, September 28th, 2017 as a potential date for this  (weather dependent) field trip if we can get enough rides for 22 students,  2 adults and  a minimum of 4 parent chaperones to hike with us.  

In your e-mail response please note if you can drive, how many seats you have for students, if you’re interested in doing the hike with us as a parent chaperone, if you have updated drivers license, abstract and insurance on file as well as if you have any skills or hobbies appropriate to our hike that you’d like to share with the group ( outdoor safety, alpine plants, animal lore, etc.)
Paradise Meadows
Looking forward to exciting possibilities,

Mrs.  Bystrom / Mrs. Volkers

Who’s Responsibility Is It Anyway?

Winning the Pencil War – An Effective Management System

(Idea retrieved and adapted from: WiseOwlTeach.blogspot.ca, Sept,2017)




1. I will provide your child with a new pencil case that’s just for them.

2. I have prepared the pencil cases and will have them ready for Day 1.

3. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me Jocelyn Bystrom



  • In each pencil case will be 5 sharpened pencils and an eraser. (*I will be collecting pencils and erasers from your child’s school supplies to support this endeavour.)
  • Every Monday your child will have their pencil case returned to them with 5 sharpened pencils and an eraser, which will be each student’s responsibility to keep track of and return safely to their pencil case after every use.
  • On Friday, at 2:20pm pencil cases will be collected.  If all five pencils and the eraser are in the pencil case, your child will find a small prize in their pencil case come Monday morning when pencil cases are returned.
  • If there are any pencils missing, (THIS IS KEY) the pencil(s) WILL be replaced, but no prize will be given.   All pencils need to be in good condition (no erasers snapped off or broken) to receive the prize.
  • If pencils are missing, I will place a note inside the pencil case saying: “Try again next week!”
  • Bottom line: The pencils are the student’s responsibility.
  • What to do if you if you find yourself with an extra pencil or you find one on the floor?
  • Be a “Bucket Filler” and give it to someone who’s missing a pencil.  If you know who it belongs to,  return it to them with a smile.

What’s New for 2017 – 2018?

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.

imagesAt Aspen Park we’re a ‘Leader in Me’ school!   Just recently, I read an article titled:  Where Leaders Grow  by   written June 19th, 2014. You can retrieve the article at: tlim_logo@2x http://blog.theleaderinme.org/category/educational-insights/

The article asks: “Do you ever dream about a place where everyone feels at home, content, and confident—where everyone knows who they are, what they enjoy, and how they want to make a difference in the lives of others? In such a place, you feel the passion and energy in a way that is contagious. Now, imagine finding read more” (Holland, 2014)

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