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

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!