It’s Auction Time – June 26th

At long last the day is almost here.  Monday, June 26th the Division 8 hammer will drop on the 1st 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 Monday with details.  

Might you have any gently used, pre-loved items in excellent condition that other kids might like to purchase?  We’re now welcoming any items you may wish to donate for our auction the week of June 19th-23rd. Each item dropped off by next Friday will be cataloged, tagged and ready for the auction!  Thank you in advance for your contributions of pre-loved items.

  • Please bring in any larger items  Thursday or Friday,
  • If its a collection of small items to be sold as a group please put it into a Ziploc bag,
  • Please make sure your child is okay with what you’re sending so they aren’t surprised to see something that belongs to them being sold at the auction.

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 thick with cash; eagerly awaiting the big event Monday, June 26th!

Let’s Celebrate – Division 8 / Can you help?

Its difficult to believe we’re at the beginning of June and making plans to celebrate another successful year of learning!  Division 8 will celebrate with a year end field trip to Riverside, Simms Millennium & Lewis Parks on Thursday, June 22nd.

In preparation we’ll be learning about how to responsibly ride public transportation as well as to plan a route to our destination as we head off to three of downtown Courtenay’s most incredible parks where we’ll exercise, play, picnic and swim!

We’ll be walking and then riding on Comox Valley Transit as we head to downtown Courtenay!  Check out this link with your kids at home in preparation for our big day!  More information and details to be announced shortly.  Please watch for a request for parent chaperones, parent drivers and permission slips coming home Monday. *If you’d like to join us for the day please e-mail Mrs. Bystrom directly at:

Track & Field Jamboree – Monday

Parents & Students  – “On your mark, get set, go!”

It’s time for our annual track and field jamboree when all students grades 4-7 from Aspen Park Elementary are bused to the track at Vanier Sports center.  Monday, May 15th is the date!  (*** Grade 3 students will remain at Aspen with Ms. Merritt Monday.)

What to remember:  

  • dress for the weather with layers  (consider wind, rain and sun)
  • bring and wear a hat  (rain or sun),
  • sunscreen,
  • bring a warm jacket (doubles as something soft to sit on or picnic blanket and for warmth if you get chilled.)
  • bring a water bottle, refills are available at the track!
  • wear running shoes, shorts and a t-shirt ( Aspen students will have an Aspen jersey to wear) as there will be many students from other elementary schools.
  • Bring a healthy snack and a larger lunch for the whole day… activity and fresh air mean you’re usually hungry),
  • Choose a positive attitude:  Participate in as many events for your age group as you wish.  It’s much more fun to participate and know you’ve tried your best.

Remember:  It’s okay to make mistakes; its a mistake not to try!

Egg Cartons & Toilet Tubes – Please!

Phil Brown, art teacher extraordinaire has inspired our next art project for which we’ll need egg cartons & toilet tubes and empty, flattened cereal boxes Friday or Monday.  I wish to give credit where credit is due so here is a link to her website:  Idea retrieved May 3,2017   

Check this out:  Next UP – Flying Pigs! Your child may decide to express their imagination and create something magical, imaginary and completely fun and unexpected; so perhaps not a flying pig.  Click on the ‘Flying Pigs’ for links and directions to the site.

If anyone spots ‘Art Paste’ made my either Elmers or School Speciality around the Comox Valley; please let me know as I’d like to buy some for this project.

Thank you in advance for keeping an eye open for this specialty product mentioned in the following article.




I Care About You – Child & Youth Mental Heath Awareness!

Today we kicked off our Child & Youth Mental Health Week on the theme of “Caring, Connected Relationships”.

All week long students can sign in each morning if they bike, scoot or walk to school.  Students are encouraged to wear green and to ask the question:  What is mental health?  This would be a great dinner table conversation for families.

All week long I will post here things that we’re doing in class related to this theme.  Check back for updates.

What is a Pecha Kucha?

Just picture an oral presentation where you tell all about what you know while in the background you have a Power Point presentation of 20 images that are timed for 20 seconds each.   This style of presentation originated in Japan and is lots of fun!  I’ve done it with my students previously and its a really great way to learn how to present to an audience with the help of images as aides to remembering the details.

For more information here are a couple of links:

  1.  Pecha Kucha – Frequently Asked Questions
  2. An example of a child’s Pecha Kucha?  Racing Greyhounds
  3. Another example of a child’s Pecha Kucha – Art Evolution

Our Animal Research Project & Pecha Kucha

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, our first back after Spring Break 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!

Check out the Comox Valley Echo – Education Week Supplement

Congratulations to Chloe Pritchard, Jocelyn Hickman and Yasmeen Younis from Division 8 for their winning advertisements in this years Comox Valley Echo – Education supplement.  Also from Aspen congratulations are in order for the winning ads from Staples school supplies contest.  1st prize went to an Aspen Elementary student Carmen Kvisle and 3rd prize to Ashlyn Smart.  Way to go Aspen Park students.   Ru Simon from Division 9 also had an ad placed!  Take time to check out the Education week supplement in this yesterdays Comox Valley Echo newspaper.

100 POINTS – DIVISION 8 EARNS 100 minutes!

At today’s group meeting Kaycee led the class in discussing their suggestions for how to use their 100 minutes of earned time.  I was the record keeper and recorded all their thinking.  As a group they decided between celebrating today, Monday or on a Friday.  The consensus was for Monday, March 6th.



Your kids had no shortage of fabulous ideas.  Together they decided to:

  1. Wear pajamas Monday (optional),
  2. Bring a stuffy to school (optional),
  3. Build structures with marshmallows,
  4. Enjoy a video,

They believe we can pack this all into 100 minutes.  Time will tell.  

Students considered: How long is 100 minutes?  Would these activities fit into an afternoon?  What might be a grade 3/4 appropriate video?  ( I didn’t even have to prompt this!) What might be available to us?  If we celebrated on a Friday would that mean missing S.P.A?  If we celebrated today would that mean we didn’t have time to go to the wood shop and work on our locomotives.  So much thought went into their decision making!

*Might you have a bag (or part bag) of mini-marshmallows your child could bring.  Stale ones work best for building structures. 


What’s DI – Destination Imagination?

Nothing to do on a Saturday?

Come on over to Mark R Isfeld Secondary and check out the Destination Imagination Regional Tournament.  It’s a great opportunity to get your kids inspired!  There’s technical, structural, fine arts, improv and community outreach categories.  Teams of between 2-7 students from elementary, middle and secondary classes compete for fun and the honour of representing our district at the DI provincials and possibly Global finals in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Want to know more about DI – read here.   Maybe Aspen Park Elementary will be hosting a team next year at regionals if we have 7 interested kids and at least one parent sponser (in addition to me!) interested.

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

This Saturday, February 25th, 2017 the Regional Finals are at Mark R. Isfeld School between 9:00 a.m. and approx. 2:00 p.m.  Come check it out with your kids!  There is an opening ceremonies where all the teams showcase their teams costumes and banners at 9:00 a.m. and then the competition begins.  You can go to any of the competition rooms for the structural, technical, fine arts, improv or Community Outreach categories.

I’ll be in the Instant Challenge room coordinating this portion of the tournament.  Unfortunately this portion of the tournament is TOP SECRET to the public and although I’ll be sharing some instant challenges with your kids in class over the coming weeks and months they’re unable to watch at the tournament.

Come on over – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Why Get Involved?

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. Ryan,
  2. Faera,
  3. Kaycee,
  4. Jayden,
  5. Ava
  6. Jocelyn
  7. Kai
  8. Logan
  9. Rowan
  10. Maya
  11. Renee
  12. Griffin
  13. Chloe
  14. Chloe
  15. Dawson
  16. Jacob
  17. Jacob
  18. James
  19. Cole
  20. Scotia
  21. Kylee
  22. Phoenix
  23. Yasmeen

Principal: Mr. Schilling

Music Teacher:  Mr. Flesher,

Gym Teacher: Mrs. Lewis,

Librarian: Mrs. Kelland,

Admin Assistant:  Mrs. Lennox

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 – Follow Up

This past Tuesday 30 members of the Division 8Aspen Park family joined together to play! 

With dice & cards, chips, popcorn and laughter together we learned a variety of games that families can play at home to reinforce multiplication facts.  Through play students can practice necessary skills to become more confident mathematicians.  Please take time to play with your kids face to face!  Your children’s precious smiles and laughter are infectious!

Below I’ve listed the names of the games we learned to play: (as well as links to the places you can find details and additional information)

  1. Multiplication Squares
  2. Multiplication Scramble / Multiplication Cover Up – Games from a Resource called ‘Box Cars & One Eyed Jacks’ (I have a copy you can borrow for a night if you wish.)
  3. I Spy Products
  4. Multiple Madness
  5. Multiplication Bingo
  6. Flip Out

For those families unable to attend we hope you’ll take some time to play at home!

* Photos from the Family Math party are now posted to student E-Portfolios.

Parent Alert – Please watch for this handout in your child’s planner Friday!  I’m trying to help students get on top of assignment completion as well as a ‘quality’ work ethic.

*** If you could sign and return it a.s.a.p. it would be greatly appreciated in addition to ensuring your child has any of the noted supplies he/she may require.

Cole, Renee & Phoenix Stepped into the Courage Zone

Today we were incredibly proud of all our Division 8 Spellers and especially proud of our top five grade four spellers:  Cole, Renee,Phoenix, Logan and Kai.

Although it took mighty courage to stand up in front of the school Cole, Renee and Phoenix all did extremely well.  They were poised and did there very best despite the difficult words they were required to spell. They remembered to ask for the word to be repeated, to ask for the word in a sentence or a definition  if needed.  Just imagine how confident they’ll be when they’ve had a few years of practice and stand confidently up as grade 6’s and 7’s!  Well done, division 8 spellers!

Division 8 Spelling Bee – Step into the Courage Zone

Here are some words to practice at home for:

  • our classroom spelling bee Friday, January 27th.
  • The Aspen Park School Bee is  February 1st and
  • the district bee February 15th.
  • See below for Scripps Spelling study lists.

Although grades 3/4 will practice in our class and participate in our class bee only the top three 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:

Primary Dolch List

Grade 4 Dolch List

Challenge Words

2016 – Thank you for a great Year!

This morning I watched an interview with Simon Sinek that really changed my thinking and prompted me to re-consider my own personal cell phone use. I hadn’t thought I overused my cell phone or used it inappropriately; but reconsidered as I reflected on the notion of having my cell phone sitting on the table (even if upside down) during a meeting or at a restaurant.  

In addition, there are many other ideas to reflect on as you listen and view…  I challenge you to reflect and start the conversation with your children, friends and family.

As a parent, teacher and reflective thinker – this interview with Simon Sinek,  is well worth taking the time to view and ponder. Further reading or videos can be found here on Wikipedia for  Simon Sinek if you’re interested.

Check out the Christmas Gallery

christmas-borderMerry Christmas Students & Families!  What a wonderful day of activity we had yesterday building success!  With the support of parent & student bakers, volunteer cooks making ‘Royal Icing’ and volunteer helping hands we had loads of  fun designing, creating and decorating our Gingerbread houses as well as a wee too much candy!  Thank you to the many hands and generous hearts that went into making this activity a success especially at a very busy time of year.

Be sure to check our our Christmas photo gallery at the S.D. #71 Portal.

Merry Christmas Everyone… and we’ll look forward to welcoming parents & students back Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

P.S. Remember that we start curling Friday, January 6th.


Division 8 presents – The Tortoise and the Hare!

tortoise-and-the-hareWednesday, November 30th  at 11:00 a.m. during our 7 habits assembly our class is in charge of leading the assembly, a partner fitness challenge demo and also showcasing our play ‘The Tortoise and the Hare.’ The theme of this month’s assembly is Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind. Students have been practicing diligently to perform for you in music class with Mr. Flescher.  No worries, if you are unable to make Wednesday’s showing.  Students will also be putting on their play at the winter concert Wednesday, December 6th!  Two opportunities to see your kids in action.

Thank you again to all the parents who’ve taken the time to meet with me, check in at our E-Portfolio evening and share your child’s E-Portfolio.  If you haven’t looked recently, I’ve added more photos to the Gallery. Checking out these photos is always a good prompt for conversation about what we’ve been up to at school. Happy Friday!

(Image retrieved from the following site , November 25th, 2016)