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Written Ruminations (& Digging Deeper)

1 Dec

Okay, so in the last post we said we would see you in late August. It’s now early December. Let’s just say it’s been busy personally and professionally.

We are undecided about how we are going to continue handling our blog. While we like sharing resources it’s becoming more of a chore than fun to write the blog.

Currently, it is feeling like it’s one more thing that we need to do as teachers. Pinterest ready classroom. Lesson for 10 different student ability levels. Connect with all students in a way that transforms them for the better. Sell your perfect teacher creations online. Create individualized report card comments for every student. There are so many different stresses on teachers. Many things are beyond our control, something Type A teachers don’t like! A minor few of them are self-inflicted – looking at you in particular Pinterest, with your crafty themed classrooms with specially created décor!

Speaking individually, my personal self-inflicted stress is comparison. You may have guessed that from the classroom comment. I cannot understand how everyone else seems to have everything perfectly ordered and organized and still have a life. If you dig deep enough you often find it’s smoke and mirrors. I need to figure out how to do that without people looking behind the curtain;-)

As a result of recent personal events, we realize that we want to spend the free time we have on our personal writing instead of teaching related writing. So much of our time is invested in our work as teachers that it can be all consuming. Our goal, however, has always been about our works of fiction. Our true love of collaborating is in our personal works. Our Legacy series. Our Just for Boys stories. We really want to revisit that and give these endeavours the time and attention they need.

We will continue to share activities and freebies. We firmly believe that if we can help others by sharing items then it is a good thing. We may change our format that you need to sign up for e-mails to access a resource library or we may just post freebies.

Thank you to everyone who has ever stopped by to read our meandering thoughts and check out our work. When we decide what our next step is then we will arrange our site accordingly. Thanks again and best wishes.


Figurative Language Alliteration IWJ BLM revised

Digging Deeper INB 2018

The first document goes into our Writer’s Craft notebook as part of our ongoing look at figurative language. We start with alliteration. We tend to do a Seuss’s ABC inspired animal alphabet alliteration using PicCollage. We then move on to a Bleezer’s Ice Cream activity – we made our own template but you can easily find freebies for the activity on TPT and other blogs.

The second document is also for our Writer’s Craft notebooks. We discuss the idea of digging deeper. In the first box they visualize an image for a vague sentence that can have multiple images. The second is for a more specific sentence, helping students see the importance of a detailed sentence. We then use the “holes” to show how to change a sentence from simple to more detailed. If you go Google “digging deeper writing” you will find examples of anchor charts that you can use that will save you some time.


Symmetry Interactive Notebook

13 Mar

January and February felt like the same as always. Very long and very stressful. Then, March arrived and it seemed like Spring was truly on the way. Whammo! One last hurrah at winter. Another day with barely half a class and the sad knowledge that you will get to teach the same lesson twice. Sigh. At least, the incredibly fast meltdown brings a bit of happiness … as well as mud and blacktop recess. Feeling like we’re back to the “fortunately/unfortunately…” post:-)

Guess what we are saying is that we are just doing our best to hang on until March Break! This year, we plan to vacation with our families together in a warmer climate. Our children are very excited about the prospect of being together for a week – which they could have done at home as well but, at least they’ll have better weather! Whatever you have planned for your break, take some time for yourself and relax. To help you further decompress, we have you covered with another freebie. Enjoy.


The following freebie is an interactive notebook entry on symmetry. Our expectation is that students are able to sort polygons by lines of symmetry as well as rotational symmetry.

You can find this file on our downloads page or you can download a copy here:

Symmetry INB Brownlee and Belangerr

Measurement: Converting Units and Perimeter

2 Jan

This is our second attempt at this blog entry. Our first was, well, it was maudlin and depressing at best. Not very uplifting for the holidays. Basically, we had realized we had stopped doing some things that we used to love. Reflecting on this created a woeful tract filled with plaintive mourning – you could almost hear the self-pitying sighs! Now that we have had some extra sleep, it’s somewhat amusing to read.

The gist of what we wanted to say was take time over the holidays to do something you love. That was it. A lot of dramatic writing to essentially give some cliched advice. It’s also why this is a quick entry. One of us wants to get back to her book and one is still working on mastering her knitting loom.

Sine we both like sharing, we can give you freebies. For this entry we are sharing our interactive notebook entries for measurement on converting units and perimeter.



You can download these files here:

Metric Staircase INB Brownlee and Belanger

Perimeter INB Brownlee and Belanger




Media Literacy Foldable

11 Dec

The craziness of the winter season is upon us at school! We’re doing all we can to keep our kids and academics on track while they are already focussed on the break. Add in preparing for a Christmas concert (yes, ours is still a Christmas concert) and all the holiday related interruptions and the day can seem excessively long and tiring.  As well, the other day there seemed to be a lot of supply teachers in so either everyone was taking a fun day and we didn’t get the memo or there is a nasty bug going around. Again. Good times. Good, good times.

When we think about it, there is rarely a time when there isn’t some stressor or a three-ring circus kind of day. There is always something. We can’t remember the last time we heard a colleague say they felt caught up and well rested. Maybe because they see the rest of us and know they would be universally despised or because we, as a general group, tend to feel we should always be doing more and focus on what needs to be done.

As always, our goal is to help you lessen your stress and help out where we can. We’ve noticed media literacy is a popular category in our stats so we decided to post our recently created media literacy foldable. We looked at the 5 key concepts of media literacy so we used the media triangle to create our foldable.

We also hope you take some time over the holidays to reflect not on what you need to do but what you have done well. It’s not as easy but would be good for the teaching soul. Happy Holidays!

You can download the file here:

Media Literacy INB brownlee and belanger

(T)Each Day is a New Adventure

25 Nov

Interactive Notebooks in Math (Patterning and Number Sense)

20 Oct

Inquiry Process – Thick and Thin Questions

8 Aug

This year we are excited to partner up with another class to strengthen our inquiry skills. Inquiry is integral in our curriculum yet it seems like our students struggle with key components. We always worry that maybe we take away the scaffolding a little too quickly – such as the time we realized our students didn’t really get that Google was search engine instead of a website. That’s a whole other discussion! Anyway, we ended up reading the book IQ: A Practical Guide to Inquiry-Based Learning – based on a Facebook recommendation, of course

Image result for IQ inquiry book

Yea FB friends, as it is an excellent source of ideas and we are looking forward to trying many of the activities!!

While we recognize the inquiry process isn’t really a linear procedure we decided to segment it into smaller steps as our class will be responsible for supporting the younger students. Our hope is that breaking it down into “steps” will make them more mindful of their own part in the process. (Can you tell we’ve been talking about metacognition too?).

We want to start with a look at our focus and then move into a discussion on thin and thick questions (this will also tie in nicely with Language Arts). To help out we want them to keep the definition and examples of thick and thin questions in their notebooks. We have seen sandwiches, burgers and mustaches all used as a visual for thick and thin but we ended up using the mustache example. Would have been perfect for last year’s mustache theme – too bad we’re using superheroes this year Going to admit we’re still trying to think of a way to make a superhero visual on this one!



We tend to have ones already completed for students who may have some fine motor concerns

We think we will also discuss how to use a Q-Chart at the same time. We have found thin questions are popular because they are quick and easy. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have them more comfortable with creating thick questions and recognizing not every question has a “right” answer.

For anyone looking for a thick and thin questions template, you can use the one here. A small Q-chart is also in the document.

Reading and Inquiry INB Thick and Thin Questions BLM Brownlee and Belanger