The month of April promises to be an extremely busy one as we begin to prepare for the arrival of spring and the last quarter of the school year. Our grade two students are celebrating a very special day on Sunday April 15th as they will be making their First Holy Communion. We wish them all of God’s blessings during this very special time! St. Matthew School is also celebrating the virtue of Justice during the month of April. All staff and students are called upon to act Justly in all that they say and do.
Overview of the Virtue of Justice
Justice means that we deal fairly with others, recognizing the equality and dignity of all. It requires that we work to insure that all people, especially the poor and the weak, have access to opportunities. It assumes that none of us is free until all of us are. One of the central tenants of Catholic social teaching is the dignity of the human being; we are all created in the image of God, and therein rests our inalienable dignity. Justice is extended to people, animals, the environment; the whole universe.
Prayer for Justice
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure an equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
WINTER INTO SPRING
Although spring has arrived, the sun is out and the days feel warmer. That being said, we are not guaranteed that this will stay. Because it has been such a long and cold winter, we Canadians start shedding winter layers as soon as the temperature hits zero. Students want to go outside without coats on at recess. The assumption is that if they were sent to school in a winter jacket, parents expect their child to wear it. Hopefully this lovely weather will choose to stay and ‘Old Man Winter’ will decide to leave us alone. Until then we will continue to send kids out with whatever jacket they have worn to school. Please consider sending your child to school with a lighter jacket.
REMINDER OF STUDENT DRESS CODE
With warmer weather approaching, I ask that you take some time to review the dress code policy with your children. You can find a copy inside the student agenda. As a Catholic school, we believe that there must be a commitment to high standards of modesty, neatness, cleanliness and good taste.
PROTECTING YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN
Overexposure to the sun can cause skin damage. We remind students to take precautions to protect their skin during recess times. The following are some suggestions to help protect the skin:
- Wear protective clothing to cover the skin.
- Wear a hat to protect both the eyes and skin.
- When possible, stay out of direct sunlight.
- Wear sun block
EQAO Primary and Junior Assessment
Annually, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assess Ontario’s Grade 3 and Grade 6 students in the areas of mathematics, reading and writing. At St. Matthew Catholic School, the assessment period for Grade 3 is from May 22 to 25. The Grade 6 assessment period is from May 28 to May 31. We ask for your cooperation in not making any appointments for your child during this time so they do not miss any of the testing periods.
Sample tests for the Grade 3 and 6 Assessments of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics are now available on EQAO’s Web site, www.eqao.com. You will also find other great resources like “Understanding Levels of Achievement” which uses EQAO information to improve student learning. Take a moment to look at this site, as there is valuable information and activities for you and your children. In addition to these resources, we have purchased test practice booklets for every student in grade 3 and 6. Please ask your child’s teacher for information on these and suggestions on how they can be used at home.
CCAT- Grade 4
The Grade 4 board-wide screen using the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT) will be administered during the period of April 23 – 30, 2018. CCAT appraises reasoning skills – the essential cognitive construct in learning and problem solving.
The purpose of the CCAT is to provide a description for educators of a student’s cognitive resources for learning in order to help them achieve instructional objectives. Separate scores for verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal tasks enable educators to identify stronger or weaker areas of cognitive skills that have crystalized to this point in development. We ask for your cooperation in not making any appointments for your child during this time so they do not miss any of the testing periods.
Modeled to fit Canadian curricula, the CAT 4 is a testing system that assesses the essential learning outcomes of the following basic skill areas: reading, language, spelling, and mathematics. Essentially, as well as being a tracker of learning abilities, the CAT 4 also evaluates how well students perform in comparison to other students across the district, region, or in Canada as a whole. Our grade 7 students will be writing the CAT 4 test between the dates of May 1-4.
Classes for 2018-2019
As we approach the end of another successful school year, preparations have slowly begun to ensure that our class structures are in place for September. Preparing class lists is a process that involves hours of work, on behalf of all staff, to ensure that the needs of all of our students are met. Lists are fluid documents that may be changed and revised several times from now until the beginning of school in September.
Each new school year is a tremendous opportunity for students to meet new friends and expand their circle of acquaintances. Our goal is to place a child were they will achieve the most success academically while trying to balance their social development. A balanced class reflects the diversity and needs of our school community and all of our students.
A great deal of thought and reflection goes into the placement of each child. Many factors are considered in student placement including: academic abilities, social groupings, and gender ratio. In addition, we consult Board and Ministry of Education guidelines including those for combined classes.
The teachers and administration take great care to ensure, to the best of our ability, that all students’ needs are met. Since it is very difficult to honour requests from parents as well as make the most prudent decisions for all students in our care, we will not be soliciting classroom requests.
We ask that you trust that the staff will continue to make professional decisions on placements that are in the best interests of all the students at St. Matthew.
Help Your Child Prepare for Provincial Tests
For parents of primary and junior school students
Grade 3 and 6 students participate
All grade 3 and 6 students in publicly-funded schools across the province participate in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing. The testing will take place over several days in May and June. Students are tested in reading, writing and mathematics. The tests are based on the Ontario curriculum expectations, and measure the skills your child has learned by the end of the primary (grade 3) and junior (grade 6) divisions.
Here are a few things you can do to help your child stay positive about the test:
- Celebrate your child’s successes and efforts each day.
- Limit your child’s absences from school.
- Schedule appointments at times other than the assessment period.
- Ensure that your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast and lunch.
- Make sure that your child arrives at school on time.
- Speak positively about the test. Say things like, “Try your best.”
- Continue regularly scheduled extra-curricular activities.
Learning for life (not just for EQAO!)
Promote lifelong learning and not just learning for test time:
- Show an interest in your child’s schoolwork by talking about what he has done.
- Use and check your child’s agenda daily.
- Establish a daily homework routine.
- Support your child with her homework assignments, but don’t do it for her.
- Include your child in planning for family activities (e.g., timing, sequence of events, things you’ll need).
- Encourage your child to show his thinking while working through activities. Have him consider the following questions:
− Have I done what I was supposed to do?
− Can I add any details to show my thinking?
− Have I communicated what I wanted to?
− Have I checked my work over?
Talk about books as you’re reading them
- Make reading fun and share how much you love to read.
- Read aloud to your child beginning in infancy.
- Continue to read aloud even when your child is able to read on her own. You will be able to share books that are rich in new vocabulary and have interesting story lines.
- Stop and talk about the book. Make predictions, talk about new words or ask questions.
- Ask your child to retell the story as he remembers it.
- Have your child relate the story to her own experiences (e.g., What does that remind you of?).
- Encourage your child to read factual texts as well as fiction.
- Let your kids see you as a reader.
- Show ways you use writing in everyday life.
- Encourage your child to write for many different purposes (lists, recipes, letters, research reports, journals, stories, instructions).
- Focus on your child’s strengths, learning to write well is a difficult process.
- Encourage risk-taking.
- Praise his attempts.
Encourage “pre-writing” strategies (e.g., brainstorm ideas, making a plan, draft an outline).
- Try not to correct all your child’s mistakes, but help her to look back at her own work carefully.
- Writing includes ideas, organization, word usage, not just punctuation and spelling.
Writing materials to have at home
- variety of paper
- pens, pencils, markers, pencil crayons
- post-it notes
- index cards
Throughout the assessment, keywords are used to identify the type of response required from the student. The keywords to practice with your child include:
Compare – tell what is the same and what is different
Describe – use words to create a mental picture for the reader
Determine – use mathematics to find a solution to the problem
List – use point form
Use math daily
- Remember that math is more than just addition and subtraction. There are five strands in the Ontario math curriculum: numeration, measurement, patterning and algebra, data management and probability, geometry.
- Encourage the use of manipulatives (counters, shapes, etc. to help show his thinking).
- Help your child to see practical uses for math (e.g., cooking, building, planning, shopping, measuring, estimating).
- Encourage your child to estimate first, then figure it out.
- Encourage your child to problem-solve.
- Sometimes there is more than one right answer!
- Encourage your child to communicate how the problem was solved (use numbers, pictures, words to explain).