Principal Message

Each month the teachers write a quick message to keep the school community informed of the wonderful student learning and engagement that happens at Holy Family.  It is a sign of their commitment to you and your children.  I ask that you read through your child’s teacher’s message so that you can be a partner in their education.

At the beginning of each year, the school staff develop school improvement plan.  This years plan focuses improving student communication in literacy and numeracy; how clearly they organize and support their thoughts and opinions and how they communicate their mathmatical thinking and problem solving.    When discussing the days learning with your child encourage them to provide specific details and examples.  Challenge them to restate or give further explanation when their responses seem vague or confusing.   Through cognitive struggle comes learning and growth.

The start of December is also the beginning of the Advent season.  As a school we are preparing for the birth of Jesus with Monday Advent liturgies, class lessons during Religion period and our Christmas mass on December 13th.

Christmas is a busy time of year in our homes and here at school.  It is a time to celebrate, prepare, give and spend time with each other.  The generosity of our community was demonstrated again with your contributions to the Christmas Shoebox Charity and the donating of Toiletries and Hygiene products for the Wilmot Family Resource Centre.  We are holding several activities to celebrate the Joy of Christmas, our Christmas concert is on December 12th during the day, turkey lunch is on December 19th and Christmas Activity day is on the 20th.

I wish all of you a joyful Advent Season, a Merry Christmas and a restful holiday.

Early Years

Ms. Jardine   FDK

We are very excited about winter and everything winter has to offer! The students in Room 9 have expressed an interest in where Santa lives. We decided to turn our dramatic play centre into Santa’s house. We have made a list and are working together to make Santa’s house come to life!

We are very excited for our Christmas concert and are practicing daily. We cannot wait to perform for all our families!

In Math, we have been learning about 2D shapes. We can identify them, sort them, and compare them! We are all artists and enjoy exploring how to create art with shapes! Try going on a shape hunt with your child at home, outside or in the community to explore what shapes you can find.  In Language, we really enjoy finding words that start with the letter of the week to add to our Letter of the Week Chart. We love reading the room to look for words that start with the letter of the week! We are learning to use our Word Wall to write words and convey simple messages in our journals. In Science, we have been watching a live web cam footage of grizzly bears hibernating in Grouse Mountain, Vancouver. This generated a conversation regarding what other animals do to prepare for winter. We are exploring how animals hibernate, migrate or adapt during the cold winter months. In Religion: We are learning that Advent is a time to prepare and to remember the real meaning of Christmas. We have made an advent chain and are counting down the days until the birth of Jesus.


Mrs. Roth & Mrs. Benbow

Hello from Room 7!  December is a very busy month!  During November, we began home reading, worked on creating patterns, finding the core, and labeling them.  We continue to practice all of our new skills through play and various centres throughout the day.  We have begun to focus on 2D shapes, and have discovered that shapes fill our world!  Ask your children to find shapes around your home.  We have moved onto using Jolly Phonics as our letter and sound review each day.  The songs are very fun and engaging.  We play games such as Fiddlesticks and Bingo to strengthen their sound and letter knowledge, as well as sight words for those students who are ready.  Please continue to practice these skills with your children at home, as well.  December brings many exciting events such as Advent celebrations and learning about the Christmas Story, performing our Christmas song at the concert, and creating Christmas crafts!


Ms. Esbaugh /Mrs. Lichti

Hi everyone! As usual, November was a very busy month in Miss Esbaugh and Mrs. Lichti’s classroom! We celebrated several birthdays, and had Jersey/Wacky Hair Day! Home Reading has also begun; thank you to all the families who are returning their books on time so other students can enjoy them! We have continued with our Jolly Phonics program and journal writing in Language. In Math we have covered numbers one through ten, and are now focusing on various patterns and 2D shapes. In Religion we are talking about Advent and the Nativity story. Please pay close attention to the December calendar that was sent home as there are lots of special spirit days this month! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to all!

Ms. McClory, Mrs. Grimberg & Mrs. Simpson

In a blink November has ended and we begin the month of December with much excitement, winter has arrived with snow outside and Christmas is approaching.  In November we celebrated three birthdays, had fun with Jersey Day, and begun our Home Reading program for all students.  December is always a busy month, we continue to work on new skills through inquiry based play and structured centres.  In Language we will continue our Jolly Phonics program, guided reading groups and journal writing.  Students have expressed interest in Santa, and have written letters to him.  As a class we voted and transformed our dramatic play centre into an “Elves Toy Factory”, we will have a variety of activities in that centre to engage our curious elves until the Christmas Break.  In math we will continue to examine and identify various patterns, 2D shapes and the meaning of estimation. In religion, we are learning that Avent is a time to prepare and to commemorate the birth of Jesus.  We look forward to seeing everyone at our Christmas concert performance.  Merry Christmas



Mrs. Sike

Our Advent Poem

Advent is a time to wait,

Not quite time to celebrate.

We light the candles one by one,

Until our Advent time is done.

Christmas day will soon be here,

A time for love, a time for cheer.



We are heading towards the end of our math learning of Geometric shapes. We explored the properties of shapes, similarities and differences, shapes in the world around us and working through problem solving involving shapes. We have composed and decomposed 3D shapes to determine which figures can be cut into smaller forms of the same shape. We learned about the relationship between 2D shapes and 3D figures/solids.

Reading Responses

We are enjoying “thinking” stories every Friday in which we share a great read aloud and then discuss and complete a corresponding reading response. Currently we are making connections, Text-to -Self. Ask your child about the stories: Ira Sleeps Over and Roxaboxen. Up next: Text-to-Text Connections.

Social Studies

Exploring maps of New Hamburg. Finding places that are meaningful to us. Explaining why. Understanding our identity by connecting to places of importance to us. The students were so engaged! Developing mapping skills incidentally as well. Ask your child about or annotated maps of New Hamburg!

Writer’s Workshop

Daily writing is in full swing in our classroom which enhances reading and literacy skills. We are writing everyday in some form or another. We have ‘great ideas’ prompts on our Writer’s Workshop wall to refer to, however the children are rarely without an idea to write about. We keep our written pieces in a writing folder which will come home at the end of the year. From great accounts of our daily life events (e.g. what I did on the weekend, exciting places to go, being sick, my pet, my collection or talent etc.) to using writing strategies to relay the message (what you think you can write, draw a ‘quick pic,’ have-a-go writing, read back your writing) we are all learning the power of the written word. We learned about writing lists and will continue to do so when we write letters to Santa. We are all awesome authors!


Mrs. Shouftas

Merry Christmas Families!

It’s hard to believe that December is here! In Religion, students have been learning about the meaning of each of the candles on our classroom Advent wreath. We are learning about the true Christmas story and that Advent is a time of waiting and preparing for baby Jesus to arrive.

In Math, students have done an excellent job of adding and subtracting numbers to 20. They learned how to use many tools such as counters, friends of 10 and number lines to help them add and subtract. Students played addition and subtraction games with partners in order to have fun while learning.

In Writing, students have been learning how to use a graphic organizer to write down their ideas. They have been working on different topics and answering the questions who, what, when, where and why on their graphic organizers. They then put these ideas together to write very interesting adventure stories.

In Reading, students have been learning how to retell a story using the words first, then, next and finally. They have been listening to Robert Munsch stories and then retelling the stories.

In Art, students used warm and cool colours to create a background for their hot air balloon art. I then took a picture of each student and put their pictures on their art. Come and take a look!

We look forward to December learning more about Advent and creating Christmas art. We look forward to our Turkey lunch when we gather as a school community to celebrate together.

I wish all the families a very Special Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Mrs. Gruber

As the holidays approach, the excitement in Room 3 is growing by the day!  Wishing you all joy in this blessed season and a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!  The Grade 2s have been preparing for Jesus’ birth by learning about Advent.  They are looking forward to participating in weekly Prayer Circles to celebrate Advent in our classroom over the next 4 weeks.  We are also learning about Christmas Traditions and Celebrations throughout the world within our Social Studies unit.  In addition, we will share and discuss the traditions we have within our own families to celebrate this joyous time of year.  The Grade 2s will connect their Literacy learning to the Christmas season by writing letters to Santa and stories about Christmas.  Our Reading topics will also relate to the Christmas season, as well as the author we are focussing on, Jan Brett.  There will not be a spelling test for the month of December.  Instead, we will review the sounds that we have been studying within Literacy Centres (Sh, Ch, Th, Wh) and begin learning about vowel blends (oo, oa).  The Reading strategies we are practicing include: using pictures cues, sounding out, and “Move On” (this means: skip the unknown word and read the rest of the sentence to see if they can make a good guess based on the first letter of the unfamiliar word).  Please focus on this strategy while practicing daily reading at home (10-15 minutes per night is the expectation).  In Math, we are working on adding and subtracting two digit numbers (with and without regrouping) and problem solving.  There will be a test sometime during the last week before Christmas holidays.  I will communicate further with you about this as we get closer to the date.  Thank you to all of you who volunteered to come on our trips to Laurel Creek or Doon Village in December.  I will write you a note early next week to let you know if you have been picked when I draw names.


Mrs. Gentile

I cannot believe that December is here already! We have been doing a lot of amazing learning in our class this month. Thank you to all the families at home who are continuing to practice WWWs with their children, the improvements in our Writer’s Workshops have been exciting to see! Thank you, also, for being diligent with reading and returning the Home Reading folders, I will continue to monitor progress, and send home books at your child’s appropriate reading level. In math we are finishing up graphing and organizing data into groups; and will begin discussing and investigating 2D shapes and 3D solids. In Religion we will be participating in school and class-wise activities, both learning and celebrating Advent.

Merry Christmas.


Mrs. Rice

This past month, we focused on building our Growth Mindset in our classroom and community. We will be having our virtue assembly this Friday to recognize those for exhibiting Growth Mindset. We will be introducing our new virtue, Cognitive Flexibility. In Language Arts, our focus has been on persuasive and letter writing. The children have applied for an Elf position at the North Pole and are trying to persuade Santa, through strong language and evidence from their experiences, that they are best suited for the job! Also, the students will all choose an appropriate novel to read for their Cereal Book Report. We will only start the reading part of this task before the Christmas break. Please encourage your kids to read about 15 minutes every night. When we return, we will learn how to create summaries, book reviews and character sketches on our books and present them on a cereal box. I will start collecting cereal boxes in the classroom (the bigger ones are better for this task). In Social Studies, we are continuing our units on First Nations and Early Settlers in Upper and Lower Canada. In January, we have a Grade 3 trip planned for Crawford Lake to see first hand how our First Nations people survived hundreds of years ago. More information about this trip to follow. The students will be completing a poster project on one aspect of Early Settler life, obtaining information from PebbleGo. In Math, we continue to develop mental math addition and subtraction through Number String routines. We are also completing a Data Management package by conducting Christmas surveys and graphing our data on 3 different types of graphs. December often flies by so quickly because it is such a busy yet, fun and festive month. I wish all of you, restful and joyous holidays over the Christmas break!


Mrs. Schlotzhauer

Thank you to all families who came in to meet with me during our Teacher/Parent/Student Interviews last month. If I have not spoken with you yet, please feel free to call me here at school. This month is a very busy one, please see our calendar sent home in your child’s agenda for activities and please try and have your child here at school each day that they are well enough to attend. As well as our guided reading groups, we will be doing a novel or book study, taking a closer look at summarizing and analyzing. We will be doing some persuasive writing around an elf theme which will also be tied into media literacy. Problem solving and understanding the language continues to be a challenge and will be a continued focus for December as well as geometry. We are continuing with our early settlers and aboriginal peoples (late 1700’s – 1800’s) in Social Studies. We have begun Advent, On The Road to Bethlehem for Religion.

If you have not already done so, please send in a pair of earbuds or headphones for our chrome book times and a change of clothes (especially socks and mitts) as our yard if often very wet.

Our class and Mrs. Schouftas is responsible for the December Mass on the 13th. If your child has a reading part, it will be sent home in his/her agenda for extra practice. If you know that your child will not be attending school that day, please let me know as soon as possible. The family viewing time for the Christmas Concert is on Dec.12th starting at 9:10 am. Our class is also responsible for the morning office prayers on the week returning from our Christmas Holidays Jan. 6-10th. A copy of a prayer and the date assigned will be added to your child’s agenda closer to the end of the month. Please keep this in a safe place at home and have your child bring the prayer with them to school on the morning they will be reading.



Ms. Jarvis

December has snuck up so quickly and we are excited for all of the fun things we have going on for the Christmas season.  Along with all of the fun, we will continue with our curriculum and here are the things we are focussed on for December.

  • Math – our main focus right now is on Measurement and how to convert different units with a continued focus on explaining our thinking and communicating it clearly
  • Reading – we are working hard on finding evidence from the text when answering questions and explaining it clearly and fully. We are also working on summarizing the important ideas in a story
  • Writing –  we are going to continue working on our research projects on the animal of their choosing.  We are working on topic sentences and putting information into our own words

I am also excited to host my second annual Family Christmas Craft on Dec 17th!!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful December and a Merry Christmas!


Mr. Plommer Gr. 5

As we all know, December can be one of the busiest months of the year. The same goes for our classroom! We have been busy working away through all sorts of things. In language we are learning all about mysteries. What are they? What characteristics do they have? How do authors distract us using a red herring? We are working together in our book clubs to figure these questions out. In math we just finished our patterning and algebra unit and are making great progress in our fractions and decimals unit. We will be learning about comparing and ordering, estimation, rounding, addition, and subtraction of decimals before moving on to fractions. We are also just finishing up our science unit on properties and changes of matter. Our unit test will be in the second week of December. After that we will be moving on towards my favourite unit – human organ systems! For physical education we have just started our low organizational games unit. This unit focuses on small team and independant games and how we can use strategy and teamwork effectively. In religion we have been discussing what it means to be Catholic. We have also been working on what traditions mean, what traditions we have, and why traditions are important for understanding our faith. So important for this time of year! Finally, in visual art we have been working with value. What is value? How can we create value through shading? We will be using our knowledge to create a piece of op art (optical illusion art) that deceives the eye’s perception.

Ms. McLeod

3 weeks to go until Christmas!

Within the curriculum we will be focusing on the following things:

Writing: report writing

Reading: class novel, responding to questions and providing evidence/proof from the text.

**Novel study questions are due each week by Friday**

Math: Patterning & review of all the concepts we have learned so far

**Weekly math homework questions are due each week by Friday**

Art: elements of art

Phys. Ed: basketball

Science: flight

Social Studies: Canada’s Interaction with the Global Community in social studies

Continue to refer to google classroom and your child’s agenda for updates and messages throughout the month!

Important Dates for October:

Fri Dec 6: PD day

Thurs Dec 12: Christmas Concert

Fri Dec 13: Mass

Thurs Dec 19: Turkey Lunch

Fri Dec 20: Activity day (am)



Mrs. Hurren – Portable One

Have you ever wondered what we might see if we could pull back the curtain of time to that very First Christmas? Make sure you join us on December 12th at the Christmas concert to find out exactly that…

This week we expectantly welcome the season of Advent with excitement and joy, challenging ourselves to take some time to be still and pray in preparation for Christmas. Ask your son/daughter to share with you the relevance of the colours on our advent wreath and why this is an important time of waiting. The end of November brought with it the beginning of procedural writing. For the next couple of weeks we will be fine tuning our skills by producing a polished Christmas “How to” writing piece. We will be working through a class novel study in December, looking at the elements of stories, character development and text structure/organization. In Math, we have wrapped up Data Management and have begun our unit in Measurement. This is giving us an opportunity to revisit working with variables as we get messy with formulas. No more wasted Christmas wrapping paper – you will have an expert in your house thanks to our surface area calculations! We are diving into our next major battle in History and will be uncovering more about conflict and change in our country’s past as we examine the War of 1812. We are putting out drama skills to the test with student led games, holiday lip sync battles and our Portable One Theater Company production of “An Unexpected Christmas”. Our monthly focus is Cognitive Flexibility and the students have been challenged to practice being open minded to new experiences and to celebrate being creative and thinking of new ways to solve problems!

Portable One Shout Outs: Congratulations to our Girls’ Basketball team and our Boys’
Volleyball team!

Math Challenge:

I wish all of you a safe and relaxing Christmas break – I look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year!


Ms. Cater

Wow, it is December already!  The grade 8 students returned from Mount Mary last week as new individuals.  They had three fun-filled days of spiritual growth, connecting as a class, and developing their sense of identity.  I would like to thank each and every one of the grade 8 students for putting forth their best effort into all the activities, having open minds and open hearts, and truly ‘showing up’ for the whole Mount Mary EXPERIENCE!

Over the next few weeks in December, we will be focusing on finishing up some units, and of course preparing for Advent and Christmas.  I challenge each student during this advent season to do good deeds and random acts of kindness for others!  Our class and school communities have many exciting Christmas events and activities planned for December; however, we have a lot of curriculum and learning to cover during the month as well.  In Math, students have a quiz Thursday December 5th, and we will continue our Algebra and Patterning unit with problem solving, application, and higher level thinking questions.  In History, the grade 8’s will continue in their Confederation unit by exploring the reasons why different groups of people were either ‘for or against’ Confederation.  In Language, we will finish up our novel “The Giver” and do some activities based around the novel.  Students will also be working on narrative writing and be creating a story they will be working on well into the new year.

I wish you all a joyful Christmas spent with loved ones, and hopefully some time to relax!  See you at the Christmas concert on December 12th!


Planning Teachers

From the desk of Mrs. Brockelbank….

Wow! December is here already, it went so fast!

The kindergarteners are working so hard on their performances for the Christmas concert and are very excited to show off their singing skills to friends and family! The concert is December 12th, only a few days away! We are hoping the kindergartens are able to wear Christmas colours (red,white, and/or green) for their performances 🙂 They are so excited and proud of their performance pieces!

This is what the Kindy’s are up too!

Physical education 

In physical education this month we are working on hand-eye coordination in movement. We are demonstrating this by throwing, catching, and throwing at targets. We are working on this individually, in partners, and through cooperation games. They are getting very good at throwing and catching!  We talk about being good friends and good sports during games and activities and am proud to say that our friends are doing great demonstrating this!

The Arts

We are working hard on our concert performances as well as having fun singing, moving and dancing to new and familiar Christmas songs. We are doing some simple drama plays using expression, using our faces, bodies, and movements.  Our first drama activity this month is The Gingerbread man! They are very excited about this one 🙂

We will continue to bring in instruments and practice both beat and rhythm. They have a lot of fun participating in all of our activities!

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Have a safe and happy Christmas break!


News from the desk of Mrs. Afonso-Magolon

Dear Family,

Practices are well underway for the Christmas Concert and the children are very excited about sharing their gift of song and dance with you on Thurs. Dec. 12.  Just a few reminders:

  1. Intermediate/Junior Performance 9:10-10:10 a.m. 

Primary  Performance 10:30-11:10 a.m.

Early Years Performance 11:20-11:45 a.m.

2)  Please do your best to ensure your child is at school every day to practice.

3)  Please have your child in costume, as indicated on the note that went home.


Physical Education & Healthy Living

Our focus this month in Physical Education will be to continue to demonstrate hand-eye coordination in movement by throwing, catching and target skills. They will practice independently, with partners and in co-operative games.  The children will also be learning new Christmas themed cooperative games.  In Healthy Living, the children will learn about the importance of oral hygiene.

The Arts

The children will have fun dancing and moving creatively to Christmas songs.  We will also be engaging in some simple dramatizations to emphasize using our face and body expressively.  This month the children will be learning some new and traditional Christmas songs.  They will have more opportunities to use instruments to reinforce the beat and rhythm to the songs they learn.   Of course, we will continue to practice daily for the Christmas concert.


Physical Education & Healthy Living

In Physical Education, we are building up our endurance by warming up with line exercises.   This month we will continue working on throwing and catching in varying ways (i.e., underhand, overhand); with a variety of balls and from a variety of levels (e.g., standing, sitting, lying down).  We will play games that incorporate throwing and rolling to targets. In Healthy Living, we will learn the equation for a cavity and discuss steps to avoid them.  They will also create a “Tooth Safety Shield”.

The Arts

The children will be working in small groups to practice Christmas skits.  They will learn about the elements of drama needed to make their play a success with a focus on the element of role/character.

We will continue to spend a lot of time learning and practicing a song and dance for the Christmas Concert and participate in singing other Christmas songs.


Physical Education & Healthy Living

In Physical Education, we will be practicing our loco motor skills while using equipment, specifically hockey sticks.  We will continue discussions on sports etiquette during the floor hockey games. In Healthy Living, we will continue to learn about different types of legal/illegal substance abuse (e.g., nicotine, vaping, caffeine) and the impacts of abusing these on both our mental and physical health and on others.

The Arts

In Drama, the children worked in small groups to write a script for a safety scenario.  They will learn about the elements of drama needed to make their plays a success.  The focus will be on the element of role/character and how they can use their face, body and voice to best portray their character. In Music & Dance, we will be spending a lot of time learning and practicing for the Christmas Concert.

I would like to wish you all a magical and blessed Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
December brings Christmas and Christmas is my favourite holiday.
Speaking of Christmas, every grade is working on their Christmas projects.
Grade 4 is working on sentences to add to their Christmas Booklet.
Grade 5 is working on 5 sentences describing a Christmas scene. They have learned
how to conjugate “er” verbs in the present tense.
Grade 6 is working on 10 sentences describing a Christmas scene. They have learned
how to conjugate “er” and “ir” verbs in the present tense.
Grace 7 is working on a Christmas story in the future tense.
Grade 8 is working on a Christmas story in the past tense.
This requires focus and hard work and I am proud to say my French classes are
showing their dedication.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Trina Paquette


Special Education

December 2019 ~ Special Education

I hope everyone had a chance to sit down with their children’s teacher(s) to discuss their academic and social progress so far. Communication between home and school is so important and maintaining consistency in our routines for students is a key component toward building confidence. Students need to be praised for their effort and any signs of progress. Growth can sometimes be hard to see; that’s why it is up to adults to highlight these glimmers.

I have had the opportunity to speak with some parents about their child’s progress in the Empower Reading Programs; I love to share student accomplishments made in the classroom with home; please feel free to inquire about your child’s progress.

The Empower Decoding & Spelling Program has begun a Home Reading Program. Your child will bring home a blue reading folder a few days a week. Please read the selection with your child and return the folder to school.

Enjoy the well-deserved holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Mrs. Mash

Special Education Resource Teacher