We Got an Email… From the International Space Station


Last month Mr. McGaughey wrote a song entitled: Countdown, The Ballad of Chris Hadfield. He teaches music and science to Ms. Graham’s grade 3 class and they asked to record it with him to send to Chris Hadfield.

Listen to the song on Soundcloud

or watch it on Youtube 


Countdown: The Ballad of Chris Hadfield
Sean McGaughey © Feb 8, 2013
Key of G- 6/8 time moderate to brisk tempo

Growing up on the farm, Chris Hadfield would dream,
of soaring around in a flying machine.
As a boy Chris resolved that he would try
to go out and make his mark in the sky
As a scientist, pilot and astronaut
Chris still made music and never forgot
As he and his brothers would play their guitars,
His dream of bringing his songs to the stars,

He’s the first folksinger in space
Singing tunes far above the whole human race
He takes pictures and tweets as he orbits around
picking at 23 times speed of sound.

A Canadian proud who has travelled the world,
He takes time to tell all the young boys and girls,
To dream their own journeys beyond what we know
And make a bright future wherever they go.

He’s the first folksinger in space
Singing tunes far above the whole human race
He takes pictures and tweets he orbits around
picking at 23 times speed of sound.

When we finished the recording, the children also had a bunch of questions for Chris Hadfield. We emailed these questions to Chris.

April 5, 2013
Hello Commander Hadfield:
My name is Sean McGaughey. I’m an elementary school teacher at Bayview Public School in Midland Ontario and a singer songwriter. Last month I wrote a song entitled: Countdown, The Ballad of Chris Hadfield. I teach music and science to Ms. Graham’s grade 3 class and they asked to record it with me to send to you.
The students also had some questions for you.

  1. How do you deal with homesickness on the space station?
  2. Do you ever get annoyed being around the same people all the time?
  3. What is it like to wear a space suit?
  4. Have you recorded any kid’s songs in space?


Thank you for inspiring all of us. We hope you enjoy our song.

Sean McGaughey and Ms. Graham’s Grade 3 class

On April 9, we received this response from Commander Hadfield on the International Space station.

Chris Hadfield

Dear Sean and Bayview students:

Thanks for the song! I love it! That was really nice of you to write and sing it, and send it to me. And it turns out I CAN play G in zero G.

Answers for the questions:

  1. I talk with my family almost every day, and email too, so I don’t feel so far away.
  2. The only time I get annoyed is with myself. The other people are working hard and doing as well as they can, always.
  3. Space suits are very uncomfortable, stiff and bulky, like a snow suit combined with hockey gear and metal pieces. But really they’re a 1-person spaceship, so they have to be that way.
  4. Yes, I wrote and recorded a space lullaby for my daughter. It came out very pretty, and so did she.

Take care, make a point of learning and understanding things

Best from ISS!


February, March Newsletter

We have finished the first two terms of the school year and things are going well in the Gifted Class. Report cards go home this week, and I am pleased with the progress that all of my students have made this term.

Over the next few months, we have several activities and projects planned.

Intermediate Math Olympics

On March 5, we have the Intermediate Math Olympics at the school board office. I will send home a permission form for this event shortly.

Forest of Reading

This year, from February to April, all my students are participating in the Red Maple, or Silver Birch reading programs at our school. They will need to read 5 novels by April 24 when we have a special trip to the school board office to see one of the Silver Birch nominated authors. The cost of this trip will be about $15. There is a note from Mrs. Hamelin attached which further explains this program. I will be giving my students about 30 minutes daily to read their novels, but they may also need to read a bit at home in order to complete all the novels in the assigned time.

Heritage Fair

In March and April we will be preparing history projects to present at the Simcoe County Heritage Fair on April 25 at the Simcoe County Museum. We will be working in partnership with the Midland Public Library when preparing these projects. As a kickoff to this project, we are going to do a history walk of Downtown Midland and it’s murals on Wednesday February 22. We will have lunch here at 12:05, then walk downtown at about 12:30. At the end of our mural walk, we will stop at the Midland library to warm up and discuss plans for the project. We will be walking back to the school in time for dismissal at the end of the day.

Further information about the History Fair Project is attached.

Gifted Class Open House

On Wednesday February 29 from 4-5 pm we will be hosting a Gifted Class Open House for parents and students interested in enrolling in the gifted class in the fall. I would like to have some of my students stay after school to share with prospective students what it is like to be in the gifted class. If they stay that day, they will need to be picked up at 5pm.


Quest Art Projects

The Quest Art Gallery is returning to Bayview for Art Projects. The Junior students will be creating relief self portraits on the afternoon of February 24, and the Intermediate Students will be making mandalas on the afternoon of Friday March 2.

Rocks and Rings: At the end of February, the Midland Curling Club is presenting Rocks and Rings to all our classes as part of the Phys-Ed program. Our Juniors will be participating on Monday February 27 at 2:25 pm, and the Intermediates at 9:45 am on Tuesday February 29.

Cross Country Skiing on the Schoolyard:

On March 9, our class will be participating in cross country skiing on the our schoolyard, presented by Mountainview Ski Club. The cost of this event is being covered by Bayview Parent Council.

Gifted Outreach Conference

On May 4, we are planning to attend the annual Gifted Outreach Conference hosted by Laurentian University in Orillia for Simcoe County Gifted students.

I am also arranging for a couple other projects and special events this spring. I will keep you posted as they are arranged. I will also post this newsletter and our upcoming events on the class blog at http://mcgaughey.edublogs.org.


Mr. McGaughey


A Christmas Carol

This December, my intermediate students and I are reading,  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Here are links to the Librivox audiobook of A Christmas Carol (dramatic reading)

December 5-9 in the Gifted Class

December is well upon us and everyone is getting excited for the start of winter and the holiday season.

Monday was the due date of our points project.  I will return the marked projects by next Monday at the latest.

Monday we had our math tests for the patterning and algebra unit.  If you still have not completed all assigned tasks, please complete them by Friday.

We are beginning a new math unit this week on numeration.  The grade 5s and 6s will be working with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers.

The grade 7s and 8s will be working with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions and decimals.

We have begun a seasonal novel study.

My Juniors are reading, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, and I am reading them The Legend of Holly Claus.

The Intermediates are reading the original version of Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol, and comparing it to adaptations in films, television, radio and video games through the last 150 years.

Upcoming Events:

Friday December 9:  Winter Sports Spirit Day:  Come dressed in clothing representing a winter sport.

Tuesday December 13:  Lockdown Practice.  A note is going home on December 7 explaining this.

Tuesday December 13:  Our class and Mrs. Jaiko’s Class are having a hot dog lunch for winning Trumpour’s Trivia in November.

Wednesday December 14:  Mr. McGaughey and the Grade 5’s and 6’s are going to the Junior Math Road Rally at Codrington School. A note is going home on December 7 explaining this.



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The Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man As part of our Shrek unit, this week my grade 5-6 students read two different versions of the Gingerbread Man.
1) The Little Gingerbread Man, By George H. Putnham (1910)
Librivox has a free audio version.
2)The Gingerbread Man, from Sara Cone Bryant: Stories to Tell Children .
Librivox has a free audio version.

Your assignment due Monday November 7, is:

  1. Write a summary retelling of one of the two versions of the story.
  2. Write 1-3 paragraphs comparing the similarities and differences between the two versions of the story and explaining which one is your favorite.
  3. Use pencil crayons to draw a scene from the story.

We will have our literature circle discussion on Monday November 7.

You can read both of the stories after the break.
Continue reading

Announcing Mr. McGaughey’s Cross Canada Election Sign Survey

Update: Here is the data we have collected so far. Are class is going to proceed to make graphs from our data and make some predictions about the possible outcome of the election. You can download the dataset in Excel format here.

UPDATE: Here is a pie graph we created showing the results of our sign survey.

Teachers: Are you interested in participating in further online collaborative projects with my class? Please fill out this form.