Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Pics

Thanks to Mrs. Fitterer and all of her wonderful helpers for the wonderful Halloween are some pics...ENJOY!


This morning the students had a substitute. Mr. Vogel and I were in the building, participating in a training that focused on "standards-based" grading.

During that time, the children visited the media center for a book exchange. Then they worked on a Halloween themed activity packet.

Following PE, lunch and recess, the class will celebrate Halloween with a parade and party.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

End of Unit 1

Today all of the children took the unit 1 math assessment in their math classes. That took most of the morning. After that, Miss Jones read two Halloween stories to my class.

Following lunch and recess, a representative from the Rotary Club and Boy Scouts gave the children dictionaries and talked to them about "service". Then we watched the second segment of Econ and Me and discussed opportunity cost...ask your children what it is...(the choice you give up when choosing something else). Finally, Mrs. Howard came in to do a lesson about responsibility with the children.

Wow! Short blog today...why do I feel SO tired?!?!

Halloween parade and party begins at 2:15 tomorrow...costumes should be labelled with your child's name and brought in a bag.

Also, NO SPELLING this week...we will start a new spelling cycle next week! :-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Insult to Injury...

Would you believe a student wore a Patriots sweatshirt to class today!?!?! Ahhhh!

Luckily our day today was far more productive and less painful than the Redskins' day yesterday...

In math, we went over the Unit 1 review packet in preparation for tomorrow's assessment. For homework students should go over the packet again.

After math, we identified nouns in the morning message. Then we searched in text for words with the /oe/ spelling pattern.

Following an extended art class (they worked with clay), lunch and recess, we continued reading Wishes, Kisses and Pigs. Ask your child about this story...Louise makes a wish on a shooting star and turns her brother into a pig. Today, she wished on a shooting star to turn a pig into a human and she turned a DIFFERENT pig (not her brother) into a's a good book!

Then students continued looking for /oe/ words and had a chance to finish any unfinished work while I pulled some students to work on reading flashcards. Then, in preparation for our Walking Field Trip of Damascus next Tuesday, we began watching a video program called Econ and Me. Today's segment covered resources and's a link (I think) to give some info...let me know if it is helpful...

Today the children are bringing home a permission slip for next week's field trip. They are also bringing home their last graded writing piece for this marking period. Please review it, sign it and return it to school tomorrow.

Remember...the Halloween parade and party is Wednesday at 2:15...and there is no school for students on Thursday!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Winding down...

Well, we are both winding down the week and the marking period! The end of marking period 1 is Wednesday. October 31. The children do not have school on Thursday (although I have to work...grab a tissue....I'll wait!). Marking period 2 will begin Friday, November 2.

As I reflect on the first marking period, I feel lucky to be working with such a great group of children. I won't lie...we've had our challenging moments but TRUTHFULLY I am really enjoying this group...they have a good work ethic (most of the time) and a great sense of humor. Most days are actually a lot of fun! We've had a lot of laughs and a lot of "ah-ha" moments when I can practically see the wheels turning in their heads as they learn something new.

Today, in math, we continued working on the review packet. We will go over it, in great detail, on Monday, in preparation for the assessment Tuesday.

After math, the students took their spelling test and we read and discussed the cover story in Time for Kids. The story was was about Afghan girls not being allowed to go to school and get an education until 2001 and the horrific conditions of their schools.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess, the students will write their third, and final, graded personal narrative. Then, I am hoping we will have time to finish our discussion about Afghan girls' education.

Remember that the Halloween parade and party starts at 2:15 on Wednesday, October 31. If you haven't sent in your $3 contribution, please do so.

BTW (by the way)...we did have a code blue/code red drill this was uneventful and went well! :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This afternoon we had a guest speaker, Officer Jacob from the MCPD, talk to the children about drugs...more importantly how to say NO to drugs.

Before that, the class visited the computer lab and learned how to save a document (and retrieve the document) in their "folder" that is on our school server.

Prior to lunch and indoor recess, we spent a lot of time investigating the dictionary ( a non-fiction resource text). We learned about using guide words and the "other" information that dictionaries provide (syllables, parts of speech, pronunciation, etc.) besides definitions. We also used guide words to locate three words in the dictionary. After that, the children worked independently on practice buddy check, cursive handwriting (capital A, O and D) and any other unfinished work they had. While they were doing that, I met with the ROY group to read and discuss chapter 6. I also worked on word chains with the FLASH group. The JGB group worked on a Story Opener, with me, in preparation for a new story. Additionally, some students had the opportunity to practice their reading one-on-one with Mrs. Bonvillain. It was a very productive chunk of time!!!

Before THAT, my math class worked on a review packet for the unit 1 assessment which will take place on Tuesday, October 30. We will continue work on the review packet tomorrow and go over it either tomorrow or Monday.

Remember that we have a spelling test tomorrow and that spelling homework is due, too! Also, please send in you $3 for the Halloween party, which is next Wednesday at 2:15. Also, there is no school for STUDENTS on Thursday, November 1. It is a report card prep day!

Did you notice that I reviewed the day in reverse?!?! Trying to keep you on your feet! ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Team Up to Say No to Drugs!

Many children participated in today's Red Ribbon Week spirit day by wearing their favorite team jerseys!

In math we spent a lot of time reviewing solving word problems. We talked about the importance of READING the problem and THINKING about what the actual problem is asking. Mrs. Starkey and I were both able to pull small groups to work on individual needs. AND...we both noticed that we saw many light bulbs "go off" in children's heads...

The unit assessment is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30. We will begin working on a review packet tomorrow. There will NOT be a quiz this week. Students received a word problem worksheet for homework.

After reading, we identified verbs in the morning message. The students worked independently on various tasks, including a worksheet that had the children use a table of contents (non-fiction text feature) to answer specific questions. I was able to meet with the Roy reading group to begin reading and discussing chapter 6.

Following PE, lunch and recess, we review the table of contents worksheet as a class. We also listened as children shared their morning work journals. Then we went to an assembly.

Please remember to send in money for the Halloween party!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Put a Cap on Drugs!

Today students were allowed to wear hats to remind them to say NO to drugs...tomorrow students are encouraged to wear a jersey for their favorite team for Red Ribbon Week.

In math, we continued to practice identifying and completing numeric patterns. We also reviewed place value. Tomorrow we will review word problems.

During reading, we reviewed non-fiction text features, the table of contents and the index specifically. We also met in reading groups. Mrs. Isaacs helped with my FLASH group. The JGB group had a GREAT discussion about whether or not they thought Alice and the fisherman had troubles prior to the fisherman catching the enchanted fish...lots of good insight was shared using information from the text as support. The ROY group read chapters 5&6 independently and then we read chapter 5 as a group. We also had a nice discussion about Amber worrying herself sick with the thought of Justin moving away.

Following lunch and recess, the children worked in reading groups and on independent work a bit more. Then we shared our morning work journals. After that, we practiced creating our own graphic organizer to plan our writing. Following a Red Ribbon Week activity and a read aloud, it was time for home!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Ribbon Week

We will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week this week with many different activities to remind students to say NO to drugs! This morning we signed a pledge and this afternoon we will hang it in the hallway. Thanks to Mrs. Howard, we have a variety of activities to get this important message across to the children!

In math class this morning, we reviewed identifying the rule and completing decreasing numeric patterns. Many students are still struggling with this concept. There is a worksheet for homework that provides more practice. Additionally, I met with a group of students to further practice this skill.

The students will also be bringing home their graded math quiz from last Thursday. PLEASE review it with you child and sign the top. If you see areas where your child struggled, feel free to create similar problems by switching the numbers. This is one way you can help your child.

During reading we spent time listing and discussing different text features in non-fiction text. We also discussed the many ways we might read to be informed....for example, reading a menu at a restaurant, signing up for piano lessons, reading directions to play a computer game, etc. WE also used text features to read and comprehend a book called Those Fabulous Frogs. Tomorrow we will begin dictionary skills and using the table of contents and an index to get information in non-fiction text.

Following art, lunch and recess, we changed jobs, added work to our Braggin' Dragon board and visited the Book Fair...beware...your children have LONG wish lists from the book child's list totals $'s a hint...I taught this student's older sibling!!

After that, we began a new read aloud entitled Wishes, Kisses and Pigs. It's about a girl who turns her brother into a pig...if only... Then we did a Red Ribbon Week activity.

The children do have a reading comprehension homework sheet to complete tonight and spelling homework is due this we have a spelling test on Friday!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Few End of the Week Thoughts

While rereading my blog for the past week I realized I failed to give proper thanks to Mrs. Isaacs. Mrs. Isaacs volunteered in the classroom on Tuesday and was the reason I was able to meet with all reading groups...THANKS!!!! Sorry I forgot to than you in a timely manner!

The book fair is in our school next week. We will visit it, as a class, on Monday afternoon. The students can return to purchase books, on their own, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mrs. Fitterer is busily planning our Halloween Party. I believe a note went home on Thursday. PLEASE send in money ASAP...the party seems like a lot of work. While I have never planned one, thank goodness, I am always amazed at how much time and effort the room parents put into the parties. So, thank you, in advance, to Mrs. Fitterer and anyone else helping to plan our Halloween party.

Our third grade walking field trip is planned for November 6. Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Witmer are hard at work on planning this big event. Look for more information in the near future. We will need a few extra parents to tag along...personally, I am looking forward to it this year...this will be my third walking field trip and the FIRST when I am not at least 7 months pregnant! Woohoo!

Finally, I forgot to make hard copies of the blog this week...I had good intentions...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Staff Development

One of the many opportunities afforded to teachers to better themselves is through staff development release time. Montgomery County Public Schools provides teachers with a specified amount of time, for which they provide subs, for teachers to meet with specialists in order to better themselves professionally. Today was one such day for me!

I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what a day might be like for a teacher during staff development time. Keep in mind, this is merely a glimpse and it is not set in stone...

This morning we discussed student's progress and strategies we have used with specific students and new strategies to try. Then we went through math resource books and differentiated selected activities so that they would meet the needs of more learners and fit the county's curriculum. This afternoon we will continue creating tiered lessons using our curriculum guides and the resource books. We will also plan out the second math unit and reflect on our math groupings to determine how effective they have been.

Needless to say, these staff development days are jam packed!

Today your children were in the very-capable hands of Mrs. Kriz. In math they took a quiz. I will do my best to grade it over the weekend and return it on Monday. During reading, the children selected new spelling words with the -er SOUND. They also practiced using correct capitalization and reading comprehension skills.

Following lunch they will visit the computer lab to create a document of their choice using Microsoft Word or Paint. Then they will read and discuss the current issue of Time for Kids.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

That's what we are in here...BUSY! Getting lots accomplished, though!

I finally got the second set of personal narratives graded. Look for those in home folders today! I was very impressed with the students' writing...I saw many GREAT beginnings that truly grabbed my attention and made me want to read on! I also saw excellent use of sensory images to describe their experiences.

In math today, we created another bar graph using data provided. Once again, the students had to use the data to determine an appropriate scale. Additionally, we discussed writing labels for their graphs that matched the data. For example, looking at last night's homework, the numbers represented the number of STUDENTS not the number of sports.

While the students worked independently, I was able to work with a small group on identifying numerical patterns and continuing that pattern. Homework tonight is to review LAST week's quiz in preparation for tomorrow's quiz...the quiz will cover the same skills addressed in the same manner using different numbers.

During reading, students continued to identify words with the -er sound in them. Then, as a group, we sorted them according to the spelling of the -er sound (whether it was spelled -er, -ir, -ur, etc.) Additionally, I met with the FLASH group to read and discuss their book.

Following PE, lunch and recess, the class had an opportunity to share their writing while students had a bathroom and drink break.

Then we continued the writing lesson from yesterday. Students looked through their writer's notebook at various personal narratives. They selected a sentence that wasn't very descriptive and added more details where appropriate. I think that by having the children focus on one sentence at a time it made the process less overwhelming and possibly even a little fun?!?!

Finally, we used chromatography to determine which candy left a smudge on a "candy machine". This was our final experiment in the Crime Lab science unit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Miss me?

I tried to blog yesterday but to no avail...

I had to leave early to take my 6 year old, Michael, to the doctor. So I was unable to blog at lunch. When I tried to blog last night, the server for Blog Spot was down. Oh well!

In math we are reviewing three digit subtraction when regrouping is needed in more than one column. We are also creating bar graphs using data that is provided. Yesterday we spent time talking about the scales on a bar when they created their own bar graph, the children needed to realize that the scale had to count by tens. All graphs must include a title and labels. When numbering the graph, children need to number the lines, not the spaces.

During reading I was able to meet with every reading group! YEY! I had a wonderful discussion with both my JGB and ROY's so much fun to discuss the characters in fiction and hear what students think about their actions. The JGB group spent a lot of time discussing greediness while the ROY group spent time discussing how the mood of the characters changed from the beginning to the end of chapter 4. My FLASH group was still in the middle of reading with me when it was time to go to lunch.

The students also searched for words with the -er SOUND and practiced writing the letters n, m and v in cursive.

This afternoon we will finish our reading instruction from the morning. We will also begin to edit some of our writing. Then we will explore the Earth's physical geography by watching a video using United Streaming.

Friday, October 12, 2007

"The Blog" in hard copy...

Today I am sending home this week's blogs on paper...I am going to TRY to do this each week...BUT please help me save a tree...if you do NOT need it in hard copy (paper form), let me know...

End of the Week

It's really starting to feel like fall...I LOVE this weather!! Hope you are enjoying it, too.

As I sit and reflect upon this past week, I am so proud of the hard work and effort I witnessed this week...

Today, in math, we took a quiz. They have been graded and will be coming home this weekend. Please look them over, sign them and have your child return it on Monday.

During reading, we identified proper nouns and took our second spelling test. These, too, have been graded and will be coming home this need to sign or return them, though.

Following music, lunch and recess, the students will complete their second graded personal narrative. I will be looking for an obvious beginning, middle and end. I will also be assessing their use of the word wall and their spelling of long e words. I will try to grade these over the weekend and return them on promises, though! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend...

Remember the Homeless Walk is next Tuesday during recess and there is no school next Friday!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Humming along...

Routines have been established and students are adjusting to the third grade way and life seems to be "humming along"... Meeting with small groups has become the norm and children are being more productive during independent work example from today...

During reading, while I met with individual students and with small groups, the students needed to meet in their small groups to take their "practice buddy check", then each group had a reading assignment and then the children could work on unfinished work or anchor activities.

Well, the room was buzzing quite loudly in the beginning...I thought to myself that if the students were truly on task, that the room would naturally quiet down as groups completed their buddy checks and moved onto their reading assignments...and that is exactly what happened. One by one, the groups finished their buddy checks and the room quieted down as students settled into various places (their desks, the book corner, the closet, etc.) to read their assigned texts. It really was nice to be able to work with students while the rest of the class was being productive.

OK...I guess you might be wondering what was happening academically, huh? In math, the students created BAR GRAPHS using the data table that they used to construct their pictographs. While the students were working on their graphs, Mrs. Starkey and I met with small groups focusing on identifying numeric patterns and rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten.

We began reading by identifying verbs in the morning message...

Then I met with students individually and in small groups while the other students did their practice buddy checks and read their assigned text selections. The JGB group reread The Fisherman and his Wife, placing sticky notes labeled with an F in places they thought the Fisherman was being unkind to his wife and placing an A in places they thought his wife was unkind to him. The FLASH group reread A Sticky Problem, practiced their flashcards worked on word chains and began a new book. The ROY group had met with me yesterday afternoon to reread chapter 2 and discuss it. So, today they did a first reading of chapters 3 and 4. Tonight, for homework, each group is expected to do a reread of their assigned selections for at least 15 minutes.

Word chains...using a white board we begin with a word. Then the students write a new word below the first word by changing just one word or sound...I should have taken a picture of this, huh? Anyway, an example would be: hop, hot, hat, hit, hip, ship, etc.

This afternoon, we went to the computer lab and the students spent time exploring the Paint software package. Next week I plan to create pictures using Paint and teach the children how to save a document (the picture they create) in their own documents folder.

After the computer lab, Mrs. Howard, along with helpers from Sallie Mae, will prepare the children for the Homeless Walk which will take place in school next Tuesday during recess.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Time Marches On...

Ever wish you had more time to get things done? We had such a productive morning, yet it seems like we never have enough time...

In math, we began with a formative that covered estimation and pictographs. Please review it with your child this evening. We also went over the pictograph we had done in class yesterday. I took time to talk about common errors that were made. Then I assigned the exact same pictograph for homework tonight. Tomorrow, I plan to have the children use the pictograph to create a bar graph showing the exact same data.

During reading, I met with my JGB group and began a new story, The Fisherman and His Wife. We did a story opener activity...ask you children (if they are in this group) about it...MANY said they would NOT wish for a million dollars because their parents don't need it! Good to know! LOL! My Roy group will meet with me after lunch but they were answering a BCR (brief constructed response) in their reading log. My Flash group was also answering a BCR in their reading logs.

Following PE, lunch and recess, the students will continue working on their reading assignments or meeting with me in their reading groups. They will also work on writing personal narratives. We will be doing another graded personal narrative on Friday.

Then Mrs. Howard will be visiting us for a Stop and Think lesson!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Parent Conferences

Parent conferences are approaching quickly...many of you have signed up BUT if missed Back to School Night and haven't signed up at some other time when you were in the school, then you probably need to do so...

As of right now, I have 11/9 at 2:45, 3:00 and 3:15 open and I have 11/12 at 2:30, 3:15 and 3:30 open.

If you want one of those times, send me an e-mail at

Proud as a Peacock

I am so proud of, you really can "see" what is going on in the classroom...I have been able to use my digital camera to take pictures and upload them to the blog...woo hoo!

As you can see, in math we continued working on graphing. We constructed a class pictograph displaying the number of birthdays in each month. Then the children created their own individual pictograph displaying favorite flavors of ice cream.
Everyone was busy during reading. My JGB group finished up their first story with a writing piece. They had to decide whether or not they would want the Master Cat for a pet and then use the text to support their answer. The ROY group read chapters 1 and 2 of Amber Brown is Not a Crayon. We will discuss these tomorrow. Finally, my FLASH group read A Sticky Problem and worked on -ink words.

While everyone is expected to read for 15 minutes every night, tonight I expect ROY to reread Amber Brown... and FLASH to reread A Sticky Problem.

The entire class worked on a cursive handwriting paper (q, c, and o) and a Plural?singular Noun paper.

After lunch and recess, we will finish up a few loose ends from this morning and then go to a cultural arts assembly. Andes Manta will be performing!

Is there anyone who wants to volunteer in the classroom? I could use an adult to read with children on Tuesday from 11-12:30, Wednesday from 10:50-11:40 and Friday from 10:50-11:40. If you want to volunteer, just drop me a note!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Open House

This morning was the annual MCPS Open House for parents to visit their children "in action". I hope the parents who were able to visit, found their time well spent and were pleased with their students progress.

In math, we went to the computer lab. We created a data chart that indicated the number of dogs, cats, fish and birds our math class has as pets. Then we used that data to create a bar graph using Graph Club, a software package. We spent time creating a title, labels and playing around with the numeric scale of the graph. Students printed a copy to take home. Ask your child to identify elements needed on a graph (title, labels...) and have them show you them on their graph! Also, wee if they can explain the numeric scale to you. Their homework for tonight is to get their quiz signed.

In reading we reviewed and identified pronouns and nouns. We also began reading George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz. We will finish reading it this afternoon and discuss whether it is fiction or non fiction.

I also promised the class that we could do some research about George Washington's era using the Internet...the children had many questions which I was unable to answer!

Our class also went to art today and will go to the media center for a book exchange this afternoon!

If time permits, we will begin editing and revising our personal narratives.

Quick Weekend Update

Wow! The Octoberfest was a blast! My children thoroughly enjoyed themselves..and so did I! I just want to publicly thank our awesome PTA for a fantastic afternoon!

Also, I wanted to give a brief update to my math class...

overall, I was pleased with the progress that the children demonstrated on our most recent math quiz. However, I am sensing that many students are dealing with some math anxiety. Since we still have one "section" left in this unit (graphing and data analysis), on Friday, I let the kids vote. They had the choice to begin graphing on Monday (today) or to continue with word problems. I truly felt like the class needed a break...and apparently I was right.

The class voted to move onto graphing today. We will revisit word problems, patterns and place value, but this will give the children a bit of a break...hopefully! :-)

A couple of children didn't want to move on yet. So, in an effort to meet everyone's needs, I promised that my small group instruction would focus on word problems, rounding and place value.

I do hope this gives, you, the family, a glimpse into what is going on in our classroom...

Remember, I encourage you to leave your opinions, questions or comments on this blog...I want it to be interactive!! :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007

End of the Week

With the end of the week comes our math quiz. While I haven't graded these, as I walked around during the quiz I was pleased to note MANY improvements. I am looking forward to grading these over the weekend. I think they will demonstrate the amount of growth the kids have made. Hard work pays off!

After math, we reviewed and identified nouns and pronouns Then we discussed non fiction text and text features (captions, photographs, bold print, headings, titles, to name a few) and identified some text features as we read and discussed the current issue of Time for Kids.

Following music, lunch and recess, the students will work on writing fantastic endings for their personal narratives and identify geographic features that can be seen from the front steps of our school.

See you Sunday at the Octoberfest or Monday at Parent Visitation! Remember book orders are due Monday!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


YEY Class!

My homeroom did super during lunch and recess today! They did so well they earned free seating tomorrow, they were first for snack, they were first to go to recess, they got a good report to me AND now they get a good report on the blog! Woo hoo!

Grumpy Mrs. Holman :-) my math class is probably hating me right now...we had what I thought was a good discussion about how we all need to put effort into our learning and that I know they are all capable, etc. etc. Then when we were doing a practice worksheet I had students who had blank worksheets...even after the answers had been written on the white board AND students who admitted that they hadn't read the problem. So, as you can imagine, we stopped and talked about THIS...and I was a bit grumpy! There is a worksheet (2 sided) for homework tonight and a quiz that will include numeric patterns, place value, rounding and a word problem.

After math, the students chose new spelling words, identified pronouns and learned 3 new cursive letters (a, d, and g). During that time, students practiced their flashcards, I met with a group and began reading Amber Brown is Not a Crayon and discussed character traits AND got my Junior Great Books group doing a reread of The Master Cat with partners. They also had a follow up worksheet to complete.

This afternoon we will head to the computer and use Microsoft Word to write a caption for a picture that is inserted into a document. Yes, we did this last week but I discovered some areas of confusion that need to be cleared up! The children weren't comfortable with getting text and/or pictures on their documents in the location that they wanted them. So I will be addressing using the space bar, the enter button and the tab key.

Following the computer lab, I had planned on continuing the writing lesson from yesterday. We focused on writing great beginnings to our personal narratives. Today I was hoping to talk about endings...but I might finish up the spelling and reading lessons from this morning...we'll see how alert they are after recess!

Remember...Octoberfest is Sunday...Parent Visitation is Monday...AND book orders are due Monday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oh...the frustration....

I hate to begin a post in such a negative manner. I do enjoy my job and I love the children, but some days can be a bit more trying than others. So as you read this, please know that sometimes I need to share my frustrations in order to move on!

Math class was a started with children coming up to me and saying that they are struggling with word problems. I am SO glad they felt comfortable enough to share this with me. That is GOOD...But (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) I got the general feeling from many students that since they didn't "get it" yesterday and since the homework provided a challenge, they were telling me they couldn't do it and they were moving on...UGH!

I spent a good deal of time (and energy) both yesterday and today discussing that estimation is typically "uncomfortable" for children AND that the word "about" means you need to estimate. However, students are still NOT estimating and even when we reviewed the warm up this morning AND the formative, children still raised their hand and asked if the exact answer was okay to have...ever feel like NOBODY is listening to you?!?!?!

Math homework tonight is to review the formative with an adult...PLEASE go over the formative but not as a punishment or a "gotcha" your child realize what they did incorrectly and discuss what they can do differently next time. Also, PLEASE explain how important it is to KEEP TRYING and NOT give up...the more they practice the easier the work will up is NOT an option!

Reading was a lot less stressful! :-) We identified different types of nouns and began working on pronouns. I introduced pronouns as words that take the place of nouns. After that we sorted -ea words according to sound. Then we began a brief discussion of non-fiction text.

Following PE, lunch and recess, we will continue writing personal narratives focusing on making sure our writing has a beginning, middle and end. Then we will talk about what a geographer does and categorize parts of our geography as natural vs. human made.

Book orders are due by Monday. Monday is also Open House or Parent Visitation Day. This is a chnace for you to visit our classroom and see us in action. Don't forget, the Octoberfest is Sunday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No...I didn't pay him!

Guess my mom is sharing my blog with friends and family! I do enjoy the feedback...but, no, I didn't pay my brother for his sweet comment!

Okay, on to today and YOUR children...(it isn't all about me, right!?!?!)

In math today, we talked about using rounding to make estimates. We also spent a lot of time discussing the word "about" and that if the students were asked "about how many" or asked for an estimate, they had to give an estimate...NOT the exact answer. This is a concept that tends to make children uncomfortable. They are always told to give the "right" answer and then we throw them a curve ball and ask them to estimate... Their homework paper tonight is VERY similar to their classwork. Please encourage your child to refer to the classwork if they get stuck!

In between math and reading, we had a fire drill...our first unannounced, I think!

During reading, students participated in different activities based on their reading assessment data...let's call these reading groups, although I do not name them and they become fluid...the groups are not always the same children. I often switch children around based on the activity or their recent performance on independent work, assessments, etc. or my own goals for the lesson.

The Junior Great Books group met with me first. They listened and followed along as I read The Master Cat out loud. Then they independently reread the story, marking with post-it notes, selections which they found surprising or funny. This is referred to as reading with directed notes.

Another group reread Bread and Jam for Frances, then identified one character trait for Frances and supported their trait with 2 pieces of evidence from the story. They did this in their reading response journal.

Finally, another group worked on sight words and began reading King Beast's Birthday with me. Then they reread the selection at their seats and they are supposed to reread it again, at home, tonight. We also added new flashcards to their envelopes.

All students worked on a punctuation and capitalization activity and practiced writing "h" and "k" in cursive.

Following lunch and recess, students will get some time to complete any unfinished work from this morning. I will then model writing a personal narrative, emphasizing the beginning, middle and end. Finally, I am hoping to get to a science experiment using Chromatography.

Mrs. Howard is sending home information for the Homeless Walk today. She stopped by to talk to the kids for a few minutes before lunch. The children are also getting a new book order form. Orders are due on or before Monday, October 8. Remember that checks must be made payable to Scholastic Books. And, of course, the Octoberfest is THIS Sunday from 11:30-3:30.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hard Work Pays Off!

It's been a day full of good news!

This morning I was able to grade the math quizzes from Friday. I saw many students show great progress in their knowledge! YEY!!!!! The quizzes should be signed by an adult family member and returned tomorrow.

In math we spent the day solving word problems. We focused on identifying "key words" that helped us decide whether to add or subtract in order to solve the problem.

In reading we reviewed common, proper and plural nouns. We also read Bread and Jam for Frances and identified words with the ea spelling pattern. Then we sorted the words according to the sound that the -ea made....for example, the ea in beans, veal and treat sounds the same while the -ea in bread and breakfast have a different sound.

After that it was off to art, lunch and recess.

The afternoon began with a read aloud and the class voting for Jenna as the Star Student for September. She earned this by displaying exemplary listening and respectskills! Congratulations to Jenna, as well as, Brandon, Luke and Andy who were her fellow nominees.

Then we discussed the reading homework worksheet that will help the students work on their reading comprehension skills. This is due tomorrow. I am going to try to add this to our homework repertoire 1-2 times per week.

Finally, we reviewed our writing focus for this marking period, Personal Narratives. I was pleased that the students could identify this as our focus AND they seemed to remember a lot of what they learned about sensory images! After 20 minutes of independent writing practice, some students had the chance to share their writing. Then we concluded the day with a book exchange in the media center.

Don't forget that the Oktoberfest is this Sunday from 11:30-3:30. I am planning to arrive around 1:00 and will stay as long as my kiddies allow...before they embarrass me too much...just kidding...or at least I hope I am kidding! :-0

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