Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Friday!

Definitely a double meaning...I am happy that the weekend is here but I am also happy with the work the children did it is just a HAPPY day! :-)

During math, the children took a quiz. They are graded and will come home today. PLEASE review it with your child. On Monday we will do a review packet and prepare for the unit assessment which will take place on Tuesday.

In reading we read and discussed Time for Kids. The cover story was about John F. Kennedy. We began to complete a graphic organizer to capture the "big ideas" from the article. Unfortunately, we ran out of time. Next week we will complete the graphic organizer and use it to write a summary.

Following music, lunch and recess we had writing.

During writing we had a little "discussion" about making good use of their time. The talk seemed to inspire our young writers, as many were able to choose a topic, create a web and begin a piece in which they were writing to inform.

Then we watched a video on United Streaming to show the children how cities changed as technology progressed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What a Day!

Wow...I am exhausted...good exhausted, though...we got a lot done today!! :-)

In math, we continued working on solving word problems using our measurement skills. Mrs. Starkey and I both worked with a small group based on needs that were identified through an exit card. For homework, there was a word problem worksheet for everyone...some also have classwork to finish.

In reading, we searched for more -ough words and learned the capital I and J in cursive. I also met with three reading groups. The original JGB group began rereading the Monster story with me using directed notes. They were marking where they thought Miobi was learning something about being brave. They continued this independently at their seats. The new JGB group read The Master Cat with me and then reread it on their own. ROY read chapter 2 in their Junie B. Jones book. The FLASH group worked with "kn", practiced their flashcards and began reading a new book about Maps. All groups need to reread their selection from class for homework tonight.

After lunch and recess we sorted our -ough words and created a class list. The students then created personal spelling lists. Then we went to an assembly. We watched a Russian trio perform.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


OK...down to business...

In math we took a 4 page formative...remember these are NOT graded and we review the correct answers together, as a class. For homework students MUST explain how to solve EACH problem to an adult...if they can not explain how to get the correct answer, go over it with them or send me a note and I will go over it with is imperative that children can explain HOW to get correct answers.

During reading we identified nouns and adjectives in the morning message. Then we took time to review compound words and to compare them to word that have prefixes and suffixes. We will continue to study composing and decomposing words with prefixes and/or suffixes tomorrow.

Following PE, lunch and recess we will work on editing our writing pieces. I have photocopied some samples of student work...without names, of course, and made overhead transparencies of the pieces. As a class we will go through and edit the pieces together.

Then Mrs. Howard will stop in to do a lesson on perseverance with the class. If there is time, we will also vote on a start student for next month.

Information about Scholastic Book Orders

Thanks to a gentle nudge by a parent, you are now able to place your own orders, online, for our Scholastic book orders...below is a letter that explains the procedure. The current order that is online is the one I sent home two weeks ago and was due last is NOT a new order form...but if you want to check it out, you can do so until December 1.

No worries, you will still receive paper order forms and be able to return them to school if ordering on line is not for you!

Here's the letter from Scholastic:
Dear Parent,
I have exciting news... You can now place your Scholastic Book Club orders online!

Browse all the great monthly Club selections at low prices and order online - all while helping our classroom earn FREE books, software, and resources.

Here's how it works:

Use the information below to access the Scholastic Book Clubs Web site.
Browse the titles with your child, and place your order with your credit card.
Your order will come to me, and your credit card payment will go directly to Scholastic's secure server. There's no need to send money to school.
After I submit the entire class's order to Scholastic, your order will be delivered to our classroom for your child to take home.

Class User Name: DanaHolmansClass
Password: Dragons
Remember, placing your online credit card order is completely safe and secure. Ordering online is the most convenient way to use Scholastic Book Clubs. You can order anytime, right up until the online order due date. And this month, our class can earn additional FREE books, just for trying this online ordering service. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Heavy Heart

I started out the day with a very heavy heart...I was born and bred on the 'Skins...I remember watching games with my dad when we lived in New Jersey...they are truly an extension of our, as you can imagine, the news hit hard...

But working with the children this morning really lifted my spirits. :-)

During math, I was at a meeting but the children worked with Mrs. Starkey on solving word problems using the measurement skills we are working on in unit 2. Tomorrow, after a formative, we will continue using our skills to solve word problems. For homework, the children need to complete their classwork (if they didn't in school) and they have a TWO sided area and perimeter worksheet.

In reading we continued our focus on informational text. We had a great discussion regarding the purpose of our reading being the driving force behind was informational was deemed important versus informational that was interesting. We worked on this together and then the children worked on it independently in their reading logs.

For example, we read the book Life on the African Savannah, with the focus questions of "what animals live in the Savannah" and "what do you call a baby zebra". So, only information that answered these questions is important information...all other information becomes interesting as it does not address our focus.

At their seats, the children were given two new questions and were told to create a third question. Then they used the same book to locate important information that answered the question. I was so pleased by the children's understanding of the focus questions dictating the purpose for reading and thus, which information was important.

While the children worked independently, Mrs. Isaacs worked with some students individually while I met with small groups.

Following lunch and recess, I continued to meet with small groups while the children worked on their reading response logs AND editing their writing pieces.

JGB 1 began a new story called the Monster Who Grew Smaller...we did a text opener in which we the children imagined they were taking a trip on a train and they had to think about what would worry them about the impending trip. Then we read the story together. For homework, they need to reread the story.

The FLASH group met with me and we discussed prefixes, suffixes and base (or root) words. We created a chart in which we identified words in the Julia Alvarez book and then broke the words into parts. For homework they need to read for 15 minutes - free choice.

The ROY group has now been split into group began a Junie B. Jones book with me. We read chapter one in group and they need to reread it for homework. The other part of the group will be reading a Junior Great Books story called the Master Cat. This group did a text opener with me. We read and discussed a poem called the Cat of Cats. They need to read for 15 minutes tonight - free choice.

We began our second unit in Social Studies is called Cities of the Present. We began by discussing systems of transportation and focused on the airplane. We talked about the various elements that are needed such as a plane, fuel, air traffic controllers, maintenance crew, etc.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Day After

So, my husband surprised me with a Riggins jersey on Friday...I was so excited!!! I even wore it during Redskins Report on Saturday is now shoved in my closet...all balled up...I am repulsed by yesterday's game.

Luckily, being back to school is a GREAT distraction! It was so good to see the children this morning...I did miss them! :-)

During math we reviewed converting measurements of inches, feet and yards. Then we worked on identifying the area and perimeter of figures. We took it a step further today by trying to identify the linear measurement of an unknown side of a figure when we already know what the perimeter is...see their classwork if you are having difficulty visualizing what I mean. I am trying to teach them to begin with the known perimeter and subtract out the measurements of the sides that are known. Then the "leftover" is the measurement of the unknown side. For homework, they need to finish their classwork....PLEASE review this since many students appeared to just scribble down numbers once they heard that the unfinished worksheet would become part of their homework. They were also given a perimeter worksheet for homework.

During reading, we used the morning message to locate and identify nouns and adjectives. Then we read Postcards from our Planets to practice reading to be informed AND to locate words with the -ough spelling pattern...interesting tidbit, although the book has a non-fiction call number, the book itself is fiction but all of the information contained in it regarding the planets is non-fiction. As you might imagine, we had a nice discussion about that!

Following art, lunch and recess we continued reading Wreck of the Ethie and shared our morning work.

Then we continued writing to inform about a topic of our choice. The mini lesson prior to the children having time to "just write" centered around editing their writing. We talked about looking for obvious things...such as every sentence starting with a capital letter and ending with a punctuation mark. I also suggested the children reading their pieces to a friend and the friend asking questions that they have in their head in order to get the writer to add more details and be more specific in their writing. We talked about doing this editing using a pen so we could see the changes that were made. AND, of course, I stressed that change is GOOD!

Reading homework...have your child read for 15 minutes choice...if they come across any -ough words in their reading, they should write them down for our spelling unit!

Life wasn't so good in art a class there was so much talking that Mrs. Gribbin-Lindemon couldn't identify specific students who were too chatty...please just remind your children that even though it is an exciting time of year, they need to maintain their focus in school! :-)

Finally, yearbook order forms are going home today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Electronic Learning

In math today we visited the computer lab. We visited the site below to understand the relationship between length and width when determining the area of a on the link to see what we did!

After math, we learned that adjectives are "words that describe nouns" and located some in our Morning Message. Then we reviewed a few "ah-ha" moments from yesterday's reading lesson...these had to do with the organization and information contained in the table of contents and the index in informational text. Then we read and discussed Life in the Polar Regions. While this was going on, Brandon's grandma worked with children individually on their reading and sight words...thanks! Finally, the children worked either individually, with a partner or in a small group with me to answer a prompt in their reading response log.

It was a great morning!

Following lunch and recess, we continued reading The Wreck of the Ethie. Remember, the author, Hilary Hyland, is visiting DES tomorrow!

Then the children worked on their reading response logs (from this morning) and their writing to inform pieces (from yesterday). They day ended with Miss Jones reading a Thanksgiving story to the third grade and then more reading from The Wreck of the Ethie.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And so it begins...

How come when we were kids it seemed like it took FOREVER to get from one holiday season to the next and now it seems like the years SPEED by?!?! I can't believe that Thanksgiving is THIS week and that the holiday shopping season has begun! With that in mind, homework will be minimal this week...And we won't begin a new spelling unit until NEXT Monday.

If you tried to use the links for math practice, there WAS a problem....but thanks to a classroom mom, I was alerted to the problem and have fixed both least I THINK I have. :-) Try them out this week since we will have very little homework.

OK...down to math, we practiced measuring using centimeters AND using the measurements to calculate the perimeter of shapes. While the children worked independently, I met with a small group to practice converting inches to feet, feet to yards, and inches to yards. WE used foot long rulers to help and talked about skip counting.

In reading we read Life in the Polar Regions and used our background knowledge from Angela in the Arctic to compare the two texts and increase our comprehension.

Following art, lunch and recess we began a story entitled The Wreck of the Ethie by Hilary Hyland. She is a local author who will be visiting our school on Wednesday.

After that, we had a code red drill and we used our webs to write to inform about a topic of our choice. Then we visited the media center for a book exchange.

Remember that book orders are due tomorrow...AND students still need to read for at least 15 minutes EVERY night...also, CHECK OUT the math links!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tis' the Season?

While we had an extremely productive week and managed to get a lot done today, the class, in general, was overly "chatty"...I hope this isn't the beginning of the holiday season excitement...oh well, as long as the children are still learning you can't blame them for being excited! :-)

In math we took our first quiz for unit 2...overall, the grades were good! We still need lots of practice converting inches to feet, feet to yards, etc. During reading we took a spelling test and the children had time to complete unfinished work...a couple still needed extra time, so they are bringing the Angela from the Arctic book home to complete the reading response assignment this weekend!

Following music, lunch and recess, we finished the book Wishes, Kisses and had a great ending...ask you child about it! And ask them which one of Mrs. Holman's predictions were right...I knew the owl was the dad!!

Then I spent time modeling how to turn our web into a piece of writing. We started to work on our writing independently but being that it was 2:30 on a Friday, the children's hearts weren't into we watched a movie about Thanksgiving...we'll continue with the writing on Monday!

Have a wonderful weekend...remember that book orders are due Tuesday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes we just need to MEMORIZE!

That was the theme in math class today...PLEASE help your child memorize that 12 inches is the same as 1 foot and 3 feet equals a yard. We spent a lot of time today converting linear measurements both in small groups and independently. There is a worksheet, on area, for homework. The quiz tomorrow focuses on converting linear measurements (inches, feet and yards), identifying area and perimeter and a review of subtraction and numeric patterns.

Oh, speaking of math, look over to the left...those are links to web sites that can help you and your child practice/learn math skills...please use them! IF for nothing else, have your children work on the basic math facts...they REALLY need to memorize'd be surprised what 5 minutes of practice each day can do!

During reading we read a book called Angela from the Arctic. It is a non fiction book about life in a small town in Alaska which is located inside the Arctic Circle. We had a great discussion as we read the book...some points included how the text features (especially photographs) helped our comprehension and we used a map to locate the town and discuss why it is only accessible by boat or plane. I really enjoyed the conversation and I think many of the children did, too. The students then responded to a prompt in their reading response logs while I met with two small groups. Mrs. Bonvillain also worked individually with several students practicing sight word flashcards and reading a new book.

Tonight the JGB group needs to complete their Little Daughter of the Snow packets. The FLASH group needs to reread the Julia Alvarez book. The ROY group must read for at least 15 minutes but it is free choice!

After lunch and indoor recess, we will visit the computer lab. The students will create a picture in Paint and "hand it in" to me via the "hand in" folder on our school's computer server. Then Mrs. Howard will be doing a lesson with the children about perseverance.

Don't forget, spelling homework is due tomorrow and we will have a spelling test. Also, book orders are due no later than Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hump Day

In math we took a formative that covered measuring lines and identifying the area and perimeter of shapes. We then reviewed the formative to clear up any misconceptions and answer any questions that remained in the students' minds. For homework the children are to go over the formative with an adult....have them explain what they did right and explain why they got items wrong...this will reinforce their own understanding.

During reading we used the cover story in our Time for Kids to practice identifying the main idea in non fiction text. We picked out important details and added them up to discover the author's main idea.

Following PE, lunch and recess, we continued reading Wishes, Kisses and Pigs. Then we shared a book called Extraordinary Girls. We used the book to talk about how to develop our ideas in writing. We noticed how the authors took a topic we know about and broke it into different main ideas and used details to further develop the main ideas. After that, I modeled making a new web about dogs by breaking down my web from yesterday into main ideas and supporting details. After that the children went back and created new webs using their new knowledge.

Book order forms were sent home yesterday. They are due NO LATER THAN Tuesday, November 20, 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


In math we continued identifying the area and perimeter of shapes. Tomorrow we will take our first formative for this unit. We will then take time to review areas of concern/frustration in preparation for a quiz on Friday. The quiz on Friday will cover measurement, area and perimeter and some review from unit 1.

During reading we practiced using the dictionary to locate the meanings of new words and we learned three capital letters (C, E and Q) in cursive. Additionally, the children worked on assignments from their reading groups.

The JGB group used the sticky notes from the directed reading as we discussed whether or not the parents in the story were good or bad parents. The ROY group read chapter 9 together and discussed the story, as this was the final chapter in the book. The FLASH group worked individually with Mrs. Isaacs and then reread the Museum book with me.

Following lunch and recess, we read more from Wishes, Kisses and Pigs and shared some of our morning work entries. Then we discussed Writing to Inform and I modeled creating a web as a pre-writing activity. Students then got a chance to create a web for a topic they plan to write about. Finally, we watched the final segment of Econ and Me and discussed the economic term, interdependence.

Homework tonight:
Read for 15 choice for most but Museum for FLASH
Reading worksheet for ALL
Math worksheet for all (Centimeter Critter) and some need to finish the area worksheet from class.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Early Dismissal Days

Friday and today (Monday) were early dismissal days. Although the instructional time was shortened, we still got a lot done...

In math, we practiced identifying the perimeter and area of shapes. I am teaching the children to use hash marks as they count the perimeter of shapes and to number the squares as they count the area. Remember, area needs to be labeled in SQUARE units. The class had a worksheet for homework that focused on area.

During reading the children worked on reading group assignments.

The JGB group wrote questions in their reading response journals on Friday. They were supposed to write questions they had in their minds after reading Little Daughter of the Snow. They were to pay attention to what they were wondering about and what was bothering them. Today, we reread the story using the directed notes we read we marked places with a G where we thought the parents were "good" parents and we marked places with a B when we thought they were "bad" parents. Tomorrow we will use these notes to discuss the story.

The FLASH group was to reread their book and write about one item mentioned in the book and what made that item special.

The ROY group needed to reread chapter 8 and answer the questions; Is Amber really upset because Justin threw the gum away? Explain your answer with support from the text. Then they were to read chapter 9.

I met with many students on an individual basis to review their reading response journal entries. I am focusing on getting more details and information into their written responses.

Tonight JGB needs to read for 15 choice....ROY needs to reread chapter 9 in Amber Brown and the FLASH group should reread the museum book and practice their flashcards.

Spelling homework is due Friday and we will take a spelling test!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Two Weeks 'till Thanksgiving

I can't believe that two weeks from today is Thanksgiving!! The days are flying by...

In math, today, we discussed using Metric units for linear measurement and converting these units. 10 millimeters=1 centimeter, 100 centimeters = 1 meter, 10 centimeters = 1 decimeter and 10 decimeters = 1 meter. We also compared and contrasted two different rulers so that the children could see that not all rulers begin their measurement at the edge of the ruler AND that some Metric rulers are labeled in millimeters not centimeters. You might want to search your house for rulers and compare and contrast them. The children have a subtraction worksheet for homework.

We were busy during reading!!! We collected and sorted /oe/ words and talked about word families...using base or root words and adding suffixes and/or prefixes to slightly change the meaning...ex. shoeless, we added -less (a suffix meaning without) to make the word that means without shoes. This appeared to be a new concept for the children. Therefore, we will spend more time discussing prefixes and suffixes next week.

After students chose /oe/ spelling words they worked on their reading group assignments. The ROY group read chapter 8 in Amber Brown. The Flash group began a new non-fiction book about a museum. The JGB group reread The Little Daughter of Snow.

Following lunch and recess, we went to the computer lab. In the computer lab, the children used the "hand out" folder on their computer to access a file that had links to various web sites of businesses we visited on our walking field trip of Damascus. We also practiced accessing our class blog! I encouraged students to visit our blog from home and leave a comment.

When we returned to the classroom, we passed out papers and I assigned reading homework. Then I introduced buddy journals.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wonderful Field Trip

We had a wonderful walking field trip of Damascus yesterday...Many thanks to Mrs. Witmer and Mrs. Brown for organizing the was VERY educational and ran extremely smoothly! Also, thank you to the many parents who accompanied us on the tour...your support was invaluable!

On the trip, we toured many places of business in Damascus, including, the Damascus Community Bank, the post office, Up County Realty, Nationwide Insurance and a few others, as well. The students got a first look at the behind the scenes functioning of these businesses and they began to understand how different businesses affect each other and impact the community and the economy in general. For example, at the real estate office, the poor housing market was discussed and it was shared how this also affects builders, parts distributors, etc...the whole "trickle-down" affect. Students also saw how organizational skills are important tools to acquire as they are needed to be successful in business.

Today, I am in a training session with the other third, fourth and fifth grade teachers. We are spending time observing, discussing and planning shared inquiry instruction that is used to help students think in a more divergent way. These skills are addressed in the Junior Great Books program but can be used with other literature as well.

The students are working with Mrs. Kriz, using the plans I left. During math, the students practiced measuring using inches. They also practiced converting units of measurement using inches, feet and yards.

During reading they read and discussed another issue of Time for Kids, focusing on the text features and HOW they aid comprehension. You might remember that we did a similar activity on Monday with a follow up in their reading response log...overall, the responses were not "strong" responses...I put feedback in every student's log and gave them an opportunity to use this feedback to improve their responses and turn it in a for a new grade. PLEASE talk to your child about this...I want them to use feedback to improve...that to me is good learning! :-)

Following PE, lunch and recess, the class will spend a good amount of time creating thank you cards for the businesses they visited yesterday. Some will even create a thank you card for,Washington Wizard, Gilbert Arenas as he has donated $1,000 of his personal money to our school.

Then the students will go to the media center for a book exchange.

As always, I appreciate all feedback from you (or the children!).

Monday, November 5, 2007

Starting anew...

In math today, we began unit 2. Right now our focus is linear measurement...primarily inches, feet, yards and miles. In class, the children used string and a ruler to measure curved lines. The curved lines presented some challenges that instigated some frustration but the children got plenty of practice using a ruler to measure. For homework, there is a worksheet, children will be deciding which unit of measurement would be best for the objects that are pictured.

Our primary focus in reading and writing this marking period will be "to inform"...reading and writing non-fiction. During reading, students used their Time for Kids, and in their reading logs, identified two text features (think, pictures, captions, bold faced print, maps, diagrams, etc.) and explained HOW these text features aided their comprehension. Then the students searched for more /oe/ words.

The Flash group met with me and we identified text features and discussed how they were helpful. Then I met with the JGB group and I read their next story, Little Daughter of the Snow, a Russian folktale, to them.

For homework, JGB need to reread the story, ROY needs to read chapter 7 of Amber Brown and FLASH needs to read for 15 choice!

Following art, lunch and recess the children will list topics they know a lot of facts about and start practicing writing to inform. Then they will watch part 4 of the Econ and Me series. This part deals with using resources to produce goods and services...this will definitely help us prepare for our walking field trip of Damascus tomorrow!

Friday, November 2, 2007

And it is November!?!?!

Hard to believe it is November already! Time flies when you are enjoying it! :-)

In math today we took the unit 2 preassessment. Prior to actually doing the pencil/paper task, we reviewed linear measurement and area and perimeter. I spent time explaining to the children that the preassessment is used to plan for instruction and is not graded. I told them that I needed to find out what they already know and what they don't know BEFORE I begin my instruction. Nevertheless, many students were uncomfortable since they didn't "know" the material. On Monday we will begin instruction on unit 2...some students will be switching math classes...many will remain where the already are placed.

In reading we identified verbs in the morning message. Then we identified text features in our Time for Kids. After that we began discussing HOW the text features help us understand the text. We began with a discussion on the importance of the date.

Prior to music, lunch and recess, we also voted on the Star Students for the month. There was a tie...Andy and Anna were voted the most responsible students and I couldn't agree more! Congratulations to both!

Following recess, the students will write thank you letters to the Rotary Club for the dictionaries they received on Tuesday. They will turn these letters into cards. Then they will continue with segment 3 in Econ and Me...they will learn about Consumption.

Our field trip is Tuesday, November 6. If you said you could chaperone, we'd love to have you!!

Blog Archive