Friday, December 21, 2007


In math we took Quiz #2 for Unit 3. Overall, the children did exceptionally well!!! Then in reading we took our prefix spelling test...please look over your child's test...we had a few with "issues". :-( But, again, most children did very well! Then we read and discussed the final issue of Time for Kids for 2007. It was a "Year in Review" issue and I handed out gifts to the children.

Next, the class went to music and a holiday band concert performed by the Damascus HS band. Then they will go to lunch and recess.

Following recess, Mrs. Kriz will sub for me...I will be attending my son's holiday party. The children will work on two holiday crafts and then go to an All-School Sing Along...

Have a wonderful break...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One more day...

First...a stocking stuffer many of the children don't have pencils...UGH!

In math, we worked on comparison multiplication and multiplying two digit numbers by 1 digit numbers. Tomorrow we will have a quiz...use last week's quiz to study for it. The quiz will be VERY similar with the addition of two division problems! PLEASE make sure your child is using their multiplication flashcards to memorize the basic facts!!

In reading we wrapped up our current stories/books with discussions. We also reviewed suffixes and compound words. Tomorrow is our prefix spelling test!

Following lunch and recess, we will visit the computer lab. We will open our saved card from last week, make changes to it and print it! When we return to class we will continue reading about Washington, DC. By the way, as we read the nonfiction article we are also identifying and highlighting the main idea in many of the paragraphs...multitasking at its finest!! :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grandparent's Day

We had a lot of visitor's today...I sure hope they enjoyed themselves!!

During math, we took a formative. The children did exceptionally well on the first two pages. I am so excited for can see their confidence and enthusiasm grow! The third page of the formative covered fourth grade objectives that have NOT been taught in class. I was curious to see how they would do on this page...that is the reason I gave it to them. I was impressed with their attempts at solving the problems.

There will be a quiz on Friday but there will NOT be any fourth grade objectives on the quiz. No homework was given tonight but I did suggest that the children practice their multiplication flashcards.

During reading, we reviewed compound words and words with suffixes. The we read a book about Family Trees. After that, the children were given family trees to complete. This was meant as a fun activity and did not need to be completed.

Following PE, lunch and recess, the children were able to choose to work on their family trees or their informative writing pieces. Then Mrs. Howard came in to teach a lesson about self discipline.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Working hard...

The children continue to work hard and make progress...

During math, the children practiced solving division problems. Based on an "exit card", I worked with a small group to draw pictures to help solve the problems. Then I worked with a few students on 4th grade objectives...these included identifying multiples and factors of a given number and completing a function table. For homework, the children have to finish division worksheets and PRACTICE their FLASHCARDS!!!!

At the start of the reading block we review suffixes and compound words. Then the children worked on reading group assignments and the independent work from yesterday.

I met with the FLASH group to begin reading a new book. Then those students met individually with Mrs. Issacs to practice their flashcards and reread the book.

I also met with the Junie B. Jones group. We discussed the summaries of chapter 5 and I modeled writing one, as well. Then we read and discussed chapter 6.

I also met with the Fisherman group. I gave them the discussion question for our shared inquiry discussion and they began to write their initial response.

Following reading, the children enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess.

When they return to class, they will write to inform on a topic of their choice and we will continue reading about Washington, DC...if they work as hard as they did this morning, I am planning to show a Magic School Bus holiday video...but that is a surprise! Shhhhhhhhh...

A note about Grandparent's Day...I am trying to picture my own parents visiting my son's school and I firmly believe they would want to watch "typical instruction"...therefore, I am planning to give a math formative (remember, the children grade their own work) and keep our schedule as close to normal as possible...with the addition of a family tree activity...hope this doesn't disappoint any grandparents!

Monday, December 17, 2007

And the countdown begins...

There is excitement in the air as students prepare for Winter Break...This is definitely a fun time of year...especially when the Redskins pull out two consecutive victories! :-)

Today, in math, we worked on using different strategies to solve division problems. There is a multiplication worksheet for homework. Also, make sure your child is practicing their flashcards EVERY night...they need to memorize the basic multiplication facts.

Good news, bad news...bad news was our art class was cancelled today ...the good news? We had extra time for reading instruction...

We began by reading and discussing an issue of Time for Kids. The students had two pieces of independent work that EVERYONE is responsible for completing this week...a prefix worksheet and a follow up for the Time for kids.

The Junie B. Jones group reread chapter 5 and wrote a summary of the chapter in their reading logs. These were MUCH improved from lat week...YEY!

The Flash group reread their Ships book and answered three comprehension questions in their reading logs.

The Fisherman JGB group discussed their directed notes. They also worked on answering a comprehension question, in their packet, using the post-it notes from their directed reading.

The Ugly Duckling group reread the story using post-it notes to mark places where the ducking was sad or scared (these were marked with an "s") and when the duckling was being treated in a mean way (these were marked with an "m").

Following lunch and recess, we reviewed the organization of writing to inform...primarily we discussed that every piece needs a beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the topic and has big ideas...this can be done by stating a generalization, introducing an interesting fact or posing a question. The middle includes all of the details. I told the children this is the place to show off their knowledge! Finally, the ending needs to wrap up the piece, let the reader know it is over...

We ended our day at the media center. Mrs. Rose read Snowflake Bentley to the class. Then they created snowflakes and got to shop for new books.

BTW...I changed the desks around AGAIN...I hated the rows that I had created last week!

Spelling is due Friday...make sure your child continues ton read for 15 minutes EVERY night!

Grandparents Day is Wednesday!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Here's the problem with productive weeks...the truly tire you out! We've had a great week but I think we are all ready for the weekend! :-)

In math, the students took a quiz covering I had anticipated (and hoped) they did VERY well! Following the quiz, we began discussing division.

We spent the majority of our reading block working on reading group assignments and independent work. I was able to meet with three out of four groups!

The JGB group who is beginning The Ugly Duckling, shared their text opener activity and listened as I read the story to them. Then they reread the story on their own.

The Fisherman JGB group reread the story with directed notes. They marked (using sticky notes) places with an F where the fisherman was unkind to Alice. They also marked places where Alice was mean to the fisherman with an A.

Finally, the Junie B. Jones group met with me and watched as I modeled how to write a summary of chapter 4. They had been given this as an assignment earlier in the week but their answers were very we reviewed the aspects of a good summary and I modeled how to write a good summary. Then we reread chapter 5 as a group. Next week they will attempt to write a summary of chapter 5.

Following lunch and recess, we reviewed a worksheet about the Damascus High School State Championship victory. They had to read the article and answers questions. We spent time going over this in-depth, as the class struggled while trying to complete this activity independently.

Finally, we watched a video about Washington, DC.

Have a great weekend...I hope we don't get snow...I have LOTS to do! :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gotta love those productive days!!

We are just humming along today...

In math we tackled, and I do mean tackled, multiplication word problems. The children are really demonstrating understanding of multiplication...I am so excited to see their quizzes tomorrow...and by the way, there will be a quiz covering multiplication tomorrow. Tonight the children need to complete a fact family worksheet and practice their multiplication basic fact cards.

Moving on to reading...lots got done...we compiled a list of words with un- and re-prefixes. The children chose new spelling words and worked independently while I met with small groups and Mrs. Bonvillain worked one-on-one with others.

Both JGB groups began new stories. One group completed their text opener (think of it as a brain warm up for a story) and listened to a first reading of the new story. This group needs to reread the "Fisherman" story for homework tonight.

The other group began their text opener. We will share these tomorrow and do a first reading of the story (The Ugly Ducking). They need to read for 15 minutes tonight but it is free choice.

The Junie B Jones group met with me and almost finished rereading (an re- word!!) chapter 4...tomorrow we will write a summary of chapter 4 TOGETHER and then they will write a summary of chapter 5 on their own. Tonight, this group needs to read chapter 5.

Finally, the FLASH group began a new book today. They need to reread this tonight. They will work on comprehension questions tomorrow.

Following lunch and indoor recess, we visited the computer lab...we began making holiday cards using a new software package (Microsoft Publisher) and saved them to our desktop. Next week they will finish and print the cards.

Mrs. Howard ended the day by doing a Stop and Think lesson with us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hump Day

As a favor for Mrs. Thompson, we switched our music class from Friday to today for this week only! So, after math, the children went from music to PE to lunch and then to recess. I am sure they viewed it as a "fun day"!

During math we took a formative and then reviewed it as a class. I was very pleased with the results and am anxiously looking forward to our quiz on Friday. There is a worksheet for homework but PLEASE make sure the children are working on memorizing the basic multiplication facts.

Following lunch, we will review plural vs. possessive nouns and then the children will spend some time writing to inform. Then we will read an article about Washington DC.

For homework the children must read for at least 15 minutes. Also, many students need to redo their writing assignment from last night. :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quick Update

Gotta take Michael to the this will be quick and to the point...

In math we went over multiplication and division fact families...I was so pleased with their understanding of this concept! There is a fact family worksheet for homework and please practice those basic fact flashcards!

Reading...both JGB groups had their shared inquiry discussions today...they also completed their packets and will start a new story this week. Some children worked one-on-one with Mrs. Isaacs. All children worked on cursive (capital M, N and W), a reading activity about the Damascus Football game last Thursday (thanks Mr. Alexander) and a prefix worksheet.

Following lunch and recess, the children will review possessive nouns, write to inform and work with an Atlas. There will be a writing worksheet for homework.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, Monday

Only two more weeks until Xmas Break and you can feel the excitement growing in the classroom! We are still plugging away, though...

In math, we had a lengthy discussion about how to use the multiplication flashcards to memorize the basic's the gist:

First, begin buy focusing on a small portion. Leave the rest to the side until you have gotten the first batch under control. Then, go through them for 5-10 minutes EVERY day. The ones that are known by rote memory should be removed from the pile. As the pile gets smaller, add more cards from the original group.

Hopefully, this explanation makes sense. I did "model" what it should look like in class.

Following the flashcard discussion, we watched a United Streaming clip about multiplication. Then we practiced skip counting by 6's and worked on a worksheet. Students did not have a chance to finish the worksheet in class, so that is their homework. Also, they are expected to practice their flashcards.

Following math, we used the morning message to identify nouns and adjectives. Then we read part of a non fiction text on the Desert Region. Finally, we began our new spelling unit...words with the prefixes un- and re-. The children are having some difficulty understanding that "un" and "re" are only prefixes if they are at the beginning of a root (or base) word. We will work more on this tomorrow.

After art, lunch and recess (outdoor!) we will visit the media center for a book exchange. I am also hoping to begin a writing lesson talking about plurals vs. possessive nouns. I am seeing a need for instruction based on their writing samples! Then we will go to the DES Holiday concert, where the band and the chorus will be performing for us.

For homework, students will need to locate 10 words in magazines or the newspaper with the prefix un or re and glue it in their spelling journal or on a piece of paper! They should also be reading for at least 15 minutes!

One more thing...graded writing pieces are coming home TODAY!!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Multiplication Flashcards!

This morning, my math class began making multiplication flashcards. They used a calculator to find the products (answer to a multiplication sentence). Most children did not finish. I would really appreciate it if the students could finish these over the weekend. On Monday, I plan to review with the children a good technique to use with the flashcards in order to memorize the basic facts.

Following math the students took their spelling tests and worked on any unfinished work for the week.

Then the class went to music, lunch and recess.

After lunch we will read a book called Cows as a model of good organization in a nonfiction text. Then the students will get a chance to practice what we have learned as they write to inform in their writer's notebooks.

We will end the day by discussing the desert region and watching a video about it on United Streaming.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Two Hour Delay

Our first two hour delay...but we still got some learning done!! :-)

We began the day with math. We used arrays to write and solve multiplication number sentences. There is a worksheet for homework. I also HIGHLY recommend using the math links to begin memorizing the basic multiplication facts. We will begin making flashcards in class tomorrow.

Following math, it was time for lunch. After lunch we continued reading Wreck of the Ethie. Then we went to the computer lab.

In the computer lab, we investigated using spell check. We discussed the fact that spell check will not recognize every word (blog, for example) and that if you type the wrong spelling of a word (hour for our) the computer will not recognize that you made a mistake. After that mini-lesson, the children had "free choice" time on the computer. They were able to use Microsoft Word, Paint, visit our blog or go to many math resource links that are available.

When we return to the classroom the children will get some time to write to inform about a topic and then we will visit the 5th grade Structure exhibit.

Please remember that spelling homework is due tomorrow and we will take a spelling test.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Unit 3 Begins!

In math we began unit 3 - Multiplication and Division. We did a quick preview...well, it was about 40 minutes but I covered A LOT. The students took notes in their math journals. Following the preview, we took the pre-assessment to see what the children already know. Mr. Vogel and I will use the pre-assessment to determine the grouping of students and plan for appropriate instruction that meets the needs of our students. There is no math homework tonight but I encourage students to use the links from the blog to access a math website and begin memorizing the basic multiplication facts.

During reading, I met with the Junie B. Jones group. We read and discussed chapter 3. The rest of the class worked on independent work from their own reading groups, a follow up worksheet from Time for Kids and a compound word worksheet.

Then the class went to PE, lunch and recess.

After recess as a class we will edit another authentic piece of student writing and then the children will have time to write independently. I will also give the students a chance to share their writing with the class by reading it out loud.

Finally, we will review urban, suburban and rural regions. If there is time we will begin discussing the characteristics of a desert region.

One more light night of homework...make sure they read for 15 minutes and work on spelling...that's it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Grading Tuesday

Boy...I have my work cut out for me...we had a unit assessment and a graded writing piece today...LOTS of grading awaits me! :-)

Check out the new poll on the left hand side of the blog...please participate!

In math we completed the unit 2 assessment. Overall, the children did well. Tomorrow we will begin unit 3 with a quick review and a pre-assessment. If need be, Mr. Vogel and I will exchange students who would best fit in a different math class.

We began reading by talking about the elements of a good summary. These included:
  • stating the main idea
  • brief and to the point (concise)
  • reflects only what is in the speculation or adding your own opinion
  • in a logical order
  • in your own words

Then I used the graphic organize from the TFK in order to model writing a summary.

Then the school nurse visited to do a lesson on appropriate hand washing techniques.

After that, the students worked independently while I met with small groups and Mrs. Isaacs worked one-on-one with students.

The original JGB group met with me and we shared places that the students had marked where Miobi learned about being brave. We discussed these excerpts and the embedded inferences.

The newly added JGB group met with me and learned about directed notes. This is when the students reread a story and mark areas according to a purpose set forth by the teacher. For example, today they reread Master Cat and marked places with an "s" when something in the story surprised them and marked places with an "f" when they thought something was funny. We will use these marking to aid our comprehension and discussions.

Following lunch and indoor recess, the students worked independently on their first graded Writing to Inform piece. Then we discussed the meaning of the word region (as it pertains to Social Studies).

Tonight for homework, make sure your child reads for 15 choice, and that they are working on their spelling assignments...test is THIS Friday!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lesson to Learn

I have been thinking about this blog posting since Friday afternoon. A very upsetting event took place during dismissal. A student made a very unkind comment to another student regarding their personal appearance. It was one of those comments that has the potential to resonate for years to come...

Who said it and what the comment was isn't that relevant...what IS important is that a student hurt another's feelings intentionally. Yes, kids will be kids...yes, some of us (maybe even all of us) have done unkind things on purpose BUT as adults it is our job to teach our children right from wrong.

PLEASE take this opportunity to talk to you child about being kind to is important...EVERYONE counts!

On different note, in math today we completed a review packet for the unit 2 assessment. The entire third grade will take the assessment tomorrow. During reading we completed the graphic organizer that we started on Friday. Tomorrow, while I meet with reading groups, the children will use the graphic organizer to write a summary in their reading logs.

Following art, lunch and recess we will write another informational piece. Then we will read The Little House and examine how transportation affects the development of cities.

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