Friday, February 29, 2008


In math we reviewed concepts that will be covered on the Unit 4 Assessment which will be given on Tuesday. Independently, students constructed polygons and circles given specific measurements. They also identified solid figures by name and counted the number of faces, edges and vertices. I met with two small groups. Both of these groups worked on using cubes to construct rectangular prisms and then calculated the volume of the prisms using the formula, length x width, height. They then checked their calculations by counting the cubes they used to construct the figure.

During reading, I gave the children some much needed "catch up" time. They finished their thank you notes to Dr. Thabet and worked on answering BCR's for their reading groups.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess we will finally begin reading the historical fiction novel, F is for Freedom. Then I will introduce the William and Mary "hamburger" organizer for persuasive writing to the entire class. They will build their understanding of this concept by taking a scrambled paragraph and rearranging it to make a well structured persuasive paragraph. Finally, we will end our day by changing the pitch of our 4 string harps. Remember those?!?!?! It has been a long while since we made them!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Dress Rehearsal

This morning we began our day with an MSA practice session that was a dress rehearsal. Students moved their desks apart, accommodations were given to those who require them and the atmosphere reflected a true testing situation. I am so proud to say that the children did a GREAT job! They took it seriously, tried their best and many scored very well. We did go over the correct answers (and how to figure them out) as a class. I also gave each paper a percentage score. PLEASE go over the papers with your child and ask them what they learned.

Following the MSA practice we began compiling a list of -ue words and placing them in groups according to their sound. I am hoping we will finish our spelling lesson this afternoon, after the computer lab...check your child's planner.

We did have math right before lunch. My math class reviewed slides, flips and turns. They also practiced creating solid shapes using cubes. Our assessment will be Tuesday morning. There is a worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and indoor recess, we will visit the computer lab. I will introduce the children to Power Point. Then, as I said earlier, my plan is to finish our spelling and for the children to pick new words.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Early Dismissal Day

The substitute from yesterday afternoon left me a list of 7 students who were excessively disruptive. I wish I could say this was surprise but our days have been challenging lately...students not focusing on the task at hand, not completing work and lots of talking. I'd like to chalk this up to "cabin fever" but I would appreciate it if you would remind your child how important it is to remain focused in school.

On that note, Miss Jones stopped by this afternoon to relay a similar message. She talked to the children about school being their number one job.

During math we did two different MSA preparation activities. One was a BCR and the other was multiple choice. For homework the children need to complete the backside of the multiple choice worksheet.

During reading the children worked on reading group assignments.

SP&T reread chapter 4 with Mrs. Benson. Then they began working on a BCR in their reading log.

W&M chose a word from the story Shells and completed a vocab web on it. We have done vocab webs in our group. Then they did one with a partner. This time they were expected to complete the web independently.

JGB met with me and we continued reading and discussing the Little Humpbacked Horse. Did I mention it was a long story? We still did not complete it!!!!

Homework for the entire homeroom is to locate 10 -ue words and write them in their spelling journal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dental Health Month

February is Dental Health Month. So, today the entire third grade was treated to a visit from a dentist. He showed a video and discussed proper care of our teeth!

Prior to our visit with the dentist, we had a shortened math. We reviewed pieces of the quiz from Monday that provided challenges for many of the students. There is a worksheet for homework.

Following the visit with the dentist we had our reading/language arts block. We began by reading June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner. We will be using this book as we begin to explore figurative language (alliteration, personification, similes, metaphors, etc.). Today we just listened and enjoyed the story.

Then the students worked independently while I met with JGB. Most students wrote a thank you letter to our guest dentist, Dr. Thabet.

JGB did a text opener with me...we discussed the saying, "It takes a fool to find a treasure." We talked about how being too smart can sometimes hold you back because you might think you "know it all" or you might not ask enough questions. Then we began reading The Little Humpbacked Horse, a Russian folktale. We will finish our first reading of this is a LLOOONNNNGGGGGG story!

SPT read chapter 4 independently or with a partner. PLEASE make sure your children have their books with them EVERYDAY!

Following lunch and indoor recess, the children will be in the hands of a substitute. I have to take Jason, my baby, to get 3 shots!

The children will read and discuss a story about Gail Devers. The focus of the discussion will include, non-fiction text features, Black History Month and cause/effect. Then the children will write sentences adding a cause where there is an effect and vice versa. Look for a cause/effect paper for homework tonight!

Finally, the day will conclude with Mrs. Howard, the counselor, doing a lesson about courage with the students.

Remember that tomorrow is an early dismissal day (for the students)!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ups and Downs

Perfect title for our day...some GREAT moments and then some not-so-great...

Beginning with math, we took our quiz and almost everyone did very well. Right now, my lowest grade in math (the average) is a C...I think that is pretty terrific...the students are working hard, asking good questions and learning a lot! The quizzes are graded and coming home today. We will take the assessment later this week. There is a practice worksheet for homework.

During reading we identified verbs in the morning message, since many children are struggling with identifying the predicate in a sentence. The simple predicate is the main verb in the sentence. I am wondering if identifying verbs might be part of the struggle.

After that, we took our spelling test. Then we spent a little time reviewing fact and opinion before heading off to art.

Following art, lunch and recess (today was Jump Rope for Heart, by the way) we discussed the literary genre of historical of literature that are not true but the setting and the story itself are based on historical facts.

I introduced the novel F is for Freedom and told them that the story is set during slavery and that the Underground Railroad plays an important role in this book. To increase our background knowledge on this time period (and in honor of Black History Month) we watched a United Streaming Clip that discussed slavery and the Underground was very interesting and we had GREAT discussion during the video.

Following the video (and discussions) we had run out of time and were not able to begin the novel. We will begin reading it aloud later in the week.

We did a practice BCR in preparation for the MSA. Students read a piece of text and answered an essay question....this is where frustration (for me) set in. Since the students were aware that this was a "practice" session, I had many capable students not completing their work...very frustrating!

Finally, we went to the media center for book shopping.

For homework the students were told to bring their reading log home and to write 2 facts and 2 opinions about slavery in it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Honesty is the best policy! yesterday I said I didn't want snow...and truly, I am in a "teaching" groove, so I do not want to miss time with the students. But, when my alarm went off at 5:20 this morning, I was kind of hoping for a delay, so I could roll over and go back to sleep! So, in short, I wouldn't mind getting to sleep in, I just don't want to miss entire days! :-) Yes, I am high maintenance!

In math, the children worked independently on a review of lines while I pulled small groups to construct circles with a specific radius (such as 2 cm) and a polygon with specified lengths for its sides. There is a worksheet for homework and we will have a quiz tomorrow. If we don't have math tomorrow, the quiz will be on Monday!

Reading went well, again, today. I was able to meet with all three groups! WooHoo! While I met with groups, the children worked on practice buddy checks, a subject/predicate paper and a cursive handwriting worksheet. Some also had follow up work from their reading groups.

W&M: Met with me to complete the voacb web we started yesterday. Then, in small groups, they completed a new vocab web (independently with their group) using a word I provided from their readings.

JGB: Met with me and participated in an inquiry discussion for their story. They also copleted their packet and turned it into me.

SPT: Reread chapter 3 and answered BCR's in their reading journals. Then we met as a group to re-reread chapter 3 and discuss it.

Following lunch and indoor recess, we will visit the computer lab. Yesterday they chose current event issues that they will write to persuade about (I know, wordy sentence but you understand, right?!?!). They got ideas for their topics from the homework assignment given on Tuesday. In the computer lab, they will have a chance to gather information to support their chosen side of the topic.

After the computer lab, we will attend a band concert given by the DES 4th graders.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I can't believe I am going to say this...but I am hoping the current forecast doesn't effect our school schedule...I am just getting back into the groove of things and don't really want the disruption to my routine... (Did I really just write that!?!?!)

We began math with a warm up and then took notes on the symbols for writing a point, a line segment, a ray, a line and an angle. This was new and is an above grade level objective. Then we took a formative...the formative did have some of the symbols on it...I told the class that I felt that seeing it on the formative would help them understand how it would look on a quiz or test...and, therefore, further help their understanding. So, if your child struggled with the last two pages, PLEASE do not make them feel badly! :-)

For homework the children should review the formative with an do this go over each problem, one at a time, explaining how to solve it...praise them for their efforts and point out anything new they learned!

During reading we reviewed subjects and predicates. Then the students worked on individual reading group assignments.

W&M: Met with me...we began a vocabulary web using the word shepherd.

JGB: Worked independently on an interpreting words activity...using new vocabulary from their story.

SP&T: Read chapter 3.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess, we will share our headlines that were brought in for homework and discuss the fact that many "news" stories have more than one side. We will then use the headlines to plan a writing to persuade piece.

If time allows, we will watch a United Streaming video clip in honor of Black History Month.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ahhhhhhhhhhh...back to routine!

It is so good to be back at work...back to a routine and feeling healthy! I hope those families in "blog land" who have been battling viruses and illnesses are feeling better, as well!

I have graded the math quiz from Friday. They should be coming home today. We will have a formative tomorrow and a quiz on Friday.

Today we learned about the radius and the diameter or a circle. We also used a compass to draw circles. Most children have to finish their classwork for homework. There is also an additional polygon worksheet for homework.

During reading I met with all three reading groups AND met with a small group of children to review subjects and predicates...boy, that felt so productive!

To begin...we learned ( or reviewed) that a subject tells who or what a sentence is about. The predicate tells what the subject is doing (the verb) and is the rest of the sentence. They had a worksheet to complete, in class, for practice. We also learned the cursive capital F and capital T.

W&M: Reviewed the changes that took place in Shells (the story we read by Cynthia Rylant) and completed part of a change matrix in our W&M folder. Then the students worked on a prompt in their W&M journal.

JGB: We discussed the various places in our story where Miobi learned about being brave. Then the students used their knowledge to answer an interpretive question.

SP&T: We read and discussed chapter 2 out loud. Then the students responded to a BCR in their reading log...they had to explain why Sarah included in her letter that she likes to sing.

Following lunch and recess, the children shared morning work journal entires. Then we switched jobs.

Finally, we created multi string instruments to produce sound.

For homework: To prepare for our awriting lesson tomorrow, students should cut out 1-2 magazine or newspaper headlines (current) that involve "issues" (causes) that concern them. We will use this for persuassive writing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Well, the flu bug hit the Holman household this week in a big, bad way! Therefore, I was not in school yesterday. Unfortunately, I had already planned to be out tomorrow...I will be attending my son's class party at noon and then we both have dental appointments.

However, today we took and reviewed a formative in math. Tonight they should review the formative with an adult, in preparation for a math quiz tomorrow.

During reading, we searched for -oy words and compiled a class list. Then the students chose their own words for their personal spelling list. There will be a spelling test NEXT Friday, February 22 and spelling homework is due, then, too!

Tomorrow, the class will read and discuss an issue of Time for Kids. Then, they will complete a copmprehension worksheet. Additionally, they will work on a test prep packet...they will initially work independently, then review the correct answers with the substitute, who is a former MCPS teacher.

Next week we will get back on track with reading groups...

Again, I feel guilty about the disruptions this week but I do feel that the children are still getting good instruction that helps them get smarter each day. I do welcome your comments, questions and/or concerns either posted on the blog or e-mailed to my school e-mail at

Also, book orders are due Tuesday, February 19 and there is no school on Monday, February 18!

Thanks to all of the parents who worked so hard to make our Valentine's Day party so much fun!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Primary Monday

Don't forget...there is no school tomorrow due to Primary Election Day!

In math we discussed the movement of shapes; slides, flips and turns. There is one side of a two-sided worksheet for homework tonight. The students learned these new terms pretty quickly so we did a practice exercise for MSA. These practice exercises are beneficial for gives me, as a teacher, an idea of the children's "weaker areas" so that I can plan appropriate lessons AND it builds the children's confidence level...they seem so excited by how much they already know!

During reading we began another whole group William and Mary activity. We read Shells by Cynthia Rylant and focused on interpretation of literature through the use of literature webs. Bascially, after reading the story, we discussed important key words, feelings, images and symbols, and ideas that came to mind as we read the story. We charted these on a web and discussed how this helped us interperet and comprehend the story.

Following art, lunch and recess, we continued working on our literature web and worked on reading group assignments. The William and Mary group set up their W&M folders, completed a change web and discussed "coming out of a shell" as it related to the story we read. The SP&T group reread chapter 1 and answered BCR's in their reading response journals. The JGB group reread Monsters and used sticky notes to mark places where Miobi learned to be brave.

Then we went to the media center for a book exchange.

For homework:
Everyone needs to find 10 words that have -oy in them and list them in their spelling journal. We will share these words on wednesday.

JGB - Reread Monster
SP&T - complete BCR's in reading response journal
W&M - complete journal entry telling about a time they came out of their shell

Also, new book orders were sent home today. If you choose to order, please return the order form and a check (payable to Scholastic Books) ASAP but no later than next Tuesday, February 19.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Thank you for all of the positive and supportive e-mails regarding our collection of candy and DVD's for our troops stationed oveseas. You can send in donations on Monday, too!

Our class picture will be taken Monday around 11:15.

On to the daily update...

In math we took our first quiz for unit 1. It was short, so I quickly graded it and passed it back so that we could review it as a class.

We began reading with our spelling tests. Then we discussed child labor laws and went over some vocabulary...both were "tie-ins" to this week's Time for Kids. Before heading off to music, the students had some time to do a first reading of the issue.

Following music, lunch and recess, the class will reread the TFK and complete a worksheet. Then Mrs. Jeyasunder, a para educator on our staff, will speak to the entire third grade about her experiences and knowledge of India. Then we will all head to the media center so that the two classes can share their travel brochures with eachother.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another Good Deed

Hopefully, you remember reading or hearing about our children making cards for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. Well, my neighbor who delivered the cards said that the children's cards brought tears to the soldiers eyes...they were THAT touched!

This same nieghbor is getting together a care package to send to our troops who are stationed overseas. The children had been asking if they could make more cards. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped right on it! I got even more excited when I realized we could incorporate the computer skills we have gained by creating cards using Microsoft that is what the children did!

If any of you are interested, we would also like to send bags of lollipops, hard candies and DVD's (my neighbor suggested this). I will collect any bags of candy (that won't chocolate is a no-no) and DVD's, and bring them over, with the cards, to my neighbor's house on Monday evening. Thanks, in advance, for any and all participation. to our daily math we review symmetry and intrduced congruent figures. Please take time to review the voacbulary packet that your children received earlier in the week...students who struggle with this unit, usually struggle because of the large amount of new vocabulary! There is a worksheet for homework and there will be a quiz tomorrow.

During reading, the students took their ideas of "things that change" and put them into groups. They then created charts and shared these charts with the class. Following the sharing of the charts we had a discuss about change and came up with some genrealizations about change, such as, change is everywhere, some change is positive and some is negative, some change is natural and other requires the involvement of people, etc.

Following lunch and recess, we went to the computer lab to create our cards.

Please keep in mind that we will have a math quiz AND a spelling test tomorrow. Also, spelling homework is due tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wacky Wednesday hasn't been wacky but it sounds like a good title, doesn't it?!?!

In math, we took the first formative for unit 4. Overall, the children did quite well! For homework, they are expected to review the formative with an adult. They should explain how they got their answers right and also explain how to correctly solve any problems they did not get right.

During reading, we got into small groups and began brainstorming things that change. We will continue this tomorrow. It is the first whole group lesson for the portion of the William and Mary program that will be done with the entire class. There is also a small group who will do the entire program.

Following PE, lunch and recess, we began to learn about adding voice (personlality) to our writing. We began reading a book about Pigs. Then I modeled taking a common object, a crayon, and using voice to make it interesting to read about. Following my modeled writing, the children went back to their seats to practice writing about an object using voice. Many students were quite successsful...there was much giggling when we got a chance to share our writing with the class.

Finally, Ms. Jones stopped by to read two stories to the class.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Foggy Tuesday

In math today, we spent a great deal of time taking notes on vocabulary specific to Geometry. The children took notes in their math journals, then they received packets, to be kept in the math section of their notebooks, for reference at home. Finally, Mrs. Starkey led the children in geo-aerobics where they practiced modeling the new vocabulary using their bodies. Ask your child to share their geo-aerobics and their vocab packets with you. There is a math worksheet for homework!

During reading, we reread The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant. We discussed how the mood changed during the course of the story and identified examples that indicated a change in the mood. We also identified the point of view. Then the students had a follow up worksheet to complete.

While they worked on their worksheet, I met with reading groups. W&M discussed their reading selection from yesterday and completed a writing preassessment. JGB listened as I did a first reading of theMonster Who Grew Smaller. Finally, Sarah, Plain and Tall met with me to discuss chapter one and I was going to assign a written follow up, but we ran out of time...oh well, it will be there for them tomorrow! :-)

Following lunch and recess, the children shared entries from their morning work journals. Then I assigned a reading comprehension worksheet for homework. Finally, we got to a new science experiment...the students have been asking about science for days!

In science, we created a one string instrument, with a soundboard, and experimented with adjusting the tension of the string to change the pitch...kind of cool!

Note: I rarely reread my posts, as time is a limited resource...recently I have experienced spell check, you all have been quite kind and not corrected my grammar...please be aware that the spelling might have issues, too...all of this is more closely related to my typing abilities (or lack there of) and my limited time then to my knowledge (or at least I hope so)!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Giant Monday

Couldn't help borrowing from the ingenious press headlines...

In math we constructed more solid figures and identified the number of faces, edges and verticies of each. There is a worksheet for homework...and on page 133 in your child's planner there is some information about solids that you might find helpful!

In reading we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...another of my favorites. We discussed mood and point of view using this book. The entire class had a follow up worksheet reagarding our discussions. I left our notes on the board for them to use as they completed their responses. Unfortunately, many of the papers were not "up to par". PLEASE remember that students are encouraged to redo work to improve both their understanding and their grade!

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess, we continued working on independent work (from above) while I met with new reading groups.

The JGB group did a text opener in which we discussed fears wwe might have if we wre to travel on a train for a long distance by ourselves. This will prepare us for the story we will read tomorrow.

The Willima and Mary (WM) group met with me and I shared a very brief overview of the prgram. Then they did a preassessment. They read a short piece of text and responded to a few questions. We will use this to show growth at the end of the program.

Finally, I met with my novel group. They are reading Sarah PLain and Tall a historical fiction novel. Tonight they need to reread chapter one. Tomorrow we will discuss the mood and point of view of this chapter.

We ended the day with a trip to the media center for a book exchange.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Longest "short day" Ever I have missed TWO blogs in one's killing me...yesterday we had a two hour basically the children came into school and after doing their morning routine went directly to music and then to lunch.

During this time, I was in a two hour meeting that had begun at 10 am. This is a meeting we hold each year, halfway through the school year, where we sit down with specialists in the school and the principal to discuss each child. We went through both third grade classes and spent time talking about each and every child. It is a worthwhile process...we talk about strengths and weaknesses, as well as what we can do to help every child (no matter their ability; high or low) grow smarter...we also assess our own instruction and talk about what is working and what needs to be tweaked.

Needless to say, you come out of that meeting feeling pumped to move the children ahead but extremely exhausted!!

After picking the class up from lunch, we read and discussed an issue of Time for Kids. Then I set a timer and made them reread the magazine for 5 minutes BEFORE I would hand out the follow up worksheet...I feel like this forced them into rereading, which is something children dread...didn't you dread it at their age?!?!! But even after I handed out the worksheet, I saw the kids continue to flip back and forth, rereading portions of the Time for Kids...this made my is EXACTLY what I am hoping to instill in them! And, needless to say, their grades on the worksheet, overall, were much better than earlier in the week!

After that, the children went to Mr. Vogel's room to watch a video about sound.

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