Monday, March 31, 2008

Off and running...

I hope everyone enjoyed the break from school. While it is nice to be back, I did have a wonderful time hanging out with my children. :-)

MSA testing begins TOMORROW!!!! We will have reading THIS Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. NEXT Tuesday and Wednesday mornings we will do the math section of the MSA.

Homework will be VERY MINIMAL, if at all, for the next two weeks BUT, I am telling the children that it is homework to go to bed ON TIME, if not early, and to eat GOOD dinners and breakfasts. If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail me!

This morning, in math, we reviewed equivalent fractions and perimeter and area. Following that, we did a formal lesson on using a handheld calculator. Finally, we ended the math block by talking about comparing fractions. Specifically, we compared 1/2 to 1/4 and discussed WHY 1/2 is greater than 1/4.

After math, Mrs. Howard did a test taking lesson with both third grade classes. Then it was off to art, lunch and indoor recess.

Following recess, we will share our morning work journals entries (to tell about our Spring Breaks) and we will finish sharing the instruments from our sound projects. Then we will begin a new social studies unit by discussing memories from our childhood. We will end the day with a book exchange in the media center.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sound Projects

WOW! I am in awe...our chuildren created AWESOME instruments and their presentations clearly showed how much they one student said to another, "I am impressed!"

In Like a Lion?

Happy 1st day of spring!!! What a treat 40 degree weather and high winds...LOL!

I added...more like pilfered from Mr. Vogel's blog...a new math website, to the right....check it out, especially over break. Apparently, there are some good fraction activities. With this website, as with most websites, you should always check out the grades above (or below) to find the "right" activities to strengthen or challenge your knowledge.

Due to "mommy" challenges, I will be beginning my Spring Break at 1:00 today...many thanks to my own mom for leaving my daddy home sick and watching my boys, so I could see the sound projects...I didn't want to miss those...AT ALL!!!

Check back, I will most likely update after we share the instruments and before I leave for the day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Almost there...

I think the kids are ready for a break...there is a lot of "antsiness" in the classroom and, while work is being completed, it isn't including much detail...I am hoping that after Spring Break, the children will feel rejuvenated!

In math, we took a quiz that covered probability and fractions. The scores were slightly higher than last week but there were still some careless mistakes...again, I think it is that "spring" thing! Overall, though, the children are doing quite well. We will not have math tomorrow due to the assembly.

In reading we worked on completing reading group assignments from yesterday. I worked with several students, individually, practicing reading fluency and comprehension.

However, MANY students did not use their time wisely...and due to the fact that I think we are all feeling a bit tired, I gave them more time this afternoon to complete the assignments...I struggled with this...part of me felt that they had plenty of time and that we should move on...I did have a writing lesson planned. BUT the other part of me felt that their motivation is lacking because they have been working hard and they need a break...after all, many adults feel this way, too...and they are only 8 and 9 years old, right?!?!?! So, I gave them the extra time! (Was that a confession?!?!)

Following the extra time, we will work on sentence fluency...writing using different sentence structures...beginning sentences in different ways...

Then we will end the day by watching Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

SCIENCE PROJECTS are due TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Magazine Orders due!

Magazine orders were due worries, if you forgot, send them in tomorrow!

In math, we used pictures and division to identify fractions of a set. For example, 1/3 or 9 is 3. Students were allowed to draw pictures but I also taught and encouraged the use of division. When faced with the problem 1/6 of 18, I asked the kids, "How many equal groups do we need?" The answer is 6, the denominator of the fraction. Then we took the set (18, in this case) and divided it by 6...the answer, 3, is the number in each equal group. So, 3 is 1/6 of 18....6 would be 2/6 of 18, etc. There is a worksheet for homework tonight and there will be a QUIZ (not a formative) tomorrow. We will not have math on Thursday due to an assembly. Use last week's quiz to study the concepts for this week's quiz.

We began our reading block by reviewing the strategies for solving multiple choice questions. The children now have a copy of this and the strategies for answering a BCR (from last week) in their reading section of their notebook. After reviewing the strategies and discussing what we already knew and what was new to us, they applied these strategies on a follow up worksheet. Then they continued working on reading group assignments.

JGB: Met with me and had a shared inquiry discussion about the Little Humpbacked Horse. We discussed why Ivan was successful in life when his brothers were not. They then completed their packets and we are FINISHED with this story! WOOHOO!

W&M: Read chapter 3 of Journey, in small groups, and worked on a vocabulary web. Then they met with me to reread chapter 3 and discuss how Journey is feeling about not looking like his mother AND we also discussed who Journey was truly angry it really his grandfather?

SP&T: Read chapter 9 with a partner and then reread it independently. This was the final chapter in the book. So, after reading it, they were to write at least 5 sentences telling what happens next...continuing the story where the author left off.

Following lunch and recess, we shared morning work journals and reviewed the BCRs from last Friday. I modeled writing a good response. Then the children got to revise their responses from Friday.

We will end the day by watching the rest of the Schoolhouse Rock video and sharing pictures of one of our student's newest siblings!

Remember...the sound project is due on Thursday!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Sound Projects are due THURSDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each student must turn in an instrument that produces a sound, a diagram with measurements and a paragraph explaining how sound is produced by the instrument.

Magazine orders are due TOMORROW!

In math, today, we spent some time trying to solidify our understanding of fractions and mixed numbers. We began by using money to understand fractions...a quarter is 1/4 of a dollar...$1.25 equals 4/5 or 1 1/4. We also did this with dimes.

Then I split the class into four groups and they rotated through stations that involved manipulative (buidling hamburgers and pizzas), flashcards and flip books to identify fractions. Here are some pics.

There is a worksheet for homework.

During reading we continued working on reading group assignments. There are many frustrated third graders today...sorry! I had many students going back to revise there written answers by including examples and support from the text they are reading. I have put feedback on their work over and over this is the next step...making them go back and redo it. On an up note...once they revised their responses, the answers were good and I felt like the children understood what is expected of them!

JGB: Still working on a written response to their directed notes. We will move on to vocab this afternoon.

W&M: Still working on reading chapter 2 of Journey and writing about the problem, in the novel, in their W&M journal.

SP&T: Rereading chapter 8 and explaining how we know that Anna likes Sarah...this is an INFERENTIAL question and causing some stress...but we are dealing with it and learning from it! :-)

Following art, lunch and recess, the children will continue working on reading group assignments, work on their persuasive writing pieces from the end of last week and we will review the BCR we did on Friday. We will end the day with book shopping in the media center.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I was going to call this post Frustrating Friday because of my math quiz but I didn't want the entire posting to have a negative it is just being called Friday!

In math, we began with a warm up that included problems similar to those on the quiz. I thought this would be a great opportunity for students to ask for clarification on concepts prior to being assessed on them. Unfortunately, many children were not focused when we review the warm up and it showed on the quiz... Look for your child's quiz in their backpack today!

On to reading...during class they were given a piece of text and a BCR to complete. This was our final practice BCS for MSA. We will review the BCR next week...many worked hard...others not-so-much.

While the children were in music, I began scoring and giving feedback on the follow up worksheets from reading yesterday. The children had an hour to work on these activities and I am exceedingly disappointed and VERY frustrated with the lack of effort shown by MANY...check your child's backpack...I will have noted my disappointment and frustration on their worksheets. Please remind your child that effort is SO important!

Following lunch and recess, we will share morning work journal entries, since we haven't done that in a while. Then we will work on our persuasive piece that we started earlier this week. Finally, we will watch a Schoolhouse Rock Video that was brought in earlier in the week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

I am just overflowing with alliteration this week!

This morning began with a meeting for me. It was a regularly scheduled meeting where various professionals in the building meet to discuss the third graders' progress. While I was at the meeting, my math class was in the exceedingly capable hands of our regular assistant, Mrs. Starkey. They worked on identifying equivalent fractions and labelling fractions on a number line. When I returned, I worked with a small group of students to further their understanding of naming fractions on a number line. There is a number line worksheet for homework tonight and a quiz tomorrow.

During reading we spent time reading and evaluating a flyer. After identifying text features and discussing the information on the flyer, the children had two follow up worksheets to complete. I worked with a couple of students (one-on-one)to practice reading fluency and comprehension. We didn't get to independent reading group assignments today!

Following lunch and recess, the children will go to the computer lab to complete their Power Point presentations. We will share these next week during our computer lab time.

If time allows, we will read and discuss a new issue of Time for Kids and complete a follow up worksheet. If not, we will do that tomorrow!

PLEASE encourage your child to continue working on their sound project. They are due ONE WEEK from TODAY!

Also, we will not have a new spelling exploration until AFTER MSA testing...NO spelling this week, next week or the two weeks after Spring Break. Watch the blog for an update on the return of spelling!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

I'm liking this weather and adjusting to the time change, so it is indeed a wonderful day!

WE took a formative assessment in math today. For homework, the children are to review the formative with an adult. While reviewing it, they should be explaining how to solve each problem...regardless of their ability to solve it during the assessment in class. We review each problem, in class, and it is important that they learn from their mistakes.

During reading, the children worked on reading group assignments.

W&M: Read chapter 2 of Journey in small groups. They had a BCR to answer but we ran out of time...

JGB: Met with me to discuss Humpbacked Horse. We had a wonderful discussion that we will continue tomorrow. Two things that "popped" during the discussion; Ivan had many character traits we admire and his family were bullies.

SP&T: Read chapter 8 and they, too, had a BCR to answer but ran out of time.

Following PE, lunch and recess, we will finish F is for Freedom. Then we will write to persuade and answer a BCR.

PLEASE make sure your child is working on their instrument and the diagram (with measurements).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Well actually it's been an average day but Average Tuesday doesn't have any rhythm to it, does it?

In math we learned how to use multiplication and division to identify equivalent fraction. Just a reminder...whatever you do to the denominator (the number on the bottom, you do to the numerator (the number on top) and vice versa. I also worked with a small group to solidify their subtraction with regrouping skills. There is a worksheet (identifying fractions on a number line) for homework. We will have a formative tomorrow and a quiz on Friday.

We began our reading block by identifying verbs and adjectives in the morning message. Then, we reviewed a practice BCR that the children did a couple of weeks least I am being honest...I modeled reading the text and using piece of text to elaborate and support our answers. Then I handed back the BCR's for the children to revise them. Finally, I collected the BCR's and gave feedback on them during lunch. Look for these in their home folders tonight. MANY did well...some children appeared not to be listening during my instruction and it showed in their response. That was a bit frustrating for me.

Then the children worked on reading group assignments.

JGB: Finally finished their directed notes for the Humpbacked Horse. I will meet with them tomorrow.

SP&T: Read chapter 7 and answered a BCR in their reading log.

W&M: Met with me. We finally finished the Biography of Patricia MacLachlan and discussed the paragraph which referenced the novel, Journey, which we will be reading. Then I read chapter 1 of Journey aloud and we discussed whether Journey was angry with his grandfather, his mother or both of them.

Following lunch and recess we did a practice MSA activity for math. The children worked,independently, on a packet. Then we put their pencils away and they corrected their own work with a marking pen. We discussed the correct answers and I answered any questions they had.

Please make sure your child is working on their sound project. An instrument, diagram and paragraph is due THURSDAY, 3/20.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Miserable Monday's not the kids or the is a lack of sleep. How can losing ONE hour mess up your sleep pattern so much!?!?! Is everyone dragging today? Quick, silly, the pledge started this morning, I actually couldn't find the flag until I noticed the direction the ENTIRE class was facing. Luckily, the children saw the humor in this! With all of my complaining, we have had a productive day, so far!

During math, we used plotted paper strips on numbers lines, again. This time the children worked somewhat independently, trying to fold and then cut their paper strips into different fractions (thirds, sixths, eights, etc.) While they were doing this, I pulled groups of children to spot check their subtraction with regrouping abilities. I worked with each child at some point and I am thrilled to say they definitely have a sound understanding! We concluded math by using their papers (number lines with plotted fractions) to identify equivalent fractions...1=2/2, 3/3, 4/4 and 1/2=2/4, 3/6, 4/8, etc.) There is a worksheet for homework.

On to reading...following our reading of the morning message, the children worked on individual reading group assignments.

SP&T: Reread chapter 6 and answered a BCR in their reading notebook. If they finished early, they began reading chapter 7.

JGB: (OK...this story is killing me!) They continued working as a group, listening to the Humpbacked Horse on tape and marking places according to their directed notes...I don't think they are done yet.

W&M: Met with me to continue reading and discussing the Patricia MacLachlan biography. We had some great discussion and comments about her.

Following art, lunch and recess, we will read some F is for Freedom and then we will finish the persuasive writing piece about having PE everyday. Then we will go to the media center for a book exchange.

PLEASE make sure your child is working on his/her science project. I suggested, today, that they create the diagram as they build the instrument.

Also, we are in need of tissues. If you could send a box in, that would be great! Thanks!

Friday, March 7, 2008


I bet many of you have experienced a LONG week this week...there have been many children who have been under-the-weather and I think we are all ready for a weekend to recoup!
Luckily, math was least I hope so! We began with a fraction based warm up. Then we watched the "fractions on a number line" segment of the United Streaming video clip from earlier this week. After that, we created our own number lines and used paper strips to mark whole numbers and fractions on the number lines.

In reading, we took our spelling tests and read and discussed Time for Kids. Then the children went to music, lunch and recess.

This afternoon, we will finish the persuasive writing pieces that we began earlier this week. Then we will complete a follow up activity for the Time for Kids. Finally, we will conclude the day by reading F is for Freedom.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

MSA Math Practice

A few updates first...

The sound project is due Thursday, March 20. This is a three part instrument that creates a sound, a diagram of the instrument and a paragraph that explains how the instrument works. As a parent, I want to reiterate that this is your child's project. Yes, you may help BUT this should not add stress to the grown ups lives...I expect to see third grade looking projects. My goal is to help the children get a feel for how to plan for projects and stay on top of long range assignments.

Next, the magazine fundraiser...there are two books. A big book and a little book. The little book is due tomorrow. If your child (or you) fills out at least 7 addresses or friends or family who do not reside in Montgomery County, neatly, your child will win a Bling Ring and a piece of candy. They will also get a chance to win a Roboraptor and a stuffed animal. The big book is for friends and family who live near NOT collect any money...just simply fill out the forms to renew or buy a new subscription.

Moving on to today...
We did not switch for math, as we had MSA math practice in our homerooms. The children worked on the MSA practice as if it were a true testing situation. Then we went over the correct answers (and how to get them) as a class. Your child will bring home the practice packet tonight. Please review it with your child. If your child has specific difficulties with a problem, it would be great if you could create a few problems similar to that problem to help them learn from their mistakes...or check out the links on my blog or Mr. Vogel's blog to get some ideas off the web...another idea...go to and type in the topic and it will help you find web sites that might provide practice...OR...e-mail me and I can help you find a web site!!

Following math, we moved on to reading. Students did a practice buddy check and worked on reading group assignments.

SP&T: Read chapter 6 independently. Then met with me and reread and discussed chapter 6.

W&M: Shared interesting pieces of information from the reading of the biography of Patricia MacLachlan. Then we read a few more paragraphs together and highlighted important information. They returned to their seats and worked with a partner to finish reading and highlighting the section we began today.

JGB: Started rereading Humpbacked Horse with me, marking places where Ivan demonstrates a special quality and does something that will help him succeed. Then they went back and continued listening to the story on tape and marking the passages as we did in group.

Following lunch and recess we will visit the computer lab and students will get a chance to work on their Power Point presentations that they began last week. Then, we will return to the classroom to work on our persuasive writing pieces.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fundraising Wednesday

This afternoon the children will be going to an assembly about a new fundraiser that our school will be participating in...look for the information in your child's home folder. This fundraiser involves selling magazine subscriptions to friends and family. There are over 800 titles...many for children! Reading magazines is a great way for children to practice their reading skills and waiting for the monthly arrival of their own magazine will help build excitement into reading!

We got a lot done in math today! We began by talking the unit 5 preassessment. Then we went over the preassessment and watched a video clip about fractions. This next unit involves fractions, probability and money. It's a doozy!! Tonight there is a fraction worksheet (hopefully, a review) for homework.

We began reading by identifying parts of speech using words from the morning message. The students each got a white board and drew a t-chart; one side was labeled "word" and the other side was labeled part of speech. As I circled words in the message, the children added the word to their white board and identified the part of speech.

Then we discussed another form of figurative language, personification. Personification is when writers give human traits to inanimate objects. We discussed this concept, identified examples in text and shared other examples from our own background knowledge.

Following PE, lunch and recess we will use our persuasive graphic organizers to write a piece on either why we should or should not have PE, in school, everyday. Finally, we will end the day by going to the fundraiser assembly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Read Across America

Today is Read Across America day in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Our wonderful guidance counselor, Mrs. Howard, and super media specialist, Mrs. Rose, planned for a guest reader to read a Dr. Seuss book to each class from 9:30-10:00 this morning. Our guest was Mrs. Winpigler, from the Damascus Community Bank. We had already met her on our walking field trip, earlier this year. Sop, it was great to see a her again and enjoy Oh, the Things You Can Think by Dr. Seuss.

Following that, we switched for math and took the unit 4 assessment. Students in my math class will bring home a xeroxed copy of the front page of the test with their grade on it.

During reading the children wrote thank you notes to Mrs. Winpigler and worked on small group assignments.

SP&T: Read chapter 5 on their own. Then met with me to reread chapter 5 and discuss it.

W&M: In preparation for our reading of the novel Journey by Patricia MacLachlan, we began reading a biography about the author. We discussed our building our background knowledge can help further our comprehension of the novel. Additionally, we discussed and highlighted important pieces of information within paragraphs of the biography.

JGB: Listened to a tape recording of The Little Humpbacked Horse. It was LLOONNNGGGG.

Following lunch and recess the students had some time to finish their thank you notes and finish their persuasive writing graphic organizers from yesterday. Then we will use the graphic organizers to write a first draft of a persuasive piece. Finally, we will end the day by continuing our reading of F is for Freedom.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Marvelous Monday Morning

The title to today's post is a type of Figurative Language called alliteration...the repetition of a beginning consonant sound in words that are next to each other. During our reading block, we identified alliteration in the text June 29, 1999 by David Weisner. Then we created examples of alliteration on our own.

Prior to that, we had math. The students worked in dependently on a review packet for unit 4. Then we went over the correct answers. Students were expected to correct their own review packet using a marking pen. Tonight they should review the packet, with an adult, in preparation for tomorrow's unit 4 assessment. Remember, the children also have a vocabulary packet in their binder. It would be wise to review this document, as well!

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess, we will continue reading F is for Freedom. Then we will use the hamburger graphic organizer from William & Mary to plan a persuasive writing piece. At the end of the day, we will visit the media center for a book exchange, switch classroom jobs and vote on the March Star Student.

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