Friday, August 29, 2008


BOy, I am tired! We have had a great week but first week back always zaps my energy! :-)

We had a very productive math class today! After our initial warm up, the children got to peruse their math textbook and learned how to set up their paper when doing problems out of the textbook. Then the children completed some problems practicing writing numbers in standard, word and expanded form. SOme children worked independently while I worked with a small group. We ended with a short formative to see how well they were able to write four digit numbers in expanded form.

Following our reading of the morning message in reading, I read THe Art LEsson by Tomie DePaola and modeled how making connections to text can help us have a deeper understanding of the charachters and plot in a story. Then the children wrote, in the reading response journals, about a connection they made and how it helped their understanding of the story.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess, I will return the children's baseline writing assignment. These will be put in the writing section of their binder and need to be kept there...but I do encourage you to look at it!

Then we will visit the computer lab. We will practice logging on, opening Word, creating a document in Word and saving the document.

If time permits, we will discuss our hobbies and create a symbol for one of our hobbies.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend. DOn't forget to send in a check payable to DES for $15 for your child's planner and Time for Kids subsdcription. Also, keep in mind that Back to School NIght is next Wednesday, 9/3 at 7 pm!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What do you know?

That is the question that is answered through assessing the students. While testing can get a bad rap, it is a necessary evil. Through assessments we discover what students know and are able to do which makes for more effective planning of instruction. There are many forms of assessing students; some long, some short, some formal, some through observation but please know that I am continually assessing the children's abilities and make changes to my instructional plans and methods of delivery!

On to today...

In math we began with a warm up and then took notes in our math journals. we concentrated on the difference between a digit and a number. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 are digits. They can stand alone or be combined with other digits to create numbers, such as, 529. We also discussed how the value of a digit can change depending where it is located in a number. For example, the 2 in 52 has a different value than the 2 in 2,398. After that, we reviewed part of the preassessment from yesterday. Finally, the children completed an exit card (an informal assessment) to show their knowledge of the different ways to write numbers (standard form, word form and expanded notation).

During reading, I introduced more anchor activities and the students began working on an ALl About Me book as I continued my reading assessments to determine the students current reading levels.

After lunch and indoor recess, the children will finish working in their baseline writing sample while I continue testing. As children complete their writing, they will have the opportunity to try out different anchor activities.

After that we will begin have our first social studies lesson. The students will create symbols for a hobby they enjoy and then create a map using that symbol and various other elements of a a map.

Our day will end with a brief visit from Mrs. Howard, our counselor.

One more thing...
I tried to stress today that children's home folders should be emptied the the CHILDREN...not by the parents!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 2...Going Strong!

Wow! What an amazing group of children!!

This morning the children came in and knew the routine that I just taught them yesterday. It was such a smooth beginning...only the second day of school and I was able to file and organize the paperwork that the parents filled out last night. Truly, that is an amazing accomplishment!

Math began with a warm up. The children completed charts on different ways to write numbers, ie. standard form (125), word form (one hundred twenty five) and expanded notation (100+20+5). They also participated in our first fire drill.

After the fire drill, the children worked on the preassessment for unit 1 in math. This is NOT graded. It is intended to be an instructional tool for me to determine what their needs are in order to properly plan my lessons. We will review the preassessment tomorrow.

Following math, we read the morning message, identified letters that looked similar and different in cursive and we discussed Anchor Activities. Anchor Activities are ongoing activities which the children can choose from when they are "finished" with assigned activities.

We also discussed picking "just right books". In short, a vacation book is one you are familiar with, you know all of the words and it is easy. A Working on book is one where you know MOST of the words and understand most of the story...these are books we typically use in reading groups for instructional purposes. Finally, a Dream book is a book that has more than 3-5 words on a page that are new and a storyline which the reader struggles to keep up with. These books are best used as read alouds at home.

After reading, the children went to PE, lunch and recess.

After recess, I plan to read chapter 2 of Frindle. Then the students will work on a baseline writing activity so that I can assess their skills and plan for instruction. We will conclude our day with our first science lesson. Students will learn the three types of fingerprint patters (loop, arch and whorl) and identify these patterns in their own fingerprints.

A word about homework...I will begin assigning homework NEXT Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of School

Wow! I feel so fortunate to have been given such a wonderful group of students! While we are only halfway through the first day, I can tell they are enthusiastic and respectful children. It's going to be a great year!

As I told the class, the first day can be a bit "boring". The teacher has to do a lot of talking in order to explain routines, rules and procedures.

This morning we went over morning routines. We also switched for math. Most students will stay with me but a few go to Mr. Vogel. In math we set up our math journal and did our first warm up.

After math, we set up our writer's notebook and did our first morning work journal entry. The students wrote about their best summer memory. Some students shared their writing with the class. Then we read the morning message and I told the children about myself. I also answered some questions!! Aren't I brave??

Right now the children are at the media center with Mrs. Rose. They are attending an orientation session. They will also get a chance to check out books. They can check out up to three items at a time this year. Our regular "book shopping" time will be on Monday afternoons at 3:00.

When the students return, we will organize our desks and set up our binders. Then they will enjoy lunch and recess.

After lunch I plan to begin reading the story Frindle to them. It is a novel by Andrew Clements. Then we will finish setting up our binders and possibly begin a writing assignment so I can obtain a baseline writing sample from each child.

We will end our day with a visit from Ms. Jones. She will read a story to the class and review the discipline policy with the children.

PLEASE check your child's home folder tonight (and every night). Tonight there are some important forms that need to be completed and returned to school as soon as possible. Also, there is a Highlights order form. You do NOT need to order, but PLEASE SIGN the form...whether you order or not. Our class can ear free items by returning SIGNED order forms....even if you say NO, SIGN the form...PLEASE...and return the form to school!!!

I look forward to a rewarding and successful year. Please feel free to comment on the blog at any time or to e-mail me at

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm Back!

Hello to any of my old friends and welcome to my new ones! I have been back at school for a week but the student's first day is tomorrow. This afternoon is our school's Open House. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new class...and I must admit...I am nervous!

I THINK things are set and I am ready to roll...but my little "what-if" voice in my head is SCREAMING!!!!

I am looking forward to getting to know my new class and seeing past students in the hallway. This is such an exciting time of year!

Once again, I encourage comments...let me know what you think...what I can do to improve the blog, etc., etc.

Well, back to work...I need to review the lessons I plan to teach this week!

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