Monday, December 22, 2008

First day of a two day week... is a cold one today! :-)

In math we spent some time solving equations with unknown variables in a variety of positions. WE also wrote word problems when given a multiplication expression. The children need to finish the back side of their classwork for homework tonight.

During reading we spent time reviewing what is expected when answering a BCR (brief constructed response...short answer question for us old fogies!) Then I modeled answering the tag BCR that the children did last week. Tomorrow I plan for the class to redo this assignment as most of the responses were lacking sufficient detail and support.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess we split into our two groups for FASTT math and writing. Most of the class are working on the first drafts. Some are conferencing and a few are editing with my help. After sharing some of our writing with each other, we will watch a united streaming video about sound.

Friday, December 19, 2008


This morning in math we took our third quiz for unit 3. This quiz included 3 challenge (grade 4)learning topics! The children did quite well!! Look for the quiz in your child's binder.

In reading we took a spelling assessment. Remember that correct capitalization and punctuation counts. We also identified nouns and adjectives.

Following music, lunch and recess we split into writing and FASTT math groups. In writing the children took their topics and graphic organizers and began writing their first drafts. At the end of writing we shared topic sentences that were constructed today. They were excellent!!! I could tell the children had learned from the mini lessons this week.

We ended the day with a science review lesson. Students were encouraged to choose materials we have used in our experiments thus far to practice producing sound and changing the pitch of the sound. Then the students answered a BCR explaining the relationship between sound, vibrations, frequency and pitch. This will be scored and returned next week!

Have a great weekend...remember we only have school on Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Just a quick run down as I am leaving early for a doctor's appointment.

In math we solved comparison multiplication problems. Look in your child's folder for examples. There is a worksheet for homework AND a quiz tomorrow.

In reading we will read two sets of directions for the game of Tag. We will compare and contrast the directions and decide which set is better. The students will write in their RRJ as to which set of directions is better and why they think so. They will need to use information (details, examples...) from BOTH sets to support their answer (and get a 3).

Following lunch and outdoor recess the children will be choosing a new topic for writing to inform and creating a graphic organizer. They will also go to FASTT math. The day will end with a friendship lesson led by Mrs. Howard.

Remember...there is a spelling test tomorrow and spelling homework is due!

Tomorrow is the last day for the SGA's hat, glove and sock drive AND the PTA's reading incentive program.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hump Day

In math we practiced solving word problems using division. We also took some time to compare the same problem worded as a multiplication problem and as a division problem. There is a worksheet for homework and students are expected to be practicing their flashcards.

In reading we identified text features in a flyer and explained how they helped provide information. The students had time to complete assignments from earlier in the week while I met with individuals to discuss their BCR's (short answer responses in their RRJs).

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess we will split into two groups for writing and FASTT math. During writing, Mrs. Hepner will help the children choose new topics that lend themselves well to writing to inform for a third grader.

We will end the day by learning about pitch and frequency as they relate to sound.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

This morning in math we practiced solving multiplication word problems. I also worked with small groups to solve equations with variables. For homework the students need to complete a multiplication word problem worksheet and practice their basic fact flashcards.

During reading students were given a flyer about Scooter Safety. They needed to read the flyer. Then is their RRJ they need to explain what the main idea of the flyer was and how the flyer can help protect people. This will be scored for both reading comprehension and social studies.

I also met with reading groups to read and discuss last night's reading assignments. The discussion with the dragon group related to point of view. Summary was the focus of my discussion with the frogs. I am hoping to get to JGB either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

Following lunch and indoor recess (we had the gym...VERY exciting for the kids) we will write to inform and go to FASTT math. Mrs. Hepner, the reading specialist, will be doing a mini lesson about writing good topic sentences.

We will end the day with a science lesson. The children will investigate pitch as they create sound using nails. Look for a possible science homework assignment written in their planner...we have to get far enough in the lesson in order for me to be able to assign it! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning

Due to a change in our schedule we had science this morning, instead of math. WE spent the period reviewing both lessons 2 and 3 and writing about how sound is produced in our science journals.

In reading we spent time identifying text features on a flyer (type of non fiction writing) and writing about how these text features help us comprehend the flyer. Then the children finished their concept map from Friday and began working on reading group assignments.

I met with the JGB reading group and we located and discussed events in the story where Shakro tricked the king.

Following art, lunch and recess we will review adding details to their ideas on a graphic organizer when writing a rough draft. Then the students will write to inform on a chosen topic and go to FASTT math. We will end the day with a book exchange in the media center.

Reading groups will have homework...check planners for that! Spelling is due students need to be working on that. My math class needs to work on memorizing their basic facts using the flashcards we made. BUT there is no written (worksheet) homework for math.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Wow...two five day work weeks in a row...can you believe it?!?! LOL! I think we are all ready for the weekend.

In math we took the second quiz for unit 3. The students did fantastically well! YEY! After they were finished, we spent time (using white boards) learning to solve some of the 4th grade challenge problems. This included a brief introduction to the order of operations (solve what is in the parenthesis first), learning about variables (the letters are the same as boxes...a missing or unknown number) and rewriting division sentences as multiplication problems.

Reading time was spent reviewing the concept definition map that we have used in the past to strengthen our vocabulary. Then the children chose a word from their reading books and used it to complete a concept map independently.

Following music, lunch and outdoor (YEY!) recess we will have FASTT math/writing. During writing the children will be given a completed graphic organizer and work in pairs to write a well developed paragraph based on the graphic organizer.

We will end the day watching a video about sound.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The return of spelling...

In math we worked on creating flashcards for the 6's. PLEASE make sure students are practicing their flashcards EVERY night. There is a 6's worksheet for homework and we will have a quiz tomorrow covering multiplication and division.

We began reading by sharing and sorting -ough words....finally! :-) We noticed that while there weren't very many -ough words (compared to other spelling patterns), there were a few different sounds the pattern makes AND the words we found are words which we encounter in our reading (and writing) on a regular basis. SO, this is an important pattern to learn!

The children chose spelling words and then worked on reading group activities. I met with groups...

JGB: Met with me, shared the question s they had listed in their journal and discussed whether the questions were factual. If they were, we went back to the text to locate the answers. Then they were told to reread the story using directed notes. They are to mark places where Shakro tricked the king with a T.

Tonight they need to complete the Head in the Clouds activity in their JGB packet.

Dragons: Met with me and discussed point of view. Then we recognized that this story is told in alternate points of view in alternate chapters. Odd chapters are called Morning Girl because Morning Girl is the one telling the story. Even chapters are called Star Boy because he is the narrator. After that I read chpater5 out loud and then the children reread it in group.

For homework the children are expected to reread chapter 5...yes, again! :-)

Frogs: Read chpater 5 with me and they were supposed to write about their main events in the RRJ.

For homework they need to reread chapter 5.

Following lunch and indoor recess Mrs. Howard came in to class to teach another friendship lesson.

We will end the day by sa=haring information about the ear, using a student's encyclopedias from home. Then we will work in partners to write topic sentences using topics I provide.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hump Day

This morning the children were treated to a cultural arts assembly. They watched some Chinese acrobats perform. I heard it was a wonderful show. I missed it since Miss Jones graciously found parents to watch our classes while teachers had extra (much needed ) planning time.

Following the assembly Mr. Vogel's math students went to his room for a lesson. The rest of the class worked on missing assignments. There were a lot of them!

After PE, lunch and indoor recess our class was split into two. One half went to FASTT math while the other stayed behind to work on their writing. Then the two groups traded places.

We ended the day with a science investigation. We used the tuning forks to see how sound travels.

Homework: My math class has a fact family worksheet. The entire class has a cause/effect worksheet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Terrific Tuesday!

In math we began working on the 8's multiplication facts. We made flashcards and there is an 8's practice worksheet for homework tonight. Please make sure your child practices their flashcards EVERY night. The children also worked on solving division problems by using repeated subtraction and circling equal groups. I really feel the children have a strong understanding of multiplying and dividing numbers. Now we have to MEMORIZE the basic facts and determine which operation to use in a word problem situation.

In reading we read and discussed this week's Time for Kids. The cover story was about the coolest inventions of 2008. So in their RRJ the children had to pick which invention they thought would be the most popular and explain why they think so using support from the text. The children also worked on reading group activities.

JGB: Reread their story and wrote questions they had in their minds as they were reading.

Frogs: Read chapter 4 with me and discussed it. Now they need to create a title for chapter 4 and use information from the chapter to support their choice.

Dragons: Read and discussed chapter 3 with me. Then returned to their seats to read chapter 4. Following their reading of chapter 4 they need to explain (in their RRJ) the reason chapter 4 is called Star Boy.

Following lunch and recess IO will continue modeling writing to inform with my piece about running. The children will then work on their informational pieces. We will end the day with our first science lesson from unit 2: sound...we will use a tuning fork (not a pitch fork, like I wrote on today's schedule...OOPS!) to determine how sound is created!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Well, we made it through a 5 day week! Yahoo!!!

In math we took our first quiz for unit 1. The children did exceptionally well...but that did not surprise me! Following the quiz the children created and solved multiplication problems using dice.

In reading we read a non fiction article from a previous Time for Kids and began planning for a summary. We did this part of the activity together. On Monday the students will use what we did today to write a summary of the article independently.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess, the children split into two groups to work on FASTT math and writing to inform. Then we watched a United Streaming video that addressed how transportation connects communities.

Look for your child's interim progress is in their home folder!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday's Rundown and a note about Spelling

The week has gotten away from me...don't read that the wrong way...we have been quite productive as far as math instruction, reading groups and writer's workshop are concerned. However, as time is always a scarce commodity, our new spelling unit has not progressed well. Therefore, the children will NOT be getting new words this week. Instead our new cycle will begin NEXT week with our assessment on the new words taking place on Friday, December 19.

Ok...on to today...
In math we worked on writing multiplication and division sentences for fact families. The children also practiced the "3's" multiplication facts. I met with two small groups to challenge them by introducing the concepts of factors and multiples. There is a worksheet (fact families) for homework and there will be a quiz on multiplication tomorrow.

During reading the children worked on reading group activities, searching for -ough words and writing informational pieces. I was able to meet with all three reading groups AND a few individual students...I told you we have been productive!!

JGB: Chose two characters in The Banza and wrote a letter from one character to the other. We talked about writing a letter that shows they understood the story and point of view.

Dragons: Read chapter two and wrote about a character trait for Star Boy using the resource list they received yesterday and support from the text.

Frogs: Read chapter 2 and wrote about the main events in their RRJ.

Following lunch and recess the children were split into two groups. Half went to FASTT math while the other half stayed behind to continue working on their reading group assignments and writing. Then the two groups switched.

The day ended with a social studies lesson. The children worked in pairs to identify elements of transportation systems in the Nystrom Atlas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hump Day

In math we identified some of the basic multiplication rules and strategies. The children took notes in their math journals and there is also a typed sheet in the math section of their binder. While the students worked independently on practice sheets I worked with a few students and challenged them with three digit by 1 digit multiplication problems. There is a worksheet for homework.

After identifying verbs in the morning message, we spent the remainder of our reading time reviewing the characteristics (expectations?) of a summary and writing a summary together, as a class. The children took notes and wrote the summary in their RRJs.

Following PE, lunch and recess we will visit Mrs. Berard in the computer lab. She will be introducing a new program called FASTT math which the students will be participating in daily for 10-15 minutes. The program will help students master the basic math facts.

We will end the day with a friendship lesson taught by Mrs. Howard.

THe SGA is sponsoring a hat, glove and sock drive through Dec. 19. Donations are accepted in our classroom.

Students are EXPECTED to read for at least 15 minutes every night. Help your child remember to mark their minutes on their reading incentive ballot and return the completed ballot to school each week!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This morning, in math, we took the preassessment for unit3. Once again, this is a tool that helps plan my instruction. It allows me to see what the children already know so that we don't waste too much time on old concepts. There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading I modeled writing a summary for a selection of non fiction text. I told the students that a summary should be short and to the point...3-5 sentences. It should state the main idea and any necessary details to support the main idea. Tomorrow the students will write a summary with my help. Then the children worked on individual reading group activities, cursive writing, and searching for -ough words while I met with small groups.

JGB:Completed a "Head in the Clouds" worksheet in their packet. Then began answering a discussion question in preparation for our group discussion this afternoon.

Dragons: Met with me and reviewed a character traits packet that they were given to use as a resource. It is supposed to be in the reading/language arts section of their binder. Then they selected a character trait for Morning Girl and wrote about it in their RRJ.

Frogs: Reread chapter 1 of Jenius and wrote a prediction (with support from chapter 1) in their RRJ.

Following lunch and recess I will model asking thick (good) questions about a topic that I intend to research. Then the children will continue working on their informational writing piece while I continue working with small groups from this morning.

We will end the day with a social studies lesson. The students will identify examples of transportation systems in their atlas.

Look in their planner for either a reading worksheet or a social studies prompt!

One more thing...

I need YOUR help!!! Please drop me a note and tell me how often you read this blog and if it is helpful! I want this to be a tool that is useful to you, the parents and need your feedback to make any necessary changes!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December First, already!?!?!

Wow! It is so hard to believe that today is the first day of December. Progress reports for the second quarter will be coming home this Friday.

In math we began unit three by watching a united streaming video about multiplication. We also, briefly, practiced solving multiplication problems by drawing sets and by drawing arrays. There are five homework problems for the children to solve by either drawing a set or an array. In case the problems are misplaced, here they are:
7x2, 6x3, 5x4, 8x1 and 3x7

In reading I tried to integrate social studies by reading a book about geographers to the class. I explained that my purpose for reading this was so that we all had some common vocabulary about maps and globes. Then I introduced two student atlas' to the class. They had some time to look at these independently and we shared their findings.

Following art, lunch and recess I will share a book called Why do Zippers Have Teeth? This will be to kick of a modeling of a research project. I will be modeling doing research about a city. This will, hopefully, prepare them for a research project they will be doing in January...again integrating language arts and social studies.

Back to the book, though...I will be reading it to model writing about things I wonder about. This is a precursor to a lesson about writing good questions. The questions will be used to guide my research about my city...I hope this makes sense...the bell just rang, so I am pressed for time! LOL!!

Following my mini lesson, the children will continue to write independently and I will meet with some reading groups. We will end the day with a book exchange in the media center.

Homework tonight will be a reading worksheet...sorry to not be more specific...I think it is cause/effect...if not, I was wrong!

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