Friday, January 30, 2009


Well, we are beginning to catch up...

In math we reviewed the types of lines and I introduced right, acute and obtuse angles. The children then worked on two activities independently. Unfortunately, many have to finish their work for homework.

During reading the children worked on an MSA practice reading BCR. They read a passage and then answered a essay question. On Tuesday, I will take these responses to a meeting and determine what the children did well and what needs to be improved. Then, Tuesday afternoon I will share that information with the children.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess I will read the Great Kapok Tree to the class. Then the children will complete a baseline writing sample for our intent...writing to persuade.

We will end the day with a social studies lesson. The children will play a game without rules and then discuss (and write) why rules are a necessary part of a community.

A Scholastic book order form is coming home today. If you choose to order, please return it ASAP, with a check payable to Scholastic Books, and no later than Friday, February 6.

Also, class pictures are Monday morning and if you haven't sent in your $3 for the Valentine's Day party, please do so ASAP!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome to Marking Period #3!!

Boy what a crazy turn of events...
I was just thinking we would not have any snow days this year! LOL!

Well, today is the first day of the third marking period. We are officially, half way through the school year! Due to the two hour delay, we did not have math...or recess, for that matter!

We began the day by reviewing the practice MSA test we took last week. The main purpose behind this was to teach some common test taking strategies...such as narrowing your choices and learning about detractors.

Believe it or not, after that it was time for lunch.

Following lunch the children searched for -au words for our next spelling investigation. We will then create a class list and the children will choose words for their personal lists. So, beginning tonight, spelling homework is back! We will have a spelling test next Friday!

If time permits, after spelling, I will read the story The Great Kapok Tree and the students will complete a baseline ( prior lessons and no help from me) writing to persuade sample.

We will end the day by constructing a model of an eardrum in science.

Homework: Spelling :-), read for 15 minutes

Friday, January 23, 2009


It's Friday and the last day of quarter 2...we've been frantically working to complete all unfinished projects!!

In math we finished reviewing the vocabulary packet and then took notes on the types of lines.

In reading we continued sharing the paper bag book reports. These were a hoot!!! I truly enjoyed myself and laughed out loud (in a good way) at some of the creativeness of the children!

Following music, lunch and outdoor (thank goodness) recess we headed to the mini computer lab where the students worked diligently to complete their city brochures. ALL (finished or not) will be collected and scored today!

WE will end the day with the last two paper bag book report presentations!

Have a great weekend and remember STUDENTS do not have school on Monday. I'll be here, though!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Breathe Deeply... has been a busy, busy day here at DES and tomorrow promises the same! :-)

We began the morning with our regular math class but it was cut short for an MSA practice test. In math we spent some time discussing the importance of VOCABULARY in this unit and I distributed a vocabulary packet to ALL students. The packet is in the math section of their binder. PLEASE make sure it is there and feel free to review vocab words whenever time permits!!! There is a multiplication sheet for homework.

Next we had a practice test for the math portion of MSA. This was to help students feel comfortable with the testing environment. WE will go over the test as a class and identify areas of frustration. I will use this data to drive my pre-MSA instruction.

Before going to lunch we began sharing paper bag book reports. MOST were excellent!!! Those who did not get a chance to share will do so tomorrow.

Following lunch and outdoor (YEY!) recess the students went to the computer lab to take the winter MAP-R. That is the reading assessment that takes place three times a year, in grades 3-5, on the computer. This is one data point that helps drive instruction.

After MAP-R the class will stay in the computer lab and work on their brochures. They need to be completed by tomorrow. Many are not finished and, in all honesty, aren't working wisely. Please ask your child about this!

The registration for the science fair is due tomorrow. There is no school for STUDENTS on Monday. It is a report card preparation day.

Friday, January 16, 2009


It's been a long, cold week. I am sure we are all looking forward to a nice, long weekend!

In math we finished the unit 3 assessment.

We spent reading retelling the story Domitila. It became clear that this was a skill that could use some fine tuning. So, if you are looking for ways to help at home, after reading with your child have them retell the story. Make sure they only tell the main events...not the details!

Following music, lunch and indoor recess we will go to the mini computer lab to work on their travel brochures and go to FASTT math.

We will end the day discussing Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King's birthday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday...a life lesson! this morning, my own child has a two hour delay, followed by the closing of schools and there is NO evidence of snow ANYWHERE near my house. I drive into Damascus, where we DO have school and it is ON TIME and the roads have snow and ice on them. Do you think this is what my mother meant when she said that life isn't fair!?!?!

Oh well...there was learning to be done!!

In math we began the unit 3 assessment. We will complete it tomorrow.

In reading we read a second version of Cinderella. It was a Mexican version entitled Domitila. THen, as a class, we created a Venn Diagram (overlapping circles) to complare and contrast the two stories. After that, the children were supposed to compare and contrast the stories in sentence format...answering a their RRJs.

While the students worked independently, I continued my winter reading testing.

Following lunch and indoor recess we will continue to work on several written assignments that many have not completed. It is really becoming a struggle to get the class to focus on their assigmnements instead of socializing!

At the end of the day we will visit the mini computer lab. SOme students will use the computers to work on their travel brochures. Others will continue working on their research, sigh!

BOok reports are due one week from today! Scince Fair registration forms are due next Friday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hump Day!

In math we spent time reviewing the items in the review packet that caused challenges for the children. Tonight they need to go over their review packet and practice their flashcards. We will begin the unit 3 assessment tomorrow and finish it on Friday!

We spent our reading time in the computer lab working on our city brochures. Some students are still working on the research. I made it clear that if this the case, they are WAY behind. You might want to speak to your child and see what stage they are currently working on.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess the students will continue working on their research brochures or their writing to inform pieces. They will also go to FASTT math.

We will end the day by creating (yes, again) another reed instrument and then writing about it in response to a prompt.

Homework: Working on book report...reviewing for unit 3 assessment. Spelling instruction will return the week of 1/ the beginning of marking period 3!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It's been a busy day so far...

In math the children completed the review packet and then we went over each problem as a class. Every students should bring home and completed and corrected review packet. These need to be studied for the unit 3 assessment that will be given on Thursday and Friday of this week. If you want to help, create new problems similar to mine by using mine as examples and changing the numbers.

In reading we visited the computer lab. Mrs. Rose and I showed the class the brochuse template that has been created using Publisher. Then students either continued their research, worked on their rough draft or began creating their brochure on the computer.

When we returned to the classroom I read a version of Cinderella to the class. Over the next few days we will be reading various versions of the folktale and comparing and contrasting them. Then, while I met with two reaidng groups, the children worked on their Stone SOup summary, their city research, cursive handwriting (up to the letter v) and writing to inform pieces.

Following lunch and indoor recess, the students will continue working on the above mentioned activities and go to FASTT math. I will be pulling individual students for winter reading assessments.

We will end the day by using various materials to create wind instruments.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

In math we began reviewing for the unit 3 assessment. The children will take the assessment on Thursday and Friday this week. We began a review packet today. We will complete the packet tomorrow. Then we will review the packet and make any necessary corrections. After that, the packet will be sent home for students to use as a study guide for the assessment. There is a worksheet for homework tonight.

In reading we began by reading and identifying adjectives in the morning message. Then we read and discussed the folktale Stone Soup. I also modeled using scratch paper to help organize thoughts prior to writing an answer to a BCR.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess the students will work on answering a BCR for Stone Soup, gathering information for the city research project and writing to inform on a topic of their choice. They will also go to FASTT math. I will meet with reading groups.

We will end the day with a book exchange in the media center.

Remember that paper bag book reports are due 1/22!!

Friday, January 9, 2009


In math the children took the fourth, and final, quiz for unit 3. Next week we will begin reviewing for the assessment. A completed review packet will come home on Tuesday and we will begin taking the assessment on Thursday.

After reading the morning message and identifying verbs in reading, we read (and reread) we read the folktale Coyote Steals the Blanket. Then we discussed the "message" of the tale and appropriate support from the text.

One thing you can do at home...when you child finishes reading a story or magazine article (fiction or non fiction...anything at all) ask them what they think the author's purpose was for writing the piece. Every author has a reason for choosing what they write...student's need to begin to realize this and figure out what the author wanted to communicate.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess, I had a trick up my sleeve...I was pretty proud of this one! I have struggled with some students not completing their work...well, we haven't been to the computer lab in a while due to FASTT math. SO, this afternoon, I took the class to the mini lab. There aren't enough computers for each student. Therefore, children who had completed their writing assignments got free choice (Pixie, Type to Learn or Publisher) on the computer. Students who are lagging behind in writing had to work on their informative pieces. It was a win-win situation!!!

We'll end the day by continuing our research on our cities in the classroom!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm Back!!

I was out yesterday with a sick, no blog! :-(

We are wrapping up unit 3 in math. The students are working on solving word problems using multiplication and division. We are also challenging ourselves with
4th grade material such as as solving for variables in equations and identifying factors and multiples. The students have worksheets to complete at home this evening. They are also expected to practice their flashcards. There will be a quiz tomorrow!

We began our reading block in the media center. The children used non fiction text to find important information about the city they are researching. When we returned to the classroom we finished reading Caporushes and identified (verbally, first and then in writing)characteristics of a folktale and specific examples from Caporushes.

I also met with a reading group. The Dragon group began reading a JGB short story and identifying their favorite part of that story.

Following lunch and recess the children will finish their written responses to Caporushes and work on their writing to inform pieces. I will continues meeting with reading groups. They children will also go to FASTT math.

We will end the day with Mrs. Howard completing her friendship unit .

Keep in mind that the paper bag book reports are due two weeks from today!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


In math today we worked on continued solving word problems using multiplication and division. We also spent time identifying the factors and multiples of given numbers. These are fourth grade objectives!! There is a word problem worksheet for homework AND students are expected to practice their multiplication flashcards for 5-10 minutes.

We began reading in the media center. The children used non fiction text to locate information about their city for their research project. When we returned to the classroom, we identified the characteristics of a folktale and began reading Caporushes, an English folktale which bares similarities to Cinderella.

Following lunch and indoor recess we will continue to write to inform and go to FASTT math. We will end the day by producing sounds using slide whistles.

Remember, students were assigned a paper bag book report yesterday. It is due on January 22. This is completely an AT HOME project. Also, students who are interested in the science fair MUST turn in their paperwork to participate by January 23.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy 2009!!

I hope all of you out there had a wonderful winter break! I thoroughly enjoyed my time off with my children.

Well, we are back in action and have a lot going on...hopefully, many of you are reading!

In math, we reviewed multiplication and division word problems. We also discussed solving multiple choice questions in math. I introduced the idea of a distractor (the most commonly chosen WRONG answer) and went to great lengths to demonstrate why they still needed to think through the problem and do the work...not just select an answer from the list of choices. Then we went ahead and practiced solving such problems. For homework they need to complete their classwork and practice their multiplication flashcards.

Following math we went to the media center to review the plagiarism lesson taught Mrs. Rose had done prior to the break. We also reviewed the research process and introduced the cities that will be choices in the travel brochure/research unit. Then the children did a quick book exchange before heading off to art.

Following art, lunch and recess the children will choose a city for their research project. I will put 24 strips of paper, each labeled with a city, in a hat. Each child will select a piece of paper and discover the city that they will research. The children will also continue working on their writing to inform piece and go to FASTT math.

After FASTT math I will introduce and assign a paper bag book report that will be due 1/22. PLEASE look for the assignment sheet in your student's binder this evening! Finally, we will end the day with a presentation given by Mrs. Harman about our school's upcoming science fair.

So, as you can see, there is a lot going on...we begin researching our cities tomorrow, in school, the children need to begin their paper bag book report ASAP and some (many?) will want to get started on a project for the DES science fair.

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