Friday, February 27, 2009


Today is an early release day for students only! Therefore, we had an abbreviated schedule.

In math we spent time exploring (using manipulatives) equivalent fractions. I also demonstrated how we could use multiplication to arrive at the same equivalents that the students had discovered using the manipulatives.

We began reading with an assessment that tested their word decoding abilities. This was mostly for information which I will use to drive my instructional planning. Then we read and discussed the current issue of Time for Kids.

Finally, the children went to music and lunch. When they returned they packed up to go home!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Science Fair

The DES Science Fair is TONIGHT beginning at 6 pm in the all purpose room. THe third graders who are participating, shared their projects, in class today, and I can tell you that they are AWESOME!!!!!! I was HIGHLY impressed!

In math we identified fractions of a set, for example, 1/3 of 12 = 4. One method that we used was diving the number of objects in the set by the denominator since the denominator is the number of groups you need to make. This will then tell you how many objects are in each group. There are other ways to solve this type of problem. Feel free to share "your" way with your child! :-)

In reading we gathered, sorted and chose new spelling words with the -oy spelling pattern. We also practiced writing capital I's and J's in cursive. Just prior to lunch, the entire third grade gathered to see the projects that their classmates have entered in tonights Science Fair.

Following lunch and outdoor recess we discussed grouping ideas for persuasion in order to form paragraphs for arguments. I showed the children a method of color coding their ideas. Then, while I met with two reading groups, the children were supposed to finish their brainstorming and grouping "like" ideas.

W&M: Met with me and discussed ch. 1&2 of Journey. We discussed the difference between the way Cat and Journey are dealing with being abandoned by their mother.

Myron: We disucssed why the narrarator said Myron was the best president in the history of Wayside School. The focus of the discussion was making choices and prioritizing things that needed to be done.

FInally, we are ending the day with a guidance lesson, led by Mrs. Dorfman, which is focusing on tsting and perserverence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hump Day!

In math we spent time identifying and naming fraction s and mixed numbers. We also finished watching the video that explains fractions on a number line. Most children have some classwork (not their fault...we ran out of time) to finish for homework. We will not have a quiz this Friday but there will be a quiz on fractions next Friday.

In reading we reviewed historical fiction as a literary genre. We began by reviewing the statements from yesterday's independent work activity and discussing whether or not they were historical fact or fiction. Then we read the story Mailing is a wonderful story based on a true incident of parents mailing (using parcel post and train delivery) their daughter for a visit with her grandmother. AS a whole group we identified the historical facts and the fictional story elements.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess the children will work on independent work activities (reading group assignments, cursive, searching for -oy words and writing to persuade) and go to FASTT math while I meet with reading groups.

W&M: Continue working on their novel study assignments. I will check in with them to see how things are going. Their concept map is due today. Tomorrow we will discuss chapters 1&2 and they will hand in their RRj assignment.

Myron: Will answer a focus question in their RRJ (Why does the author say that Myron was "the best president in the history of Wayside School"?) in preparation for our group discussion.

Tornado: The students will reread the story and write a summary of it in their RRJ. This will be completely independent... no prior I can see what they have learned about writing summaries.

We will end the day by discussing how people gain authority in our government and consequences of not being a responsible citizen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What a great, productive morning!

We had a wonderful morning! In math we began by taking some notes in our math journals about fractions, including mixed fractions (ex. 2 1/2), identifying fractions on a number line and improper fractions (ex. 5/2). Then we watched a fabulous United Streaming video about these topics. There is a worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reading Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers and discussing the literary genre of historical fiction. Then the children worked independently on deciding whether a given statement was an example of historical fact or fiction, writing cursive letters and searching or -oy words, while I met with reading groups.

Reading groups:
W&M: Met with me. Received and went over their novel schedule for Journey. This is in their reading/LA section of their binder. PLEASE look it over. Then they began their first assignments (reading chapters 1&2, completing a concept map for a chosen word and answering a BCR in their RRJ).

2nd Chance: Began a new story called Tornado. First followed along as I read it aloud. Then they reread it with a partner.

Myron: Met with me and had an awesome discussion using their marked places from their directed notes reading.

Following lunch and indoor recess, we will continue writing persuasively. Then we will end the day with a social studies lesson. We will identify examples of students being responsible citizens as we read an article called Making a Difference Press.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slight Change in Plans

Interims are NOT coming home today...look for them tomorrow! :-)

Half Way Point of MP3

This week is the mid point of the third marking period. Interim reports will be coming home in your child's home folder this afternoon.

In math we began unit 5. We reviewed fractions of a figure and of a set. There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading the small groups from Friday shared their change posters (charts). We made some generalizations from these charts, such as, change is everywhere, change can be positive or negative, change can be fair or unfair, etc.

Then we began discussing the literary genre of historical fiction and began reading Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers.

Prior to art, the children attended the fifth grade performance from their work with the BSO. Following lunch and indoor recess, they will go to FASTT math and work on independent work (cursive and persuasive writing) when not working on reading group activities.

W&M: Will read about a biography about Patricia MacLachlan, the author of Journey, a novel they will begin this week.

Second Chance: Will finish reading the story with me and write a summary in their RRJ.

Myron: Will reread the story with directed notes. They will mark places with a G where Myron was a good class president. They will mark places with a B where he was a bad class president. This will prepare them for our discussion.

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

Friday, February 20, 2009


We've been working hard this week and I am ready for the weekend!

In math the children began and completed the unit 4 assessment. Overall, they did quite well! :-) Next week we will begin unit is a DOOZY!!!!

In reading we took a spelling test. Then we began a whole group William and Mary lesson about change. The students were split into four groups and created a poster based on what they think about when they hear the word change, what kinds of things change and what it is that changes.

Following music, lunch and recess we will continue our persuasive writing pieces concentrating on including elaboration. We will end the day discussing a US citizens basic rights and responsibilities.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


We have a unit assessment tomorrow in math. PLEASE help your child study using the review packet and the vocab packet. The biggest help would be quizzing them on the meaning of the vocabulary, such as, polygon, octagon, hexagon, etc.

We spent the rest of the morning participating in a practice testing experience for the MSA reading portion and then going over the test. I took great pains to go over many test taking strategies, including, rereading the topic sentences of paragraphs to focus on meaning, reading through all answers before selecting one, using scratch paper in the reading section (to jot down impt. info. as you read) and many others. Hopefully, this will prove to be as valuable as I felt it should be. :-)

Following lunch and outdoor recess, the children will get to work on independent work (reading group assignments, cursive and persuasive writing) and go to FASTT math, while I meet with reading groups.

W&M: They will complete the writing pre-assessment and then we will discuss their answers. I actually was able to sneak in their group yesterday to discuss the reading pre-assessment.

Lion and Mouse: Will begin a new story called Myron. They will read it and then list things they are wondering about in their RRJ to bring to discussion group and share.

Second Chance: We will read the story together and identify the important events in each chapter. This is in preparation for writing a summary.

We will end the day by watching a United Streaming video clip about the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Hopefully, there will be enough time for us to discuss our responsibilities, as US citizens, as they pertain to our rights.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hump Day!

Is it still considered Hump Day if it is only a 4 day week!?!?!

In math we went over the entire review packet question by question. Every student should come home with a completed and corrected packet. Use this packet and the vocabulary packet to study for the unit assessment on Friday. There is an angle worksheet for homework tonight.

In reading we reviewed affixes. I also introduced the literary web. It is a graphic organizer that serves as a tool to help students better grasp the deeper meaning in literature. We completed one together using the poem Alphabet Soup by Jack Prelutsky. This will be stored in the reading/language arts section of their binder to serve as a reference.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess the students will continue working on their persuasive writing pieces. I will be meeting with various students to help them with elaborating on their topics. This seems to be a weakness for many. I have done a few whole group lessons. Hopefully, by meeting with small groups I will see more progress.

We will end the day by using a cup, rubber bands and straws to simulate air moving into our vocal chords and creating sound.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

This morning we worked on a review packet for the unit 4 assessment in math. Tomorrow we will go over the entire packet and the children will be expected to make any necessary corrections. Therefore, tomorrow night, a corrected and completed packet will come home to help the study prepare for the unit assessment on Friday. There is a symmetry worksheet for homework tonight.

We began reading by reviewing affixes (prefixes and suffixes). Then we read two poems, one by Jack Prelutsky and the other by Langston Hughes, and discussed the connotation of words (how words can be used to create a feeling about a topic). Finally the students worked independently on reading group activities and cursive while I met with small groups.

Ooka: Began the William and Mary (W&M) program by reading a story and completing a worksheet.

2 Families: Began a new story called A Second Chance. They previewed the book independently then met with me to review unknown words that they had identified and listen as I read the book aloud. They should reread this book for homework tonight.

Lion and Mouse: Answered a BCR in their RRJ and discussed the BCR in group with me. Why didn't the lion thank the mouse as graciously as he should have?

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will continue to work on their persuasive writing pieces and go to FASTT math. They will end the day by discovering how to create louder sounds from strings.

There will be a personification (giving human traits to inanimate objects) worksheet for homework, too!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Party

THis morning, in math, we completed our second quiz for unit 4. Our unit assessment will take place at the end of next week.

In reading we discussed President's Day and read an issue of TIme for Kids. The children also had time to complete any reading group assignments, from the week, that needed to be turned in.

Following music, lunch and recess we will discuss the Bill of Rights and go to FASTT math. Then we will celebrate Valentine's Day by exchanging valentines in clasa and going to the third grade party in the gym.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


In math today we practiced constructing circles, with various radii, using a compass. There is a worksheet for homework that reviews geometry vocabulary. There will be a quiz tomorrow. AS of right now, we are planning to give the unit assessment next Friday.

We began reading with Miss Jones reading some Valentine's Day themed books to the entire third grade. When we returned to class the children received their new spelling works and continued working on reading group activities and cursive.

This afternoon I will model a lesson using No, David! and focusing on chnaging people's minds using persuasion. I will also emphasize the need for elaboration within our written arguments.

Mrs. Dorfman (the substitute councelor) will be in our room, at the end of the day, to do a lesson on resbonsibility.

All students need to have a decorated paper bag or shoebox to collect their valentines tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hump Day!!

In math we continued working with polygons and solid figures. There is a worksheet for homework and some children need to finish their classwork.

In reading we discussed similes as another type of figurative language. Similes are comparisons of two or more things, which you would normally not think of as similar, using the words "like" or "as". We identified a simile in the poem , "Spring is..."

Then the students worked independently on reading group assignments, cursive writing and persuasive writing.

Following PE, lunch and recess, the students will continue working independently, go to FASTT math and meet in small groups with me.

Ooka: WE met and had our final discussion about whether or not it was okay for Gonta to steal the rice. The group will complete a concept map (vocab) on one of the following words; courtesy, virtue or sufficient. They will also finalize their written response to our focus question.

Lion: Will complete a concept map (vocab) on either splendid or noble. We will also meet to discuss the focus question.

Two Families: They were to reread independently and mark the main events in the beginning, middle and end of the book. We will meet to discuss the summary. They will then write a summary of the story in their RRJ.

WE will end the day with a science lesson. They will add more strings to their instrument which they constructed yesterday. There will also be a BCR for them to answer...this might become homework...

PLEASE make sure you check your child's planner each night...sometimes there is homework that is not posted on here!

Also, we are in need of pencils, erasers, 100 page composition books, sharpeners, etc. Please ask your child what he/she needs.

Each child needs to bring in a decorated box or paper bag to collect their valentines on Friday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PLEASE help!

PLEASE, PLEASE ask your child if he/she needs more supplies. Many students need:
new 100 page composition books
pencil sharpeners

Donations of extras will gladly be accepted, too!


In math we practiced identifying slides, flips and turns. We also used symmetry to complete pictures. For homework there is a Geometry Riddle worksheet to help the children practice the vocabulary that is prevalent in this unit. There will be a quiz on Friday!

We began reading by revisiting June 29, 1999. Today our focus was identifying examples of personification. Personification is another type of figurative language where inanimate objects are given human characteristics.

Then the students worked independently on reading group assignments, searching for -augh words and cursive handwriting, while I met with small groups.

My Two Families: Read the new book and marked any unknown words on a sticky note. Reread in group and answered the question, "What made Alex change her mind?" in their RRJ.

Lion and Mouse: Reread story and listed questions they wonered about. We made a group list, too.

Ooka: Continued sharing places marked as U or UF. Then answered the focus question independently, in preparation for reading group tomorrow.

Following lunch and recess we will continue working on the assignments from this morning and writing persuasive writing pieces. Then we will make multi string instruments and identify ways we can change the pitch.

Please check planners for additional homework assignments!

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Adjustment

Just a few updates before I run down the day...

FASTT math groupings will be changing this afternoon. The reason for this? SO we can make better use of our instructional time. I have grouped the children according to reading groups. This way, during FASTT math, I can meet with reading groups or work on writing.

Also, I have finally scored the baseline persuasive writing samples. They are in your child's binder in the LA section. Please look it over! we go with today...

In math we completed a practice MSA BCR. The children worked on it independently. Then we discussed it. Finally, the students had the opportunity to adjust their answer. This activity has a picture of a stapler on it. It probably will not come home tonight but please look for it this week and review it with your child.

Then we identified the movements of shapes...slides, flips and turns. There is a practice worksheet for homework.

In reading we discussed figurative language as a tool used by writer's to make their writing more interesting and more vivid.

Today we discussed alliteration...sentences/phrases where most of the words start with the same beginning sound. Think: Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Peppers. Then we read June 29, 1999 by David Weisner. We identified examples of alliteration in the story and discussed how this affects the mood of the book.

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess the students will meet with me in reading groups and go to FASTT math.

Fair Swap: Discuss beginning , middle and end and then begin writing a summary.
OOka: Share questions and places they marked F and UF. Then answer the discussion question independently to prepare for the next group meeting.
Shoemaker: Discuss why they think the Shoemaker gave the gold back and what they would have done. Prepare for next story.

Independent activities will include:
looking for augh words
writing alliteration
handwriting practice

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

Friday, February 6, 2009


I have to leave early today to take my youngest to the doctor. So below is a brief update to keep you in the loop! :-)

In math we are taking a quiz and then we will use the shapes we constructed yesterday to identify vertices, edges and faces on solid figures.

In reading we will take a spelling test and then read and discuss an issue of Time for Kids.

Following music, lunch and recess, the children will be working with a substitute.

They will use the graphic organizer they developed yesterday to begin writing a persuasive writing piece. Then they will discuss the 5 rights granted to US citizens in the Constitution during social studies.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This morning I attended a three hour meeting in our building. During that time Mrs. Benson taught my math class. The children constructed different solid figures. Tomorrow we will use these figures to create a chart listing the names of the figures and the number of edges, vertices and faces each figure has. There is a worksheet for homework and a quiz tomorrow.

When I returned to class we read the book The Old Woman Who Named Things and discussed how the mood changed in the story. We also identified aspects of the story that indicated that the mood was changing. Additionally, we discussed how mood and setting can be related. When the children went back to their seats they worked on various reading group activities and cursive writing.

Fair Swap: reread story and marked main events with a sticky in order to summarize in reading group.

Shoemaker: Reread the story and answered the question, why do you think the shoemaker gave the gold back to the rich man?

Ooka: reread the story and marked places with an F where they felt Ooka was being fair. They also marked places with a UF where Ooka was being unfair.

Following lunch and recess in the gym we discussed the art of persuasion. Students talked with partners about a time they successfully persuaded someone to do something. Then the children worked on a graphic organizer, in their writer's notebook, that charted a position (for ex. I want to eat ice cream for breakfast), three arguments (ex. milk) and then explanations for each argument (milk has calcium). This took longer than I anticipated, so we ended the day by sharing our work with each other!

There is a spelling test tomorrow and spelling homework is due, too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hump Day

In math we identified parallel, intersecting and perpendicular lines. There is a worksheet for homework.

We read Miss Nelson Has a Field Day in reading and discussed how the mood can change within a story. Then the students started to answer the following prompt in their RRJ:
How did the mood change in Miss Nelson? Use specific examples to support your answer.

MOst students need to finish this for homework. A couple finished, which was surprising...I tried to persuade everyone to complete this task at home...there was not much time in class to formulate a great response. So, if you r child said they might want to speak top them about effort!

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess I worked with small groups while the others went to FASTT math. While in small group we discussed identifying what a question is asking AND how to compose an awesome response. Part of the discussion focused on drawing conclusions at the end of your naming your answer, explaining how you got to that answer (using info from the text) and THEN explaining that because of this....

Finally, we ended the day with a science lesson. First students had to respond to three questions in their science journals. Then we experimented using string to produce a sound!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This morning the children attended a cultural arts assembly while I went to a meeting.

After that they reviewed point-of-view and read examples of books written in the first person point-of-view and the third person point-of-view.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the children worked on an RRJ response, cursive writing and spelling while I met with groups. The RRJ assignment was to identify a character from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and to explain how the story would be different told from that character's perspective.

We will end the day by reading and discussing an article about protecting your hearing and using our eardrum models, again.

Report cards are coming home tonight. Please keep everything inside the envelope, sign the outside of the envelope and return the envelope to school tomorrow!

Book orders are due Friday!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Morning

Well, the Skins didn't win last night....I sat in my family room in my Riggins' jersey and waited to cheer them on but they weren't playing!?!?! However, the Cardinals seemed to have borrowed some plays from their playbook...and NOT in the good way! ;-)

Hopefully, this week will allow us to hit the ground running into the third marking period. In math we practiced identifying symmetry in figures, as well as, congruent figures. There is a worksheet for homework. Following math we had our class picture take.

Upon returning to the classroom we discussed point of view in fiction. I used the Three Little Pigs as an example...the pigs thought the brick house was great, it protected them...the wolf didn't like the brick house so much!

Then I introduced the concepts of First Person point-of-view (the narrator is a character in the story...the word I is used) and third person point-of-view (someone not involved in the story is narrating).

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess the children will return to class and work independently on finishing their writing to persuade baseline sample, cursive and going to FASTT math. During this time I will meet with reading groups...some children's groups have changed. Please ask your child what they are reading!

Fair Swap: I began reading the book to them. They are to finish reading to determine if it was a fair swap. They were also to note any "new" words on a sticky note for reading group.

Richman and the Shoemaker: I read the story to them. They were to return to their seats to reread the story. Additionally, they were to mark any surprising or interesting events on a sticky note for discussion during our next group.

Ooka and the Honest Thieves: Discuss the concept of an honest thief and then do the first reading of the story.

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

Homework: Math worksheet, spelling is due Friday AND each group needs to reread their story from today.

Book orders are due BY Friday!

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