Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow! The sun is actually shining!!

What a gorgeous day! Feels like we haven't had such a beautiful day in a long time...perfect way to being quarter 4!!

In math we went to Mrs. Braune's class to see a lesson done using Hand on Equations. This is a program that teachers students, using manipulatives, to write and solve algebraic equations. Very cool!! there is a money worksheet for homework.

In reading we continued our study of fantasy by reading The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg. We concentrated on noting realistic events that the author included in an effort to help the reader become absorbed in the story and forget that it is fantasy.

While the children worked independently on reading group activities, a BCR in their RRJ and cursive handwriting, I met with small groups.

Journey: We reread chapter 13 and discussed the changes that took place in the entire story. It was a wonderful conversation.

Anna: Read chapter 7.

SP&T: Read chapter 7 and answered the assigned BCR in their RRJ.

Following lunch end recess we will complete a preassessment for writing. The students will answer the following questions in their writer's notebook and then we will discuss/share answers:
1. What are the characteristics of realistic fiction?
2. What steps would I follow to write realistic fiction?
3. What do I need to think about as I write realistic fiction?

We will end the day with a social studies lesson where we will discuss key events over time and how to create time lines depicting these events. There will be a follow up worksheet for homework!!

Friday, March 27, 2009


In math we continued our investigation of decimals. We practiced identifying and naming tenths. There is part of a worksheet for the children to finish on Monday, since the students do not have school.

In reading we discussed the characteristics of fantasy literature and read a story called Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm. We will continue our study of fantasy in the new marking period.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess we read an article about the water shortage in Beijing. We discussed many aspects that led to this shortage such as; the population tripling over the past 50 years, a lack of rainfall in the country and the city being built far from a water source such as a large river.

In response to this challenge, we read about the Miyun Reservoir which was built to collect and store water for the citizen's of Beijing.

We ended the day by listening to Mrs. J.'s son playing his guitar and sharing our instruments with Mr. Vogel's class.

Remember, there is NO SCHOOL for students on Monday. It is a report card preparation day for teachers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Instrumental Thursday

The sound project s were due today! We are sharing the instruments this afternoon and I can't wait!!

In math we reviewed adding and subtracting money and estimating to see if our answers make sense. Then we discussed how fractions and money are comparisons of parts to wholes. This was a springboard into the introduction of decimals. Decimals are a fourth grade objective that some students will be introduced to and others will receive in-depth instruction. We began with reading tenths and hundredths. There is a money worksheet for homework and NO QUIZ tomorrow...I think the kids have had enough testing for now, don't you?!?!

During reading/language arts the students worked on completing reading group assignments and their final persuasive writing pieces.

Following lunch and indoor recess we will look at a map of Fakesville today. The students will work in groups to identify ways Fakesville has changed since 1950 (the map they received yesterday). As a group they will find a way to chart this information and share it with the class. We will then discuss the possible reasons for the changes made to Fakesville, which will lead us to how and why people modify and adapt to their environment.

We will end the day with the students sharing their sound projects with classmates. The written portion will be coming home tonight. Students were expected to demonstrate knowledge oh how sound is produced and changed using science vocabulary we learned during the unit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hump Day

We had a highly prodcutive day today! :-)

In math we reviewed fractions of a set and counting money. WE also practiced adding and subtraction money AND using estimation to determine whether our answers made sense. There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading we got a taste of the fantasy literary genre by listening to the story Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with the Family Lazaro. Then the students continued working on thier reading group assignments from yesterday and their persuasive writing piece.

Following PE, lunch and recess the students continued working independently and went to FASTT math. I did some individual reading assessments to gauge student progress.

We ended the day by idetifying natural and human-made geographic characteristics on a map. WE will use this to determine how people modify and adapt to their environment.

Remember that sound projects are due TOMORROW!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ahhhhhhhhh...routine! Gotta love it!!

We are back to the regular routine. YEY!!!!!

In math we reviewed fractions and counting and writing money. I worked we with a small group identifying coins and their values and skip counting by fives and tens. The rest of the class worked on two worksheets independently and then did anchor activities. I had introduced a money game which incorporated both counting money and logic. Many students had the opportunity to play that game and enjoyed it! There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading we completed a new style of vocabulary web together. Then the students had to do one independently using a word from their reading group. They also worked on reading group assignments while I met with small groups.

Journey: Worked on vocab web and chapter 8-10 RRJ assignment. Then began reading chapters 11-13. They need to reread this for homework.

SP&T: We met and read and discussed chapters 5 & 6. They needed to complete the chapter 4 RRJ and begin the chapter 5 & 6 RRJ. They should reread chapters 5 & 6 for homework.

Anna: We read chapters 5 & 6 together and discussed how (and why) grandpa has changed. They reread this selection with a partner and need to reread again for homework. We are working on fluency!! They also have a word sort assignment to do independently in class.

Following lunch and recess the students will continue working on reading group assignments. They will also use the knowledge they gained from reading the articles yesterday to create a graphic organizer for their final persuasive writing piece. Some students might begin their rough draft, too.

We will end the day with a guidance lesson from Mrs. Dorfman.

Remember, sound projects are due on Thursday....two days from today!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last Day of MSA

This morning the students took the second portion of the math MSA. This completed their third grade MSA testing! YAHOO!!!

After art, lunch and recess the students returned to class for writing and FASTT math.

In writing the children got to choose from three topics; year round schooling, uniforms in school and getting rid of the penny. After choosing their topic, they were given two articles, about their topic, to read and highlight. Next, we will use the information they gathered to plan a persuasive writing piece about their chosen topic.

Finally, we will end our day, today, with a book exchange in the media center.

PLEASE remember that sound projects are due THIS Thursday, March 26.


Wow! I don't think I have ever missed two days in a row since starting this blog. I sincerely apologize. My eldest son had a stomach virus that was pretty nasty. So I was teaching half days then running home to relieve my parents.

This is just a quick update as to what we did on Thursday and Friday...to the best of my foggy recollection, that is!

On Thursday in math we reviewed counting and writing money using dollar bills and coins. The we spent time identifying fractions of a set. For example, to find 1/3 of 12, you first need to divide 12 by 3. This tells how many are in each EQUAL group. There was no math homework since we had MSA the next morning.

After math we continued reading about migration to the DC region. This time the students were to read the final article in the packet independently. As they read, they were expected to underline reasons people might migrate to this region, just had we had done together on the previous article. After reading, the had to write in their RRJ about 2 reasons people migrate to the DC region and use details from the packet to support their answer.

I met with a small group that need my support to successfully complete this activity.

Following lunch and recess the children went to the computer lab to work on Type to Learn. Then they read and discussed an issue of Time for Kids with the substitute.

On Friday the students took part 1 of the math MSA. Then after music, lunch and recess, they went to FASTT math and worked on their map packets. They ended the day with a trip to the computer lab.

Hope this helps catch you up! remember that the sound projects are due this Thursday!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hump Day

Well, it's back to the routine for a couple of days. YEY!!!!

In math we began counting money. I sis a quick exit card to determine where the student's needs were in identifying and countint coins. Then I pulled a small group to help them improve their skills.

PARENTS: You can help! Plop down a handful of change from your pocket or wallet. Have you child sort the coins and identify the name and value of the coins. Then have them county and idetify the value.

While I worked with the small group, the remainder of the class completed two fraction worksheets and stregthened their skills with anchor activities.

There is a worksheet (or two for some) for homework.

In readiing we continued reading the informative piece about the DC region's transportation systems. We idetified reasons, from the article, that would make people want to migrate to this region. We also spent time verbally naming AND explaining reasons people might migrate to this region.

This is all in preparation for the students reading about the DC region job market and identifying reasons from THAT article as to why people might migrate to this regiong. Then they will write about reasons from both articles...they will be expected to name 2 reasons AND explain the reasons using information from their reading.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess the children will work on reading group activities, writing to persuade and go to FASTT math. I will meet with reading groups.

We will end the day working on our map packet. THe children seem to really enjoy these worksheets that are building their map skills.

PLEASE make sure your child is working on their sound project. It is due next Thursday, March 26.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MSA Reading - DONE!

This morning we completed the MSA Reading test for third grade. We will begin the math portion on Friday morning and complete it on Monday. Following MSA testing we took some time to review the continents and oceans and to discuss reasons for settling and migrating to places. WE were SO fortunate to have a PowerPoint presentation, provided (not created) by Mrs. J. to see actual satellite footage of the continents and oceans, as well as, locating urban areas by seeing lights in the night pictures. This sparked great discussions about migration, vegetation, land forms, time zones and other elements of our Earth. Following lunch and outdoor recess, we reviewed some of the Power Point slides and continued our discussion. Then the students worked on two pages in our map packet. One involved using a map key. The other introduced intermediate directions (northwest, southeast, etc.) We will end the day in the computer lab using Type to Learn to practice our keyboarding skills. Homework: Sound project (instrument, diagram and information writing piece) and read for at least 15 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MSA Reading - Day 1

This morning the children began MSA testing by taking the first part of the reading test. Tomorrow morning they will complete the reading section by doing part 2.

After testing the children went to art, lunch and outdoor recess.

When they returned we they completed a map/globe activity where they learned about the continents and the oceans. They also went to FASTT math.

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

Homework: PLEASE make sure your child is working on their sound project. Next Thursday, March 26, each student needs to turn in an instrument, a diagram of the instrument (picture with labels) and a multi-paragraphed informational piece about their project and the instrument itself.

Friday, March 13, 2009


This morning we took our second quiz for unit 5. Overall the students did very well. A few are still struggling with identifying fractions on a number line. WE will work more on this next week.

In reading I used a graphic organizer to model how we can use background knowledge, and new information gained by reading a flyer to determine how we will use the information personally. This takes us beyond simply reading and comprehending a flyer. It adds in synthesizing what we read.

Following music, lunch and recess the students will read the flyer they worked with, in class, on Tuesday and complete a graphic organizer similar to the one I used this morning. They will also finish any reading group assignments from the week, work on their persuasive writing pieces and go to FASTT math.

WE will end the day by reading about how transportation effects migrations and the environment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


In math we worked with white boards to investigate the similarities between fractions and division. We also reviewed placing fractions and mixed numbers on a number line. There is a probability worksheet for homework and a quiz tomorrow. The quiz will cover fraction items similar to our last quiz and some probability.

In reading the students continued working on their novels while I met with reading groups.

Journey: We had a wonderful discussion about the symbolism of the cat Journey discovers. The students have now been assigned chapters 8-10 to read.

Anna: We read and discussed chapter 3. The children worked on reading chapter 4 and an RRJ assignment.

SP&T: We used a map to locate Maine and the prairie region of our country. We discussed differences between these two locations. Then we read and discussed chapter 3.

Following lunch and recess we "played" with calculators so that the children could gain experience in using them and increase their comfort level with them. Part of our playing involved solving mathematical equations using a calculator.

After that, we did some math MSA practice activities that are similar to the test itself. WE did not complete the entire packet but it is coming home to give you an idea of the types of problems the children will be solving.

WE ended the day with a guidance lesson taught by Mrs. Dorfman.

I am sending home a list of science vocabulary words which should be included in the informative paragraph of the sound project. Please make sure your child is actively working on their instrument!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


THis morning we walked over to Damascus High School and watched a performance of the musical Annie. It was fabulous!

We returned to school in time for lunch and recess. Following recess, the students wrote thank you letters and made cards for the cast and crew of Annie. They also went to FASTT math and had their spring portraits taken.

It was a busy and fun day!!

PLEASE make sure your child has begun to work on the sound project. It is due March 26!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In math we continued our study of probability using the textbook. There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading the children worked in small groups to identify text features on a flyer and to explain the information that each text feature provided. Then they continued their reading group assignments from yesterday.

Following lunch and recess I modeled choosing a topic for persuasive writing and then brainstorming arguments and support for my position statement. The children then continued working on reading group assignments and persuasive writing. I worked with individual students to help them with their writing.

Prior to social studies I had the children write down their reading and writing homework in their planners. I, personally, checked all planners...each child has THEIR homework written in it. Homework differs, tonight, according to reading group and the amount of work they have completed in class.

I also distributed another packet for the sound project. This includes a breakdown of what should be turned in on March 26 AND the rubrics which will be used to score their work. Please review this with your child.

We ended the day discussing regions within our country and in particular the Washington, DC region. We also read about how transportation helped migration to this region and hurt the environment.

Tomorrow is spring picture day. We will be getting our pictures taken in the afternoon since we will be over at the high school in the morning to see Annie.

Friday, March 6, 2009


This morning in math we took a quiz on fractions. After the quiz, I quickly scored them, returned them to the students and went over each problem on the quiz.

In reading we began reading a flyer and discussing the purpose of the flyer, the intended audience and the type of literature it was (non-fiction). We will continue this lesson on Monday.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess the students will continue with their persuasive writing pieces and go to FASTT math. They will end the day by reading and discussing an issue of Time for Kids.

Social Studies assessments were handed back today...check your child's home folder to see how he/she did!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


In math we practiced comparing fractions using <, > and =. When working as a whole group the students seemed to understand the concept...as the denominator increases, the piece gets smaller. Unfortunately, many students rushed through their independent practice and struggled. There is another practice worksheet for homework. Please encourage (ahem...make) your child color the fraction bars before writing the <, > or = symbol.

We began reading with a practice MSA activity. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to finish due to numerous student disruptions. The children were not practicing good testing behaviors...they were out of their seats, talking to neighbors, asking to get drinks, skipping BCR's and the list goes on. I was frustrated and disappointed and shared this with the class.

From there we moved on to reading group activities.

Journey: Continued working on a vocab web and RRJ response for chapters 3&4.

Anna: Measured 50 inches with me to identify the actual depth of the snow during the blizzard. Then reread chapter 1 with me and worked on an RRJ response.

Sarah, Plain and Tall (SP&T): Read and discussed chapter 1 with me and worked on an RRJ response.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the children will continue working on reading group assignments and persuasive writing. They will also go to FASTT math.

We will end the day with a cultural arts assembly about the Australian Wildlife.

There will be a math quiz tomorrow and a spelling test!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hump Day!

This morning in math we continued identifying equivalent fractions. We moved from manipulatives to worksheets. There is a worksheet to finish for homework. I have also told the children that they should continue practicing their multiplication flashcards for homework.

In reading we continued our study of historical fiction by reading and discussing the book My Dad's Baseball.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess the children will work on reading group activities, writing to persuade and go to FASTT math.

All reading groups will be reading novels buy the end of today.

Journey will begin reading chapters 3&4 and working on assignments on their novel schedule. Remember, this paper is stored in their binder, in the reading/LA section.

Tornado will begin reading the novel Anna, Grandpa and the Big Storm. They will be given a novel schedule which will be kept in their binder, too.

Myron will begin the novel Sarah, Plain and Tall. Look for their novel schedule in their binder!

We will end the day with the social studies assessment that we never got to yesterday!! :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March Roars In...

Well, we finally got some snow but I am ready for spring! :-) I know, some people are hard to please, right? ;-)

With our early release on Friday, no school on Monday and two hour delay this morning, it took some time to get re acclimated.

Before going to lunch we worked on some MSA (reading) practice activities.

We also discussed things we used to enjoy doing but are not afraid to do...this was in preparation for a book we read after lunch called Mirette on the High Wire. The theme of this book is overcoming fear. It is also historical fiction.

After lunch we read and discussed Mirette on the High Wire. The students then responded to a BCR in their RRJ (How are the personalities of Mirette and May similar?). When they finished, they worked on their persuasive writing.

We ended the day with a social studies activity that allowed me to assess their knowledge of government and the needs for rules.

For homework there is a cursive worksheet...also, spelling is due Friday!

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