Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OOPS! One more thing...

All students will be bringing home an interim progress report in their home folders today. It is the midway point in the marking period. SO this report let's you know how your student is doing.

Also, ALL reading groups have reading homework written in their planners!!

Hump Day...Already?!?!?!

This week seems to be moving along quite nicely!!!

In math we continued practicing solving two digit subtraction problems when regrouping is needed. I worked with a small group while the rest of the class worked independently. There is a practice worksheet for homework.

In reading we read a GREAT book called Flossie and the Fox and discussed the plot and story endings. Be sure to ask your child about the was really funny!

After that the children shared their writing graphic organizers, that they created yesterday, with their classmates.

Following PE, lunch and recess the children will work on independent work and meet with me in reading groups.

Bear: We will share the endings list from their homework. We will also reread their story. The students will write about the plot in their RRJ. THis will be a scored assignement.

Tigers: We will share their sticky notes that identify the elements of the story and reread the story. They, too, will write about the plot (for a score) in their RRJ.

Lions: We will read chapter 2 and write about whether Panic is a good name for this chapter.

Additionally, the students will use their graphic organizer to begin a rough draft of a personal narrative and work on the curive letters x, y and z.

We will end the day by conducting a chromatography experiment. WE will use a water bath to separate an ink mixture.

Check planners for homework! It will be different for each child since it will be to finish any unfinished independent work from reading and writing. Sorry to make it vague!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Talk about hitting the ground running...we have had a productive day so far!!!

In math we reviewed identifying the rule for numeric patterns and applying the rule to continue the pattern. We also spent some time discussing number periods (every set of three digits is called a 1 million had 7 digits and therefore it has 3 periods)and using our knowledge of the periods to read 6 and 7 digit numbers.

I also spent some time discussing addition and subtraction as parts and wholes. Addition is when you add together parts to get to the answer, which is the whole. With subtraction you begin with the whole and take away a part. We are using this knowledge to check our subtraction work by using addition and vice versa.

Finally, we spent time solving two digit subtraction problems that require the regrouping of numbers.

There is a subtraction worksheet for regrouping...yet!

Today is our day without specials. So we have an extended language arts block...and we put it to GREAT use! We began by listening to the story Library Lil' and discussing the story elements. As part of their independent work the students will complete a story map for the book.

I also introduced writing n, m and v in cursive. There is a practice worksheet for independent work, too.

In writing we focused on the entire writing process. The students have been learning about organization and sensory images. These are tools they should use to enhance their writing. We are now going to focus on taking pieces through the writing process; choosing a topic and organizing thoughts, first draft, conferencing with peers and adults, revising and writing a final draft.

After going over all of this with the class, the students chose a topic and begin a graphic organizer. The received a blank piece of paper and began drawing EVERYTHING that came to mind about their topic. Next they will begin organizing the pictures into a sequence that will lend itself to a rough draft.

Of course, following the whole group instruction, while the students work (ed) independently, I am meeting with reading groups.

Bears: We worked with contractions including those with 's and 've. Then we reread Rex Plays Fetch. Finally, we discussed suffixes again and identified words with -ed, -es and-ing endings. For homework: Reread the book and find at least 5 words for each suffix listed on the chart in their RRJ (-ed, -es and-ing).

Tigers: Reviewed list of unknown words from the children's homework last week. Then began reading Galimoto. For homework the children need to reread the story. They have 5 sticky notes labeled with characters, setting, problem, events and solution. They need to identify these story elements in the story by writing it on the appropriate sticky note and putting the paper on the page where they locate the information.

Lions: Tonight for homework they need to read chapter 1 in The Secret and respond to the RRJ question that is on their novel schedule which should be in the reading section of their binder.

We are ending the day by going to the computer lab to visit a web site that will give us information about chromatography.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Very Busy Thursday!

We are humming along and being quite productive these days!!

In math we practiced solving addition problems that require the regrouping of numbers. I also met with two small groups working on addition and identifying and completing numeric patters. There is a subtraction practice sheet (no regrouping required!) for homework. We WILL have a quiz tomorrow on estimating sums, expanded form and numeric patterns.

During reading we used context clues (surrounding sentences and illustrations)to figure out the meaning of new vocabulary in Brave Irene. I was so impressed with the children's abilities. It made for a fun lesson!!!

Following music, lunch and recess my homeroom will be going to the computer lab to complete a Fingerprint Web Quest, while Mr. Vogel's homeroom has a guidance lesson. After the computer lab, my homeroom will meet with Mrs. Howard for a lesson on organization.

Homework: Word Work Homework is DUE TOMORROW!!!!! FOUR assignments. All students should read for at least 15 minutes, as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hump Day!

You gotta love it when you wake up thinking it is only Tuesday and it is actually WEDNESDAY!!!!

Good news...the children did a great job with the sub yesterday! They got through the lessons I left and received wonderful compliments from her!!

In math today we worked in small groups to solve 2 and 3 digit addition problems that required regrouping. The students worked together to solve the problem and explain their thinking to the class. There is an addition practice sheet for homework.

We began reading by listening to Madeline's Rescue. Additionally, I modeled a written response (BCR) that identified the problem and events leading to the solution for The Empty Pot. AS part of their independent work, the students will answer the same BCR but use Madeline's Rescue. They will also practice writing the letters q, o and c in cursive.

Just prior to going to PE, lunch and recess, we went down to the lunchroom and noted sensory images that we saw, heard, smelled and felt, in our writer's notebook.

After recess the students will meet with me in reading groups, work with Mrs. Hepner on their writing and work independently on the assignments explained earlier.

I am hoping we will end the day by going to the computer lab to work on a Web Quest (kind of like an electronic scavenger hunt)for our fingerprinting unit. We will have to see how the day plays out as far as time goes...

Reading Groups:
Bear - We will sort our contractions that we collected yesterday and begin a new book.

Tiger - We will begin reading Galimoto and identify unknown words (both comprehension and decoding).

Lion - We will begin The Secret. They will write about basketball in their RRJ. Just an FYI...this group is getting a "novel schedule" today. This is the anticipated sequence of events for their new book. It is expected to be kept in the reading section of their binder. Please look it over but keep it in there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Be warned...we do not have specials on Tuesday...they can be long for the children (okay...for me, too!) But, again, it has been another productive day! I am loving our new schedule and this group of children!!!

In math, the children worked in small groups, using a cooperative learning strategy called numbered heads, to estimate the difference between two numbers. Then the groups shared their work with the entire class. However, the students all had to understand what was done in group because they did not know who I would call on to tell the class how they solved the problem. It was a fun way for the students to learn and it did encourage total group participation. The downside was I did not get to small groups. There is a pattern worksheet for homework.

After math and before reading, Mrs. Howard spoke to the students about running to be a class rep for SGA. A letter with more information is coming home this evening. Speeches are due and will be given to homeroom classes at 1:30 on Friday.

During reading we read Brave Irene and discussed the plot. Then, as apart of independent work, the children wrote about the story elements, including the plot, on a worksheet. They also completed a vocabulary activity and practiced writing the letters, a, d and g for independent work.

For our writing lesson, I read an excerpt of Charlotte's Web and we identified and discussed various uses of sensory images, used by the author, to create a scene. It was a great discussion! The students were able to explain so many examples!

Prior to lunch I met with the bear reading group. We identified contractions as we reread The Running Shoes. We also wrote about the problem and solution in the story, together, in their RRJs.

Following lunch and recess, I will be out at a doctor's appointment. The children will continue to work on independent work and meet in reading groups with the sub. They will also work on writing with Mrs. Hepner.

Tigers will reread Crow Boy and discuss the problem and solution. They will write about the problem and solution, independently, in their RRJ.

Lions will reread chapter 4 & 5 and discuss the problem and solution. They, too, will write about it, on their own, in their RRJ.

Finally, my homeroom will use cocoa powder to dust for fingerprints in science today. Should be a fun experiment!!

Monday, September 21, 2009


This morning, in math, we used our rounding skills to estimate the sums of addition problems. We also practiced continuing numeric patterns and identifying the rule for the patterns. While the students worked independently, Mrs. Starkey worked with a small group on their independent work. I worked with a small group rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten. SO...we got as lot done!!!! There is a pattern worksheet for homework.

During reading we read and discussed The Empty Pot. We concentrated on identifying the problem and the solution to it. Then we worked on using sensory images to describe the feeling (touch) of an object.

Following art, lunch and recess the children worked independently on a story map for The Empty Pot and practicing the cursive letters f, p and j. I met with reading groups and Mrs. Hepner, the reading specialist, worked with small groups on their writing.

Reading Groups:
Bear: Reviewed suffixes and the lists they created in their RRJ. Reread the story and located the problem and solution. Tonight they need reread their story.

Tiger: Completed concept map for forlorn and put in their binder for future reference. Tonight they need to reread Crow Boy and locate the problem and solution.

Lion: reviewed the BCR from last week and shared models, written by peers, of exemplar answers. Tonight they need to read chapters 4&5.

We finished the day by reviewing natural, human and capital resources. Then the students created charts of the resources that are needed in our classroom to provide a good education.

All students should be working on their word study homework tonight.

Additionally, we still need parent volunteers to plan our walking field trip of Damascus!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Happy Friday!!!

In math we did not have a quiz but we will have one next week. We continued identifying the rules for a given numeric pattern and using the rule to extend it. I worked with a small group while the rest of the class completed two worksheets (one on patterns, the other...two digit addition) and worked on anchor activities.

After that we began day three of our newly formed language arts classes. WE got through two whole groups lessons. One was identifying and charting examples of sensory images used by the author of the book Everglades, through either written word or pictures. The other was using sight sensory images in our writing as we describe an ordinary object from our desk. I wrote about a sticky note!!!

Following media, lunch and recess the children will meet with me in reading groups and work on follow up activities for the reading books. They will also use sensory images in their writing as a they write about an object in their desk. Finally, they will practice writing r and s in cursive.

If time permits, my homeroom will identify the various resources needed in a classroom, prior to going outside for Fun Friday!

Reading Groups:
Bear: Read book The Running Shoes and discussed what Alex learned. (She learned you don't need new shoes to win a race.) Then we discussed suffixes (word endings). The children went back to their seats and charted words, from their book, with -ing, -ed and s endings.

Tiger: Met with me and shared unknown words from last night. Then we started a concept map (a graphic organizer used to learn new vocabulary words). WE began by looking up forlorn in the dictionary. This led to a mini impromptu lesson on using guide words. We wrote the definition on the concept map. After that we went to the story to reread the sentence that has forlorn in it and used our new knowledge to understand the sentence. We will continue the concept map on Monday.

Lion: Independently answered a BCR (short essay question) regarding a character trait for Selena and evidence, from the book, to back it up. When they came to group we discussed what a good response to the question would require. Then they had the opportunity to make improvements to their response. After they handed in their BCR, we took turns reading aloud.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our First Peace Assembly

In math we began identifying the rule and using it to continue numeric patterns. The students have notes in the math section of their binders to help them with their homework this evening. There is a worksheet in their home folder.

In reading we read Where the River Begins and identified the importance of the setting to this book. We also chose our first personal word study list and put those words in our word study journal and our planner for this week and next week. Additionally, we glued the word study routine and homework assignments into the front and back covers of our word study journal.

Following music, lunch and recess I FINALLY began meeting with reading groups while the students worked independently on choosing their word study lists and practicing writing h and k in cursive.

Bears: Met with me and practice identifying and writing words that are in their book. Then we read pages 2-6. For homework they need to reread these pages.

Tigers: They talked me out of the warm up I had planned...we were running out of time and they really wanted to begin reading the can I argue with that? So we began reading Crow Boy. Tonight, for homework, they need to finish reading the book and list any unknown words (either decoding or comprehension) on the sticky note in the front of their book.

Lion: Read chapters 1 and 2 in Queen of the Pool. They noted unfamiliar words on a sticky note in the front of their book. They also had to be ready to identify the problem in the book. Tonight they need to reread the first two chapters.

After reading we went to the school's first peace assembly. We watched 4th and 5th grade students perform puppet shows and skits to help reinforce our Stop and Think program. It was a great way to review what it means to make good choices!

Homework: Math, reading and begin word study homework. Four word study assignments are due NEXT Friday, September 25.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hump Day

I feel like I have made it over the "hump"!!! We had our first class with our new reading groups today and it feels like we are settled in at last!!!

This morning I was at a meeting discussing student data and it's implications for planning and instruction. While there, Mrs. Benson worked with my math class on rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten. Mrs. Benson assigned the homework for this evening...students are to choose 5 3-digit numbers and round these to the nearest ten using the method we have practiced in class and at home for the past two days.

During reading we reread The Listening Walk and the students categorized sound words. They also learned and practiced two new cursive letters, l and b.

Following PE, lunch and recess my homeroom completed the science activity that we ran out of time to do yesterday. They used their knowledge of fingerprint patterns to "solve" a crime. Then they wrote about how fingerprinting helped them solve the crime.

Finally, Mrs. Howard stopped by to do a lesson with my homeroom about organization.

Homework: Read for 15 minutes and finish the word sort and/or cursive from my reading class.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Wow! Busy day today!

In math we continued rounding numbers to the nearest ten but we challenged ourselves by doing this with THREE digit numbers. I worked with a small group to provide extra support and practice while the rest of the class worked independently on two worksheets and went to anchor activities. There is a rounding worksheet for homework.

In reading we read the story Island Boy and discussed how character traits can help us identify how a character changes from the beginning to the end of a story. We also used our words from homework last night to chart the various ways that the ?ee? sound is spelled at words. The students pointed out that when the /ee/ sound occurs at the end of the word it is usually spelled ey or just y. When the /ee/ sound is in the middle of the word ee and ea are the most common spellings.

Following lunch and recess we discussed the way authors use sensory images in their writing to "paint" a picture in their readers minds. We then read The Listening Walk and began writing a personal narrative with an emphasis on using sound words in our writing.

At the end of the day we shared a letter about new reading classes that will begin tomorrow.

Homework: Read for 15 minutes and take fingerprints of one adult in your house and code the prints.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The Redskins' opening loss was a bitter pill to swallow...luckily, I have a fantastic group of students to take my mind off of it!

In math this morning we began tackling rounding two digit numbers to the nearest ten. There is a follow up worksheet for homework. We completed the first problem in class just in case the children need help from home and parents didn't quite understand the set up. In short, the children need to decide which two "tens" the given number is between (on the number line) and then use the ones digit to decide whether to round up to the higher ten or down to the lower ten. 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 round down. 5 and higher round up.

During reading we read Miss Rumphius and practiced identify character traits for the main character and finding evidence from the book. Then we began using these character traits to make predictions as to what will happen in the story. This is one way that good readers increase their understanding of fiction.

We also went to art this morning.

This afternoon we will begin our /ee/ word study unit. We will also read the Listening Walk and do a vocabulary word sort. Should time permit the children will write a personal narrative paying special attention to describing the sounds that were pertinent to their particular memory.

We will end the day by doing a social studies word sort in small groups.

For homework students will need to add at least 10 words to their /ee/ list and read for 15 minutes.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I am so glad it is Friday. I am looking forward to the Redskins opener on Sunday!!

In math we took our first quiz for unit 1. The quizzes have already been scored and are currently in the math section of the students' binder. Please look it over but leave it in the binder!!!

During our reading block we read Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain and identified cahracter traits for Ki-Pat. We also found evidence in the text to support the traits.

This morning we visited the media center, too.

Following lunch and indoor recess we will read Today I Feel Silly and write about a feeling. I also plan to work with individual students to help them increase both their reading and writing sight words.

Then we will review the maps we drew in social studies yesterday and create a list of resources that are need for the hobby that we drew a symbol of last week.

Finally, those children who completed their homework all week will enjoy Fun Friday. Some students, unfortunately, will be working in a quiet classroom on missed homework and other academic tasks.

Have a great weekend! GO SKINS!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Day After...

It's always a bit rough waking up the morning after Back to School Night...but knowing I was going to be greeted by a great class helped...somewhat! I was still a bit tired today!!

In math we worked on arranging four digit numbers in order from least to greatest using place value. We also identified numbers as odd or even. We will have a quiz tomorrow and there is an odd/even worksheet for homework.

During reading we read Thundercake by Patricia Pollacco. We identified characteristics of realistic fiction and practiced making connections to the text.

We also went to music.

After lunch and recess the students wrote about the connections they made to Thundercake, in their RRJ. They also practiced writing the cursive letters u, w and e. Some students did not finish their cursive. They will need to finish it as part of their homework.

While they worked independently I finished my reading assessments...yes, finished!! WOO HOO!!!!!

Finally, we ended the day with the children drawing a map of their own desk and the three closest desks to them.

Please make sure your child reads for at least 15 minutes!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School Night!

Back to School Night is tonight at 7:00 pm. I am looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Your child will be bringing home our first Scholastic flyers today. There are three different flyers; Math and Science, October Lucky books and Click computer. You can find some great deals in these flyers. Additionally, there is often information pertaining to the instruction level of the books. This will help you find a book suited to your child's abilities.

PLEASE do not feel you have to order. If you do choose to order there are now two ways to do so. You can order online or send a completed order form, along with a check payable to Scholastic Books, to school. There is a letter explaining the easy online ordering process coming home today, too.

In math we continued using place value to arrange digits into the greatest and least possible numbers. I also had the chance to meet with a small group. We worked on writing 4 and 5 digit numbers in expanded form. There is a practice worksheet for homework.

After math we viewed a Power Point presentation about the MAP-R. This is a computerized reading assessment that students in 3, 4 and 5 grades take three times a year. The MAP-R is a 42 question test that adjusts to the needs of the individual test taker. As questions are answered correctly they get more challenging. If questions are missed repeatedly, then the test gets less intense.

Then the children went to PE. After PE, I returned the student's scored baseline writing pieces and we put them in their binders. Many students then went to view the President's taped speech while the others remained with me, in the classroom, and completed unfinished work or read silently.

Following lunch and recess, the entire class went to take MAP-R. When they return we will collect fingerprints from on of their hands and identify the patterns in each print.

Please be sure your child reads for 15 minutes each night!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Tuesday that Feel Like a Monday

We had a great day, again, today but it was BUSY!!!!!

In math we practiced making the greatest and least (this part was new) possible number given four digits. I also introduced 4 anchor activities that students can choose from that will help them practice their math skills when they are finished with their classwork. There is a worksheet for homework.

During our reading block, I attempted to complete my reading assessments. I got a lot done but there is still more to do! While I tested students the rest of the class worked independently on writing the letters i and t in cursive and making an "I Am Special" book. The children worked quite well. I was proud of them!!! There is a cursive practice paper for homework, too.

Just prior to releasing the students to work independently, I introduced the "Issue Bin". This is a poster hanging on the wall where students can write important notes to me on post-it notes and leave them for me to read when I am busy working with other students independently or one-on-one. This gives students the chance to ask questions or tell me something that they think is "pressing" without taking me away from other children with whom I am engaged.

Following lunch and recess I had a meeting to attend but the students finished their "I Am Special" book.

When I returned we read about the history of fingerprinting and then looked at the three common fingerprint patters; arch, whorl and loop. FInally, we practiced making fingerprints.

Don't forget, every students is expected to read for 15 minutes each and every night...even if we forget to write it in the planner!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009


It's been a great week but I have to admit that I am ready for a long weekend!!

In math we practiced creating the greatest number possible using a given set of digits. We also continued learning how to play the 100's chart game. Additionally, the students completed "exit cards" where I said three different 3-digit numbers and they had to write each number in standard form as well as in expanded form.

From time to time I will give the children exit cards which are really just an index card on which the students complete 2-3 items. Then I sort the cards over a trash can. REALLY! I throw away the cards of the students who completed all of the problems correctly. Then I sort the rest of the cards according to the reason for their errors. I then use the results to work with small groups to help them master new skills.

I hope this explanation makes is Friday afternoon!!

After math I introduced a tool for learning new vocabulary called a concept map. This is a graphic organizer that takes a word (or concept) and using context clues (from text) and a definition from a dictionary or glossary has the students come up with similar ideas and examples to help further their understanding of the word.

We also went to the media center this morning.

Following lunch and recess the students will create invitations to Back to School Night and read their books from the media center. During this time, I will continue with my reading assessments. Then the students will create a map of their desk.

Finally, we will end the day with "Fun Friday". At the end of the day on Fridays, students in grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to participate in an extra recess or other fun activity IF they have completed ALL of their homework for the ENTIRE week. Students who missed one or more homework assignments during the week will gather in a classroom to work on missed assignments.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Math Homework Begins!!

The student's in my math class will be bringing home a place value worksheet for homework today! Woo Hoo!!!! We spent the majority of math practicing writing two and three numbers in standard, word and expanded form. I also began to introduce a game which they will be able to "play" when they have completed their work. This game incorporates place value and mental addition and subtraction.

In reading we again practiced making connections to text, this time using the book Ira Sleeps Over. Once again we were working on identifying the emotions that we felt and he actions that were brought about by our feelings.

After going to music we set up our writer's notebook, our word study jouranl and our reading response log. Then we began listing approrpiate entries for our writer's notebook, such as; lists, graphic organizers and rough drafts.

Following lunch and recess I will continue reading testing. The students will write about a connection they can make to either The Art Lesson or Ira Sleeps Over, in their reading response log. Then they will begin a list of writing topics for personal narratives in their writer's notebook. If they have additional time they will independently read their National Geographic.

At 2:30 Mrs. Howard will stop by for a brief visit. Fianlly, we will begin our social studies unit by creating a symbol for a hobby and making a map of our desk.

Homework: Math worksheet and read for at least 15 minutes

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another GREAT Day!

I continue to LOVE working with your children!!!

In math we used base ten blocks to find different ways to make the number 43. For example, we could use 4 tens sticks and 3 ones cubes or 3 tens and 13 ones, etc. From this we moved on to writing numbers in standard form (97), word form (ninety-seven) and expanded notation (97=90+7). Unfortunately we did not get far enough for the homework that I had planned. So, again, no math homework. Please do not worry...this will not become a pattern. It's part of getting to know the abilities of your class!!

In reading we read the story The Art Lesson by Tomie DePaola. We practiced making connections to the text. In third grade, we are thinking about the connections in terms of how did we feel and what did we do because of those feelings. This helps us understand and anticipate how a character reacts and problems that may arise.

Following PE, we received and looked through our first issue of Nartional Geographic. These monthly magazines are hole punched and need to remain in the reading section of your child's binder.

THis afternoon the students will create All ABout Me posters and continue reading their National Geographic magazines while I continue with reading testing. Then we will list what we know and what we would like to learn about fingerprints. If time permits, we will practice making some fingerprints, too!

Homework: Read for at least 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day Two...WOW!

You'll find out about the WOW in a few minutes...until then you'll have to be in suspense!

In math we took a preassessment for the place value section of unit 1. After that, I reviewed the correct answers with the class. Then we began discussing and taking notes, in our math journal, about digits and how they can change values depending upon their position in a number. We did not have time to get to homework today but look for some tomorrow! :-)

During reading we reviewed the way to choose a just right book. There is a paper in the reading section of their binder with guidelines. I also modeled organizing my thoughts for a writing piece...I used the same topic and thoughts from my web that I created yesterday and showed the class how I could have made a flow chart to prepare for the writing piece. Then I used the web and flow chart to write a rough draft.

Then...drum roll please...this is the exciting part!!! We began sharing out Guess Bags. It was SOOOO much fun to learn about the children by guessing what their "things" symbolized.

After lunch and recess the children worked on their own personal narrative while I began reading testing. I will be testing each child individually to gain information about their decoding and comprehension abilities. This will help me plan for reading instruction.

Unfortunately, we did not get to our planned science lesson today, as we spent the end of the day finishing out Guess Bags...but it was worth the time!!


Read for 15 minutes AND gather pictures and decorations for an All About Me poster that the students will DO in SCHOOL tomorrow. They are not to do the poster at home!

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