Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Break

I am not sure if anyone is reading this blog over break, but if you are, let me know!!! I wanted to check in and tell all my kids that I do miss them!!

Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed my time fact, due to the snow days, this has been the least stressful holiday season of my adult life...but I am a bit sad that we didn't get to enjoy any holiday fun prior to the break!

If your children are bored, tell them to e-mail me at to tell me about their holiday and how they are spending their time away from school! I PROMISE to answer ALL e-mails with a day!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Even with snow in the forecast and being in the midst of the holiday season, we are having a great day!

In math we took our fist quiz for unit 3 and the children ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so proud of their effort!!

In reading we finished reading Freedom Summer and identifying pronouns (and the words/ideas they took the place of)within the text. After that, the students began their independent work while I conferenced with individuals about their writing. I really enjoyed working on writing, one-on-one for a change!

After media center (which was held in the mini lab due to the book fair), lunch and indoor recess the students will continue to work independently while I meet with reading groups.

Bears: We will practice high frequency words and identify words in the text with the prefixes un- and re-.

Tigers: We will identify pronouns in their text and determine which words (or ideas) the pronouns are representing. We will also review their suffix lists from homework last night.

Lions: WE will continue reviewing the questions they wrote and reread the story marking places with a T where Shahkro was being tricky.

We will end the day with a student sharing two of his special books and then celebrating fun Friday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Great Start to the Day!

We did not have math today. Instead we enjoyed our school's band and choral concert.

Prior to going to the concert, we finished out science experiment that we began yesterday afternoon. We produced sound from three nails using a pencil. Then we discussed how the sounds differed and why.

After the concert we went to reading. In my reading class we began reading a book called Freedom Summer. Our purpose for reading this book was to identify pronouns, the words they are taking the place of and how using pronouns incorrectly (or too frequently) can lead to confusion.

This book is a fantastic book that led to a great discussion about the civil rights movement. Therefore, we did not finish the book or the lesson. We will continue tomorrow!

Following music, lunch and indoor recess the students worked on independent work which included a pronoun worksheet while I met with reading groups.

Bears: Some students worked on their writing rough draft while others practiced reading the honeybee book. Tonight some need to reread the book while others will complete the pronoun worksheet.

Tigers: We spent time investigating suffixes and identifying words with suffixes in our Alex Lee book. Tonight they need to reread the Alex Lee book and identify words with -s, -d, and -ing suffixes on a chart in their RRJ.

Lions: We began reviewing their homework...asking questions when given a passage of text... unfortunately, we ran out of time. So they do not have homework tonight...and they are just crushed about it! LOL

We ended the day with a friendship lesson given by Mrs. Howard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hump Day

This morning, in math, we used division to solve word problems. For homework the students need to complete the multiplication basic facts worksheet and practice their flashcards. Due to the holiday concert, we will not have math tomorrow. So, the homework will be due Friday. We will have a quiz on Friday, too!

We began reading by reviewing the way to determine what is important information (as opposed to interesting) when reading text...the purpose or questions drive what is considered important. Then we identified the theme (author's message) in the book, The Girl Who Wore Too Much. We used the theme to help us identify the important information in the book. As we read, we stopped and wrote down important information. When we were done reading, we reviewed the important information that we had noted on our chart and realized that we had in fact written a summary of the story.

After that I modeled creating a jellyfish graphic organizer using the same article that the students used in their small groups earlier this week. My focus was on including information that their readers would not know, as opposed to including known information.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess the students will work independently on their writing pieces and a sequencing activity while I meet with small groups.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Identified topic related vocabulary words within the text. Began reading and discussing Honeybees book. Tonight the students need to read the entire book.

Tigers: We reviewed the unknown words from their homework. Then we began reading the book and answering oral comprehension questions. For homework they need to read the entire book.

Lions: We continued listing questions we had about the story. Then each student chose a keeper question. For homework they need to complete pages 12 and 13 in their packet. They will read selections of text and write a question that goes with the text.

We ended the day by writing predictions as to the sounds that various sized nails will produce. Tomorrow we will test our predictions!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


We began tackling word problems in math. I am trying to help the students to recognize key words (such as altogether, in all, etc.) and to think about what the unknown the total is unknown then use multiplication....if a part is unknown, use division. While the students worked independently on a practice worksheet, I pulled a group to work on equations. There is a worksheet for homework and students should be memorizing their basic facts by practicing their flashcards nightly.

During our whole group reading lesson the students continued working in their small groups to create a jellyfish graphic organizer based on the deep sea fishing article. Then we shared the graphic organizers with the entire class. Tomorrow we will investigate which information was new, and therefore should be part of the jellyfish, and which was redundant. Then the children went to the computer lab and visited the book fair.

Following lunch and recess the students worked on their rough drafts, the holiday comprehension activity and the sequencing activity while I met with reading groups.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Also identified passages in text that answered comprehension questions. Answered two questions together in class. They need to answer the other two for homework tonight.

Tigers: Practiced high frequency words. Discussed the idea of America as a melting pot in preparation for our new book, Alex Lee a Chinese American. Tonight they need to preview the book and list unknown words.

Lions: Began listing questions they have about the new story. Tonight they need to define and use the following words in a sentence, in their RRJ; persuade, desperate, reputation.

We ended the day by investigating how sound travels using tuning forks and fishing line.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Fair

The book fair is at DES this week. Come by tonight and Ms. Jones will read to your children while you shop for holiday gifts!

In math we practiced using various strategies to solve division problems. I worked with small groups practicing using simpler facts to solve more challenging problems. For example, if you know that 5x7 = 35, add one more group of 7 to discover that 6x7 = 42. There is a worksheet for homework AND all students should be spending 3-5 minutes practicing their basic fact flashcards each night.

We continued our study of folktales in reading. Today we read Cinderella and practiced sequencing. I paused several times during my reading and reviewed (out loud) what had happened so far. Then at the end, I retold the entire story. Sequencing is an important skill that is used to retell and summarize.

After that the students got into small groups to work on writing. In their groups, they read an article and began creating a jellyfish graphic organizer. Tomorrow they will complete this graphic organizer, in their groups. We will then share the organizers and I will help the children see what should have been added. The purpose of this activity is to help students improve their writing. I am predicting the students will include details that everyone already knows. I will point that out and show them NEW information that should have been included in order to teach their readers new information...the purpose of informative writing.

Following art, lunch and recess we will meet in reading groups and work independently. Students will continue working on their rough drafts from last week.
Additionally, many have to redo the reading comprehension worksheet...answers were not written in complete sentences and some did not use the text to answer the questions. The final assignment that students worked on was a sequence activity.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Continued reading book and locating information. Tonight they need to reread the entire book.

Tigers: Practiced writing high frequency words. Practiced identifying the answers to questions 1-3, orally. Tonight they need to answer the same questions, in writing, in their RRJ.

Lions: Discussed playing tricks on other people as prereading activity for their new story. Then I read The Man Whose Trade was Tricks out loud. Tonight they need to reread the story and list questions they have in their RRJ.

We ended the day with a science experiment. Students used pitch forks to create sound. We learned that sound is created through vibrations and that the number of vibrations per second is called the frequency. The frequency determines the pitch of a sound.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yesterday I finally finished scoring the unit 2 assessments...the results were not so good! :-( No worries, though...Mrs. Starkey and myself will be working with the students to reteach and practice the various skills that caused challenges! Once we are sure that the children are better prepared, we will begin reassessing them.

So, today, in math, we reviewed determined the area of a figure. Our focus was on figures that were not perfect squares. The students had to estimate which partial squares they could put together to make one. You will find our practice paper in your child's home folder. There is also a basic facts sheet for homework.

I will not be here tomorrow (taking the 3 year old for shots...LUCKY me, huh?) so we will not have a quiz. Instead the children will be making flash cards for some of the difficult multiplication basic facts. PLEASE have your child practice these flashcards DAILY for just 3-5 minutes. As they begin to memorize the products (answers), you can remove the easy cards from the pile in order to reduce the size of the pile and the amount of time needed to practice the facts.

During reading we read two folktales, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Hansel and Gretel, and practiced making inferences.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess the students will work independently on their current writing piece (finishing their graphic organizer and their rough draft) and on a reading comprehension piece. They will read about holidays and answer some questions. I will meet with reading groups.

Bear: Practiced writing high frequency words on white boards. Reviewed syllables and practiced identifying the number of syllables in words. Continued reading book. Tonight they need to complete their word study homework and reread up to page 10.

Tiger: Practiced high frequency words on white boards and continued reading Forests. We also answered questions orally, in group. Tonight they need to finish their word study work and reread Forests.

Lion: We shared their revised homework from last night and what a JOY that was!!!! The students ALL showed much growth on their assignments. I told them that THIS is what learning is all about...they attempted an assignment and did OK...then we discussed what could be done to improve their work and then they went home and used their new knowledge to improve their work! WOO HOO!!!! So proud! They, too, need to complete their word study assignments.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interim Reports

Believe it or not, we are halfway through the second marking period. So every child will be bringing home an interim progress report today. Make sure you look over your child's report so that you have a good idea how he or she is progressing. There is no need to return these papers to school.

In math we worked on comparison multiplication. There is a follow up worksheet for homework.

We listed the characteristics of folktales today and read two; The Three Bears and Jack and the Beanstalk. We also identified evidence of the characteristics from the stories we read. After that I modeled writing the first paragraph of an informational piece suing the jellyfish graphic organizer.

Following PE, lunch and recess the students worked independently while I met with small groups.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words on white boards. Reviewed list of unknown words from homework last night. Practiced reading out loud. Tonight they need to add words from their book to the suffix chart in their RRJ.

Lions: I met with the lion group for a while today. We began by sharing their homework assignments (Gonta's diary entries). Some were quite good but they all lacked ideas that showed connection to the actual text. For homework they need to revise their entries. After that, we continued discussing our focus question for the story.

We ended the day by continuing our list of what we know about sound and then began a new list of what we want to find out about sound.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


In math we explored the relationship between multiplication and division. We began by reviewing the idea that addition and subtraction are inverse operations. Then we connected that idea to multiplication and division. From there we practiced writing fact families when given three numbers. For example, when given 3, 4 and 12, the fact family would consist of ; 3x4=12, 4x3=12, 12 divided by 3 = 4 and 12 divided by 4 = 3. I worked with small groups practicing function tables while the rest of the class completed a fact family worksheet and a basic fact worksheet. There is a worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reviewing the characteristics of a folktale. Then we read Coyote Steals the Blanket and identified examples, from the story, of folktale characteristics. After that, I modeled writing questions as headings for our next writing piece. Finally, we headed to the computer lab to continue publishing our writing using Microsoft Word.

After lunch and outdoor recess the students will work independently while I meet with reading groups. Independent work today included completing their jellyfish graphic organizer, identifying common and proper nouns and writing statements and questions when given a set of words.

Bears: Practiced high frequency words and then each student red to me individually as part of a running record. While I was with another student, the rest read our new book and noted unknown words on a sticky note. Tonight they need to finish this for homework.

Tigers: Practiced high frequency words and then read up to page 12 in their Forests book. They also located answers to questions I posed orally, in the text. Tonight they need to reread up to page 12.

Lions: We discussed the purposed of a diary and reviewed page 42 in their Ooka packet. Tonight they need to complete page 42.

Word study homework is due FRIDAY!

We ended the day with SCIENCE!!!!!!! We began our next unit, Sound, by listing information the students know about sound...and I am in trouble!!! They already know A LOT!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I apologize for the lack of Blog on Friday. I left early and meant to blog when I got home...but I forgot...plain and simple! Sorry!

In math on Friday we worked on the basic multiplication facts for 2 and 5. Today we worked on the 3's. Both on Friday and today I was able to pull small groups to work on challenge problems...4th grade math! I met with 4 or 5 groups in total and we worked on solving equations that involve parenthesis, such as, (3+4) x 2= 14 and function tables. There is a worksheet for homework tonight that practices multiplying by 2.

We began studying the Folktale genre of literature today. To refresh our memories the students listed 5 things they know about folktales on index cards. Then they shared their ideas with partners and wrote 3 ideas that they agreed upon. Finally, we shared these ideas as a class. The students really knew a lot! After that we read and discussed the fantasy, Chester the Worldly Pig.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess the children worked on their jellyfish graphic organizers for their next writing piece and completed a story map for Chester the Worldly Pig while Mrs. Hepner and I met with small groups.

Bears: We worked on understanding an entry in a dictionary using the word democracy from our current reading book. Tonight the students need to answer the questions from the back of their book in their RRJ.

Tigers: We began by practicing high frequency words on white boards. Then the students read up to page 9, silently. After that we discussed the different types of forests. For homework tonight the students need to write about the 3 types of forests in their RRJ.

Lions: WE met and began our inquiry discussion as to why Ooka made Gonta pay back an extra 10% of rice as interest. Tonight the students are expected to reread the story...we had a misunderstanding and they were unable to do the original homework assignment that I had planned.

ALL students should be completing word study homework assignments...they are due Friday!

We ended the day by answering questions about our geographic window to assess our knowledge of physical and human characteristics.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday - Word Study is BACK!

We began unit 3, multiplication and division, in math this morning. The students took notes in their math journals as we learned the meaning of key vocabulary words (factor, product, inverse operations, commutative property), strategies for solving multiplication problems (drawing sets, drawing arrays, repeated addition) and tricks to help them memorize the basic facts (anything times zero = 0, any number times 1 = itself). There is a multiplication practice worksheet for homework.

In reading we collected -ough words and sorted them according to the sound produced by the chunk. Then the students chose new words to practice for their word study homework. The lions reading group chose 10 words. Tigers and bears chose 5. The students need to complete 4 activities, using their words, in their word study notebook, by next Friday.

Following music, lunch and recess the students will work independently on gathering and organizing their research for their next writing piece and writing their word study words in cursive. I will meet with reading groups.

Bears: Began new book called Welcome to the White House...we practiced high frequency words on white boards then we read and discussed the book. For homework they need to practice reading the book.

Tigers:Began a new book called Forests. We started by making a word chain on white boards. Our word chain focused on the -ea spelling pattern. For homework they need to preview their new book and list unknown words on a sticky note.

Lions: Students copied and answered a focus question in their Ooka packet. We will discuss the question in group tomorrow. The questions is: Why did Ooka want Gonta to put back more rice than he stole?

Mrs. Howard will come by to do a friendship lesson with our class at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hump Day

This morning the students took the unit 2 math assessment. Tomorrow we will begin unit 3; multiplication and division.

During reading, we returned to the computer lab to finish collecting research materials for our next informational writing piece. When students were done, they continued publishing their writing.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess, the students will work independently, while I meet with reading groups.

Bears: Began with word work then discussed and modeled using information from the text in their answers. Tonight for homework they need to rewrite their answer for question number 3 in their RRJ.

Tigers: Began with word work then used post-it notes to locate answers to questions 1-3 in the back of their book. WE also practiced answering these questions orally. They returned to their seats to answer these questions in their RRJ.

Lions: Modeled doing a vocabulary assignment that they started in class nad need to finish for homework. They need to look up 4 words (virtue, courtesy and 2 others they choose)in the dictionary and write the definition in their RRJ. Then they need to use the definition, along with the Ooka story, to get a firm understanding of the word's meaning. Finally, they need to use the word in a sentence that proves they understand the meaning of the word.

We ended the day by, FINALLY, drawing our geographic characteristics on our windows and creating a key to go with it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This morning, in math, we went over the entire review packet for unit 2. The students will take the assessment tomorrow. Please go over the review packet, with your child, for homework tonight.

In reading the students worked in small groups to write a summary for a section of How PLants Grow. I was very pleased with the progress the small groups made. They will complete this activity tomorrow, hopefully! :-)

After that we went to the computer lab to gather some research, via the internet, for our next informational writing piece. We will return to the lab tomorrow to continue gathering research materials and to publish our writing pieces using Microsoft Word.

Following lunch and recess the students will work independently and meet in reading groups. Some of the independent assignments include; searching for ough words, completing their first informational writing piece and practicing the capital letters T and F in cursive.

Bears: Will finish reading Zoo Vet and answer questions in their RRJ.

Tigers: Will finish reading Deserts and answer a question in their RRJ.

Lions: Will write to explain why they thought certain passages in the Ooka story were fair/unfair.

We will end the day with the students creating a Geographic Window of the geographic characteristics in our community.

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