Monday, November 30, 2009

The morning after...

The Monday morning after any break from school is usually very quiet. Today was no different! :-)

In math we began reviewing for the unit 2 assessment. The students worked, independently, on a review packet. Tonight they need to complete/recheck the packet for homework. Tomorrow we will go over the entire packet, together, in class. On Wednesday the students will take the unit 2 assessment.

In reading we reviewed the characteristics of a summary and applied them as we took notes in a two column format after reading The Great Plant Contest in the book How Plants Survive.

Then we discussed the difference between a thick and a thin question. Thin questions have answers that are only one or two words and are typically right or wrong. Thick questions demand details and elaboration. For example, do you like peanut butter is a thin questions. How do you like to eat your peanut butter is a thick question.

As part of their independent work today students will be choosing a topic for their next informational writing piece and then writing 5 thick questions to research about that topic.

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

Tigers: When time permits, I am going to try to pull this group in smaller groups of 2-3 students to help maintain their focus. Today we practiced some word work and read pages 8 and 9 to answer some right there questions. Right there questions are questions whose answers are written verbatim in the text. The students will independently read pages 10 and 11 and answer a right there questions in their RRJ. For homework they need to reread the entire book.

Bears: We will practice the words we have been learning to spell and continue reading about Zoo Vets. Tonight they need to reread the book.

Lions: Will reread Ooka and mark areas with a "c" where they can make connections to the text. Then they will complete page 35 in their Ooka packet...for a score! This will become homework if it is not completed in class.

We will end the day with a social studies lesson. The students will write about opportunity cost in their social studies journal. They will give an example to demonstrate their knowledge. Then they will use symbols to draw a picture of the geographical characteristics they see in their community...this might turn into homework. If so, it will be noted in their planner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grandparent's Day

We had a spectacular turnout for Grandparent's Day! It was a lot of fun!!

In math we completed a warm up and then reviewed last night's homework. After that, we worked in small groups to solve brainteaser/logic type problems.

We began reading by listening to a story by Charlotte Herman called The memory Cupboard. Then the children worked on family tree activities.

After PE, the students will eat lunch and then return to the class to pack up for our 1:00 dismissal.

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! I am truly thankful for being able to work with a super group of students!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Tomorrow is Grandparent's Day and Thanksgiving the, we are busy tying up loose ends and having some fun while we learn!

In math we continued identifying the area and perimeter of figures. We also shared the rest of our small group activities. There is a worksheet for homework and the students are expected to identify BOTH the perimeter and area.

We began reading by reviewing the characteristics that summaries should include. Then we used our note taking chart, from yesterday, to write a summary. After that we discussed our I Wonder lists and how to choose a topic (for our next writing assignment) from these lists. After that, we went to the computer lab to continue publishing our writing.

Following lunch and indoor recess, in the gym, the students worked on the final copy of their writing pieces, they began choosing a topic for their next piece and they added words to their personal dictionaries while I met with small groups.

Bears: We continued reading Zoo Vets.

Tigers: We continued reading Deserts and answering true/false questions (orally) and finding evidence in the book to support our answer.

Lions: We shared passages in the story that we felt were fair and unfair and discussed those passages. We had a blast with our discussions...ask your child!

We ended the day by working on a Caring project, for the Senior Center, with Mrs. Howard.

Monday, November 23, 2009


In math this morning the students worked in small groups to solve a problem involving area using a method and manipulatives of their choice. This gave them the opportunity to take the skills they have learned and apply them to a new situation. All groups were successful! It also gave me a chance to work with a few students one-on-one. There is a worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reviewing the characteristics needed for a good summary. Then the students worked in small groups to create a two column note-taking chart for the second section of the book In the Deep. After working in groups, the students used their results to help me develop a two column chart. We will use this chart to write a summary tomorrow.

Following art, lunch and recess the students will work on the final draft of their writing piece. They will also continue to add to their I Wonder list. Additionally, the will practice forming the capital letters P, R and B in cursive.

I will meet with small groups, as will Mrs. Hepner.

bears: Practiced writing high frequency words on white boards. Read pages 3-6 out loud and discussed answered questions about the text orally. Tonight for homework they need to reread pages 3-6.

Tigers: Began reading Deserts and discussing the use of text features. Tonight they will need to reread pages 4-7.

lions: Continued sharing questions for Ooka. Then picked a keeper question. After that the students began their second reading of Ooka marking places with a U where they felt Ooka was unfair and an F if they felt Ooka was fair. They need to finish this at home. There was NOT enough time to do this well in me!

We are ending the day by watching a video clip on opportunity cost and writing about it in our social studies journals.

Friday, November 20, 2009


We have been working hard all week and I think I can speak for the entire class when I say that we are ready for the weekend!!!

In math we took our second quiz for unit 2. I saw lots of improvement! YEY! This is a short unit. So, we will be taking the assessment after Thanksgiving Break.

We spent our whole group reading time discussing the requirements for a summary and then putting them to good use! :-) Summaries should ...
1. tell the main idea
2. be brief and to the point
3. reflect only what is in the passage
4. use vocabulary specific to the topic
5. be written in your own words
6. be in a logical order

After discussing each requirement individually, I introduced a two column note-taking strategy that helps focus on the main ideas. Then we read a selection of text and completed the two column chart. Finally, we used the chart to write a summary. We will spend more time using this method next week.

Following going to the media center, lunch and recess the students will meet in small groups and finish up any work from the is "finish up Friday", right?!?!?

Bears: Did some word work in preparation for a new book on Monday.

Tigers: Did some word work in preparation for a new book on Monday.

Lions: Shared questions that they wrote as they read Ooka and the Honest Thief.

Prior to going outside for Fun Friday we will discuss the geographical observations that the children completed for homework last night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


In math we continued practicing the renaming of units and identifying area and perimeter of figures. Many students have not yet memorized that 12 inches = 1 foot and three feet = 1 yard. This is a MUST!!!! We will have a quiz tomorrow and there is a worksheet for homework.

We began reading by discussing author's use of organization in their writing and identifying key words that point to their organizational process. These words include; to begin with, first, next, at last, before, during, in (year), finally, for example, etc. We made the connection between these key words and the transition words that we use in our writing. Then we read an article in National Geographic about light houses. We looked for these key organizational words in the article.

After that we read some more from the book Why do Zippers Have Teeth and shared some of the I Wonder questions that the children listed in their writer's notebook.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess the children will work in reading groups and independently. Their independent work will include working on their current informational piece, adding questions to their I Wonder list, practicing a capital Z in cursive and any other unfinished work.

Bears: We will continue reading the electricity book and begin answering written comprehension questions.

Tigers: We will finish reading A Tour of the Planets. They will reread it independently and answer three comprehension questions in their reading response journal.

Lions: We will do a first reading of Ooka and the Honest Thief. Tonight they need to reread it for homework.

WE will end the day by listing geographic characteristics in our social studies journals. For homework tonight, the students will need to observe the geography directly outside of their house (this can be done through a window) and tally the characteristics that they see.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PTA Movie Night = No Homework

There is no homework tonight due to the PTA sponsored Movie Night.

In math we reviewed renaming measurements and area and perimeter. I worked with a small group using function tables to rename measurement units.

We began reading with the students working in small groups to reread Life on the African Savannah and chart examples of cause and effect. I was impressed with how well they worked together AND the results of their efforts!

After that we discussed how inventions are usually the result of people asking questions and wondering about things. Then we began reading a book called I Wonder Why Zippers Have Teeth. This afternoon the students will have a chance to look through some books about various inventions and then begin an I Wonder list in their writer's notebook. These lists will eventually be used for the children to pick a topic (of interest to them) to research and write about in an informational piece.

Following PE, lunch and recess the students will work independently on their current writing pieces. They will also complete a cause and effect worksheet and begin their I Wonder lists. I will work with reading groups.

Bears: We began by changing sounds in words to create a word chain. Then we continued reading the book. We also spent time orally practicing answers to questions about text features.

Tigers: We shared the facts they wrote for homework last night. We continued reading the book and orally practiced answering questions that were both literal and inferential.

Lions: We previewed our next story Ooka and the Honest Thief. We discussed the sense we got from our preview, as well as the irony of the title.

We are ending the day by reviewing the geographic characteristics data we collected yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

In math we reviewed renaming units and identifying perimeter and area. I gave the class a quick "exit card" with two conversion problems to assess their current abilities. Then I pulled a small group to work on this skill based on the results of the exit card. For homework, students need to finish their classwork and they also have a conversion (renaming) worksheet.

We began reading by doing a shared reading about pollution. This piece of writing was on the overhead projector and we identified examples of cause and effect within the piece. Additionally, we noticed target words that let us know that we were reading examples of cause and effect. These words included, since, because, if...then, etc.

After that I modeled writing a paragraph as I finished my informational piece on running. Then we went to the computer lab where the students continued typing their personal narratives.

Following lunch and recess I met with small groups for reading and Mrs. Hepner continued working on writing.

Bears: We read up to page 11 and then practiced making words using a strategy called word chains. For homework the students need to reread pages 4-11.

Tigers: We read up to page 8 and practiced identify sentences within the text that answered questions I was asking orally. Tonight they need to read pages 8-11 and list 3 facts about 3 planets in their RRJ.

Lions: We shared their wish lists from last night. Then we continued our discussion from yesterday. Tonight they need to re answer the focus question at the bottom of page 28 using thoughts from our discussion and evidence from the text to support their answer. This will be scored.

We are ending the day by collecting data about our geography on the tally chart we prepared yesterday.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Thankfully we are back to gets challenging when our days are interrupted!!

In math we continued renaming units in inches, feet and yards. We also began identifying the area and perimeter of shapes. Area is when we count the squares inside the figure and label it with squared units ( cm sq., in sq, etc.). The perimeter is when we calculate around the outside of the figure. For homework the students need to complete a worksheet that we started in class.

We began reading by previewing the book Life on the African Savannah. Then we wrote questions that we had about the book. After that, we read the book and located answers to our questions. Because this information answered questions we had, it became "important information".

For our writing mini-lesson we discussed using words in our writing that pertained to our chosen topic. Prior to peer conferencing students were to highlight at least 5 words that were specific to their topic, in their writing piece.

After that I introduced two pieces of independent work that the students will complete during the week. These worksheets are NOT homework but they will be kept in the front of their binder until they are completed. One was a cursive handwriting paper (capital u, v and Y). The other was a noun paper...identifying common and proper nouns.

Following art, lunch and recess the students worked on peer conferencing and the other pieces of independent work while I met with reading groups.

Bears: We reviewed some vocabulary from the book and wrote questions to guide us to important information within the book. Tonight they need to identify words from the book with s, ly, and ing endings.

Tigers: Began new book...practiced writing and reading vocabulary from book and wrote questions to help identify important information from our reading. We were able to read the first page in the book and actually answer one of our questions. Tonight they need to read pages 1-6 and write 5 common and 5 proper nouns on the chart in their RRJ.

Lions: Began discussing why the fisherman did has his wife told him even though he didn't want to. Great discussion...we will finish tomorrow! Tonight they need to complete the Wish List chart in their RRJ with at least 5 wishes for each category (to have, to do, to be).

We ended the day by reviewing geographic characteristics; human and physical. Then we identified characteristics we wanted to count as we observed out a window in the school. We set up our chart and will hopefully have time to do the observation and the tallying tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Finish Up Friday!

...and boy did we finish up!!!!

With the cancellation of our walking field trip, we were left with added time to go over shaky skills and complete unfinished work...that was the theme of the day!

In math we spent a lot of time practice and discussing the renaming of units (converting inches, feet and yards).

I began reading by modeling the writing of an informational paragraph suing the format that was introduced earlier this week. Then I spent the rest of the day working with children one-on-one and in small groups as they completed their graphic organizers and rough drafts. The students finished the above and any unfinished worksheets from the week. In between we did go to the media center, lunch and recess.

We did end the day with our fun Friday celebration!

Looking back, this is a short blog entry but it was a very productive day!!!

Book orders are due Monday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Field Trip Update

The walking field trip that was scheduled for tomorrow has been CANCELLED due to the weather.


Another half day today...

In math we took our first quiz of the second unit. I was a bit disappointed with the results. Be sure to check your child's math section. We will continue working on renaming measurement units. There is a worksheet for homework tonight.

In reading the students had time to work on their graphic organizer and rough draft for their writing piece. They also worked on the two follow up worksheets from earlier in the week. I met with the BEARS reading group...we began a new book by going over important vocabulary in the book. Then we used the text features to answer some questions. After that, we read the introduction. Tonight they need to preview the book and list any unknown words.

Following music the students will go to lunch and pack up to go home.

Book orders are due can order online.

Look for an announcement about our field trip...the weather does not appear to be cooperating...we might have to cancel!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

This morning we had an assembly in honor of Veteran's Day. After that, we had abbreviated math classes. In my math class we reviewed creating function tables to help rename measurement units. We also went over last night's homework. We will have a quiz tomorrow. It will cover renaming units (conversions) and measuring length with a ruler.

After that, we had reading. We began by reading and discussing Avalanche, an article in our current National Geographic. Then I met with the LION reading group to finish sharing the selections they marked as important. For homework tonight, the LIONS group needs to answer the focus question that they wrote in their JGB packet.

The tigers group worked with Mrs. Hepner while I met with the lion's group.

Following PE and lunch we will pack up and head home.

So...there is not much homework for the math quiz and the lion's group needs to answer their focus question. All other reading groups should read for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Some reminders...our walking field trip is this Friday. We will be back at school in time for lunch. Tomorrow and Thursday are early release days. Students will be going home at 1:00.

In math we created function tables to help us rename measurements (conversions) in inches, feet and yards. Then the students worked in small groups to determine which length was longer; 42 inches, 4 ft or 3 ft. 10 inches. The groups also had to explain how they determined their answer. It was so cool to see the different methods used to arrive at the same answer. Two groups shared their efforts with the class today. The rest will share tomorrow. There is a centimeter worksheet for homework tonight. We will have a quiz on THURSDAY this week!

We began reading using a book called A Tour of Our Planets to identify the information we gained via text features. Then the students chose a scored personal narrative, from the first marking period, to publish in the computer lab using Microsoft Word. We will be attempting to publish our writing in the hopes of binding it into a book at the end of the year.

I do have to take a moment to brag here...the students have been practicing many word processing skills, in the computer lab, over the past few has paid off!!! They did a GREAT...not FABULOUS job typing up their stories!!! It was so cool to witness!!!! YEY!

Following lunch and recess I will meet with reading groups while the students work on their current rough drafts and the reading graphic organizer from yesterday.

Bears: We will identify example of cause and effect in their current book. They should reread it tonight.

Tigers: We will identify example of cause and effect in their current book. They should reread it tonight.

Lions: We will continue our discussion from yesterday...we were sharing their reasons for why they marked certain actions as important. Then they will get a focus question to answer in preparation for another discussion later this week.

We will end the day with a review of economics and then we will use our observations from last Thursday and create a tally chart of the types of geographic characteristics in our community.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I look forward to meeting with all of you this week at our parent conference. Keep in mind that students will be dismissed early on Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, we have our walking field trip of Damascus on Friday.

In math we began calculating conversions between inches, yards and feet. The students are in need of more practice, so we will continue tomorrow. Tonight's homework is a centimeter measurement paper.

In reading we used text features to help us answer questions from Life in the Polar Regions. The students will also use the book to complete a graphic organizer as part of their independent work. We also began looking at the structure of a paragraph by comparing it to a hamburger. Students learned that every paragraph needs a topic and concluding sentence, as well as, detail sentences in between.

Following art, lunch and recess I will meet with reading groups while the students work on independent reading and writing activities.

Bears: We will read selected portions of the text and identify the main idea.

Tigers:We will finish reading Giraffes and identify the main idea in selected sections.

Lions: Students will reread Fisherman and his Wife and mark 3-4 places where they think a character does something important in the story. We will discuss these selections in group.

We will end the day with Mrs. Howard doing a lesson on Caring.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I hope all of your received the permission slip for our walking field trip of Damascus next Friday. If you have not already done so, please sign the permission slip and return it to school. We will need chaperones. If you would like to volunteer, simply make a not of it on the bottom of the slip.

In math we continued using rulers to measure length. Today we measure using centimeters. I also pulled a small group to continue working on three digit subtraction.

We began reading by using our background knowledge from Angela in the Arctic to better understand a new text, Life in the Polar Regions. After that, I modeled adding more detail, especially specific vocabulary, to our writing to inform graphic organizers.

Following media center, lunch and recess the students finished any unfinished work from the week and added details to their graphic organizers. I met with reading groups.

Bears: Reread specific sections of the text and identified the main idea.

Tigers: Read the first half of the text and discussed cause and effect within the text and compared and contrasted giraffes to humans.

Lions: Shared the questions they wrote in their RRJ. Then chose a "keeper" question to focus on while they reread the story on Monday.

Before celebrating Fun Friday, the students will review their geographic characteristics list from yesterday with a chart that was given to them on Wednesday to make sure that they put the characteristics on the correct side of their t-chart.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


This morning, instead of math, we went to a weather assembly that was sponsored by Channel 7 and conducted by Adam Caskey. I thought it was cool and learned a lot!!! Ask your child about it!

In reading we read Angela from the Arctic and used our background knowledge to make connections and deepen our understanding of the text. Then I modeled making a graphic organizer for our informational writing piece which must be multi-paragraphed. I took my topic, running, and broke it down into smaller components such as, equipment, training and racing. Then I wrote details for each of the three sub-groups. For example, for equipment I wrote, GPS, Ipod, good shoes and clothing.

Following music, lunch and recess I will meet with reading groups while the children create their own graphic organizer and write a thank you not to the Rotary Club for he dictionaries they received yesterday.

Bears: We will share their words with suffixes and finish reading the book. If time permits, we will begin identifying the main idea in different sections of the book.

Tigers: We will review their lists of unknown words and begin reading the book.

Lions: We will do a first reading of The Fisherman and his Wife. Tonight they will reread it and list questions they are wondering about.

We will end the day by observing the geographic characteristics that we see out of the front window of our school.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hump Day

This morning in math we practiced measuring to the nearest 1/2 inch. I also met with a small group to continue practicing 3 digit subtraction. There is a measurement worksheet for homework tonight. It will not be collected until Friday because we will not have math tomorrow due to a weather assembly.

In reading we read an article called Sea Slugs in our current National Geographic magazine. We used the following questions to guide us to the main idea of the article:
What is the overall topic?
What important details are included?
How are the details related ? ( I think this is the BIGGIE!)
What is the author trying to say?

After that, we discussed the importance of choosing interesting topics and using great ideas in our writing. WE also shared catchy topic sentences.

Following PE, lunch and recess the students will work on identifying nouns on a worksheet, adding topics to their informational writing topic list and reading about those topics, practicing the capital H, K, and X in cursive and any unfinished work, while I meet with small groups.

Bears: We will review their list of unknown words and read through their book. Tonight they will identify words will suffixes.

Tigers: We will wrap up Wednesday Surprise and practice vocabulary for their new book Giraffes. We will also discuss the function of various text features in this book. Tonight they will write three questions (for the reading group to answer) that can be answered using text features in their book.

Lions: We will begin our first Junior Great Books (JGB) story. We will do a text opener and a first reading in class. Tonight they will reread the story and list questions they are wondering about.

We will end the day with a visitor from the Lion's Club. They will be giving each third grade student a dictionary!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Day of Quarter 2

I want to thank Mrs. Petrolle and all of the parents who helped plan the fabulous Halloween party. I was truly sorry that I missed it but the children certainly had a great time!

Today is the beginning of the second marking period.

In math we began unit 2 which focuses on linear measurement, including conversions (such as, 12 inches = 1 foot) and area and perimeter. Today we spent a great deal of our time comparing different types of rulers. My goal was to help the students understand that some rulers begin at the edge while others have a definite starting point. I also wanted the children to notice that sometimes the metric side is measured in centimeters, while others use millimeters. For homework there is a subtraction worksheet. We were not ready for the measurement worksheet that I had planned to send home.

We began reading by identifying questions that will help guide us to identifying the main idea in text. Tomorrow we will use these questions to help us find the main idea in a National Geographic magazine article. After that we reviewed nouns. Then we discussed our new focus for writing this quarter...writing to inform. We talked about making a list of topics that each student knows a lot about.

This afternoon, while I meet with reading groups and Mrs. Hepner helps with writing, the children will develop personal topic lists for writing to inform. They will also identify nouns on a worksheet. Lastly, they will add words to their personal dictionary from our last word study unit.

Before going to lunch and recess, we visited the computer lab. The students practiced opening and printing a saved document, among the other skills we have been developing over the last few weeks.

This afternoon, I met with two out of three reading groups!

Bears: Practiced new vocabulary in their new book. Identified text features and their function within the book, too. Tonight they need to preview their new book and write any unknown words on the post-it note that is on the front cover.

Tigers: We finished reading The Wednesday Surprise. Tonight they need to read it to an adult, stopping at page 23 for the adult to make a prediction.

We will end the day by reviewing vocabulary that is specific to geography.

Oh...and today was picture day...if you forgot to send in money, no will get to see proofs and decide whether or not to order!

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