Friday, January 29, 2010


We have had a busy week here at DES!!!

This morning we took our second practice test in preparation for the MSA in March. However, this time the test was a math test. After completing the practice test, we reviewed each item in math class. Then the students went to specials (media center).

Following lunch and indoor recess the children will continue writing their rough drafts for their travel brochure and I will continue reading testing. I am hoping to finish today so that On Monday we can get back to our regular reading group routine!

Before celebrating Fun Friday, for those who earned it, we will read The Little House. We will be using this book to help us understand how improvements in transportation and technology has impacted communities.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This morning, after our math warm up, the students went to the computer lab to do some baseline testing for FASTT math. FASTT math is a computer program, that our school purchased, that helps students memorize the basic facts. Beginning on Monday, the students will spend 15 minutes of math, daily, working with FASTT math to memorize the basic facts. When we returned to the classroom we reviewed last night's homework. There is no math homework tonight. We will not have math tomorrow since we will be participating in a practice MSA testing session.

We began reading by reading and discussing the way the author depicts the mood in The Old Woman Who Named Things. After that, I reviewed the persuasive writing I had modeled for the children this week. Then the students continued highlighting important facts in the climate and geography articles for their state. After that they wrote the highlighted information on their graphic organizer. Next they will begin writing persuasive paragraphs about their state's climate and geography.

Following music, lunch and recess I will be working with individual students to assess their reading abilities while the rest of the class continues working on their travel brochures.

At the end of the day Mrs. Howard will visit to do a friendship lesson with our class.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hump Day

In math we reviewed polygons and identified the parts of a circle; the center, the radius (a line segment from the center to any point on the circle) and the diameter (a line segment that begins and ends on the circle and passes through the center). We practiced using these terms and drawing circles with a compass. There is a worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reviewing point of view. Then we discussed the mood of stories as we read Miss Nelson Has A Field Day. After that we discussed (and I modeled) characteristics of persuasive writing.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess the students will take the MAP-R assessment for the second time this year. This is the computerized reading test that self adjusts to the students' level. All 3rd through 5th grade students in MCPS take it three times each year. It is an essential tool for teachers in planning instruction that meets every student's needs.

We will end the day by completing the science activity from yesterday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Third Marking Period Begins!

Can you believe we are officially half way through the year...WOW!

In math today we discussed, identified and drew polygons. Polygons are ANY shape that is closed with STRAIGHT sides...circles are not polygons! For homework tonight the students need to complete both worksheets we began in class.

In reading we discussed point of view and I read Alexanders and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This book is written in the first person point of a character in the story is narrating the story. I then "re-read" it telling it from the third person point of view...where the narrator is not a character in the story.

After that I modeled reading the information on a state's climate, highlighting the important information and transferring it to a graphic organizer. The students will be doing this for their own state, independently, today.

I also took this information and modeled creating a persuasive paragraph (persuading people to come to the state because of the wonderful climate). The students will do this part later in the week.

Finally, I introduced a new aspect of our class---the vocabulary word of the week. Each week we will learn a new word. We will keep a tally of times students use the word correctly in class. Additionally, students will get a prize from the prize box for each example of the word used in a book, magazine, newspaper, etc. that they bring into school. Finally, they will create a cartoon, in class, using the word of the week. Our word this week is immense (very large, huge).

Following lunch and recess the students continued working on highlighting important information o and writing it on their graphic organizer. They also worked on the word of the week cartoon. Mrs. Hepner met with the Tiger group and Mrs. Rachel met with the Bears group. I had a meeting to attend.

When I returned we constructed slide whistles and observed the pitch of the sound created by changing the length of the air tunnel in the whistle.

Friday, January 22, 2010


In math today we learned about different types of angles and different types of lines. These included a right angle, an acute angle (smaller than a right angle, an obtuse angle (larger than a right angle, intersecting lines, parallel lines (lines that never intersect) and perpendicular lines (lines that intersect and form a right angle.)

We began reading with the students choosing the state they are going to research and for which they will create a travel brochure. Then the students got into small groups and taught the other members of the group the meaning of the words they learned yesterday.

Before going to the computer lab to begin their research, the students got a chance to use thesauruses to look up words they can use in their writing instead of commonly overused words.

Following lunch and indoor recess I will meet with reading groups while the students finish their third writing piece and any other work from this week.

Bears: Will respond in writing to a comprehension question about Alfie's Gift.

Tigers: Will continue reading The Fortune-Teller and retelling, in their own words, what they just read.

Lions: Will review vocabulary words from The Monster who Grew Small...plunged, devour and concealed.

We will end the day by reviewing vocabulary that relates to our sound unit and beginning to make slide whistles. Then those who earned it will enjoy Fun Friday!

Remember, the students DO NOT have school on Monday. It is a teacher work day! Yey for them...Boo for me!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I gave students about 20 minutes at the beginning of math to complete the unit 3 assessment. After that, we jumped right into unit 4...Geometry!!! Today we did a lot of note taking because this unit is heavy in the vocabulary department! I also gave students a vocabulary packet to keep in the math section of their binder. I would encourage you to review it with your child every night or every other night to make sure they are familiar with the terms. Tonight's homework is a multiplication practice worksheet wince we did not cover enough vocabulary to complete the planned assignment.

On to reading...tomorrow the students will begin their research for their state travel brochures with Mrs. Rose, our media specialist. In preparation for that, we worked in small groups to become "experts" for various vocabulary words that the students will encounter in their research. The students were assigned two words that they had to look up in the dictionary, write the definition, draw a picture and use the word in a sentence. They worked with three other students to do this. Next, they will get into new groups and teach the other members of their new group what their two words mean. The words included; elevation, drought, exceed, humid/humidity, precipitation, occurrence, varies (vary) and average.

Following music, lunch and recess they will continue working on their third writing piece, analogies and plural nouns. They will also meet in reading groups with me!

Bears: Some students worked on their writing pieces. Others worked on writing high frequency words and reading fluency.

Tigers: Worked on reading sections of the text and retelling what happened in that section. Tonight they need to reread the book to an adult in order to improve fluency.

Lions:Reviewed last night's homework and discussed ways to improve responses. Tonight they need to revise their responses.

We will end the day by reading a Scholastic News article about the disaster in Haiti and discussing point-of-view as it relates to media outlets and culture.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hump Day!!!

Yesterday was a hectic, chaotic day. So, it is so great to know we are halfway through the week!!!

Just want to take a minute to share an anecdote with you, the readers...

This morning for morning work, the students wrote what they thought the most difficult part of being a teacher was....many said dealing with the kids. This is actually NOT the truth!!! One student said fitting everything into our schedule and another said keeping students focused. YES!!!! These two students were correct...dealing with the children are the BEST part of the job...they make the day fun...and often, funny!!!

In math we took the unit 3 assessment...I have lots of scoring ahead of me! :-)

In reading we discussed what a sentence is. We learned that sentences need a subject and a predicate and that predicates need a verb. The predicate is what happens and without the "what happens" there is no sentence. I also introduced a sentence tree map to model writing complete sentences.

Following PE, lunch and recess the students will work independently on completing their writing assignments, completing analogies and identifying plural nouns. I will meet with reading groups.

Bears: We practiced writing high frequency words. We also continued reading Alfie's Gift. Tonight they need to reread paged 6-9 and, using our sentence tree, write two sentences in their RRJ.

Tigers: We reviewed unknown words from their homework last night. Then we began reading the story. For homework they need to reread up to the post-it note and answer the question in their RRJ.

Lions: WE shared the questions they wrote for homework last night and reviewed the sentences they wrote in their RRJ during independent work time, in class, today. Tonight they need to reread the story and write about a connection they can make in their Monster packet.

We finished the day with the children answering a BCR in their sound packet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

End of the Semester

This week marks the last week of our second semester. We will be tying up loose ends!

In math we went over the entire review packet for unit 3. Students should be bringing home a CORRECTED packet to study tonight. We will take the unit 3 assessment, in class, tomorrow.

Prior to Winter Break I had promised the students that we would watch Cinderella on video, in conjunction with our study of folktales. Since my plans got snowed out, I had intended to watch it later in the week. However, there was a scheduling challenge with the computer lab today. So, after learning what a thesaurus is and why we would use one, we watched Cinderella.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will work independently on their writing pieces and completing analogies. I will meet with reading groups.

Bears: Practiced high frequency words and began a new book. For homework the students need to reread pages 2-5 two times.

Tigers: Discussed ways to choose a good inside flap and discussed book. For homework they need to preview the book and list unknown words on a sticky note.

Lions: I read the Monster story out loud to the group. For homework they need to reread the story and list questions they have in their RRJ.

We will end the day by identifying the choices faced by producers and writing about them in our social studies journals.

Friday, January 15, 2010


It has been a long, busy and productive week...I think we are all ready for a three day weekend!

In math we continued working on the review packet for the unit 3 assessment. We will go over EVERY problem in the packet on Tuesday. Students will bring the packet home Tuesday night in order to study it for the assessment on Wednesday.

Prior to reading, Ms. Jones met with the entire third grade to discuss the sharing of items (such as food, stickers, pencil grips, erasers, etc.) at school. Students were told that they should not be doing so...BUT in the event that a fiend gives something to another student, that child should ask their parents before they use/eat it.

Our whole group reading lesson focused on analogies. Analogies show the relationship between a set of words using either antonyms, synonyms, part-to-part or set-to-part. Examples include; up is to down as black is to _____? (white) green is to grass as yellow is to _____? (sun)

We really had a lost of fun with the analogies and it is a super way to improve vocabulary!

Following the media center, lunch and outdoor recess the students will continue working on their writing and finish up any other assignments from the week. I will spend the majority of my time conferencing with individual students on their writing. If I have extra time, I will meet with reading groups.

Before enjoying Fun Friday (for those who earned it) we will finish our science experiment from Wednesday. Students will continue observing the pitch and vibration of a ruler at different lengths.

There is no school Monday - Martin Luther King's Birthday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We spent a great deal of time, in math, reviewing last night's homework. Hopefully, students have a better concept of the idea of solving for unknown variables in equations. Luckily this is a fourth grade objective. SO, the children will get more extensive instruction with this next year.

After that we began working on a review packet for the unit 3 assessment. We will be taking the assessment on Wednesday. You can expect a completed review packet to come home Tuesday. Tonight there is a basic fact worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reviewing the characteristics of a summary. Then the students filled out story map in their RRJ's as I read the folktale, Abiyoyo. After discussing the story map the students wrote summaries, independently. I continued conferencing with students on their writing.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess, the students will work on their writing, their summaries and other assignments from ealier in the week.

I was planning to meet with reading groups but instead spent time conferencing with students to improve their writing. THe only group I met with wwas the bears group...they worked on high frequency words and rereading their book. The tiger group met with Mrs. Hepner, as they do everyday (prior to meeting with me).

We ended the day by finishing a lesson on respect and beginning a friendship lesson with Mrs. Howard.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hump Day

This morning in math we reviewed factors and multiples and then continued our investigation of Hands on Equations. For homework, students need to complete the bottom of a worksheet we started in class. WE will begin reviewing for the unit 3 assessment, in class, tomorrow. The assessment will be given next week.

In reading we finished reading the National Geographic article that we began yesterday. WE also identified facts from the article and created opinion to go with those facts. Then we took time to review the writing process, in general, and to specifically go over the expectations of a peer conference.

After that I conferenced with several students on their writing while the rest of the class worked independently on their writing, fact or opinion and proper noun assignments.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor(!) recess, the students will continue to work independently while I meet with reading groups.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Began reading and discussing Hare and the Tortoise. For homework, they need to reread the entire book!

Tigers: We reviewed their homework assignments from last night and discussed ways to improve them. The students then had a chance to revise their answers and we shared their "before" and "after". They have another RRJ response to complete tonight.

Lions: We briefly discussed their final answer to the focus question. Then we did a prereading activity for our next story by discussing a person who helped us learn something new.

We will end the day by investigating pitch and vibrations made by a ruler at different lengths.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This morning, in math, we continued using Hands on Equations to help understand and identify unknown values in equations. There is a practice multiplication worksheet for homework. We will be taking the unit 3 assessment next week.

We began reading by going over the BCR from the practice MSA reading session last Friday. First, I handed back the student's actual paper that had feedback written by me. Then I discussed what was required to answer the question in a complete manner. Finally, I drafted an example of a "good" response. As I wrote, I explained where I located the information and why I was including it. I also pointed out that not only is it necessary to include information from the text but you had to EXPLAIN it, too.

After reviewing the BCR, we discussed fact (something that can be proven) and opinion. We began reading an article from the current issue of National Geographic and identifying facts and creating opinions. However, we ran out of time. WE will finish this tomorrow.

Next we went to the computer lab where most of the students continued publishing their writing using Microsoft Word. Some students conferenced with me or worked on their graphic organizer for their third informational writing piece.

Following lunch and indoor recess the students will continue working on their third writing pieces, the proper noun worksheet and a fact or opinion worksheet, while I meet with reading groups.

Bears:We will being a new fable, the Tortoise and the Hare.

Tigers: We will finish reading the wind and sun fable and discuss vocabulary. Then the students will complete a vocabulary worksheet in class. For homework they need to answer a cause and effect question in their RRJ.

Lions: We will have a shared inquiry discussion using our focus question that we answered for homework last week. For homework they need to finalize their answer to the question in the packet.

We will end the day with social studies. We will use our map skills and knowledge of human and physical characteristics to answer some questions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Monday!

This morning, in math, we began using a program called Hands on Equations. This system using manipulatives to help students understand how to solve equations to identify unknown variables. For homework there is a word problem worksheet.

WE began reading by listening to the fable The Tortoise and the Hare and discussing the moral. Then we reviewed the hamburger model for writing paragraph. Finally, I shared portions of published text to demonstrate how choosing the right words can make sharing facts more interesting to read. After that, the children began working on their third informational writing piece and identifying proper nouns. I met with several students to conference on their writing.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess the students continued to work independently while I met with reading groups.

Bears: We practiced writing high frequency words. Then we reread Town Mouse and Country Mouse and discussed the moral. For homework they need to reread the book and complete a suffix chart in their RRJs.

Tigers: We wrote high frequency words. Then the students read a new fable, The Sun and the Wind, independently. As they read they made a chart of unknown words (meaning) and used context clues to predict the meaning of these words. When they were finished, we began reading the fable together and discussing the unknown words. We will finish this tomorrow. For homework they need to reread the fable to an adult and get a parent signature.

The day ended with a lesson by Mrs. Howard on respect.

Word study homework (at least 4 assignments) is due Friday!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Two Hour Delay

We got off to a late start today due to the weather overnight!

Therefore, we began our day with a lesson from our media specialist, Mrs. Rose. SHe began modeling a travel brochure that she is creating via research for the state of Maryland. Later this month, each third grade student will put their social studies and research skills to use by learning about a state and creating a brochure for it.

After that, the students ate lunch. Then they participated in their first practice session for the MSA reading test. After taking the test in a test-like atmosphere, we reviewed each test item and discussed various test taking strategies.

One strategy I spent a lot of time going over was choosing the correct answer in a multiple choice question. I shared the idea that each item would have a distractor...a choice that is the most often chosen WRONG answer. We discussed the distractors in the questions on our practice test. I also nagged the students about reading ALL of their choices BEFORE choosing one.

Finally, it was time for Fun Friday, for those who earned it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


In math we worked on solving two and three digit multiplication problems, such as, 57 x 4 and 123 x 4, when regrouping is needed. We also worked on writing word problems to math a given multiplication sentence. Students need to remember to:
Give information, Ask a question and use equal groups. We worked on a worksheet in class and it needs to be completed for homework. We will not meet in math class tomorrow. PLEASE leave tonight's homework in your child's binder until Monday.

Tomorrow we will be doing a practice MSA session during our regular math time.

We began reading by sorting our -aw words according to the sound made by the -aw. We discovered that -aw usually blends together to make one sound but sometimes the a and the w make their own sound. After that the students chose 10 -aw words and wrote them in their word study journal and their planner for this week and next week. Then they continued working on their third informational writing piece. I had a chance to conference with many students on their graphic organizers.

Following music, lunch and indoor recess in the gym, the students will continue working on their new writing pieces. I will meet with small groups.

Bears: We finished reading Town Mouse and Country Mouse. Then the students worked independently on a vocabulary activity.

Tigers: We reread the fable and discussed cause and effect. Then the students wrote about the cause and effect in their RRJ.

Lions: Worked independently to write a summary of The Man Whose Trade was Tricks.

All students have to complete a word study assignment tonight!

We will end the day by observing sound as it is produced by rulers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hump Day

Woo Hoo! What a great way to start the day...we had a quiz in math and the students ROCKED it! Please check your child's math section in their binder to see how YOUR student did! After the quiz, we practiced estimating multiplication word problems. There is a practice sheet for homework!

We began reading with a discussion about our second writing assignment of the marking period; the research based piece. While I saw great efforts put forth by the students, I was a bit disappointed by their finished products. I got the overall feeling that the children were weighed down or possibly overwhelmed by the research aspect and therefore the actual writing process was put on the back burner. After our discussion, I discovered that the students did feel they were in over their heads and lost interest in what they were doing. Truthfully, I felt it was a great discussion.

With this in mind, our next writing piece will be on a subject that the students feel they know a lot that is child friendly (such as Webkinz). Hopefully, we will see much improvement in their actual writing craft.

Next, we began our study of Fables. I shared the characteristics of a fable; brief, limited plot, usually animals are the characters and they act like humans and there is always a moral or a lesson. Finally, we read two of Aesop's fables and discussed the morals.

Prior to going to PE, lunch and recess, Mrs. Harmon visited us to share information about the upcoming Science Fair. Look for information in your child's home folder this evening.

After recess the students worked independently on planning their new writing piece and other assignments from earlier in the week while I met with groups.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Began reading Town Mouse and Country Mouse. Tonight they need to reread pages 2-8.

Tigers: Read the fable The Lion and the Gnat and discussed the moral. Tonight they need to reread the fable (parent signature required!) and draw the three main events from the story.

Lions: Share Head in the Clouds. Tonight they need to answer the focus question using information from the story. Focus Question: Is Shakro more interested in proving he can trick the king or in helping the people in his village?

We ended the day by writing predictions as to the sounds we would hear and the vibrations we would observe when we dangle a ruler over the edge of a desk and "fling" it (for lack of a better term), at different lengths. Tomorrow we will actually do this experiment and write our results next to our predictions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Believe it or not, the end of the marking period is just over two weeks away...we are working smart in order to cover all of the things that need to be learned!

In math today we practiced using number lines to identify multiplication problems AND we practiced solving comparison multiplication word problems. Additionally, I worked with a small group to identify all of the factors of a given number. There is a comparison multiplication worksheet for homework and we will have our second quiz for this unit TOMORROW...not Friday!

In reading we reread Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters and created a story map in our RRJ's. We will use this story map[ to write a summary of the book.

After that, we will go to the computer lab to continue publishing our writing.

Following lunch and indoor recess we will have a shortened reading class and then we will go to an assembly.

While I meet with groups the students will work on their final drafts on their writing and a pronoun worksheet.

Bears: Practiced writing high frequency words. Reread text silently and independently to locate answers to oral comprehension questions. They have two written comp questions to answer in their RRJ for homework tonight.

Tigers: Reviewed pronouns from homework last night. Assigned a written comp question in their RRJ for homework tonight.

After the assembly the students will be dism,issed!

Monday, January 4, 2010

And we're BACK!!!!

It seems like it has been a year since I last saw these kids...and I guess it has! ;-)

In math we practiced solving word problems using multiplication and division. FOr homework there is a basic fact division worksheet.

In reading we reveiwed the elements of a summary for a fictional piece of text...they were similar to those for nonfiction but mentioned including the names of main characters and identificatiojn of the problem and solution. Additionally, we reviewed the characteristics of folktales before reading the African tale, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess, the students will work independently on completeing their research based informational writing pieces, searching for words with the -aw spelling pattern and other reading group assignments. I will meet with reading groups.

Bears: We will practice writing high rfrequency words on white boards. We will also review the prefixes un- and re-. Finally, we will reread Honeybees.

Tigers: We will also practice writing high frequency words. We will review suffixes and reread Alex Lee.

Lions: The students will reread The Man Whose Traced was Tricks and review the passages they marked as tricky. We will meet in group to share these passages and discuss the students' thinking as they marked them.

We will end the day by watching a video clip from United Streaming about sound with Mr. Vogel's class.

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