Friday, December 23, 2011

It's HERE!

Our last day before Winter Break is finally here! The children, as you can imagine, are quite excited!!

We began our day with a holiday concert performed by the Damascus High School Marching Band. As always, it was EXCELLENT!

When we returned to reading we only had time to review our spelling packets...no quiz!

In math we had our regular warm up and then the students worked on holiday basic fact worksheets. I did pull one small group to teach how to identify all of the factors of a number. They were very focused but when asked whether they wanted more practice, they all voted to return to the fun worksheets...go figure!

Following a visit to the media center, lunch and recess we will share our holiday traditions, pictures and books. I am so excited for this!

I want to wish each and everyone of you and your families a very happy holiday season. While I am looking forward to the break, I KNOW I will miss your children and think about them!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday

This morning in reading we reviewed the directions for the Lift-a-Flap pictures and identified tricky parts and what we could do to improve the directions. Students wrote about this in their RRJ after discussing in small groups and with the entire class.

After that the students chose a new set of directions in the Pop Ups book and followed the directions, without help or modeling from me, to create the project.

In math we wrote word problems for multiplication expressions. I emphasized that the students needed to give information (using the factors and making sure they were equal groups) and ask a question. We began a worksheet in class and students are to finish the backside for homework. However, students were given the chance to begin the homework in class. Some did so and therefore, those children did not write homework in their planner.

Following art, lunch and recess the students continued working on their BCRs and their pop ups. Then we shared their pop ups to celebrate their reading to perform a task and their creativity.

We ended the day by predicting the pitch that different sized nails will make and explaining our thinking behind our predictions. We will test these tomorrow.

Spelling packets are due tomorrow and our traditions assignment is due, too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hump Day

This morning we continued reading procedural text. The students got into small groups and read through many different kinds of "pop-ups". Then, as a group, we voted on one we would make today. Lift the flap was the winner!

After following the directions to make a lift the flap picture scene, the students had a chance to share. It was so much fun to see their creativity!

In math we worked on multiplication word problems. Our focus today was the wording specific to multiplication situations. Key words we focused on included, in all, altogether, total and each. The students worked on a practice worksheet where they were expected to draw a picture and write a multiplication sentence for each problem. They have a similar worksheet for homework with the same expectations.

After math, we visited the computer lab where we began a Sound Web quest (scavenger hunt on the Internet to locate specific information).

Then we enjoyed lunch and indoor recess.

After lunch we split into small groups and using the chart stating the qualities of good writing, the students listed the strengths and weaknesses, as well as a score, for a sample piece of writing. Then the students had time to complete unfinished work.

We ended the day with a wonderful class meeting. Some children were brave enough to speak up about issues and challneges that are bothering them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday

This morning we continued our study of reading to perform a task (reading procedural text). Today's lesson focused on the importance of illustrations. Students used the step by step directions and illustrations to create pop up pictures of peppy pigs.

Additionally, this morning, my high school intern (under my guidance) began working with a small group focusing on phonics and short vowel sounds, in particular. The students worked with letter tiles to build words.

In math we solved comparison multiplication problems. Then the students worked on their basic multiplication facts through a variety of math games including flashcards with me and using the iPads. There is a comparison multiplication worksheet for homework.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess we were able to review the characteristics of good writing and use them to score a sample piece of student writing. As we did this, we noted changes that needed to be made in the piece to make it better. Then the students continued working on pop ups and unfinished work while I attempted to meet with reading groups. Unfortunately, I only got to one! :-O

Lions: We read and discussed the meaning of the fable The Tailless Fox.

We ended the day by reading about how sound travels. We learned that sound travels in waves and can travel through most materials. In order to do so, the sound waves must create vibrations in the material. We also learned that sound travels 1,080 feet per second!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Week Before...

I'm sure I don't need to tell you but these children are excited!!! Keeping this in mind, our focus this week in reading will be reading procedural text. Today we identified the characteristics of procedural text (directions). Then the students followed a set of written instruction to create Papel Picado, Mexican Cut Art.

There will NOT be a reading log assignment this week BUT spelling packets are due FRIDAY!!

Additionally, I will be assigning a "fun" cultural type of activity to EVERY student that will be due Friday. This project is to be done by the students...please do not let this burden you...it is meant to be quite simple.

Here's the idea...I want to spend Friday afternoon sharing holiday traditions, books, etc. that are special to each child. This can be done in many different ways...it can be as simple as bringing in your favorite holiday book to share with the class, or bringing in pictures that show a family tradition, or the child can write a few sentences describing a family tradition. This does not need to be an extravagant tradition...it may be as simple as baking cookies and watching the same holiday video each year or taking a picture each year in the same place...whatever it is your family does.

I want this to be a FUN way to spend the afternoon and learn about family cultures.

In math we practiced writing multiplications sentences using number lines. There is a array multiplication worksheet for homework. I pulled a few students to practice drawing pictures to find the product to number sentences. We also reviewed number lines and multiplication. Finally, the group practiced their basic facts with me using flashcards.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess we tried to compare two pieces of writing using a chart stating the qualities of good writing. Unfortunately, the circuit breaker tripped several times and we eventually decided to table the lesson until tomorrow. I was disappointed, the kids, I think, were not.

While I met with reading groups, the students continued completing unfinished work and reading to perform a task to make Papel Picados. Miss Claudia worked with a few students to help them locate nouns and adjectives in sentences.

Reading Groups:
Bears: We read The Tortoise and the Hare and discussed the moral.
Crabs: We began reading A Pig in the Candy Store after we reviewed how to break down larger unknown words be recognizing the parts we do know.

We ended the day by attempting to investigate how sound travels. Unfortunately, we did not meet with much success. Therefore, we will try the experiment again tomorrow! :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

TGIF

This morning in reading we read the story Adelita, a Mexican version of Cinderella written by Tomie Depaola. After reading the story we discussed the elements and the theme and added it to our Cinderella comparison chart. Then the students had a chance to finish any unfinished work from the week.

In math we had our first quiz for unit 3. This quiz will be scored and returned to students today. Look for it in the math section of your child's binder.

Following a visit tot he media center, lunch and outdoor recess, we discussed the use of feedback in writing a final draft. Then the students continued to complete unfinished assignments while I met with reading groups.

Lions: We finished identifying the meaning of unknown words in the fable The Dancing Monkeys. Then we discussed the fable and the moral.

Bears: We read The Wolf and the Kid and discussed the moral.

Crabs: We read The Baboon's Umbrella and practiced breaking down large words (ex. predicament) and the moral.

We ended the day with a fire drill and by discussing ideas for a SMALL holiday project for next week...details to come on Monday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday

This morning we began our comparison of different versions of the tale Cinderella. We have already read and discussed the original Cinderella and Cap O'Rushes. Today we read a native American version called The Rough Skinned Girl. We also began filling out a chart which we will use to compare and contrast the different versions.

Funny story for today....I asked if anyone knew where Lake Ontario was located and one person, a girl, raised her hand and said Canada. I was impressed and asked how she knew. I expected her to say that she had been there on vacation or something along those lines...but...no...her answer, "Justin Bieber is from there." LOL!!!

Since we had some great discussions as we read the story and filled out the chart, the students had 5 minutes of independent work time and I did not pull any reading groups. We will get to both of those items this afternoon.

Today, in math, we will focus on the 8s and 9s multiplication basic facts. The students will make flashcards in class and then have a follow up worksheet for homework. PLEASE make sure your child is practicing their flashcards DAILY, only for 3-5 minutes, until they memorize them!!!

Following art, the students will enjoyed lunch and recess.

After lunch the students worked independently while I met with 2 of the reading groups.

Bears: We discussed the fact that most words have more than one meaning and that when using the thesaurus or the dictionary it is important to use the correct meaning. Then we read and discussed the fable The Cat and the Birds.

Lions: We began to read and define vocabulary in the fable The Dancing Monkeys. We will continue with this fable tomorrow.

We ended the day by exploring sound using pitch forks. Some important concepts learned today include:
Sound is created by vibrations
Pitch is how high or low a sound is
Volume is how loud or soft
Frequency is the number of vibrations per second (this was mentioned but not stressed yet today!)

Reading Logs are due tomorrow. We will have a math quiz tomorrow, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hump Day

This morning in reading we discussed the story The Master Cat focusing on the question, "Why doesn't the cat share his plan with his master?" After that, the students returned to their seats to complete The Master Cat Packet while I began to meet with reading groups.

Bears: We began our study of fables by reading The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse and discussing the moral. Then the students created an entry in the vocabulary section of their RRJ using the word party as it appeared in the story on page 1.

In math we began our effort to memorize the basic multiplication facts by creating flashcards for the 6s and 7s. The students checked their answers using a calculator. These cards will be brought home tonight and should be practiced daily until they are MEMORIZED. There is a worksheet, for homework, practicing these facts.

After math we went to the computer lab and used Microsoft Publisher to create holiday cards.

Following lunch and outdoor recess, I reviewed my expectations for using feedback, from me, on their rough drafts to write an improved final draft. The students then began working on their final drafts while I met with the remaining reading groups.

Lions: We read the fable The Fox and the Dogs and discussed the meaning of the moral and how it applied to the story.

Crabs: We retold the beginning of The Ducks and the fox, the fable we started yesterday. Then we finished reading the fable and discussed the moral.

We ended the day with a class meeting. Prior to beginning the meeting, the students were given an index card. On one side they wrote why they think I was frustrated in the computer lab today. On the other side they wrote one thing they think the class needs to do better.

I used this as a springboard for a great discussion!

Funny side note...one student asked during our class meeting, "Is this your job? I thought this was just a side thing!" Truly. This happened. I can't make it up!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

In reading this morning we shared the questions that the students listed in their RRJ. Then we did a second reading of the story using directed notes. During this reading the students marked portions of the story which they found to be funny with an F and parts they thought were surprising with an S. We began this task together, as a whole group. The students finished it independently, though.

While I began meeting with reading groups the students completed their directed notes reading and worked on identifying adjectives that answer the question, how many.

Crabs: We began reading a new fable stopping at various points to retell what had occurred so far. Then the students worked in groups of 2 and 3 to reread what we read in group, practicing their fluency.

In math we reviewed addition and subtraction fact families so that we could relate that knowledge to multiplication and division fact families. Students were reminded that when given 3 numbers in a fact family, the largest is always the whole. The other two are the parts. For multiplication the rule is part x part = whole and whole divided by one part = the other part. The students did an independent practice worksheet and then got to work on the iPads or a new multiplication game when they were finished. There is a fact family worksheet for homework.

Following PE, lunch and recess the student's continued working on their assignments and I met with the final two groups.

Bears: We met in groups to attempt to reread Hare and Lion and discuss how the author incorporated the characteristics of a trickster tale into the story. The group was distracted, so we ended the group by discussing what was stressing the kids out...kind of funny to type that but it is the truth! It actually was good to hear how they felt about their workload. I eventually sent them back to their seats to catch up.

Lions: The students read the fable The Ant and the Grasshopper independently. Then we discussed the main characters and their differences. After that, we discussed the moral of the fable.

We ended the day by unpacking our science kit and discussing its contents. WE also learned that sound is created by vibrations.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brrrr....It's a cold Monday!

FYI...it is ALWAYS colder on Monday, in our classroom, then the rest of the week. Please dress your child appropriately!!

In reading today we began a new Junior Great Books story called Master Cat. We are doing this as our whole group instruction. We began by reading and discussing a poem called "The Cat of Cats". Then I did the first reading of the story while the children followed along. As part of their independent work today, they will be listing questions they are wondering about, pertaining to the story, in their RRJ.

After that, we learned that adjectives are words that describe a noun and usually describe what kind. The students will complete a practice activity where they identify the adjective and the noun it describes.

We ended the block by marking our planner, for the week, with reading log and spelling homework. Spelling packets will be given out today and are due NEXT Friday, December 23. Reading logs are due THIS Friday.

In math, the students received 4 different papers with multiplications tools and strategies to use. These papers will be stored in the math section of their binder. After that, we reviewed arrays and the students completed a practice worksheet independently. Mrs. Benson and I walked around to help those who needed it.

The students need to be able to construct an array. It is on the assessment. However, I did notice today that this strategy is not the best for some of our sloppier friends. SO...I will make sure that all students now how to construct and use arrays but unless they are explicitly told to construct an array to solve a problem, some should choose a different method to help them find the product.

There is a worksheet for homework that goes with one of the papers that is stored in the math section of the binder.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess I met with all three reading groups while the students worked independently on their assignments.

Bears: We read and discussed the lesson in the trickster tale called Hare and Lion.

Crabs: We discussed fables as a genre and read one discussing the stated lesson at the end of it.

Lions: We discussed fables as a genre. I read a fable, out loud, to the group and we identified the lesson.

We will end the day by beginning our second science unit, exploring sound. The students will list what they know about sound and what they want to learn about sound on a chart in their science packets. If there is enough time, we will also unpack our science kit.

Friday, December 9, 2011

TGIF!!

This morning in reading we took our spelling test (PLEASE look for these in your child's home folder...NOT good), reviewed the spelling packet and then the students had a chance to catch up on unfinished assignments...there were LOTS of them!

In math I assessed the number of addition facts each child could complete correctly in a minute. We will be working to improve this. We also learned several tricks to find the products of the 9's basic facts. Finally, we began using arrays to write and solve multiplication sentences.

Due to the book fair being located in the media center, the students met with Mrs. Rose in the computer lab during their scheduled time.

Following lunch and recess the students continued working on unfinished tasks while I provided feedback to individuals students.

We ended the day with students identifying one human characteristic that Damascus does not have, drawing a picture of it, and explaining why it would benefit the community.

We will begin our second science unit on Monday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunny Thursday

This morning in reading we tackled the idea of theme in books. I described it as the author's message. The theme is not written in stories yet it is the central idea that drives the characters, setting, problem and solution. We reread The Girl Who Wore Too Much and discussed the theme of excess or less is more.

While I met with reading groups the students worked on their information rough drafts, individual reading group activities, a theme worksheet and other unfinished work, including their reading logs.

Crabs: We met and discussed somebody/wanted/but/so/then as it pertains to their reading group book. I also reviewed the idea of gist and said that when we identify the somebody/wanted/but/so/then we are stating the gist. Then the students returned to their seats to either write a summary or complete a SWBST chart in their RRJ for a score. I gave the students a choice of either activity because both will hit on the same end result.

After enjoying art, lunch and outdoor recess, the students returned to class and worked in groups of four to revise and edit their writing pieces. They were especially excited to do this because I allowed them to use pen to mark their improvements on their rough drafts.

After that, the students continued working independently while I met with reading groups.

Bears: We reread Anansi and Sky King and then used transition words to orally sequence the story.

Lions: We were unable to meet but they completed a SWBST chart in their RRJ based on their reading and yesterday's discussion in group.

We ended the day by reviewing geographic characteristics and the difference between physical and human characteristics. Then we identified, orally, a human characteristic that Damascus does not have that would benefit the community.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rainy Wednesday

This morning we read the folktale called The Girl Who Wore Too Much and practiced sequencing it orally. While I met with reading groups, the students worked independently on individual reading group assignments, a WOW worksheet for our new word utter (to speak or say), a sequencing activity and their reading log.

Crabs: We practiced sequencing by having a student tell the first event from our book and the next person telling the next event (using a transition word), etc. etc. Then we completed the story and discussed the ending.

In math we took the Unit 2 assessment. Scores will come home later this week or early next week. I was a bit disappointed that some students rushed through this test and didn't used the strategies that we have learned and practiced.

Before enjoying lunch and indoor recess we went to the computer lab. In the computer lab the students used the software package Kidspiration to create a diagram demonstrating their knowledge of geographic characteristics. The children's knowledge was based upon our last two social studies lesson and a chart that they had in front of them.

After lunch and recess my reading class sat in a circle and shared their topic sentences and the details they plan to use for their next writing piece. I gave feedback to all.

While the students worked on writing their rough drafts using their planning pieces in their writing notebooks and my feedback, I met with reading groups.

Lions: We practiced identifying the gist or main idea of the book using somebody/wanted/but/so/then, orally. Tomorrow they will write bout it in their RRJ.

Bears: The students read the Anansi story, independently, this morning, marking the parts in the story that were characteristics of a trickster tale. In group, this afternoon, we reread the story and reviewed these characteristics.

We ended the day with a class meeting where we discussed the importnace of listening and following directions. Sound familiar? I LOVE this class...they are great children with awesome personalities...and they are quite bright. Unfortunately, they struggle, daily, to remain focused and follow directions and this impacts their work. SO, once again, we discussed this issue.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday - A Trip to the Book Fair

This morning in reading we read Cinderella and focused on sequencing main events to summarize what we read. Before doing that, though, I reviewed the expectations of our reading logs, answered any questions and modeled writing a letter since that is part of the assignment, to write a letter to me. During this time, we squeezed in a visit to the book fair, too. Look for your child's wish list in their home folder this evening.

In math the students spent the first have of class working, independently, on a review packet for the unit 2 assessment. Then, as a class, we went over each problem in the packet. The students were expected to correct any mistakes and ask any questions they had. They will bring home a completed and corrected review packet tonight. Children should use this to prepare for the unit assessment which we will take tomorrow in class.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess the students participated in a counseling lesson, with Mrs. Howard, focusing on friendship.

We ended the day by learning about geographic characteristics and how they define a region. Geographic characteristics can be separated into two categories; physical (natural) and human (improvements made by humans to the land). We then shared the pictures that the students drew yesterday and identified geographic characteristics in their pictures and then decided whether they were physical or human.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday

This morning in reading the students reread Caporushes independently, marking places with an "s" where they felt the main character was keeping a secret or hiding something. While the students worked on this, I met with each student to review their new writing topic and print additional information off of Wikipedia, if needed. After that, we discussed the story of Caporushes using the places they marked as discussion points. Next, I modeled using information from the Internet to write an informational paragraph where my details supported by topic or main idea sentence.

This afternoon the students will work independently while I meet with all three reading groups.

***SPECIAL NOTE...I just completed this entry and tried to post and lost everything...so the rest of this will be quick...SORRY!***

In math we used conversions to compare feet and inches. While the students worked on a practice worksheet I met with two small groups. One group worked on drawing three different rectangles with the same perimeters. The other worked on identifying the area and perimeter of figures. There is a worksheet for homework.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess, the students worked on the following activities while I met with reading groups; listing 3-5 details in their writing notebooks that support their main idea/topic sentence, completing a past and present tense verb worksheet and practicing their word wall words in cursive. If there was time they were allowed to work on their reading logs, too. If not, they are to do that at home.

Remember reading logs and spelling packets are due Friday!!

Reading Groups
Bears: We read about and identified the characteristics of trickster tales.
Crabs: We continued reading The Old Lady who Lives in a Vinegar Bottle and worked on phrasing by pausing at punctuation marks.
Lions: We used the title of chapter 4 to predict what the chapter would be about and then read to check our predictions. We also worked on phrasing by pausing at punctuation marks.

We ended the day by listing the things that make Damascus special. Then each student drew a picture of their community, either from the school or their home. If the picture was not completed in class it must be done tonight, at home. WE will use these pictures for our social studies lesson tomorrow.

We will visit the book fair tomorrow morning!

Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF

This morning in reading we reread part of Caporushes and identified and discussed examples of inference in the folk tale. Then the students had a chance to catch up on unfinished work for the week while I met with reading groups.

Bears: We met and discussed how locating information with post it notes and our discussions in reading group should be used when responding to BCRs in their RRJs. Then I shared one of their classmates responses so that the students could hear an example of how their BCR from Wednesday should have been answered. We will begin a new book on Monday.

In math we took our final quiz for unit 2. The quizzes and have scored and returned. Look for them in your child's math section in their binder.

Following a visit to the media center, eating lunch and enjoying outdoor recess, the students shared their new writing topic and their main idea or topic sentence. I gave feedback to each to help the class understand what makes a good topic sentence and how to improve those that needed it.

I continued to meet with reading groups while the students continued their independent work.

Lions: We read chapter 3 in their book and then discussed the idea of "gist". Finally, we revisited SWBST (somebeody/wanted/but.so/then) to identify the gist of the chapter.

Crabs: We reread the first 10 pages of the book and retold what happened. Then we read two more pages and discussed character traits for the Old Woman and evidence from the book that supported the traits.

We ended the day by saying goodbye to a friend who is moving and passing out the library books. Reading class ran over so we didn't have time for our social studies lesson. :-(

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Junior Great Books Thursday

This morning in reading we began working with the English folktale Caporushes, which is part of the Junior Great Books program. This program is designed to introduce students to "rich" literature that invites great discussion. Today we read the story and listed questions we were wondering about on chart paper.

While I met with reading groups the students worked on individual reading group assignments. They also chose a new topic to write about and wrote their main idea/topic sentence. After that they sorted past tense and present tense verbs on a worksheet. Finally, they completed any unfinished work and worked on their reading logs.

In math, we split up into small groups to solve a measurement problem that used skills the children had learned but was presented in a new way. This forced the students to work together to decide what the question was asking and what skills they knew that would help them arrive at the solution. After each group shared their results, the groups that made mistakes were given a chance to go back and correct their work. There is a worksheet for homework and we will take our unit assessment on Wednesday of next week.

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess, both Mr. Vogel's and my homeroom had the chance to listen to some "twisted" fairy tales from the book called The Stinky Cheese Man. Then, once Mr. Vogel's class left, my homeroom reviewed the production process for blue jeans from two different factories.

This was a change in our plan due to some last minute scheduling conflicts.

We did have a shortened afternoon reading/writing block where the students continued their independent work from the morning while I met with some reading groups.

Lions: We reviewed their homework from last night which only half of the group did. :-( Then we retold chapter 1. After that we read and discussed chapter 2, out loud. Next the students were expected to reread the chapter and do a 5 finger retell (one finger for each idea they state). The students struggled with this...however, they later redeemed themselves when they stated some wonderful predictions for the rest of the story with SOLID support as to why they think the way they do.

For all reading groups...reading logs are DUE tomorrow. This means the students must have 4 entries on their charts and ONE letter written to me using ONE of the ideas on the list in the packet.

We ended the day by revisiting the production process and completing a written activity independently.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Hump Day

This morning we reviewed the characteristics of folktales as we read Jack and the Beanstalk. Then the students continued working on revising their writing pieces and illustrated and wrote about their favorite part of Jack and the Beanstalk. After that, they completed unfinished work from earlier in the week.

While they worked independently, I met with my last group of 4 students to help them revise their written pieces. I will meet with all three reading groups (fingers crossed) this afternoon.

In math we used our knowledge of rectangles to determine the measurement of missing sides of a figure. We practiced in small groups on white boards before beginning a worksheet independently. For homework the children need to complete the worksheet.

After math we went to the computer lab to complete the MCPS student survey. Then we enjoyed lunch and out door recess.

After recess the students continued working independently while i met with reading groups.

Bears: We reviewed and discussed the sections they marked in their text, with post it notes, as problems or solutions the immigrants faced.

Crabs: Earlier today they added the word "cross" to their vocabulary sections of their RRJ. We discussed their entries during group, reiterating that the synonyms chosen must fir the meaning of the sentence. They didn't...so after discussion, the students re-did their entries and turned them in.

Lions: We began a new book, a folk tale, called The Three Brothers. After making some predictions, we read chapter 1 and practiced retelling what we read. Tonight, for homework, this group needs to reread chapter 1 and retell the events to an adult...and get a parent signature in their planner.

We ended the day with a class meeting and choosing our new star student for the month.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cultural Arts Tuesday

This afternoon we will be enjoying a cultural arts presentation on The Rain Forrest sponsored by the PTA. The children and I are so excited!

In reading we switched our genres from informational text to folktales and fairy tales. We began by brainstorming characteristics such as; exaggeration, greed, magic, good (poor) vs. evil (rich). Then we read a Ute folk tale called Coyote Steals the Blanket.

After that, we reviewed the verb tenses and identified some generalizations for regular action verbs. Past tense verbs ends in -ed, present end in -s and future tense verbs have a helping verb with it.

While I meet with reading groups the students will work on individual reading group assignments. Then they will complete a verb worksheet and practice writing their spelling words in cursive.

Crabs: We got a new book called The Old Woman who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle. We began reading this book and worked on two skills; inferencing and retelling. The students will not be bringing this book home tonight as we do not have enough copies. Their homework tonight is to work on their reading log.

In math we continued our lesson from yesterday by using skip counting to construct rectangles with given areas. Today, I deviated a bit from the plan to connect area and repeated addition (skip counting) to multiplication. I made sure the students knew we weren't going to be test on multiplication during this unit but I have been wanting to make this connection for the past week or so...so I did!! While I met with small groups to work on estimating area and identifying area and perimeter, the students worked independently on a constructing rectangles worksheet. There is a constructing rectangles worksheet for homework.

Following PE, lunch and indoor recess I called small groups of students to work on revising their writing pieces from last week. I did not get a chance to call any more reading groups since we had our Rain Forest Presentation at 2:15. However, this is what the rest of the groups did...

Bears: Reread the entire book of Leaving Home and marked places with post it notes where they found a problem (P) that the immigrants faced or a solution (S).

Lions: Wrote a summary of The Changing Earth in their RRJ.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Day After...

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. I know I did!

This morning in reading, I reviewed and handed out the new reading logs. Students will be expected to read for AT LEAST 20 UNINTERRUPTED minutes 4 times each week. This can be done in school or at home, in the morning, afternoon or even on the weekend. Students can read anything that is on their reading level, including books and magazines.

Each time the students read they MUST make an entry into the reading log on the chart provided. Students may read two times per day and mark both sessions but no more than that.

Once each week, after the fourth uninterrupted 20 minute reading session, the children are expected to write a letter to me, in their log, on the lined paper provided, using one of the ideas listed in the packet. This will be collected each week and scored. The date of collection will be noted in their homework planner.

The first time I will collect the reading logs is THIS Friday, December 2.

Next, we learned about the different tenses of verbs and how they need to "agree" with the subject. Our primary focus was on present tense verbs and the general rule is that if the subject is singular, add an -s or -es, if the subject is plural you add nothing to the end of the verb.

After that, I introduced the new WOW, heed (to obey; listen to) and we practiced using the word in sentences. Finally, I distributed and went over our next spelling packet which focuses on words with -ough and verbs. This packet is due December 9.

Believe it or not, this took up our entire morning reading block. So, this afternoon I will meet with all three groups while the students work independently.

In math we began to construct rectangles on a grid when given a specified area. We had to end early, as we were treated to a special performance of The Star Spangled Banner, as composed by some of our 5th grade students and performed by members of the BSO. When we returned to class, the students received a measurement worksheet (review) for homework.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess, I met with all three reading groups while the students worked on independent activities.

Bears: We continued reading Leaving Home and focused on comparing and contrasting the immigrants lives to ours.

Crabs: We finished reading and discussing A Wolf Pup Diary and practiced breaking down unknown words.

Lions: We used the heading s in the book to orally identify the main idea of each section. Then I explained that by doing so, we had basically done a summary of the book.

We ended the day by visiting a jeans production site , on line, and charting the capital, natural and human resources needed to produce a pair of jeans.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grandparent's Day

Wow! We had a full house this morning and it made it an extra special, fun day!!!!

In reading we introduced our guests before reading the book A Cranberry Thanksgiving. Then the students worked with their grandparents to compare and contrast their Thanksgiving traditions with those stated in the book, using a Venn Diagram. Then we shared our findings.

After completing our regular math warm up, we used a grid and rulers to draw a Thanksgiving turkey.

Next, we will eat lunch. Then we will pack up to go home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday

So...I realized yesterday afternoon and then , again, this morning that my reading class has A LOT of work to complete before Thanksgiving Break!! Therefore, this morning, we read an article about the president pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey but did not do any type of comprehension or summary lesson...we actually read it for fun!!! (Shhh...don't tell anyone!)

While I met with reading groups the students completed their summary from yesterday's article. They also worked on the follow up comprehension worksheet. Most importantly, they finished revising their writing piece and began their final draft. They were very busy...well, most of them...unfortunately, some did not heed my warnings and rushed through their work...UGH!

Crabs: We reviewed the comprehension strategy of stop-think-paraphrase. Then we used it as we read 3 sections in their book. Tonight they need to reread these three sections and get a parent signature in their planner.

In math we practiced estimating the area of a round figure by first counting the full squares and then putting pieces together to count as full squares. The students worked on a practice worksheet in class and have a similar worksheet for homework.

After math the children enjoyed PE, lunch and indoor recess.

Then we had this afternoon...hmmm...I don't even know what to say...it proved to be quite frustrating. I began scoring the children's work (my reading class) during lunch and recess and became quite upset...the work was carelessly done and showed little to no evidence of any instruction. I spoke to the children about this after recess, hoping they would redo some work and show improvement. Then I got called into a meeting.

When I returned from the meeting, the majority of the class was sitting on the carpet listening to a story...so I began to go through my "hand in" basket looking over the work they had completed. It was no better.

I began sorting papers that had no names, mistakes in the title, capital letters in the middle of words, common, simple words misspelled and the list goes on and on. The students sat wide eyed as they realized that almost EVERY paper was being put in the pile of carelessly completed work. This led to a discussion about needing help, poor instruction, not caring, etc., etc.

I made sure to make it clear that I love the students and care about them but I would not be doing my job if I let them turn in, and be proud of, work that is not their best. Obviously, I plan to make adjustments and will not lower my expectations!

We did end the day by finishing the book Junkyard Wonders. Ask your child about it... it had a great message!

Please let me know if you have thoughts or feelings from today's post...or any day's for that matter!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The countdown begins...

There is definitely excitement in the air as we begin our march into the holiday season! I can't tell whether the children are more excited about Grandparent's Day (on Wednesday), only 2 1/2 days of school this week or the holidays in general.

In reading we read an article about Thanksgiving. Then we identified and highlighted the 5 most important facts in the piece. After that, the students, independently, will write a summary about the article (using the highlighted facts) and complete a 2-sided comprehension worksheet.

Reading Groups
Bears: We practiced a comprehension strategy called stop-think-paraphrase as we continued reading Leaving Home. We also identified the main idea in the two sections we read. For homework the students need to reread pages 18-21 and practice using the stop, think and paraphrase strategy.

In math we reviewed and practiced determining the area and perimeter of rectangles when only two of the sides have measurements. Then we identified the area of figures by drawing and counting squares. Homework is an area worksheet.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess I modeled how to use a graphic organizer to write a rough draft. The emphasis of my lesson was to name and EXPLAIN your ideas in your writing. It is not enough to say that one of the positions in soccer is a mid-fielder...the writer must then explain what a mid-fielder is and what their job is during the game.

Then the students continued working independently while I met with reading groups.

Reading groups
Crabs: We practiced using the comprehension strategy of stop-think-paraphrase as we read 7 weeks, 9 weeks and 10 weeks old. For homework the students need to reread these three sections and get a parent signature in their planner.

Lions: We began to meet but were running VERY behind...so we set a plan for group tomorrow and did not really have reading group today! Confused?!?! Yup, us, too!!!

We ended the day with by continuing to read Junkyard Warriors by Patricia Polacco...I highly recommend checking this book out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday

I will be out of the building tomorrow, so there will not be a blog post. However, I WILL be attending math night tomorrow night. Hope to see some of you there!!

We had a wonderful reading lesson this morning...unfortunately, it took longer than expected and cut my first reading group short. This morning we reviewed the characteristics of a good summary and then discussed what we did to write one yesterday. Next, we read another section in the book In the Deep. We read it a second time and took notes on chart paper. After that, the students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to use the notes and compose a summary of what we read. Finally, we shared some of the summaries and identified what was well done and improvements that could be made. I was SOOOOO excited and impressed with the writing produced by the students.

Today's independent work includes the students taking what they learned from our discussion and writing their own summary, in their RRJs, of what we read in class. They also need to complete their writing rough draft. Additionally, some students still have a verb worksheet and their WOW worksheet to complete...oh, and their were independent reading group assignments!

Crabs: We met and read the section called 2 weeks old. After reading we identified the main idea of the section. Tonight they need to reread 1 day old, 10 days old and 2 weeks old...remember we are working on fluency. They do need to get a parent signature in their planner.

Next up was math! In math we calculated the area and perimeter of rectangles given the measurement of two of the sides. We will have a quiz tomorrow. There is an area and perimeter worksheet for homework tonight.

Following art, lunch and recess the students paired up and read their rough drafts to each other. Then some of the students shared their work out loud and we discussed what they did well and the changes that could be made.

While the students continued their independent work I met with the last two groups.

Bears: We shared their facts from last night's reading and I realized that this text might be a bit of a challenge for them...but a challenge in a good way! I just realized I might need to slow down a bit! So, after sharing our facts, we reread and discussed the section. Tonight they need to read pages 10-17 and list unknown words.

Lions: We shared our answers from last night's homework but ran out of time to share the facts they listed in their RRJs earlier today.

After reading, we started to work on our social studies lesson but the entire class, including myself, was DONE! So, we scrapped the original plan (because, honestly, sometimes you just have to!) and began reading a fantastic book by Patricia Polacco called Junkyard Wonders. Unfortunately, we did not finish it...but we will...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ugh...rain, again?!?!

It seems like it rains every Wednesday...

In reading we reviewed the characteristics for writing a good summary and then applied them, along with a new approach. We read the fist section of a book called In the Deep. Then we reread this section and took notes as we read information that we felt was important. After that, we used the information we noted to write a summary of the section in our own words.

While I met with a reading group, the students continued independent work from yesterday.

Bears: We discussed the idea of people leaving one country for another in search of a better life and connected that to America being a "melting pot". Then I introduced our new book, Going Home. I also had groups of students look up vocabulary from this section, in the thesaurus, to share the meanings with the group. Tonight for homework the students need to read pages 4-9 and list 2 facts they read about.

In math we reviewed area and perimeter. I worked with two small groups. One group worked on creating conversion tables to solve word problems. The other group practiced identifying the area and perimeter of figures. There is an area and perimeter worksheet for homework.

Next we went to the computer lab where the students completed their decision trees, that we began last week using Kidspiration, from Uncle Jed's Barbershop.

Following lunch and indoor recess each student shared their main idea for their writing piece and we discussed how to support it using juicy details. Then they continued working on their independent work.

Lions: We read and discussed the rest of their book The Changing Earth. I modeled, and they practiced, using a comprehension strategy called STP, stop-think-paraphrase. Tonight they need to reread pages 13-15 and answer question 3, from the back of the book, on either a sticky note or in their RRJ...their choice!

We will end the day with a class meeting where we will discuss respect (their has been a HUGE lack of it) and active listening (lack here, too!).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday

This morning we identified the characteristics for writing a summary and made a list in our RRJs. I have instructed the students to review this list before writing a summary. After that, we learned, and practiced using, the new WOW word, eerie (weird or strange; scary).

While I met with reading groups the students worked on individual reading group assignments, they completed a WOW worksheet for eerie and they finished a two sided action verb worksheet.

Reading Groups
Crabs: We began a new book. First we talked about the concept of a diary. Then we discussed that this is a non-fiction book but at times it reads as a fictional story. In group we read the first two entries, Day 1 and Day 10, and reviewed the facts we learned. For homework the students need to reread both pages and get a parent signature in their binder.

In math we practiced calculating the area of a figure in square units. There is a practice worksheet for homework. While students worked independently, I met with several groups of students to practice converting ft and inches, as well as, yards and feet, to solve word problems.

After going to PE, the students enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess. Then Mrs. Howard did a lesson about respect and pride. While this lesson, as are all of Mrs. Howard's lessons, was a worthwhile use of our time, it did cut our reading block short.

After Mrs. Howard left, I introduced a new reading log that we will be starting soon. Students will be expected to read at least FOUR times a week for 20 UNINTERRUPTED minutes. THis can be done at hom or at school (depending on time management). They will record each session on a form, in a packet they will receive from me. Then, after reading for 20 minutes, four times in a week, the students will write a letter to me using one of the ideas listed in the packet. The letter will be done on lined paper in the packet. I will collect these packets once a week and respond to each students' letters.

We ended the day with a whole group social studies lesson. We completed a deiciosn tree together so that the students could better understand what a positive and negative point might be for the same choice. We will put this knowledge to use tomorrow in the computer lab.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Monday After...

Well, parent conferences are in the books and, while I enjoyed meeting with all of you, it is great to be back into the normal routine of teaching and learning!!

This morning we reviewed the idea that our purpose for reading determines what is important information versus just interesting facts. Then we identified two questions we had about the book Life on the African Savannah and used those to guide us to the important information in the book.

After that, we learned that action verbs are the "doing" words in sentences.

While I met with reading groups the students completed a verb activity and practiced writing G, S and L in cursive.

Bears: we reviewed the main idea from the Safety at the Beach Section. Then I modeled, using the think aloud strategy, how I would determine the main idea for Boating Safety. This afternoon the students will read the next two sections in the book and identify the main idea in their RRJ. They will also add the word capsize to the vocabulary section in their RRJ. Tonight they need to reread pages 8-15 and get a parent signature in their planner.

In math we practiced identifying the length of objects, using a ruler, when the object doesn't start at the beginning of the ruler. Then we took it a step further and identified the total measurement of two objects placed on the same ruler. There is a conversion word problem worksheet for homework.

Following music, lunch and recess we launched into our writing lesson. The students came to the carpet with the webs they had created for their chosen topic. Then I spoke to them about needing to know and identify the main idea they were going to be writing about. For example, if soccer is the topic, what is the main idea they want to share? They could choose to name and explain the various fouls in soccer. We spent a lot of time with students sharing their topic and talking through their main idea. The students were then sent back to their seats to write the main idea under their web in their writing notebook. We will share these tomorrow.

Crabs: We reviewed the structure for adding a new word to the vocabulary section in our RRJ. I was a bit frustrated that only one student followed the example that we had used to start the section. However, a child said, during group, "Couldn't we just use the example to help us know what to do?" THAT made my day!!!! Thanks, TR!!!! SO, after our review the students returned to their seats to fix their "penalty" entries. Tonight they need to reread the entire book and get a parent's signature in their planner.

Lions: We read the section about how highlands are created by volcanoes and stopped at the end of each page to review what we have read. Then we identified two ways the earth changes, based on what we have read in the book. Tonight the students need to reread pages 3-10 and get a parent's signature in their planner.

Due to next weeks 2 day break and Grandparent's day, I have decided to hold off on our next spelling packet until we return from Thanksgiving. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

We will end the day with a social studies lesson. The students will be split into groups of 3 or 4 and given an envelope with a money earning "situation". Inside the envelope will be three choices of what they can do with the money. The groups will pick two of the choices and get rid of the third. This will lead to a lesson about choices, decision trees and opportunity cost.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

This morning we honored Veterans with a flag raising ceremony which included members of the Damascus American Legion. AS always, this proved to be a special ceremony!

I have enjoyed speaking with so many of you this week. Many parents have asked how they can help their children improve their reading comprehension. Here is a link to questions you can ask your child.

This morning , after our Veteran's Day ceremony, we reviewed the spelling packet and took a spelling test. Then, I talked to the class about wanting them to enjoy reading and made some suggestions as to how to find books they might like. Then I told them that I am trying to determine a routine that holds them accountable for the independent reading they do in class. One thought is creating a dialogue journal. Once a week, or so, the students would write to me about what they are reading. I would in turn write back to them. This is a work in progress and has not been established in the classroom yet.

Next up was math...in math we took our first quiz for unit 2. These are scored and will be coming home today. Most students did VERY well!!! After the quiz, the students practiced basic facts using iPads, flashcards or tile math.

Some parents requested math sites to help their students practice basic facts...try this or this.

Following math the students will do a book exchange in the media center. Then they will eat lunch and pack up for our early dismissal.

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday - early release

Keep in mind that due to parent conferences both today and tomorrow are early dismissal days. Students will be released at 1:00.

In reading, I met with individual students to do reading assessments. I wanted to make sure that students are learning and determine their current levels and needs. While I did this, the children worked on individual reading group assignments, practiced writing T and F in cursive and caught up on unfinished work.

In math, we reviewed using linear measurements to solve word problems. Specifically, constructing conversion tables and using patterns to identify different measurements for rectangles with the same perimeter. While the students worked independently on a worksheet, I met with two small groups to practice creating conversion tables for feet to inches and feet to yards. There is a worksheet for homework and we will take a quiz tomorrow.

Before eating lunch, the children went to art for 20 minutes. After lunch we packed up for the early dismissal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hump Day

This morning we used the third article, Extreme Life, in our National Geographic to identify text features and the information we gain from them. After going over 5 as a whole group, the students had to find at least four more, and chart them, independently.

Before meeting with reading groups, I took time out to review which assignments each student was missing. I'm not sure what has happened but there are many students missing numerous assignments. This was kind of disappointing!

Reading Groups
Bears: We reviewed their vocabulary entries from yesterday. Then we read the section about beach safety and identified the main idea and supporting details. They were given to additional words to add to their vocabulary section in their RRJ this afternoon.

In math we used the last two problems from homework last night to introduce the concept of perimeter. Then the students completed two activities to practice measuring with a ruler and identifying the perimeter of figures. Those who finished early went to anchor activities, which did include iPads. I have mixed feelings about this...I don't want there to be a reward (electronic device) for completing work quickly, but I hate to not use the iPads to reinforce basic facts...it is a catch-22.

I was able to meet with a small group to calculate the sides of a rectangle when given the perimeter. There is a perimeter worksheet for homework.

Before going to lunch and recess, we visited the computer lab. In the lab, the students were able to access a decision tree document, which I created using Kidspiration. We used this document to begin identifying a problem Uncle Jed faced (from our social studies book) and the choices he had to choose between. This was a lesson that integrated both social studies and technology.

After recess, the students shared their writing to inform topic lists from yesterday. Then we discussed brainstorming and prewriting using a web. While I met with reading groups the students chose a topic and created a web in their writing journals. Then they continued with their independent work from the morning.

Reading Groups
Lions: We read the section called How Plats Create Highlands and identified 3 supporting details and the main idea. We had a breakthrough...a student actually asked questions about why my answers were what they were...YES!!!! THIS IS WHAT I WANT!!! I was then able to begin to clarify confusion and I saw students begin to understand how to identify the main idea!!!!

Crabs: The crabs read the section called Who is the best soccer player ever to answer that very question. Then we identified the main idea using the heading to guide us.

We ended the day with a class meeting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

This morning we used text features to help us identify the main idea in sections of the book Life in the Polar Regions.

While I met with reading groups the students read the article Center of Life in their National Geographic and completed a follow up worksheet. They also completed a cartoon for the new WOW word, blunder (a silly or careless mistake).

Reading Groups:
Bears:We created a new vocabulary section in their RRJs and practiced adding new words to this section. Each entry will list an identified word, the sentence from the text in which it appears, three synonyms from the dictionary/thesaurus we have in the classroom and finally the students will circle one of the synonyms that "works" in the sentence from the text. We did this, together, in group using the word currents. This afternoon they will attempt it independently using the word designated.

In math we reviewed constructing conversion tables and then created rectangular boxes using a given amount of materials. For example, create a sandbox using materials that measure 20 yds. So, one box might have 2 sides measuring 2 yds. and 2 sides measuring 8 yards each, 2 + 2+ 8+ 8=20.

Following PE, lunch and recess we began to share our prewriting for our next writing piece, when we hit a snag! Therefore, we backed up...way up...and created new topic lists for writing to inform. Unfortunately, most of the student's topic lists were geared towards writing to perform a task.

While I met with reading groups, the students worked on their new topic lists and continued independent work from earlier in the day

Reading Groups
Crabs:We created a new vocabulary section in their RRJs and practiced adding new words to this section. Each entry will list an identified word, the sentence from the text in which it appears, three synonyms from the dictionary/thesaurus we have in the classroom and finally the students will circle one of the synonyms that "works" in the sentence from the text. We did this, together, in group using the word compete.

Lions: We read the first section of their new reading book and identified what a highland is and how it can be created.

We ended the day by rereading Uncle Jed's Barbershop which led to a wonderful discussion about the civil rights movement and segregation. When we got back on track, we identified the choices Uncle Jed had to make.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parent Conference Week Begins!

Remember that parent conferences will be taking place all week. Students will have early dismissals on both Thursday and Friday to give teachers extra time for these meetings.

In reading we used an article about milk to practice identifying important details and stating the main idea. The students worked with partners, using an iPad, as they examined the text and noted details to figure out the main idea.

While I meet with reading groups the children will answer 8 multiple choice questions and 1 short answer question (BCR) that go with the article about milk. Additionally, they will use the rule "change the y to an i and add es" to create plural nouns. Finally, they will practice writing P, R, and B in cursive.

Reading Groups:
Lions: I met with this group and reviewed the construction of a great response to the question, "How did Sarah Ida change in The Shoeshine Girl?" We discussed the need for a topic and concluding sentence. Additionally, I showed them how to name their ideas and explain the ideas using support from the text. The entire group will redo their BCRs.

In math we reviewed using conversion tables to solve measurement problems. I then gave an "exit card" with 2 problems so that I could gather data as to the students' understanding. I was able to quickly assess that the majority of the class continued to need help. Therefore, we spent the rest of the class time, working as a whole group, to construct and use conversion tables to solve problems. For homework they need to complete problems 4 and 5 on the worksheet we began in class.

Following music, lunch and recess the students will choose a topic they know a lot about and begin creating a web, in their writing journal, plotting all of the information they know. This will serve as the prewriting piece for their first informational writing assignment.

Reading Groups:
Crabs: They will read and discuss the final section in the Soccer book. They will identify important details to help them arrive at a main idea.

Bears: They will get a new book. They will preview the book, identifying text features and information gained from the text features.

The day will end with a social studies lesson. The students will listen to the book Uncle Ned's Barbershop and begin exploring the idea of choices and opportunity cost.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TGIF!

This morning we began our new reading book clubs. In my class we continued identifying the main idea in text using the spiders article. Today, we again used the iPads, but we used a different App that had a main idea graphic organizer. Our approach today was to identify three details from the section of text and then use those details to determine the main idea. I told students to read the details and think about the author's purpose for presenting those details together...that is the main idea.

While I met with reading groups, the students continued working on the spiders main idea. Then they completed individual reading group activities. After that, they had a multiple choice main idea worksheet to do.

Lions: I met with the lions group first. We created a new vocabulary section in their RRJs and practiced adding new words to this section. Each entry will list an identified word, the sentence from the text in which it appears, three synonyms from the dictionary/thesaurus we have in the classroom and finally the students will circle one of the synonyms that "works" in the sentence from the text. We did this, together, in group using the word erupts. This afternoon they will attempt it independently using the word surface.

In math Mrs. Benson and I introduced creating and using conversion charts to help solve conversion problems...kind of wordy but hopefully you know what I mean. This picture illustrates an example:

Following math, the children went to the media center before enjoying lunch and recess.

After recess we finished our juicy details lesson by working in small groups to group juicy details, from the book, according to how they were used. Then the students continued working independently while I met with my remaining two groups.

Bears: After scoring their BCRs about the conquered dragons in their book, I modeled a "good"response so the students could see what they did well and what improvements they could make. Then we discussed Ben's decision to keep Gully and why Ben's mom was surprised by this decision. We will begin a new book on Monday.

Crabs: We read the section in the book about the World Cup and identified the main idea in this section.

We will end the day by reading an article, from The Washington Post, about the seventh billion person born into the world and discuss the different perspectives.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday

This morning we continued identifying the main idea in the article about spiders. Today, though, the students worked in small groups using the iPad. In groups of 4, the students read two specified sections of the article and wrote a main idea for each section using an app called "pages" on the iPad. Then, we shared these by plugging the iPads into the Elmos and making improvements using the white board. I am seeing improvement but the students are still struggling with this concept.

While I met with reading groups the students worked on individual reading group assignments, a cause and effect worksheet and practiced writing Z in cursive.

Reading Groups:
Bears: I met with this group first to discuss and review the BCRs they wrote yesterday. These did not meet my expectations. I shared, with the group, my expectations regarding the organization and content for this assignment. Then the students asked questions that they still had. This afternoon they will redo this assignment and turn it is for a score.

In math we reviewed converting feet to inches and yards to feet. Then we practiced converting feet to yards. There is a worksheet for homework.

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess, we will continue reading The Hickory Chair and identifying examples of "juicy details" from the text.

Then the students will continue working on independent work while I meet with reading groups.

Cheetahs: Look for a note coming home about new reading classes that begin tomorrow. When I met with this group we discussed this change.

Crabs: We reread pages 8-13 and shared examples of cause and effect that they had identified independently earlier in the day.

Lions: We previewed their next book and identified text features.

We ended the day with a discussion about perspective as it relates to obtaining the news through the TV, the Internet and the newspaper. It was a good discussion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hump Day

This morning we reviewed the concept of identifying the main idea in text. We talked about using the heading and the topic sentence to figure out the main theme (or idea) that runs throughout the portion of text. Then we returned to the National Geographic article about Spiders and began identifying the main idea in different sections of text.

While I meet with reading groups the students will work on individual reading group assignments, a cause and effect worksheet and a worksheet for our new WOW word, culprit (a guilty person).

Cheetahs: We continued reading Ostriches and identified a cause and effect on page 14. Tonight they need to read pages 12-16 and get a parent signature in their planner.

In math we continued working on converting linear measurements. We practiced converting feet to inches and began converting yards to feet. The students worked independently on measuring in centimeters while I worked with students on converting feet to inches. There is a measurement worksheet for homework.

After math we went to the computer lab and used a software package called Kidspiration to display their knowledge of "goods". The students used stamps from the program to illustrate and name examples of goods as they navigated through a new program.

Following lunch and recess we reviewed the 6 +1 traits of good writing and identified the characteristics of writing a piece using the Ideas trait. Then we began reading a story called The Hickory Chair. WE will use this book to identify "juicy details" in text.

While I met with reading groups the students continued their independent work.
Crabs: This morning they read pages 6-7 in Soccer to identify where soccer started. After sharing this in group, we discussed how King Edward felt about soccer. We talked about how we could figure this out by using the information in the text (he banned soccer for 300 years). Then the students reread pages 6-7 and identified an example of cause and effect from those pages. Tonight they need to read the section called how to play soccer on pages 8-13.

Lions: We discussed why Al gave Sarah Ida the medal and how we think Sarah Ida will act when she returns home. For homework, the group needs to reread The Package, pages 80-84.

Bears: We discussed how Gully saved the day by alerting Aunt Rose to the kids being trapped in the attic. Earlier in the day, the students read chapter 15 and wrote about the dragons that have been conquered in the book. For homework the students need to read chapter 16 and get a parent signature in their binder.

We ended the day with a short class meeting. We gave compliments to one another and discussed the importance of speaking up and asking questions so that the children can get smarter.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome to Marking Period 2!!

Today begins the second marking period...hard to believe, huh?? Since it is also the morning after trick-or-treating, it was a bit bumpy at first! :-) Nevertheless, we marched on...

Our focus in reading and writing is on non-fiction or informational text. This morning, I distributed our latest issue of the National Geographic magazine. The students were given time to preview the issue before we got into the instruction. Today's lesson focused on determining the main idea in text. We discussed the importance of text features, as well as the actual text, in determining the main idea. Tomorrow we will begin reading the text and identifying the main idea.

While I met with reading groups the students read the article on spiders and identified three new facts they learned from their reading. Then they identified plural nouns. Finally, they practiced writing U, Y and V in cursive.

Cheetahs: We continued reading Ostriches and identifying examples of cause and effect in the text. For homework they students need to reread pages 2-11 and get a parent's signature in their planner.


In math we began making conversions between inches and feet. There is a measurement worksheet for homework.

Following PE, lunch and recess I handed out the next spelling packet. We will be focusing on the /oe/ spelling patterns and plural nouns.

While the children continued working on their independent work, I finished meeting with reading groups.

Bears: We began reading and discussing chapter 14. For homework the students need to read pages 106-108 and explain how Aunt Rose found Ben and Hana (on a provided sticky note).
Lions: We discussed the chapter titled A Letter. For homework they need to reread this chapter and get a parent signature in their planner.
Crabs: We got a new book (non-fiction) called Soccer. We shared what we know about soccer and previewed the text. Then we read the introduction and answered questions orally. Tonight they need to reread pages 2-5 and get a parent signature in their binder.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Party Pics!




TGIF - Halloween Celebration

Before I forget, I want to thank Mrs. R. for planning our Halloween celebration. Although I am typing this before the parade and party, I know she has put a lot of hard work into the event and that the children will have a BLAST! THANK YOU!

This morning, during our reading block, the students organized their desks and went through their unfinished work folders with me. I showed them which papers needed to carry over into the second marking period (which begins Tuesday) and which papers they were allowed to recycle. So, our slate is clear and we are reading to march into the second quarter.

After that, the students got into small group to create a Halloween story on the iPads using Toontastic, an iPad app. I hope you enjoy the pictures I have included!!






In math we split into two groups, again. One group practiced their basic facts using an iPad app while the other group worked on using rulers to calculate linear measurement (in inches and centimeters) with me. Then the groups switched.

Following a visit to the media center the students enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess. We ended the day with a parade and party celebrating Halloween.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rainy Thursday

Today, in honor of Red Ribbon Week, the students wore pajamas in order to remember to "Follow their Dreams". Tomorrow is a school spirit day. Students should wear their Damascus ES gear. In the afternoon we will celebrate Halloween with a parade and party. Students should bring their costumes to school in a bag marked with their names. NO MAKE UP OR WEAPONS should be brought to school...PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

During reading, the students worked in their table groups to chart examples of cause and effect from assigned pages in Race to the South Pole. We began sharing these charts, and adding to them, as a whole class. We will continue this tomorrow.

While I met with reading groups the students worked on individual group assignments, completed a a/an activity and practiced writing H, X and K in cursive.

Crabs: We met first and finished reading and discussing chapter 7, the final chapter in the book. They will reread chapter 7 and chart the beginning, middle and end in their RRJ, later this afternoon.
Cheetahs: In group, the students reread page 6 and wrote one example of cause and effect on a sticky note. WE discussed the two examples that were on this page. The students are still struggling with separating which is the cause and which is the effect.

In math we began our second unit which focuses on linear measurement. This unit seems to be "easy" but in the past, students really struggle with it! Hopefully, this will not be the case this year!

Today, I reviewed how to measure in inches using a ruler. Then the students broke into two groups. One group used the iPads to practice their basic facts. The other group met with me to use rulers to measure objects in the classroom. Then the groups switched.

Following art, lunch and indoor recess the students will brainstorm topics they know a lot about and list these topics, in their writing journal, for use in pieces when we write to inform. They will also continue independent work from this morning.

Lions: We will reread the chapter called "A Letter" and discuss who wrote the letter and what it said.
Bears: We will reread chapter 13 and quiz each other with the questions the students wrote earlier in the day.

We will end the day by identifying examples of supply and demand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hat Day

As we continue celebrating Red Ribbon week the students wore hats today in order to remember to "Put a Cap on Drugs". Tomorrow is pajama day. Students are reminded to Follow their Dreams by staying away from drugs.

This morning we continued reading Race to the South Pole and identifying example of cause and effect. Then the students worked on individual reading group assignments, choosing the correct article (a, an or the) and writing M, N and W in cursive, while I met with reading groups.

Cheetahs: We previewed our new book, Ostriches, and identified text features. Then we began reading the text and orally answering comprehension questions.

In math we took the unit 1 assessment. I can't wait to grade these (really!) because I know the children are going to do well!!!!

Before lunch and recess we visited the computer lab. We began with a whole group lesson, reviewing how to save work and how to identify what you have open by looking at the bar on the bottom of the computer screen. Then the students finished publishing their pieces and practiced their keyboarding skills using Type to Learn.

After lunch and recess more students shared their published writing pieces with the class. Then we discussed our next writing focus; writing to inform. We talk about what makes us expert in certain topics. This was in preparation for tomorrow's lesson where students will list topics in which they are experts.

While the students continued their independent work, I met with reading groups.

Bears: We identified vocabulary words in text and read the sentences to figure out the meaning of the words. Then we discussed that many words in our language have multiple meanings and when we look them up in the dictionary we need to choose the meaning that fits the text.
Crabs: This morning the students wrote a summary of chapter 6 in the RRJ. This afternoon we began reading chapter 7 and discussed the embarrassment that Judy faced due to her bragging.
Lions: We discussed how many students in our group jumped to conclusions about Kicker while reading Across the Railroad Tracks. WE identified how Kicker had changed and wanted to help Sarah Ida.

We are ending the day with a short class meeting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

We continue celebrating Red Ribbon Week to remind students to say NO to drugs and alcohol. Today the students were asked to wear jeans. Tomorrow they are asked to wear hats in order to remember to "Put a CAP on Drugs".

In reading we began reading Race to the South Pole, a non-fiction book about two explorers, back in the early 1900s, who were determined to be the first to get to the South Pole. We identified examples of cause and effect to help us comprehend the text.

While I met with reading groups, the students worked on individual reading group assignments, reading and responding to a non fiction article about Jack-O-Lanterns and writing a cartoon using our new WOW, wallop (to hit hard).

Cheetahs: Met with Mrs. Jeyasunder (I was in a meeting at the time) and read and retold an article about Jack-O-Lanterns.

We spent our math block reviewing and correcting every problem in the Unit 1 Review Packet. These are coming home this evening. The students are expected to use them to prepare for the assessment tomorrow.

Following PE, lunch and recess we had a fire drill. After that, some students shared their published writing pieces with the class.

Then the students continued their independent work while I met with more reading groups.

Reading Groups:

Bears: This morning they charted the beginning. middle and end of chapter 11 in the RRJ. We shard these in group and then they returned to their seats to write a summary of the chapter.
Lions: Today they read the rest of the chapter called The Accident to discover what Sarah Ida did after Al gave her the key to lock up the shoeshine stand. They had predicted yesterday, in group, what she would do. Today, in group, we discussed what she actually did and how she had changed since the beginning of the story. When they returned to their seats the students completed a somebody/wanted/but/so/then chart in their RRJ, for this chapter.
Crabs: Earlier today they charted, in their RRJ, the beginning, middle and end of chapter 6. We discussed this in group.

We ended the day by discussing the concepts of supply and demand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Red Ribbon Week

Today is the first day of Red Ribbon Week...an effort to teach our children to say no to drugs and alcohol. To get the week started off right, Officer Dixon visited our class to speak with the students about the effects of making bad choices. Tomorrow the students are asked to wear jeans to remember to stay away from drugs.

After Officer Dixon left, I spoke to the class about their science activity from Thursday. Many students did not seem to put effort into this assignment. I found it disappointing. These have been graded and returned to students but they have been told that they can explain their answers (in writing, of course, and turn it back in by Friday, in order to get a higher score.

Next, we went to math. In my math class the students spent the entire block working on a review packet for the unit 1 assessment. Most students worked independently while I worked with a small group. Tomorrow we will review each problem in the packet and the students will bring the CORRECTED packet home to use to prepare for the assessment on Wednesday. There is no homework tonight.

After math the children went to music and then enjoyed lunch and recess. During recess they participated in the Homeless Walk.

We began the afternoon by identifying examples of cause and effect. The children worked on a follow up worksheet and practiced writing I and J in cursive while I met with one reading groups.

Lions: We began reading the chapter called The Accident. WE stopped halfway through the chapter so that the students could write a prediction as to what Sarah Ida will do after AL gives her the key and goes to the hospital by ambulance. Tomorrow they will finish reading the chapter to check their prediction.

We are ending the day in the computer lab. Most students will continue publishing their writing piece while those who are finished will practice their typing skills using Type to Learn.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wonderful Thursday

There is no school tomorrow...so this Thursday is kind of like a Friday!

We began the day by taking our spelling test and correcting/reviewing the prefix pages in our spelling packet. After that the students were given independent reading group assignments and a non fiction article about Trick-or-Treating to read and use to answer a comprehension worksheet.

Reading Groups:
Cheetahs: We finished reading Christina Katerina. As we read each page we paused to silently reread before retelling what happened on that page.

In math I introduced line graphs. The students finished constructing a lone graph and then responded to questions about the graph. Two small groups met. One worked on writing numbers in expanded and standard form. The other worked on constructing bar graphs.

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess, the students will be working with a substitute. I have to attned my son's parent conference!

In writing they will review how to edit for conventions such as, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar and useage. Then they will continue their independent work while the teacher meets with reading groups.

Crabs: They will review the list of unknow words they created when reading chapter 6, independently, this morning. Then they will begin to read the chapter aloud in group.

Lions: Will write a summary of The Medal using our discussion and their BME chart.

Bears: Will review the list of unknown words they created while reading chapter 11, independently, this morning. Then they will check their comprehension by sharing the questions they wrote about the chapter.

The students will end the day with a science lesson. THey will use the fingerprints they identified from the safe, earlier this week, to determine the robber of the safe. Then they will compare and contract their fingerprint to another fingerprint, and write about it, to reflect upon their knowledge of fingerprint patterns.

Next week is Red Ribbon Week...students should wear red on Monday in honor of it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mad Day!

Nope...it wasn't a bad day...not THAT kind of Mad...

Today was our in-house field trip with Mad Science!!! The students participated in many forensic experiments as they helped Miss Roberta, from Mad Science, solve the crime of who stole her double stuffed Oreos. Enjoy the pictures!!







After our "field trip" we began our reading block. We continued reading the book Giraffes and identifying text features and their purpose. Then the students began their independent work which included individual reading group assignments and writing a thank you note to Miss Roberta, our mad science presenter.

Reading Groups:
Cheetahs: We continued reading Christina Katerina and the Time She Quit the Family, working on our fluency and retelling short sections of the text right after we read them.

Bears: We reviewed their lists of unknown words from last night's homework. Then we shared and responded to the questions the students had written as part of their reading group work earlier in the morning.

Before lunch and recess we went to the computer lab. The students continued publishing their personal narratives. After indoor recess, some students share their writing before continuing their independent work.

Reading Groups:
Crabs: We reviewed unknown words from their homework last night. Then the students shared the questions they had written this morning after rereading the chapter, independently, in class. We had fun reviewing the chapter by answering student written questions!

Lions: This morning they made a chart, in their RRJ, depicting the beginning, middle and end of the chapter called The Medal. We shared and discussed these in group this afternoon and the students had the chance to make changes based on our discussion.

We ended the day with a short class meeting. We discussed Mix It Up Day which took place today during lunch.

Book orders are due next Friday, October 28. There is a note coming home today about our Halloween party.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

We began the day by identifying text features in the text called Giraffes and creating a t-chart stating the feature and how it helps our comprehension. Then we practiced using our new WOW word - ponder (to think about deeply; to study)- in a sentence.

While I pulled reading groups the students continued their independent work from yesterday (there was a lot!) and added to that, w practice worksheet for the WOW word.

Cheetahs: We reviewed why the main character quite the family and what she did to show her Independence. Then we reviewed our rule for reading with proper phrasing; pause at the punctuation marks. After that we practiced reading using proper phrasing and answering oral comprehension questions about what we read. Tonight they need to reread up to the sticky note and get a parent signature in their planner.

In math we returned to the study of patterns but this time focused on geometric patterns. Students had to look at various picture patterns and determine the rule in order to draw the next picture in the pattern. While I believe we made great progress, this did take the entire period. There is a review worksheet for homework. However, due to our in house field trip tomorrow, we will not have math. The homework will be checked on Thursday.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess we had an emergency class meeting. Unfortunately, students are not being kind to one another. We had an extensive talk about not having to be friends with everyone but making sure to include others. We talked about how rejection feels and trying to keep that feeling in mind when tempted to not let others join your recess fun. It was a good discussion and I truly believe the children will do their best to be kind to others.

After that, the students returned to their independent work assignments and I met with reading groups.

Bears: We reviewed vocabulary from chapter 9 and practiced using it correctly. Then we talked about how Ben took command of Gully and how it impacts the rest of the story. For homework they need to read chapter 10 and list unknown words on sticky notes. However, I am allowing them to begin this in class.

Crabs: We reread the end of chapter 4 silently and discussed the idea of foreshadowing. Then we began to read chapter 5. Tonight for homework the students need to read chapter 5 and list unknown words. They were allowed to start this in class.

Lions: We read and discussed the chapter called The Medal. We focused upon similarities between Al's and Sarah Ida's childhoods.

We ended the day with a brief science lesson. The students identified fingerprint patterns that were taken from the safe, in our mock crime.

There is a book order coming home tonight. You can order on line or send your order form and a check to school with your child. These are due no later than October 28.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday

This morning we shifted our focus in reading to non-fiction text, reading to be informed. To begin this unit, the students worked in groups, using the National Geographic magazine, to list text features on white boards. The groups then "taught the class" by telling them to turn to a certain page in the magazine and pointing out text features, using the ELMO, so the class could follow along.

After that the students worked independently on reading group assignments, a prefix exercise from their language arts text, writing the letters C, E and Q in cursive and making cards for Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Thursday.

In math we reviewed line plots and median, mode and range. The students constructed line plots and identified the median, mode and range independently while I worked with a small group constructing bar graphs. When both the small group and independent workers were ALL finished, the entire class practiced their basic facts using iPads. There is a line plot worksheet for homework.

Following music, lunch and outdoor recess we read the book called Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis. Then the children chose a feeling/mood and wrote about it. We will compile these papers into a class book.

Reading Groups:
Bears: We got ready to meet but I realized we were missing half our group...so I immediately sent them back to work independently.

Lions: We identified and discussed the beginning, middle and end of the chapter called The Boy on the Street. Tomorrow the students will write summaries in their RRJs.

Crabs: We discussed talked about what Judy and Jenius have in common...both feel ignored by their parents. Then I introduced some new vocabulary in chapter 4. We will begin reading this chapter tomorrow.

We ended the day with a SHORT trip to the computer lab where the students continued to publish their writing pieces. Those who finished were allowed to change the font and insert 1 picture into their document. These will be printed, scored and sent home! It has truly been a valuable experience for the students to see the red, green and blue squiggly lines pointing our their spelling and grammar mistakes!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lulu




I am SUPER excited!! We got a new dog! Her name is Lulu and she is a Yorkie!!! I am posting the picture here for my students to enjoy!! :-)

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