Monday, January 31, 2011

And...we're back!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed our unexpected winter break!! While I had a lot of fun with my boys, it is good to be back to my routine.

In math we reviewed points, lines, line segments, rays and angles. There is a worksheet for homework.

In reading we responded to text in written form by responding to both multiple choice and short answer (BCR) questions. My lesson today focused on reading the question and underlining text that directly responds to the question. We also practiced naming and explaining our answers. Finally, we identified words in questions that could be used in the topic sentence of our short answer questions.

After that, we shared examples, from our chart that we created last Tuesday, of when we persuaded someone to do something and how we got them to do it. We used these examples to identify ways to persuade. Then we looked at two ads from the newspaper and identified methods used to convince the public to buy or use the product.

The students worked independently on the BCR and multiple choice questions. They also chose an ad from the paper and identified convincing strategies that were used to get consumers to use or buy the product.

I met with all three reading groups...
Green: We met and I collected their current reading book. That's it! :-)

Red: we read and discussed chapter 5. THe students identified the problem and solution with stickie notes. We also discussed hoe Jenius has changed in the chapter. Tonight they need to read chapter 6 and pet a parent's signature.

Blue: We read and discussed chpater 6. We identified the ways Grandpa has changed in the story and why he has changed. Tonight the students need to read chapters 7 and 8 and get a parent's signature.

Following lunch and indoor recess the students will go to art. When they return they will make reed instruments using more than 1 straw and determine hos the pitch changes.

One small note: My class computer is not functioning right now. Therefore, e-mail response will be slower than usual!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome Marking Period 3

Today begins the third marking period and the second semester of the school year...we are half way through third grade!

In math we began unit 4...Geometry. This unit is heavy on the vocabulary!! Each student received a vocabulary packet to be kept in the math section of their binder. Please make sure it is there and encourage them to use it.

Today we learned the definition and symbols for a point, a line, a line segment, a ray, and an angle. For homework they were given a two sided worksheet but they should only complete the LINE side of the worksheet. They are not prepared to complete the angle side.

In reading we identified the two points of view used by authors; first person ()when the narrator is a character in the story) and third person (when an outside is telling the story). WE read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and identified the point of view used by the author. We also practiced telling specific incidents in the story from a different character's point of view. Next,since writing to persuade is our focus this marking period, we discussed the concept of persuasion and identified examples of it.

While I met with reading groups, the students identified an incident from the Alexander story and wrote it in another character's point of view. They also created a chart of 5 examples of a time they convinced someone to act or think in a certain way and the method they used to do so. Finally, they read a chapter in their reading book.

A word about reading groups...

Last week, while I was out, the class took the winter MAP-R. This is a computerized reading test that they took in the fall. Using the data from the Map-R, as well as written assignments and observations in reading group, I will be forming new reading groups...SOON. However, I want to have all of my current groups finish the books they are currently reading.

With that in mind...

Blue: We read chapter 5 discussed the point of view and practiced summarizing the chapter. For homework they need to read chapter 6 and get a parent's signature.

Red: We read most of chapter 4 and discussed point of view. For homework they need to finish reading chapter 4, read chapter 5 and get a parent's signature.

Green: We briefly discussed the point of view that their book uses. For homework they need to reread chapters 4 and 5. We are finished with their they are in somewhat of a holding pattern until the other groups catch up!

Following lunch and outdoor recess we will have a class meeting to touch base and see how things are going. Then we will use plastic straws to make reed instruments that produce sound.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The End of Marking Period Two

After today we are oficially half way through the school year!

In math we complted the unit 3 assessment.

In reading the students completed their travel brochures and any other unfinished work. Then the students presented their state travel brochures to their classmates.

Following lunch and indoor recess the class went to music. When they return we will clean out their desks and binders to get ready for the next marking period. Then we will work on our MSA song!

Remember that the children do not have school on Monday. It is a teacher work day! I will be here working on report cards and planning for next week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday...a day of math!

Long time no hear...right!?! We had Monday off for MLK's birthday, Tuesday schools were closed due to bad weather and I was out yesterday due to old age, and a bad back!!!

I am back today...and it's going to be a busy day!!

We will be working on math all morning, beginning with a Mock MSA practice session for math. After that, we will be going to math classes and reviewing the Mock MSA.

Next, for my math class, comes the tricky part...
Due to deadlines for the math department and for report cards, I need to have ALL unit 3 math assessments completed by the end of the day tomorrow! To add to my stress, the weather is calling for some snow, which could possibly result in a delayed opening.

Normally, I would not want to begin a unit assessment on the same day we had a practice for the MSA. However, to ensure that students get two days to work on it, I am going to begin today...with the understanding that the children will be able to review their answers and change anything they want to change, tomorrow.

Is this the ideal? No! But given Mother Nature and time constraints, I feel it is the best course of action. PLEASE feel free to email me if you have concerns or questions.

Following lunch and recess the students will be going to the media center and watching the end of the Ruby Bridges movie.

Friday, January 14, 2011

TGIF...IMPORTANT math assessment information

This morning in math we began preparing for the unit 3 assessment by completing a review packet. We will go over and correct each item in the packet on Tuesday. Then the students will be expected to study for the assessment, using the review packet, Tuesday night. We will begin taking the assessment on Wednesday.

The students seem to have a good handle on the concepts BUT there is a great NEED for students to memorize the basic multiplication facts. PLEASE have your child use the flashcards or one of the web sites on this blog to memorize the facts!!

Thanks to Mrs. J, we were able to begin reading by looking at different types of travel brochures. We noticed and discussed the organization, the sentence structure and other aspects that were similar and different to the ones we are creating in class.

While I continued conferencing with individual students on their mock MSA BCRs, the students worked on completing unfinished work and their travel brochures.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the children went to music. Then, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we briefly discussed his impact on the Civil Rights Movement and began watching a movie about Ruby Bridges, the first African American to integrate an all white school.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday...Mock MSA

This morning, instead of math, we had a practice session for the reading MSA. This was to help students, as well as staff, familiarize themselves with the test itself and the atmosphere that surrounds it.

After taking the mock MSA, we will have our regular reading block. In my reading class we will review the mock MSA problem by problem...except for the BCRs. I am planning (hoping) to meet with individual students to review their BCRs and discuss what they did well and what they can improve. PLEASE look for these mock MSAs to come home next week and review them with your child.

While I work with individual students, reviewing their BCRs, the rest of the class will begin creating their state travel brochures using the paragraphs they have been writing.

Following lunch and indoor recess the students will visit the media center. When they return to class we will graph the pitch that the slide whistles produces when extended to various lengths. IF there is time, we will practice singing our MSA song. Look for the words to the song...they will be coming home today or tomorrow!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2 hour delayed opening on Hump Day

This morning we came to school two hours later than usual. So the third grade team chose to have math class and not reading. IN math we reviewed rounding and estimation. Then, while the students worked independently on an estimation worksheet and making flashcards for the multiples of 4, I met with two small groups!!

The first group worked on rounding numbers to the nearest ten. The second group practiced solving division sentences using the repeated subtraction technique.

For homework, some students need to finish their estimation worksheet from classwork. Some also need to finish their flashcards. ALL students need to practiced memorizing their flashcards!!

After math we ate lunch. When we returned to class, we continued working on our MSA song. Then the students went to PE. When they return, we are supposed to graph the results from our science lesson yesterday but I may allow them to continue working on our MSA song. They really are working on great skills such as counting beats (syllables), rhyming, staying on topic, word choice, revising, etc. Oh, we are also having fun while learning...shhhh...don't tell them they are learning! :-O

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


In math we used rounding to estimate the product of word problems. There is a worksheet for homework. The students are also bringing home two problems, that we solved together in class, to help clarify any confusion.

The students began reading by sharing their natural resource and interesting facts paragraphs in small groups. Each student was expected to read both paragraphs to two classmates and then make some improvements with the help of the other children. The children will be bringing home these two paragraphs tonight to read to an adult. Feel free to help your child make some changes, but the paragraphs should not be entirely rewritten.

After that we identified strategies for answering multiple choice questions. I explained the concept of a distractor; the most common wrong answer. We also discussed the need to read through all of the choices and go back to the text to locate the correct response.

Finally, I introduced a new strategy that we will be trying out, thank to Mrs. J. As I write and explain their goals for independent work time on the white board, the students will now be coping the goals onto a sticky note in order to create a check list for themselves. This is intended to foster independence and encourage the students to self-monitor.

Today's checklist:
1. Complete natural resource and interesting facts paragraphs
2. Multiple choice WS
3. Reading group WS

I was only able to meet with two reading groups today, but all three reading groups did have a written comprehension worksheet to work on that pertained to their specific novel.

Blue: We read and discussed chapter 4.
Red: We read and discussed most of chapter 4.

Following lunch and indoor recess in the gym, Mrs. Howard will come by to conduct a lesson about respect. After that we will use slide whistles to determine the relationship between pitch and space in the air tunnel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Marvelous Monday

We had a few changes in our schedule due to our winter band and chorus concert that is scheduled for this afternoon. As I expected, the kids were great about going with the flow and adjusting to shortened math and reading blocks!!

In math we began with a warm up and then I split the students into smaller groups of 4. Each group was given the same short answer questions asking them to solve 35 divided by 7 using a calculator that had broken division and addition buttons. The hope was that in the small groups they would recognize that the subtraction button could be used because division is simply repeated subtraction. We will share each groups finished response tomorrow, at the beginning of class. There is a numeric pattern worksheet for homework.

After math, we had a half hour to work on our MSA song. We actually completed an entire refrain and the chorus. We also practiced singing it to music several times.

In reading we read and discussed a non fiction reading piece called Butterfly of Thailand. Then we dissected a BCR that went with it. After demonstrating how to identify what the BCR was asking, we underlined important information within the text. We also underlined key words, from the question, that should be used in the response. Finally, the students worked independently to construct an answer to the BCR. I can't wait to read them!!

While I met with reading groups the students answered the BCR mentioned above and completed their natural resource and interesting fact paragraphs for their state reports.

All reading groups read and discussed the next chapter in their book...chapter 3 for red and blue, chapter for green. All groups need to reread their books for homework tonight and get a parent's signature.

Following lunch and indoor recess the students went to art. We concluded the day with the winter band and chorus concert.

Friday, January 7, 2011


It's Friday and we made it through the first (full!) week of the 2011 calendar year...AND it was a good one!!

In math we took our third quiz for Unit 3. They are scored and should be in your child's math section of his/her binder. The students did very well!!! Their hard working is paying off!!

We began reading by the students working in groups of three to edit and improve each others physical geography and climate paragraphs. After that we identified the characteristics of a well constructed BCR (sort answer question).

While I met with reading groups the students wrote their natural resources paragraph and completed any other unfinished work for the week. All three reading groups participated in the same lesson during their small group time. Using the reading comprehension worksheet that their group completed independently, yesterday, in class, we crafted responses. We discussed using words from the question, not using pronouns in the first sentence and what it means (looks like) to use specific details in the response.

Following lunch and indoor recess the students went to music. When they return we will create sound using slide whistles.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


This morning I introduced some of the fourth grade math to the students. It involved solving equations with parenthesis. Then. while I met with a small group to work on division strategies, the rest of the class continued their work with Hands on Equations. There is a fact family worksheet for homework and we will have a QUIZ tomorrow. There will not be any Hands on Equations on the quiz.

To begin reading I modeled writing a paragraph about the climate of Maryland. I focused on the organization (topic sentence, specific detail sentences supporting the topic and a conclusion, reminding the readers what they just read). Then, while I met with reading groups the students worked on writing their climate paragraphs and completing a reading groups comprehension worksheet.

Reading Groups:
Blue: We read chapter 2 and practiced answering comprehension questions orally. For homework they need to reread chapter 2.

Red: We read chapter 2 and practiced answering comprehension questions orally. For homework they need to reread chapter 2.

Green: We read chapter 3 and practiced answering comprehension questions orally. For homework they need to reread chapter 3.

ALL STUDENTS need to read both their physical geography and climate paragraphs to an adult and make any corrections that the student notices. Then the student needs to have the adult sign the paper on which the paragraphs are written.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will visit the media center for their weekly lesson. Then, we will end the day with a lesson about respect by Mrs. Howard.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hump Day!

This morning in math we continued working with the Hand on Equations program but, today, the students were turned loose to work independently. I worked with a small group, using the entrance cards from Monday, to practice strategies to solve division problems. Tonight's homework is to complete rows 6-10 from last night's worksheet.

A word about our math class...
PLEASE encourage your child to STOP my teaching and ASK questions as soon as they are confused or lost. I try my best to encourage this and applaud the students who take the risk and speak up. Often, the students act as if they understand, but when I turn them loose to work independently, chaos ensues! Well, not chaos...but tons 'o confusion. It is easier to address these questions in whole group, so that I can meet with small groups! :-)

We began reading by working with partners to identify what we know and what we have questions about concerning dictionaries. After sharing these thoughts, I spent time dissecting entries in the dictionary. Next, we went to the media center for our final day of gathering and organizing our research for the state travel brochures.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students went to PE. When they return to class we will work in small groups on our MSA song and share the results.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

This morning in math we continued our study of Hands on Equations. There is a worksheet for homework BUT the students are only supposed to do rows 1-5 tonight. I will be assigning rows 6-10 tomorrow night...but they don't know this yet, so shhhhh!!! :-)

In reading I modeled writing a paragraph about the physical geography of Maryland using the graphic organizer. We discussed the organization of a paragraph and I stress that the topic needed to be mentioned in both the topic and concluding sentences. The middle parts of the paragraph are the support sentences that name and explain the topic sentence. While I met with reading groups the students wrote their physical geography paragraphs, read sections of their new reading group books and wrote cartoons for their new WOW (word of the week), baffle.

Reading Groups:
Red: Read and discussed chapter 1. Tonight they need to reread chapter 1 and get a parent's signature.

Blue: Discussed historical fiction. Read and discussed chapter 1. For homework they need to reread chapter 1 and get a parent's signature.

Green: We read chapters 1 and 2 and discussed the problem(s) in chapter 1. For homework they need to reread both chapters and get a parent's signature.

Following lunch and outdoor recess we will have a class meeting to discuss the concept of respect. We will share ideas about how to show respect to ourselves, other people and things.

We will end the day by discussing rhythm and rhyme and working in small groups on our MSA rap.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome Back!

I hope each of you and your families had a wonderful Winter Break! I know I did but am glad to be back to a semi-normal routine!!

In math, today, we began with a 3 question entrance card. The students worked on three items independently so that I could see how much instruction they retained over the ten day break. After that, I began to introduce a program called Hands on Equations. This is a packaged program that introduces the students to equations and variables (ie. x + x = 4 and 2x = 4 so x = 2, etc.). There is a basic facts worksheet for homework.

We began reading by reviewing the state research project that we began working on, in school, before break. Then I modeled using a non fiction text to gain new information and complete parts of the graphic organizer. After that, the students returned to the graphic organizer they began before break and analyzed their own work; Do they have enough information? Does their information makes sense? Does the student have questions for me? T

Then we proceeded to the media center to continue gathering information. When we returned from the media center, Mrs. Harmon, a PTA parent volunteer, discussed the upcoming science fair with the entire third grade. This is an exciting event. Please ask your child about the presentation and encourage them to participate.

The entire reading class has a reading comprehension activity for homework. They need to read a page about holidays and answer the questions that are attached, in complete sentences.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will go to art. When they return we will discuss New Year's Resolutions and write one. I will keep these and return them to the students at the end of the school year. If we have time, we will begin writing MSA songs.

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