Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Monday!

This morning we read two more chapter in the Jack Prelutsky book and added new writing tips to our class chart.  After that, we reviewed the characteristics of a fantasy story.  The we read The Paper Bag Princess and identified the author's message (or moral) of the story.  Finally, we learned the structure of a diamante poem (a 7 line poem that compares two different subjects).

Independent work, this afternoon, includes; writing about the author's message in The Paper Bag Princess using support from the story, writing two diamante poems in the students' writer's notebook and reading silently.

In math we began the money section of unit5.  Today the students reviewed identifying counting coins up to a dollar.  Students were also introduced to several new anchor activities, including two money "apps" for the Ipads.  There is a money worksheet for homework tonight.

Following music, the students enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess.

After recess, the students worked independently on the assignments listed above.  I met with reading groups.

Bears:  We shared and discussed the "unusual happenings" that the students marked in their books on Fridays.  Then we began reading chapter 4.

Lions:  We discussed who  had the watch which was the groups follow up from Friday's reading assignment.  Then we began reading chapter 16 and discussed how Murray "snuck" the watch out of Ralph's house.

We ended the day by learning about the interdependence between bees and plants.  We discussed cross pollination and began learning about the 3 different types of honey bees.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Friday!!!

To begin our reading/writing block this morning, several students shared their silly quatrain poems with the rest of the class.  Then, the students who were out yesterday, had a chance to share what they did with their parents at work.  After that we read another chapter in the Jack Prelutsky book and added a new writing tip to the chart we created yesterday.  Finally, we read a fantasy book titled, The Wump World, and created a chart identifying the actions, words and appearance of the characters in the book that made them believable.

In math we took our 4th quiz for unit 5.  These have been scored and will be coming home in your child's binder tonight.  Overall, the students did very well!

After a visit to the media center, the students enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess.

After recess the students worked independently on a final copy of a Haiku poem that will be turned into for a grade.  They also finished any unfinished work and read through poetry books, looking for and marking concrete poems.

I met with reading groups.

Bears:  We began reading chapter 3 in group.  The students were given three sticky note flags.  They returned to their seats to finish reading the chapter and mark three unusual happenings (the title of the chapter) in the book.

Lions:  We began reading chapter 15 in group focusing on the question what information did the weasel provide?  Halfway through the chapter, the students returned to their seats to finish reading the chapter independently and write on a sticky note the answer to who had the watch.

Crabs:  We read and discussed chapter 3.

We ended the day by watching a Magic School Bus video about the plant growth cycle.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take Your Child to Work Day

Today was certainly an interesting day...we had a large portion of our class out, visiting their parents' work place.  While this might seem like an "easy" day for teaching, it actually creates challenges!  Anything new I teach, will have to be retaught tomorrow!!  But we made the best of it and had some fun, too!!

We began our reading/writing block with students sharing the Haiku poems they wrote yesterday.  Then we read two chapters in the Jack Prelutsky book.  After that, we created a class chart, listing the writing tips we've read about so far in Jack Prelutsky's book.  Next, using the writing tips, the children returned to their seats and chose a topic for a silly poem we will write this afternoon.  Finally, before math, the children shared their topic ideas.

In math, the students used an app on the iPads called Educreations to solve a word problem.  This app allowed them to take a picture of a word problem I had put on the board.  Then, using a stylus, they "show their work" by writing on the iPad AND they record their verbal "thinking".  When they are done solving the word problem. I can see their written work and listen to their thinking!  It was very cool and the class definitely enjoyed solving word problems in math!!

After math, the students went to art.  Then they enjoyed lunch and recess.

After lunch while some students had the chance to catch up on unfinished assignments, the others worked on writing silly quatrain poems.  We had a great time doing this and it took up the rest of the afternoon!  The poems were so great that I called up to the office to have Mr. McGee come down and read them!!  Here are a few:

Bit Mom  by: Mackenzie
My mom was on the phone
While I let out a moan
I wanted dinner
So, well I bit her

She dropped her phone when I bit
So then she told me to sit
I did not feel like a winner
but at least I still got dinner

Cupcake by: Evan
Once I nicknamed my brother Ace
He didn't like that.
So he put a cupcake in my face
I got icing all over the place

I like my brother, he's really sweet
But this time he's dead meat
I still got cupcake all over the place
There goes that nickname ace

Tyson by: Jackson
Come here, Bud
Don't make me throw you in the mud
Do you want to scratch me
Ouch! You did, you see?

What is wrong with you
Do you want me to sue?
Go ahead, take a bite
Ouch!  Again?  Let's fight!

April Fool!  by: Kaitlyn C.
I played a trick on April Fool's
I knew I would win and mom would lose
She got mad and I got glad
Then I got in trouble and then I felt so sad.

Push!  by: Riley
I pushed my brother one time
My mom saw me do it
Then I was gone lickety split
I ran away from the crime.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hump Day

This morning we began by reading two chapters in the Jack Prelutsky book.  The second chapter dealt with writing Haiku poetry...which I planned to teach tomorrow.  However, since Mr. Prelutsky was writing about Haiku, I decided to changed my instructional path and we learned how to write Haiku poetry.

Haiku is a Japanese form that deals with nature.  It is 3 lines with 17 syllables total.  The first line has 3 syllables, the second line 7 and the third line 5.  Here are two examples we wrote in class:

Blinking in the night
Fire flies ll around
Finally summer!

Cold short days arrive
Snow will surely follow soon
Oh no!  We missed out.

After our writing lesson, we reviewed the characteristics of fantasy.  Then we read the book The Mysterious Tadpole and noted the aspects that were realistic and helped us forget the completely fantastical elements (a tadpole larger than a human) of the story.

In math we reviewed key words, and their meanings, in word problems.  Then the students worked independently on two follow up worksheets.  One involved reading a word problem and choosing the correct numeric expression.  The other practiced filling in boxes, wither either numbers or operational signs, to make the equations true.  For homework students need to finish their classwork and complete the assigned HW paper.

After math we visited the computer lab where the students practiced their keyboarding skills using Type to Learn 3.  Then they enjoyed lunch and recess.

After recess the students worked independently on the following assignments; writing 2 haiku poems, using 8 WOW words in sentences to show they understand the meaning, and a language arts activity identifying adverbs.  I met with reading groups.

Bears:  We met and reviewed the pronunciation and meaning of vocabulary from chapter 3.

Lions:  We reviewed vocabulary and read and discussed chapter 14.

Crabs:  We reviewed the pronunciation and meaning of vocabulary from chapter 3.

We ended the day with a class meeting.  First, we went around the circle with each child getting the chance to complete the phrase, "In the time we have left I'd like to..."  Then we shared compliments.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday--I'm Back!

As I mentioned in Friday's post, I was out of the building, yesterday, at curriculum training.

We began the day by reviewing similes and adverbs. These were both skills that the children reviewed and practiced with the substitute but looking over their independent work, I decided I needed to clarify a few things.

After that, we discussed the characteristics of fantasy. Then we read the book Big, Bad Bruce and examples from the story which make it a fantasy.

In math we continued identifying unknown pieces of equations. Today these included numbers in some equations and operational signs in others. For homework, some children need to finish or redo sections of their classwork. All students have a multiplication worksheet.

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess the students worked on poems for Mrs. McAlister and Mrs. Watkins.  We will give them these poems tomorrow in honor of National Administrative Assistant's Day.

Bears:  We reread and discussed chapter 2.

Lions:  We reread and discussed chapter 13.

Crabs:  We reread and discussed chapter 2.  The students need to work on their reading fluency.  For HOMEWORK they need to read chapter 2 and get a parent signature in their binder.

Reading class ran long and we did not get to science.

Friday, April 20, 2012


This morning we were treated by visiting the 4th grades Wax Museum of famous Americans!  They did a great job!!

Before that, we shared cinquain poems that the students wrote yesterday.  We also took our spelling test and reviewed the spelling/grammar packet.

After the Wax Museum, we returned to class for math.  My math class took a quiz.  These will be scored and come home in your child's binder this evening.

Following math, the students visited the media center and then enjoyed lunch and recess.  After recess, Mrs. Howard stopped by to do a lesson about personal space with my homeroom.  We will end the day by observing our plants and staking those plants that need help.

I will be out of the building at  curriculum training on Monday. blog!  Sorry!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This morning we began reading by enjoying another chapter in Jack Prelutsky's book.  Then we reviewed the parts of speech we've learned this year, paying special attention to adjectives.  We created a chart that is now hanging in the classroom for the students to use as a resource.  After that, we briefly identified the difference between phrases and sentences and noticed their use in several Shel Silverstein poems.  Finally, I introduced the format of cinquain poetry.

Cinquain - 5 lines
Line 1:  2 syllables (subject)
Line 2:  4 syllables (describe the subject)
Line 3:  6 syllables (action involving the subject)
Line 4:  8 syllables (feeling about the subject)
Line 5:  2 syllables (another word for the subject)

Here's an example of one I wrote in front of the class:

Bounding throughout the house
Love her spunky disposition

In math we reviewed the relationship between multiplication and division.  We also practiced using skip counting to find the answer to a division problem.  Then, using both these ideas we conquered finding the quotient when dividing larger numbers using zero (think, 420 divided by 7 = 60).  We began a worksheet as a whole group.  Then students finished the worksheet independently as Mrs. Benson and I wandered around providing individuals with extra help, as needed.  There is a basic facts division worksheet for homework and we will have a quiz tomorrow covering multi digit multiplications, identifying fractions and mixed numbers on a number line and finding fractions of a set.

Following art, lunch and outdoor recess the students will work on writing cinquain poems (at least 2) and identifying adjectives in sentences.  Then they will complete any unfinished work and read independently.  I will meet with reading groups.

Crabs:  After identifying some vocabulary words in chapter one, the students read that chapter silently and wrote about the problem in their RRJ.

Lions:  reread chapter 12 and compared Gooseberry Park to Professor Albert's house in their RRJ.

Bears:  We reviewed the characters in the book, discussing their relationships and describing the traits that were evident in chapter 1.

Reading groups ran over, so we didn't get to our science lesson. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rainy Wednesday

This morning the students shared their illustrations of the metaphor comparing a school of fish to Mexican soda.  Then I showed the students a picture of Mexican soda (multi-colored, bright, vibrant).  We had a discussion about how figurative language ( metaphors, specifically) is a tool authors use to paint a picture in their readers minds.  However, as a reader, we need to understand the metaphor in order to create an accurate image. 

After that we continued read the Jack Prelutsky book.

Then I introduced a new type of figurative language, onomatopoeia (a word whose sound makes you think of its meaning, ex. boom, crash).  I read two Shel Silverstein poems that used onomatopoeia.

The children's independent work included a new WOW worksheet for the verb shriek.  They also needed to circle examples of onomatopoeia and illustrate a poem.  Finally, the students identified adjectives on a worksheet. 

Reading Groups
Bears:  The students reread chapter 1 and completed a worksheet identifying the various characters introduced in the chapter, how they were related to one another and describing their personalities.

Lions:  In their RRJ they listed everything Murray ate in chapter 11 and explained what they could infer about Murray.

In math we continued multiplication but today we extended to three digit by one digit multiplication.  Most students got the concept but many are struggling with their multiplication basic facts.  As the students worked independently, Mrs. Benson worked with a small group to reinforce today's lesson.  I worked with a small group practicing placing fractions and mixed numbers on a number line.  After that I helped individuals with the independent practice worksheet.  Tonight's homework is to finish the worksheet from class today AND to fix any circled problems from class.

After math we visited the computer lab.  Students worked on their keyboarding skills using Type to Learn 3.

Following lunch and indoor recess the children continued their independent work assignments from this morning, while I met with reading groups.

Crabs:  In preparation for our new reading book, The Year of the Panda, we found China on the map.  Then I shared information to explain the importance of the panda to the Chinese people.  After that we discussed the Chinese zodiac calendar and looked up our "animals".

Lions:  We read and discussed chapter 12 in group.

We ended the day by thinning and transplanting our plants.  Our goal was to have 1 plant growing in each section of our quad plant holder.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

This morning we began our reading block by sharing the 2 facts and a fib activity that the students completed yesterday using the Shel Silverstein biography.  Then we read two chapter of the Jack Prelutsky book. 

After that, we reviewed figurative language as a tool authors (and poets) use to create a picture in their readers minds.  We read a Shel Silverstein poem and identified examples and alliteration.  Then we discussed similes and metaphors.  I shared a metaphor that Mr. Vogel found in a cooking magazine.

During independent work time, the children will copy the metaphor I shared (My scuba guide led me through a school of fish the colors of Mexican soda.) into their RRJ and illustrate it.  We will use these illustrations tomorrow when we discuss the importance of understanding the comparison in a metaphor or simile.  Then the students will write a couplet (of at least 4 mines) and illustrate it for a grade.  If they have time leftover the students will choose between reading or writing poetry.

Moving on to math...yesterday, I thought the students understood the 2 digit by 1 digit multiplication process.  Unfortunately, upon reviewing their independent work, I quickly discovered I was wrong!  So, today we reviewed it using white boards before moving onto independent practice (ie. a worksheet).

While students worked independently, Mrs. Benson worked with a small group reinforcing today's lesson.  I pulled a small group to review identifying fractions of a set.  Then I worked with individual students who struggled with their independent work.  For homework all students need to finish the worksheet from classwork today.

After going to PE and enjoying lunch and recess, my students worked on the independent work listed above as I met with reading groups.

Crabs:  We read and discussed chapter 10, thereby finishing the book.  Then we discussed whether or not we liked the book.  Many students said the book was too easy.  I reminded the group that they struggled answering a couple of the comprehension questions.  That led to a discussion regarding how "meaty" the book was...we talked about the fact that the chapters were short and didn't have a lot of details.  Therefore, our group discussion were brief.  We will begin a new book tomorrow.

Lions:  We shared the markings we made yesterday as we read independently.  This led to some good discussions about the humorous events in the chapter.  Then we identified how things had changed within the past 24 hours in the book.

Bears:  We met and began reviewing the places they marked during yesterday's independent reading assignment. I quickly noticed they were all clustered around the section of text we had read together in group.  A brave student admitted she had not completed the reading assignment and others soon followed.  We discussed the importance of completing assignments and the fact that although it feels like summer, school is still in session.  Hopefully, this will not become a pattern!

We ended the day by observing our plants and recording the observations in our packet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marvelous Monday

This week promises to be a great week, both inside and outside of the classroom!  :-)

We got a lot done in our morning reading and writing block.  First, the students had a chance to share the couplets they wrote on Friday, as part of their independent work.  After that we read another chapter in the Jack Prelutsky book.  Then, because of what we read, we reviewed how and why to use a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary to improve our poetry.  Finally, I began an author study of Shel Silverstein.  We read and discussed a short biography about this famous poet.  I also shared some of his books.

For independent work today, the students will reread the Shel Silverstein bio and write 2 facts and 1 fib based on their reading.  This is a comprehension strategy.  After that, the students will write at least 2 more couplet poems.  When they are finished they will read poetry, look through a thesaurus or practice using a rhyming dictionary.

In math, we are taking a short break from fractions to learn how to solve 2 digit by 1 digit multiplication problems.  Students worked independently on a worksheet while I met with small groups.  One small group worked on identifying fractions of a set.  The other group placed mixed numbers on a number line.  There is a basic fact multiplication worksheet for homework.

After music lunch and recess, the students continued their independent reading and writing work while I pulled reading groups.

Bears:  We reviewed the chapter 1 vocabulary that we worked on last week.  Then, after passing out a copy of Bunnicula to each student, we began reading and discussing chapter 1.  Midway through the chapter, the students returned to their seats to finish reading it independently.  They were given sticky notes and instructed to mark places with a ? where they had a questions and mark places with a ! if they were surprised or liked the part.  We will use these to guide our discussion tomorrow.

Lions:  We reviewed the whiteboard summary we wrote, in group, last week.  Then we began reading and discussing chapter 11.  Midway through the chapter, the students returned to their seats to finish reading it independently. They were given sticky notes and instructed to mark places with a ? where they had a questions and mark places with a ! if they were surprised or liked the part. We will use these to guide our discussion tomorrow.

Crabs:  In group, the students read chapter 9 independently to identify 2 surprises.  Then I asked the group a couple of "right there" questions...questions with answers that were specifically answered, clearly, in the text.  They struggled a bit with answering these.  SO, we discussed the need to make meaning of what is going on in the book as you read.

We ended the day by observing our plants and recording our first observations in our plant packet.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This morning in reading we continued reading the Jack Prelutsky biography and discussing his writing tips.  Then we reviewed the structure of poetry by labeling a poem entitled, "As Soon as Fred Gets Out of Bed".  After labeling the rhyming pattern, I identified this poem as a couplet since it contained sets of two lines that rhymed and had the same number of syllables.

Next, the students received a list of directions for writing couplets.  I used these directions to model writing a poem.  As I've suggested and we've read in Mr. Prelutsky's book, I chose a topic with  which I was familiar; Lulu (my dog) peeing on the carpet.

Here's the poem:


Oh, Lulu, how could you
When will you get a clue?

The carpet is not the place
Pee outside for goodness grace!

In math we reviewed fractions of a set in whole group.  Then the students worked on a practice worksheet while Mrs. Benson and I each worked with a small group to practice using the skip counting strategy to solve these problems.  I also met with my number line small group from yesterday.

Next the class visited the media center and enjoyed lunch and outdoor recess.

After recess, the students attempted to write 2 different couplets poems, with 4 lines each.  We will begin sharing and getting feedback on these Monday.  I met with two reading groups.

Bears:  We added more words to out RRJ to prepare for our new book Bunnicula.  We will begin reading chapter 1 on Monday.

Lions:  We continued writing a summary on the white board of chapters 1-10 in Gooseberry Park.

We ended the day by observing a dry bean and a soaked bean.  We recorded our observations in the science packet that was handed out today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We began our reading block this morning with the students orally sharing one of the acrostic poems they wrote yesterday in class.  Of course, I offered praise and polish as they read.  Then we read the second chapter of the Jack Prelutsky autobiography.  I am loving this book as it clearly shows how he turns his memories into poems.  After that, we identified and named the structure of poetry (lines, stanzas, title, beginning, middle and end) and labeled the rhyming patterns in a poem.

In math we tackled the fractions of a set with much better results!  Today I taught a skip counting strategy.  So, if you take 1/3 of 12, you skip count by the denominator (3, 6, 9, 12).  The number of times you skip count is the number in each group.  Today most of the children completed a practice worksheet independently.  Mrs. Benson and I both worked with small groups of students to practice the skip counting strategy.  Additionally, I met with another small group to practice identifying fractions and mixed numbers on a number line.  Tonight's homework is a multiplication practice worksheet.

Following art, lunch and recess I assigned independent work for the children to work on while I met with reading groups.  Assignments today included a final copy of an acrostic poem to be turned in for a grade and a poem for students to label (stanza, line, beg/middle/end and rhyming patterns).

Reading Groups
Bears:  We met and reviewed some challenging vocabulary in chapter 1 of their new book (to be handed out soon) Bunnicula.  We practiced using the new words and began a list in the vocabulary section of their RRJ.

Lions:  To review the first 10 chapters of the book and practice identifying important events, we began writing a group summary.  We passed around a white board.  Each person added a sentence, or an event, to the board, telling what happened.  We had a lot of discussion as to what were important events and what was just background information.  We will continue this tomorrow.

We ended the day by discussing what plants need to grow.  I also explained to the students how the hydration system, which our plants will be using, works.

Students also received their report cards today.  Please look for it in your child's home folder.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hump Day, already!?!?!

When you begin your week on Tuesday, the middle of the week sure comes quickly!!

During our morning reading block, we stumbled upon an autobiography written by a poet, Jack Prelutsky, that explains how he turns his life experiences into poems.  So, we began reading the book as a read aloud.

After that, I modeled how to choose a topic, decide what you want to say about it and then turn it into an acrostic poem.  Acrostic poetry are poems in which each line begins with a letter in the title.  for example:

Dynamic personality
Always on the go
Never sits still
Annoying at times!

Next the students were instructed to complete their personal inventories from yesterday and glue them into their writer's notebook.  Then they needed to write at least 2 acrostic poems; one using their name and the other using a subject.  Finally, they need to complete the combining two sentences activity from yesterday.

In math we continued identifying fractions of a set.  Today we practiced this in small group and independently using cubes.  We are experiencing challenges.  Therefore, we will continue this tomorrow, using a new strategy.  Our homework tonight practices naming equivalent fractions.

Before going to lunch we began planting our seeds for our Plant Growth and Development science unit.

Following lunch and recess, I reviewed acrostic poetry with a small group of students.  The rest of the class continued working on their work from this morning.  Then I met with the crabs reading group.

Crabs:  We reviewed chapter 1-8 of their reading book.  Using a white board, we wrote a group summary.  The first person wrote one sentence and then each person added a sentence until we had a summary of the important events.

We ended the day by completing the planting of our seeds.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Welcome Back!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed the Spring Break!!   My family and I certainly took advantage of the wonderful weather. 

Today marks the first day of the fourth (and final) marking period of the school year.  It's so hard to believe that we are in the home stretch...but we still have lots of learning to do!!

This morning I was in a meeting, so Mrs. Starkey helped me by beginning our poetry unit with my reading class.  They began by creating a chart of what the students knew about poetry.  After that, Mrs. Starkey shared MCPS's definition of poetry.  Next, the children had a chance to read through different books of poetry and locate two they liked.  Finally, and I was back to enjoy this part, they read poems out loud and shared why they liked them.

After completing our warm up in math, I gave the students a quick "exit card" to see what they remember about identifying fractions and mixed numbers on a number line.  You might remember that an exit card is a quick check in where the students complete one or two problems independently and then I analyze their responses to help guide my instruction.

Next we identified fractions of a set.  For example, what is 1/4 of 12?  I am teaching them to use the denominator to identify how many equal groups they need to make (using our example, they need to create 4 equal groups out of 12).  That determines the number in each group.  The numerator tells how many groups you are talking about.  We solved a couple of problems as a whole class today.  We will continue with independent practice tomorrow.  There is a fraction review sheet for homework.

Following PE, lunch and recess I reviewed and distributed a new spelling packet that is due April 20.  The spelling pattern is -are and the grammar focus is adjectives.  I also modeled how to fill out a personal inventory that we will use to help us write poetry.

While I met with reading groups the children completed their own personal inventory and worked on an  adjective activity.

Reading Groups
Bears:  We discussed the genre of fantasy and I introduced (but did not hand out) their new book, Bunnicula.

Lions:  We discussed the genre of fantasy and identified Gooseberry Park as a novel in this genre.  I had told the students we would begin a new novel after Spring Break but I have decided to continue with Gooseberry Park.

Crabs:  Unfortunately, we ran out of time and did not meet.

We ended the day by unpacking our next science unit which is Plant Growth and Development.  We also made a class chart listing predictions of what will happen to beans that we are soaking in water over night.

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