Friday, September 28, 2012

TGIF - early dismissal

After beginning their day in music, the students returned to class to review base words, prefixes and suffixes.  We discussed the idea that breaking an unknown word apart and knowing the meaning of the root (or base) word and it's prefix and/or suffix, can help you comprehend it.  Then the students formed groups with students based upon the root word in the word cards they were given.  In their group they used the definition of the base word and knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to identify the meaning of the new word and then use it, correctly, in a sentence.

Next, we watched a Power Point slide show that defined and gave examples of conjunctions, simple sentences and complex sentences.

Then we took our weekly math quiz.

After eating lunch, the children will pack up and get ready for dismissal.

In case you are curious, teachers stay at school on early dismissal days to grade and plan for instruction!  :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


After beginning their day in art, the students returned to class and we used the book Forces and Motion to identify the main idea in sections of text.  My key teaching points included using text features, rereading topic sentences and thinking about how all of the ideas fit together.

Next I modeled using Live Binder to complete the next section of the community action plan graphic organizer; What do they need to do?

While I meet with reading groups the students will continue researching their topic using Live Binder and complete individual reading group assignments.

Yellow Jackets:  Independently they will read chapter 4 and write questions, on sticky notes, they have as they read.  If they do not finish this in class, it becomes homework.  In group, I modeled writing a summary for chapter 3 and explained that a summary tells the big ideas (main events) from the beginning, middle and end of the chapter...details should be avoided!  We also discussed that a summary should be 3-5 sentences (or possibly 5-8 depending on the length of text they are summarizing) and counted they sentences in my summary....which totaled 4!  Go me!!  :-)

In math we learned another subtraction strategy.  This strategy is useful when subtractions across zeros in the ones and tens column.  View it here.  While students worked independently on solving two subtraction problems, Mrs. Head and I both pulled small groups of students.

My group practiced using the number line strategy to solve addition problems.  Mrs. Head pulled two groups.  One group worked on rounding number to the nearest ten.  The other worked on rounding numbers to the nearest hundred.

For homework the students need to complete the last two problems on the subtraction worksheet.  There will be a quiz tomorrow...use last week's quiz to study...tomorrow's quiz will be very similar!!!

Following lunch and a sticky outdoor recess the children continued their independent work while I met with more reading groups.

Sharks:  In group we discussed the problem and solution in Trip to Freedom, specifically that the solution must match the identified problem.  Then I modeled writing a good response to the prompt they answered on Tuesday.  Independently they reread Trip to Freedom and identified what they think the author's message might be on a sticky note.  IF they don't finish this in school today. it becomes homework tonight.

Cheetahs:  Independently the children read chapter 3 and wrote questions they had in their minds as they read the chapter, on a sticky note.  In group we reviewed the BCR they answered on Tuesday, in particular stressing that when you write about a change you need to identify how you were in the beginning and then at the end.  Then I modeled writing a response to the prompt they answered.

Snakes:  Independently the children partner read their book.  Then we reread the book in group and determined the main idea by locating important facts from the book.  Tonight they need to reread the book, working on fluency.

The students ended the day by working in groups to test their ideas of how to determine if 2 different balls were rolled the same distance, how could we compare the speeds.  The groups decided on a method and chose materials in order to test their ideas.

Remember that tomorrow is an early release day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twisted Tuesday

We have a few schedule changes in store for today...that explains my title for today's blog!  :-)

The students began the day in PE.  When they returned to class, I was in a meeting.  Mrs. Benson read the book Forces and Motion to the class and began identifying examples of cause and effect.  After that the students worked on independent reading group assignments and practiced writing the letters f, j and p in cursive.

Yellow Jackets:  This group used last night's homework to write a summary of chapter 3 in their RRJ.

Cheetahs:  This group reread chapter 2 and identified how Ben's feelings changed in their RRJ.

Sharks:  This group read pages 13-20 with a partner from their group and then identified the problem and solution in the book, in their RRJ.

Snakes:  This group got their new book and read it with Mrs. Ambrosi.  Then they answered the questions in the back of the book in their RRJ.

In math we reviewed decomposing base ten blocks to solve subtraction problems.  Then the students practiced using this strategy to solve two problems on their own.  I pulled a small group to work on this strategy.  There is no homework tonight.

After enjoying lunch and outdoor recess the children will attend an SGA assembly.  They will listen to speeches given by students in grades 4 and 5 who are running for an SGA office.  When we return to class they will vote for SGA officers.  Then they will listen to their classmates who want to be SGA representatives and vote.

The children will end their day with a visit to the media center.

Remember, due to a Jewish holiday, there is no school tomorrow.  Also, Friday is an early release day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marvelous Monday

This morning we held our second class meeting.  As a reminder, I use these meetings to allow the children to have a say in our classroom and build an atmosphere of trust and respect.  After orally completing the prompt, "I wish...", we shared compliments and discussed some challenges.

Next we spent time identifying text features in an online non-fiction text and described how the text features strengthened our comprehension. 

Then we shifted our focus to writing.  First we reviewed the sections of the community action planner that had been completed last week.  Then I modeled how to begin the web (the back side of their planning sheet) by describing their idea and explaining who it would benefit.

Independent work today included using Live Binder to  explain their idea and who it would benefit.  Additionally, they practiced writing the letters r and s in cursive. 

Reading Groups
Yellow Jackets:  We discussed Kyle's dilemma...his team thinks he is a hero for catching a ball that he knows he did not catch.  Tonight the children need to reread chapter 3 and illustrate the beginning, middle and end of the chapter in their RRJ.

In math we decomposed hundreds to help us subtract across zeros.  You can find today's lesson here or under the lesson tab on the blog.  For homework the children need to solve the problem 300-186=. using today's strategy, in their math journal.  There are two examples in their math journal to help!

Following lunch and recess I met with the entire class to clarify the choice of topics for the community action plan.  Then the children continued working independently as I called more reading groups.

Reading Groups
Sharks:  We continued reading and discussing their book.  For homework they need to reread pages 3-13 (working on fluency) and identify the problem in the story, on the sticky note I gave them in group today.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed chapter 1 and found evidence in the text suggesting that Ben's aunt is not mean.  For homework the children need to read chapter 2 and identify the main event on the sticky note I handed out in group today.

Snakes:  I collected their old books and we began some word work preparing for their next book.  Our group was cut short.  We didn't finish the lesson, so there is no reading homework for this group.

We ended the day by reviewing the elementary engineering design process, provided by MCPS where the children identify a problem, generate ideas, develop solutions, test and refine solutions and present their findings.  Then I defined a problem for the class:  How can we test 2 different balls that were rolled the same distance, at different times, to compare their speeds? 

The children worked in their table groups to brainstorm ideas.  We shared these ideas out and decided that we would roll the balls down a ramp that has a set ending point.  Then we would time how long it took each ball to roll the distance.  WE will use materials in our science kit to test this solution later in the week.

Since we do not have school on Wednesday, we will visit the media center TOMORROW afternoon!

Also, students wishing to run for our classroom SGA representative need to bring their speech tomorrow to read to our class.

One more thing--if you are interested in being a room parent or helping the room parent, please email me ASAP!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thriving Thursday

The children began their day in art.  When they returned to class, Mrs. Ambrosi and I showed the students how to create buttons on the iPads so they can easily get to Internet sites from the home page.  Then they made a button to get straight to Live Binder and continued brainstorming actions they can take to improve their environment.  After that, they chose an action that interested them the most.

Both reading and math were shortened today due to a math assessment called MAP-P.  This is a computerized, self-adjusting, 52 question math test that the children will take three times a year, similar to MAP-R.  This assessment helps guide our planning and instruction.

After Map-P we returned to class, went over last night's math homework, handed out homework for tonight (math) and reviewed 4 strategies that can be used to solve subtraction problems.  Two strategies are located under the lessons tab on our blog, another is the regular algorithm and the final one was using a number line.

Following lunch and outdoor recess, Mrs. Howard spoke to the entire third grade about SGA elections for classroom representatives.  An informational note is coming home this evening.  Basically, is your child want to be a class representative, they must prepare a 1-2 minute speech to be presented in class next Tuesday, 9/25.

After that, the students worked on completing their community action planning sheet, using Live Binder, and any other unfinished work.  I pulled a couple of reading groups. Due to interruptions in our regular schedule I was not able to meet with all groups.

Yellow Jackets:  We shared the student's titles for chapter 1 (last night's homework) and reread chapter 1.

Cheetahs:  We shared the student's RRJ responses about their dragons (last night's homework).

Snakes:  We discussed the answers to the comprehension questions in the back of their books.  The students located and labelled these answers with sticky notes.  Tonight they need to reread their books, working on fluency.

We ended the day watching a social studies video about rules and laws.

I will be out of the building tomorrow.  There will not be a blog post.  Some highlights for tomorrow include:
  • math quiz
  • using root words, prefixes and suffixes to identify the meaning of words
  • identifying and sorting common and proper nouns
  • reading and discussing how citizens in our country choose leaders

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

This morning the children began their day with a visit to the media center.

When they returned to class we reviewed the characteristics of realistic fiction and the idea of the central message (author's message, theme, main idea, etc.) in a text.  Right now I am using central message, theme, author's message interchangeably.  The students have been told that the author doesn't explicitly state the central message.  Instead, as good readers, we have to infer it by looking for repeated ideas and seeing how the main details, events or ideas fit together.

We read the book Tonight is Carnaval and started to identify repeated ideas and key points in the text.  We will revisit the text tomorrow and use these details to help us determine the central message.

After that, I reviewed the concept for our next writing assignment.  The students will be choosing an action, either environmental or health and wellness related,  that will help improve our community.  They will write a piece where they state their opinion and use research to back up their idea.

Today they were given a planning sheet and instructed to work with a partner to list topic ideas, from Live Binder, for environmental and health and wellness topics.

While students worked on finishing their publishing from last week, the organizer I described above and individual reading group assignments, I met with reading groups.

Yellow Jackets:  We shared important information they highlighted in their baseball articles.  After that they read chapter 1 independently.  For homework they need to reread chapter 1 and write a title for the CHAPTER, on the sticky note provided, with a BRIEF explanation.  The title should be short, catchy and reflect the events in the chapter.

After completing our math warm up we reviewed each problem in last night's homework.  Then I introduced a new subtraction strategy, decomposing using compensation.  You can view the lesson here.

After the whole group lesson, Mrs. Head and I each pulled a small group to practice using the base ten block decomposition strategy from last night's homework.  The rest of the children had a follow up worksheet from today's whole group lesson.  There was an iPad available for the children to review my lesson using Educreations.

There is a worksheet for homework.  Feel free to use the link above to help!

After enjoying lunch and recess the students continued working on their independent work and I continued meeting with reading groups.

Cheetahs:  I collected their Teamwork book and introduced our next book, a realistic fiction novel called Different Dragons.  Since the book is realistic fiction, the dragon in the title is obviously not a mythical, fire-breathing creature.  Instead it is symbolic of, the main character, Ben's fears.  We had a great discussion, in group, about our own personal dragons.  Tonight, for homework, the children need to describe in detail one of their own dragons.  This response should be at least 3-5 sentences.

Sharks:  I collected their A Chair for My Mother books and handed out a new book, Trip to Freedom.  We discussed the fact that many Vietnamese people came to America in search of a better life.  For homework tonight the children need to read pages 3-7 and list unknown words on the sticky note I gave them.

Snakes:  The students received a new book today.  We did some word work using white boards and vocabulary from the new book.  Then we read the book aloud in group.  For homework tonight they need to reread the book working on fluency.

We ended the day reviewing the concept of gravity and viewing a video clip in which some students built a roller coaster for a marble.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wet Tuesday

The students began their day with PE.

When the students returned to class we analyzed an informational Power Point about Folk Art.  AS a group, we read and discussed the text and used strategies such as repetition of words and phrases, as well as, background knowledge to determine the central message.

After that, I introduced our next writing assignment.  The students will be choosing a way to contribute to the community and formulating an opinion about it.  They will research this idea using Live Binder and then writing about their opinion using the facts they have gathered. 

While I meet with reading groups today the students will complete their first writing piece.  Then they will explore Live Binder with partners using lap tops.  Some groups will also have individual reading group assignments.

Yellow Jackets:  The students were given an article about baseball.   They are to read the article and highlight important information they need to know about playing the game.  This will build background information to help them understand our next novel, Winners Take All.  In group I gave a mini lesson about highlighting...what to highlight and how much to highlight.  Then we practiced reading three of the paragraphs and highlighting the important information.  The students were then released to finish reading and highlighting the article IN CLASS.  For homework they are to reread the article and share three facts they learned, from the article, with an adult.

In math we reviewed the strategy of decomposing tens and hundreds to subtract numbers by viewing the educreations lesson I posted on Friday.  Then we did an additional problem, together in class.  After that, the children worked independently to solve three subtraction problems using the base ten block decomposition strategy while I pulled small groups.

One group practiced rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten.  Another groups practiced rounding three digit numbers to the nearest hundred.  Finally, a third group practiced composing tens and hundreds to add two three-digit addends.

There is a decomposing using base-ten blocks worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and indoor recess the children continued their independent work and I met with more reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We met and reviewed the vocabulary entry that we did together, in group, on Friday.  Then the students did an entry for the word math, independently, and turned it in for a score.

Sharks:  We learned how to use the thesaurus and then finished, in group, the entry we started on Friday.  Then the children did a vocabulary entry for the word spoil, independently, for a score.

Snakes:  We finished reading our book and set up RRJs.  Then the children answered the question, "What is your favorite sandwich?  How would you make it?"  independently for a score.  For homework they need to reread pages 12-16 for fluency!!!

We ended the day by defining gravity and viewing some of Galileo's experiments to learn more about how gravity effects the rate of speed at which two objects fall.  Click here to see what we did.

Friday, September 14, 2012


The children began this wonderful Friday by going to music.

When they returned to class we got right to business.  First, I introduced our new word wall.  Instead of having a word wall that is organized alphabetically, I am going to have one arranged by topic.  Our groups so far include; science words, math words, social studies words, contractions, tricky words, WOW words, interesting verbs and interesting adjectives.  Students will be expected to spell these words correctly since they will be posted on the wall.

Next we used the class list of words with apostrophes and completed a word sort in small groups.  The students were expected to work collaboratively to organize the words into any categories they wanted as long as they could explain their reasoning.  This led to our identifying two reasons we use apostrophes in our writing; contractions and possessive nouns.

After that, we had our whole group discussion as to why Ooka made Ghonta pay back more rice than we took using the responses they crafted in their small groups on the iPads yesterday.  While having our discussion, the students also learned how to "push" the answer they had written on the iPad onto the white board so that the entire class could view it.  Very cool!

With everything we accomplished, we had no time for small groups and independent work this morning.  So we dove straight into math!  We began math by listing anchor activities that the children could do when they were done with their assigned tasks.  This list included math iPad apps, flashcards, creating and solving problems on white boards and worksheet games which I will provide that will be linked to the current skill set.  I also introduced a worksheet game that practiced rounding to the hundreds.

Then several students had a chance to share the strategies they used to solve their homework problems last night.  This serves two purposes...the person sharing the work has to explain their thinking which in turn, sharpens their understanding.  The children who are listening will here it explained from some body's view point, other than mine, which may help clarify their understanding.

Next the children took their first math quiz.  This SHOULD be scored, returned to the students and stored in the math section of their binder before the end of the day today!

After the quiz I taught a lesson decomposing tens to solve a subtraction problem.  You can view it here or under the lessons tab.

After the students ate lunch and enjoyed outdoor recess the returned to the classroom to work independently and meet in small groups.

The independent work was to finish publishing their piece and complete any leftover work from the week.

Yellow Jackets:  We reviewed their vocabulary entries from classwork yesterday.  I collected their books and introduced the book we will begin on Tuesday.

Cheetahs:  In group we practiced creating a vocabulary entry, in their RRJ, using the word coach.

We ended the day with science.  First the students identified and defined words to add to our science word wall.  Then they worked in small groups, using various materials, to create a ramp that answered a testable question.  Then we shared our findings with the class and discussed, using scientific language, why the ramp worked the way it did.  I was VERY impressed!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thriving Thursday

This morning, after art, the children worked in small groups, using the Pages iPad app to create a response to the discussion question, "Why did Ooka make Ghonta repay more rice than he took?"  This task required the use of technology, the ability to work collaboratively AND the need to recall and analyze details from the story we have worked with this week.  We will share these responses and conduct a discussion during whole group tomorrow.

After that we used the lists of words using apostrophes, that the students compiled for homework last night, to create a class list.  Tomorrow we will be sorting these words.

After completing a warm up in math, a few students volunteered to share, and explain, their answers to the homework question last night.  Then we reviewed the strategies we have learned to solve three digit addition problems, paying particular attention to the old-school algorithm.

While students worked on completing two addition problems in two different ways each, we met with small groups.  Mrs. Head worked with a group practicing different addition strategies.  My group practiced rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten.

For homework the students need to solve two problems in two different ways for each.  The problems were copied in their math journals.  They are 396+107 and 296+153.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will work independently while I meet with reading groups.  Independent work will be to continue publishing their writing piece and finish the other unfinished tasks in their folder.

Yellow Jackets:  Today we learned how to use a thesaurus and we did a vocabulary entry, using the thesaurus, together as a group.  After that, the students did one own their own.  Here is an explanation of what they did.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed and copied the format for a vocabulary entry into their RRJ.  We will practice doing a model, together in group, tomorrow.  Here is what I am referring to.

Snakes:  We reread pages 2-8 for fluency and then read pages 9-11 for the first time.  For homework the children need to reread pages 9-11.

We ended the day by reviewing the online book we began reading yesterday.  Then the students had a chance to use a ramp, a ball and various textures (to put on the ramp) in order to answer testable questions such as as; which texture makes the ball travel fastest?  Slowest?  Furthest?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

The children's day began with a visit to the media center.

For our reading whole group lesson we looked at the final message in the story Ooka and the Honest Thief.  Using context clues and our background knowledge from the story we identified the author's message that was inferred in the note Ooka left for Ghonta.

Our writing whole group lesson focused on publishing.  We learned how to open an existing document.  We also reviewed how to save it.  Then I demonstrated how to print a document ensuring that the correct printer is chosen.  Finally, I answered troubleshooting types of questions posed by the students, such as how to type quotation marks.

Independent work for today included finishing peer conferencing, publishing and printing the final draft and completing unfinished work.

Reading groups:
Yellow Jackets:  We reviewed their scored BCRs and discussed how sticky note assignments and group discussion should be considered when answering a short answer type of question.  Then we set up a vocabulary section in their RRJ.  For homework the students need to reread their book and list all words with apostrophes in their RRJ.

Next up was math.  We redid the lesson that I attempted to deliver yesterday.  I demonstrated, and the children practiced, using the compensation number line strategy to find a sum.  Click here to view the lesson.  For homework , the children need to view today's lesson, via the blog, and complete one problem in their math journal (153+148=) using the compensation number line strategy.

Following lunch and recess the students continued working independently while I met with more reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We discussed their BCRs including using their sticky notes and group discussion when writing responses.  I also shared the first sentence of EVERY child's response...all used a pronoun instead of referring to the main character's name.  For homework the children need to reread their book and list every word with an apostrophe on their sticky note.

Sharks:  We began setting up a vocabulary in the children's RRJ.  For homework they are to list all of the words with apostrophes, from their book, on their sticky note.

Snakes:  YEY!  We finally chose a group name.  We practiced reading up to page 8.  For homework they need to reread pages 2-8 and list words with apostrophes on their sticky note.

We ended the day with science...HOORAY!  We began reading an online book called How Things Move.  Some of the concepts included relative position, constant and variable motion, force and friction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The children's day began with PE.  After that we shared examples in the text where Ooka's actions were fair and unfair (independent work from yesterday) and discussed how this affected the events in the story.  Then we identified steps needed to begin publishing their writing pieces, on the laptops, using Microsoft Word.

Independent work included completing peer conferencing on their writing pieces, publishing their writing on the laptop, writing the letters h and k in cursive and identifying correct pronouns to match a given antecedent (worksheet).

I began meeting with reading groups.

Yellow Jackets:
We orally reviewed the actions that they marked with sticky notes in their book.  Then the students were given their first BCR to answer; How do Julie and Adam's actions lead to the solution of the problem?  This will be completed independently, in their RRJ (reading response journal) and turned in for a score.

After completing our warm up and reviewing last night's homework in math, we launched into a lesson analyzing an example of student work, provided by MCPS, using the compensation strategy and a number line to find the sum of a three digit addition problem.  I'm going to be honest--the lesson was rocky, at best!  We did not finish it and therefore the students do not have math homework this evening...lucky them!  We will revisit this lesson tomorrow and clarify any confusion and frustration!

Following lunch and recess the children continued working on their independent assignments and I met with more reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We discussed the problem and the actions of the main character that influenced the events leading tot he solution in the story.  Then the students were given their first BCR to answer in their RRJ; What was the problem in the story and how was it solved? 

Sharks:  We identified the problem and solution in the story using the stickies from their homework last night.  Then the students were given their first BCR to answer in their RRJ; What was the problem in the story and how was it solved? 

The Other Group (I really need to get them to pick a name!!):  We did word work using words from our story.

The afternoon was productive but publishing with the laptops presented new challenges.  I wanted to address these challenges to establish class expectations and routines.

 We also had a class discussion about how things are going during independent work time.  This came about because I noticed that several students seemed anxious or frustrated.  The students expressed concern that they have too many independent work assignments, not enough time to get them done and, therefore, feel rushed.  I HEAR THEM!  Adjustments will be made!

I hope you appreciate my honesty when I tell you that we did have bumps in the road today.  I assure you that progress was made and the children are learning!  There is no homework this evening but that will not be the norm!  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at

If you feel the need to have your child complete work at home this evening, have them reread their reading group book and identify pronouns within the text.  They can also identify the antecedent that goes with the pronoun.  For math they can solve three digit addition problems using one of the strategies we have learned in class.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Magnificent Monday

This week is off to a fabulous start thanks to the Redskins!!!  It is so much easier to come to work after my Skins put up a W!

The students' day began with one more informal reading assessment.  This one is called the MAP-R, Measures in Academic Progress-Reading.  This assessment is taken by students in grades 3-5 three times per year.  The purpose is to monitor that the children are indeed learning from our lessons and to help us plan for our instruction.

Personally, I LOVE this assessment.  It is a computerized test with 42 questions.  Each child sits in front of a computer monitor and reads through an assortment of text...anywhere from fictional passages to recipes to dictionary entries...  The cool thing is that this assessment self adjusts.  As students answer questions correctly, it becomes more challenging.  So, the assessment is individualized to meet each student's ability.  Then we get a print out of the child's strengths and weaknesses to help us plan our instruction.

When we returned to class we read the story Ooka and the Honest Thief and examined how the main character's actions influenced the events in the story.  After that I showed the students the peer conferencing sheet they would be using this afternoon and we identified how to use it to work with partners and improve their writing pieces.

Due to MAP-R there was no time for small group instruction after our whole group reading and writing lessons.

Next up was math!  We began with a warm up and then I gave the class an "exit card".  An exit card is a quick way for me to assess what has been instructed.  It is typically one or two problems.  The students complete this independently and then I sort them, based on the responses, to make small groups.  These are referred to as "exit cards" because many teachers use them as students exit out of the classroom to go from one subject to another. 

After the students completed the exit cards, I called them to the carpet and we used rounding to help us identify the sum of three digit addition problems using a strategy called the compensation strategy.  You can click here to view the lesson.  Following the lesson, students worked on a worksheet solving 3 digit problems.  Now only did they need to identify the correct sum but they also had to show one of the strategies taught in class to solve the problem.  They could either use the base ten block or compensation was their choice! 

While the students worked independently, Mrs Head worked with a small group on rounding numbers to the nearest 100 and I worked with a small group rounding 3 digit numbers to the nearest 10.  For homework the students must finish the worksheet from class and SHOW one strategy they used to solve each problem.

After enjoying lunch and recess I explained the independent work to the class.   First they needed to work with partners in their reading group to reread the story Ooka and the Honest Thief and mark portions of the text where Ooka's actions were fair (F) and unfair (U).  We will share these in whole group tomorrow.  After that the children conferenced with peers to revise their writing pieces.

Meanwhile, I met with reading groups:
Sharks:  We finished reading the book in group.  We talked about what it means to read fluently and discussed the use of punctuation in order to do so.  Tonight they need to reread their book, working on fluency, and use the post it notes I gave them to mare the problem and the solution in the story.

Unfortunately, we had a rocky afternoon and shortly after meeting with my first reading group we had to stop and hold our first class meeting.  :-(

The purpose of class meeting is to build a community within our class.   IT gives students a "say" in the classroom and builds trust and respect.

There are three parts to my class meetings;
1.  Group share
Each person completes a sentence starter or prompt.  For example, today we went around the circle and everyone finished the sentence starter, One thing I like about our classroom is..."
2.  Compliments
We share specific compliments such as, "  Thank you for helping me catch up with my independent work." or "Thanks for playing with me during recess because then I didn't feel lonely."
3.  Issues/Challenges
This section is where we address problems within the classroom.  These can be brought up by me, the teacher, or the students.  Today, I was the one who shared issues!  We discussed the importance of being responsible.  I talked about following directions during independent work time.  I also reminded the students where they should go for help, when I am with a small group, if they are confused or don't know what to do.  Hopefully, this will help during small group/independent work time tomorrow!

ALL reading groups are expected to reread their group book working on fluency.

As always, feel free to contact me with question or concerns.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Wow!  It's been a long but productive week.  I know the children and I are ready for the weekend...and I am definitely ready for some FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With that probably want to know what went on today, right?

The students began their day with music.  When they returned to class we revisited the story Crow Boy and identified how the main character's actions influenced the events in the story.  Then I jumped into our writing lesson.  In writing we examined the conventions of using dialogue in text by finding examples in the story Boxes for Katje.

Then I began meeting with reading groups while the students worked independently.

Independent Work:
Students completed their rough draft and then reviewed their own writing and added one or two examples of dialogue.  Then they practiced writing the letters l and b in cursive.  Finally, they completed any other unfinished assignments from the week.

Reading Groups:
Yellow Jackets:  We reviewed vocabulary from the text.  Then the children worked with partners to reread the story and mark the problem and actions influencing the events with sticky notes.  We will share this in group on Monday.

Next up was math.  We began with a warm up and then reviewed last night's homework.  Then we focused on using base ten block to compose and add three digit numbers.  Click here to view the lesson.  Be nice....this was not one of my smoother Educreation experiences!  :-) We ended math with the students doing two examples in their math journals with the help of Mrs. Head and myself.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students came in and continued their independent work while I met with more reading groups.

Reading Groups:

Cheetahs:  We reviewed unknown words in the book and read up to page with the purpose of identifying the problem in the story.  After discussing the problem, the children worked in pairs to finish reading the book marking actions of the characters that influenced events leading to the solution.  We will share these on Monday in group.

Sharks:  We reviewed unknown words from the text and began reading the book aloud in group.  After reading several pages we identified the problem in the story.

My final group has not picked a name yet...OOPS!  Sorry about that!  I didn't realize it until I sat down to blog today!  However, that group reviewed some vocabulary from their book and began reading it aloud, using decoding skill to determine new words.

We ended the day with students working in small groups to perform short plays demonstrating how citizens work together to solve problems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday...Reading Groups!

It was nice to see so many of you at Back to School Night last night!

With the informal reading assessments completed, we began to meet in reading groups today!  YIPPEE!

With that said....the children's day began by going to art. 

When they came back to class, we reviewed independent work time expectations for getting help and what to do when they are finished with assigned work.  We charted these expectations.  They will be hung in the classroom as a reminder.

After that, we read a biography about Candace Flemming, the author of Boxes for Katje.  We identified how Ms. Flemming's background helped us understand her point of view as the narrator of the story.

Then I assigned independent work and met with two reading groups.

Independent work today included:
1.  Previewing their reading group book and listing unknown words on a sticky note.  The sticky note was supposed to have two columns.  One column was for words the students can't decode (read).  The other side was for words the students can read but for which they do not know the meaning.
2.  Finish the rough draft for their common good writing piece.
3.  A pronoun worksheet.
4.  Unfinished work.

ALL reading groups have homework!  They are expected to read the reading group book this evening!!

When I meet with reading groups today it is simply to get into the practice of coming to group and to select a group name...short and simple!  :-)

In math we reviewed rounding three digit numbers to the nearest ten.  Then the children worked independently on a follow up worksheet and played a n addition game called Numbers League on the iPad.  I met with a small group to work on rounding numbers to the nearest 10.  There is a worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and outdoor recess we analysed a Norman Rockwell painting entitled "Miss Jones" and used "juicy" words to describe the actions, thoughts and feelings we felt described the scene in the picture.  The purpose of this was to help students improve the details and descriptions in their own writing.

After that the students continued their independent work and met with the rest of the reading groups.

We ended the day by discussing the challenges of working collaboratively, as identified by the children in their morning work this morning.  Then we viewed a video clip (twice!) and the students identified the goal of the children in the film and the actions they took to achieve their goal.  This reinforced the idea that citizens have a responsibility to contribute to  the common good of the community.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School Night

Back to School Night is tonight at 7!  I can't wait to see you!

The children began their day by visiting the media center.  After that, they worked with Mrs. Benson as I continued (and finished!!) my informal reading assessments.

Mrs. Benson used the book Boxes for Katje to identify the characteristics of realistic fiction and practice asking questions before and during reading to make predictions.  Then the children worked independently to complete the rough draft we began yesterday afternoon.

We began math by completing a warm up and reviewing last night's homework.  Then we practiced rounding THREE digit numbers to the closest ten.   Click here to view our lesson, or you can find it in the lessons section of this blog.  Unfortunately, we did not have time for the children to practice independently in class.  So tonight's homework is rounding to the nearest ten with TWO digit numbers.

After math the children enjoyed lunch and recess.  Then they went to the computer lab where Mrs. Howard did a lesson about citizens in our community.

We ended the day with a science lesson.  The children worked in small groups, using the lap tops, to play a game called Tinker Ball.  The purpose of this activity was to investigate how an object's motion can be changed in a variety of ways.  Click on the Tinker Ball link to see it for yourself!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Scientific Tuesday

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend!

The students began their day with PE.  After PE, Mrs. Benson too over, following plans I had left, while I continued the informal one-on-one reading assessments.

First, the children engaged in a discussion about characteristics that identify a person's individual uniqueness.  This was part of a science (health) lesson that we didn't get to last week.  Then the children, working collaboratively in small groups, created webs of themselves indicating character traits which they feel makes them unique.  The children used the iPads, specifically the app called penultimate, to take a photo of them self and create the web.  These are hanging on the bulletin board in the hallway.

After that, the children completed a math warm up and began rounding 2 digit numbers to the closest 10.  They were encouraged to use either the box or number line strategies we introduced last week when we were rounding to the closest 100.  The children completed half of a worksheet in class.  The are to finish that worksheet for homework.

After enjoying lunch and outdoor recess, we used a Power Point, from the new curriculum, to learn how to identify pronouns and their antecedents.  We also learned about agreement between the pronoun and antecedent.  It was a great Power Point!  The children really seemed to advance their knowledge!!

Then I modeled using the "For the Common Good" chart that we created in writing last week to write a rough draft.  I did SHOW the entire class what I wanted them to do BUT I gave individual students little to no help since this is a BASELINE writing sample.  I plan to use this to drive my instruction (figure out strengths and weaknesses).

Before packing up, we began our second science lesson for the day.  This time we were beginning our physics unit.  We examined and described the position of an object in relationship to another object.  Then we described the movement of an object and identified the causes of the movement.

Remember that Back to School Night is tomorrow night beginning at 7 pm.  Hope to see you all there!

Blog Archive