Friday, November 30, 2012

Fabulous Friday

This morning, after going to music, we revisited the play, "The Hidden One" and reviewed the points of view of the sister and Little Scarface in regards to meeting and marrying The Hidden One.  Then we recognized the theme was good (Little Scarface) versus Evil (Sister).  We also determined that good had one...thus getting at the central message of the the right thing, it pays off in the end!    The children learned that through the character's actions, words and points of view, we can determine the central message in fiction.

Next, we revisited the tech tools research project Power Point to determine what questions we would need to keep in mind as we read about our tools.  I modeled using links (included on this blog) to research my topic (football helmet) and add important information to the graphic organizer.  I focused on answering who, what, when, why questions and writing my notes in phrases and in my own words.

While I met with small groups the children completed reading assignments from yesterday and began researching their topics using the iPads.

Sharks:  I collected The Shoeshine Girl book and gave the group time to preview their next book, which is non-fiction, called, Using Technology and Design.  Then we did a prereading activity where we brainstormed technology we use during different parts of our day.  After that we read pages 2 and 3 and orally answered questions that forced the students to revisit the text.

In math we took our second quiz for this marking period.  They have been scored and returned to the children.  They should be stored in the math section of their binder.

After enjoying lunch and recess, we had a fire drill.  When we returned inside, the children continued their independent work while i met with small groups.

Yellow Jackets:  We reviewed pages 24 and 25 and discussed identifying the main idea.  I handed back their main idea statements and had the children rewrite them, using the feedback I gave in group today.

Cheetahs:  WE began a new book called The Key on the Collar.  We read chapter 1 and discussed the non literal language...specifically Chad saying the key was a medal for bravery for following his brother and understanding the boys expected the dog to stay since they were planning to name him in the morning.  This group decodes well, but struggles with non literal language.

Snakes:  We began a new, non fiction book called, Vehicles for Fun and Sport.  We defined the word vehicle and identified those pictured on pages 4 and 5.  Then we began reading page 4.

We ended the day by viewing a population density map of the United States and drawing some conclusions about it.  Important points included that the 13 original colonies were on the east coast and that, along with being close to water,  helps explain why it is so densely populated.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thriving Thursday

The children began their day in art where they began their pottery unit.  This is messy work so they stayed in art a bit longer, which cut into our whole group reading and writing block.  Therefore, we postponed our reading lesson until tomorrow and focused on the research project.

SO...we were fortunate that Mrs. Rose bought some books specifically with the third grade research project in mind and they arrived this week.  The books are fantastic but added a twist to our plan.  They introduced new concepts/technology tools that we had not thought of before. 

Therefore, we literally regrouped.  The children chose between four groups; home/transportation, media, arts and education/work.  They got into these groups and used books, Live Binder and Internet sites to create a list of tools changed by technology.  Then they each chose a tool to research and made group lists to hand into me.

This was quite a process but it was pretty cool how the children and I worked together setting the parameters and figuring out how to organize the tasks.  It truly was a group effort.

After they submitted their groups lists, the children worked on independent reading group assignments and unfinished work (cursive, WOW papers and simile paper from two weeks ago!).

Yellow Jackets:  Reread pages 24 and 25 and wrote a main idea statement, in the RRJ, for me to assess.

Cheetahs:  Answered the BCR, in their RRJ, "What is the author's point of view?  Use specific details from the book to explain your answer."

Sharks:  Answered the BCR, in their RRJ, "Explain how Sarah Ida changed in the book.  Use specific details to explain your answer."

In math we reviewed the relationship between multiplication and division and practiced rewriting division equations as multiplication.  Mrs. Head worked with a small group identifying the unknowns in word problems and figuring out how to find the answer.  I worked with a group to identify the factors of a given number.  There will be a quiz tomorrow and all students had a worksheet for homework...some will practice their basic facts.  Others will practice finding factors of a number.

The afternoon proved to be interesting...the students continued meeting in their groups and choosing the technology tool they will research.  I had then planned to meet with small groups...however, many students were facing challenges with independent work that left them frustrated.  So, I ended up helping individuals figure out what they needed to do to complete assigned tasks.  I also took the opportunity to meet with each student and go through their unfinished work folder.

WE ended the day by reviewing natural and human made geographic characteristics as we "visited" DC and Hawaii by watching "Digging America".

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday!!!

The children began their day in the media center.  When they returned to class we reviewed the idea of all stories having a central message.  Then I explained that, often, the author uses characters words and actions to demonstrate their point of view about a situation and thus convey the central message.  After I felt the children had a good grasp of that idea, the worked in their table groups to analyze the words of a character (either the sister or Little Scarface) and highlight those that show how that sister feels about meeting the Hidden One.

After that, I reviewed how to use Live Binder and the technology links to choose a research topic and list tools that go with that topic.  I also introduced a new WOW word, ponder (to think deeply) and new cursive letters, f, p and j.

While I meet with groups, the children will use Live Binder and the links to choose a topic and list tools.  They will also complete a WOW worksheet for ponder and they will practice writing f, p and j in cursive.

Sharks:  We reviewed The Package using their B/M/E drawings.  Then they wrote a summary of the chapter in their RRJ.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed the heading, topic sentences and repeated words from pages 12-14.  Then we shared the main idea statements they wrote, the other day, and identified highlights and recommended changes for each.

In math, the students used a story to solve word problems.  This is a graded assignment.  Not all students finished, so I will provide more time, in class, tomorrow.  There is a basic fact worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued working independently while I met with small groups.

Yellow Jackets:  We used last night's homework to identify a main idea statement for pages 22 and 23.  Then the students returned to their seats to read pages 24 and 25.  They also identified the heading, topic sentences and repeated words and phrases in their RRJ.  If they didn't finish it in class, they are expected to complete it for homework.

Snakes:  We orally reviewed the setting, main characters and beginning, middle and end of their book.  Then the children used their book, and our discussion, to complete a story map.  We will begin a new book tomorrow!

We ended the day a bit differently today.  I shared a music video of pediatric cancer patients from Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, dancing to the pop tune "What Makes You Beautiful".  Then we discussed the overall feeling of the video.  I explained that after seeing this video it made me want to do something to make a difference.  So, during this holiday season, we, as a class, would make cards and a craft to brighten the days of the patients undergoing treatments in the pediatric oncology center at Hopkins.  We are going to determine the specifics, as a class, during our regularly scheduled class meeting on Monday.  I shared the video today to give the students time to think about ideas for our projects.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rainy Tuesday

After going to PE, the children returned to the room and we reviewed the idea that character traits are words that describes how a character behaves or acts.  Then we revisited the play, "The Hidden One" and identified character traits of the Sister and SPECIFIC examples of words and actions, in the play, that prove those traits.

After that, we reviewed yesterday's lesson about exploring Live Binder and choosing a topic and listing tools that they read about in the topic they chose.

While I met with small groups the students chose another character from "The Hidden One" and identified a character trait and evidence of that trait from the play.  They also chose a research topic and listed tools.

Yellow Jackets:  I captured today's reading group lesson using Educreations.  We reviewed what to use in order to determine the main idea in text and then we identified the main idea using the children's homework from last night.  Tonight the students are expected to read pages 22 and 23 and write the heading, the topic sentences and repeated words and phrases, from that section, in their RRJ.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed how to determine the main idea in text.  Feel free to view a similar lesson here.  Then we began to share the children's main idea from homework last night but ran out of time.  We will finish this tomorrow, in group.  For homework the children need to reread the book and identify two things they learned, in their RRJ.

In math we practiced using strategies to solve for unknowns in multiplication and division equations AND explaining our thinking.  Then the students worked in small groups, to solve for an unknown using and explaining a strategy of their choice and capturing it on Educreations.  We shared some of the groups' presentations before going to lunch.  There is a worksheet for homework.

After enjoying lunch and indoor recess, Mrs. Howard returned to do a make up lesson about responsibility and bullying.  The final part of the lesson involved the children making anti-bullying bumper stickers.  Here are some:

After Mrs. Howard left we voted on our star students for November.  These students, AF and LT, demonstrated responsibility during this past month!

We ended the day by finishing the Power Point about the human made wonders of the United States.  You can view it here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Monday After...

It was a quiet morning, as the students and myself seemed to be recovering from the long Thanksgiving weekend.  We began with a class meeting.  First, we had a group share where each child "shared" one or two things about their Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Then we exchanged a few compliments.

After that, we read through the play, "The Hidden One: A Native American Tale".  Then we identified setting as where and when a story takes place.  I explained that scenes in plays change as the setting changes.  So we revisited the play to begin identifying the different scenes.  Then the children worked in small groups to identify the remaining scenes.  Finally, we shared our results.

Next, we reviewed the technology tools research project that we are beginning.  I reminded the children how to access Live Binder and explained that they would be choosing a topic group today.  Unfortunately, after the lesson, I discovered that the Internet was down and we would need to move on to plan B.  So, students will visit Live Binder and choose their topic groups tomorrow.

While I met with small groups the children worked on individual reading group assignments and illustrated one of the scene from the play, "The Hidden One".

Sharks:  We read "The Package" in group and discussed how Sarah Ida has changed and the symbolism of Al giving her his medal.  For homework they need to reread the chapter and draw the beginning, middle and end in their RRJ.

In math we reviewed identifying the knowns and unknowns in word problems and then writing equations to solve them, during our warm up.  Then the students completed a multiplication chart, to practice their basic facts, while Mrs. Head and I met with small groups.  My group reviewed identifying multiples of a given number and then identified the LCM of numbers.  We also reviewed factorization.  Everyone has a basic facts practice worksheet for homework.

After enjoying lunch and outdoor recess, Mrs. Howard visited us to do a lesson about personal safety.  Ask your child about the ABC's of Personal Safety!

Reading Group Homework
Sharks:  Listed above
Snakes: reread pages 12-16 (fluency!!)
Cheetahs:  Reread pages 12-14 write main idea statement on sticky note
Yellow Jackets:  Reread page 20 write main idea statement on sticky note

We ended the day by "visiting", via Power Point presentation,  some of the human made "wonders" of the United States.  These included the Brooklyn Bridge, The Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore and The Hoover Dam.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grandparent's Day

The children began their day in the media center.  When they returned to the classroom, we had a full house!!  It was great to have so many grandparents visiting us...and we put them to work!  :-)

I began by explaining our next research project to the entire group.  Then I shared an inspiration that hit me this morning, while the kids were at the media center.  I decided to have the children get ideas from the grandparents as to how technology has changed tools in education, entertainment and the arts.  So, the children and adults worked in small groups, using the iPads, to create Venn Diagrams and comparison charts, identifying technological tools used long ago, used today and those that were used during both time frames.

Here are some pictures:

Then we gathered together and shared the small groups' ideas and charted them on a Venn Diagram using a software package called Kidspiration.  It proved to be a GREAT discussion and we now have a wonderful list of technology tools to research.
After the grandparents left, it was time for math.  We only had 10 students.  So each student got an Ipad and practiced their multiplication facts using an online game.
After enjoying lunch, the students packed up and headed home for Thanksgiving Break. 
Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

The children began their day in PE.  When they returned to the classroom, we watched the second scene of the Snow White play we began yesterday.  After that, each student received a copy of the play, "The Hidden One".  This is a play based on the Native American folktale titled The Rough Face Girl.  We discussed a few structural aspects, including characters being listed before the script begins, how dialogue is written with character's name set off by a colon, and that the words in parenthesis are giving directions to the actor and should not be spoken aloud.

After that I reminded the children about the next research based project we will be working on in class.  I showed the children the new Live Binder and explained how to explore it in order to choose their topic.

While I meet with small groups today, the children will finish publishing their facing the unknown writing piece.  They will also explore Live Binder and choose a topic.

Yellow Jackets:  We met and reviewed strategies for identifying the main idea.  Then we shared several of the main ideas, written by students, for homework last night.  We discussed what they did well and what needed to be changed.

In math we reviewed the many strategies we have learned to solve multiplication problems.  We listed these on the board and discussed each.  Then the children played a game practicing the 9's basic facts and talking about the strategies they used to solve the problems.

After enjoying lunch and outdoor recess the students continued working independently while I met with groups.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed the main ideas that the children wrote for homework last night.  We identified both the positive and negative aspects of each.

Sharks:  I reviewed, scored and provided feedback on their summaries for the chapter called, "A Letter".

Snakes:  I modeled retelling up to page 11 and asked a few questions, forcing the children to locate answers in the text.  Then we read the rest of the book using decoding strategies to break apart unknown words.  Finally I had them reread the last page to explain what was funny (the prize was sunglasses).  PLEASE have them reread the book at least once a day over break!

We ended the day by reviewing the concept of population distribution and some of the factors affecting it.  Then we began reading a non-fiction book about a family traveling from Chicago to New Jersey.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marvelous Monday

This morning we began with a class meeting.  First, we completed a "group share" where most of us finished the phrase, "I am thankful for...".  Then we shared compliments.  After that, we discussed the challenge of being honest.  We defined the idea of honesty and discussed why it is important to be honest.  Finally, students shared times they were honest and how it felt to tell the truth.

Next we moved on to our reading/writing block.  We began the reading portion by viewing part of the play, "Snow White".  The we compared plays to books and defined vocabulary specific to a play.

After that, I showed the children a Power Point presentation explaining our next research project.  Just like our community action research project from the first marking period, I will guide the students through the entire process. 

The students will choose a technology tool to research and then write an informative piece about that tool as it was in the past, as it exists now and how human wants and needs drove the technological changes the tool went through.  Then the students will work with a small group to write and perform a skit incorporating the tools researched by their group members.

As I said, this will take the entire marking period.  I will guide the students through the process and model the steps along the way.

While I met with small groups, the students completed their facing the unknown rough drafts.  Then they met in small groups and conferenced using a chart provided by me to guide them through the process.  After that, they will revise their piece and publish it on the lap tops.  They also had individual reading group assignments.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed strategies to help us determine the main idea of text.  Then we read page 9 and identified the topic sentences.  For homework, the students need to read pages 9-11 and attempt to identify the main idea of the section, on the sticky note provided.

In math we watched an audio-visual presentation about patterns on the hundreds chart used for memorizing basic multiplication facts for 2, 5 and 9.  You can view it here.   Then the children identified the facts, independently, on their own hundreds chart.  Mrs. Head pulled a small group to review identifying the knowns and unknowns in word problems.  I pulled a small group to practice identifying the factors of a given number.  There is a worksheet for homework practicing the 8's basic facts.

Following lunch and outdoor recess, the students continued working on their writing and reading assignments.

Sharks:  We reviewed the beginning, middle and end that most students drew on Friday for the chapter titled, "A Letter".  There was a lot of confusion.  So we reread parts of the chapter together and independently, searching for answers to questions I posed to the group.  WE also orally rehearsed a summary for the chapter.  This evening the students need to reread the chapter and write a summary in their RRJ.

Yellow Jackets:  We discussed identifying the main idea in a section of text by noticing repeated words and phrases, topic sentences and the heading.  Using those ideas, the children should see how it all fits together or the common thread that the rest of the text, in that section, supports.  For homework, the children need to reread pages 14-19 and write a main idea statement on the sticky note provided in class. 

Snakes: we began to discuss retelling sections of text when half the group was pulled to go to another teacher.  Tonight, please have them reread up to page 11 working on fluency.

We ended the day by discussing the idea of population distribution and factors that affect it, both today and in years past.

Friday, November 16, 2012


The students began their day in music.  After that, we revisited both "Mummy Slept Late so Dad Fixed Breakfast" and "The Myra Song".  We used our comprehension of the poem to identify the themes of both; perseverance and acceptance.

After that we reviewed identifying the subject and the verb in a sentence.  Then we went through a PowerPoint presentation to learn about subject/verb agreement.  In short, we learned that a singular subject matched with a regular verb ending in -s.  A plural subject's verb does not end in -s.  Obviously, there are MANY exceptions, but this is what the basic rule boiled down to...personally, I think it is a good beginning to tackling a tough concept.

While I met with small groups, the students worked on completed their rough drafts, identifying two subject/verb agreements in their writing, and individual reading group assignments.

Sharks:  We met in group to begin reading the next chapter, "A Letter".  We practiced revisiting a past chapter to help us understand what was happening in the current chapter we are reading.  Independently the students finished reading the chapter and drew the beginning, middle and end in their RRJ.

In math we took our first quiz of the second marking period.  The quizzes have been scored and returned to students.  They should be in the math section of your child's binder.

After enjoying lunch and recess the children continued the independent work from above, plus they had a chance to "play" with Google Maps using the iPads and I met with more groups. 

Cheetahs:  Independently they read page 8 and wrote the main idea on a sticky note.  In group we reviewed what we use to determine the main idea; topic sentences, heading, repeated words and phrases and then consider how they all relate/connect.  Then we shared the children's work, discussing what they did well (one student actually got it perfectly!!!) and how they could improve what they had written.

Snakes:  The children read pages 8-11 independently.  Then we met in group to retell all the way up to page 11.  The children really struggled with this.  So we had a talk about what was causing the challenges.  This is a skill we will work on next week.

We ended the day by reviewing natural and human-made physical characteristics.  Then the students used Google Maps to identify 3 examples of both natural and human-made physical characteristics in our community (Damascus).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thriving Thursday

The children began their day in art.  When they returned we did a cool lesson, in my opinion, where the students illustrated a poem and then shared the key words or phrases that inspired them to draw their picture the way they did.  The purpose of this lesson was to help the children notice that words and phrases used by authors help us visualize and comprehend what we read.  In turn, we, as writers, need to choose our words carefully, so that our readers can visualize our writing as we did when we wrote it.  Wow, that was wordy...I hope it makes sense!  :-)  You can view the lesson here.

After that, I modeled using my storyboard to write a rough draft for our facing the unknown writing piece.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and did not get to small groups this morning.

In math we used patterns on a multiplication table and our knowledge of "easier" basic facts to solve more challenging facts.  You can view the lesson here BUT, I warn you, this isn't one of my smoother lessons!  Don't laugh too hard!  :-)

While the students practiced their 8's facts, Mrs. Head worked with a small group determining whether a word problem requires multiplication or division to find the answer.  I pulled a small group to review finding the least common multiple and then we began talking about factors and prime numbers.

Everyone has to finish the 8's basic fact worksheet for homework and we will have a quiz tomorrow.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students worked on writing the rough draft for the facing unknown writing piece, using their storyboards.  I met with some groups.

Cheetahs:  We met and reread pages 5-7.  Then we identified words and phrases that were used repetitively and reread the topic sentence.  After that, I wrote a main idea statement.  Then we shared the main ideas they wrote last night for homework.  We discussed how to improve those statements which needed it and pointed out the positives, too!

Snakes:  We reviewed the -oi and -oa letter combinations.  Then we reread up to page 11, working on fluency.  Tonight the children need to reread up to page 11, again, working on fluency.

We ended the day by reviewing natural and human physical characteristics and then visited google maps to locate examples of these.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

This morning the students visited the media center. When they returned to class, we reviewed the idea of literal and non-literal language and then watched this video about metaphors and similes. After watching and discussing some key points from the video, we read a poem called, "The Myra Song" and identified the overall metaphor of the poem...comparing the girl to a song.

While I meet with small groups, the students will finish their storyboard planning sheet for their next writing piece and complete individual reading group assignments.

Sharks: We met and reviewed their beginning, middle and end pictures and sentences for Across the Railroad Tracks. For homework they need to use our discussion, the text AND their pictures to write a summary of the chapter. Some students MAY have gotten a start in class...regardless, they should all finish/read the summary to an adult for homework this evening.

In math we reviewed yesterday's whole group lesson. Then the children practiced using the Cuisemaire Rods to create fact families, independently. Just an aside, the students were reminded that the lesson was captured on Educreations and they could revisit the lesson.

I pulled a small group to extend their math knowledge. My group practiced identifying the LCM (least common multiple) of two numbers. Mrs,. Head worked with two groups. The first group practiced turning around division equations to make them into multiplication equations. The second group wrote multiplication equations to represent the area of a given rectangle.

All students have a worksheet for homework.

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

Cheetahs: Independently they identified text features in their new book and located the meaning of 3 vocabulary words. IN group we reviewed text features. Then we read the first section, pages 3-4, and used repeated words and phrases and topic sentences to identify the main idea. For homework they will read the next section, pages 5-7 and identify the main idea on the sticky note I provided.

Yellow Jackets:  The children read pages 4-7 and responded to two comprehension questions in their RRJ. (why is Rome called the eternal city and list 3 facts about the Roman Empire.)  For homework they need to read pages 8-12 and explain why aqueducts were so important, on a sticky note.

Snakes:  The children reread pages 2-7 independently.  In group we reviewed vocabulary from the text and then read pages 8-11.  For homework they need to reread pages 8-11 at least once (working on fluency) and retell what they read to an adult.

After our reading and writing block, I made some strategic desk moves in the classroom.  I'm pretty sure your child will share this news with you if it affected them!  :-)

Then we reviewed the concepts of natural (grass, trees, mountains, rivers, etc.) and human (road, school, traffic light, etc.) characteristics.  Please note that people and cars/trucks are NEITHER!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday - Early Dismissal

The children's day began in PE.  When they returned to class, we revisited the poem, "Mummy Slept Late So Daddy Fixed Breakfast".  We looked up the meaning of unknown words to help decipher the figurative language in the text.  This enabled us to make inferences, which we listed on a chart.  We will use these later in the week to determine the theme of the poem.

Next, we reviewed transition words and identified temporal words as those used that indicate a change in time or place.  I modeled adding some, and circling those I had already used, to my storyboard.

This morning, the children will complete their storyboards and add (or circle) temporal words.  They will also correct the "pink words" in their writing and RRJ journals and add these words to their personal dictionaries.

While the children worked independently, I met with one reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We revisited the final chapter in their book and discussed the implication of Ben referring to Gully as his birthday present.  Then the children shared whether or not they liked the book and why.  Finally, we identified the author's message/theme of the book.  We will begin a new text tomorrow.

In math we used cuisenaire rods to further reinforce the relationship between multiplication and division.  You can view the lesson here. The students will be practicing this skill. independently, in class, tomorrow.  We ran out of time today due to the early dismissal.  There is a basic fact worksheet for homework tonight.

After lunch the students packed up for dismissal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

Our morning began with our annual Flag Raising Ceremony in  recognition of Veteran's Day.  After the ceremony, we came in and discussed the meaning of the holiday and the children had the opportunity to tell us about Veterans' who are part of their family.

Next we discussed the idea of a point of view.  We revisited Boy on High Dive, the Norman Rockwell painting from Friday and identified our (the audience's) point of view.  Then we read the narrative poem, "Harriet and the Promised Land", identified the author's point of view and recognised and shared out own points of view.

Then we moved on to our writing lesson.  In writing I modeled using our notes from small group discussions on Friday to complete story boards for our facing the unknown writing piece.

While the students worked on their storyboards and individual reading group assignments, I helped some students with their writing and met with one reading group.

Yellow Jackets:  I passed out a new book called Mighty Rome!.  We identified text features in the non-fiction book and briefly discussed the Roman Empire.

In math we reviewed the relationship between multiplication and division using word problems and fact families.  I also introduced the concept of a multiple (any whole number multiplied by another whole number) and we found multiples of 2 and 4.  There is no homework this evening.

After eating lunch, the students packed up for dismissal.

There is another early dismissal tomorrow!

Friday, November 9, 2012


The students began their day in music.  When they returned to class we looked at a Norman Rockwell painting entitled, "Boy on the High Dive" and discussed what we saw.  We focused on the idea that this was probably the child's first time on a high dive and that he probably had mixed feelings....on one hand we appeared terrified in the picture, yet he most likely want to give it a try since he was on the diving board in the first place.

From there, we made connections to our next writing piece where our theme will be facing the unknown.  Then I modeled choosing my topic, discussing it with a partner (in my case, the class) and making notes as I talked.

After this lesson, we enjoyed the Key Note presentations that the students created, using the iPads, for their community action research project.  They were AWESOME!!!!  As an aside...we paused in the middle of the reading/writing block to do the presentations because that is when the iPads were available for our use!!  :-)

After completing our math warm up and reviewing last night's homework, I modeled writing a multiplication AND a division equation to solve the same word problem.  You can view the lesson here!  After that, the students got into groups of 3 or 4 and solved a similar problem using Educreations to capture their math discourse, as well as, their written work.  Before going to lunch, we shared some of the children's work.

Following outdoor recess, the students worked in small groups, choosing their writing topics, verbally telling the group about the experience from beginning to end, and taking bulleted notes about what they said.  Then they finished any incomplete assignments from the week.  I had hoped to meet with reading groups, but found myself working with small groups, telling their story and taking notes of the big events/ideas.

We ended the day by viewing a slide show presentation about teasing and bullying.  We began discussing bullying and will continue this during our class meeting on Monday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sunny Thursday

The students began their day in art.  When they returned we revisited the narrative poem, "Fun" and identified the sequence of the poem on a storyboard graphic organize using temporal  words.  Then we discussed the theme of the poem.

After that I explained the differences between literal and non-literal language and introduced the concept of figurative language.  Then I explained that one type of figurative language is a simile which compares 2 seemingly unrelated objects using the word "like" or "as".  We then identified two similes in the poem, "Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast".

Finally, I explained that our next writing piece will begin with a theme.  The theme that all children will use is facing the unknown.  We discussed what this meant and I gave examples from my own life.

While I meet with small groups, the students will brainstorm a list of topics with the theme, "facing the unknown".  They will also complete an activity to help them better understand similes.  Finally, they will complete individual reading group tasks.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed their lists of unknown words from homework last night.  Then we discussed the events in the chapter called "The Accident" and identified how Sarah Ida has changed.  In class the students will read the next chapter, "Across the Railroad Tracks".  For homework they need to reread this chapter and draw the beginning, middle and end in their RRJ and write one sentence for each.

In math we reviewed describing multiplication and division using parts and wholes.  Then we learned how to use multiplication to solve division problems.  You can view the lesson here.  The children had a follow up worksheet to complete while Mrs. Head and I met with small groups.  My small group used manipulatives to help write and solve equations representing word problems.  Mrs. Head's group worked on reviewing and practicing the strategies taught in today's lesson.  There is a fact family worksheet for homework.

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

Yellow Jackets:  We shared the facts they wrote for last night's homework.  Then the students worked with partners to review and revise the BCR they wrote about the author's message in the book.  When they were finished, they handed in both their BCR and their book.  The group will begin a new book tomorrow or early next week.

Cheetahs:  The students reread chapter 15 and prepared to discuss the last sentence in the chapter.  IN group we discussed that sentence, why Ben's parents would be shocked, and identified how these reasons illustrated the changes that have occurred in Ben.  Thought this discussion we had some friendly conflict as to what had and had not happened in the story.  So, we located places in the text that either proved or disproved ideas stated during our talk.  For homework the children need to read chapter 16 and explain why they did or didn't like the book, on the sticky note I gave them.

Snakes:  We reviewed the sound of the -sh digraph and then read and discussed pages 4-7.  For homework, they need to list all -sh words, from the book, on the sticky note I provided.  They also need to reread pages 2-7, working on fluency.

We ended the day by reviewing our new study skills; meta cognition and evaluation.  Then we reviewed what is considered a medical emergency.  Finally, we identified steps to take in a medical emergency (either find an adult or call 911).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We're Back!! Welcome to MP2!

Today marks the first day of the second marking period.

We began our day in the media center.  The students video taped their "I Pledge" statements which they wrote in class last week.

When we returned to class we reviewed the structure of a narrative story and then learned those of a narrative poem.  We learned that just like a story, a narrative poem has a title, characters, setting, problem and a solution.  Narrative poems have lines, instead of sentences, and stanzas, instead of paragraphs.  Also, these poems tend to have rhythm but they do not have to rhyme!

Next we turned our focus to themes in literature.  We defined theme as the central message, or lesson, that the author wants us to understand.  Then we listed common themes found in children's literature.  These included; good versus evil, treating all people equally, love and friendship, working hard pays off. showing respect for others and family traditions.

While I meet with small groups, the students will work on individual reading group activities and complete the fifth and final slide of the Key Note iPad presentation.

Sharks:  We met and discussed the symbolism of the medal in the chapter with that title.  WE also talked about the fact that Al's teacher believed in him and now he is believing in Sarah Ida and giving her a chance.  Independently the group will read "The Accident" and list unknown words.  They will reread that chapter for homework this evening.

In math we began with a formative, instead of a warm up.  The formative presented four word problems and 4 number sentences.  The students had to match the correct word problem and number sentence.  After that we reviewed multiplication and division as being inverse operations and related the fact families to those they worked with in second grade using addition and subtraction.

Students completed a follow up fact family worksheet while Mrs. Head and I pulled small groups.  My small group used manipulatives to model word problems and identify the correct number sentence needed to represent the problem.  Mrs. Head worked with small groups solving two step subtraction word problems and multiplication word problems.

There is a fact family worksheet for homework.

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

Yellow Jackets:  Independently the students read chapter 16, the final chapter in the book.  They also wrote about the theme in their RRJ.  IN group we discussed the ending of the book and the theme.  For homework they need to read pages 107-113 and write 2 facts they learn about Christy Matthewson.

Cheetahs:  Independently the students reread chapter 14 and wrote about how Hana and Ben have changed in their RRJ.  IN group we discussed writing about change (needing to state how something was at the beginning and end in order to illustrate a change).  Then we began reading and discussing chapter 15.  For homework the children need to read pages 11-115, finishing the chapter.

Snakes:  Independently the children reread the Dogs book and wrote one fact for each section of the book.  In group we reviewed that headings began each section and discussed how we could identify the headings (bold print).  Then I collected the dog book and handed out our new book called The Energy Contest.  We began by building background knowledge by discussing different sources of energy; solar, batteries and electricity.  Then we did a picture walk to preview the book.  Next I introduced the diphthong -oi and we practiced writing words with -oi.  Finally, we read pages 2 and 3.  For homework the children need to reread pages 2-3 TWO times to work on fluency.

The end of our day was quite busy!  We voted on new star students for the month of October.  These students were selected for being consistently displaying respect towards themselves, their peers, adults and belongings.  Then we reviewed our work study skills from the first marking period; collaboration and analysis.  Next I introduced our next two work study skills; meta cognition (understanding how we best learn) and evaluation.  Finally, we identified the meaning and examples of medical emergencies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A new month begins...

As we head into a new month, we are wrapping up the first marking period of this school year. 

After going to art, the students returned to class and viewed examples of student written "I Pledge" statements.  Then they were given two handouts; examples of pledge statements about smoking and a list of strong words to use in a pledge statement.  Their task is to write an "I Pledge" statement to sum what they promise to do after completing their community action research paper and presentation.  These statements will be video taped and added to their Keynote presentation next week.

Independent work:
  • Finish publishing Community Action Research paper on laptop
  • Write "I Pledge" statement in writing journal
  • Complete  the 4 slides in the community action Key Note presentation
  • ANY unfinished work from the marking period

In math we reviewed how to determine which operation was required to correctly solve individual word problems.  Then Mrs. Head and I worked with small groups of students while the rest of the class practiced solving word problems. using a worksheet, independently.  After that, they went to anchor activities to strengthen their multiplication and division basic facts.

Mrs. Head's groups worked on identifying the operation required to solve word problems and solving two step subtraction word problems.  My first group worked on addition with regrouping.  I began by asking each child to identify their stumbling block.  Then I taught a basic fact strategy to help with computation and reviewed the regrouping process.  Finally, the children practiced using my instruction to solve addition problems involving 3 addends.  My second group practiced solving subtraction problems that required regrouping.

There is a word problem worksheet for homework.  We will NOT have a quiz tomorrow.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued their independent work and I helped individual students with their needs.  I did not pull reading groups because students from every group were involved with publishing which took precedence today because I need their writing for report card grades.  I hope my explanation makes sense!  :-)  Reading groups will meet tomorrow!
We ended the day by watching a video about the Ancient Roman Empire.  The children will be comparing the government of the Ancient Roman Empire to that of our government tomorrow, using an iPad app.

I will not be here tomorrow!  There is no school for students Monday (report card prep day - teachers do report to work) and Tuesday (Election Day).  The next blog post will be Wednesday, the first day of the second marking period.

A quick glance as to what your child will be doing tomorrow:
  • Using the highlighted explicit facts in the second hand smoke article, they will determine the author's main idea.  (Working in small groups and sharing in whole group)
  • They will identify knowns and unknowns and write and solve an equation to solve a word problem. (Working in small groups, making an Educreations video clip and sharing with whole class)
  • Independent work - finish publishing writing piece, finish "I Pledge" statement
  • Reading groups - Each group will read the next chapter/section with the sub, in small group, and discuss.  Most groups will independently write a prediction, in their RRJ, for the next chapter.
  • Using an iPad app about ancient Rome, the children will compare the Roman Republic to our government (the structure).

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