Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thriving Thursday

This morning the children began their day in Art.

When they returned to class, we watched a video of an interview with the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney.  While viewing the interview, I modeled taking notes.  Both before and after this, I shared the importance of this skill, explaining they will use it in high school and college, at the very least.  One students made the connection of understanding the main idea and knowing what ideas are important to write down!  :-)

Next, I shared this list of good question starters:
Why...?
How would it be different if...?
What are the reasons...?
Suppose that...?
What if...?
What if we knew...?
What is the purpose of...?
What would change if...?

I demonstrated the difference between a closed question (one word answer...yes/no) and an open question.  Then we watched a video interview with Dav Pilkney, the aurhot of the Captain Underpants series, and I noted the questions asked.  We identified that only one question was worded similar to the question starters above.  Next, we rewatched part of the Jeff Kinney interview and noticed that ALL of the questions asked of him began with good question starters.  Additionally, we realized that his interview provided more information in a shorter period of time.

While I continue informal testing, the students continued working on their third grade newsletters (revising and editing each article and exploring publishing options), in their small groups.

In math we reviewed pictographs and then we watched an enVision video clip and created a bar graph including all of the "must have" items we identified earlier in the week.  There is a pictograph worksheet for homework and we will NOT have a quiz tomorrow.

Following lunch and recess, I will be at an in-house meeting.

The children will work on their newsletters.

Then they will finish writing their production plans for their goods they will make for the patients at the JHU children's oncology unit.  Finally, to end the day, each group will share their plan with the rest of the class.

I will be out of the building tomorrow.

My next post will be Monday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday...The Heat Wave Begins!

Yesterday was field day, so I didn't post!  The students had a blast, though!  Mr. Lee put on a great, fun-filled day, as usual!

As the title of this post suggests, the nest few days promise to be hot and humid...YUCK!  Please dress your child appropriately!  We will be going out for recess.

This morning the children began their day with Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Dodson, in the media center.  They were able to check out books but PLEASE help your child remember that ALL books are due back this coming Monday, June 3.  Thanks, in advance, for your help with this!

When they returned to class, we learned all about blogs (wink, wink...)!!  Actually, I did share a flip chart about blogs because we are learning about the various forms of informational reading/writing, and blogs are one form.  After sharing the flip chart and discussing vocabulary such as, post, link, comment, I showed the students one way to set up a blog (per student request).  If your child is interested, blogger (this site) is free or you can Google, "starting a blog" to get other Internet sites.  As always, feel free to contact me with comments or questions!

Next, we reviewed several options available to the children to publish their third grade newsletters.  Some of the options included links avoidable on the newsletter Live Binder, Microsoft Word and Micro Soft Publisher.

This afternoon the children will complete their rough drafts for their group's newsletter and begin exploring the publishing options with their group.

In math we reviewed how to calculate the area and perimeter of a rectangle.  Next, we wrote the "must haves" for a pictograph and a bar graph in our math journals.  Then we used a flip chart to build and interpret a pictograph.  There is a pictograph worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students worked on their third grade newsletters while I continued with my informal reading assessments.

Finally, at the end of the day, the students chose production groups.  In their groups they began to discuss what good they will produce for the children in the pediatric oncology center at Johns Hopkins.  Some groups even began identifying the materials they will use and the steps they will follow.  By tomorrow afternoon. all groups will have completed this!  My goal is to begin producing goods next Monday!  :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wow!  This year has flown by!!!!  We have three more weeks of third grade!  Where does the time go?

The children began their day in music.

When they returned we shared a craft idea book, brought in by one of our friends, to scout out new ideas for the service project we will produce.  After that, students had a chance to share their folktale plans with the class, in order to rehearse their story and to provide ideas for those who haven't finished yet.

While I met with a few students to do informal reading assessments, the students completed their folktale planning sheets and their newsletter rough drafts.  After that, they were to complete any other unfinished work and fix any pink words.  Then they were able to read silently.

In math we took a quiz.  They have been scored and returned to students.

Following lunch and recess our kinder buddies visited.  Together we used our folktale planning sheets and the Toontastic app on the iPad to create our folktales.  We will finish them next Friday and share them the following week!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday

The children began their day in art.

When they returned to class we reviewed a list of state of mind words (ex. wondered, suspected, alleged, etc.) and discussed how authors use these words to give their readers insight as to how the character is feeling.  Then we read My Rows and Piles of Coins, a book illustrated by EB Lewis, to identify more state of mind words.

During our reading we came across a section of text that included a word in a foreign language and then a sound word.  I took advantage of the situation to explain how I knew the first unknown word was a noun, because it had an article (or noun clue) in front of it, and not a sound word.

While I met with individual students to do informal reading assessments, the students worked in their small groups to complete the rough drafts for the articles in their newsletter.  Then they continued planning the folktale they will publish with their Kinder Buddies, using Toontastic.

In math we continued using measurements from smaller rectangles to identify unknown measurements on larger rectangles in order to identify the perimeter.  Basically, we continued our lesson from yesterday, using the Active Expression hand held devices.  There is a worksheet, that practices what we have done in class this week, for homework.  We will have a quiz tomorrow.

Following lunch and recess, I continued assessing individual students while the rest of the class worked on the assignments described above.

We ended the day by listing service project ideas and voting for our favorites.  My goal had been to narrow the list of 9 ideas down to the 4 favorite.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time!  :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Hump Day!

The students began their day in the media center.

When they returned to class we took a few minutes to review the various projects/small group assignments which we are currently working on.  These include the newsletter, the folktale and, after this afternoon, the service project.

Next, we read three journal entries, written from a boy's perspective, and identified and discussed the changes we noted as the entries progressed.

Then the students met, briefly, in their newsletter groups to identify what they have completed, what they need to do next and questions they need me to answer.  after 5 minutes, we gathered on the carpet and shared their discussions and I took time to answer questions.

While I meet with small groups (and some individuals for informal reading assessments), the students will work on their newsletters with their groups and complete the planning sheets for the folktale they will create using Toontastic, with their Kinder Buddies.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed the examples they identified, from their story, of cause and effect, for homework last night.  Many struggled with this concept.  Therefore, we spent more time identifying examples (and discussing them) in group.  We will begin a new book tomorrow.

In math we continued our lesson from yesterday...calculating the perimeter of a rectangle using information from neighboring, bordering figures.   This lesson involved the Promethean board's active expression polling system.  See the pictures below.
Above, the students are viewing the problem on the Promethean board and using their math journal to do their calculations.  Then they "shared" their final answer using the handheld device.
This is a picture of the Promethean board.  The darkened rectangle is the figure for which they were calculating the perimeter.  You can't see it but there is a linear measurement at the very top of the screen, which they needed to complete the problem.  The yellow section lists student numbers that correlate to their handheld device.  When it is shaded (in yellow), the student has "sent" in their answer.
This picture shows a student solving the problem, by writing on the board, in order to see which of the various responses, "sent" in by the class, was the correct one.
This is a picture of the handheld device that the students use to "send" in their answers.
There is a calculating perimeter worksheet for homework.

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

Cheetahs:  We met and began reading pages 10-16 and sharing the questions and answers they noted for homework last night.  We got derailed, though, and used Wikipedia to learn about Indian reservations.  We will finish sharing last night's homework tomorrow, in group.

Yellow Jackets:  We reread and discussed pages 1-9.  Discussions included describing the three main characters, the author's foreshadowing and the main character's best friend being a yellow canary.

Snakes:  We reviewed our word lists and I gave a heavy text introduction that included word work and literal comprehension questions.  For homework the students need to read the story on pages 2-16.

We ended the day by discussing the academic success skill of persistence (not giving up).  After that, I modeled this skill be revisiting this morning's math lesson and showing the class how I problem solved, during lunch, to figure out how to write on a Power Point slide during a slide show presentation.  I had struggled with this earlier in the day.

Finally, I shared the production plan worksheet that I created for the students to use when we make create goods for the cancer patients at Johns Hopkins.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Terrific, but soggy, Tuesday

The students began their day in PE.  Field Day is next Tuesday.  I know Mr. Lee is still in need of parent volunteers!  Please let us know if you can help!!

When they returned to class, the students activated the background knowledge they gained about EB Lewis during yesterday's lesson by completing a chart independently.  Then we shared their ideas and created a class chart noting how EB Lewis was prior to being inspired by his uncle, what his uncle did to inspire him and how his uncle's actions changed his life.

Then students thought about a person or event that has inspired them to face a challenge or overcome an obstacle.

While I met with small groups the students completed a chart identifying how their life was prior to being inspired by a person or event, who the person was or what the event was that inspired them, and how the person or event changed their lives.  They also worked on their newsletter and folktale projects.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed their word lists.  Then students had a chance to share their opinion as to whether the horse intentionally save Anthony's life and sharing/explaining the text support that helped them form their opinion.  After that, we reviewed the concept of cause and effect.  Tonight they need to reread Horse Heron and identify two examples of cause (c) and effect (e) in the story.

In math we used our knowledge of rectangles (opposite sides are congruent) to identify the length of unknown sides in a larger figure that has been broken into smaller, rectangular sections.   There is a worksheet for homework that practices calculating the perimeter of rectangles.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will continue their independent work while I meet with more reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We met and I modeled identifying questions I was wondering about, as we read the first half of the Billy Mills book, and then any answers I found in the text.  We discussed that good readers naturally find themselves asking questions and identifying the answers as they read.  This keeps them focused on the text and increases comprehension.  For homework the students need to finish the book (pages 10-16) and identify questions they have and answers they find, on sticky notes.

Yellow Jackets:  We reviewed the information they gathered about Vietnam and the vocabulary words refugee and monsoon.  For homework tonight the students need to read pages 1-9 in the book, Onion Tears.

Snakes:  We started by reading over their word list and identifying the two sounds that the consonants in each word makes.  Unfortunately, this group was cut short!  :-(  For homework, the students need to reread both (the current and the one from their last book) word lists, 3 times each.

We ended the day by watching our school's chorus perform their end of the year concert!  What a treat!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marvelous Monday on May

We began our day with a class meeting.  As usual, we began with a group share.  Today each student had the chance to share what they would like to do between now and the end of the year.  Some ideas included; another service project for the cancer patients, a week without homework, an additional science project, a show and tell type day where students bring in and read their favorite books to the class, a class play, a video/slide show project serving as a year in review type thing and extra recess.

I promised the children that I would think about all of these great ideas and figure out a way to incorporate many of them.

After that we shared compliments and challenges.

In reading we compared two pieces of informational text, in the format of a personal narrative, on the same topic and identified which provided more information and why.  The text was an interview with the illustrator EB Lewis in which he discusses people and events that motivated him to overcome personal challenges.  So, of course, we identified the person and events and discussed how it impacted EB Lewis.

During our writing lesson, student groups got a chance to share their newsletter story boards with the rest of the class.  This gave each group a chance to review their plans and to get ideas from other groups.

In math we viewed two flip charts (one used Active Expressions, so it was interactive) to identify the perimeter of figures.  There is a worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and recess, Mrs. Howard visited to continue her lessons on career choices.

We ended the day by viewing a Discovery Channel video about what happens to our trash once it leaves our house.  After the video we had a great conversation about landfills, bringing trash to create energy used in homes and recycling.

Friday, May 17, 2013

TGIF!!!

I can honestly say that we are all ready for the weekend!  :-)

The students started their day in music.

When they returned to class, I identified and explained that tasks we needed to work on today.   These tasks included; identifying the main idea of non-fiction text (worksheet), reading group assignments from yesterday, the newsletter story boards and the planning sheet for our folktales that we will create with our Kinder buddies (from last Friday).

So, after this discussion, I told the students I wanted to share/demonstrate a feature of the Promethean board that creates more interaction during lessons.  It is called Active Expressions. Active Expressions is an engaging way to keep students focused.  Using a flip chart on the Promethean board, I can ask a question and poll the entire class.  Each student has their own hand held device (looks kind of like a Blackberry).  When I activate Active Expressions, each child enters and sends their answer.  Then we can see how many students chose each answer and discuss the results.  It is completely anonymous to the rest of the class.

So...as I tried to figure out how to teach the students how to use this tool, I stumbled upon a main idea flip chart with embedded Active Expression questions.  PERFECT!  Or, so I thought!  I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, an hour later (no joke there!) we had more questions than answers!  We were all frustrated!!!

NOTE:  Since that time, I met with the experts from the county and have figured out the answers to all of our questions!  I am now more confident on how to utilize this tool and have shared my new knowledge with the class.

Next up was math...I planned to forgo the warm up since our quiz was long.  Therefore, we began by reviewing last night's homework.  Unfortunately, half of the class didn't complete the back...uh oh...more frustration...on both sides!

We ended the morning with our math quiz.  As I stated earlier, it was long!  SO, some didn't finish before lunch and recess.

Following lunch and recess, I we revisited the Main Idea flip chart and successfully used (go us!) the Active Expression tool!!!  WOO HOO!!!!

Then students were given time to complete the math quiz.  These have been scored and returned to students.  They should be in the math section of their binder.  PLEASE look for it and review it with your child.

We ended the day with a social studies lesson.  Using a Power Point, provided by MCPS, we identified and discussed the ways technology has impacted producers.  There were some great moments...for example, one student shared that when her grandmother was little there were no cars!  LOL!

Before packing up we had a talk about coming back to school on Monday with a positive attitude and ready to put effort into assignments!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday - African Dancing!

This morning the students began their day in art.  When they returned to class, we practiced using headings to identify the main idea of text.  First, we turned the heading into a question.  Then we read the portion of text and bulleted details that answered the question.  After that, we used the questions and bulleted details to identify and name the main idea.

Next, we viewed a main idea flip chart that presented a great visual for understanding the concept of main idea.

While I meet with groups the students will complete individual reading group assignments, finish their storyboards for the newsletter in their small groups and use the scavenger hunt checklist to make sure their storyboard includes all of the requirements, and complete any unfinished work.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed last night's homework (ou/ow word sort).  Then we identified the topic of the book and began discussing if the horse knew he was saving a life.  For classwork or homework (dependent on student choice and time) the children need to reread the book and mark places that support their personal opinion of whether or not the horse knew he was saving the man's life.
In math, we used the warm up to review the attributes of different quadrilaterals and calculating elapsed time.  See pictures!

Then we went to the computer lab.  In the lab we used a virtual geoboard to create quadrilaterals based on given criteria.  All students have an elapsed time classwork worksheet for homework.  We will have a quiz tomorrow!  Students will be solving word problems and drawing, naming and listing attributes of quadrilaterals.

The picture below can be used to study for the quiz.  It will be on Edmodo, too!

Following lunch and indoor recess the students will continue their independent work while I meet with more groups.

Cheetahs:    The students used the title of their new book (Champion Billy Mays) to write a main idea question.  Then they read the book and created a bulleted list of facts to answer the question.  In group I realized that the students were confused by this assignment.  SO tomorrow, we will complete it, again, together.

We spent the rest of the day at a cultural arts assembly.  We enjoyed a music and dance presentation performed by Africans from Senegal.
﻿

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

The students began their day in the media center.  When we returned to class I explained that being able to identify the text structure (cause/effect/sequence/comparison, etc) can help readers determine the author's purpose and the main idea.  We also reviewed how to use the topic and concluding sentences to identify the main idea in text.  We practiced using these strategies, using selections of text about robots.

After that we revisited the newsletter Live Binder and I pointed out several sections that students might have missed during their scavenger hunt yesterday.  Then I displayed an example of a students made story board for a class newsletter.  Next, I modeled creating one using the expectations listed on the scavenger hunt.  Finally, the students formed small groups with whom they will collaborate to create a class newsletter about third grade.

In math we spent time solving a Drexel math word problem.  We identified and defined key vocabulary words, then we listed requirements that fit the task, finally, we named possible answers.  After that, we used the requirements to narrow down our answer choices.  Then we used drawings to come to a final answer.

While Mrs. Head and I worked with small groups, the students began a quadrilateral sort.  My group practiced identifying the question and information needed to solve multi step word problems.  Mrs. Head's group worked on calculating elapsed time.

There is a quadrilateral worksheet for homework.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued their independent work, while I met with small groups.

Yellow Jackets:  We shared last night's homework, identifying the story structure in "The Lion and the Wolf".  Then the students began researching Vietnam to build background knowledge in preparation for our next novel, Onion Tears, about  a Vietnamese refugee who fled to Australia.  Students who do not complete the research in class must do so for homework this evening.

Sharks:  The students reread Wolverines and charted short vowel sounds in their RRJ.  We began group by reviewing these charts.  Then we identified words with the -ow sound spelled as either -ou or -ow.  We sorted other words according to whether they had the -ow sound spelled ow, ou or they didn't contain the sound.  After that, I introduced our new book, Horse Hero.  Finally, the students read the book to decide is the horse was indeed a hero.  For homework the students need to reread the book and complete the word sort (charting -ou-ow or other, as we did in class) using the words on the worksheet that they were given in group.

Snakes:  The students reread Redwood Trees and charted 1, 2 and 3 syllable words from their book in their RRJ.  In group we reviewed these charts.  Then identified consonants that have more than one sound at the beginning of words.  (c-city /s/ or cold /k/)  After that, the students were given new word lists and we practiced reading them.  For homework the children need to read their words lists 3 times.

Cheetahs:  The students reread their book and created a chart in their RRJ, listing words with suffixes from their book and separating the root word and the suffix.  For homework the students need to read (free choice) for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday!

The students began their morning in PE.  When they returned to class, Mrs. Benson read and discussed Robot Workers with them.  Then, when I returned from an in-house meeting, we reviewed the Newsletter Live Binder to learn about the characteristics of this type of writing.  Together, we created a document to use with the Live Binder site, as a sort of scavenger hunt.

While I met with groups, the children completed independent reading group assignments and completed the scavenger hunt of the Live Binder site.

In math we reviewed multi step word problems...understanding what the question is asking and what information is required to solve the problem.  Then we used the definitions of quadrilateral, square, rectangle and rhombus to classify various shapes.  The intention was to stress the idea that some shapes can fit into more than one category.  There is a worksheet that reinforces this idea for homework.

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

Yellow Jackets:  We shared the literature web they completed with partners for The Ugly Duckling.  Tonight, for homework they need to reread The Lion and the Mouse and identify the set up, the problem, events leading from the problem to the solution, and the solution, by circling or highlighting these sections in different colors.

Sharks:  The students wrote about the central message in their book, Wolverines, in their RRJ.  In group they reread the book and we discussed the main message.  For homework they need to reread Wolverines and write two questions that can only be answered if you read the book.

Snakes:  The children explained why bark is important to Redwood trees, in their RRJs.  In group they reread the book and we identified and discussed tricky words.  For homework they need to reread Redwood Trees.

Cheetahs:  The children reread their book and answered questions 3 and 4 from the back of their book, in their RRJ.  For homework the students need to reread the book and identify the author's main message (one statement0--what did the author want us to know).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Picture Day - Monday

We began our day with our regularly scheduled class meeting.  The main focus of the meeting was the Promethean Board.  Our group share gave each child a chance to say anything they wanted to about the Promethean Bord.  After that, we shared compliments.  The the students had a chance to express concerns they had with the Promethean Board.  Students didn't indicate they had any issues so I shared a few that had entered my mind.  These mostly pertained to classroom management...using the board as anchor activities, remembering what is on my computer screen is now televised to the class, unless I freeze it, etc.)  Finally, the class and I began to create a flip chart to help manage the independent work block.

After our class meeting, we revisited the concept of identifying the main idea of a passage of text.  We used informational text about robots.  Today we focused on identifying the topic and concluding sentences to help name the main idea.

After that, we viewed different school and class newsletters to get a feel for different layouts and types of articles included.

Then we went to the gym to have the students spring portraits taken.

When we returned to class, we were overdue to begin math.

In math we began a lesson sorting and classifying shapes based on different attributes.  We experienced a few technological difficulties...ugh!  So the lesson was quite disjointed and incomplete.  SO...for homework, the students are to go to Edmodo and view the Educreations lesson that I created while they were at lunch and recess.  Then they are to use the lesson to name the shapes on the last page of the Educreations lesson.  This should be turned in directly through Edmodo...but I will reluctantly take it handwritten on a piece of paper.

Following the enjoyment of lunch and recess, Mrs. Howard visited to do the first part of her career lesson with the children.  We ended the day by viewing a Magic School Bus video about the decomposition process.  We actually watched the segment that explicitly discusses the process, twice.  Then we recounted it through discussion with partners, first, and then the whole class.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Promethean Board Friday

Well, today was THE day...we finally got our PROMETHEAN BOARD!!!!!  It did not disappoint, at all!

After beginning the day in music, the students returned to the classroom and our exploration and discovery began!!  Well, for most of us....some had to complete unfinished work from the week (reading about and identifying  resources used in the production of bread, reading about and defining reduce, reuse and recycle, and publishing their final draft of the opinion paragraph), before joining the rest of us.

It would be rather challenging to explain all that we learned...but trust us, it was a lot!  The pictures below SHOULD help!

We used various resources included in the Active Inspire software package to learn how to use the Promethean board.  The students above are solving a magic square.  They had to identify the rule for rows and the rule for columns, using the known numbers in the squares.  Then they had to apply the rules they identified to fill in the unknown number squares.
Above and to the right, students are using another resource included with the software.  It's Soduko, a logic game.

To the right, a students is solving a division equation as part of a Jeopardy game.  This resource was provided by MCPS, I believe.

To the left, students are playing a memory game.  Again, included with the software.

To the right, a students is identifying important information in a word problem.  Above, a students is circling key words in a word problem and writing the operation required, according to the key words.

Following lunch and outdoor recess, we used the Promethean board to review last night's homework.  See below.

We ended this exciting day working with our Kinder Buddies.  We learned about our next project...we will work in small groups to plan and create a folktale.  The final product will be a cartoon of the folktale using the iPad app, Toontastic.  See pictures below.

Remember, Monday is Spring Picture Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thriving Thursday

The students began their morning in art.

When they returned to class we discussed the concept of elaboration.  Students determined that elaboration means to add specific details to clearly communicate your thoughts to your audience.  We also noted that this might take extra effort!  Then we revisited the interview with the illustrator EB Lewis and noted that he says the illustrator should leave room for the audience to use their imagination AND that the illustrator's job is to elaborate on the text through the illustrations.  This seemed like it could be a contradiction.  Through discussion, we concluded that the text and illustrations should complement one another--is the text lacks details then the pictures should include them, and vice versa.  Finally, we viewed some of EB Lewis' illustrations and identified information we could gain from them.

Next we discussed our opinion paragraphs.  We reviewed the different revisions we have worked on this week, including, using the thesaurus to improve word choice and identifying the concluding sentence and making sure it was similar to the topic sentence and did not include new information.  The next step will be peer conferencing.  Students will work with partners to revise for spelling and clarity.

While I work with small groups the students will complete individual reading group assignments, conference with peers on their opinion paragraph and complete unfinished work from the week.

Sharks:  We reread their book and reviewed the word sort from last night's homework. Then we discussed what the scientists learned about wolverines by watching M56 and what they hoped M56 would do.  For homework the students need to reread the text and mark, IN THE TEXT, ideas that they think support the main message of the book.

In math we reviewed elapsed time word problems.  The focus was understanding what the questions is asking and then identifying the information needed to solve it.  The worksheet the students worked on, in class, yesterday was returned to them and they were instructed to redo each problem.  During this time,Mrs. Head and I worked with small groups.  My group practiced identifying the question that a word problem was asking and the needed information.  Mrs. Head's group worked n calculating elapsed time (breaking apart the time) and solving two step word problems.  There is a mass word problem worksheet for homework tonight and we will have a quiz tomorrow.

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

Cheetahs:  We shared and discussed the places that the students marked as examples of motivation, effort and persistence.  For homework the students need to reread the book and locate and mark, with a sticky note, 2 things that TR did to protect our wilderness.

Yellow Jackets:  The students reread The Ugly Duckling and completed a literature web, with a partner .  In group we shared last night's homework (collage of what beauty means to them or recalling a time when they fet the pain of being different).  For homework the children need to reread the story and mark examples of change in the text.

Snakes:  The students reread their book and listed facts about Redwood trees in their RRJ.  In group we practiced reading their word lists and discussed silent letters in words.  Wealso shared the facts they identified from their reading.  Then we located words with the vowel-consonant-silent e pattern in them.  For homework they need to reread their book and mark, with a sticky note, a reason bark is important to a Redwood tree.

We ended the day by learning how we will use the Promethean board (starting tomorrow morning) to do lunch count and attendance.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

My morning began with a staff meeting providing some training for the new Promethean boards.  It was a great start---I learned so much and am super excited to begin using the board on Friday!!

The students began their day in the media center.  When they returned to class, we revisited The Secret World of Walter Anderson and identified information provided by the illustrations in the book.  Then we read a Q&A interview with the author of the book, EB Lewis.  We discovered that this author reads the text and thinks about what he is curious about and uses that as a driving force.  His illustrations add to the text, as opposed to reflecting the text.  Additionally, he says he has one word in his mind (I related this to theme) as he creates each illustration.

After that we revisited are organized Sports better than Pick Up Games to identify how conclusions can summarize facts in  opinion writing.

Independent work today includes individual reading group assignments, revising opinion paragraphs to identify the conclusion statement and make sure it summarizes the paragraph, and completing any unfinished tasks from earlier in the week (Baking Bread Production - resource chart, Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle article).

Sharks:  After some deliberation, I have decided to nix the biography research project and go for a more structured reading group approach.  I am going to try out a reading intervention program to help boost this group's literal and inferential comprehension and their writing.  Today we began by doing a word sort, in group, focusing  on the -aw sound.  After that, I gave a heavy, thorough book introduction and instructed the students to think about it if they get stuck during their independent reading of the book.  The students will read the book, by themselves or with a partner, this afternoon and list important facts about wolverines in their RRJ.  Tonight, they are to complete a word sort, similar to the one we did in class, by cutting apart the words on their worksheet, and gluing them into a chart in their RRJ, according to the spelling of the -aw sound.  They also need to reread their Wolverine book.

In math we reviewed elapsed time word problems and identified grams as a unit which measures mass.  Students were told to think of the weight of a paper clip as equivalent to a gram.  While Mrs. Head and I worked with small groups using strategies to solve elapsed time word problems, the rest of the class worked on an elapsed time worksheet.  For homework, students need to complete the word problems involving mass worksheet.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will continue working independently while I meet with more reading groups.

Cheetahs:  Independently the students read the biography about Theodore Roosevelt and identified unknown words in their RRJ.  In group we reviewed the meanings of the unknown words and then discussed character traits, and support from the text, to describe TR.  For homework the children need to reread the biography looking for examples of persistence, motivation and effort.

Yellow Jackets:  The students read Hans Christian Anderson's version of The Ugly Duckling thinking about the concept of change and how it relates to the story.  In group we discussed, to quote a student, this "brutal" version of the tale.  Tonight the students have a choice for homework.  They can either write about a time they felt the pain of being different or create a collage of what beauty means to them.

Snakes:  The students reread the book All About Redwood Trees and listed important information in their RRJ.  For homework they need to reread their word strips and the book.

WE ended the day by reviewing the three types of resources (human, natural and capital) and the concept of a production process.  Then we watched a video snippet, three times, to understand the idea of specialization.  This idea created some confusion...but I think we finally got it...maybe!?!?!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

The students began their day in PE.

When we returned to class, we read The Secret World of Walter Anderson, a literary nonfiction, biography about the famous artist.  We discussed the book and used Google maps to "visit" Horn Island.

For independent work, students worked on individual reading group assignments, finished revising their opinion paragraphs for word choice (using a thesaurus), completed the recycle, reduce, reuse article from yesterday, and read an ebook called Baking Bread while charting the 3 types of resources used in the production of bread, in their social studies journal.

Sharks:  We met and reused several biographies.  Then we identified questions we had about famous people.  I explained that some questions were closed, meaning they required one word answers, such as, yes or no.  These questions weren't good for research purposes.  Open questions are those how and why questions that encourage research to provide more detailed and elaborate answers.  These are the type we want to identify to guide our research. Unfortunately, several students took advantage of the lack of structure during our group time and participation was limited.  For homework, the students are expected to identify 5 open questions, in their RRJ, they would like to use when researching a famous person.

In math we used a flip chart (technology tool which will become an everyday thing when the Promethean Boards are installed later this week) to review the tools and units used to measure different attributes.  Then we focused on liquid volume, or capacity.  The students were told that 1 mL is about the size of an eyedropper and a L is about the size of a vase.  WE determined whether different objects (think fish tank, coffee mug, etc.) would be measure in mL or L.  For homework the students will be solving word problems involving capacity.

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

Cheetahs:  They were given a vocabulary sheet to complete using three words from their new book (specimen, politician and sanctuary).  Unfortunately, they didn't complete their work before group, so it became homework.  They may use the online dictionaries linked to the blog.  In group we reviewed both the dictionary and thesaurus entries on the Webster's Online Dictionary site.

Yellow Jackets:  Independently the students chose a word from The Green Man (from a list I provided) and completed a vocabulary word for it.  In group we reviewed the parts of the vocabulary web and explored both the dictionary and thesaurus entries in the Encyclopedia Britannica online edition.  Most students do not have homework...two students need to finish their web at home, tonight.

Snakes:  We began a new reading program today.  Today was the first lesson.  Each lesson will last two days.  Today the students received a word list.  We practiced reading the word list and identifying the silent letter(s) in each word.  They need to reread this list tonight.  Then I gave a thorough book introduction before we practiced reading the book.  Tonight they also need to reread the book.

Science and social studies were integrated into our reading block today.  Hopefully, we will have time tomorrow to review the production process of bread before learning about specialization.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Moving Along Monday

With the delivery of the new Promethean boards imminent, the students returned to a restructured classroom!  Some embraced the new set up....others, not-so-much!  :-)
So, our class meeting centered around the new layout of our classroom and the impact the Promethean board on instruction and routines.  The students had a lot of thoughtful questions and I tried my best to provide answers.

After our class meeting, we reviewed the characteristics of literary non-fiction.  Then we identified the reasons people keep journals and diaries and the intended audience of this type of writing.  After that, we read a journal entry from the The Hog Island Logs of Walter Anderson and identified the specific details he included in his entry and what questions we had after reading it.  We recognized that the details he included were the memories he wanted to preserve and the questions we had were not answered since the intended audience (himself) would know the answers to our questions so he wouldn't be wondering about those things.

Next, we read an opinion article from the book Are Organized Sports Better than Pick Up Games and identified how the author's word choice strength ed his argument.  Additionally, I modeled using an online thesaurus to improve the student's own writing.

Today's independent work includes the students using a thesaurus to improve and revise the word choice in their opinion paragraph rough draft.  Additionally, they will read a two sided article about reducing, reusing and recycling (science) and explain what each concept means (according to the article) in their science journal.

Sharks:  We met and discussed our plans to read about a famous person to locate answers to the questions we have about them and then to find a way to present our new knowledge.  I introduced a series of biographies about current, popular stars.

In math we identified strategies to solve elapsed time word problems when the start time is unknown.  Today, along with the number line and t-chart, I modeled using subtraction with regrouping.  The trick being that when we regroup we are trading an hour for 60 minutes.  The students completed a couple of practice problems independently, while Mrs. Head and I met with small groups.  Both groups practiced identifying time on an analog clock, to the minute, and using number lines to solve elapsed time word problems.  There is an elapsed time word problem worksheet for homework.

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

Cheetahs:  We met and discussed how illustrations can convey more information to the readers (in addition to the text in the story).  We used the picture on page 121 as a starting point for this discussion.  We will begin a new book tomorrow.

Yellow Jackets:  In group we reread The Green Man, making notes along the way at points where the text gives hints as to who is the green man.  Then we shared our notes.

Snakes:  These students concentrated on completing their opinion rough draft and revising for word choice using the thesaurus.

At the end of the day we discussed the idea of an object, such as a water bottle, having a life cycle.  We viewed a web site to help us better understand this concept.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Busy, busy Friday!

Whew...today was a busy one, for sure!!!

We started the day with music but 9 students went to the computer lab, at this time, to complete the MAP-M testing from earlier in the week.

Then we went to the gym to visit the 4th grade Wax Museum.  The two fourth grade classes created a wax museum by researching a famous person and taking on the persona of this individual.  It was VERY well done!

When we returned to class, most students worked on their opinion paragraph.  Some students listened to/read an ebook about the production of bread.  The intention was for the students to read/listen to the ebook and chart the resources needed (natural, human, capital) to produce bread.  However, we were short on time.

Next, we took the fourth math quiz for this quarter.  The quizzes have been scored and returned to the children.  Please look for it in the math section of your child's binder.

After enjoying lunch and outdoor recess, the students continued working on their opinion paragraphs.  Those who were finished, practiced reading traditional tales, working on fluency, in preparation for our visit with our Kinder Buddies.

We ended the day with our Kinder Buddies.  First, we finished sharing the Key Note presentations.  Then we read a traditional tale to our buddies and identified the characteristics that make it categorized as one.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thriving Thursday

The students started their day in art.

When we returned to class we visited Eric Kimmell's web site and listened to him read one of his traditional tales.  After discussing connections we made and the moral, we moved on to writing.

In writing, I outlined and modeled the expectations for the student's opinion paragraph.  The paragraph will be at least 6 sentences.  The topic sentence will state their opinion using strong words.  Then they will name and explain two facts, from their research, that support their opinion.  Each fact will require one sentence that names it and another sentence which explains it.  Finally, they will end with a concluding sentence which restates their opinion (and does NOT introduce any new facts).

While I meet with groups, the children will complete individual reading group assignments and write the rough  draft for their opinion paragraph.  When they finish they could use the iPads to visit Eric Kimmell's web site.

Sharks:  We met and shared their third assignment from the culminating tic-tac-toe board.  I collected these and will provide feedback and a score.  Then we discussed where to go next...I gave the students a choice between autobiographies /biographies or researching a natural resource.  They chose biographies.  So, we will begin reading about someone tomorrow.

In math we used last night's homework to review identifying the elapsed time.  Then the students worked independently on a follow up worksheet while Mrs. Head and I pulled small groups.  Both groups worked on calculating elapsed time suing a number line.  Mrs. Head's group also practiced summing the products.  For homework there is an elapsed time worksheet.  We will have a quiz tomorrow.  The quiz will be similar to last week's with the addition of 2 elapsed time word problems.

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

Cheetahs:  The students read chapter 8 and thought about the main idea and theme of the book.  In their RRJ they identified and explained their favorite part of the story.  In group we reread chapter 8 and discussed Yang's secret (that he hates the violin) and the connection he made to the blind boy (a blind boy can't see beautiful colors and therefore doesn't appreciate them; Yang can't hear musical tones and therefore doesn't appreciate them).

Yellow Jackets:  The students read a story called The Green Man (from William and Mary program) and completed a literature web for the story.  IN group we discussed who is the green man.  It was a SUPER discussion, with students referring to the text as they voiced their opinions and disagreed or agreed with one another.  WE never came to agreement on this.

Snakes:  The children reread pages 8-16 and wrote a question that could be answered by reading the text.  In group we practiced reading and writing high frequency words (ready, nature, give, many and replace).  We reviewed the -y at the end of a word and -ce, -ci rule.  Then we identified text features in their book and described how they help readers.  Finally, we shared the questions they wrote.  WE will redo this assignment sine their questions could not be answered by reading the book.  Tonight the students need to reread the entire book to work on fluency.

We ended the day by reviewing natural, human and capital resources.  We concentrated on defining a capital resource as something that is human made and used to produce a good or service.  After redefining this term (elaborating on the texts meaning), the students asked great questions about whether various things were capital resources or not.

Tomorrow is Pajama Day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday!

This morning the students visited the media center.

After that, we headed to the computer lab to take the MAP-R.  This is the computerized, self-adjusting reading assessment that the students take three times a year beginning in third grade.  This assessment is used to plan instruction and determine how well the children are retaining what is being taught.

When we returned to class, I demonstrated using a number line to solve elapsed time word problems.  The lesson included both the end time and the elapsed time as unknowns (different problems, of course).  View it here.  The students had a chance to solve a problem independently and then we reviewed it.  For homework the children need to complete the worksheet.  If they get stuck, have them view today's lesson!

While the students were enjoying lunch and outdoor recess, I noticed that many students had many missing assignments.  So, we spent the afternoon catching up.  Students worked on the following; completing their issue research and graphic organizer, the Edmodo assignment about turning a natural resource into food, the -ly suffix map, the 3-2-1 summarizer reflecting on the article about producers and consumers and the root word vocabulary activity from earlier this week.

I didn't pull any reading groups, so that the students would have a big block of time to complete their assignments.  Some students did not focus and will have to finish the tasks at home.