## Monday, March 31, 2014

### Marvelous Monday---Quarter 4 Begins!

Wow!  Time is FLYING!  It is so hard to believe that the final marking period begins today!!!

The students began their day in the media center.  When they returned to class we began our math rotations.

This week we will focus on solving 2 step word problems and memorizing the basic multiplication facts.

During the teacher led lesson we used a chart identifying Lana's income for the month of April to help solve 2 step word problems.  Before we began, though, we reviewed the concepts  of a budget, income, savings and expenses.  As we solved the word problems, we used a t-chart to identify our knowns and unknowns.  We also assigned different variables to each unknown.

The students have a worksheet for HOMEWORK that mirrors our small group lesson.  I expect for some to struggle.  PLEASE have your child do the best that he/she can and then stop if, and when, they reach frustration.  I just want to see what they retained from group.  Homework is NEVER graded.  :-)

During guided practice and the technology rounds the students focused on memorizing basic multiplication facts.  At guided practice they created a multiplication sentence by rolling two dice.  Then they identified the product and wrote the 3 remaining number sentences for the fact family.

The iPads were used during the technology rotation so students could practice their basic facts while playing Invasion of the Moon Monkeys.

After math we launched into our reading and writing block.  As it is the beginning of a new marking period, I had a lot to present to the students.

We will be studying the literary genre of Traditional Tales.  The students viewed a Power Point explaining traditional tales as stories passed down from generation to generation that began as spoken language.  They also received a chart identifying the characteristics of folktales, myths, legends and fables.  This resource should be kept in the reading section of their binder and referred to as necessary.

I also introduced the quarter 4 issues inquiry project.  Students will be choosing an issue with two obvious sides.  They will first research both sides of the issue and write informative paragraphs to share their findings.  Then they will choose a side and write an opinion paragraph explaining why they feel as they do.

Students were given a planning packet today.  This packet and resources the students will use in the near future can be found on the third grade web site on the Inquiry Project page.

Independent work assignments included vocabulary entries for some reading groups.  Students also chose their issue for the inquiry project and listed an background knowledge they had.  Finally, the students listed questions they had before watching the folk tale, Jack and the Giant Barbeque.

Cheetahs:  We met first so I could handout and review the new vocabulary chart I've shared with other groups.  Then the students completed an entry for the word clever.

Following lunch and outdoor recess, the students had a brief period of time to continue their independent work.  Then we were treated to an assembly.

The assembly was a biologist visiting with some of his animals, including, 2 bats, an owl and a sloth!  You can see the sloth if you follow me on Twitter (@runnerdana).

## Thursday, March 27, 2014

### Thursday...End of the 3rd Marking Period

While it is hard to believe the end of the third marking period has arrived, I am glad it has!  I am looking forward to nine weeks of instruction with few interruptions!!  :-)

Needless to say, today was a finish up kind of day!  But before getting to the assignments that needed to be completed and turned in, the children enjoyed two specials, back to back.  First they visited the media center.  This was a make up lesson due to missing class on Monday for testing.  Then they went to their regular music class.

When they returned to class, the students focused on completing their realistic fiction picture book,  their hand map and the science experiment packet.  Additionally, students participated in PARCC testing (yes, the glitches were finally fixed), in small groups.

I met with individual students who needed assistance with the above mentioned tasks.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued their push to finishing up all assignments while I met with individual students and the Panda reading group.

Pandas:  The students read chapter 30, the final one, independently.  In group we discussed the internal struggled Peter faced as he sailed to America.  Then we identified the theme of the novel using support from the text.

We ended the day with a gallery walk so students could get a close up view of their peers' Culture Posters.

NO school for students tomorrow.

Quarter 4 begins Monday!

## Wednesday, March 26, 2014

### Adventures in Testing - AKA Wednesday

So...day 3, the final day, of PARCC testing and our entire area lost Internet connection.  Therefore, we did not test.  :-)

I had learned my lesson from yesterday and I was well prepared.

We began the day with our weekly class meeting.  There have been a lot of friendship issues lately, so that became the basis of our meeting.  During the group share each student named characteristics they look for in a friend.  the, after exchanging compliments and thank yous, we began discussing friendship challenges and possible solutions.  Finally, we ended the meeting with each child stating what they will do, personally, to be a better friend.

After that we moved on to math rotations.  Our focus this week is on moving towards the memorization of the basic multiplication facts.  During the teacher lesson, we reviewed the relationship between multiplication and division.  Then the students paired up to play a game, called Four in a Row, that depended on the children's knowledge of basic multiplication /division facts.  As they played they were to write the facts they didn't know automatically in their math journal.  Additionally, I leaned in to suggest strategies and question their choices to hear their thinking.

During guided practice the students played multiplication war.  The winner of each round was the first to identify the correct product.

Finally, during the technology rotation, students play Invasion of the Moon Monkeys on the iPad.  This reinforced their memorization of the basic multiplication facts.

There is a multiplication worksheet for homework.

We began our reading and writing block using  various realistic fiction books, written by Eve Bunting, to examine the items included on the font and back covers, the title page and the dedication page.  Asa group we listed these items on a page in our daily flip chart.  While I met with students and small groups the children finished publishing their picture book and then created a front and back cover, a title page and, if they chose to, a dedication page.  They also completed their hand maps.

Some groups have finished their books.  All groups will get new books on Monday.

The PANDA group read chapter 29 independently in the morning.

Following lunch and indoor recess, I called the PANDAS to the back to meet with them.  I got THE BEST TREAT EVER!  By the time I got to the group, they were seated and engaged in a self-started discussion about the text they had read.  It was AWESOME.  They were talking about inferences and referring to pages in the chapter.  I LOVED it and let them know it.  Once I joined the students we continued the discussion and debated how Uncle Victor found out Peter had been captured and how Peter felt at the end of the chapter.  We will finish the book tomorrow.

The day ended with the group testing the containers they built in science that were supposed to solve the problem of keeping a Popsicle frozen for 30 minutes.  Each group recorded observations at time intervals they chose for a total time of 25 minutes.  They also reflected on how well their container kept the cold energy in and what they would change if they were to construct a new container.

Tomorrow is the last day of the third marking period.  There is NO school for the children on Friday.  It is a professional development day.

Tomorrow is a school spirit day.  Students are encouraged to wear their Redskins jerseys for Jersey Day.  ;-)

## Tuesday, March 25, 2014

### Trying Tuesday

So the day began with the class going to the computer lab to take the second session of the reading PARCC.  Most students tried to log in several times and continually got kicked out by the computer software.

After a few attempts with different groupings and log-in processes, we returned to class.

With some "found" time we took full advantage!!!  The rest of the morning was spent publishing the realistic fiction picture books and completing hand maps.  I worked with several individual students on revisions and publishing.

Following lunch and indoor recess, the students continued their efforts towards finishing the two tasks from above.  I met with the Panda reading group.

Pandas:  The children had read chapter 27 yesterday.  In group we identified the problem and how Peter saved the gold.  Then we discussed whether or not we would have brave enough to throw a snowball at the commandant.  Then we read and discussed chapter 28.

Due to the testing schedule the children ended their day in art.

There is NO HOMEWORK tonight.

Class pictures are tomorrow.

## Monday, March 24, 2014

### Marvelous Monday

This morning our class began taking the PARCC reading assessment.  As this is new to MCPS, there were a few challenges along the way.  I was SO very proud of our children.  They were persistent and tenacious.  They didn't give up or complain even though they spent a lot of time sitting and waiting quietly.  In fact, most of the students got kicked out of the assessment (by the computer) repeatedly, so they never finished it.  NO worries about that, though, MCPS is aware!  :-)

What is important is that the children were AWESOME!

When we finally got back to class, the students shared their culture project.  I can honestly say they all did an excellent job!!!

Following lunch and indoor recess the students worked on publishing their realistic fiction picture books and completing their hand maps.

Pandas:  The children read chapter 27.

Sharks:  I met with a couple of students to informally assess their reading.  The child read aloud and then silently.  Finally, they answered a few oral comprehension questions.

Dolphins:  The children reread Elephant and Tiger.  Then we discussed character traits.  I gave them a list of traits to keep in their binder.  Then each child selected a character from the book and picked a trait from the list that matched.  Orally we discussed two examples from the text that supported the trait.  Finally, the students used a framework we developed together so that they could write about the character trait and two supporting details from the book, in their RRJ.

At the end of the day the children continued building the containers to keep the ice cube (Popsicle) from melting.  Some groups began testing and observing the results.  There is a picture on twitter!!

NO HOMEWORK tonight!!

Class picture day is Wednesday.

## Friday, March 21, 2014

### Fantastic Friday

The children began their day in PE with Mr. Lee.

When they returned to class they took a quiz on fractions.  These have been scored and returned to students.  It is expected to be stored in the math section of the binder.  Please look it over.

After math we moved on to our reading and writing block.  The focus, until the end of the marking period, is completing the realistic fiction picture book.  Today, I demonstrated, and typed up direction for, how to created a picture using Pixie and import it into the text of the book in Word.

While students worked on reading group assignments and their realistic fiction picture books, I conferenced with individual students on their writing pieces and met with reading groups.

Sharks:  We met and quickly reviewed the concept of cause and effect.  Then we began reading and identified an example of cause and effect from chapter 7.  We added it to the chart in our RRJ that we created yesterday.  We will continue with this on Monday

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

Pandas:  We met for a while!  :-)  The students read chapter 25 and were prepared to discuss why the children had built snowmen (so they stood out in the dark when Uncle Victor wanted to find the hidden gold).  Then we read chapter 26 in group and spent time using context clues to figure out unknown words and explain the meaning of figurative language in this section.  Finally, we began discussing the theme.

I had intended to stop the reading and writing block in order to complete our hand island maps that we started yesterday but the students were working so intently, I didn't have the heart to do so.  Well, actually, I did explain this to the class and let them vote.

So, we decided the map will be added to independent work during the reading and writing block and the students continued working on their picture books for the remainder of the day.

A few reminders:

Our class will be taking the PARCC reading assessment Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning next week.

The social studies culture projects are DUE on Monday.

Class picture day is Wednesday.

No school next Friday.  It is a grading and reporting teacher work day.

About the social studies project--students were given some time in class to work on this but it was primarily a HOMEWORK assignment.  The students only need to turn in a poster.  The questions on the worksheet were meant as a guide or organizer to help them create their poster.  It should not be handed in.

## Thursday, March 20, 2014

### Happy Spring!

Ahhh...the sun is shining and spring is in the air...what a great way to start the day!

It is flip flop day so we began with math rotations.

Students worked with partners to correctly place 10 digit cards on 10 fraction comparison sentences during the teacher rotation.  I spent time questioning the group's reasoning for their placement of the digits.  It was a great opportunity for me to listen to their math discourse and dive into their logical thinking skills.  During guided practice the students rolled a die 4 times to create two fractions.  Then they drew circle models of the fractions to compare them.  Finally, at the technology rotation, due to a mistake on my part, the students had free choice.  They were able to choose any fraction game from the third grade web site.  :-)

There is a two sided worksheet (for some the back is optional) for HOMEWORK and we will have a QUIZ, covering fractions, tomorrow.

After math the class went to music.

When they returned we went over the options and directions for publishing the final copy of the realistic fiction picture book.  All students received a copy of the direction we typed up together.  Basically the children can choose to hand write the text or type it on a lap top using Microsoft Word.  Then they can decide to draw the illustrations by hand or use the software package, Pixie, to create pictures.

Reviewing the expectations and steps for publishing the text took a while.  So, we will go over the same type of information, for the illustrations, tomorrow.

While I met with students to conference on their writing and small groups to conduct reading lessons, the students completed independent reading group assignments and worked on their picture books.

Sharks:  We reviewed the concept of cause (how or why) and effect(what happened) and created a chart in the RRJ.  Then we began reading chapter 7.  We ran out of time.  :-(  So tomorrow we will finish reading chapter 7 and add examples of cause and effect to the chart.

Following lunch and outdoor recess I distributed a couple of resources for the students to use, and store in their writing section of their notebook.  This included a list of transition (temporal) words and phrases and directions for publishing the text of the picture book.

Then the students continued working independently and I met with more students and groups.

Dolphins:  The children reread Elephant and Tiger and added an example of cause and effect, from their book, to the chart in their RRJ.  In group we whisper read the book and discussed the positive and negative traits of both characters.  We also identified how each improved upon their less than ideal characteristics.

Cheetahs:  The students used their novel to identify an example of cause and effect in their RRJ.  IN group we discussed, for the last time, the main idea and theme of the book.  I stressed that I wanted them to think of this book and the theme (more importantly that the theme is a lesson NOT explicitly written in the text) when they are required to identify theme in future assignments.  Then I collected their books.

Pandas:  The students read chapter 24 and prepared to discuss how the Germans treated Poland.  In group we revisited the chapter focusing on how the Germans captured, and gained the help  of, young Polish males.  We also discussed the request of Jan, the Polish captive.  During our discussion I compared a chapter in a novel to a paragraph, explaining that, often, the important events are at the beginning and end of the chapter.

Before the day ended we reviewed the required elements of a map, such as a title, compass rose, borders, a key or legend and symbols.  Then the students began working on a hand map island including these elements and at least 2 human made and 2 natural physical features.

## Wednesday, March 19, 2014

### Wonderful Wednesday

This morning we held our weekly class meeting.  During the group share the students explained their feelings about their personal academic goal.  One student warmed my heart by taking a risk and admitting she was bored by hers!!  I heard a lot of positive feedback but the negative helps me determine what changes and tweaks need to be made.  :-)

After sharing compliments and thank yous, we discussed the challenge of how we will know when each student has met their personal academic goal and who should make that decision (student or teacher).  Most of the class felt that the student should make that call but they should be required to show growth in their knowledge before moving on to a new goal.

Finally, the students began drafting personal academic goals for math.  I will look these over and meet with the children to finalize their goals and develop a plan.

After our meeting, we went to the computer lab to get a preview of the PARCC assessment.  We will be taking the online PARCC reading test next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Next we returned to the classroom and began our math rotations.  During the teacher led rotation we used number lines to compare fractions with the same numerator.  The students played fraction Tic Tac Toe, again, during guided practice.  At the technology rotation the students used the site, Thirteen Ways to Make a Half, to practice identifying halves.

For HOMEWORK there is a worksheet with optional/required challenge problems on the back side.

Today, during the reading and writing block, the students worked on independent reading group assignments.  Then they watched a Learn Zillion lesson about revising their writing to include dialogue and inner thinking.  After that, they continued writing, illustrating and revising their realistic fiction picture book.  If they had extra time, they researched their culture and worked on their personal academic reading goal.

Sharks:  We began group by decoding some challenging words from chapter 6.  We focused on identifying parts of the word we knew.  Then the children whisper read chapter 6 as I listened in.  After that we discussed why Lily was sad at the end of the chapter.  I had planned to end group there but the students were asking many questions about the Statue of Liberty.  So, we grabbed an iPad and used information from History.com to answer come questions.

Pandas:  I met with this group before lunch to avoid running out of time, as we did yesterday.  We discussed the quote on page 142 beginning with, "This is goodbye Victor..." Then we revisited the end of the chapter, where Peter came eye to eye with a German, or so he thinks, soldier.  Finally, we read and discussed chapter 23 out loud.

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

Dolphins:  The students reread Elephant and Tiger and created a chart in their RRJ to list words with -er, -ar and -ur from their book.  We reviewed these charts in group and then revisited the concept of cause and effect.  Then the students added an example of cause and effect, from their story, to the a cause and effect chart in their RRJ.

Cheetahs:  The students read the historical note independently then we reread it and discussed it in group.  After that we talked about different ways authors might go about writing either a historical or realistic fiction book.  Finally, we reviewed the concept of cause and effect.  The students created a chart in their RRJ and identified an example from their book.

We ended the day by designing and beginning to build a container to keep an ice cube from melting for 30 minutes.

## Tuesday, March 18, 2014

### Terrific Tuesday

Is it too much to hope that we have seen the last of the snow for this season???
This morning the students began their day in art making clay pinch pots.

When they returned to class we began our math rotations.  During the teacher led instruction, the students used Cuisenaire rods to determine that the unit whole MUST be the same in order to compare two fractions.  In fact, we found examples, using the colored pieces, to prove that 1/2 and 1/4 can equal and 1/2 can be less than 1/4.

During guided practice, the children played Fraction Tic Tac Toe.  In order to win they had to arrange the pieces on the board in order from least to greatest (or vice versa).

Finally, at the technology rotation, the students compared fractions using the Cyber Chase site, Melvin's Make a Match.

For HOMEWORK there is a follow up worksheet from today's small group lesson.  It is 2 sided.  The backside is optional for some but required for others.

During our reading and writing block the students focused on independent reading group assignments and completing the rough draft (storyboard) for their realistic fiction picture book.  Before meeting with reading groups, I met with several students to review and revise their rough drafts.

Sharks:  We finished reading chapter 5 and discussed the quote, from page 38, "Freedom means you are free to have different opinions."  Then we began reading chapter 6.

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

Dolphins:  First we reviewed the blended sounds produced when the vowels e, a and u are followed by an r (think -er, -ar and -ur).  Then I did a book introduction for their new fantasy book, Elephant and Tiger.  Finally the students whisper read the book as I listened in.

Cheetahs:  The students reread chapter 23 and came to group prepared to discuss whether they think the father survives, after the story is over, and provide evidence from the text to support their thinking.  In group we discussed this and then turned our attention to the theme of the book, never give up or perseverance.

Pandas:  The students read chapter 22.  We will discuss this chapter tomorrow in class.

Before moving on to science, I assigned the CULTURE POSTER PROJECT that is due next Monday.  Please look for the explanation in your child's folder this evening.

Finally, in science, the students were put into small groups to begin designing a container that will keep a Popsicle (or ice cube) from melting.  Today we focused on identifying the problem (keeping the cold energy inside the container) and creating a design.

## Friday, March 14, 2014

### TGIF

The students began their day in PE--gymnastics!!

When they returned to class we had a brief chat.  I asked for feedback on our math block.  The children had a chance to share what works for them and what doesn't.  While I braced myself for criticism (I did ask for it, didn't I?)  it seems that all-in-all the children are enjoying math.  One thing I will work on is having the students write personal academic goals for math so that they have something to work on if they complete their rotation early.

Next we began math rotations.  During the teacher led group the children used unit fractions (thinking about the whole) to compare fractions that didn't have the same numerator or denominator.  Guided practice had children using fraction spinners to identify and compare two fractions and justify their answer, using math discourse, to a partner.  Finally, during the technology session the students visited the site Fraction Shoot Out and used level 2 to compare fractions.

During our reading and writing block the children read assigned sections of their reading group books.  Then they worked on the rough draft (story board) for their inquiry project, the realistic fiction picture book.

Before meeting with reading groups, I met with individual students.  This round of conferences, the students are reading part of their story (rough draft) to me and we are working on revisions together.  Some revisions included using a word list to find more descriptive words than "said" and ensuring that verb tenses are all in agreement.  Additionally, I told students to visualize their story as a movie playing in their head...then they should write what they see.

After a handful of conferences I turned my attention to reading groups.

Sharks:  Being that it's Friday, the group wanted me to read to them.  So, I did!  We read most of chapter 5 and discussed inferences we could make along the way.  For example, the author mentions that a character wears the same dress everyday for a week.  So, I encouraged the group to think about why the author would even mention that...and led them to realize that was the author's way of letting the readers know her family is poor.

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

Cheetahs:  The children read the final chapter and listed unknown words.  In group we reviewed their word lists and discussed the text.  One focus was Jemmy hanging the door knocker above their father's bed.

Pandas:  The children read chapter 21 and listed unknown words and questions they had.  In group we reviewed their lists and retold the chapter.  They have struggled with the last couple of sections but seem very interested in this novel.  We will keep plugging away at it.

At the end of the day we previewed the culture project that I will assign and send home on Monday.

## Thursday, March 13, 2014

### Thriving Thursday

Today being our flip-flop day, we began with math rotations.  Students practiced drawing circle models to compare fractions with like denominators or numerators during the teacher session.  In guided practice the children played Fraction War, again.  Finally, at the technology rotation they watched a Learn Zillion lesson about comparing fractions with the same numerator or denominator.

After math the class went to music.  When they returned, we reviewed the independent work assignments, including new reading group tasks.  Then I conferenced with individual students, to work on their writing, and met with reading groups, while the class worked on reading group assignments, and their inquiry projects.

Sharks:  The students reread chapter 4, prior to coming to group.  In group we practiced writing about the main idea of chapter 4.  The students orally rehearsed each sentence.  Then they used the word bank we created on the white board and wrote a response in their RRJ.

Following lunch and outdoor recess we continued with independent work and small groups.

Dolphins:  The students wrote about the theme of Good Friends using their book and the framework we created in group yesterday.  We will begin a new book tomorrow.

Cheetahs:  The students read chapter 22 and listed unknown words. In group we reviewed their lists from class work today and last night's homework.  Then we recounted the events in these two chapters.  We will finish the novel tomorrow, in class.

Pandas:  The students reread chapter 20 and wrote a title, and explained their choice, in their RRJ.

NO HOMEWORK TONIGHT!

We ended the day by reviewing how culture is shared.  The students completed a written task reflecting their knowledge.

## Wednesday, March 12, 2014

### Wonderful Wednesday

This morning, after changing jobs, we had our weekly class meeting.   During the group share the students identified differences in instruction between second and third grade.  After that we shared compliments.  Finally, during challenges we discussed the concept of Personalized Learning and issues with the coat closet.

After our meeting we began math rotations.  Today, during the teacher group, we compared fractions with the same numerator.  First we watched this video clip from Cyber Chase.  Then we used our fraction strips.  During guided practice the students played the card game War, using fraction cards with both numerical and pictorial representations.  Finally, at the technology rotation, the children identified equivalent fractions using the site called Equivalent Triplets.

There is a comparing fractions, with the same numerator, worksheet for HOMEWORK.

At the beginning of our reading and writing block I reviewed and handed out a two sided worksheet with guidelines for the realistic fiction picture book.  Then I shared the story board for the rough draft.

Today's independent work included reading group assignments, watching the Kate Shelley literary non-fiction story and working on their inquiry project.  The project tasks included watching a couple of Learn Zillion lessons and then beginning their rough draft.

First, I continued conferencing with individual students on their picture book plans.  Then I met with reading groups.

Sharks:  The children finished reading chapter 3 independently.  In group we discussed chapter 3 and read chapter 4.  For HOMEWORK the students need to reread chapter 4.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students continued with their independent work.  I conferenced with a couple more students and then met with more reading groups.

Dolphins:  The students reread Good Friends and added three more contractions, from the story, to their chart in their RRJ.  IN group we reviewed the contractions and then the students marked places in the book, with sticky notes, where Froggy and Duck were being good friends.  After that, I reviewed the characteristics of a well written BCR response (sentence 1 - answer the question, sentence2 & 3  - name and explain examples or support from text, sentence 4 - concluding sentence or an "I think" statement).  Finally we practice answering a question about the theme of the book, orally, and I wrote down a framework they can use tomorrow.  For HOMEWORK the children need to reread Good Friends and practice reading their word bag cards.

Cheetahs:  The students reread chapter 20 preparing for a discussion about the two quarrels in this chapter.  In group we reviewed their lists of unknown words and identified the arguments and the effects on the kids.  For HOMEWORK the children need to read chapter 21 and list unknown words.

Pandas:  The students read chapter 19 and prepared to discuss the next part of the plan.  In group we shared the need for the children to locate Uncle Victor because they were certain that the Nazi's had discovered the gold being buried in the ground.  For HOMEWORK they need to read chapter 20.  Before breaking from our group, I discussed the concept of a concentration camp to prepare the students for their reading this evening.

We ended the day with science.  The students worked with their group to analyze their data from yesterday's experiment and determine which material kept the water warmer, longer.  We also shared ideas to explain inaccuracies in our data.

## Tuesday, March 11, 2014

### Terrific Tuesday

This morning the children began their day in art.

When we returned to the classroom we jumped right into math rotations.

The teacher rotation focused on comparing fractions with the same denominator.  During the guided practice rotation, the children used the fractions strips we made last week to identify equivalent fractions and record them in their math journal.  During this activity, they worked with partners to discuss how they know their answer is correct.  Finally, at the technology rotation, the children used the site, Equivalent Fraction Pies, to identify equivalent fractions.

For HOMEWORK the students have a worksheet, comparing fractions with the same denominator, to complete.

During the reading and writing block the students completed independent reading group work and then continued with their assignments from yesterday (finishing the creating a character and setting planning sheet and watching the literary non-fiction story, Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express).

Prior to meeting with reading groups, I began conferencing with individual students about their realistic fiction picture books.  My goal is to meet with each student and discuss their main character, problem and solution.  Together we will iron out any confusing or challenging parts!

Then I moved on to reading groups...
Sharks:  The students reread chapter 2, independently.  In group we reviewed Lily's actions in chapter 2 and the title of the chapter.  Then I read pages 16-19 out loud, with the children following along, pointing out my phrasing and words that may cause some decoding frustrations.  For HOMEWORK the children need to reread pages 16-19.

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

Dolphins:  The students reread Good Friends and I met with each one to listen to them read their word bag cards.  After that we revisited the idea of contractions.  I reminded them that they are two small words put together to make one larger word with an apostrophe taking the place of some missing letters.  Then the students located contractions in their guided reading books and we created a chart in their RRJ breaking down each contraction into the two words from which it is built.  For HOMEWORK the students need to reread their book and practice reading their word bag cards.

Cheetahs:  Independently the students read chapters 18 and 19 and wrote about 2 disappointments the children faced in this section.  IN group we discussed the disappointments and shared our thoughts as to who had the lion's head door knocker.  For HOMEWORK the students need to read chapter 20 and list unknown words.

Pandas:  Independently the students read chapter 18.  In their RRJ, each student completed a vocabulary entry for the word "curfew" and wrote about the newest challenge facing the children.  IN group we attempted to discuss the challenge but only one student had identified it accurately.  So...for HOMEWORK the students need to reread chapter 18 and revise or redo their RRJ entry.

We finished the day out with science.  The students worked in small groups to determine which type of packaging material (styrofoam, paper or plastic) keep water warmer over an extended period of time.

## Monday, March 10, 2014

### Marvelous Monday

The sun is trying to shine, the temperatures are climbing and we are finished with the math MSA...it truly is a marvelous Monday!

Our day began with the students completing the last two sections of the math MSA.  We are finished with testing until the last week in March, when we will take the reading section of the PARCC.

After testing, and a little break, we began our reading and writing block.  First, we reviewed the characteristics of literary non-fiction (non-fiction, true facts, told as a story, with a beginning, middle and end and usually a theme).

While I met with small groups, the students completed a 2 sided character and setting planning sheet for their realistic fiction picture book.  Then they either read or watched, via the third grade web site, Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express, a literary non-fiction text.  The follow up for the story had the students explain what the midnight express was and identify the beginning middle and end, all in their RRJ.

Cheetahs:  We read chapter 17 and discussed two examples of figurative language used in the chapter.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed the vocabulary chart the students had glued into the back of their RRJ last week.  Then we completed an entry for the word faint, on page 11, together.  Part of the lesson included noticing that the dictionary definition of the word didn't make sense, so we went to the thesaurus to better understand the meaning.

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

Dolphins:  I did a book introduction for their new book, Good Friends.  Then the students whisper read the book while I listened in.  We also added the word "busy" to their word bags.  After they read we identified the beginning, middle and end of the story.  Finally, we shared what both Froggy and Duck did that made each a "good friend".

Pandas:  We met and reviewed chapter 17 and began reading chapter 18.

The day ended with science.  We used our background knowledge and information gained through reading non-fiction text to explain what happens to temperature when heat energy is added, or taken away, from a substance.

There is NO homework this evening--a reward for the efforts during testing!!

## Friday, March 7, 2014

### Fantastic Friday - Testing Begins!

This morning the entire third grade took the first part of the MSA math.  The children tested most of the morning.  I AM so proud of each and every one!!!  I saw students putting effort into their work, using their strategies and not giving up!!!

After testing, some students worked towards completing the character analysis for their realistic fiction picture book while other students investigated how Eve Bunting, a famous children's author, introduces the main characters and problems in her books.

Following lunch and outdoor recess the students will complete the posters we began in social studies yesterday reflecting ways we share culture.  Then they will share their work with the rest of the class.

The children will end their day in PE with MR. Lee.

We are still in need of pencils (sharpened) and tissues.

We will be finishing the math MSA on Monday morning.

Have a great weekend!!

## Thursday, March 6, 2014

### Thriving Thursday

Right off the bat I want to mention that we WILL be participating in MSA MATH testing tomorrow and Monday mornings!!!

With that said--today was a regular day...and it is flip-flop Thursday.  So, we began with math rotations.

The teacher rotation used an index card to identify and label equivalent fractions on a number line.  We folded the card and labeled the fractions in different colors prior to identifying and labeling points on the number line in the childrens' math journals.

During the guided practice rotation the students played Go, Darth, again.  This was the equivalent fraction version of the card game, Go Fish.

Finally, during the technology rotation the students visited the Targeting Equivalent Fractions web site.

After math, the students went to music.  Upon returning to class the students worked on completing the character analysis graphic organizer and Thomas Edison biography while I met with small groups.

The first group I met with was the final math rotation group.  Then I moved on to reading groups.

Cheetahs:  We reviewed chapter 16.  We discussed the problem and the reactions of the characters and defined unknown words.

Pandas:  In group we read and discussed chapter 17.  Special attention was paid to how the doctor kept the Germans from evaluating the sick people and the problem at the end of the chapter (Peter's feeling of being watched).

Following lunch and indoor recess, Mrs. Howard visited to do a lesson about test taking strategies.  After that, we viewed a Power Point presentation on culture and how it is shared.  Then the students worked in small groups to create a poster indicating ways that culture is shared.

Due to testing tomorrow, there is no formal homework.  It is always a good idea for students to read every night.  If you are looking for a way to reinforce math skills, visit the third grade web site!

## Wednesday, March 5, 2014

### It's Hump Day!

And so our wacky winter continues...

We missed another two days due to snow and our return today marks the beginning of MSA testing.

As has been the pattern, the children have been troopers and just gone with the flow!  :-)

Our Wednesdays usually begin with our weekly class meeting.  The students decided, through a vote, to forgo this week's meeting and continue learning about the Aztecs.  WE finished viewing and reading the PowerPoint presentation that we began last Thursday and then watched a 7 minute Discovery Education video clip about the rise and fall of the Aztecs.  See if your child can tell you that Cortes invaded the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan because the Aztecs mistook him for one of their Gods.  Also, ask your child what brought the city to ruins (first, it was small pox, but then after a brief Aztec come back, the city was burnt to the ground).  Finally, see if your students remembers what stands where Tenochtitlan once was (Mexico City).

After our Social Studies lesson we began our math rotations.

During the teacher rotation the students added fraction strips for thirds and sixths to their kits.  Then we added an additional whole to the thirds and one to the sixths.  We focused on the increase in the numerator while the denominator stayed the same.

During guided fractions the students played a form of, "Go Fish", called, "Go Darth", where they were looking for matches that were equivalent fractions.  For example, if I had 1/2 in my hand I would ask for a fraction equivalent to 1/2.  If the other person has 2/4, they would give it to me.  If not, they would tell me to, "Go Darth".

Finally, at the technology rotation, the students visited the Internet site Illuminations Equivalent Fractions and identified equivalent fractions using models, a number line and numerical representations.  They recorded their findings in their math journal.

While I met with small groups during our reading and writing block, the children worked on independent reading groups assignments.  Then they finished the story map for their realistic fiction picture book.  After that, they watched a lesson, that I posted to the third grade web site, about creating a character analysis graphic organizer for the main character in their realistic fiction picture book.  Once they viewed the lesson and felt they were ready to proceed, they completed a character analysis graphic organizer.  Finally, if time permitted, the read the Thomas Edison biography and completed the written comprehension sheet.

Sharks:  We met and reviewed the problem in chapter 1 of Lily and Miss Liberty.  Then I taught them the name strategy (say the first letter of the name).  After that, the students began to whisper read chapter 2.  I stopped them periodically to used strategies to decode new words or to discuss the meaning of new vocabulary.  After I felt confident they could handle the chapter independently, I sent the children back to their seats to finish reading chapter 2 and to mark places where Lily attempts to earn money, with a stocky note.  For HOMEWORK the children need to reread chapter 2.

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

Dolphins:  The children practiced reading their word bag cards, independently, two times each.  IN group we used -er to compare two things and learned the various rules... for example, if a word ends in a y, change the y to an i and add-er, and so on...  For HOMEWORK the students need to reread Frog Songs and practice reading their word cards.

Cheetahs:  The students reread chapter 15 and wrote about the problem, in the chapter, and the reactions of the main characters to it.  IN group we revisited chapter 15 and identified the problem and Amanda and Jemmy's reactions to it.  Then we discussed how the way main character's react to problems can point to the overall theme of the book.  Finally, we revisited the problems we've read about, so far, in the book and thought about Amanda's reactions to each one.  From there, we discussed the possible theme of the book.  For HOMEWORK the students need to read chapter 16 and list unknown words.

Pandas:  The students reread chapter 16 and, in their RRJ, identified the problem and the main characters reactions to it.  IN group we began discussing the problem and quickly realized that many had not identified the actual main problem on the chapter.  So, we discussed the problem and then focused on why the main characters visited the doctor.  For HOMEWORK the students need to reread chapter 16 and revise their RRJ entries.

We ended the day by creating a class word splash  demonstrating our knowledge of fuels and technologies that produce light and heat.  Then we watched a video about energy sources.  After that, we began adding to our word splash to reflect our new knowledge.

There is NO math homework...and no good reason for it, either.  LOL!

We will begin the math MSA on Friday!

We are in desperate need of sharpened pencils.