Friday, August 29, 2014

TGIF...We are MERRILY rolling along!

It's been a great week!  I KNOW this is going to be an awesome year and I am SO excited for our journey to continue!!

We began our day by sharing the rest of the "All About Me" bags.  Afterwards, we launched into our first official day of math rotations and small group instruction.

Based on last year's teacher input and the results of the pre-assessment from earlier this week, I have created 3 math groups.  Please note, these groups are FLEXIBLE!  They will change as needed with no warning.  As I see individual needs change, I will regroup according to commonalities.

During the teacher lesson the students worked on identifying odd and even numbers and patterns in an addition table.  (An aside, I will describe the primary focus of the teacher lesson each day but understand that the actual lesson in each group will vary based on the needs of the group.  The lesson will never be the same for all three groups but the measurement topic and objective will.)

Guided practice had the students cut apart digit tiles that we will use for many activities during the year.  These need to stay in their pencil pouch and brought to school daily.  Then the students created 2 and 3 digit numbers, using these tiles, wrote the numbers in their math journals and identified if each number was odd or even.

Finally, during the technology rotation the students logged in to Sumdog and selected their topic as numbers and the skill as odd/even.  Then they chose from the many games that popped up to practice this skill.

It was a very productive math block!

After enjoying lunch and recess we continued with adopting the Daily 5 procedures during our literacy block.  Today we began by adding a new comprehension strategy, "back up and reread".  I modeled how to use this when your understanding of the text breaks down as I read the story, How I Became a Pirate, by David Shannon.  Next we reviewed the 3 ways to read a book and the behavior expectations during "Read to Self".  The we practiced "read to self" and worked towards our stamina goal of 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, being Friday afternoon , of the first week of school, we fell short.  :-(

After two attempts at "read to Self" we moved on to "Work on Writing".  First we identified the reason for doing so, to become better writers.  Then we created a chart stated the expected behaviors during this time...start right away, work the whole time, stay in one spot, etc.  Finally, I explained and modeled a writing strategy; underline words you're not sure how to spell.  While introducing this I also modeled how to brainstorm a list of times you helped someone...two birds, one stone!  LOL!

Next, we took a much needed Go Noodle brain break.

Then we revisited the My Job, Your Job, Our Job chart we began a few days ago.  Before resuming our group work the students learned how to access both the Internet and their Google Drive.  They also learned how to navigate their Google drive to find documents they created or were shared with the.

After working in their groups we shared ideas and created a class My Job, Your Job, Our Job chart.  Then I shared our class chart with the students through Google Drive.  They were awestruck when they all received copies of the exact same document.

We ended the day with our first formal class meeting...well, kind of...I shared the structure, reasons behind it and ground rules but we ran out of time to have an actual meeting.  We will have class meetings each Friday afternoon.  They will begin with a group share.  Each child will have a chance to share their thoughts related to an idea I provide, such as, what do you like best about school?  After the group share we will exchange thank yous and compliments.  Finally, we will share challenges within our class community and brainstorm ways to improve these issues.  We will finish our class meeting on Tuesday!  I truly value these meetings as they help build trust and respect within our class community...making us a team!  :-)

We are in need of recess game donations.  If anyone would like to help us out, I would love games such as Apples to Apples Jr., Boggle, Scrabble and Headbandz.

One last item--THANK YOU for the feedback you have shared in the BTSN survey.  BTSN is Wednesday, September 10 from 6:30-8:30 pm.  There will be two sessions.  PLEASE keep in mind this is a time to hear about third grade, class routines, homework, etc.  This is not the time to discuss individual students.  We will have parent conferences in 8 weeks.  :-)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 4: Making Progress

The title of this entry refers to me...not the children!  :-)  Your kiddos are so well-behaved, patient and motivated.  It's a SUPER class!!!!  Me?  Well, my plans and intentions are good but teaching the routines and expectations is taking a bit longer than I had hoped.  LOL!  But...I am making progress!!

This morning we began our day by sharing half of the "All About Me" bags.  It was a lot of fun to learn about our new friends.  We will share the rest tomorrow.

After that, we did a Go Noodle brain break.  Unfortunately, the class didn't like the one I chose.  Oh well!

Next, we began our math block.  I had such great plans....we did get to some of it, nut not all.  First, I explained the way I run my math block.  We do three rotations each day.  Using pre-assessments, I group the children.  These groups are FLEXIBLE...they WILL change and you won't necessarily be notified.  Changes will be based on class observations and written assessments.  Each group will meet with me for 20-25 minutes.  While I am with other groups, the students will go to a technology  and a guided practice rotation.

The technology rotation will involve the Chrome books.  It may be to watch a lesson conducted by me or another teacher or it might be to visit a web site to  play a "game" (educational, of course).  Sometimes the students might create a slideshow or poster that solves a word problem.

During guided practice the students will usually practice skills using manipulative materials such as number cards and dice.  They will also write about math in their math journals.

Following the explanation of math rotations, I demonstrated the expectations for using math journals.  Then the students took notes, in their journals, about identifying numbers as odd or even.  My expectations for math journals are simple; begin each new task on the next clean sheet of paper in their journal, put the date in the upper right hand corner, and give the task a title on the top line of the page.

Finally, I had planned to allow the students to visit the third grade web site and use their new Sumdog logins to explore that site, but we ran out of time.  :-(  So...the students have been given logins.  They are taped inside the front of their binder.  I did show them the site.  They are more than welcome to visit it tonight at home, but they do not have to.

After lunch and recess we continued working on the Daily 5 structure.  We began by reviewing and practicing "Read to Self".  The students read for over 13 uninterrupted minutes before I stopped them.  :-) Then we revisited the criteria for "Check for Understanding".  Next, we practiced the third way to read a book, retell the story, using the book, The First Day Jitters.  Finally, I introduced and modeled, a new reading  strategy to help expand our vocabulary, tune into interesting words.  I did this by thinking out loud as I read the story, The Teacher from the Black Lagoon.

Before ending our day in art class, with Mrs. Daniel, we used the Chrome Book to continue working., in collaborative groups, on the My Job, Your Job, Our Job chart.  While we did get further today, we still haven't completed this activity.  This is because, along the way, we have had many "teachable moments". For example, today the students learned how to make a copy of a document, rename a document and they learned about wrap around text.By the way, Back to School Night is Wednesday, September 10 from 6:30-8:30 pm.  There will be 2 sessions.  :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday...Day 3

We began our day with another getting to know you activity.  Today the students were given instructions as to how to group, and regroup, themselves.  Once in those groups they shared answers to various questions with the members of each formation.  For example, one formation was to get into a group of 4 who were all wearing the same color.  Then they had to share something that makes them special.  We had a lot of fun and learned some interesting thing about each other.

After that, I introduced Class Dojo, an online behavior management program that we will be using at Wilson Wims ES.  Look for a letter, coming home this evening, explaining the site and inviting you to join.  One note...we will be focusing on positive behaviors and earning points toward rewards.

Next we took a brain break using Go Noodle.  Check out the site for more information.

Before going to lunch the students took a math pre-assessment to help me plan for instruction.  I took great care to make sure they understood it was NOT graded and I didn't care how they did...I just needed to know what math skills they know and what needs to be taught.  :-)

Following lunch and recess we reviewed the chart we created for the "Read to Self" component of the Daily 5.  Then we practiced "Read to Self".  Our goal is to build stamina to read for at least 20 uninterrupted minutes.  During our first practice we last 45 seconds.  :-O  But we quickly progressed to 5 minutes 30 seconds.  That's a big improvement!!

After that I introduced a reading comprehension strategy called Check for Understanding.  I modeled this strategy while reading the story, Once Upon A Motorcycle Dude, to the class.

Next, we moved onto social studies.  My plan was for the students to work in collaborative groups to complete a chart identifying the jobs of students, teacher, parents, and all of us, in each child's academic success.  I handed out the assignment via Google Classroom (remember, we were introduced to that yesterday!).  Unfortunately, we hit a few snags.  While we did not complete this task, it was a great opportunity to model making and LEARNING from my mistakes.  We will revisit this assignment, in class, tomorrow.

Finally, we participated in our first WWES fire drill and went to PE.

The "All About Me" homework assignment is due tomorrow.  :-)

Please sign and return the bottom portion of the Class Dojo sheet as soon as you sign up for an account.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 2: We Identify our Quest!

We had a wonderful, busy and productive day!!

Before getting into it, though, I want to let you know about your child's first HOMEWORK assignment.  Each child was given a half sheet of paper, with directions, and a paper lunch bag.  In short, they are to fill the bag with 3 items; one that makes them proud, one that they love and one that reminds them of something they did this summer.  If an item doesn't fit in the paper lunch bag they can take a picture of it.  The bag is due this Thursday, August 28.  We will share the bags over the course of a few days to get to know one another better.  Enjoy!

Now, on to our day...

We began the day reviewing dismissal procedures and creating a class chart of who goes where at the end of the day.  Then we participated in a getting to know you activity involving toilet paper.  Yup, you read that correctly, toilet paper!

Without knowing why, each student took as many squares of TP as they thought they would need.  Then, they were told that they had to share one thing about themselves for each square of toilet paper they took.  We learned a lot about each other--some more than others!  :-)

After that, the students changed their own seats following three instructions; each table had to have both boys and girls, they couldn't sit next to someone they sat next to yesterday and they had to have either 4 or 5 students at their table.

Next we went to lunch and recess.

When the students returned we worked on a class birthday card for Mr. McGee.  Today is his birthday and he loves Quest bars.  SO each class in our school gave him a Quest bar.  Our class created a card and identified a "quest" we would focus on this year.   The children decided that it would be to become the best team at Wims demonstrating respect and responsibility.

After that we began learning about the Daily 5.  The Daily 5 is a literacy structure that ensure students practice reading, writing and word work daily.  Here's a link to the creators' web site for more information.

The lessons we covered today included choosing a gathering place (our colorful carpet), 3 ways to read a book (read the pictures, read the words and retell the story), and identifying appropriate behaviors for one component, "Read to Self". 

During the 3 ways to read a book, we read the story, First Day Jitters, twice...once using the pictures and then using the words.  We identified behaviors we used during both readings and noticed that both required inferencing and thinking.

After that, Mr. Vogel, the Staff Development Teacher at Wims, joined us to introduce us to Google Classroom.  The students joined my literacy class and completed their first assignment online, an interest inventory.  The inventory was a typical beginning of the year activity (favorite hobby, favorite movie, etc), to help me get to know my team of students, but this year they completed it and submitted it to me on line.  So cool!!!

The children ended their day with Mrs. Allaire, in the media center.  They participated in an orientation and checked out books!

As you can see, it was a very busy day!

Remember, homework is due Thursday.  It will be the only homework the students receive this week.

BTW...feel free to leave comments on the blog!  I love seeing that parents are reading it!!  :-)

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Beginnings!

Welcome to third grade at Wilson Wims ES!!!  It has been a historic day opening a brand new school!!

I will update this blog daily.  I do my best to provide an accurate picture of our day.  A warning, though--sometimes you will find spelling, and other, errors in my posts.  Time is limited, so editing gets overlooked often. :-)

On to our day--

The students entered the classroom and began creating their own name tags.  First, they wrote their name in the middle of a large index card.  Next they put the following in each corner of the card; one thing they love, one thing they do not like, something that makes them unique and something they want the class to know about them.

After that, I collected classroom supplies and we set up the students' binders.

Before going to lunch we viewed an orientation presentation for the Google Chrome books.

Following recess, the students received their Google e-mail accounts and passwords, logged into a Chrome book and had a chance to explore!!  You can see a tweet of it by following me at @runnerdana.

Next, we took a tour of the building and began learning about the Wims PBIS behavior expectations.  We learned that we will be a RESPECTFUL, RESPONSIBLE TEAM!!

Then we identified the end of the day routine and practiced it.

Finally, the students went to music.

There is NO homework tonight.

Students should bring their binders home each night and then return them to school the next day.

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