Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Rain Clears

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Finish the “Carving the Pole” Flow Map. (3) Complete the “River” paragraph. (4)  Do the Chapter 29 review, Math, page 522-523.

The rough draft of the I-Search paper is due tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Great Day (of course)!

As I predicted, today felt much more connected and collected than yesterday. It was quite productive.

After reading — and many of the students who were seriously behind in their reading points are making a concerted effort to catch up — we worked on the rough drafts of fairy tale retellings. We’ll be making these into a class book later with illustrations. We also read the story “Carving the Pole” which introduced the students to one of the key concepts in this storytelling theme, the idea that objects can tell stories as well as words.

After recess we studied about atoms and molecules and how heat determines the three states of matters. Several students volunteered to be atoms for this demonstration. We had fun! In music we worked on transcribing our names into musical notes and then putting them into standard notation. We’ll show some examples of this Monday or Tuesday when we finish it.

After lunch we did PE with room 17. We had stations today and it went pretty smoothly — just a couple boys who did not quite get the difference between wrestling and basketball. After that, we turned our attention to those pesky decimals places. The students did quite well with our problem of the day, even finding one solution to it that wasn’t in the teacher’s edition. Way to go!

Homework:  (1) Science questions, page C 19, 1-4 only. Please copy the question. (2) Read and Write Decimals, Math, page 527.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Bit Frazzled

Thursdays are usually one of my favorite days. There are no special events like Tech Center or Library to interrupt things, nor is it shortened day schedule. Things seem calm and centered.

Today was a little different, and it seemed less serene. As part of the rollout of the new ESL program, and the endless teacher training associated with it, all the third grade teachers were released in the afternoon for a meeting. I could have done without it frankly. But it meant that everything had to be crammed into the time before lunch. That made the kids a little confused and me a little frazzled. Oh, well. Tomorrow will be great again.

We studied the hundredth place in math today. I think that most of them seemed to get the concept. There will be homework on this, as well as on area and perimeter, two concepts that seemed particularly shaky on the quarter test.

Homework:  (1) Complete the Grimm crossword puzzle. (2) Do “Hundredths,” Math page 523. (3) Do the Perimeter and Area worksheet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A "Grimm" Day

There are a few days you know after you’ve used a textbook a few time are going to be rough. There are some stories which are just hard and a little boring. That’s certainly the case with the story “A Tale of the Brothers Grimm” which we read in the Open Court book today. All the business about the Napoleonic Wars is probably historically very pertinent to understanding the motivation of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, but it’s a little removed from modern third graders. Still, the idea of what folk and fairy tales are, and how they were collected, in both valid and kind of interesting. So I learn to deal with the inevitable restlessness. We took about an hour to read and discuss the story, and we even completed a couple Thinking Maps as we did this. Occasionally those little diagrams are useful, and today was one of those days.

After recess we went to the Library and we also corrected our math homework. Mrs. Koneff read us a couple quite amusing new books. After lunch we had PE with room 17. We then returned to the classroom where discussed mixed numbers and decimals. Decimals are usually pretty easy for our students, and this year seems no exception to that.

Homework:  (1) Complete the “Brothers Grimm” story sheet. (2) Do “Tenths,” Math, page 523 — all problems. (3) Do the multiplication study sheet.

Since we had a late start this week, and since we’re a little ahead of where we need to be in spelling, we’ll skip the spelling test for a week. Weel hav mohr speling nekst wik.

Continue work on that I-Search paper. I’ve glanced at a few rough drafts and they’re looking pretty good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dunham Day

It's nice to be back. This was a very hard day for me because I had to put down my beloved dog of 11 years yesterday. But the students were warm and it kept my mind off my loss. I am a very lucky teacher.

The finale of the Dunham Dance program took up most of the day. We had the practice after our reading time, and then the performances of the children and the Marshall Dance Troupe. It was remarkably interesting -- a lot better in every respect than I anticipated.

An earthquake/fire drill consumed the time between 1:00 and 1:30.

Tomorrow things will be more on schedule.

Homework: Light tonight since there's not much follow-up to lessons. Children should continue with their I Search papers. Also, do the Introduction to Decimals on page 520-521 of the math book.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Sorry for a couple missed days. Life has become pretty hectic around here. More on that later....

Anyhow, I we had a great day today. We came back today to looking at our fantasy stories. We worked in partners, and each student read his or her own paper while a friend listened and evaluated. We particularly were looking for the use of sensory details in description, the problem and solution of the story, and whether or not the author used dialogue. These are all areas where just about every paper can be better, and I think that our young authors got some good feedback.

Their only homework tonight will be doing the second rough draft of the assignment. Our purpose here is to improve the writing by reorganizing, adding details, and cutting extraneous material. We're not particularly worried about spelling, handwriting, grammar or punctuation yet. We can clear up those thing later on. Content is what matters now.

We also corrected our Quarter Two math tests. Results are on the gradebook. They weren't bad overall, and it certainly helped me see where we need continuing review and reteaching.

In the afternoon, we finished our kickball unit. We also continued work on the Midway poem. Most groups have finished identifying the rhythm in the poem, using stick notation, and are starting to create melodies. They're improvising these with the xylophones. We should finish those tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, for a number of reasons we had to postpone the LACMA trip. I'm hoping to get it rescheduled for June. We do have a couple other field trips coming up, notably our whale watching trip on March 17.

I will be gone starting Friday for several days. Most of this will be for district-mandated ESL training. I'm finding it hard to be positive and enthusiastic about that, but I'm sure I'll hear something useful.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the second rough draft of the fantasy story as indicated above.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Quick Post

Another wonderfully productive day! Students worked really hard on everything. We're making particular progress with fractions. We have a review page with that tonight.

: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the "Bremen Town Musicians" study question. (3) Fration Review, Math, page H 58 (in the back of the book).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

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A couple of our Roxaboxen landscapes.
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One of the skills students are supposed to review with the Roxaboxen story in the Open Court book is setting. We took a creative turn with this and did desert landscapes.

I talked about perspective with the students, and how object appear to get smaller when they are father away. We also talked about how we give the illusion of three dimensionality in drawings or paintings by placing foreground objects on the bottom, and background objects on the top. Students then did a landscape which had to show at least two objects in different sizes and places in the picture. You can see some examples above.

All this took up an awful lots of the day, but it was worth it. We also worked some more on our Black History Month music composition project -- we're setting an inspirational little poem called "Midway" to music -- and we reviewed a good bit of math, getting ready for next week's district quarter test.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the Perimeter/Area and Equivalent Fractions worksheet.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wednesday Went By

Another day that went by some quickly.... Not that that's a bad thing, of course! But we went to the library and then had a slightly earlier than usual lunch, and somehow the day suddenly seemed over.

The big news today, academically, was equivalent fractions. Students really have a hard time getting the idea that the two numbers mean exactly the same thing unless you draw a picture to show them. They're sure that 4/8 must be bigger than 1/2 because, after all, 4 and 8 are bigger than 1 and 2. They also have trouble with the idea of multiplying the numerator and the denominator by the same number. For some reason, they'll multiply the top number by 3 and the bottom by 2. I'm not sure why, but it happens all the time every year. Please check this homework over really carefully and discuss it with them.

Our next field trip will be a week from tomorrow, February 9th. We will be walking to LACMA. We can use a volunteer or two to help us, particularly someone who can drive over the lunches. Let me know if you can help out!

Homework: (1) Spelling. (2) OCR worksheets. (3) Equivalent Fractions, Math, pp 489-491.