Thursday, March 30, 2006

Great Day

It was an altogether great day.

This morning we started with a quick quiz on inflectional ending spelling patterns, and the students did quite well on it. We went on to silent reading, trying to add as many stickers as possible to the chart before Open House. We continued on in the Open Court book to the story “Kids Did It … In Business.” We did blending and discussed the vocabulary. We read and discussed the simple story.

After recess, students worked on a science wordsearch. In music we worked on hearing and imitating dotted note patterns, understanding and moving our bodies to four-four beats, perfecting a couple body percussion rondos, and working on our “fruit pie” canons. You’ll probably see some of these at Open House.

After lunch, we worked on probability in math. You can see our experiments with spinners in the picture above.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Cursive practice, using words 23-30. (3) “Musical Palm Tree” questions. (4) Experiments, Math, pages 275-277.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Don't the thin branches and the slant of the trees evoke spring nicely here?
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Another evocative picture.
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Rain, rain, go away!

A reasonably productive day, all things considered. We spent the much of the morning working on spring haikus and doing drawings which showed overlapping and depth. Writing lines of the appropriate number of syllables was not that hard for the children, but making sure that this was really about nature and included a feeling or other personal response — well that was harder. Drawing a group of trees starting to bud was also surprisingly difficult for many, despite the good examples given in our art textbook. This is the way, though, that children begin to really grow in writing and art.

We sort of skipped recess — which annoyed more than one little one — but after that we spent a productive hour reading the science book and talking about energy. Their questions and comments were quite good, sometimes too hard for me to answer. (I’m a little fuzzy about the connection between magnetism and energy. I know there’s electromagnetism, but obviously there’s no energy in the magnets on the refrigerator.) As I’ve gained experience as a teacher I’ve learned to be a lot more comfortable saying, “You know, I’m not sure….”

We watched part of Jungle Book during lunch time, and they seemed to enjoy that. After lunch we checked yesterday’s homework, got today’s homework, and went home — in the rain!

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Practice cursive using spelling words 8-14. (3) Do the Addition and Subtraction worksheet. (4) Do “Likely and Unlikely,” Math, pp 270-271.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sleepy Day

Today seemed a little bit sleepy. We started on a new story from the Open Court book called “The Musical Palm Tree.” This is a tale of a young Puerto Rican boy who wants to buy a lace shawl for his mother. He shows tourists around the San Juan area to raise money for this present. It’s a nice introduction to the second big concept in the Money unit — the idea of business. Some of the Spanish words in the story, though were a bit unfamiliar to many of the children.

We went to the Tech Center where students worked on HyperStudio stacks. After lunch, we took a math test. The results are on the Gradebook, and they’re a little disappointing. We will go over some of the misunderstandings, and probably take the alternative version of the test in a few days.

Third grade teachers had a meeting at 2:00 p.m., so the students ended the day with a little free “P.E.” on the yard.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling words. (2) Practice cursive by doing spelling words 1-7 five times each. Use the cursive paper. (3) Do “Possible and Impossible,” Math, pp 268-269.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Students getting ready for PE relay races.
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And back they come!
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Hump Day

Wednesdays are often called the “hump day” and our weekly trip to the library makes ours a most delightful hump. Today I was very proud as students answered Mrs. Koneff’s questions about the Dewey Decimal System — something we’ve never really discussed in class — with absolute perfection. “This is the first class this week that has been able to answer all these questions correctly,” she remarked. I beamed, and so did the students.

We also read about the history of money today in Open Court and talked about chemical changes in Science. We learned about “mode” and “range” in statistics (stuff I never learned about until college). These students must be a lot smarter than I was, because they do so well with this advanced content.

Homework:  (1) Line Plots, Math, pages 256-259. (2) Equivalent Fractions worksheet. (3) Science questions, page C51 — please answer in complete sentences.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Day Zipped By

It was a fast Tuesday. I had a meeting this morning with the ELAC group to discuss the GATE program. Students worked on the Flow map and Anna study questions during this time. We then practiced pantomiming “A Story, A Story” to the narration of a student. We corrected our math.

After recess we worked on Math again, this time discussing scale in bar graphs. We turned our attention to improvisation in music, specifically what is called “Question and Answer” in improvisation. This is a key skill, and though our questions and answers can be improved, we made a good start.

After lunch we had PE. Students did either relays, handball, or basketball. They did their laps, too — which they love so much!

Homework:  (1) Complete Flow Map on “Anna.” (2) Complete the study questions on “Anna.” The students who work with Ms Jan do not need to do this tonight — they’ll work on it in group tomorrow. (3) Do Bar Graphs, Math, page 253. (4) Do Reducing Fractions Worksheet.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Well, at least we saw models of whales.
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Waiting on the dock.
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After the Trip

Well, as everybody knows by now, our trip on Friday was a little disappointing because in the end we did not see any whales. But we did see harbor seals, sea lions, and lots of sea birds. And for most of our students, it was the first time they had ever been out to sea. So we had a memorable experience of our marine environment at least.

Nice day today. We had visitors from Korea in the afternoon and we had to rearrange our day so they could see what Mrs. Oh wanted them to see. Students we pleasantly flexible about this -- more so than me, actually.

Homework: (1) "Make a Graph," Math, page 251. (2) "Read Bar Graphs," Math, page 253. Spelling words will come tomorrow.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Big Trip Coming

Tomorrow will be the big whalewatching trip. Please dress your child warmly. Use layers of clothing, and try to make sure that the topmost layer is nylon or some other waterproof fabric. Also, bring both a snack and a lunch. We will have the snack around 10:00 after we arrive in San Pedro; we will board the boat at 11:00. We won't be eating lunch until 1:30. Try to keep the snack separate from the lunch and label both with your child's name.

Feel free to bring a camera. There' s no need to pack any money -- no gift shop trips!

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the two mathematics worksheets. We discussed using subtraction to answer the algebra problems.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Students doing a tableau of the bored villagers who have no stories to entertain them in "A Story, A Story."
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Tableaux and Testing

It was another lovely day.

We did some activities relating to our Open Court theme in the morning. Since the “Home Place” story had been a poem about objects which created associations and triggered fantasies, we brainstormed objects which might cause us to think of other things or ideas or memories. With the repeated use of “When I see…I remember” students created a free verse poem out of these ideas. Many still have to finish this tonight. We also work more on the tableaux for the different scenes in “A Story, A Story.” The students performed these for the rest of the class today.

After recess, we went to the library. Music time focused on triple meter (moving both the legs and the arms at the same time to feel the meter — a surprisingly hard exercise) and soundscapes. We completed our PE testing in the afternoon. Most students did well, but a few really are appallingly out of shape, particularly when it comes to upper body strength (some couldn’t even do 1 push up even with the knees bent) and endurance.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Complete the rough and final drafts of the “When I see …I remember” poems. A couple students are done already. Final drafts should be done in cursive, though neat printing is acceptable if the student is still really uncertain of cursive. (3) Do “Make a Table,” Math, page 245. (3) Do chapter review pages, Math, pages 246-247.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

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Some of the compositions and landscapes students did to explore the idea of "line" in two very different art forms.
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Great, Great Day

I’ve had a slew of technical problem here at school and at home, but with luck they’re all cleared up and I’ll be able to update regularly. Sorry for any inconvenience.

A great, great day today. We started out with Independent Work Time, and students did a number of activities. They took a couple quizzes which should be on the Gradebook shortly. They also worked on study questions about Home Place. A few students will need to finish these at home today. We also spent time today working on creating tableaux of the key scenes in “A Story, A Story.” Students will be learning to do pantomime with this story, and will later add elements of improvisation with a narrator and dialogue. We’ll be presenting this at Open House.

After recess, we worked on music. We’re exploring a couple different topics right now. Students have become quite good at identifying beat, so we’re now focusing on hearing strong and weak beats. We did this in duple meter (2/4 time) and now we’re trying it with triple meter (3/4 time). We’re also exploring dynamics and we started on a soundscape today to highlight our use of sound levels from pp to fff.

In math, we’re continuing with our Statistics and Probability unit. We’re discussed what data is yesterday, and also we talked about how we collect and present data. Today we focused on classifying data and presenting it in table form. This is a very common and extremely important math skill.

We are also doing PE testing right now. Students ran timed laps yesterday, and today they worked in pairs to test each other for flexibility and balance. Again, results will be on the Gradebook shortly, and we’ll also send home the results — maybe have them signed and returned.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do “Classify Data”, Math, page 242-243. (3) Do the money addition and subtraction worksheet.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Quick Post

A quick post today since I have to go home early.

Homework:  (1) Spelling. (2) Fraction worksheet.  Students have not had some of the improper fractions yet, so we’ll be working towards understanding on this. It may not be perfect. (3) Multiplying Money worksheet. Please double check this for accuracy, particularly with regrouping. (4) Finish Science, page C37.

Monday, March 06, 2006

An example of this morning's Tech Center project.
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Mellow Monday

A most mellow Monday, indeed! We were fortunate that the rain held off all day.

This morning we had a very focused reading session. We reviewed the “Aunt Flossie’s Hat” story, and we started our study questions on them. Most students are nearly finished, but all should double check to make sure the answers are in complete sentences. Mr. Benitez helped the students go over and discuss the work from Friday afternoon. We changed seats.

After recess, we worked a little on pantomime skills. This is very closely related to the idea of storytelling, our OCR theme. We went to the Tech Center where Mr. Merkelson did an interesting project with the students. You can see an example of this above.

After lunch, we did PE with room 17. We took a math test (we’ll grade it tomorrow) and we went to the cafeteria for a fundraising assembly. A full but pleasant day.

Homework:  (1) Finish the study questions. (2) Do the unit review problems, Math, pages 550-551.

Students will have spelling this week, but I’ll give them the list tomorrow. I was so busy getting the magnet school verification list done I forgot to write it our!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Rainy Day

My optometrist told me at the gym the other day that he fondly recalled rainy days when he was in school. “Ah,” he said, “the room used to smell like tuna fish sandwiches.” I wish I could say I shared his enthusiasm. After a few hours in the classroom as it drizzles outside I start to think more about Prozac than tuna.

All that being said, it was still a pretty productive day. We had a particularly focused morning as we did Independent Reading, took our spelling test, and read and discussed the story “Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later).” The point of this story, based on the actual life story of an African-American author’s great aunt, is that object can focus memories, and that simple objects can tell stories too. We had a particularly good discussion of souvenirs and things we have that remind us of places and events.

After recess we correct and discussed homework. We also read a bit of The Wind in the Willows together until we were called for lunch. After lunch it cleared up a bit and we actually got out for a couple laps around the playground and some playtime. They needed it. So did I.

We took the rest of the afternoon to try to avoid taking home homework. We did a Tree Map of the Aunt Flossie’s Hats story. We worked on the Connect Concepts section of page C36 of the Science book. We also did pages 545 in the Math book (on Problem Solving) and the two Review pages, 546 and 547.

Homework:  Just finish any of the work above that was not finished during our afternoon Independent Work Time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

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Students sharing Dr. Seuss stories.
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A Birthday Kind of Day

This was a birthday kind of day. As you can see in the pictures above, one of the things we did today was to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. This is something that Mrs. Mark and I do every year together. The children went over to room 5 where Mrs. Mark and I paired first and third graders. The children then took a Dr. Seuss quiz together, and we discussed the answers. We had a lot of perfect scores, indicating that the children really know and love these books. The children then read Dr. Seuss books — Mrs. Mark has a big collection of them — to each other. We had a lot of fun!

After recess, we heard a gentleman from the credit union talk about the history of money. He was very nice, but talked a little too long for our third grade attention span. In the afternoon, we read about the periodic table — a subject which seems to particularly fascinate many of our students — and we started our math assignments.

As I said before, it was a birthday kind of day, and we had two students who shared birthday cupcakes with us! Your children should be on a first-class sugar high coming home today!

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do Science Vocabulary, page c36, numbers 1-11 only. (3) Do “Adding and Subtracting Decimals,” Math, pages 541-543, numbers 2-39. Number 28 is extra credit.

In addition, a few students need to finish the “Oral History” questions that they did in the morning as well as the page from the Inquiry Journal where they discussed what the “Carving the Pole” and “Oral History” helped them learn about the theme of storytelling.