Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hard Stuff and Fun Stuff

Thursdays are so regular and ordinary. As much fun as Tech Center and Library and PE are, it’s nice to have just a regular day in the classroom.

Today we basically finished off the Money unit in Open Court. Students successfully answered the many questions they had asked about money at the beginning of the unit, and added even more ideas to our Concept/Question board. We also worked a little on improvisation, with students practicing telling the King Midas story as if they were doing standup comedy. They liked that approach.

After recess we first practiced cursive — something we’ll really work on in these last two months as we get them ready for fourth grade — and we started on a music composition project. Today we rolled dice to generate pentatonic melodies. It worked surprisingly well!

We had a Science test after lunch. This was an open-book test, yet I think we will be disappointed in the results. I may send this home for a signature tomorrow after we correct it. We finished up with discussing how to do estimation in math. This one is always surprisingly difficult.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do “Estimating Quotients, “Math, pp 342- 343. (3)  Do the regrouping practice sheet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gray but Good

A gray day, but pretty productive. We had a math test today which will be corrected and posted on the Gradebook tomorrow. We did a number of theatre arts activities based on the Golden Touch story. We reviewed 6/8 time in music and continued our exploration of the idea of musical textures.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do “Connect Concepts,” Science, c94, 9-16. COPY! (3) Do Math review worksheets..

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nice Day

A pleasantly uneventful Monday. We shared some weekend fun activity. We had independent reading. We started a new story in Open Court, “The Golden Touch,” a retelling of the King Midas legend. We switched seats. After recess, we studied 6/8 tempo, getting the idea that the first and fourth beats in the measure are particularly stressed. We worked on another body percussion piece and started talking about texture in Music. We went to the Tech Center where Mr. Merkelson helped us with our portfolio projects. After lunch, we had PE, and in math we caught up — more or less — with our counting in Base 8 and Base 10 and discussed the meaning of having remainders in real life (or as close as you come to real life in math book problems!)

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do Vocabulary Review, Science, c94, 1-8 only. Copy the sentences. (3) Do Chapter Review, pages 336-337. Be sure to show ALL work, even on page 227.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Plowing Ahead

Today we more or less finished up the Open Court tests. Tomorrow we will do a quick double check of a few things which might have confused students, and then we will correct the tests. I try to make these tests more about learning than assessment — I think the students are tested too much as it is.

We’re continuing to plow on through division. Students who have truly mastered their times tables are finding this relatively easy, but those who are still skip-counting or using fingers are finding this nearly impossible. Please be sure to check your child’s work tonight and help them with this.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling for the test tomorrow. (2) “Practice Division,” Math, pp 232-233, all problems.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Long Division

It was another great day. We worked a lot this morning on following up on the “Four Dollars and Fifty Cents” story we read yesterday. Students put themselves in small groups, and they practiced reading the story orally with expression. It was great to see them working so independently. They then started on the study questions for the story. They will need to finish them tonight — except for the group which works with Mrs Hammer. They will do the questions tomorrow. We also reviewed some of the common spelling rules for plural and the like, and with those things fresh in mind we took the Spelling section of the Open Court Test.

After recess, we started outlining a particularly dense chapter in the science book. We then turned our attention to learning long division. If students know their times tables, this will be relatively easy. If they are still unsure of sections of the tables, this will prove quite hard indeed. This is the bulk this this evening’s homework.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Math, page 329-330, numbers 2-29 only. SHOW ALL WORK! (3) Do all cursive lowercase letters three times each.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Welcome Back!

I had a great break, and it sounds like most of the children did, too. Still, it was great to see everybody today.

We had a perfectly regular Monday, including Tech Center and PE. We took the first part of the Open Court Test. We read the story “Four Dollars and Fifty Cents” from the Open Court book and discussed this amusing tale about a deadbeat cowboy. In Music we discussed “duration” and reviewed axial movements.

In Math, we’re did simple divisions with remainders. Most got the idea. The homework extends this slightly into 2 digit answers. They may need some help here.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. No cursive practice with this — they need more help here and we’ll work on this during Independent Work Time.  (2) Do “Model Division,” Math, pages 326-327. (3) Do the Perimeter and Area review worksheet. Be sure to find BOTH for each problem.

Friday, April 07, 2006

One of the fantastic spring haiku poems.
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Students made spinners for probability experiments.
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Students made spinners for probability experiments.
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Have a Great Vacation

This week was one of so many emotions, and so much to do. We started with the tragic deaths on Monday, and our whole school community, even those of us who did not know the children, struggled to comprehend this terrible event. Somehow, by Tuesday evening, we managed to have Open House, and the children performed wonderfully. Rain on Tuesday and Wednesday made things tougher for children and teachers. Thursday seemed relatively normal, and today was, well, different.

We had a minimum day today, and the relatively short instructional time was cut in half by our earthquake drill. I was surprised by how well the children took the tedium of the drill. Learning to be bored, and making the best of wasted time, is a real art. We sometimes forget, as Einstein said, that "creativity is the residue of wasted time."

Homework: I have a backload of stuff to grade and I think it's only fair to give them a break while I catch up! However, reading, practicing times tables, and working a little on cursive are all worthwhile projects to do with your children to keep some forward momentum in these areas.