Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wonderful Wednesday

Another wonderful day. We began with our "Into the Moon" unit chant and poem. We went on to Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop. We listened to a bit to The Wind in the Willows, and we looked at the vocabulary word for the "Baxter Place" story. We also started reading this selection. It's probably the hardest thing in the whole third grade Open Court, dealing as it does with the destruction of the environment and urban sprawl -- hard concepts for kids -- but it's awfully important stuff for their future.

They went off to the library and checked homework after recess; I had to attend a private school due process IEP. After lunch we played softball, practiced cursive, and had a brief time to get a head start on our homework.

: (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the rest of the chapter review in Science, page E27. On 16-19 just write the correct letter answer; on 20 and 22 write two or three sentences to completely answer; on 21 and 23 carefully draw the food webs as indicated. (3) Do the Roman Numerals worksheet and the Area and Perimeter Review on the back.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Some of our Ox-Cart Man pictures.
 Posted by Picasa

Not an Early Tuesday, but a Good One

Another great day. It’s wonderful that the testing monster is behind us now. I guess it’s necessary, but eight days? Ridiculous.

We had Independent Reading and Writer’s Workshop today. We continued work with the “Too the Moon” ESL unit that will be mandatory next year. It’s kind of fun really, and though primarily designed for English learners it has a bit to offer other students, too. We worked on creating a chant or rap out of a little poem about “What do you see in the Moon?” today. We also did the blending for the next Open Court Story.

We continued reading The Wind in the Willows. We checked our homework with Mr. Benitez’s help. We looked at form in music, particularly binary (AB) form. After lunch we went to play softball, and then just got a head start on homework during math class. Lots of parents had forgotten about the end of early dismissal Tuesdays, so we were a somewhat smaller group by the end of the day.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the Connecting Concepts diagram in Science, page E26. This is problems 10-15. And problem 10 really is there. (3) Do the Rounding to the Nearest 10 worksheet. Follow directions here carefully! (4) Do the Regrouping in Addition and Subtraction worksheet. This skill is still a lot shakier than it should be at this time of year!

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Unexpected

Rain on May 22nd? Who woould ahve thought it? But somehow we had a pretty good day despite all the precipitation.

But before I discuss what we did today, a big "Thank You!" to all the families who helped make our class basket the hit of the Country Fair. It was amazing how full of tickets our box was. Special thanks to Cameron's mom for organizing this and making the purchases.

We started today by discussing the Fair and sharing other fun things we had done during the weekend. We then started a little bit on a literature study unit about the Moon by doing a Circle Map and a quickwrite of what we know about the moon. We then put together some writing folders, as we will be doing some concentrated writing during these last five weeks. We're going to keep the focus where it belongs! Well, we will at least until the last couple days....

We had indoor recess today, though some of the students had to make up unfinished work from Friday. We resumed reading The Wind in the Willows after skipping this during testing. We went to lunch a little earlier than usual, and then students watched parts of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with students from room 17 after lunch. By that time it had cleared up enough for us to go out to PE. We returned after getting our exercise to doing a little math and then packing up for home.

A reminder here. Tomorrow is NOT a shortened day. There will be no more 1:30 dismissals this year on Tuesday.

Homework: (1) Science vocabulary, E21 numbers 1-9 only. (2) Multiplication practice worksheet. (3) Algebra worksheet -- use a "guess and check" strategy here to get the answers. Also, the problems with negative numbers are strictly extra credit.

Spelling words will follow tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Some of our food webs.
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Normally I’m not part of the “Thank God it’s Friday” crowd, but after the last arduous days of testing I admit I am looking forward to a couple days off. Particularly when one of them will be our Country Fair tomorrow!

Today we corrected our homework first thing, and then took our spelling test. Results for the test are on the Gradebook. We reread the “Just Plain Fancy” story, and discussed why the Amish think certain things are “fancy” and others are “plain.” The students had some good insights here.

After recess we read about food webs and made some models of these. You can see a couple of these above. We had a good discussion here about predators and prey.

We had rotations during PE today, and we finished up by reviewing the procedures for multiplying three digit by two digit numbers.

Homework:  (1) Finish the “Fancy” questions. (2) Finish the science questions on E 21. (3) Do the multiplication worksheet.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

One of our food chains. Posted by Picasa

Normalcy (as President Harding said)

Well, with testing over life returned to normal. Yes! Yes! Yes! Everybody — including the teacher — seemed in a better mood today.

We read a story by Patricia Polacco called “Just Plain Fancy.” This is fictional account of two Amish girls who accidentally raised a peacock instead of a chicken and feared being shunned on account of the bird being too “fancy.” It’s a cute story, and the students find the whole idea of a community shunning a member fascinating. They always want to know the exact list of offenses which might bring this punishment. Maybe they’re a little worried about pushing the limits too far at home….

We discussed food chains in Science, and the children made food chains like you see above. A few children need to finish these. Many more need to finish the chapter questions on page E12.

After lunch, we had a delightful visit from some children in room 16 who shared their student-authored books with us. Every year the children in this fourth grade room have books professionally published, and I think it is a fantastic experience for them. A few of our children will be fortunate enough to do this next year.

We discussed two digit multiplication. This is the key homework assignment tonight. This is a hard skill at first, but students get good at it quickly.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the wordsearch — which uses some of the words from the spelling list. (3) Do the Two Digit Multiplication worksheet.

In addition, some students need to finish the food chains and others need to finish the Science questions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A couple of the excellent Thinking Maps the students did to compare and contrast their lives with those of Amish children. Posted by Picasa

Amish and iPods

Today we finally finished the last regular day of testing. Hooray! The first couple days were not bad, but it has dragged on way too long, sort of like a visit from a relative you don’t really like that much. We’re glad to say goodbye to this guest for another year. A few people will be doing makeup in the next couple days — children who were absent either a whole day or during the first part of the day — but most everybody else is done!

Today we continued to look at the “Amish” story. Students did a “double bubble” thinking map to compare and contrast their lives with the lives of an Amish child. You can see one of these maps above. We added a little bit of art to this by requiring the children to draw instead of using words on the maps. The children then took the ideas from these maps and wrote first and final drafts of a compare and contrast paragraph. A few children will be finishing these up as homework tonight.

We had library as usual and we also did some softball after lunch. The children are getting good at softball. Special thanks to Friends of Third for getting us a couple batting tees and catcher masks.

Speaking of thanks, we would also like to thank the many people who donated to our class basket. We’ve definitely got the most talked about item in the country fair. Everybody wants to get our iPod Nano and the iTunes gift cards.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do the “Amish” study sheet. (3) Do the Multiplying with Money worksheet. In addition, a few students need to finish the thinking map and the paragraph.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day Four

Testing seems remarkably painless this year. Most students have been finishing each section in about 30 to 40 minutes, so we're able to keep a reasonably regular schedule. Today we read and interesting selection in Open Court about dairy farms. Most of our students have very limited real life experience here, and that's one of the reasons I really like this Country Life unit.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Complete the three math worksheets on equivalent fractions, angles, and subtraction.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ox Cart Man

We began work on our Ox-Cart Man movie project today. Students were assigned a specific scene from the story to illustrate. These will be scanned and then imported into iMovie. I'll record the students reciting the lines of the poem, and then we'll import this also into iMovie. After this, we'll start working on developing a sort of ballet (though we won't use the word to avoid freaking out the boys) and develop music to go with the movement. We'll film this and combine it into the movie as well. It's a project I've done before, and it really makes this poem memorable. Of course, doing this kind of careful art work took up most of the morning and for a few kids some of the afternoon too. Good work can't be rushed.

The homework below was assigned to complete after the art was done. As a result, some children have nothing to do at home tonight, while a few have a lot.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. Test is tomorrow! (2) Do the "Coded Words" worksheet. (3) Do the Equivalent Fractions review sheet. (4) Do the Section Review, Math, pp 356-357.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Practice Tests

It was another quiet yet pleasant day. We took the CST practice test in the morning, and most of the students seemed to do reasonably well. Testing starts on Monday and unfortunately third graders have 8 solid days of testing. I know you will make every effort to make sure your child is here each day on time. Making up missed tests is not only a logistical headache for teachers, but students never do well on make-ups.

Students went to library after recess, and I had to go to an IEP meeting. Because of this, the students had an additional lunch recess. They liked that. After recess, we did our exercises and ran our laps, and students continued with softball skills and a game. A big thanks to Mr. Benitez for helping out here.

Homework: (1) Study spelling. (2) Complete the Ox-Cart Man questions. However, the students in Ms Jan’s group will do these on Friday. (3) Do the two chapter review pages in the Math book, 352 and 353.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quiet Day

It was a quiet day today, at least for the children. (Teachers are in overdrive thinking about class assignments for next year, but fortunately this anxiety doesn’t seem to trickle down.) We began by working on cursive, and then did a little quick write about what we would do if our parents suddenly moved us to the country. We read and discussed the Ox-Cart man, and students started on a thinking map about the life of this unnamed New Hampshire farmer. After recess, we corrected our math homework — volume and area are still pretty hazy in the kids’ minds — and we discussed how to divide money. We had an early start on the homework because there’s a little more than usual today.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Complete the Thinking Map about the Ox-Cart man and what he did at each season of the year. (3) Do the multiplication review worksheet. (4) Do “Divide Amounts of Money,” Math, page 349, numbers 1-9 only. (5) Do “Solve a Simpler Problem,” page 351, all problems.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Just the Homework

A short post because all of us want to avoid the traffic associated with the marches.

Homework:  (1) Study spelling. (2) Do Perimeter and Area review, page H 57, all sets. (3) Do “Practice Division,” Math, page 347, all problems. Be sure to show work on problems 2-17,