Thursday, February 28, 2008



The highlight today, as you can see above, was the culmination of our three-day residency with Mr. David Lewis of "We Tell Stories." The students had a blast reenacting this story with Mr. Lewis today.

The rest of the day was a bit of a let down. We corrected some, but not all, of yesterday's homework. We took a Science test. We corrected a math test. We began an art project which we'll finish tomorrow.

Home Studies: Enjoy a rare night off!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mr. Lewis

Improvisation and Pantomime

Today we began again with Mr. David Lewis, the artist-teacher from "We Tell Stories." Today Mr. Lewis worked to develop some basic theater skills with the students. Since he is planning to have them act out the "Salt" story they read a couple months ago, he had them become characters from the story and he interviewed them. You can see him doing this in the photograph above. He had them use their imagination to add details to the story (for example, when he was interviewing students who were the cooks to the king) or by changing details of the story (for example, changing the sons to daughters). He also had them manipulate some imaginary items like balls again in preparation for what they will do tomorrow.

The rest of the day was pretty ordinary -- and a let down after all that fun! We checked and corrected homework. We went to the Tech Center where we started to add our stories to our pages. We went to PE, took a math test, and did some independent work (while the teacher finished grading the history tests). Very, pleasant quiet day, overall.

Home Studies: (1) Finish the study sheets on "Good Times" and "Thirty-first State." Be sure to answer in complete sentences. (2) Read "Linear Measurement," Math, page 422 and then do problems 11-29 on pages 424-425. (3) Do the math worksheet. Be sure to do the check step, probably on a separate sheet of paper.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We Tell Stories

Today, tomorrow, and Thursday we have Mr. David Lewis as a visiting artist-teacher. Mr. Lewis works for a wonderful theater troupe called "We Tell Stories" and we have had them working with second and third grade classes at Third Street for about three years now. Thanks to an unexpected opening, we were able to schedule them to work with our class this year.

We'll have more about Mr. Lewis in tomorrow's blog.

Home Studies: (1) Do the Chapter Review, Science, pages B31 and B32. Page B31 should be copied because this makes it more useful when students take the test on Thursday. These are open-b0ok, open-note tests. (2) Do the "Review/Test" and "Cumulative Review" in Math, pages 418 and 419. (3) Do the Multiplication Worksheet.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mystery to Medicine Cartoons

Dry Day

Well, it was not raining today so the children had recess and lunch. They were happy; their teacher was happy. Who could ask for more?

We did cartoons this morning, as you can see above. This was designed to give them an opportunity to work on storytelling and visual arts skills in a medium they really enjoy. There was a nice quiet atmosphere as they students worked on these little gems. All of them had to tell a story that was somehow related to medicine, our Open Court Reading theme.

After recess we corrected homework. We also took our class photo for the yearbook at this time. After lunch we read and discussed a chapter in the Science book on the "Mass Movement" of landforms. We went out to PE (since it may have been our only chance for the week) and when we came back we correct our math test. I also discussed the idea of functions with the class and showed them how they regularly solve problems like 3x = y in real life. This helped them understand the math homework for tonight.

Home Studies: (1) Do the three pages of the Open Court Reading packet. There really is not that much to do here. It sounds much, much harder than students will find it. (2) Do the Science questions on page B 11. Be sure to copy the questions. (3) Do the Multiplying Money and Adding Fractions worksheets. (4) Do "Change Linear Units," Math, pages 410-411.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rainy Days and Wednesdays

Despite the rain, we had a pleasant and productive day. After our Independent Reading period, we corrected and discussed our homework. We finished reading the "Gold Rush" chapter in the history group, discussing the pros and cons of each of the three major routes to California. After our inside recess, during which most students quite sensibly got a head start on their homework, we went to the Tech Center. Here the students typed up a story they wrote yesterday on their page and began to create an appropriate picture in Kid Pix to illustrate it. They will be finishing this in the classroom or at home.

During lunch we watched The Wild to console ourselves for dealing with the rainy weather. Once the movie was over, students worked on a math test, an open book history test, and some even had some time to get a good bit of the homework started.

Home Studies: (1) Complete the Gold Rush packet. (2) Do the division worksheet including the check step. (3) Do "Fractional Parts," Math, pages 406-409.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Dance

Valentine's Day

"These are the times that try men's souls." Thomas Paine was not talking about Valentine's Day, but we teachers can be forgiven if we think he might have been. Only Halloween and the day before Winter Break seem to have the children so frenzied.

Remembering this, I decided that we would do calm things as much as possible today. So we spent the morning working on Independent Reading and then doing a packet of comprehension materials related to the "Shadow of a Bull" story. After recess we corrected homework and the students who brought enough candy for the class passed it out so they could consume it for an unhealthy lunch. After lunch we correct our math test, and I have already sent out the results of that in an email to parents. We met again in read-around groups, this time for editing. Students then had another quiet work time to start on final drafts and other works.

Students ended the day on the yard as part of the Dance-a-thon sponsored by Friends of Third. You can see some pictures of that above.

Home Studies: (1) Finish the final draft of the Johnson/Picotte essay in cursive. (2) Do the Subtraction and Equivalent Fractions worksheet. Show regrouping! (3) Do "Choose the Appropriate Graph," Math, pages 106-109.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Out than In

We were out of the room it seemed like more than we were in it today. We had a wonderful assembly from the We Tell Stories people, an organization which will be working with our class later this month. They brought to life - and in one case improved - three of the stories in the Open Court reading series. We also went to Tech Center today where the students continued work on Renzulli or After lunch, we met in read around groups to review and revise our compositions comparing the two doctors. We went to PE, and then we took a math test. We'll correct and record it tomorrow.

Home Studies: (1) Finish the second draft of the essay comparing Dr. Johnson and Dr. Picotte. (2) Read "Double Bar Graphs," Math, page 100 and then do the problems on page 101. Do "Reading Line Graphs," Math, page 102. (3) Do the division worksheet. Do not forget the check step!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vermicomposting in Action

Similar and Different

Students started getting ready today for the writing section of the California Standards Test. This is given to fourth graders early in March. One frequent topic is to have students compare and contrast two characters. So we are doing a practice run using two of our Open Court stories.

We discussed the direction in class this morning and had time to get started, BUT, in case they cannot remember, here are the directions.
  1. The first paragraph is the introduction. Tell a little bit about both stories. End the paragraph with the topic sentence. The SUGGESTED topic sentence is "Dr. Johnson and Dr. Picotte are similar in many ways, yet different, too.
  2. The second paragraph covers the similarities. The first sentence here should be your topic sentence.
  3. The second paragraph covers the differences. The first sentence here should be your topic sentence.
  4. The fourth paragraph is the conclusion. This is the hardest part to write because it is so open-ended. Students could reflect on whether the similarities or the differences are more important or just comment on the characters in some way.

Home Studies
: (1) Complete the rough draft of the compare and contrast essay for the two Open Court stories. (2) Do the chapter review, pages 96-97. (3) Do the multiplication practice.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Short One

I am having all kinds of problems with Blogger - particularly with pictures - so I'll keep this one short just in case in loses everything again.

Home Studies: (1) Finish the flow map for "Picotte." (2) Do the "Capitalizing Titles" and "Graphic Sources" worksheets. (3) Do "Stem and Leaf Plots," Math, pages 90-91 and "Compare Graphs," Math, pages 92-93. (4) Do the Fractions and Multiplication review worksheet.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Worms, Worms, Worms!

What did you do in school today? We did worms! Today rooms 18 and 19 started our vermicomposting project. We will be collecting food scraps at lunch and feeding them to worms. The worms can digest their body weight in food each day, and their, well, "droppings" are incredibly rich compost. This will help reduce the amount of material which goes to landfills as well as enriching the soil around our school. We are very excited about this pilot project. A big thank you to Ms Heckman, shown above, a parent active in Friends of Third. Also, thanks to our administrative team represented above my our ever enthusiastic Mr. Wilson.

In other news, we started the Renzulli program today. This program is specially designed to meet the needs of gifted learners, but offers a variety of fun activities for all children. Since it is a web-based program ( students can work on it at home as well as at school. Students enrolled themselves today and created user names and passwords. Most also completed their profiles which will guide them towards activities which are geared towards their interests and learning styles. Thanks to Mr. Abrams for helping us get set up and to Ms. Limb for letting us know about this program.

Home Studies: (1) Do Reading Strategies for the "Susan La Flesch Picotte" story in Open Court. (2) Do the Study Guide for the "Picotte" story. (3) Do the double bubble map on the back of the third page of the study guide. (4) Do the two math pages on Equivalent Fractions and Algebra. Use a "guess and check" strategy to determine the value of x. (5) Do "Line Plots," Math, pages 88-89. Be sure to read the explanation on page 88 carefully even though this is basically a review of third grade material.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Quick Post

I have to run off to a meeting so here's the homework:

Home Studies: (1) Finish the Science chapter review on page A 159. For numbers 18-22 write out the question with the correct answer only; for numbers 23-28 write a sentence or a short paragraph as needed to answer the questions. (2) Do "Median and Mode," Math page 87. Either research or guess at the data needed for number 5. (3) Do the "Chapter Test/Review," Math, page 256. Be sure to show all work, including the check for numbers 7-22. (4) Do the "Cumulative Review," Math, page 257.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Wow! Days just do not get any nicer than today was. Everything went really smoothly. We began with reading, and then did a crossword puzzle on using medical terms and a punctuation review. We went over some of the work they had done with the substitute. Following recess I gave the students some time to get started on the study guides for the chapters they read with the substitute. After lunch, we read about "Restoring Habitats" and talked about some things we are doing or going to do to help the environment. We had a nice rotation of activities at PE, and I then went over how to do estimating with division. This last skill is a little tricky, so the students may need some help with it tonight.

Home Studies
: (1) Do "Word Study" and "Vocabulary from Context" for Picotte story. (2) Finish History study guides for lessons 1 and 2 of chapter 5. We began these in class. (3) Do chapter review in Science, page A 158 only. (4) Do "Collect and Organize Data," Math, pages 83-85. (5) Finish "Estimate Quotients," Math, page 255. Again, we began this in class.