Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's in the News!

Today we began by checking our homework and discussing each assignment. We then went on to review the Open Court Reading story about the invention of ice cream cones. We talked some more about the writing assignment the students did yesterday, and I clarified some points about newspaper writing style and content. The students revised their rough drafts as needed, and added a little bit of art to the final draft by creating their own front pages.

After recess, they went to Mr. Pratt again for History and Drama. After lunch, we continued our look at multiplication by two digits.

Homework: (1) Do spelling sentences for words 11-20. (2) Do "Words with Prefixes" worksheet. (3) Do "Another Pair of Prefixes" and "Theme Connections" paper. (4) Do "Greater Numbers," pages 148-149 in the math book and "Playing with Numbers" on the back of the answer sheet. Show all work on a separate paper. (5) Do the "Multiplication 2" worksheet to continue practice on this skill. Again, be sure to show all work.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Coming Back

It was hard coming back today, at least for the teacher. I had such a great break, and so many of the students did, too. We all shared our vacation experiences in the morning after we said the pledge of allegiance and took attendance. But the school day, like the show, must go on and we went on to have a pretty normal Monday. We started a new story in reading called "Ice Cream Cones:  A New Scoop" that tells the story of the invention of the ice cream cone at the Saint Louis World's Fair in 1904. The students read this short selection and then practiced writing a summary in the form of a newspaper article. We'll be continuing this tomorrow.

After recess, the students went to Mr. Pratt where they worked on early explorers and some songs. I worked with his class on magnetism experiments. Our class will be doing that later. After lunch, we read some of James and the Giant Peach. We went out for a fairly long PE block. Mrs. Caruso, assisted by one of the parents from room 7, did some fitness testing with all the students. Meanwhile, I worked with them on dribbling skills.

In math, we worked on multiplying by two digits. There's plenty of practice on that this evening.

Homework: (1) Do the "Pronouns" worksheet. (2) Write sentences for words 1-10 on the spelling list. (3) Do pages 146-147 in the math book. (4) Do the multiplication practice sheet. (5) Do the cursive connections practice paper.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Tearful Goodbye

Today was our final day in the library with our beloved librarian, Mrs. Koneff. Words fail me when I think of the pedagogical idiocy of this school system in disabling its school libraries, and the loss of such a fantastic person to our school is deeply tragic. Despite the loss of her position, Mrs. Koneff is a true professional, and our her last day she read us two really funny stories after we returned out books.

On a happier note, Andrew received his medal for completing the reading marathon. Way to go!

In math we learned the short way to do multiplication by two digits.

Homework:  Finish any unfinished work from our short day:

  • pages 216-219 in the Language book,
  • page 144-145 in the Math book, and
  • the two digit multiplication worksheet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The days right before a holiday are hard for both the teacher and the students. Everybody feels a little restless waiting for the vacation to begin. So the day seems a little long for everybody. Still, we did our best to learn.

In the morning, we discussed informational articles and the structure of nonfiction paragraphs. We also began learning how to multiply by 2 digit numbers. The way the new math series introduces this is not exactly intuitive or the way most of us adults learned it, but it does sort of help them learn the meaning of the procedure.

In the afternoon we did art. Our lesson today dealt with the use of rhythm and movement in art, and the students studied and discussed a work by Catalan painter Joan Miro. Their abstracts were pretty good, don't you think.

Homework:  (1) Do the spelling wordsearch. (2) Multiplication, envision Math, pages 141-142. (3) Action Verbs, Language Handbook, pages 212-213.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fremont Library

First of all, as you can guess, we have our electricity and internet back in room 19. Apparently one of the circuit breakers is seriously in need of replacement, but the LAUSD electrician managed to jury rig the existing board until replacement parts can come in.

Our big item today was our trip to the Fremont Library on Melrose Avenue. We went with room 7. The children's librarian there is absolutely fantastic. She began by giving our classes an orientation to the Los Angeles Public Library system and reading a heart-warming story about an elephant and a dog at an elephant sanctuary  in Tennessee.

The students then had an opportunity to pick out books and check them out. Many were using an LAPL library card for the first time.

Our walk to the library and back was quite pleasant, and Mr. Pratt stopped several times to point out interesting architectural features in our neighborhood.

In the afternoon, we had a couple fistball games for PE instead of our usual rotations because Mrs. Caruso was out on a field trip. We're starting double digit multiplication in math.

Homework:  (1) Do sentences for each of the spelling words. (2) Do the "Using Reading Skills" paper for the Open Court Reading story. (3) Do the study questions on the same story. (4) Do "Estimating Products," envision Math pages 138-139 and "Vacation Estimation."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why No Blog

Sorry for the fact there have been no blog posts for the past few days. Several classrooms, including room 19, have been hit with electrical issues. Most of my plugs do not work, and there is no internet access at all. The district is working on this, but apparently the problem is more serious that just the circuit breakers.

I can received email on my phone, so feel free to contact me that way if there are any problems or concerns.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Short and Sweet

We had a short but productive day. We read "Elias Sifuentes, Restaurateur" in Open Court. It's a bit dated, but the students did understand why he might prefer to own his own business instead of working in a factory. With Mr. Pratt, the students reviewed for their next history test and learned did a great little improv about buying shoes at a shoe store. We ended the day with math discussing the order of operations, particularly using parentheses.

Homework:  (1) Do the spelling jumble. (2) Finish the "Using Reading Strategies" paper. Students had time to start on this during class. (3) Finish the "Sifuentes" study questions. Again, students had time to start on this during class. (4) Do "Parentheses," envision Math pages 122-123. (5) Do the multiplication practice paper. (6) Do the cursive practice worksheet.

Monday, November 08, 2010


The day started unexpectedly with rain, but it was otherwise a pretty ordinary Monday. We did our independent reading, and we checked out homework to begin the day. In writing, we discussed broad vs narrow topics, and the students brainstormed some different topics and did a quickwrite. They went to Mr. Pratt for history where they learned about the native peoples of the Sierra Nevada area. After lunch, we read a bit of James and the Giant Peach, and went to Physical Education. In math, we studied inequalities today.

Homework:  (1) Make a tree map of the spelling words. (2) Do the "Word Knowledge" and "Vocabulary" page for tomorrow's reading of the OCR story, "Elias Sifuentes." (3) Do pages 120-121 in the math book and the "Chain Challenge" on the back of the answer sheet. (4) Do the multiplication practice worksheet. (5) Do the I and J letters in cursive on the worksheet provided.

Ms Jennifer Castaneda, or Miss C as the students call her, one of our aides, had her baby over the weekend! He's healthy and happy and we look forward to learning more details and sharing them with you.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Odds & Ends

It was a day to tie up a bunch of loose ends. We collected and turned in all of our Open Court Reading papers for the first unit. We turned in our reading journals. We graded and corrected both of our math tests from Wednesday.

We also had one of our final days in our school library. As many of you know, Mrs. Koneff received a layoff notice from the district and her last day with be the 19th of this month. She will be profoundly missed by students and teachers alike.

In PE, we worked again on various skills including hurdling. We took spelling and reading quizzes. And, of course, our students DEMANDED homework tonight.

Homework: (1) Do Concept and Question for the Concept/Question board. (2) Do the adjective worksheet. (3) Do "Expressions," pp 118-119 and "Pizza." (4) Do the multiplication practice worksheet.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Picture Perfect

Today was miserably hot, but we tried to keep cool as best we could. In some ways it was a pretty normal Wednesday. We checked our homework, finished reading an Open Court Reading story, and went to Tech Center. The students did particularly good work in Tech Center where they are writing a five paragraph essay with the help of PowerPoint.

Our most out-of-the-ordinary activity today was getting our pictures taken. This can sometimes be an ordeal lasting an hour or more, but today it moved quite smoothly and we were in and out in only about 20 odd minutes.

In the afternoon, we took a math test (actually two math tests, since they had their "second bite at the apple" chance for Topic 3) and they had a chance to get a good head start on homework.

Tomorrow is our field trip to Stunt Ranch. Please dress in cool clothes, and bring water to carry on the trail. Wear a hat and some sunblock. Bring a sack lunch that will be easy to carry in and to take the trash out. 

Homework:  It may seem like quite a bit here, but students had ample opportunities to start this before picture time and after the math test. (1) Do spelling sentences for all 20 spelling words. (2) Do the "Eddie, Inc." study questions. (3) Do the "Multisyllabic Words" worksheet. Be sure to find the word which you can divide between consonants. (4) Do the multiplication practice worksheet. (5) Do the cursive practice.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Glad to be Back

My meeting yesterday was pretty pointless, even by the generally low standards I've become accustomed to after many years in the district. But every member of school site council is supposed to go over year, so I had no choice. Still, it was really nice to be back here in room 19. The substitute, Miss Wynn, left a nice note, and that made it even better.

We spent a lot of time today going over Friday and Monday's homework. We also started our next OCR story, "Eddie, Inc." It is one of the lamest stories in the entire anthology, but it introduces the students to ideas like profit and investment. We went over "Reasonableness" as a checking strategy in math; we have the test over Topic 4 tomorrow. Students will also take the "B" form of the Topic 3 test to see if they can improve their score any.

Homework: (1) Do the spelling jumble. (2) Do "Reasonableness," envision Math pages 108-110 and "Test Prep" page 112-113. (3) Do the cursive connections worksheet.

Please make sure that the field trip form is signed and turned in! We have space for a couple parents on Thursday's bus trip.