Thursday, December 16, 2010

Twas the Day Before

One of the funniest descriptions I ever heard of teaching elementary school was that it was like trying to keep 30 corks under water at the same time. It usually is not that hard, but the days before Christmas Break does have this feeling. Particularly if the teacher is coming down with the flu....

Anyhow, we muddled through. We corrected and discussed homework. We talked about prime and composite numbers. I gave the students the math early so that I could conference with each of them about their final drafts. The math assignments should be done leaving only the writing as homework for tonight. Nevertheless, since we'll check it tomorrow morning, I'll put it on the homework.

Homework: (1) Do "Prime and Composite Numbers," pages 180-181 in the math book. (2) Do the division practice sheet. Be sure to check the answers as well. (3) Do the final drafts of the holiday story in cursive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What a cold day! For a while, the office even had rainy day schedule planned for us. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

We reread the "Salt" story today. We went to Tech Center where the students worked a bit more on their PowerPoint presentations. We talked about factors in math.

Homework: (1) Do sentences for the spelling words. (2) Do the "Salt" study questions. (3) Do the commas worksheet - which for some reason only printed out on the front side. (4) Do pages 178-179 in the math book.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Conference Day Two

Our second day of this last week of 2010 is going along swimmingly! We read "Salt", the last story in the Dreams to Jobs unit in the reader. We worked on a variety of skills with this story, too. We practiced the strategies of predicting and questioning. We worked on determining the meaning of words from context. And we reviewed compound sentences and prefixes, too! After recess, our math work introduced the procedures for dealing with quotients with a middle zero (such as 207 R 2). The students seem to grasp this pretty easily. I gave them the whole hour to get this work done so I hope that few have it has homework tonight though it is still on the list below. Finally, after lunch I returned their stories and they shared them with partners. I graded these first rough drafts just for ideas. They will work on second rough draft tonight. These revisions should help improve the coherence of the story and add details and dialog.

Homework: (1) Do "Fixing Compound Fractures" and "Theme Connections". (2) Do the "Prefixes and Suffixes" worksheet. (3) Do pages 176-177 in the math book. (4) Do the second rough draft of the holiday story. Like the first rough draft, it should be at least four pages skipping lines, front side of the paper only.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Conference Day One

Today was our first day for parent conferences. Like most of these minimum days, it seemed to go by in a blur! We checked and corrected our math homework, read a short chapter from the Science book, and then we were off the the KDLP winter concert. It was really quite sweet, particularly the little ones and the fifth graders who wrote an original bilingual play for the occasion.

After the concert, we came back to the room and the students had a few minutes to get started on their Science homework. After recess we started on math. Lunch comes early on minimum days, and after that we were done!

Homework: (1) Do the "Summary: The Force" questions. (2) Do pages 174-175 in the math book.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We're Inventive

Yesterday we read about the Gerber family and how Dan and Dorothy Gerber used their imaginations to create a labor-saving creation, canned baby food. Today the students used their imagations to create their own labor saving technologies. They then made advertisements for these devices, just as the Gerbers had to do for their baby food.

After recess the students worked on magnetism. They made balances and connected two magnets on each side of a plastic cup. They then used steel washers to see how much weight would be required break the force. They then inserted plastic spacers in between the magnets to see how that affected the amount of weight needed.

After lunch we made paper cut outs in the style of Henri Matisse. We did these with a holiday theme, and you will see them next week if you are able to come to our holiday pot luck.

Homework: (1) Do the spelling word search. (2) Do the "Conjunctions" worksheet. (3) Do the "Cause and Effect" worksheet. (4) Do pages 169-170 in the math book. Be sure to show all work on a separate paper as well as writing the answers on the answer sheet.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Long Division!

Today we introduced the students to standard algorithm for division. That's a fancy pedagogical term for teaching them the way the we adults do division. Most of them seemed to grasp it fairly well, but it would be a good idea if parents double checked student work today.

We also went to Tech Center and took a very pleasant trip up to the Fremont Library. We reread "Birth of a Baby Food." We did our usual PE, as well. For those students participating in tonight's Family Night and winter orchestra concert, good luck!

Homework: (1) Do the "Baby Food" study questions. Be sure to write complete sentence answers. (2) Do pages 156-166 in the math book.

It's Already Over?

The day just zipped by! We read a story, "Birth of a Baby Food" in the Open Court reader and we practiced using connecting and questioning as strategies here. We reviewed a bit of what we did yesterday with magnetism and read a chapter in the FOSS science text. We focused on the idea of division with remainders in math. And, to end the day, we went to the book fair.

Homework: (1) Do the spelling scramble. (2) Answer "When Magnet Meets Magnet" questions. Be sure to use complete sentences. (3) Do the multiplication worksheet.

Most students should be finished with the pages from the math book. They were given ample time to work on them during class. However, 162-163 in the math book will be check and corrected with other homework assignments tomorrow.

Conference letter confirmations went home today. Please be sure to ask your child for it. Also, be sure that the field trip form is signed for tomorrow's walking field trip to the Fremont Library.

Monday, December 06, 2010


We had a couple of really fun activities today in room 19. First of all, we went to the auditorium for a production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas done by the students in room 17. Since many of our students had had Mrs. Caruso as their third grade teacher, this was a familiar script. All the students did a good job.

It was a particular pleasure to see Eve Whitman, Mrs. Caruso's daughter, as the accompanist. She is a room 19 alumna now at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

After recess, in Science, the students explored magnetism. They had a bag of test objects and they check to see which ones a magnet would stick to. When they were done, they figured out that magnets only stick to iron and to other magnets.

In the afternoon, we had sock ball for PE since room 17 was too tired to come and and do the usual rotations. We worked in math on estimations - never an easy skill for students, but they seemed to do pretty well with it.

Homework: (1) Sort spelling words by digraph. Some words have both vowel and consonant digraphs: put them in as many categories as apply. (2) Do "Estimating Quotients," pages 160-161 in the math book.

Students also took home a field trip form for Wednesday. We're just going up to Fremont Library to check in and check out some books: no presentation by the children's librarian this time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Unconventional Greetings

Today we finished reading the "Business is Looking Up" story. The students made greeting cards. They had their choice of picking either an unconventional recipient like the one below,

or picking an unusual situation such as this one where granny gets sent to jail!

There were some other great ones like "Happy Justin Bieber Day" and another welcoming vegetarians to the world of eating meat!

In the afternoon, we took two math tests, one over Topic 6 and the other as a "second chance" for Topic 5. The students finished their cards and then got a head start - well, some of them did - on homework.

Homework: (1) Do the "Business is Looking Up" study sheet. (2) Also do the "Conjunctions in Compound Sentences" worksheet. This is pretty easy, but students do need to read the directions inside the box. (3) Do "Different as Night and Day" and "Theme Connections" to finish off our work on this story. (4) Do "Multiplication Practice 4". There will be a multiplication quiz tomorrow as well as the spelling test.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


What a quick day! It seemed like today just went whizzing by.

We started off today with checking and correcting homework. This often takes more time than I'd like to spend on it, but I do think that if homework is assigned it should be corrected and discussed, not merely collected and "checked off". We started "Business is Looking Up", one of the least interesting stories in the Open Court Reader. Some of these stories can just be read quickly and "checked off"! We will do an art and writing project with it tomorrow, so the story is not a complete waste....

We went to Tech Center where students received flash drives from Ms. Richard. They saved their PowerPoint presentations on them, and many will be bringing them home tonight to continue work on these. After recess, the students went to Mr. Pratt. He continued teaching them about the early settlement of California and also is starting to them them the songs from Oliver!

We read more from James and the Giant Peach after lunch, and our math lesson dealt with problem solving. The students will have a math test over topic 6 tomorrow. Students were dismissed for play activities at 2:00 today so that teachers could work on getting ready for conferences. For that reason we did not have the usual afterschool homework club today.

Homework: (1) Do the Word Knowledge and Vocabulary paper for "Looking Up". (2) Do pages 150-151 and 152-153 in the math book. (3) Do the Multiplication 3 practice paper.