Monday, January 31, 2011

In Series

Our morning began very quietly with the students practicing cursive by writing the words to "Consider Yourself" from Oliver! We went on to check our math homework. We had a brief power failure while we were doing this, but the lights popped back on after a couple minutes - much to a few students' disappointment. We went on to Science after this. The students worked on creating series circuits with light bulbs and motors. They first used only one battery, but then added a second to make the light bright and the motor run faster.

They also learned to make schematic drawings of their circuits. Tomorrow, they will explore the difference between series and parallel circuits. We finished the first part of the morning by doing some practice for the state writing test, actually using the 2007 question which asked them to write a day in the life of their favorite animal.

We went to the auditorium after recess, and we once again practiced the opening scenes of Oliver! under Mr. Pratt's expert direction. The music director - that's me - was a little grouchy here, but that helped make it a quite productive session.

After lunch, a few of the students finished the writing assignment while others started homework. At PE, the students did the usual rotations. My group worked on playing tag and dribbling a ball at the same time. It was not completely easy but a lot of fun. In math, we continued our look at fractions. This is still mostly review, but it will start getting more complicated in the next day or so.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive and use each one in a sentence. The words are stethoscope, microscope, kaleidoscope, ailment, and excitement.  (2) Do the Word Knowledge and Vocabulary paper. Ignore the printed directions: use a glossary or a dictionary here. We will discuss the context clues when we correct the paper. (3) Do "Fractions and Division" on pages 228-229 of the math book. Also do paper fun on the back of the answer sheet. This one is challenging! (4) Do the "Factors" and "Multiplication Practice" worksheets.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today we did a good bit of practicing for the play. But more on that later.

First we corrected and discussed the Topic 8 Test and the Topic 7 test. Since there are a couple new students in the class, let me explain again that I give students two chances at each math test. After we finish the unit, we take for A of the test and move on to the next unit. Students should take their tests home and review it with their parents. They can get additional practice on their weak areas by looking at the soft cover math workbook. Then, when we finish the next unit, the students will get a "second bite at the apple" by taking form B of the test for the previous unit. They get whichever score is higher.

After recess, we went to the auditorium where Mr. Pratt blocked the first three scenes of Oliver! including the opening "Food, Glorious Food" song. In the picture below, you can see the orphans in the workhouse eating their gruel while they dream of " sausage and mustard."

After lunch, we had PE. Today, since room 7 was busy working on an art project - actually they were finishing the mission pictures that we did so beautifully yesterday - we just played kickball with room 17. It was fun for the kids.

In math, we are starting the fraction unit. This will be easy at first but get difficult when we come to reducing to simplest form.

Homework:  The only homework tonight is to finish the math pages for lesson 9-1 in the math book.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We spend the first part of the morning correcting homework, spending particular attention on the math. I always stress how important it is to ask questions when the students get something wrong and do not understand why, and that this is particularly important when one of the assignments is a review for a math test. After we had had our discussion, the students took the test. We will correct it and it will be on the grade book tomorrow.

We then finished our mission pictures. All of them were decent, but many such as the ones below were absolutely amazing!


The students went to Mr. Pratt for History. After lunch, we started some of our prep for the big test in May. I try to do as little of this as possible, but we need to do some and an afternoon when I am feeling slightly sleep deprived and they were feeling restless seemed like perfect timing!

I had to leave a little early to deal with AT&T, so Mr. Pratt took both classes for the last 45 minutes and they looked at Oliver!  

Homework:  Just do the spelling words tonight. And enjoy the respite....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our "Mission"

Wednesdays are pretty easy days for all of us here in room 19. We have Tech Center and we have Physical Education on Wednesday. Those two things make the day go pretty quick. As usual, we started out by checking, correcting, and discussing our homework. We then went on to math so that we could have time to do an art lesson in the afternoon. After recess, students went to Mr Pratt for History and Drama. We started on our art project before PE, and we concluded the first phase of this after exercising. The students will be doing picture of different missions. This is a joint project with Mr Pratt for both art and history.

Homework:  (1) Do spelling words 11-15 ten times each in cursive plus one sentence for each. (2) Do the "Bridge Dancers" study guide. (3) Do the "Multisyllabic Words" worksheet. (4) Do "Make Generalizations," pages 214-215 and "Test Prep" pages 216-217 in envision Math. Also do "Make Hundreds" on the back of the answer sheet.

ERRATA:  On the study guide, the word in the box should be "herb", not "herb medicine". Also, the short essay on the back should be about Maisie, not Callie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shooting By!

Tuesdays are always a pretty quick day, and now with Mr. Lawton's class as a regular feature of our Tuesdays they just shoot straight by! We began by checking our homework. We continued by reading and discussing "The Bridge Dancers" in the reading book. This is a somewhat strange story. It's in the reader to introduce the idea of herbal or folk medicine to the students. They seem to like it more than I do because it does have a sense of drama in it and two fairly well-drawn characters. I'm just not sure of the message....

Students went to Mr. Lawton and after reading. We have second recess on days when they have their music class. After recess, they went to Mr. Pratt for history and drama. In math we are closing our short geometry unit. They will have a test on Thursday.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive. (2) Do the Scramble and the Theme Connection - this is for last week's story, "Medicine:  Past and Present". (3) Do the division practice sheet. (4) Do "Views of Solids", envision Math pages 212-213. (Note that the page numbers written on the answer sheet are wrong and refer to yesterday's assignment.)

Monday, January 24, 2011


The days right after winter break seemed to go slowly, but after a couple weeks they seem to start whirring by again. We checked homework, of course, at the beginning of the day. The students then put together some of their work from the last Open Court unit and the last math unit which Miss C. will be putting together in booklet form for them. We started looking at the trait of Organization as part of our 6+1 Traits of Writing program. The students looked at the rubric and then evaluated two anonymous pieces of writing (not from our school or class). They scored them quite well!

After recess, they went to Mr. Pratt for History and Drama. After lunch, we had PE. Students worked with me on dribbling. I had them doing figure 8's around cones with the balls, and they were all better than me!

In math, we looked at solid figures and reviewed faces, edges, vertices, and the like.

Homework:  (1) Do the Word Knowledge and Vocabulary for "The Bridge Dancers". Ignore the printed directions on the back:  use a dictionary or the glossary. (2) Do the Author's Purpose worksheet. (3) Do the Drawing Conclusions worksheet. (4) Do spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive and write one sentence for each one. (5) Do "Nets," pages 210-211 in the math book. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grossed Out!

 Today we finished off reading "Sewed Up His Heart!" The students were suitable disgusted by the details of heart surgery and serious infections. Fourth graders like to be disgusted.... I added details about how surgeons back then learned medicine by dissecting bodies and how sometimes people dug up bodies from graves to sell them to medical schools to make make them cry, "Gross!" We did some focused revision during writing time. This is an activity where the students are given an actual piece of pretty sorry student writing (not from our class or school) and the students make it better.

After recess, the students worked on an art project which helped them to both review polygons and the difference between primary and secondary colors:

They had a chance to start on some of the Language Arts homework after they finished the art project.

After lunch, we tested objects to see which ones were insulators and which were conductors. Students had fun with this, as you can guess.

We also read some of Oliver! and worked on circles in math.

 Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11, 12, 18, 19, 20 ten times each in cursive. Also write one sentence for each. (2) Finish the "Using Reading Strategies" page including the summary. (3) Do the study guide for "Sewed Up His Heart!". Skip the tree map on page 24 of the packet. (4) Do the crossword puzzle. The definitions are straight from the dictionary, so use the number of letters and the other clues to help figure these out. Skip the wordsearch. (5) Do "Circles," pages 204-205 in the Math book, plus "Circles in the Air" on the back of the answer sheet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ordinary Day

It was a pretty ordinary Wednesday, but a good one. We began our day, as we usually do, checking, correcting and discussing our homework. After this, we went on to read the story "Sewed Up His Heart!" using our reading strategies. Student wrote predictions, questions, and connections on post-it notes while they read. We do this to show how good readers often annotate the texts they read while not, of course, having them actually write in a book which belongs to the school. We went to Tech Center as we usually do on Wednesdays.

After recess, we worked on Science. The students were challenged to discover how to make a light and light using a couple wires and a D cell battery. This helped them to figure out the idea of a circuit.

They were then challenged to use the D cell to make a motor run and to add a switch to the circuit.

We started reading Oliver! after lunch. The students have been working on some of the songs from this show with Mr. Pratt, and we will be also doing this regularly each day after lunch from now on. At PE, the students did various rotations with the three different teachers. When they came to me, they worked on dribbling skills. During math, we worked on the different types of quadrilaterals. This is one of the trickier plane geometry concepts. Students like to think of parallelograms, rectangles, and squares and different shapes, and have trouble seeing that a square is also a rectangle, a rhombus, and a parallelogram.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive and also write one sentences for each in cursive. (2) Do the "Edison Sees the Light" questions. Be sure to actually use the Science Resources text and not try to do these from memory. (3) Do "Quadrilaterals," pages 202-203 in the envision Math book. Also do "Doodles" on the back. Be as specific as possible and name the different types of triangles and quadrilaterals precisely. (4) Do the "Multiplication Practice" worksheet. Again, be sure to show all answers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fast Day!

My apologies for not keeping up last week. Unfortunately, the district has put so many pointless blocks on outside accounts that it is not always easy to get connected to Blogger at school to actually be able to post what we have done and our homework. In a day when so many students are walking around with smart phones connected to the Internet, I am not sure who is being protected here.

Our three day weekend was a nice little break for us, particularly since we had such fine weather. I was lucky enough to get away to San Diego with the dogs. I know that a couple of our students were also able to have a little escape, too. But with the shortened schedule and the music class, the day clipped by pretty fast!

Our day began with checking our homework from Friday, and we particularly discussed the polygon page from Math. Our next story in Open Court Reading is called "Sewed Up His Heart!". It is the story of Daniel Hale Williams, the African-American surgeon who conducted the first surgery on the human heart. There is a lot of medical vocabulary with this story, and the students worked on the Word Knowledge and Vocabulary page here. A few will need to finish this in addition to any other homework.

We then went to Music with Mr. Lawton. This week he focused on rhythm with the students. They have a homework assignment from him tonight as part of their work.

In math, we looked at Triangles. This is review for most of the students, and mostly is about learning the names for the different types of triangles. This will also be part of the spelling for the week.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive, plus writing one sentence for each. The sentence should also be in cursive. (2) Do pages 200-201 in the math book. (3) Do the Multiplication practice sheet. Again, be sure to show all work. (4) Do the Science questions. (5) Do the rhythm worksheet for Mr. Lawton.

As mentioned before, a few students will also need to finish the Word Knowledge and Vocabulary.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sound of Music

Today's news was our first class with Mr. Lawton. I'll update this post later with more details and pictures, but for now here is the homework.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive. Also write a sentence using each one of these five words in cursive, too. (2) Do the division worksheet. Be sure to do the check step.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back Again!

 It wasn't easy getting up early again this morning, but I think everybody was happy to be back in room 19. We had a couple changes in the class:  Ralf's family moved back to Estonia; Serim went to the KDLP class; and we welcomed Miri to our class. We were happy to welcome back Miss C from maternity leave.

We started on a new unit in Reading called "Mystery to Medicine". There is one of the more interesting themes in the Open Court series, though the vocabulary for the first story is pretty tough. We took our spelling this week from those words. We started our Writer's Workshop today.

Our students went to room 7 for history and drama today. I worked with the students from that class on static electricity and making electrical circuits. Room 19 students will be doing these experiments next week.

We read a little more from James and the Giant Peach. We went out for some easy PE. In Math, we worked on multiple step problems. We'll have our test on Topic 7 tomorrow.

Homework:  (1) Finish putting concept and question on the word cards. Be sure to write the words large and dark and also to provide a color illustration. (2) Write spelling words 1-5 in cursive 10 times. Also write a sentence for each word. (3) Do "Multiple Step Problems," pages 182-183. Also do "Test Prep" on pages 186-187. Both of these are in the math book. Do "Graphing Sales" on the back. (4) Also do the multiplication practice worksheet..