Thursday, August 29, 2013


We had a particularly focused and productive day today in room nineteen. We started out with new writing journals and in honor of Labor Day the students wrote about what they wanted to do when they grow up. They shared their writing with their seat partner, and the partners appreciatively asked each other to share it with the class. There were so very thoughtful entries, and our room nineteen students definitely wanted to make the world a better place! Must be their fantastic families who have raised them so well.

We took spelling, reading, and math tests. The spelling tests are already graded and on the grade book. The other two will be graded and recorded soon.

After recess we did social studies. The students made maps of California’s four major reasons.

CA Map

We worked more on music after lunch. I taught the students some of the basic Kodaly rhythm syllables. They added these to our food chants.


We also listened to a particularly gripping chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins, went to mixing, and did some math.

Homework:  Only do pages 40 and 41 in the math book.

There’s no weekly report card this week since the week as both this week and next week are short. Expect the next progress report on September 6.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blowing Our Horns

Wednesdays are a little dull. We don’t usually get out of the classroom except for mixing. But we did have the option to have a little introduction to the music program from Mr. Mason today. It’s a great opportunity for the students who really, really want to learn an instrument. So, if the students come home today with a permission slip, have a good honest conversation about practicing every day and being able to make up a missed 30-45 minutes of class a week. If the student is willing, I say, definitely give them a chance.


Homework:  (1) Write the spelling words ten times plus a sentence. The words for today are railway, relay, remain, steak, stray, and wailing. (2) Do the spelling word search. (3) Do pages 30, 31, and 32 in the Practice book. (4) Do the Tropical Rain Forests study sheet. (5) Do pages 37-38 odd only and page 39 (all problems) in the math book.  (6) Do the Subtraction with Regrouping 3 practice paper.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Out and About

Tuesdays is our “out and about day.” We have Tech Center, Theater Class, and starting next week we’ll have Reading Buddies, too.

So we started the day in the computer lab. Mr. Riko had the students work on learning to use the different tools that are available for research as part of the LAUSD Digital Library. Two of the best here are the online versions of the World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica. 


After Tech Center, we returned to our classroom where we worked on subject and predicate as well as reading the main story in Treasures for the week, “The Adventures of Ali Baba Bernstein.”

After recess, the students then went to Theater class with Mr. Pratt. He had them work on various pantomime skills using some fun games like “Hot Soup.” Here they are doing their warm up routine to “Be Our Guest.”


After lunch, we worked on body percussion in music. The students will work on this a little more tomorrow, and we will later be adding this to what we are doing with Ms. Moran, our music teacher.

Homework:  (1) Write the spelling words ten times plus a sentence. The words for today are fainting, flame, frail, mistake, nickname, pale, and parade. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do pages 23, 26, and 27 in the Practice book. (4) Do the Precipitation work sheet. (5) Do pages 34 and 35 in the math book. On the back side, all that is needed is an expression in most cases. So, for the first problem, the answer would be 89 + m. (6) Do the Subtraction with Regrouping 2 practice paper.


Monday, August 26, 2013

New Friends and Old

It was a pretty hot day today, but inside room 19 we were quite productive. We began by discussing the difference between simple and compound sentences. The students then went to Music class where Ms. Moran did a great lesson using the old camp song, “Make New Friends.” The students created ostinati – short repeated phases – to help accompany this and then created rhythmic phrases inspired by the words of the song to create a rondo. We’ll be polishing this up in our class tomorrow.


We’re starting on a new Treasures story, “The Adventures of Ali Baba Bernstein.” We went over the vocabulary for this.

The students were very excited to see how much their plants had grown.


They measure the growth of each of the five seed types. This also gave us an opportunity to talk about metric measurement, particularly millimeters and centimeters. After that, we talked about the difference between weather and climate and read about the different climates in California.

We listened to another chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins. We went to our different mixing activities. In math, we are learning about rounding and estimation.

Homework:  (1) Do spelling words 1-7 ten times each plus a sentence for each. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do pages 21-22 in the Practice book. (4) do the Weather and Climate study guide. (5) Do the Island of the Blue Dolphins worksheet. (6) Do pages 32-33 in the math book. (7) Do the Subtracting with Regrouping worksheet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gradual Growth

Our seeds haven’t sprouted yet. But we know that below the surface there’s a lot going on. That’s a pretty good metaphor for a lot of days we have in room 19. Nothing exciting seems to happen, but we know a lot of growth is taking place.


Today we read about Cesar Chavez. We worked on our Tree Maps and our Flow Maps. We used the Flow Map to review the story of My Diary:  From Here to There.


Homework:  (1) Do spelling words 16-20. (2) Do the spelling word search. (3) Do pages 19 and 20 in the Practice book. (4) Do the “California’s Bodies of Water” study sheet. (5) Do pages 26-27 in the math book. (6) Do the Addition with Regrouping 4 practice sheet.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thank You!

First of all, thank you parents for a wonderful turnout for last night’s Back to School Evening. It was great to meet so many of you and I look forward to a great year.

We began our day with a little writing inspired by this week’s story in the Treasures series. We went on to review the story and to work on our latest Thinking Map, the Tree Map. Right before recess, the students received new seats. They liked that (mostly).

We started Science today. We will be working on Life Science first, studying Environments. The students began today by creating terrariums. They planted corn, peas, barley, radish, and clover. We’ll be measuring the growth over the next couple weeks.


They enjoyed planting!


After lunch, we did math. We’re working on rounding and estimation now. This is an important skills, though the Envision series rather relentlessly requires the students to do lesson after lesson on it. Fortunately, the students seem pretty familiar with the principles already and it looks like it will not be as painful this year as it has been in some years past.

We went again to Mixing at 1:00 pm, and students who worked with both me and Mrs. Cha were doing Physical Education.


In the last hour, we finished up the art assignment we started yesterday on gesture drawing. The student posed for each other, and they quickly drew sketches.


These sketches were quickly turned into Keith Haring style figures using crayon and black tempera paint.


Homework:  (1) Write words 11-15 ten times each plus a sentence for each. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Write the answers for questions 1-5 on page 31 of the Treasures book. Be sure to use complete sentences. (4) Do pages 15 and 18 in the Practice book. (5) Do the questions on Making a Terrarium. (6) Do pages 24-25 in the math book. (7) Do Adding with Regrouping 3.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More New Things

Today we had our first session in the Tech Center. The students were given their log-on information for the typing program. Learning to type makes school a lot easier, but it is not a particularly good use of computer lab time. So students are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to practice this skill from home.

We also had our first drama class with Mr. Pratt.


This was a lot of fun. The students learned about pantomime, and practiced with partners.


In the afternoon, while the teacher readied himself for the Back to School presentation and Science tomorrow, the students started a cool art project. They’ll be finishing it tomorrow afternoon and you can see some examples then.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Do Practice Book 11 and 14. (3) Do Addition with Regrouping 2.

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Stuff

We had our first music class today with our fantastic new music teacher, Ms. Tammy Moran.


We also had our first afternoon mixing time. This is the time where all the fourth graders take PE and Health from the four different teachers and Coach Angel. It allows students to get to know the students in the other fourth grade classes, too.

Homework: (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each. Also write a sentence for each word. (2) Make a spelling sort using all 20 spelling words. (3) Do pages 9 and 10 in the Treasure Practice Book. (4) Do the Natural Regions study sheet. (5) Do Adding With Regrouping 1. (6) Do pages 16-18 in the math book.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feed the Sharks

We had another great day today. It was an awesome end of the first week of school!

We’re starting to establish our routines. The students came in, turned in some of their homework, and they began to quietly work on distinguishing declarative and interrogative sentences. We looked at the Flow Map, and the students wrote about their “Perfect Day.” We discussed and corrected our history homework, and we talked about latitude and longitude and the difference between relative position and absolute position.

After recess, we went over our math homework. We talked about why zeroes are important even though zero is not a number, and the students practiced noticing zeroes as they compared numbers. As obvious as this may be to adults, it can confuse children. Fortunately, few if any of our room nineteen students seemed confused by it!

After lunch, we took our first math quiz. Results are on the gradebook. You will receive you login information for the gradebook at the meeting on Tuesday. Another reason to come! Then we went on to art.

We use the SRA Art Connections series in fourth grade at Third Street. It sequentially teaches the students about all the elements of art – line, shape, color, texture, etc. – as it leads them through some good exercises. Our first project dealt with line. We talked about the different types of lines:  horizontal, vertical, diagonal, straight, curved, zigzag, thick, thin, and broken. The students were challenged to create a poster using a many of these kinds of lines as possible. We did this in pencil, and then used sharpies and watercolors. Some of the results were excellent and sincere.



Others were also excellent, but showed that our room nineteen students have a wicked sense of humor!


Homework:  (1) Do the Latitude and Longitude worksheet. (2) Do pages 14-15 in the math book.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting in the Groove

Things are moving along beautifully here in room 19, and both teacher and students are finally getting into the groove of the back-to-school thing. We worked more on our Thinking Maps today. We particularly worked on the Bubble Map and the Double Bubble Map. We started our study of California’s geography. We worked on comparing and ordering numbers up to the millions. And, we gave ourselves a bit of a break, too, and did some kickball with the wonderful kids from room 18.

Homework: (1) Do the “Where is California?” study sheet. Be sure to answer the questions in complete sentences! (2) Complete the “Following Directions” worksheet for the second chapter of Island. (3) Do pages 11 to 13 in the math book. Also do the “Follow the Leader” activity on the back of the answer sheet. (4) Do “No Regrouping 3” worksheet. The students will have a quiz on this skill tomorrow.

If not already done, be sure that the final drafts of “My Character” - the Bubble Map composition - and “My Friend and Me” - the Double Bubble Map composition are finished by tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The First REAL Day Back

The second day of school is really the first real day back. It’s on the second day that we start learning and practicing all our routines. Fortunately, our second day in room 19 was just as good as our first day.

We did a lot today! We checked and corrected all our homework. We then did portraits of our partners – the students we interviewed yesterday. Many of these are excellent!




We learned about Thinking Maps today, and focused on the Circle Map. We began our study of California. We read another chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins and discussed it. We learned about place value up to millions.

Homework:  (1) Finish the final draft of “All About Me.” (2) Do the Island chapter 2 study sheet. (3) Do “Finding Base Words” and “Listening to Syllables.” (4) Write a paragraph to go with the Circle Map about “What I Know about California.” (5) Do pages 8-9 in the math book. (6) Do No Regrouping 2.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

First Day

We had a great first day today. This is going to be an amazing year! I feel so excited.

We have 26 students. One girl apparently moved over the summer. Many of our students have been at Third Street since kindergarten, but we are welcoming a few new students, too. We have one special needs student and this student has a couple excellent helpers. They will be great additions to our class, too.

We spent the first part of the morning filling out some interest inventories and pretests that will help me know the students and their abilities better. This also gave me time to go over the truly endless amount of first day paperwork and to chat with parents. We then went on to discussing the rules and policies. It’s always hard for teachers to teach so many procedures and harder still for students to learn them, but that’s what the first week is mostly about. I do think that this will take less time this year than it has in many previous years.

After recess, students interviewed each other and started writing their first composition, a short “letter of introduction” paragraph. After lunch, we listened to the first chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins and discussed it. We also started in the math book with our first topic on numeration. We discussed the history of the place value system and how it works with numbers up to 999,999.

We made good speed with this, so the students had a whole hour (!) to get started on the homework.

Homework: (1) Finish the final draft of the “Introduce” paragraph. (2) Do the chapter 1 study sheet for Island. (3) Do the short and long vowels worksheet. (4) Do pages 5-7 in the math book. Put answer on the answer sheet provided. Do “Changing Places” on the back of the answer sheet. (5) Do the Adding and Subtracting without Regrouping worksheet.

Please remember that we will be having our back to school evening next Tuesday, August 20, from 5:00 to 6:00.

Monday, August 12, 2013