Thursday, January 30, 2014


Instead of the usual journal entry, this morning we began with a writing assessment from the Treasures program. The prompt given with this unit was a little more creative than usual. It asked the students to create a new kind of car and asked them what they would do to help turn it from a dream into a reality. Many of our students did great work with this. 

Have you ever been bored on the road? Then try the Dive™ AquaDrive™! The AquaDrive™ is like an amphibious hybrid car. You can either charge it like a computer or pump gas into it. For colors, you just send in a color and we make it, even matte. This amphibious car has a special feature: you can drive it in the water! Made with light but sturdy metal converting wheels into propellers, it can drive on water.

To prepare for making the car, I would have to file a patent for the government. The symbol for the car could be the bottom front of the car with AquaDrive™ written underneath. I could find a company to invest in my product like I could have many workers and make a large factory. I could make the cars with steel-infused aluminum. For advertisements I could make Ferrari-style commercials, lots of YouTube ads, and large billboards. Those are my ideas for creating a car. 

We also practiced Annie. After recess, we corrected homework and discussed turning simple word problems into algebraic equations.  

In the afternoon, we read a chapter from The Cay and  learned about the Bear Flag revolt. After this, most of the students went out to physical education with Coach Angel and Mrs. Cha while I finished voice testing students from both room 18 and 19.

We finished the day with a simple art project about complementary colors. The students had to make logos for companies or schools. Here’s one for a cake company.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 16-20 ten times each in cursive and write a sentence for each one. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do pages 226 and 227 in the Practice book. (4) Do the Bear Flag Revolt study sheet. (5) Do Dividing Fractions 4. (6) Do pages 325-327 in the math book. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


In the new reading program, there is a great deal of stress on learning to read nonfiction well, particularly “real world” nonfiction. So the third week in each unit is devoted to selections from Time for Kids. This week’s selection focused on the so-called “Great Wall of Los Angeles,” a mural painted in the San Fernando Valley between 1974 and 1984 by Judy Baca and a small army of volunteers. 


The mural was recently restored and updated. I pointed out to the students that at Third Street we have a number of murals, and one of these could be restored and updated, too. The mural in the lunch area showing Third Street School in the past, the present, and a somewhat fanciful future, lost one of its panels during some school construction.

I asked the students to devise their own visions of our school in the past, present, and future.

A couple of the students were clearly influenced by our superintendent’s ideas about technology in the classroom.

Tomorrow I will also have them do some writing about the idea of how the school changes over time.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11-15 ten times each in cursive and do a sentence for each one. (2) Do pages 221 and 223 in the Practice book. (3) Do Dividing Fractions 3 worksheet. (4) Do pages 322-323 in the math book on multiplying and dividing in algebra problems. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We're Exceling

Nope, that wasn’t a typo in the title. We spent today in the Tech Center learning how to create charts out of data in Excel. As you may recall, the students created surveys a couple weeks ago. They typed these up in Word, and the quizzed classmates and friends. Today they typed up in Excel and created pie, column, doughnut, and bar graphs with results. Next week they will create a narrative about their survey and paste the charts in it. 

We also checked all our homework in the morning, and after recess the students worked with Mr. Pratt on Annie. I cast the parts, though we may “fine tune” these later on by switching a couple people.

In the afternoon we worked on math and I gave them time to get started on homework. 

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each in cursive and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the two Cay worksheets. (3) Do the Historical Maps activity sheet. (4) Do pages 320-321 in the math book. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

An Ordinary Monday (Except for Cannibalism)

It was a pretty ordinary Monday. We did some writing, discussed this week’s spelling pattern, read a little from the Treasures book and rehearsed Annie. We read about early American settlement in California, still a part of Mexico, and that led us into a discussion of the Donner Party.


Even the possibility of cannibalism suitably grossed out the class. We read a chapter of The Cay. We discussed the ideas of equalities and inequalities in Algebra, and we learned the easy if completely irrelevant to real life skill of dividing fractions. 

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each in cursive and write a sentence for each one. (2) Do spelling sort. The categories are long u, long oo, and short oo. Long oo are words like goo. Short oo are words like foot. (3) Do pages 216-218 in the Practice book. (4) Do Trails study sheets. (5) Do Dividing Fractions 1. Be sure to reduce to simplest form. (6) Do Independent Practice 318-319. 

Do Independent Practice 318-319. Do Dividing Fractions 1.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Testing 1, 2, 3...

We did a lot of assessment today. Tests and quizzes are important for helping students know how well they are mastering the material. But they are hardly exciting. We had spelling and math tests, and we had reading and math quizzes. We corrected everything. The results are on on the online grade book

We did have library today. One of the most fun parts of library is that the student librarians help check in and check out books.

Homework:  Nothing! Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Post

Just the homework for today.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 14-20 ten times each in cursive and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do pages 209-210 and pages 213-214 in the Practice book. (3) Do the “Trappers and Traders” study sheet. (4) Do the skill sheets for The Cay. (5) Do Decimals to Fractions 3. (6) Do pages 310-313 in the math book. There will be a test tomorrow over chapter 12.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


It was a pretty busy day. We started by practicing our informational writing skills. The students were asked to pretend to be a reporter for the Animal World magazine and to prepare a short article for their special edition for first graders about any animal. Some of the results were excellent like Lauren’s:

The lion is a beautiful animal. He is King of the jungle. But lions are very lazy. They sleep almost the whole day! Their wives are the ones who hunt for food while the lions sleep. The females go out to look for tasty animals to kill and eat. They bring back the food to the boys and the babies. The lion’s roar is very powerful, but lions can be sweet as well. They protect the babies and clean them with their tongues.

We read a great piece of informational writing in the Treasures anthology today, Charles Micucci’s “The Life and Times of the Ant.” I learned a lot about ants from reading this article and developed a great appreciation for them from this writer. We did another read-through of Annie while many of the students were at orchestra. I will have the hard job of casting the play in the next week. After lunch, we read another chapter of The Cay. And we reviewed some of our decimal skills.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 8-14 ten times each and write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling jumble. (3) Write a half-page summary of the “Ants” story in Treasures, selecting the main ideas and most significant details only. Then answer questions 1-4 on page 455. Please copy the question as well as answering in a relatively complete sentence. (4) Do Decimals to Fractions 2. (5) Do “Multiplying an Dividing Fractions” on pages 307-308 of the math book.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reading Through

We had a great day today in room 19. We started out in Tech Center. The students were quite jazzed because half of the iMacs in the Tech Center had been replaced with new computers thanks to Friends of Third. We were the first class to use them! The students worked a little more on their surveys using both Word and Excel. Back in the classroom, we went over Friday’s math homework. We talked about the reasons for the y to i spelling change - that’s this week’s spelling pattern. We went over this week’s vocabulary and read a short selection from Treasures.

After recess, Mr. Pratt stopped by to have the students do a first read-through of Annie

We worked on math after lunch and then had “play buddies” with a kindergarten friends to end the day.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-7 ten times each in cursive and do a sentence for each one. (2) Do pages 204-206 in the Practice book. (3) Do “Decimals to Fractions 1”. (4) Do pages 303-304 in the math book on adding and subtracting decimals. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Leonis Adobe Field Trip

Our class and room 18, Mrs. Cha’s class, went on a field trip today to the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas. This is one of my favorite field trips of the year, and it fits in perfectly with our California history studies this year. The Leonis Adobe, built in 1844, was the first protected cultural landmark in Los Angeles. It was the home of one of our of most famous early settlers, Miguel Leonis, a Basque shepherd who grew so wealthy that he was known at one point as “The King of Calabasas.” Today the Leonis Adobe provides the students and other visitors with a sense of what it was like to live on a rancho at the beginning of the American period. 

The two classes were split into several groups and all went to the different parts of the ranch at different times. The house tour is one of the best parts. Here a docent plays the daughter of Miguel Leonis and his wife Espiritu Cahuilla, the daughter of a Chumash chieftain, and gives them background about the family.

In the rustic dining room there is a wax statue of Leonis. He was six foot, four inches, an astounding height for the Victorian period. No wonder people called him “El Basque Grande”, the Big Basque.

For most of the students, getting to feed and touch the many farm animals is the absolute high point of the visit. There are several different types of sheep and goats here as well as Texas Longhorn cattle and draught horses.

The students were coached in the fine points of roping cattle. The fantastic docent always made sure they succeeded.

Another docent explained the workings of a blacksmith’s forge and took them through the exhibits in the barn.

The students also learned about the domestic chores that were so important on a ranch. Here they learned to wash clothes on a washboard and to dry them in a wringer. So parents, if they can do this, of course they can do the washing at home, too!

 Cooking was important on a large ranch, and the students were taught how to grind corn into masa. They they took ball of masa and made them into tortillas with a press.

They learned about some less appealing parts of life on a ranch, too. Horrors! This was the bathroom!

As the tour came to an end, the students with given hot homemade tortillas with freshly churned butter. They were delicious!

On our way out, the two classes posed for a class picture.

We had lunch at the Woodland Hills Recreation Center nearby.

There was even a little time to play before we got on the bus and came home.

Homework:  (1) Do the spelling word search. (2) Do Fractions to Decimals 4. 

There will be spelling, reading, and math quizzes tomorrow. The students will also have the chapter 4 history test. They can use their notes for this and we went over everything on Wednesday. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bugs and Ads

Since we we have been reading part of A Cricket in Times Square as part of the Treasures program, I gave the students a writing prompt inspired by Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I left out the slightly gross detail that the hero of the story becomes a cockroach, and just told them that they had been changed into an insect. Some of the responses, like this one, were quite funny.

Today I was sitting on the couch writing in my diary. Now I love insects, even the poisonous one that was sitting next to me on the couch. The little red ant crawled on to me and then started crawling all over me. It tickled! And then, ouch! It bit me. 

Next thing I knew I was also a tiny, red ant. I was quite happy to be an ant. Everything was so big. I started to follow the ant that poisoned me. He went through an electrical outlet. I tried to warn him, but he went through it anyhow. Now there was a mini fire in my house! At that moment my mom came and started to scream. She tried to stomp on the electrical outlet. But her shoe caught fire. So she took it off and through it over the balcony. It handed on a pine tree. The tree caught and fire and it started to spread.  My mom walked over to the desk and picked up the phone. I couldn’t hear what she was saying because it was too much for my little ears.

I crawled out to the patio and looked out. There were five moving things that looked like yellow Darth Vaders. After a minute or so, the fire was out. I realized that my mother would be worried about me. I started drawing to her to tell her that I was an ant. I wondered if she would hear me in English. Just then the door feel down and the Darth Vader people They walked towards my mother and said ….

The Treasures series also introduces the idea of advertising techniques in this week. We discussed “loaded language,” “bandwagon,” “testimonials,” and “warnings” as ways that advertisers help convince us to buy things. The students were give the opportunity to create advertisements using some of these techniques.


In the afternoon I previewed tomorrow’s field trip to the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas with both our class and room 18. Remember to have students pack a simple lunch tomorrow! There will be no place to buy food. 

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 11-15 ten times each in cursive. Write a sentence for each word. (2) Do the spelling crossword. (3) Do "Pronouns and Antecedents,” Pratice Book pages 201-202. (4) Do Fractions to Decimals 3. (5) Do “Estimating Decimals,“ pages 296-297 in the math book. 

Students who did not finish eh advertisement during class should be sure to finish at home tonight. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


We started the morning in the Tech Center where the students started work on a survey and data reporting project. They wrote surveys yesterday, and they typed them up this morning. They will continue by surveying their fellow students - and any adults who want to participate, too - and then will be entering all this data in Excel in the new few weeks. 

We had a bit of a New York City theme today. We read and discussed a selection from the classic story A Cricket in Times Square  and we discussed both why it is a fantasy and what the theme of the selection is. 

Cricket in TS

We corrected a couple of tests from the day before winter break; the results are all on the grade book. We also went over and discussed all our homework. 

After lunch, we continued our NYC theme with Mr. Pratt who will be working with the students on this year’s production of Annie. 

IMG 0040 2 

And we finished the day with our reading buddies. 

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 6-10 ten times each and a sentence for each word. (2) Do Spelling Jumble. (3) Do “Advertisements” "Context Clues?” Practice Book 197 and 198. (4) Do the History Chapter Review. (5) Do Fractions to Decimals 2. 

There is no math book assignment today. The Chapter Four History test will be on Friday. Students will be able to use the review sheets and notes on the test but not the book. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Back

Welcome back, one and all, and have a happy 2014. And let me thank all the families for your generosity to me at Christmas. Thanks to all of you, I have a fantastic new Chromebook. I have been really wanting a zippy little computer for home, just for personal stuff and not for making up homework! You can all breathe easier about that!

We started off today by having students first journal and then share about their vacations. Some people went to cool places, and others had a sort of “stay-cation.” We went on to talk about our newest theme in Treasures, “Working Together.” The students drew pictures of people who are working together in teams to accomplish something.

I am not completely sure what they are doing, but it sure requires teamwork!

We wrote surveys after recess. Tomorrow in Tech Center they will be typing them up. This week they will be asking the questions to everybody they know. Next week in Tech Center they will be putting this data in Excel and making charts. 

We started a new literature book today, The Cay by Theodore Taylor. This is particularly appropriate for African-American history month. 

In math, we started work on rounding decimals and turning fractions into decimals.

Homework:  (1) Write spelling words 1-5 ten times each and a sentence for each word. (2) Do spelling sort. Words should be separated into “drop final e” and “double final consonant” patterns. (3) Do Inflectional endings, PB 192, Vocabulary, PB 193, and Theme, PB 194. (4) Do the history word puzzle and “Mexican California” review sheet. They will need the book for this. (5) Do Fractions to Decimals 1 practice sheet. (6) Do pages 293-294 in the math book.