Monday, September 30, 2013

A Rounding Rhyme, Hamburger Paragraphs, and a BBQ Buck Class Store

As we wrap up Topic 2 this week, we review some important concepts like estimating sums, differences, and balancing equations. It's important that students begun to internalize our rounding rhyme as they gain experience rounding to the nearest ten or hundred. (It's crucial that mathematicians read the directions carefully before they begin rounding.) 

Rounding Rhyme

Underline, look behind.
5 or more, up the score.
4 or less, let it rest.

Here, Owin and Bryan are estimating differences.

Our final lesson in Topic 2 involved equations and making sure each side balanced. When solving for an unknown value, we can use fact families and counting up. Pop Quiz: n - 4 = 14 What must n equal? 

Below, Allison solves for n. Remember, both sides must equal 12 in this case!

In Writers' Workshop, we've discussed a few different prewriting strategies--writing bulleted jots, a web, or a timeline. Below, Lilly uses a timeline before she drafts a narrative about a trip to Florida.

We also discussed the importance of topic sentences to inform the reader what the paragraph is about. 

The topic sentence is a bit like the top bun of a juicy hamburger! It wouldn't be a juicy hamburger without the bun!

A Friday treat was meeting our Buddy Readers from Miss O'Day's first grade class. We shared fables and folk tales in books AND on the iPad mini! First graders shared poetry with us!

The end of September marked our first BBQ Buck class store. We spent our hard-earned money on prizes, school supplies, and special treats like wearing slippers in the classroom, lunch with the teacher, and a day in the teacher's chair! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Breaking Apart, Screen Chomp, and our 3, 2, 1...

Topic 2 in math led us to explore different strategies for mental math addition. Check out what breaking apart and making a ten looks like below. We also reviewed the concept of regrouping from second grade.

 Below, Abby breaks apart 52 and 44 into tens and ones before finding the sum.


Mathematicians enjoyed using the app Screen Chomp on the iPad minis to create problems of their own.

In Grammar, we discussed the two parts of a sentence--the subject and predicate. The subject tells who or what the sentence is about. The predicate tells what happened.


To prepare for Friday's Wordly Wise quiz, we made our first vocabulary books. It's important that third graders study the word, its spelling, part of speech, and meaning.

Sean leads the class in a Wordly Wise review using Quizlet on the big screen.

In Reading, we explored informational text in our Scholastic News. Headlines reported current events and the history of our nation's Constitution--just in time for Constitution Day observed on September 17. Readers recorded 3 things they learned, 2 interesting facts, and 1 question they have.

We celebrated International Talk Like a Pirate Day by having partner discussions using pirate-themed questions and scenarios. For example, if you could choose one family member or friend to bring with you on your journey, who would it be and why? Third graders had to respond in a full sentence, and partners had to repeat what they heard.

After a trip to the school library Friday afternoon, we updated our genre reading wheels and our reading records. It's important that we make good decisions as we choose "just right" books and balance our reading diet!

Friday, September 20, 2013

We're Wordly Wiser! And a Pop Quiz for Mom and Dad!

We kicked off the week with another round of Daily Common Core tasks for morning work. This week's focus was Language. (Last week's focus was Reading and the students read a fable called The Foolish Coyote.) This week's Language objectives were capitalizing story titles, using the correct article-- a or an, using commas to list things in a sentence, and changing irregular nouns to the plural form. Students are encouraged to use the previous day's work to help them each day.

Moms, Dads, blog followers, pop quiz!

  • How would you correct this story title? a chair for my mother--a story we will soon be enjoying. 
  • Where would you place the commas in this sentence? Mrs. Mack blogs bakes and plays with her baby on Friday nights.
  • What articles would you use here--a or an? _______ cupcake        ________ apple pie
  • What are the singular nouns for these irregular plurals?  leaves         elves

We also review math concepts on a math Daily Common Core Review (DCCR)--the topics spiral so call it a math smorgasbord-- there are questions on telling time, counting money, addition, subtraction, name it!

Here, Mike W. works on his DCCR!

Monday, we were introduced to our first batch of Wordly Wise words. We used images and photographs to make connections with these words. The students completed exercises at home and are reminded to return it to school the next day for class discussion and review. It's important that students study the spelling, meaning, and part of speech of each word. Want to practice online? Check out my Quizlet flashcards here. Some may have multiple meanings! Below, Derek and Abby highlight their words and definitions.

What a sweet treat! Candace went apple picking over the weekend and brought me a hand-picked apple! (Hint: Mrs. Mack's favorite afternoon snack is a sliced Gala apple with a side of creamy peanut butter!) 

While some readers were completing their DRAs-- individualized reading assessments where teachers identify students' independent and instructional reading levels, others worked in the Scholastic Reading Kit choosing passages of interest ranging from Geography to Arts and Sports, Students used the text to identify main idea, author's purpose and read for detail. Lilly and Charlie are hard at work!

Thank you to parents and guardians who have taken part in our Potluck Picnic! We will never have too many Clorox wipes!  

In math, we learned three properties of addition. 
  • The Commutative (Order) Property allows us to add numbers in any order and still get the same sum. 3 + 6 = 6 + 3
  • The Associative (Grouping) Property ensures that even if we group numbers differently, we will still reach the same sum. 9 + (6 + 1) = (9 + 6) + 1
  • The Identity (Zero) Property promises that any number added to zero will remain the same number. 16 + 0 = 16
We made flipbooks to keep track of these properties.

Our Book Shopping schedule debuted this week. In addition to our trips to the school library, each reader has a designated day to shop in Mrs. Mack's always expanding classroom library.


Computer passes also debuted this week for all students to use the desktop computers or ipad minis. 

And that was just Monday! Stay tuned for how we wrapped up our week including talk of Screen Chomper and how we celebrated International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ahoy Matey!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Nooks, Pink Slips, and QR Codes

In Grammar and word study, our unit on the sentence has us discerning between fragments and sentences. The kids enjoyed Flip Flop Fragments on the Smartboard and playing "What's the Scoop?


We explored the purpose and punctuation used in commands and exclamations. Here, Owin brainstorms a command to add to our sentence poster.


Allison adds her exclamation sentence to our poster.

In Reader's Workshop, we talked more about "just right" books and how much like shoes, books have unique purposes. Each of Mrs. Mack's shoes have a unique purpose, interest her, and fit her. We may read for the same purposes, but as unique readers, we must seek out "just right" books for ourselves. Mr. Mack's running sneaker surely wouldn't Mrs. Mack!


One of my favorite read alouds is Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians. Students made text-to-text connections as they read about Goldie Socks and her curious adventure in a cottage made of books. She used the "five finger" rule to find a "just right" book in a cozy book nook--Baby Bear's of course!


We are also building our independent reading stamina. We're looking forward to improving our 8 minute record next week.



Check out our newest book nooks!



In an effort to track our reading and ensure that we are balancing our reading diets, readers will track their reading using their Reading Record Logs and Genre Wheels.



Our first unit in Reader's Workshop (RW) focuses on launching RW, making connections, and exploring features of traditional literature in folktales, fables, and myths.

Our first fable is The Fox and the Stork. Fox invites Stork over for dinner but purposely serves him his meal in a shallow dish making it difficult for Stork to eat. What does Stork do in response? Ask your third grader how the story ends and what the moral, or lesson, of the fable is....

Charlie reads along with the class....

Nick records the characters, problem, solution, and moral in The Fox and the Stork.


Looking for a great app to enjoy fables at home? Here's one I love!

iPad Screenshot 1

Here, Sean, our birthday boy, helps Shea compare numbers using  <, >, or = symbols.

Here, Conor explains his skip counting on his math homework. We clarify any questions on homework before launching a new lesson.

Speaking of homework, it is a huge responsibility in third grade. Not Mom and Dad's-- but ours. :) If we don't have it, we're responsible for a pink slip (get it, Mom and Dad?) explaining why we don't have it. Time management is key, and homework should be a priority every night.

On Friday, mathematicians participated in a Math review gallery walk. They worked on problems very similar to ones they will see on Monday's test. Students took their books home to study Topic 1. (They will not be tested on the lessons entitled Greater Numbers and Making an Organized List.)

With clipboards in hand, mathematicians solved number line and place value questions with their peers. 

Here, Conor rearranges digits to create the smallest possible number. Notice, he put the one in the thousands place. That's surely wiser than a 7 in the thousands place! Great thinking, Conor!

We ended the week talking about the difference between watermelon ideas and seed ideas. Watermelon ideas are wide-ranging topics or big events such as a trip to New Hampshire or a pet dog. Seed ideas are the smaller topics that writers zoom in on like a visit to the water park in New Hampshire or a trip to the groomer with the dog. 

Next, we chose a seed idea and began to plan our writing with a web of details.

Writing and math activities using QR codes will soon be debuting in Room 16. What are QR codes? They're the black and white matrix barcodes that can be scanned on our class iPad minis for quick retrieval of math sums and differences for self-checking or for creative writing prompts. Oh the possibilities are endless!

Thanks to Ryan, one half of our Tech Support team, we had the desktop computers and iPad minis up and running this week!

What a week it was!

Next week we explore more fables and folktales, make connections, and begin Topic 2 in Math--Addition and Subtraction. Rest up! We sure will be busy!