Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finding Fiction, Paws, Personal Narratives, Multiplication and More

Our days sure have been filled with learning!

In Reading, we launched Reader's Workshop and searched our classroom library for "just right" books. We are working to build our fluency so that when we read, it sounds as though we are talking. We use post-its to track thinkmarks when we discover an unfamiliar word, have a question about the text, learn new information, recognize a character trait... The list goes on!

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During Reader's Workshop we also practice our oral reading with weekly poems, read current event articles on our iPad minis, and enjoy word work practicing our spelling words. 

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While our first unit focused on fiction, characters, setting, and plot, this week we launched our second unit with a focus on informational texts. 

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Ask us about this week's read aloud--a literary nonfiction text. 

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Students who continue to be role models and show expected behavior that is safe, respectful, and responsible have earned themselves valuable Paws which can be turned in for $100 BBQ bucks! Teachers and staff are always on the lookout for that Paws-itive behavior--both in and out of the classroom. 

In Writer's Workshop students chose a "seed" idea from a larger "watermelon" idea for their first personal narrative. These student accounts range from family vacations to the birth of siblings to adventures in a haunted house! Students focused on choosing an entertaining beginning to hook their reader. Following their detailed main event using dialogue, sound words, and varied sentence starters, writers closed with an extended ending reflecting on the story's main event.

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This week, students met with their writing partners to peer edit their pieces before teacher conferences.

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In math, we dove right into multiplication and division. We connected multiplication to repeated addition of equal groups. For example 4 x 6 = 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 24. We have learned our 2s, 5s, 9s, and 10s table. Below, Andrew is using his nines finger tricks. We worked with building arrays, and this week we explored the Distributive Property which taught us to break apart large arrays into two smaller arrays. 

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Practice with problem solving has continued using Exemplar word problems. It is important that we show all of our thinking and use math terms in our explanation.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Welcome Back!

We are four days in to third grade and we have hit the ground running!

Our first week has been spent getting to know each other, getting acclimated to third grade and the expected (and unexpected) behaviors throughout our school, reviewing concepts from second grade, getting lost in books, tweeting, and having fun!




Morning Meeting Marvels
Following morning announcements, the Pledge of Allegiance, our Bulldog pledge, and breakfast or snack, we come together as a class for Morning Meeting. At this time, we build community by sharing a greeting with our peers, discussing the day's schedule and any special activity, activate our brains and bodies with a game or activity, and have the opportunity for student share.

reciting our Bulldog pledge

Calm Classroom

 Morning Meeting greeting

All Aboard!
In addition to our first day photo shoot and an opportunity to share a bit about ourselves in our First Day of School time capsules, we have spent valuable time each day brainstorming and demonstrating examples of expected behavior throughout our school. School-wise, students have been traveling on a Passport Journey earning stickers for their attendance and participation at a number of presentations that have reviewed expected responsible, respectful, and safe behavior in the cafeteria, playground, hallways, assemblies, bathrooms, Outdoor Classroom, Learning Lounge, and classroom.

illustrating cafeteria behaviors

demonstrating playground behavior

modeling hallway behavior

Marvelous Mathematicians
In math we have reviewed many second grade skills that involve addition, subtraction, patterns, place value, and problem solving. Thursday, we "flipped" for two- and three- digit numbers. We will continue to work with place value next week as well as we dive into standard form and expanded form.


Read All About It!
First Day Jitters kicked off our read alouds for the week. Students were surprised to find out that the main character, anxious about the first day of school, was actually the teacher! 

Writers have adopted the pattern used in Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book as they share facts about themselves.  

It's hard to say what students liked better in Wednesday's read aloud Peanut Butter & Cupcake-- the story, the humor, or the illustrations. This story led us to discuss what we can do to be a good friend to others--both in and out of the classroom.

Please be sure to read, empty, sign, and return your child's Thursday Communication folder, and have a wonderful long weekend!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hands Off! Rocket Man, A Walk in the PARCC, the Balloon Countdown, an Egg Hunt, and a Frozen-themed Fraction song

Our learning sure has been "hands on" lately.

It's hard to decide where to start!

We conducted an experiment to witness the effects of dirty vs clean hands. And boy, did we see changes--moldy changes!

Last Friday we were fortunate enough to meet Mr. Heission, also known as Rocket Man, and learn a great deal about the space race, rockets, and equipment astronauts use in space.

Our frozen fact families were perfect fits amid a snowy, snowy winter.

Greek and Latin roots such as aqua, mort, struct, mal, phone comprised our forest of root trees. These roots become particularly valuable when determining the meaning of unfamiliar words. For example, knowing that mal means poor or bad, helps us determine the meaning of malnutrition.

Our balloon countdown to PARCC led us on a synonym egg hunt around Room 16...



We have reviewed some test-taking strategies for reading passages and solving word problems. When beginning a new passage it is important to activate our schema and recall background knowledge on the topic. Previewing the questions first gives us a purpose for our reading. Reading questions and bolded words carefully allows us to focus on what is being asked and highlights multiple parts to a question. Finally, slashing the trash eliminates wrong answers and helps narrow our options when responding to multiple choice questions.,d.cWc&psig=AFQjCNFVttdzt1fT5z01woKCsu0o8jJL1w&ust=1430529643750424

Mrs. Killinger was kind enough to let us borrow Dr. Seuss's Hooray for Diffendoofer Day-- a motivational read the day before our first day of PARCC testing.

In math we have kicked off our exploration of fractions. We learned the difference between the numerator and denominator. This fraction video has a Frozen twist I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Information Text, the 100th Day, Pen Pal Letters, a Valentine Exchange, Division, and Google Docs

February may have been snowy and short, but we sure stayed busy!

We continue to dive in to informational texts, use text evidence to support our thinking, and become familiar with the format of passages and questions on the upcoming PARCC test. We have been getting experience with constructed response using excerpts and references in the text.

Our 100th Day was jam-packed. Many kids surely dressed the part! We wrote about life as a 100 year old person, brainstormed enjoyed a 100 calorie snack, and enjoyed puzzles using a hundreds chart.


We've also continued collecting and analyzing data through our Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday spotlights. After collecting and totaling students' guesses, we plot the data on a bar graph after determining an appropriate scale. Finally, we draw conclusions and analyze our findings.

Students were eager to respond to their Floridian pen pals. Along with individual letters, students received maps and facts about the Sunshine State. Writers drafted two column notes as they organized their reply. Some shared about how we celebrated the 100th Day, our Valentine celebration, and the heavy snow we had received. 


We were fortunate enough to take part in a nationwide Valentine Exchange with 21 other elementary classrooms from Hawaii to Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York to name a few.

Topic 7 has introduced us to division! We are finding that multiplication and division are opposite operations and our multiplication facts can help us as we solve division problems.

As we delve deeper into expository writing, we have begun to frame our piece using the expository pillar. Three body paragraphs will focus on three main ideas pertaining to the writer's topic. Some topics include hockey, gymnastics, sharks, Abraham Lincoln, artists' tools, and rocks and minerals. We have also worked together to reconstruct 4 expository pieces using the introduction, main idea headers, and concluding paragraphs as guides on the topics of Abraham Lincoln, the blue whale, Halloween, and types of dogs.


Students have become avid users of their Google Docs accounts as they compose friendly letters, practice spelling words, and publish final drafts. 

And don't forget, students' long term math project is due Wednesday, March 11. I am looking forward to students sharing their math breakfast table, colorful and creative array, and fact family.