Wow! What a week we had last week! Our school had our school spirit week leading up to today’s Super Bowl with themed days all week. Our class really got into the spirit! We also were contacted by a school in Canada that challenged us to complete their one week fitness challenge called Burp-it-On. We gladly completed the challenge and made sure to pass the challenge along to all of the other awesome schools in the Millville School District. Click on the Storify video below for a recap of our week:
This week is a shortened week due to a teacher in-service on Friday. In addition to our academic goals this week, we also have the opportunity to participate in a very worth while cause, Jump Rope for Heart on Wednesday after school. In order to participate, students need to have raised at least $5 in donations and have a signed permission slip. Jump Rope for Heart will take place Wednesday starting at 4:00.
We are also having our 2nd annual Valentine’s Day dance on Thursday, February 11th from 4-5:30. Cost is $3 per student and must be paid by Wednesday. ALL students must have someone to pick them up by 5:30! I hope to see many of my students come and enjoy the fun in the gym! During the afternoon on the 11th, we will be having our class Valentine’s Day celebration. Students will be making Heart Healthy berry smoothies and sharing the love with classmates. Please be sure that if you are sending in Valentine’s Day cards that you include all students! A list with names and correct spellings was sent home last week. If you need another, please let me know!
On to the not so fun stuff… we have been having a hard time getting along in class these days. I’m not sure of the cause, but I do know that being stuck indoors all the time due to the weather is not helping! I have begun using Class Dojo to help students be more aware of their behaviors, both positive and negative. On Friday, I sent home an information sheet for you to use to set up a parent account. With the parent account, you will have the ability to keep tabs on how your child is behaving throughout the day. You will also have the capability to message me with any concerns or questions. Please be aware that I did activate a privacy setting that shuts messaging off between 10 PM and 7 AM, any messages sent during those hours will not be received until the following day. All messages go straight to my cell phone Class Dojo App and I will respond as soon as possible. So far, I have found that this is working very well and students are excited to know how they are doing each day.
Learning Goals for this week:
We will be reading a story about record holders in nature entitles, “Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest.” We will be focusing on use graphic images such as maps, pictures, captions, and graphs to gain information that will better help us understand the information. Our vocabulary words are: average, depth, deserts, erupted, outrun, peak, tides, and waterfalls. We will be having a vocab quiz on Thursday.
We are continuing our study of fractions this week. We will be using fractions strips to help us compare fractions with unlike denominators. Fractions are always a tough concept for kids to get. Here are some ways that you can help your child better understand their usefulness in real life:
1. Include your child in cooking and baking recipes that use fractions.
2. Have your child help you measure things around the house.
3. Use common terms like half, third, fourths when having your child fill things around the house
We are starting a mini unit this week learning about famous African Americans and their contributions to our lives. Each day students will learn about a different famous African American. At the end of the unit, students will have a book that they have made documenting the contributions of these important people.
We are beginning a mini unit on the water cycle this week. The video below gives an overview of the complete water cycle:
As you can see though this week may be short it is PACKED with opportunities for learning and fun! We are definitely earning that 4 day weekend! Please remember there is NO SCHOOL on Friday the 12th or Monday the 15th. Enjoy the extra time with your kiddos! I know that I will miss them!
Last week was an AWESOME start to 2016! I can tell that we are on the way to making huge strides as we work through the end of the 2nd marking period. I want to say thank you to may students and their families as they adapted so easily to our new homework format. I had 98% completion of all flipped math lessons on Sophia.org and 100% completion of all literature circle questions posted on Edmodo. I found that having time in class to practice applying skills has been very beneficial. We will continue with this format this week as well.
Makerspaces update: All supplies have been bought and bins have been put together!
Each box contains a challenge, puzzle, or creative activity to help students extend upon their learning and think creatively. Students are SUPER excited to get their hands on these! I have an even bigger surprise for them this week! I wrote a grant for Sphero 2.0’s and the grant was accepted by the Millville Board of Education. These Spheros will give students the opportunity to try out coding in a real world challenge as they code the robotic balls to complete a maze.
Weekly Learning Goals:
This week we will be reading “Seeing Stars” in class. Our focus skill will be using graphic sources.
Vocabulary words are: dim, gas, gigantic, ladle, patterns, shine, and temperature.
We will also be reading a chapter a night in our novels and responding to an open ended question on Edmodo.
We will be wrapping up topic 8 this week which was our intro into the concept of Division. Students will have a test on Friday.
We will beginning our unit on systems this week. Systems exist all around and even within us! We will start our by exploring different ecosystems this week focusing on identifying producers, consumers.
We will be looking at graphic sources in Social Studies as well as Language arts this week. In addition, we will be wrapping up chapter 2 reviewing types and purposes for communities.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year- until you break out the glitter that is! We have finally finished our mid marking period assessments which leaves us with a little time to get crafty and creative to make some festive gifts for our families. While most of the year we are working hard on curriculum and data driven instruction, I like to spend our last days before break pretending to be elves! We sing carols, make gifts and cards, and generally just enjoy being together. This year it is even more special as we have just completed our unit on how holidays are celebrated around the world. It is so rewarding to see my students discussing the illustrations they are using on cards and how they relate to something that they do in another country.
For those of you new to our blog, we have been virtually traveling around the world over the last 2 weeks learning about how Christmas is celebrated in many different countries. We journeyed to Sweden, Finland, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, England, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, and the United States. For each country we located it on the map, learned how to say Merry Christmas, watched a short video showing how families decorate and celebrate, read an informational article, answered some questions related to our research, created a small poster, and listened to each countries holiday music. Below is our interactive bulletin board we created for this unit as well as a word cloud of all of our new holiday greetings.
On Monday night, our third, fourth, and fifth grade students participated in our annual Holiday Concert. It was a wonderful evening of music, artwork, and community.
Another exciting event for our classroom was being nominated for an Eddie (Edublog Award) for best class blog. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to know that people actually read what we put out on this site! Thank you to those who nominated us and voted for us! We will keep you updated as the results come in!
The month of December is often one that is crazy busy for most people. It is no different here in Room 11! The only difference is instead of hitting the crowds and shopping, we are creating, writing, crafting, coding, and working hard each day. We started off this month by publishing our first official writing piece. Students worked hard to write about a time they lent a helping hand to someone. They then met with other students to peer edit their work, met with me to finalize changes that needed to be made, and finally used Microsoft OneDrive to type and share their documents with me. We are officially authors!
Peer editing notes, Microsoft OneDrive
After we finished publishing, we set out to travel the world and learn about how holidays are celebrated in other countries. We are learning about their traditions, foods, songs, and languages. For each country we visit, we locate it on our map, learn how to say Merry Christmas (or other holiday greetings), and listen to holiday music in their native language. We were fortunate enough to have a FaceTime with my sister-in-law, Mrs. Phifer, who shared how Christmas is celebrated in Germany. She read us a story in German, answered our questions, and shared many of her favorite German holiday traditions with us. Check out the video she made for us to remember our chat:
Our Christmas Around the World Map
We also did some creative writing and crafting to help decorate our classroom and hallway for the holidays. While it may all look like fun and games, there was a lot of measuring, writing, proof-reading, and cooperative work going on to create our own Holiday wonderland!
On December 8th, we participated in the Hour of Code. This yearly coding challenge was created to have students experience working with code (the language of the computer) and learn about careers in the field of computer sciences. This year my students worked on coding Starwars, Minecraft, Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Disney Infinity, and Flappy Birds. Students had to use code to create a pattern for their character to move through a maze or complete a task. They worked on all forms of devices- laptops, desktops, and Ipads. Check out the link and try it yourself! It really is a lot of fun and can be modified to challenge even the most experienced coders I know! Hour of Code
To finish out our week we will be visiting Spain, Mexico, Sweden, France, Ireland, Poland, and Finland to learn about their traditions. We will be wrapping up Unit 2 in our Reading series on Friday. In math we will beginning to explore the idea of division. We are also preparing for our Holiday Concert on December 14th.
While many are planning their shopping strategies already for the weekend, I’m a firm believer in taking time instead to give thanks for what I have already in my life. This week is always one of my favorite as a teacher. Not only do I get to help my students develop an attitude of gratitude through reflection activities and webquests about the first Thanksgiving, but I also get to spend time with parents during our annual parent/teacher conferences. I really enjoy getting to meet and share the awesome things my students are doing with their parents!
In preparation for our conferences this year I did something a little different. I found an amazing freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers that helped to make sure that our time in conferences was purposeful. The first image below is a questionnaire I sent home the week before conferences for parents to reflect on how they are seeing their child progress so far this year. I was very happy to have the majority of my class return these! This allowed me to have time prior to our assigned conferences to gather resources and materials to best be prepared for our meetings. The second image below is another freebie find that I used to help me be more focused with my concerns (I tend to be easily distracted during conferences telling parents how awesome their kids are!) 🙂 ) This form is a take away that parents can take home and share with their child. It breaks down their grades and areas of success and concern in classroom behaviors. I must say that I did not create either of these forms, so please join me in thanking the lovely ladies who did create them and posted them on TPT for all of us to use! Thank you! Clicking on the picture will take you to each of their TPT stores to enjoy these FREE downloads!
Parent Questionnaire From Zanah McCauley
Teacher Forms to Help with Conference Preparation from More Time 2 teach
This week we will be taking a virtual field trip back to the first Thanksgiving courtesy of Scholastic.com. This webquest is very well put together and a wonderful resource full of videos and text resources to share with students. Students love seeing how the pilgrims lived and hearing how they spoke. As a culminating activity each year, I make hardtack with my class. Hardtack was a food staple during the passage over on the Mayflower as well as when they first were setting up their settlement here. The image below is a link to the Scholastic site.
First Thanksgiving Webquest from Scholastic.com
Finally, I would like to leave you with a heart felt thanks for being a part of our classroom! Below is a link to my annual Thanksgiving video. Each year I choose a song that has a message of thanks and have students compose visuals to express their gratitude. This year we worked with hashtags to develop a concept of how hashtags are useful in grouping ideas and concepts. Please enjoy! Our song this year is the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Theme.
This (short) week we will be learning about the election process. Students will be working in cooperative groups to research different types of leadership around the world as well as the voting process for different countries. We will spend all morning Monday gathering information and creating a visual to share with the class during presentations on Tuesday. Be prepared, your kids may be nagging you to go vote on Tuesday (part of my evil plan muhahahahahaha)!
Soap box moment- Please remember to take a few minutes out of your day on Tuesday and vote. This year we are voting for school board and local elections only. Voter turn out has been very low in recent years. These elections are critical to our community as they directly impact our schools, communities, and state. I take my kids with me each year so that they can see the process. You are allowed to do this! There are so many people who have fought so hard for ALL of us to have the RIGHT to VOTE! It is only right that we honor their struggle by voting.
We have off on Thursday and Friday so that teachers around the state can attend the NJEA conference. Since it is a shortened week, we will not be starting a new story. We will also be wrapping up our Topic 4 in math with a test on Tuesday.
Hopefully this week will bring back the sun! These rainy days are no fun! We did try to make the best this week by using our favorite “go to” indoor recess solution, GoNoodle.com. This website was a true sanity saver this week! Take a peek at the video below showing one of our favorite GoNoodle activities, “Secret Handshakes.”
We also were gifted with dictionaries by our local ELKS. Every year they deliver dictionaries to the third graders all over the district. These dictionaries are the students to keep! They were so excited! I actually had to tell them to stop reading them later that day so we could get our math done! (a pretty good problem to have for a teacher)
We wrapped up the 1st half of the 1st marking period on Friday. This is the first year that your child will be bringing home a Mid Marking Period Report. It looks very similar to our report cards. These reports, while very useful and informative, can cause anxiety for both parents and students. Here is my philosophy- this is just showing you where your child is at the current moment. It is not the final report for the marking period. I take time to add comments when necessary to help students make corrections and raise grades for their actual report cards. If you have any questions or concerns, please CONTACT ME!!!!!!! I can be easily reached via email at email@example.com. If you’d rather talk to me via a phone conference or meet with me in person, please call the school and we can set that up (856-327-6101). Also, so that you are not caught off guard and can better monitor your child’s progress, be sure to sign up for the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. To do this follow these steps:
1. visit the Millville Public Schools website (www.millvillenj.gov)
2. Click on the Parents tab
3. Click on the link for Infinite Campus Information
4. Complete the 2 online forms, once complete you will be emailed an activation code with directions for how to access your child’s grades.
Once you have done this, you will have 24/7 access to your child’s grades. I update my grade book at least once a week. You will see if they have missing assignments, how they are doing on classwork, and their test grades. You will also be able to email me directly from that site with any questions regarding specific grades.
Another great way to stay informed is to subscribe to this blog (input your email to the right), and also to sign up for Remind. Once you are signed up for Remind, you will receive texts about upcoming tests and other important class information. Follow the steps below:
The week is a short week for the students. They will have off on Friday so that the staff can attend a professional development day. On Tuesday they will have a substitute. We have discussed substitute behavior and I am sure that all will go well. I try very hard not to take off unless it is important. Unfortunately this month there are multiple times that I will be out. Once this week, again on the 22-23 as I am attending a leadership conference, and finally I am hoping NOT to get called for jury duty, but it is a possibility during the last week of the month (cross your fingers!). We will still be working very hard even though the week is short!
We will be reading an informational story called, “Supermarket” this week. We will learn how food gets to the supermarkets. Our focus skill will be compare and contrast. See the link below to review that concept at home. Our vocabulary words for the week are as follows:
1. Section- noun. part or division of something
2. Store- 1. noun. a place where things are sold 2. verb. to put things away until they are needed.
3. Spoiled- verb. 1. to become bad or not good to eat. 2. to injure the character or disposition of
4. Traded- verb. to exchange one thing for another.
5. Laundry- 1. noun. clothes, towels, and other such items that need to be washed or have just been washed. 2. adjective. used for doing laundry
6. Shelves- noun. a horizontal board on a wall or in a cupboard, used for holding or storing things
7. Thousands- noun or adjective. ten hundred, 1,000
8. Variety- noun. a selection of different things
We will have a test on these vocab words, the compare and contrast concept, and long vowel digraphs that form the long 0, a, and e sounds on Thursday.
We will be wrapping up Topic 2 this week with a test on Tuesday. We will then be working with adding 3 digit numbers. We are going to ease into this by using number models and manipulatives. Check out the video below to see help explain what this looks like. I know it seems like a drawn out way to add, but trust me it will help in the long run when we start regrouping!
We will be moving away from our first unit of discovery, States of Matter and beginning our second, Weather. Our first topic covered will be types of clouds. We will finish out the week with a pretty cool experiment that will have it “raining” in the classroom! And since no week would be complete without a silly song stuck in your head, click the video below at your own risk!
We will be having a unit 1 vocabulary quiz on Thursday. The following words will be included:
Fun Friday Math Centers! Math Duel App and Mobymax.com are some of our favorites!
One month down! Where did the time go?! In the past month, we spent a log of time setting up our routines and getting used to our daily schedule. I think we FINALLY have it set! I want to take some time to explain to you what life in our room looks like on an average day. Take a peek at our schedule below:
9:15-9:30- Morning Meeting- During this time we are learning how to greet each other in a new language everyday! Ask you child how to say hello in any of the following languages: Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, French, Italian, Sign Language, Hindu, Swahili, Spanish, German, and I’m sure I’m missing a few! We are up to 13 different languages! We also take some time to “check in” with each other during this meeting to set the tone for a successful day.
9:30-11ish- Language Arts- During this time we have 4-5 mini-lessons and go to 4-5 centers. I follow the Daily 5 approach to teaching. This allows for short periods of focused learning (mini lessons lasting about 10-15 minutes) broken up by time in centers practicing our Language Arts skills. Each day we will have a mini lesson in each of the following areas- spelling/vocab, grammar, reading strategies, and writing strategies. Our centers focus on the skills learned in the mini lessons as well as reinforcing skills we’ve learned previously. We have centers that focus on Word Work (vocabulary), Listening to Reading, Reading to Self, Reading to Someone, Guided Reading, and Working on Writing. The work done in centers is done continuously throughout the week and only graded on Fridays.
11ish-12 and 1-1:30- Math- We begin each math lesson with a common core review that asks students to practice a variety of skills. After we discuss that we move on to the day’s lesson including a short video to introduce the concept, guided practice and independent practice. Our math class is divided by recess and lunch. After we return from lunch and take our bathroom break, we do some math centers. During this time, I will work with students who are struggling with the concept in small groups while the others are practicing the concept in a variety of ways (ipad apps, mobymax website, etc).
1:30-2:15- Science- By far one of our favorite times of the day! We will conduct experiments, read about science concepts, and interact with different apps and web sites throughout the year during this time. We are currently wrapping up our first area of study- matter. We will also be studying the following areas this year: Ecosystems, Life Cycles, Weather and Climate, and Engineering and Design.
3:00-3:30- Social Studies- This year our focus is on the elements and interactions in a community. I am hoping to have a few guest speakers from our community come in to help explain how we all play a part in making our community run smoothly.
Whew! After seeing it all in writing, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted at the end of the day! As you can see, we work hard ALL day! That being said, we do have fun too. We have recess daily before lunch to make sure we’ve worked up a healthy appetite. We also do alter our schedules a bit on Fridays to allow for fun math centers (more game oriented with some sneaky learning built in). I tell them daily we work hard, but we will play hard too throughout the year! Speaking of hard work here are our learning goals for this week as well as some resources to help you support learning at home:
This week we will be reading the story, “Kumak’s Fish.” We will be continuing to work with the concept of Sequence, or order of events. In addition to this we will be completing our first full writing piece, a friendly letter to a teacher that student’s would like to thank for teaching them something in the past. All letters will be “mailed” to the teachers on Friday. Our grammar skill this week is classifying sentences as declarative (statements) or interrogative (questions). The presentation below will help you to review this concept at home:
Our spelling concept this week will focus on using base words to help with meaning. Our spelling words are: using, getting, easiest, swimming, heavier, greatest, pleased, emptied, leaving, worried, strangest, freezing, funniest, angrier, shopped. While I do not give traditional spelling tests, students are tested on their ability to explain the spelling concept for the week on the weekly test. I will be trying something different for homework this Thursday to help better prepare students for the weekly reading test. Stay tuned!
Vocabulary words this week:
Gear- noun. the equipment or clothing needed for a particular activity.
Parka- noun. a warm, heavy jacket with a hood
Splendid- adjective. very good, excellent
Twitch- verb. to make small, jerky movements
Willow- noun. a tree with narrow leaves and thing branches that bend easily.
Yanked- verb. to pull with a sudden, sharp movement.
We will be working on estimating and rounding this week. This is a difficult skill for students to comprehend. The short video below demonstrates how I teach them in class (minus the silly rap). We have to fully get rounding before we can start estimating.
We will be completing our unit on matter this week and taking a quiz on Thursday.
We will be working with how to read and interpret graphs this week.
I saw this image posted on a friend’s Facebook page and just fell in love with it! Autumn is truly a magical time and one of my two favorite seasons. I love fall and spring because the changes that take place in just a matter of weeks are just breath taking! I am looking forward to some fall nature walks with the class to learn about the science behind the changes we see in nature around us. Last week was amazing! Our first full week together, our first story, finished our first math chapter, and completed our first assessments of the year. I am very impressed with my class! This week we are going to continue with our learning momentum by working on the following goals:
This week we will be reading the story, “What About Me.” Our reading strategy that we will be working on is identifying the sequence, or order of events, in a story. You can help your child work on this at home by reading together (anything will do! Short books, chapter books, magazine articles, comic books all work) and asking them to tell you what happened first, next, last, etc. Below is the presentation that I will be using with the class to introduce this concept.
Carpenter- noun. someone whose work is building and repairing things made of wood.
Carpetmaker- noun. A person who makes rugs for floors
Knowledge- noun. What you know
Marketplace- noun. A place where people meet to buy and sell things.
Merchant- noun. A person who buys and sells goods for a living.
Plenty- noun. A full supply, all that you need; a large enough amount or number
Straying- verb. To lose your way; wander, roam
Thread- noun. A very thin string made of strands of cotton, silk, wool, or nylon, spun and twisted together
This week we will be working with making nouns plural. We will review the rules for making nouns plural as seen in the video below:
We will be beginning Topic 2 in math this week. Our focus will be on addition and subtraction. We will learn the properties of addition this week as well as some tricks to help us add using mental math (this may look a bit different than what you may remember the Prezi below should be helpful).
Properties of Addition (commutative, associative, and zero)
Adding using Mental Math- The Common Core Edition
This week we will be continuing our work with states of matter. We will be conducting 3 experiments to learn more about how atoms look in each state of matter as well as how matter can change from one state to another.
We will be looking at what it takes to keep a community running this week. We will be reading about the elements of a community in our Social Studies book and creating a postcard highlighting our favorite part of our community.
Monday: Addition practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet
Tuesday: Addition practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet
Wednesday: Addition practice worksheet (mental math), Reading comprehension worksheet
Thursday: Subtraction practice worksheet (please be sure your child shows their work!), Reading comprehension worksheet, STUDY VOCABULARY
WOW! I am so excited about this year! We got off to an AMAZING start last week! Here are some high lights:
Welcome to our newest Bacon Bear!
We celebrated our first birthday of the year healthy schools style!
Trying out our new playground equipment! Future Lacrosse players in the making!
We created class rule posters
We learned about being Bucket Fillers and pledged to be a Bully Free Zone this year!
We will be doing some pretty epic things this year and I have MANY surprises up my sleeves, but it’s going to be hard to top our first class music video (while it’s a little hard to hear them, we changed all the lyrics to Whip Nae Nae to relate it to school!)
Every Sunday, while I am planning our lessons for the week, I will also update this blog. In each update I will post our learning goals for the week along with helpful videos or tips to make homework a breeze! We will have homework every night except Fridays. Also, please remember to check and sign your child’s agenda EVERY DAY (even Fridays). On the front of your child’s homework folder you will see a communication sheet that I will update daily. They receive a sticker or smiley face for each task they complete that day: have their agenda signed, turned in any homework, completed classrwork assignments and have had a good day behavior wise. If for some reason you see a check mark any any of those columns, please peek in the folder for a note explaining the cause. They will either have a “Sour Note” for forgetting their homework (they can complete it and turn it in for the next day. I accept late work within reason), a “Bitter Note” for any behavior issues (I will ask that it is signed and returned to show that you received it), or an “Uh-Oh Note” explaining why classwork was not completed (this work is then added to their homework to be completed that night).
This week’s learning goals:
We will be learning about the different genres (types) of literature we will read this year. Below is a short video that defines each genre for you to review with your child. We will be creating graphic organizers in our interactive notebooks to help us study and remember these throughout the year. There will be a short quiz on Friday to test our skills at classifying fiction or non fiction pieces of writing.
We will be learning different ways to read and write numbers as well as reviewing place value. Good Luck getting this song out of your head! (I’m sorry in advance for the many silly songs that you will be stuck singing this year!)
We will be doing a lot of experiments this year! Before we can do any of them though, we need to review proper safety procedures. We will be spending time this week creating safety posters to serve as reminders for us.
This week we will be learning about how departments in the community work together to keep us healthy and safe. Our class jobs are set up to model these community groups. We will also be working on locating we in the world we live! Sorry no cute video for this one!