Archive for January, 2010

Weekly Overview January 25, 2010

Reminder  *No school on Friday – Staff Development Day.  ***Haiti money collection all week!!!  (see  social studies)

End of the quarter is this Thursday.

Language Arts:  Hope everyone has helped their child in deciding who they are going to do their Black History Month report on.  We will discuss this morning.
Homework:  Your child should be working on their Biography each night for at least 30 minutes.  Please follow the rubric and checklist.  The completed report is due next Monday, February 1, 2010.  I  would encourage a paragraph a night to be written.  The Biography should be in your child’s words.  If your child wants to bring in some of their work this week to show me, that would be great.  As always, your child should be reading each night for at least 30 minutes.  I will give cursive sheets  (three sheets) that will be due Thursday.  Your children seem to love practicing their cursive!  I, at least, get lots of positive feedback from them.

Last week we got through a lot of our Extended Response work – I did not expect to get through so much.  So, this week we  (and next) will focus again on Expository Writing.  This week our only focus will be the first paragraph of our writing-the introduction.  The intro will consist of three parts.  The first is the “grabber” or the sentence that gets the reader’s attention.  This can be a question, an exclamation,  onomatopoeia -some kind of interesting sentence.  The next sentence should answer the question being asked.  The last sentence or two should be the “preview” for the paper-at least two details that the writer is going to tell us about.  We are going to spend all week – during writing – on developing our introduction of our paper.

We will also be reading our AR books, reading our own and other’s introductions, reading in our Map Essentials Books and reading from our Time Magazine.

I will print out your child’s AR report today and your child will have it with them tonight.  Please ask your child where they are in AR.  They should know.  Thanks for your help.

Math:  We will be reviewing today for our Math Unit 5 Test tomorrow.  Your child should have their Math Journal 1 with them today for review and study.  I will do a math project on Wednesday and we will start Math Unit 6 on Thursday-please look for Unit 6 Parent Letter on Thursday.  Our math project will be a fun one!!!  Illusions-this lesson will allow your child to “experience geometric and other seasonal designs through the phenomenon known as persistence of vision.”  Look for your child’s work on Wednesday.

We are also working the the ISAT math practice book.  There will be no homework in either ISAT book this week.

Homework:  Monday study for the Unit 5 test.  Tuesday -no math homework.  Wednesday your child must articulate the math project “Illusions” to you.  Extra credit:  Your child can write a paragraph describing the project and what they did.  Thursday:  Look for Parent Letter Unit 6 and 6l1 homework.

Social Studies:  We will be reading about influential African Americans and their contributions and discussing our Biographies that everyone should be working on each night.  We will also read an article from our Time Magazine.

****Most importantly, we will be collecting money for Haiti all week!!!!  This money will go to Red Cross!!!  Please give change or send in a check-the check can just be made out to Red Cross or Ray School.

Science:  Science!  With writing, reading and math ISAT practice, Science is often difficult to get to.  I am going to focus this next month on the above topics.  In March through June, I am going to do a HUGE push on Science (which I love)  I will do at least two units during these months-incorporating much of our reading with science.  Your children are not tested in Science and they will be in fourth grade, so having a big push in science at the end of third grade, I think, will be a good thing.  (especially coming from a 4th grade teacher perspective!)

Art:  Well, one so-so art lesson this year is not bad.  The Monogram lesson-I will either not do it next year or change it greatly-was, well, not great.  It was, in general, too many steps – I would simplify if taught again!  This week – Monogram Prints – we’ll see….

Weekly Overview January 19, 2010

Ask your children what they know about Dr. Martin Luther King……   (and about Haiti)….

Next month is Black History Month.  Your child will have a project to do.  They will choose a person to write a biography on.  I will be sending home some rubrics and guidelines to help your child get started.  They will write a report-5 paragraphs long (using the rubric and guidelines as  their guide).  They will then create a film strip of scenes from their person’s life.  I have worksheets, a rubric and a check list-I will send all this home by Thursday.  In the meantime, each student will need a shoebox, cereal box, etc.-some kind of box-to pull their filmstrip through.  If you have a box or two, please send them in.  They might end up decorating the box at home, but they will get it started in school.  I would like to have these boxes by Monday at the latest-thanks.   The entire project will be due February 8th-Monday.

I hope you heard about the Humanology Mobile that your child saw last week-ask them what they did and what they learned!

Language Arts:  Again, we are reading short stories, answering questions and reviewing our answers to see where we need to improve.    Your child will be reading in their AR book, writing in their Journal and also writing in their Writer’s Notebook throughout the week.  Ask your child about Synonyms and Antonyms.  Play around with examples.

This week’s writing will focus around writing an Extended Response: using their reading and critical-thinking skills to develop an in-depth response in writing to a passage they have read.  In answering an Extended Response, students should:  (your child will have a sheet with them today titled:  How to answer ISAT questions-please keep and review with them.)  In summary:  The question needs to be answered-Does their opening sentence answer the question-we talk about using  fun, interesting, getting the readers attention first statements.  They should then pull three (at least 2) details out of the text to support the answer.  Then in a new paragraph, your child needs to make a self connection -example…This reminds me of….  (or)  Once when I….    The instructors of the ISAT’s are telling us that the information that your child writes about from the text and their own self-connection should be about the same in length.  These two parts of the writing should be balanced.  (This is different from last year.)  Then they should have a conclusion:  This can be stated as  … In conclusion….  Or I am showing the students how to re-state the beginning statement to reinforce their  response.  Again, I will be sending home some worksheets that will help for you to review with your child.

Homework:  Wednesday – Lesson 9 in the ISAT book-due Thursday.   Three cursive sheets will be sent home today-due Friday.  Reading at least 30 minutes per night.

Math:  Lessons  5.10-5.12 will be completed.  The unit 5 test will be next Tuesday.  We will review on Monday.

Homework:  Lessons Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  In addition ISAT Lesson 8 tonight (multiplication) and Lesson 10 on Thursday (estimation).  Both lessons are due the day after assigned.  Thanks for your help.

Social Studies:  We will continue to work in our Time Magazines to continue to learn about the world we live in.

Art:  WE will do the Monogram lesson this week-last week we have the Learning First Tests and we did not get to this.  But, did your child tell you about the Mirror we worked with (math/art)  We made mirror images.  What does this mean?  Can your child tell you about mirror images, slides, flips, rotations (25. 50. 75 degree turns/rotations)?

Weekly Overview January 11,2010

Welcome to a new busy week…

Language Arts:  Much of our time over the next two months will be spent reading short passages, working on different strategies in answering questions related to the text.  Some of the beginning lessons, for example, will focus on root words, compound words, prefixes and suffixes, etc.  The lessons will move into drawing inferences, cause and effect, author’s purpose, etc.  I will walk the students through some of these lessons in class, grading the work.  But, some of these lessons will be completed at home-thanks for your help.

We will also be reading in our AR books,  Map Essential Books and doing some of our language arts through our Time Magazine literature.

Homework:  As always, your child should be reading at least 30 minutes each night.  What AR book are they reading?  In addition, on Monday and Wednesday evenings, your child will be completing one of these above mentioned lessons-you will see the “Measuring Up Express” ISAT Book I mentioned above.  For this week- Monday your child will complete lesson 3, reading the focus page, then the passage, then answering the questions on page s 13 and 14.  They will complete lesson 5 for homework on Wednesday.  Hopefully this will become routine and we will get a rhythm down in completing these lessons.  I think they will be very helpful in preparing for the ISAT but also these lessons follow the third grade curriculum similar to our Open Court Series-so it is all good  reading practice.  Homework will also include cursive worksheets-your child will have them today and they are due on Friday.

Math:  We will be completing lessons 5.6-5.9 (5.6 was only partially completed-homework for tonight will be a fact practice sheet).

Again, homework will be a fact sheet tonight, lessons 5.7-5.9 Tuesday through Thursday.  In addition, your child will also be bring home an ISAT coach lesson book for some extra math practice.  We are working on completing the practice test and grading it-hopefully we will complete this today.  Please look how your child did.  (pages 231-251 when you get the book).  Each day we will try and complete one lesson in class and I will be giving an extra lesson for completion at home Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Look for these this week-your child will know what lesson to complete.

Both these extra reading and math books need to be returned each day-we will be working in them every day-thanks.

Social Studies:  Our work will be reading and responding to stories in our Time Magazine-look for these on Friday.

Science:   Our new FOSS Unit is Earth Materials.  We will begin this tomorrow-look for parent letter tomorrow to help introduce you/your child to this unit.

Art:  Our lesson last week turned out really great-I have laminated their work-look for it outside our room.  Their Echo Masks will be going home this week.  Our lesson this week is titled “Design A Monogram”.  Looks like fun!

Again, thanks in advance for the extra help in preparing your child for the ISAT’s.  Your children have told me that they are finding the extra work that we are doing in the classroom to be helpful.

We could use some extra snacks.  Thanks.

Also, please make sure your child has some kind of red pencil, pen, marker, etc. to use when grading their work-we do this every day.  Your child should also have several pencils in their desk-please ask your child if they do.  Thanks.

Weekly Overview – January 4,2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Here’s wishing everyone a good, happy new year!!  Your children have come back to school relaxed, happy and ready to learn!  Thank you!!

A few new routines:

Cursive Writing:  We will be practice cursive writing over the next few months.  Your children will practice some of this at home.  Each Monday (or first day of the school week) your child will get an about 5 page packet of work sheets.  These sheets will be due each Friday.  The worksheets are mainly fourth grade sheets (but some are third).  On the bottom of some of the sheets is a practice paragraph that should be completed as they can-they do not need to write the whole paragraph.  If they do, I will count it as extra credit, but they should try and write at least one sentence from the paragraph.  This will give them some good, extra practice.

Writing:  Each week, we will be working on Expository writing.  Ask your child what they did today and what words they used.  (First, next, then, second, etc.)  Our writing time will be focused on answering the question being asked, writing out our thoughts clearly using information from the text (what we read) and balancing our writing with a self connection ( relating what we read to something in our own lives or background information)

Math ISAT Workbook:  Your child as a new ISAT practice math book that we will work in about 30 minutes a day.  I have already looked through the book and it seems like it will be really beneficial for test practice, but also reinforces our math concepts and skills from our Everyday Math.  We will still be completing four lessons per week in our math program.

Language Arts:  As stated above, we will be spending some of our time on Expository  Writing.  Several children came back to school ready to take an AR test-they were very proud of themselves!  Our next read aloud will be a Boxcar Children story from the series.  Homework:  I will leave the homework this week working on their cursive worksheets (due Friday) and reading at least 30 minutes per evening on their AR book.

Math:  Lessons 5.3-5.6 will be completed.  Homework:  Monday through Thursday.

Science:  No science this week.  I will start a new unit next week-more information to follow.

Social Studies:  We will work in our Time Magazine this week-learning about how some children go to school in Bangladesh (floating schools).  Some of our writing will also focus around this article.

Art:  Letter Designs – the focus is that simple letter shapes can be used as elements of complex designs.  Your child will combine two or more letter shapes to make LINEAR or RADIAL DESIGNS.  After Wednesday, ask your child about these “designs”.

Lastly:  SNACKS- We could use some more snack.  Thanks.

Hope everyone had a nice break.

Sincerely, Jean Clement