Monday, September 29, 2014

Math At Home

Parents, if your child has trouble with their math homework, the instructional video from the day on the enVision Math website can always be watched at home. To access the video after logging in, students can click on the “Explore” button on the right side of the banner. From there they can click on topic, and then select the lesson. They can also access their book once they login. If you want to keep an eye on your child’s topic test scores (even though I’ll aways send them home, as I did last week), after your child logs in and clicks the link at the top that says, “Parents.” You’ll be able to see all of their scores. I showed the children how to access their books, videos, and test scores today, so they should be able to help you if needed. FYI, at the moment there are some issues with the online version of enVisions, and once you login to it, you have to scroll to the bottom of the page to select the correct version that we use, Third Grade, Common Core Edition.

Last week your child should have brought home a set of vocabulary cards for our next topic of study in math, Number Sense: Addition and Subtraction, as well as a rounding chart. It’s possible your child may need to refer to these while doing homework over the next couple of weeks. Your child also should have brought home a rounding game that he/she can play with you using playing cards to help reinforce this skill. They might not be quite ready for the game until later in the week though. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Place Value Presentations

Today the children learned how to use the Educreations app on the iPads. Eventually we'll use this app to teach how we solve problems in math. Today we used it to illustrate standard and expanded form for 6 digit numbers.

Friday, September 19, 2014

We Are Writers and Bloggers!

We are working on writing small moment stories, telling a true story bit by bit, moment by moment. You can help at home when your child is telling you about something that happened. You can ask him/her to tell you their story in very small detail, bit by bit, moment by moment, so you can picture it like a movie. It’s often helpful for a child to rehearse telling a story, listing what happened across their fingers. This helps them remember to tell it in order.

Did your child tell you about blogging this week?  Earlier in the week we read an article together on whether or not plastic bags should be banned. CA has a bill up to ban them. The article gave factual information on both sides of the argument. After reading the article together I asked the children to think about how they felt about banning plastic bags. Then I posed the question to them our class KidBlog. They had to write their thoughts, and support their opinion with at least one fact from the article. This is actually a baby step towards the opinion writing they’ll be doing later in the school year.  I’ve told the kids that the world is their audience for their blog writing, and what better way to prove that then to have parents, siblings, and even grandparents and other families members drop by the blog and leave a comment sharing their opinion! Our class KidBlog is here: Share the link with other family members and join us!

So yes, this means there are actually two blogs. This is my teacher blog that gives updates on what’s going on in the classroom, and everything in our newsletter is posted here. Sometimes I’ll put it up on the SmartBoard and the class will dictate an entry for it. Once I have all the photo permissions, pics and videos will be posted here, too. Then there’s the KidBlog. That’s here: KidBlog blog is based on student academics, such as the opinion writing they just did on banning plastic bags. My plan is that eventually the kids will have their own blogs to summarize articles, write opinion pieces based on what they read, and explain some of what they are learning in school.

Today your child is bringing home their first weekly progress report. This is intended to keep you informed of your child’s academic and social/behavioral progress during the week. Please sign it and have your child put it in their Jungle Book to turn in to me on Monday. 

Please remember that my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns. I also check email frequently. Together we are partners in your child’s education!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Settling Into New Routines and Lessons

Weʼve been working hard to get into the swing of things in third grade. This week weʼve been learning and practicing the routines of reading workshop and rotations in math. We touched on the routines of writing workshop, and will really get into it next week. Once thatʼs set, weʼll add in science and social studies. The students in our class have really done a fantastic job settling into things this week. Itʼs hard to believe weʼve only been in school a couple of weeks!

Today your child is bringing home their first math fact score report. This comes home every month. It needs to be signed and returned. Please understand there is a pretty big difference from their second grade math fact tests to their third grade tests. The number of problems they have to do has increased, and the amount of time they have to do those problems has decreased. This means your childʼs beginning third grade math fact scores may seem much lower than their ending second grade scores. With continued practice they will soon go up. Later this month I will begin adding another layer to their in-school practice with the use of daily addition or subtraction timed fact tests at the beginning of math. It will be a short, 2 mn test with 50 problems. Once a child is able to get a score of 90 or higher three times in a row on one operation, they will no longer have to take the quizzes for that operation (addition/subtraction, etc...), unless the score on their monthly 100 question test falls below 80. Thanks for making sure your child is practicing those math facts at home, and look for him/her to be able to recall each fact within about 2-3 seconds.

Next Friday I will start sending home weekly progress reports. These are intended to keep you informed of your childʼs academic and social/behavioral progress during the week. They will need to be signed and returned on Monday. They will probably look similar to what was used in second grade, only I ask students to write a sentence on them reflecting on their week.

There are a few things you might have around your house that are on our "wish list" for student use in the classroom. They include:
  • Plastic spoons and forks for forgotten ones at snack time
  • Zip lock bags in gallon and sandwich size - so many uses for these
  • Plastic grocery store bags - Great for when kids forget their backpack or need to carry extra stuff home. We also use these for personal trash bags during cold season.
If you're able to donate any of these items it would be greatly appreciated.

Please remember that my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns. I also check email frequently. Together we are partners in your childʼs education!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

An Update From the Awesome Kids of Room 73

Math rotations have started! After our math video and lesson from Mrs. Carnevale we do three rotations during the rest of math time. One is XtraMath to practice our math facts, one is a center game (today was CandyLand Subtraction), and the third is working on the rug with Mrs. Carnevale to do the independent practice work. Sami thinks it was good because we get to move to centers. Lola says,  "It was fun and different from second grade because in second we did games from a math book, and didn't do xtramath for centers." Ben C. says, "You can learn from math games." Chaz likes being able to be with his friends during math rotations.

We've started our reading mini-lessons and reading in our reading spots each day. Amelia says, "We can read on the rug." Gianna likes that we get to go read with pillows. Penley says, "I like it because we get to relax and read with a pillow or chair."  Michael adds that we're learning how to use the reading spot chart to know where our reading spot is each day.

Yesterday were the first kids in Toffolon to set up and use Google Classroom. We opened a Google Doc from Mrs. Carnevale and did our September goal setting on it.  Amelia says, "Goal setting is important because it gives you something to practice and get better at." Lola says, "It makes you try harder for what you set as a goal."

Another tech project we did was go to ABCya and create word clouds all about us. It helps us get to know people in our new class. That was fun, but it wasn't easy.  They came out awesome and are hanging above our lockers.

Third grade is a lot of fun!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Notes From Week Ending Sept. 5, 2014

What a wonderful first week of school weʼve had! Weʼve had fun getting to know our new classmates, and learn our way around our new classroom. The Treasure Hunt and Find a Friend activities were big hits... ask your child to tell you about them! Today we explored apps on the iPads and went to the computer lab to make word clouds all about us. Weʼve also spent quite a bit of time practicing third grade procedures, and talking about what “ready to learn” looks like. We even made a short movie of it on Thursday!

Spelling begins next week. Hereʼs how it works in our classroom... Each Monday the students will take a pretest on their spelling words for the week. If they get 90% or higher they do not have to take the test on Friday. Students who get below 90% will study their words during the week, and take the test on Friday (or Thursday if itʼs a short week). The pretest will come home each Monday in your childʼs Jungle Book, so youʼll know their score. There are a variety of ways your child can study their spelling words, a list of some ideas can be found in the File Cabinet section of our class website. Also, our word lists for the entire year, and a variety of games that go with them, can be found on our class page on the Spelling City website. The link to it be found on spelling page of our class website.

Reading and math logs are coming home today. They should be filled out each night, and stay in the Jungle Book. I collect them on Friday (or Thursday if itʼs a short week). Your childʼs 20mn. of home reading should be a continuation of what they are reading in school, on their “just right” level. Outside of the 20mn. they can, of course, read anything they want. But during that 20mn. they need to read on their level, in order to practice the skills they are learning in the classroom during their reading mini-lesson. In addition to reading for 20 mn. each night, students need to practice their math facts for 10 mn. They will also have a math worksheet to do each night from Monday through Thursday. That will start next week. One of the things I also suggest on weekends is playing board games or card games as a family. Not only does this bring you together, but it also helps children practice counting and other math skills, and it helps their memory and concentration grow. Homework should never be a struggle for your child, either academically or emotionally. If you find that it is, let’s meet and talk about it, and together come up with strategies or modifications to help.

Please remember that my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns. I also check email frequently. Together we are partners in your childʼs education!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The First Day of School - A Blog Entry Written by the Kids of Room 73

Today was the first day of third grade. We didn't have to do any work!

This morning we went to a town meeting in the gym. There we met adults and kids who are new to Toffolon.  We watched a video that reminded us about the rules in the cafeteria, like no running. We watched another video the teachers made to welcome us back to school. They wanted us to come to school because it was too empty and lonely without the kids. All of the teachers even came out of one car in the video. They also played on the playground, and some went down the slide. Mrs. Carnevale was on the swings!

This afternoon we went on a treasure hunt in our classroom. It was to help us get to know where things are in our classroom. We also read a book called The Goodness Gorillas. It's about people being nice to each other, and doing random acts of kindness. We also practiced for fire drills and code red drills.

It was an amazing, awesome day!