Our Week – September 20

We’ve had a busy week.  It began with Dot Day to celebrate working through difficulties and being kind to your self.  We made our marks and now we are seeing where that takes us.  (A line from the book.) On Tuesday we had picture day and then on Wednesday the children wrote letters to introduce you to some of their accomplishments so far.  It was nice to meet so many of you again at curriculum night.  We revised our classroom rules this week and had an assembly where we learned about school rules and expectations.  Landon did a great job representing our class and presenting these new rules to the school.  Thank you Landon.

S.E.L. – Collecting Habits for Success

Over the last few weeks we’ve read a variety of biographies to see if we can discover the habits these famous people have that are leading them to success.  We’ve read about athlete, Michael Jordan, artist, Henri Rousseau and farmer, Snowflake Bentley and scientists, Jane Goodall and Alan Rabinowitz.  We discovered that no matter what their passions, they all had certain habits that helped them succeed.  Here’s our list.

  • They were determined
  • They asked questions
  • They believed in themselves
  • They were kind to themselves and patient.
  • They used imagination and creativity.
  • They never gave up. They persevered.
  • They tried hard.They practiced, practiced, practiced.
  • They wondered.
  • They kept experimenting.
  • They had patience.
  • They did what they loved.

We may add more to our list as we learn about other famous people next week, but for now we have a pretty good beginning.  What will we learn from Margaret Hamilton, Wassily Kandinsky, Billie Jean King and Rachael Carson?  How will we use what we learn to set goals for ourselves in third grade? We’ll see and share with you at our first student-led goal setting conference in late fall.

We’ve begun learning about Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  We discovered there are lots of ways to be “smart” – eight, in fact. We know that everyone is some of all eight of the intelligences, but interests and experiences help us strengthen some more than others. We use some of the intelligences more than others because we find them interesting or we feel good when involved with those kinds of activities.  We’re trying to discover our learning styles so we can use our strengths to our advantage.

Learning More About Place Value

This week began to explore place value through expanded notation and base 10 riddles.  The children are thinking about how groups of ones can become tens, groups of tens can become hundreds and groups of hundreds can become thousands. They have been learning about the power of ten.

They have also been learning to choose just right problems.  There are six to choose from and making selections can be tricky.  Some of the children are ready for more of a challenge – but they are worried that they may not be able to deal with larger amounts. Some of the children are working to remember what to do when subtracting.  It doesn’t work to swap the amounts around.   It’s all good – there is a lot of math learning going on.   I am proud of their effort and determination to work through things that feel difficult.

 

Bits and Pieces

  • We finished reading Word After Word After Word. The children selected their favorite main character and described them as a way to learn about character traits and making inferences.
  • We began School Days According to Humphrey. This is our third chapter read-aloud and is one from a series.
  • We selected books to begin our first book club next week. We defined expectation for book clubs so that everyone is able to participate and support one another. You may want to talk to your child about how important it is to listen to and learn from each other.
  • Our field trip to Camp Lincoln is on Monday, September 30. Children will need snacks and lunches.
  • If you were unable to attend Curriculum Night.  The letter your child wrote is in their folder today.  If you want to stop in to see the things they shared after school one day, please feel welcome.  I’m sure your child would be glad to show you around.

Our Week – September 13

We’ve successfully completed our first “sort-of” five-day school week, and it was a good one.  We are settling into our routine.  Some days have been smooth, focused and really productive.  Some days have been a bit chatty and distracting, but we’ll work on that and improve.  It feels as if we are developing a supportive community right from the start and that is great!

S.E.L. – Identifying Habits That Lead to Success

Many of our early discussions throughout these past three weeks have been about how we can help each other do the best that we can and succeed in achieving our goals.    After much discussion, we decided that these would be our classroom rules.  We agreed that these should be the guidelines we are attempting to meet and follow.

We agree to:

  • be respectful by listening to each other, speaking quietly and doing the right thing at the right time.
  • be kind by being helpful, staying positive and using nice words.
  • keep our selves and others safe.
  • do our best.

If we follow these rules we will reach our goal:  to have fun in our community.

As we further define the expectations for each part of our day, we are hopeful that we will become better able to follow our guidelines more of the time. You may want to ask your child what if there is one behavior change he or she could make that would help our class be more successful in following our rules more of the time. For some of the children there will be many, but for others there will be very little.  It’s just good to ask.   It helps them realize their choices in the classroom and halls, in UA classes, on the playground, washing hands before lunch and in the lunchroom matter.

Math Problem Solving

Math each day starts with a warm up to get us thinking about number and amount.  This week we’ve continued to review strategies for subtraction. The children are selecting three equations to solve from a grid of 12 and then they are asked to solve story problems.

There are six problems most days for the children to choose from.  Their goal is to find at least 2 problems that feel like a “just right” challenge to them. This means they should be able to visualize the actions in the story and understand which operation(s) they should choose to solve it. At this point in the year, this process has been challenging for the children.  The problems have at least two steps and usually two different operations. Several of the problems are using thousands, and the size of the amounts adds another thinking challenge.  Some of the children are trying to do all of the problems.  They like math and are up for a challenge.  After two problems, there are several different math activities where they can practice addition and subtraction facts and have the opportunity to develop fair play.

Just like last week, if you talk to your child about the that comes home each week, don’t be alarmed by mistakes.  My comments on the problems at this point may not even help your child know if he or she has been accurate or not.  I hope the comments make them think.  (The children are asked to look through their work folders every morning. They aren’t reading the feedback yet.) At this point in the year, I am learning about them and their problem-solving approaches.  I am coming to understand who has strong number concept and recognizes the relationships between amounts.  The end goal is solving multi-step problems with accuracy and efficiency.  That takes time to develop, but we’ll do it.

Bits and Pieces:

  • We’ve been reading about reading.  We’re learning how to select books that support reading growth and we’re thinking about strategies that help us record our thinking.
  • We’re exploring the difference between narrative and information writing.  We’re getting ready to write an informational piece next week.  We’ll use this as a “anchor” of our understanding and ability so we can see how we grow throughout the year.
  • Landon represented our class in the school-wide Rules Congress run by Ms. Snyder.  Landon reported to the class on the process and procedure taken to create a set of school-wide goals that all Pre-K to 8 students will follow.  It seemed like a great opportunity to strengthen our school community.
  • We are celebrating Dot Day on Monday, September 16.  The Dot by Peter Reynolds was published on September 15th, so we’ll celebrate the book’s birthday on the school day closest to that date.  It is a fabulous picture book celebrating growth mindset.  It has become an international celebration to encourage children to tackle hard things and to do things even when they think they’re not as good as others.
  • Picture Day is on September 17th.  Your child’s selection form was sent home Friday, September 13.
  • Curriculum Night is September 18th.  We’ll begin our presentation in Mrs. Oliver’s Music Room – it’s near the library.  Ms. Coronato and I will share a thirty-minute curriculum overview and then invite you back to the classrooms.  You’ll have time to see how the classroom has changed and an opportunity to respond to the work you child would like you to see.
  • We’ve been exploring Character Traits as we read Word After Word After Word.  There are five main characters and we are thinking about how we might describe them based on who they are, how we think they feel, what they have and what they do.
  • We have planned our first field trip.  We will be going to Camp Lincoln on Monday, September 30th.  It will be a day of community building and exploring nature with a scientist’s eye.

Our Week – September 6

We’ve completed our second week and our first Friday.  I hope your children feel as though we are settling into a routine. The class developed its daily jobs list.  We started using it on Wednesday and it has been exciting to feed the animals and work together to get things done.

S.E.L and Social Studies

This week our focus was on what are our rights and responsibilities as members of a community. We spent time defining community – a group of people that come together to do something – and a right – something you need and should have – and responsibilities – actions we need to take to make sure members of our community can have their rights met. We’ve read several books like SwimmyMiss Nelson is Missing and The Great Fuzz Frenzy to help us understand how communities work together and what can happen when they fall apart. We read about rights in I Have the Right to Be a Child and we’ve begun to consider how many different communities we are a part of.

You’ll notice that several papers in the back of your child’s folder where s/he was thinking about what habits and behaviors would help us become a more successful learning community.  Most of the children are hoping for a calm, focused, helpful learning community.  And it is certainly true; the children are able to do their best work in that environment.  It can be hard to maintain.  We are beginning to see the importance of reflecting and thinking carefully about what we are doing.  We are trying to consider how our choices impact one another.  We are using theses ideas and discussions to develop our classroom rules and guidelines that will remind us to make better choices.

Reviewing Addition and Subtraction

This week in math we’ve reviewed different strategies for knowing and thinking about addition facts. There are 100 altogether, but when we break them down to think about the different strategies we can use to find the sum quickly it’s not so bad.  We’ve learned a couple of games that help practice these facts – Roll Two Dice (a probability game) and Card Combinations for adding and Subtracting.

We also took the time to finish the baseline assessment.  That is our second early-year math assessment.  The data from this work will help me create some challenging problems for the children to work on throughout the rest of the year. You’ll also notice that we completed an addition fact check.  They did a great job on that!

We’ve also begun exploring polygons.  We read Tangled: A Story About Shapes, Friendshapes and The Greedy Triangle to remind us of how many different shapes there actually are.  We’re learning about different categories of 2-dimensional shapes and how they are sorted. We’re learning about congruence, lines of symmetry and angles.  We’re having fun with this as we build our calendar each day and learn more.

Bits and Pieces –

  • The children are still learning about our classroom library.  There are so many books to discover and explore.  The children are finding the right combination so they can successfully read all of independent reading time with books that in interesting and understandable.
  • We completed our first chapter read aloud, 8 Classroom Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos.  We determined that the genre was fantasy because the animals were telling the story.  We’ll be exploring different genre throughout the year, helping the children discover what they enjoy.  You might want to ask your child which classroom pet they thought was more interesting as Twitch (the squirrel) ran through the school.
  • We’ve been exploring the characteristics of award winning narratives.  The children have begun to write their own.  Some are writing personal narratives and others are writing fictional narratives.  Some of the children are working together to create character themed story collections.

We are off to a great start.  Thank you for your support and interest in what we are doing in our classroom each week.

Our Week – August 29

I think we’ve had a great start to our school year.  I hope your children are feeling the same way.  We’ve had fun getting to know each other.  We’ve created two different glyphs and several different graphs. We’ve done a couple of different writing projects and we’ve shared some great books together.

S.E.L  – Learning About Each Other to Strengthen our Community

We’ve played The Name Game a few times to learn each other’s names. Knowing names is an important start to making friends.  We read Andy, That’s My Name and My Name is Alice to start our exploration into the importance of feeling known and included.

We also read some books about starting school and being new, either to the school or to the grade. After reading The Day You BeginUnicorn Thinks He’s So Great and Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All we began to realize we each have to share our stories so we can truly get to know each other.  Guesses and assumptions don’t work that well. We’re realizing, the more we share the more we find what we have in common.

We’ve also been sharing some of our hopes about what will happen this year and what we’ll be able to do at the end of 3rdgrade.  We’ve been thinking about things we like and things we find challenging connected to learning.  We’ll use these discussions to learn more about rights and responsibilities in the weeks to come as we establish classroom routines and rules that will allow us to each show our best selves.

Roaming the Known

This week in math we’ve been roaming the known.  We’ve been reviewing two-digit addition and subtraction.  We’ve created several graphs and taken an assessment to see what parts of 2ndgrade math stuck.  As I have reviewed the daily work, it seems to me that the children have a lot of understanding that doesn’t show.  The ways the problems are worded are unfamiliar and the directions may have been confusing.  As you look at your children’s work – please let mistakes go at this point in the year. We are just getting to know each other. We’ll learn how to communicate clearly in the next few weeks and then your children’s real abilities will show.

Navigating the Classroom Blog

At the end of each week I will send home a letter sharing some of the things we have done throughout the week.  Please look for it in the front of your communication folder.  My goal is to give you some talking points so you can extend your child’s learning at home. On that same day you’ll find a similar parent letter on our blog – 3enews.edublogs.org  As you can see, this one is illustrated with photographs from our classroom.  Scroll down a bit, and you’ll be able to see some of the books we’ve shared in the classroom this week. That’s another thing to talk about with your child.  And this time, if you scroll a bit further down, you’ll see a place where you can subscribe to get notification about postings.  Please do that so you don’t miss out on any of the posts.

Presently, last year’s students’ blogs are still up and will be for a couple of weeks.   Soon, your children will be setting up their own blogs. We’ll have time each week for the children to create posts.  That doesn’t mean they’ll finish one each week, but I know they’ll try.  Blogging is a different type of writing and most children really like the idea of creating digital texts to share with a wider audience.  Once the student blogs are up and running you can share your child’s URL with family far away and they can become more involved with this year’s activities.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’re reading 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos as our first chapter read-aloud.  Ask your child what is happening in the story.
  • We had our first fire drill and your children were quiet and respectful.  They really were amazing role-models.
  • We’ll be celebrating International Dot Day in two weeks.   We are looking forward to “making our mark” to see where it takes us.

Friday Quick Writes

I wonder if you’re feeling both blue and excited like I am.  I’m blue that summer is coming to an end and I’m blue that 3E is changing.  I’m excited for school to be starting again and I’m wondering how our new year will unfold.  We’ve still got a little bit of summer left, so let’s celebrate.

How will you spend your last week of summer?

What will you do to make the final days of summer special?

Write a poem about summer coming to an end.

Think back on your summer and write about something you did that you’re proud of.  What makes this accomplishment feel special?  Do you think it is something you could have achieved during the school year?

Make a list of all the things you did this summer.  Can you come up with something for every letter of the alphabet?

Have fun writing!  I can’t wait to see you – but enjoy the last bits of your summer to the fullest!

 

Wednesday – Math

Here are some problems to solve.

Logan has 12,850 crayons.  Sophia has 10,739 crayons.

How many more crayons does Sophia have than Logan?

Ellia has 1,258 more crayons than Sophia has. How many crayons does Ellia have?

If Logan, Sophia and Ellia put all their crayons together, how many crayons will that be?

Ella has 10,000 Legos for a building project.  She used 7,573 of her Legos to make a cute monster. How many Legos were left?

Olive baked 1,115 muffins.

Charlie baked 11 times as many.  How many muffins did Charlie bake?

Olive baked some blueberry muffins and some apple muffins.  If 658 of the muffins were blueberry, how many of them were apple?

Leave your answers in a comment below or post your work on your own blog.

As always keep – mathing on!

Wednesday Math

Here are some problems to solve.  Enjoy!

Charlie sorted sports cards.  He had three piles.  One had 25,567 football cards, another had 1,934 hockey cards and the last had 14,385 basketball cards in it.

How many sports cards did Charlie altogether?

He decided to give 13,987 of the cards to his friends.  How many cards did Charlie have left?

Hayley collected shells on the beach.  She found 2,423 white shells, 1,256 yellow shells and 1,068 speckled shells.

How many shells did Hayley collect altogether?

She used 3,808 of her shells to decorate a mirror. How many shells did Hayley have left?

Ryan was building with Legos. He had 22,035 bricks in a bin when he started building.

When he was finished there were 1,368 bricks left. 

How many Legos did Ryan use while he was building?

Friday Quick Writes

Read through the prompts, think about them for a bit and when you’re ready, find ten quiet minutes and begin writing

Use the prompts, or write about whatever idea comes to your mind.  It’s okay if you finish one idea and begin another.  It’s also okay if you don’t finish when the time is up.  Just like always,  you decide:  stop, or keep writing.   You may want to post your quick write as a comment, or on your own blog or you may what to keep it in your notebook.  This week’s writing suggestions come from the Journal Buddies Newsletter, “Happiness Happens.”

How do you feel when you witness (see) happiness?

Where does happiness come from?

Write a poem about the sound of happiness.

How can you encourage happiness?

What things make you the happiest?

What can you accomplish when you’re happy?

What does it mean to find the silver lining in a situation?

I hope you have a happy time writing. Enjoy!

 

Wednesday Math

Here are some problems to solve.  Enjoy!

Emma has 5,532 crayons.  If she threw away 1,268 because they were broken, how many crayons would she have left?

She put 3/4 of the crayons in a box to share with kids who didn’t have any crayons.  How many crayons did she have left then?

Ryan, Eddie and Hayley collected shoes for people who needed them.  They each collected 1,624 pairs of shoes.

How many pairs to shoes did they collect in total?

Half of the shoes were for children and half were for adults.  How many of each type of shoes were there?

Olive went to the beach and collected some shells. She sorted them.  She had 11,054 colorful shell, 21,407 shimmery shells, 16,832 jingle shells and 2,356 twisty shells.

How many shells did she have altogether?

She gave 18,756 of the shells to her friends.  How many shells did she have left?

Friday Quick Writes

Read through the prompts, think about them for a bit and when you’re ready, find ten quiet minutes and begin…  Remember to capture small, everyday moments – watching a snail eat a lupine leaf – as well as one of a kind moments – James saying “hi” to the bear at the zoo at the same moment the bear moved its head so that James was convinced they were friends.

Use the prompts, what whatever idea comes to your mind.  It’s okay if you finish one idea and begin another.  It’s also okay if you don’t finish when the time is up… you decide:  stop, or keep writing.   You may want to post your quick write as a comment here, or as a stand along post on your own blog or not at all. Have fun!

Draw a quick sketch of the first thing that pops into you head when you think, “This summer, I had fun when…”  Under your sketch list your top five highlights from that memory.

Pick a color and note all the things around you in that color.  If you go someplace else, the grocery story, the beach or your grandparent’s, try it again.  Compare your lists.  What do you discover?

Make a list of summer memories – keep track of the ordinary things, as well as the extraordinary.

What had been the funniest moment of your summer so far?