April 30, 2013

Procedural Writing

We're learning all about Procedural Writing this week! Please have a look at the anchor charts below to see what the boys and girls have learned so far.  
We had fun this afternoon writing instructions in pairs about how to draw one of the characters from our Math stories we call, "Annoying Andy".  The boys and girls learned the importance of writing detailed, specific instructions.  




We've decided today that writing a hook for a procedural text
isn't going to be necessary. It's a nice touch, but it's not essential. 

We know that there are many more transitional words out there
but this list is a good start. We also know that we can't use the same word
more than twice in a row as a sentence started. 


April 29, 2013

Fun with our POTWs!

This week, I'm asking the boys and girls to draw a picture of their favourite poem of the week and bring it to school for Thursday. 

Then, on Fun Friday, we'll play a really *fun* game with them on the Smartboard! Each child will put their picture under the document camera and the class will try to guess which poem the illustration belongs with. 

To make it extra fun, I'm encouraging the boys and girls to make their illustration less obvious so they can really try and stump each other!  

April 26, 2013

Hey Kids! What are you up to today?

Hi Boys and Girls! 
You all have the day off today and the teachers are all at school learning how to be even more fabulous (which will be pretty hard because we have great teachers at our school!) 

So boys and girls, what are you up to today? With your parents permission, go ahead and share your plans in the comment section below! 

Remember, you must have your parents permission okay?  

See you on Monday! 

Love, 
Mrs. M

P.S Don't worry if you read this message late, 
you can post your PA Day adventures anytime throughout the weekend.  

video


April 25, 2013

Newspapers! We need 'em!

After EQAO, the boys and girls will be participating in a really fun half-day Science activity.  

We're asked to collect a 60cm stack of newspapers (no flyers please) for use that day.  

Please send in newspapers whenever possible and we'll start working toward that 60 cm goal!  


A big change!

We didn't win the lottery nor were we put in charge of babysitting a litter of puppies or anything like that, but I made a pretty big announcement today that pleased the kids!  

We've learned this year (on Day 1 actually)that Grade Three writers never, ever start sentences with the words: and, but or because.

I explained to the boys and girls that in later grades, they would learn when it was appropriate to use these three words as sentence starters.  

Well, our writing is just so spectacular, I  had to teach them one way a writer can use the word and to begin a sentence. 

Right now, when the boys and girls end their paragraphs, they typically write: Now you know more about _______. It usually ends up being a fairly long sentence that repeats part of the question.  Well, I've explained that from now on, they are allowed to be a bit creative with their closing and write something like, And that's how Boy Classmate shows kindness or And that's how Wayne Gretzky became "the Great One".  It's going to be up to them, as writers, to decide how they can close up their paragraph using this word as a starter. It might not always work, but it's nice to have it as an option don't you think? 

It will take some practice and I want the kids to really take up the challenge, because this is a great way to make their writing sound more sophisticated. It also allows them to bring more of their own voice to their work by exercising a little creative freedom with their closing sentence.  

On a side note, when I told the kids I was making an announcement that might result in less work for them, they all did the "Hello Boy Classmate" hands!It was pretty funny!   

April 24, 2013

We're having a lot of fun.

Driving home from the dentist last night I was thinking about first of all, how it's the 31st week of school and second, how much fun we're having in my class. 

Every day there are little quips, comments and jokes that I make a mental note to post on the blog and share with you all. Of course, by the time the blogging hour rolls along, those cute little one-liners are long gone.  I've even tried writing them down and since teaching is sometimes a lot like hosting a birthday party everyday, those little papers and Post-it notes get lost in the shuffle. It's fun when I find them at the bottom of my purse just when I need something to make me smile.  

So I've come here to tell you that we're having a truck-load of fun. We really are. There are so many moments throughout the day where we feel like "a little family" just like I described back in the early days of this blog.  

I don't know how many of the funny moments make their way home to you. Perhaps they're just part of the day that the kids don't really recall once they get home and dance practice begins or Ninja classes (LOL!) start.  But as a teacher, I see it as one of the most important things that happen in our class.  We have a lot of fun. And not in a wasting time kind of way...you know what I mean.  We have work to get done and we make the best of it and we get the most of out of the experience. 

Grade Three is a big year.  You see, as a teacher, we are charged with teaching 10 months of curriculum in 9 months in order to be fully prepared for EQAO in May. We move fast, no question about that. As for the kids, I think it doesn't take them long to realize that Grade Three is a big leap. But all along the way, we're having fun. 

A few years ago, I started a twitter account for parents to follow, hoping to share some of these hilarious one-liners and funny moments from our day. I quickly realized that if I had time in my day to "tweet", I was doing something wrong.  

But at 5:30 in the morning, I do have time to tell you how much fun we are having, how much I love your kids, appreciate your support and wish you could be a fly on the wall to hear some of the things we laugh about, talk about and sing about.  

We're like a little family.  


April 21, 2013

Monday is Earth Day!


Monday is Earth Day!
Be sure to wear green and bring a 
litter-less lunch!  

We're going to have all kinds of 
eco-friendly fun!

Get into the spirit by playing some fun Earth Day games here.  

April 19, 2013

Earth Day Art!

We had a great afternoon! 

We made an adorable Earth Day art piece where everyone wrote a useful tip about what we can do to protect God's world.

And in classic Patti on a Friday at 5:00pm fashion, the opening of the video states it's Friday April 19th, 2012, but the end of the video says 2013.  

Sigh. 
Time to go home.  

Earth Day Art (video)


April 18, 2013

Finally! A solution for Internet Explorer users!

For those of you using Internet Explorer who are having difficulty opening documents that I link on this blog, I believe I have found the solution. I'm hoping that if it worked for me, it'll work for you too.  

If you're getting an error message that looks something like this and opening in a new window as suggested still doesn't work, please see the video below for instructions.   









April 17, 2013

Checking in

Just a reminder that this Friday, I'm asking that all the boys and girls have the goals met as outlined in this blog post  here.

Comparative Writing

We're having lots of fun learning the 7-steps of writing an effective comparative piece.  
Today the boys and girls received their first assignment.

They watched this video and began their Venn diagrams that would help them compare the two characters. 

The kids watched the video and they were stunned. It was so fun to see them on the edge of their seats as the plot-line unfolded! 

But then they got real mad at the end.  
That part wasn't so fun. ;)  

I told the boys and girls I'd post the video here so they could work on their Venn diagram at home if they wished. 


video



April 16, 2013

Just when they thought they had the night off!

3:20 came and I realized I hadn't given out the Practice Page!

One kind little Boy Classmate said, "Mrs. M, I might be wrong, but we don't have our Practice Page yet." That's when I told everyone they could have the night off and that I'd send it home on Wednesday night.

And then I remembered. 
The magic of technology. Bwah-ha-ha!  

Here's tonight's Practice Page. It doesn't have to be printed out.  Just the answers neatly written on a piece of paper is a-okay.  

If you miss this blog post and your child doesn't complete it on Tuesday night, no problem. They can do it Wednesday night after all.  

April 16 Practice Page

April 15, 2013

Too much expression!

What a way to kick off the week! 

We had so many laughs today responding to questions with too much expression! I have no idea how it got started, but around 10:30-ish, we started speaking with waaaay too much expression in our voices and it was high-larious. You would have thought we were participating in some kind of drama-class exercise. 

Kids were answering Math questions in these highly animated, very dramatic voices. 

Just to let you in on the fun, the boys and girls are asked to read this week's POTW aloud with too much expression for homework tonight. I wish you could want you to record them and send them to me! LOL! Just kidding, but it would be fun to see!  

Now put the back of your hand to your forehead, close your eyes and sigh deeply and say:  

"What a crazy class that Room 208 must be!"  

Barbie! Barbie! Barbie!

At some point over the last few weeks, I shared with the class that I had a complete collection of Barbie trading cards from the late 80s, early 90s. I can't recall why, but I'm sure it was to make some highly important point or connection.  Who knows. 

Anyways...
One little Girl Classmate asked me if I would bring them in to show her. And like the old person that I am, I jumped at the opportunity to go all Bruce Springsteen "Glory Days" about my fondness for Barbie.  

So I brought them in last Friday and what started out as a little sharing session between Girl Classmate and me at the reading table during indoor recess, turned into a full class/gathered around/ooohh/ahhh session! 

Yep, even the Boy Classmates!

Everyone got a kick out of looking at the cards, Ken's fabulous fur jacket in the 70s, his plastic hair, Barbie's horses and gorgeous ball gowns and of course, her ever-evolving career paths.  



I guess one of the cards should have come with a warning.  The kids took one look at it and began to recoil in horror. Things were seen that can not be un-seen! The boys were more terrified than the girls! What card was it you ask?  

Well, it was this one.


  

Then of course everyone wanted to see it again and again to see if it still had the same horrific cache...and it did.  

Who would have thought:  creepy doll eyes = hilarious bonding exercise for our class. 

They couldn't agree on the one they liked best, but man, they'll tell you in unison which one made their hair stand on end!     



April 13, 2013

Let's Highlight!



Parents and kids, while you're out and about this weekend, would you please pick up a couple highlighters for class? We're using them on Wednesdays when we do our EQAO prep workshops. 

This also gives us the perfect opportunity to learn about great study and note-taking skills that will assist students for years and years to come.



April 11, 2013

Was your child away today?

We had a few students absent today and I'm guessing it was due to the cancelled buses. 

If your child was absent, could you please print out tonight's Practice Page for them to complete? This keeps everyone on track, including me! Once the kids have done their homework, mine begins, and I always appreciate it when I can mark all assignments, all at once.  

Thanks so much for your support.  

Thursday's Practice Page     

Some essential skills

Now that we're on the downhill side of the Grade Three hill, we're focused a lot on problem solving in Math and in writing our focus is informing the reader, sharing knowledge and providing crystal clear, easy to follow responses. The "basics" have been taught and now we rely on them to help us to solve problems and communicate effectively.  

With this in mind, I need all students to work on the following goals: 


  • we need our doubles facts to 11+11 memorized (e.g. 4+4, 5+5, etc.) 
  • times tables up to 7x7 memorized 
  • all rules for the forms of the word "to" and "there" and "your/you're" need to be memorized and used correctly
  • the spelling of all "No Excuse" words must be memorized. A copy of the No Excuse list can be found here
So our focus is no longer on teaching these skills, but rather fully utilizing them in our day to day practice.  This means that without these skills, a child would find the coming Math and Writing lessons more challenging and likely frustrating. It's kind of like how in grade four, we no longer teach children how to read, but instead, students are expected to read for specific information. 

It's also a lot like playing on a higher level sports team, there is an expectation that you have the basics down pat and your coach focuses on more challenging skills in practices and various game-plays. Without those basic skills, it would be hard to feel confident and that would undoubtedly impact your performance. 

My hope is that by April 19, all students will be able to have the above goals met and will feel confident as they face their various academic challenges in both Grade Three and beyond.   

April 09, 2013

Finding a fraction of a set

video

This is what we did in Math today! 

April 08, 2013

We started Fractions today!

video
We had our "Introducing Fractions" lesson today and the boys and girls learned the following:  
  • a fraction has two parts: a numerator and a denominator 
  • fractions must be equal parts 
  • the larger the denominator, the smaller the fractional piece will be 
  • we don't say "halfs" we say "halves" 
Is it weird that everytime I type "denominator" I first type "demoninator??"...I like fractions! Honest I do!  LOL! 


April 05, 2013

It was a quiet day today

Did you ever think you'd read those words on THIS blog? I know!  
It was a quiet one though. We had that Math test this afternoon and I was reminded of why I never do Math tests on Fridays.  Ugh. But in this case, I think it was beneficial for everyone to have that extra night to prepare given it was a short week. I was happy to spend the time yesterday reviewing with the gang so they could feel really confident about the test. 

The boys and girls worked so hard this afternoon on that test and so far, the results look great.  But man oh man, was it quiet in here!  Our Fridays are usually loud and full of laughter.  I suppose today will make us all appreciate next week's Fun Friday even more (especially this gal!). 

Oh my. 
I just thought of something...do you realize next week is week 29? Do you realize I have a mere 11 weeks left with this fantastic crew of kids?  I will warn you now...these last ten or so weeks fly by. Fly. By. It's unbelievable. 

We still have lots to learn and many, many great memories to make but we're going to be into single digits week-wise and that still stuns me. Doesn't it seem like we just got started?  Doesn't it seem like just last month or so that I was introducing myself and telling you all about my dog?  

How is this possible that we are here, about to start Week 29 and I'm still playing that game with myself where I say, "We have all kinds of time left to do xyz."  So what do you do?  Well, we make the most of our time together. We continue to work hard and in a few more weeks, I start talking about how to be successful in Grade Four with my kids.  

Sigh. 
See this is what happens when we have quiet Fridays! Mrs. M has too much time to think!  LOL! 
  

April 03, 2013

An update

A quick post to make sure we're all on track. 

Every now and then, when we have busy (and short) weeks such as this one, I need to stop and make lists to make sure I have this all figured out. Yep, I'm that lady that talks to herself in the grocery store and if it was still socially acceptable, I'd pin notes to my jacket like my Kindergarten teacher used to do in the 70s, just to keep track of all the things that need tracking.  

Here's what's going on this week: 


  • no POTW test this week
  • no Practice Pages this week
  • Math test on Friday (see Practice test posted on the blog)
  • RAD assembly Friday morning  
  • students are writing an announcement and they are to practice reading it aloud tonight (Wednesday)
  • announcements will be read/presented in class on Thursday/Friday 
  • we're doing this new nifty way of saying "goodnight" and the kids have a copy of it in their POTW book, they are welcome to practice it anytime 
  • the boys and girls are bringing home their Writer's Notebook (it's really a binder) on Thursday night to share and show, they're asked to return it for Friday 
Whew! 
There you have it!  




Can I brag for a moment here?

As their "Mom at school", can I have a few minutes to brag about "my kids"?  

Let me tell you how fabulous my class is.  

First, the backstory.

This year I have been invited to participate in a number of Board projects and activities. This has meant I have been away for a half-day workshop here and there.  Every single supply teacher that comes to my room leaves me a little note/Valentine telling me how much they enjoyed my students and their time in my room. 
In fact, yesterday's guest referred to my kids as "a dream class".  And they are.  

Today was a culminating task-day for this Math project I have been a part of since the Fall. A colleague and I co-planned a lesson together and then taught it.  In all, we had three different guest teachers in our room today.  One to cover for me while I co-planned, my colleague,with whom I taught the lesson and then another teacher who joined later in the afternoon for a visit.  

Everyone.
Loves. 
My.
Class.

Everyone went on (and on and on) about how polite, independent, funny, kind, respectful, smart, and engaged my students are and I wanted to share this wonderful news with you. 

I love sharing these sorts of stories with you because it reaffirms what I have said before:  Your children are such wonderful representatives of you all and your hard work.  

Your dream children make up my dream class.  

With appreciation and respect, 

"Mom"  ;) 

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