The Little Red Box

Today started off just as every school day starts.

Each group received their two morning clues, we learned perimeter of polygons, and had snack.

Then…this arrived.

bookboxAs soon as I brought the box into the classroom, the kids erupted into not-so-silent excitement.  It truly was as if this box contained a lifetime supply of candy.

The logical thing to do with this much excitement over books was obviously to stop what we were doing and get in a pretty intense independent reading session.

After giving the books to the students who ordered them, it was time for me to choose readers for the books I ordered for the classroom. When I asked for volunteers, it was as if I asked the students to volunteer for extra recess.

Every hand in the classroom was raised for EACH title.


After struggling to select just one, each book had its own new reader.  As you can see by the looks on their faces, it’s like the won the lottery. The reading lottery.


Katie: I Survived Hurricane Katrina (So far it’s about a boy whose family gets washed away by the hurricane)

Phoenix: I survived The San Fran Earthquake (In chapter 4, I read that Leo lost all of his gold)

Cody: What was The Battle of Gettysburg? (I’m on chapter 6 and it is cool because it tells you much information about the battle of Gettysburg)

Aidan: I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1916

Jack: I Survived The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor (So far, I really love it.  The cover picture makes me think it will be really cool).

Trey: I Survived The Attacks of Sept. 11

Riley: Notebook of Doom # 2 (You meet new creatures in the beginning of this book just like the first one!)

Ethan S: I Survived The Battle of Gettysburg (By the cover, I can tell that it’s going to be a really good book.  I predict that the character on the front is going to chase after someone by how he is staring off into the distance).

Miss Kourtni: Who Was Roald Dahl (I didn’t realize his life was full of so many struggles and successes. It’s amazing that he published a single book with all the obstacles he overcame)


I’m loving the excitement. I don’t mind that the reason the kids are unfocused right now during Writer’s Workshop is because they can’t stop talking about their new books.

We love reading in 3M.


Monday Message 10/28

I just want to start the post off with a quote I came across.  I absolutely LOVE and believe in the meaning. Each of your children have an amazing story and something to teach the world.  It is a pleasure to be able to hear what it is they have to say each and every day. I am so grateful to be able to learn from 24 of the most interesting, kind-hearted children.



This week in reading, we will be focusing on summarizing informational texts.  Last week, we learned how to make our own “thought organizer” to help us remember what happend first, then, and last in our fiction texts.  This week we will be applying the SAME knowledge to informational texts and creating a summary.

As you are reading with your child, have them make the “thought organizer” we have been using in the classroom.  Have them pick out the important parts in the story. We have been focusing on picking out only the important parts.  This helps us create a summary that is clear and concise.

Our vocabulary word of the week is “describe.”  The rhyme for this word is:

“Describe and tell about it. Write it, share it, or even shout it!”

We will be learning this word and filling out our word maps tomorrow.  We are all creating our very own vocabulary word books that will have 17 important vocabulary words for us to know by the time we are finished!


We are anxiously approaching our deadline on Wednesday for our Scarecrow Letters! Since we are authors in 3M, we made a deadline for ourselves just like adult authors.  This helped us work hard and finish our letters in time to publish the book in the Southbury Publishing Center.  We can’t wait to have the hardcover book in our classroom library.

Next week, our grammar lessons will be focusing on making sure our subjects and verbs agree in all our sentences. This will help us to write the best sentences possible so that our readers can know exactly what we are trying to say.


Today we started Unit 3.  Unit 3 focuses on measurement, perimeter, area, and diameter.  To kick off our first lesson, I showed this video:

It is a great video that helps students see how to measure to the nearest 1/4 inch.  This is a concept that can be tricky.  It may help to have your child watch this video to reinforce this skill. If you want to show the video, let me know and I will pass along the login information.

This is a game that always helps with the measurement skill! Have your child play this during math homework time:

Other News

**Report cards will be live on October 30th through Home Access.

**The Halloween party will be this Thursday, October 31st.  Pleae have your child bring his/her costume to school.  Please make sure it is school appropriate and that they leave all masks at home.

What is something you learned in the past week? This can be anything! It can be from a book you read, something someone told you, or something you saw. Leave a comment on the blog to share!

Monday Message 10/21

Happy Monday! I apologize for the brief blogging break. I promise that we are back for good now. Here’s a look at what we are doing this week in our classroom:




This week’s comprehension strategy is summarizing fiction.  Since we learned how to sequence a text’s events last week, we are going to take it a step further and turn our sequence of events into a summary.  We will be using graphic organizers to make sure our ideas make sense.  We will be working mostly in fiction this week and will move on to informational text next week.  There will also be an emphasis on oral retelling, as speaking and listening is also a big part of literacy!

This week, we started something new! On Mondays, we will learn a verb that is part of the critical vocabulary that either makes or breaks student understanding.  I recently purchased the book Teaching the Critical Vocabulary of the Common Core and love everything it has to offer.  Our students need to be able to understand and not just recognize  what the vocabulary of our assessments are asking. This week are words are “compare” and “contrast.”  I chose to teach them in pairs because this is how they normally are presented.  It was SO interesting to me that when I asked what each word meant individually, none of my class could tell me. It became so obvious that this is why this type of vocabulary instruction is crucial! We learned two different chants to help us remember the words.  They are:

Compare: Compare to find things the same, see how many you can name!

Contrast: Contrast to find different things, see how many you can bring!

Start to use this language with your child.  Ask them to compare two members of your family and then contrast them.  This can work with pretty much anything, is quick, easy, and will contribute to their learning.


We are wrapping up Unit 2 this week with a test on Wednesday! A completed study guide went home today.  We will be doing a few different review activities tomorrow.  Topics assessed include “What’s my rule?” problems, fact extensions, multidigit addition and subtraction, number stories, and time.  Practicing these concepts with your child will help them to be ready for their test!


Last week, we started the writing process for an exciting class book! We are writing letters from the point of view of a scarecrow, persuading Farmer Morrison to hire us.  We have been having so much fun with this.  Most of us are in the drafting stage, a few have started peer conferencing, and a couple are starting their final draft.  Once these are complete, we will send our work into the Southbury Publishing Center! We can’t wait for our hard work to be made into a book.

Other Information

**A conference sign up sheet will come home tomorrow for those that did not get a chance to choose a time during Curriculum Night. Please check your child’s folder for this.

**Parent Volunteers start THIS week! If you signed up on signup genius and do not remember your time, email me as soon as possible. We can’t wait to have you join in on the fun in our classroom.


What is something that you as a reader (parents AND kids) are excited about? This can be anything! I’ll give you my answer as an example.

I’m excited to be going to the midnight release party tonight at Anderson’s Bookshop for the book Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  It’s the last book in a trilogy I absolutely LOVE! I can’t wait to hold the autographed copy in my hands and start reading it. I bet I’ll even read a little tonight, no matter how late it is.

*Comment back on the blog with your answer to the question! I can’t wait to read all your responses 🙂


Today in reading, we celebrated. The classroom was full of excited conversation, laughter, a few rasied voices, and reading. Yes, you read that correctly. Reading was the focus of our celebration.

Steven Layne is the author our school is studying for the OAOS project.  We have the privilege of having all of his books available to us throughout the year.  There is almost always a copy for each child to have in his/her hands.  This gives them the chance to explore, imagine, and truly get a first-hand feel for what sort of author Steven Layne is.

The book we have right now is called A Teacher’s Night Before Halloween. Our celebration today was because we wanted to honor all the things we LOVED about Steven Layne’s author style in this particular book.

First, we previewed the book.  This means we noticed everything about the cover. The title, the author, the illustrator, and any pictures.  Then we read the summary on the inside of the book jacket.  After the first sentence, the students were captivated! Strangely, I didn’t have to tell any of them to follow along. It was SO powerful to have copies of the text in each of their hands. By the time we all read the last sentence together, they were ready to start reading.

The instructions were to sit with a partner, read the book, talk about what you loved, and write it on the “Celebrating Steven Layne” anchor chart.  The instruction stopped there.  The kids’ excitement took over and it was truly an experience to watch.

The pictures below are of the finished anchor chart.  There are even responses written on the back! Some of the responses have been highlighted in the collage below, but those are only a few.  They all were carefully crafted. It was an amazing thing to hear students SO excited about reading and writing.


The completed anchor chart.

The completed anchor chart.

Just a few of the wonderful responses

Just a few of the wonderful responses


Here’s to celebrating!