Monday Message 11/25

Happy snowy Monday! This post will be short since we have a short week…but I still wanted to take the time to connect with all of you.

First and foremost, I wanted to express just how grateful I am for ALL of you! This has been such a great year so far and I look forward to coming to school each day.  I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be your child’s teacher and create a connection with all of you. There have been SO many laughs, kind words spoken, lessons learned, smiles, hugs, and opportunities to work through challenges.  I am so excited to see what the rest of the year brings. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for ALL you do for both your child and our classroom. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for you all 🙂 

Have a safe, relaxing, wonderful Thanksgiving break.

Now this brings me to one of the questions I want you to answer.

 

Unknown-1

 

1. What are YOU grateful for? It can be anything! (both parents and kids can answer this) 

2. What are you going to do as a reader this Thanksgiving break? 

 

Monday Message

Happy Monday! As I type this, it’s snowing really hard. Makes me want to go home, put on pajamas, and curl up with a good book!  I can’t believe that this is our weather and we are already halfway through November.

I so enjoyed getting time to talk with all of you at conferences.  It is so clear that all of you go above and beyond for each of your children! I’m grateful to have all of you as part of our classroom family.

Here’s a look at the week ahead…

 

Reading

This week in reading we will be focusing on point of view.  The Common Core standard asks the students to: “Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.” We will be focusing on this within Informational Text this week and literature next week.

While reading with your child, start to ask them questions about how their point of view may differ from that of the narrator’s.  This concept comes at a wonderful time since we just learned the word “distinguish” last week!

Our word of the week is identify. Our chant to remember this word is:

“Identify is to detect information from the text!”

So far we’ve learned the words: compare, contrast, describe, distinguish, and identify.  See how many chants your child remembers!

 

Writing 

This week, we will be focusing on pronoun order in sentences that include other people and the narrator.  So often the kids want to say “Me and my dad” or “Me and ______.”  Today we learned that we need to be polite and put the other person’s name FIRST! Instead of writing the word “me”, we need to use the word “I”.  Try to enforce this even as your child is talking! This will help it translate easier into his/her writing.

Next week we will be starting Opinion Writing.  I’m really excited…the kids have so much fun with this genre!

Homework went home this week for writing.  The kids are given an “undressed” turkey and festive paper.  They are asked to decorate and disguise their turkey and then write a narrative paragraph describing what they’ve created! Have fun with this assignment. The possibilities are endless. The more creative, funny, and silly…the better!

 

Math

We will be reviewing chapter 3 tomorrow and testing starting on Wednesday.  I do apologize for the delay on returning Chapter 2 tests.  Chapter 3 was very short and my turnaround in grading took longer than expected.  I really am sorry and promise it won’t happen again!

Chapter 3 concepts to review are: measuring to the nearest quarter inch, perimeter, area, maximum, minimum, range, and median.  A study guide went home today (Monday) in their take home folder!

 

Other News

**Keep bringing in those cans!

**Donuts with Dad is this Friday, November 15th.  The Book Fair is also going on at this time.

**The Book Fair will be in full swing this week.  It’s the largest book fair ever to happen at Southbury.  Come check it out…you won’t want to miss it!

 

Question:

What is one goal you have for yourself as a reader?  This could be something you want to get better at, a certain number of books you want to read by a specific date, or even just a book you want to read.

When you are writing your goal in the comments, please make sure to tell HOW you are going to work to achieve your goal. A goal is just a wish if there aren’t any actions!

 

 

Struggle, Robots, and a Lesson

What I’m about write may be a little bit different than the Monday Message or celebration posts I typically blog about. Yes, I’m going to share something engaging we did in the classroom.  It will be full of pictures, bragging about the kids, and the steps we took to produce the end result.  What makes this post unique is the shift in who was teaching who, and the lesson that was ultimately learned.

Today in math, we completed an activity that challenged us to use our knowledge of perimeter and area to construct a robot.  The kids were given this set of instructions, centimeter grid paper, and construction paper:
image

I spent probably about 3 minutes explaining the logistics of the project, describing the end result, and reviewing key vocabulary and strategies.

My pre-project explanation may have seemed rushed, too short.  As I dismissed them to find a partner, I felt slightly concerned that maybe they may be confused.  I had a flash back to when I did this with last years class and remembered the countless questions, hands raised, and students parading behind me to make sure what they had was correct.  I took a deep breath, braced myself for what I thought may be chaos and confusion, and gave the students the OK to begin.

The next hour inside my classroom was one of the most powerful moments (hours) of my teaching career. I learned more about myself as an educator, reaffirmed my teaching philosophy, and almost cried tears of joy in that hour that the kids were constructing their robots.

As I walked around the classroom, I saw and heard a variety of wonderful things.  Here comes the bragging (I told you it would still be in this post!). Each child was cooperatively learning, effectively working together as a team.  They were using each other as tools, not waving their hands around to have me clear their confusion.  I kept constantly checking behind me to see if the parade of students had started without me being aware. Every where I looked, I saw learning. Not just the completion of an assignment but authentic problem-solving.  I also heard learning.  The conversation was was more about the process and less about the right answer.  They were talking through the difficulty, not avoiding it.   Using their tools, prior knowledge, and each other to navigate through an assignment.

Needless to say, I was proud.  I was so impressed with their learning process that their robots could have been upside down and backwards and I would have still been smiling.  But I was confused.  Being a chronic self-reflecter, I wanted to figure out WHY this year’s group approached this assignment so differently.  I quietly took a step back and started to search my brain unsuccessfully.

Then it hit me.

This year, I’ve made sure to communicate my philosophy with the students from day one.  We talk about it daily, especially during instruction time.  I try and model my whole-hearted belief in this philosophy by the way I teach and live in our classroom comunnity.  It goes a little something like this:

Mistakes are important.  In fact, it is even good to make mistakes.  They help us learn what to do differently next time. The only time mistakes are bad is if we get frustrated and choose not to learn what they are teaching us.  Mistakes are proof that we are trying.

Taking the time to make this idea known in my classroom has shaped our community positively.  With the emphasis on admiration and appreciation for their efforts and choices, we are truly becoming a community of learners.

It wasn’t that this activity was easier for this group of kids than my last year’s kids. Essentially, it was the same difficulty.  But what I realized was that this group embraced the struggle. They were able to understand that it was OK to be confused.  There was no fear of making a mistake.  They didn’t seek that validation of, “Am I doing this right? I’m scared I’m doing it wrong!”.  They are starting to trust their own knowledge, learn from mistakes and experience, and take control of their own learning.

Watching the students apply their knowledge (both academic and real-world) and learning along side with them is my favorite part about teaching. I am truly grateful for each moment I have in the classroom.

I’m sure you are all wondering what the robots looked like.  Here’s my chance to brag (again) and post pictures. Enjoy!

robots robots2 robots3

Monday Message

Happy Monday! It’s already November already.  Seriously can’t believe how fast time is flying.  It really is true, the more fun you have…the faster time passes. Here’s a look at the week ahead:

Reading

We will be wrapping up summarizing both fiction and informational texts.  I’m SO impressed with how well we’ve been able to use the thought organizer to write a paragraph that summarizes the text. Ask your child to show you how to make the organizer.  It’s a quick and easy way for them to organize the events that happen in a story or passage. While you are reading with your child, have them pick out the most important parts that happened in the part of the story they read.  We are still working on distinguishing the most important parts instead from the small details.

Our vocabulary word for the week is distinguish. The definition we use for distinguish is “set apart, separate, tell apart.”  Our jingle to help us remember the word is:

Distinguish from the very start/decide, separate, tell apart!

So far, we have learned the words compare, contrast, describe, and distinguish.  See how many jingles your child can remember! They’ve really been helping some of us remember what to do when one of those words is used in a question.

 

Writing

Great news! Every author met the Scarecrow Letter deadline! It will be turned into the publishing center this week.  It’s going to be so exciting to see our hard work turned into a hardcover book!

This week, we are focusing on understanding that sentences need to have two parts: a subject (the who/what) and a verb (the what they did).  Today we made a T-Chart to organize all the subjects and verbs in a piece of writing.  We will continue doing different activities to reinforce this concept throughout the week.  On Friday, we will have a small quiz activity over subjects and verbs and add it to our editing chart!

 

Math

We will start to wrap up Unit 3 this week.  We will continue learning about area and perimeter.  Stay tuned for a fun project we will be doing in class in the next few days! Think area, think perimeter, think robots. Hmmmmm.

 

Other News

**I’m SO excited to announce that we have won the October Custard Party!!! I owe you all a HUGE thank you for coming and supporting 3rd grade and our classroom at Culver’s Night.  We promise to eat many bites of custard for all you awesome parents.

**Conferences are THIS week.  Please email me if you are unaware of your conference time! I look forward to talking with everyone 🙂

 

books

Question: What book are you reading now? What are some things you can celebrate about this book?