October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

It was an extra special Fun Friday today! Thank you to all the boys and girls for a very memorable Halloween! 

I hope you enjoy the photos featured in the album below. They're not only from today, but from some of the other events that took place during October.

Please let me know via comments if the link/password combination don't work.  I'm still learning the ins and outs of smugmug.com.

Halloween Photos

October 30, 2014

Is it fake reading or real reading?

I found this great anchor chart on Pinterest last night! 
At the beginning of the year we talked a lot about what good readers do and the difference between fake and real reading. 
I wanted to share this photo (it's not mine) for the boys and girls to review. 
We'll also look at it together as part of our Morning Message on Friday. 

Boo! (updated!)

We have a very fun craft to do this afternoon after our Math lesson!  

I did this for the first time with last year's crew and it was a real hit! 
I can't wait for the students to finish up their work today so they too can make their own scary ghost! 

Look how great they turned out! Our spooky ghosts are coming home tonight (Thursday), so be careful opening the linen closet, fridge or other dark place in the house, you might be in for a fright! 

October 29, 2014

We had a special guest!

Dr. Angerilli was our special guest this afternoon! He visited our class to talk to the boys and girls about our skeletons and specifically the role our spine plays in our day-to-day functioning.

It was an absolutely fascinating presentation! Not only did the boys and girls learn about how our spinal cord and brain work together, they learned about x-rays, our internal organs and that a cough is actually our body trying to heal itself! 

We learned how our body is made up of three TRILLION cells, that our heart is powered by electricity and that our body is 80% water! 

The outstanding level of participation and active listening from all the boys and girls has me STILL grinning from ear-to-ear!  I am so proud of my class! Thank you boys and girls for being such a pleasure to teach.  

For homework, I would like the boys and girls to think about the most interesting fact they learned today from Dr. A's presentation and we'll share them on Thursday morning.   I 

Can you help?

We're working on creating our own audiobook of "This is NOT a Halloween Story".
I'm asking for a few blog visitors to please click the link and see if they are able to playback the mp4 file below.  

The file is just a test file I've created. 
When our audiobook is recorded, I'll post it here on the blog and the boys and girls can download their own copy, but first, I need to make sure this will actually work! 

Thanks so much! Just download the file and listen to the instructions posted. 

Thanks again!

Mrs. M's test file

October 28, 2014

Our first reading response letters!

The boys and girls have done a wonderful job on their very first Reading Response Letters! I'm so pleased with how this is all going!  

They're writing their RRLs based on that story I wrote called "This is NOT a Halloween Story". And what a humbling experience this has been for me! You know how you always find errors in your email after you hit send? Well, it's like that with this story I have written, only my recipients are a group of third-graders! 

With an editing team of just one, it's not always easy to find my own errors.  It's sometimes not until the kids read the story aloud that I realize...whoops, that's the wrong form of "there"! 

It's all working out just fine and it's been a really great learning experience for me and the kids. The boys and girls are seeing first hand that the editing process can take longer than writing the story itself! Students are also seeing how, as writers, we really do have to scrutinize our work to make sure it makes sense. You can't have a reader saying, "Wait a sec, two pages ago, you had the guy on crutches and now he's running a marathon with no explanation whatsoever. What's up with that?"   

It's also exciting (and very motivating) to read the letters the kids have written about a story I wrote. I think the enthusiasm I have for writing this wacky tale is contagious, because the quality of their writing and the speed at which this task is being completed is off the charts! 

Their reading response letters also feel very authentic because the questions they're asking are so genuine and honest. I've never written a story this long, and it's been fun to create something that meets my precise instructional needs (my mother always says when you want it done right, do it yourself!). 

And we're not done with this story just yet! Pretty soon we're going to consider these "EQAO" type questions pictured below. There's also a Venn Diagram I'd like the children to complete.  

I also have a fun surprise to share with the kids on Wednesday! Look out for "This is NOT a Halloween Story: the audio-book, coming soon!   

Math Makes Sense Unit 1: Learning Goals

Unit One is all about place value, hundreds charts, number lines, and all kinds of other rich, juicy math stuff that kids get to play with.  

For each unit of study I like to share the learning goals and big ideas with parents and families.  These are reprinted directly from the Teacher's Manual and are not my own. 

I find this information very helpful and I hope you do too. 

Please let me know via comments if you're unable to open the attachment.  

Unit 1 Notes for Parents and Teachers

October 27, 2014

We started our next Math unit today!

Our new Math Unit (Unit One: Patterning and Place Value) will be a breeze for the boys and girls. 

Back at the beginning of the school year, students completed an activity called a "Number Sense Folder".  This project touched on many of the concepts that will be covered in this unit. 

Because we began the year with Unit Two, which covered addition and subtraction, I think students will find this unit a bit easier. 

Most of the work students will do comes from their textbook (Math Makes Sense) and EQAO sample problems. We also mix in "the basics" to make sure everyone has a strong and healthy foundation.  

Our workbook pages have a "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" theme to them. I'm hoping to combine the world of Math and story elements in the coming week or two! 

Even though students won't write stories until April/May, good readers need to be able to identify the elements of a story such as: setting, plot, characters, problem and resolution. I've never done something like this before, so hopefully this will all go smoothly!


October 24, 2014

We remember.

As I sit here tonight with my husband Paul, and watch the coverage of Corporal Nathan Cirillo return home along the Highway of Heroes, I feel a sense of deep sadness and at the same time, pride. 

My students had a very different "Fun Friday" this afternoon.  We agreed that our Nation needed some love today and by wearing our Canadian jerseys, t-shirts and tops, the boys and girls brought smiles to many faces. 

There's nothing quite like the innocence of children to bring sunshine to a dark day.

October 23, 2014

O Canada!

In light of the tragic events that took place in Ottawa yesterday, I've made a change in plans for tomorrow's Fun Friday. 

We had a very age-appropriate discussion about what happened yesterday. I did not go into very much detail and took only a few questions from the boys and girls. I've told them that if they have other questions, they'll want to ask Mom or Dad or me privately. Sometimes in situations like this, an imagination can really get the best of children. One child's question can be very upsetting to another.  

Tomorrow we're going to celebrate Canada. I'm asking the boys and girls to wear their Canadian clothes: a hockey jersey, a red t-shirt, a souvenir top, anything that says, "I'm a proud Canadian". 

We're going to talk about the wonderful work our Armed Forces and first responders do, along with ways we as regular citizens can make a difference in our great Nation.

The boys and girls will work on the special page I've created. If you would like your own copy of this page, you can download it by clicking here.

October 22, 2014

Eeeek U-A-Oh!

It'll be here before we know it and we've been working since day one to prepare for the assessment. I haven't talked to the class about it yet; that'll come in the next day or two. 
I don't refer to EQAO as a "test", otherwise it becomes something bigger than it is. I call them "EQAO booklets" and it works well. That's why the students do so many booklets in my class. It gets them in the right mindset.    

Right now, the boys and girls are working on a new booklet based on a story I wrote called, "This is NOT a Halloween Story." Just like the EQAO booklets, they'll answer all kinds of reading and writing questions. They'll also write their very own Reading Response Letter to the text.

Today the students read the first few pages of the story and wrote their four questions. Tomorrow they'll read a little more and write any additional questions they have. 

After that, it's time to begin writing their letters.  They know all about letters because I write them on every morning as part of Morning Message.  This assignment is really a coming together of everything the boys and girls have learned so far. It's a big deal! Once the letter is written, the students will hand it in and I'll write them back, giving them feedback on their work. They'll then be expected to implement the feedback right away. 

I love the idea of students having their own copy of the story so they can highlight, circle, whatever they need to do to help them be successful. 

We got off to a really good start today. As I said, we haven't had "the talk" about EQAO, but it's coming soon.  I'd like to send home the story for the kids to read aloud to you. As a class, our goal is to become very fluent readers who are able to read the way people speak.  

I'm looking forward to sharing the rest of this story with the students. There's a lot of learning that can be extracted from this non-Halloween tale!  

October 21, 2014

Extra Practice Math Problem #2

Use what we've learned about fact families and addition/subtraction strategies to solve the problems below: 

a)  76-___ =55

b)  35+___ =78

c)  25-___ =12

d)  72+___ =99

Preparing for the Unit 2 Math test

This is the checklist the students have on page 1 of their Math Test (Wednesday). 
Parents, please review it tonight with your child so they understand fully what is expected of them on this test. I'll review it with them as well, but the more discussion they have around this, the better prepared they'll be.  
At this grade level, when children do not complete all questions on a test, it's because they overlooked them. It is essential that students go back and reread their tests to make sure their work looks smart, sounds smart and the questions were indeed answered. 

We also had lots of fun solving problems like this one: 

October 20, 2014

Extra Practice!

This is a tricky one but it's a good one. I think problems like this help students to really think on a higher level.  

For extra practice and in preparation for Wednesday's test, students are asked to create ten addition/subtraction questions but leave the sign blank, like this:  12_4= 16. 

I think this will not only assist with test prep, but will be a great opportunity to work on those logical reasoning skills.  

October 17, 2014

A very "smart" Fun Friday

We've been talking for a while about nouns and adjectives. We're about ready to move on to verbs and adverbs next week. 

The boys and girls had a very "smart" Fun Friday today. They received a little treat sized box of Smarties and had to complete, with their elbow partner, the chart pictured below.  

It was a really effective activity in helping students decipher between nouns and adjectives. If you are a teacher and you'd like a copy of this printable, please click here

You'll notice we're now sitting in rows!  I'm so happy! You can read more about my love for rows in a post from last year right here

Friday's Morning Work

Some students have their Morning Work from Friday to complete for homework. I'm unable to upload a printable copy of it at this time, but here's a photo. 

If your child forgot it at school, they can look at the photo below (click on it to make it bigger) and complete the exercises on a regular sheet of paper.  

October 16, 2014


The student agenda indicates the boys and girls have a story to read aloud tonight but I forgot to hand it out!  
It'll come home on Friday with the kids. 

October 15, 2014

Does this sound right?

This is the question I'm asking the boys and girls to ask themselves before they hand in their work. Even if they're just checking in with me to see if their work is on track, I still want them to use their whisper-phone to make sure their writing sounds right. 

I want my students to be able to proofread their own work to find errors such as the ones in the sentences below:

Jeremy probably won't get those shoes because the store will are sold out of them. 

Maribeth Boelts wrote the story because she good at story-writing and wants us to learn about whats and needs. 

I can relate to this story how because I wanted these shoes that was too expensive.

As you can see, these sentences are well on their way to being on track, they just need that extra proofreading with the whisper-phone. 

To help support my students, I think I'll create an activity where they have to take an "almost there" sentence and give it a bit of a makeover.   

October 14, 2014

Good readers pay attention to what?!

Good readers pay attention to words. 
You read that right. 
Today the boys and girls learned that writers choose words carefully. They also have ways of telling us how they want their words read. 
I read the boys and girls the story called The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! by Mo Willems. His stories are a wonderful springboard for our discussions about how writers give us clues as to how to read their books aloud. 
Lately we've been talking a lot about how writers use ?! at the end of a sentence to write a question with a lot of excitement and curiosity. Students are encouraged to use our little discoveries in their own writing.  

I've encouraged the kids to read more of the Mo Willems' storybooks we have in class to practice their fluency skills. 

Have a look at the photos to see some of the other points we reviewed today. 
There's an example of how writer's use ?! to add expression. 

The Duckling is a small character. His text is also smaller.
Perhaps we should read this with a "small" voice.

Here you can see the difference between the text used for the
Pigeon and the Duckling. 

The Pigeon is yelling and his words are in all capitals with
red around them. He's one mad pigeon! 

Ellipses and the word nice in italics tells us to take a long pause
and then say the word nice with extra expression. 

A Math Game!

We had lots of fun playing this Math game this afternoon! It was a great way for the boys and girls to practice their subtraction skills. As promised, here is a copy of the game board for students to play at home. 

Subtraction Game (click here)

October 09, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've had a lovely morning! The boys and girls were tickled pink after first recess when Officer Scott commented on how polite and considerate they are!

We worked on our "Give Thanks" booklet before lunch today. One of the final activities is a Making Words exercise where they are to cut apart letters and form 2,3,4,5 and 6-letter words. It's a lot of fun and a great way to help develop spelling skills. 

The mystery word wasn't much of a mystery, but the words we were able to generate...whoa-baby! 

We're off to the Liturgy and RAD assembly this afternoon and then we'll have Evening Meeting. Jeanie the Meanie is indeed Georgie's partner for the President's Project. The boys and girls were stunned! 
It's been a wonderful day and certainly a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving weekend! 

Have a wonderful weekend! Travel safe and I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday, when we'll complete our Thanksgiving Reflection! 


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