The Past Few Weeks

We have been very focused in these past few weeks as we have been taking our end of year MAPS tests and getting ready for the Virginia Standards of Learning assessments (SOLs).  Can you believe that we are already to this point in the year?

In between all the hard work, there have been some great highlights in our weeks. We went to Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia to tour the home and grounds of Mr. Thomas Jefferson, our third president.  While we still have many questions about this complex man and his difficult to understand world, we learned a lot and had a great time!

        

Last week, we had a visit from a Maybeury alumni, Dr. Skateboard, who while showing us some awesome skateboarding tricks, talked to us about science, math, and the importance of setting goals and always believing that you can do just a little bit more!  Check out the photos and videos below!


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Speaking of setting goals and doing just a little bit more, our friend Abbas started a trend that I hope sparks more and more “genius” time over the next few weeks.  Abbas read a book and on his own time at home, created a Google Slide presentation that he shared with me to ultimately share with the class on Alexander Hamilton.  It included facts, music, and great artwork.  Well done!

 

Quickly following that, Rocco shared a presentation on Harry Houdini and Tori with a presentation on John Hancock.  I can’t wait to see all the research and presentations to come!

Finally this week, we spent some time in the garden, thinning and tasting mustard blend greens, watering the plants, and loving the warmer weather!

    

On a more personal note, thank you so much for all the love and support this and every week of the year.  On Teacher Appreciation Week, we teachers feel overwhelmed at the amount of love poured into us and are thrilled to know that we are surrounded by a community who values our hard work for their children!  Thank you for all the wonderful gifts!

Spring Break!

Who’s enjoying spring break?  Here’s a few pictures you have all sent to me!  Keep them coming!

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Rocco with Vinnie and Frannie in Arizona on a morning walk.

 

Abby exploring the parts of the brain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Manuel with his family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

Tessa digging a hole on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina!

Winn with his sister, Kate, and cousins in Charlotte, North Carolina!

Here is Teaghen is buried up to her neck in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

Here is Sammi climbing a tree in Hilton Head, South Carolina!

I’ll see you all on Monday!

Newsela, Google Slides, Short Reports, and a Party

It’s hard to believe that we just set our clocks forward to get ready for spring and then had a snow afternoon on Monday and delay on Tuesday, but such is March weather in Richmond, I suppose!  Mrs. Stearns was the best prepared of us all!

This week we really beefed up our access to technology this week with the addition of digging into Newsela (link found on our Clever homepage) and Google Slides.  Newsela is a site full of age and reading level appropriate news articles meant to give students a broader point of view, a chance to interact with me through annotations of the articles, and a chance to add to their own vocabulary with a personal word wall.  If they haven’t shown you this at home yet, ask them to see it!  We have also been creating a Google Slide presentation to accompany our short reports we have been working on for the past three weeks.  This was really just something extra, but they have loved being able to find pictures and share their knowledge in a more interactive way.  Ask them to log on to their google account at home and they can share their slide with you by e-mailing it to your e-mail address!

   

For some old school writing, I had to show off Miss Tori’s writing this week.  In small group reading, her group read a book about the forming of the Constitution and all that was going on around that time.  In the book, there was a beautiful painting of the delegates all gathered around what seemed to be the signing of the Constitution, so I challenged them to be news reporters.  They had to report back to their readers, who couldn’t see what they were seeing, what was going on in the “room where it happened.”  While all the information might not be correct, Tori’s writing evokes great emotion and anticipation.  All the writing in that group was outstanding.  Well done!

On Friday, using the official Maybeury podium, we shared our short reports with our classmates and Mr. Fernald for a bit.  We discussed what it means to speak loudly in front of a group, making some eye contact, enunciating clearly, and not rushing through so everyone can enjoy all our hard work!  They did phenomenally!  I caught two reports on video, so be sure to check those out below.

  

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The sun was out and we were protected from the wind on Friday, so out to the garden we went for our lesson, where we talked about weeding the garden to get it ready for spring planting!  We also had a delicious kale, spring lettuce, carrot, and snow pea salad at the end.  Thanks to our farmers for always having a great lesson in store for us!

    

Finally, this weekend was the Mallard Auction where parents and teachers get to raise money and morale for the students we love so dearly.  I had such a great time and I can’t wait until next year.  Check out all the fun we had!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

A great week behind us, a great week before us!

Maybe you’ve heard that we have welcomed a new friend to our family!  He might not always know what we are talking about, and he might (rightly) think we are a little crazy, Lutfullah is a hard worker, eager to participate, and has proved that math is truly the universal language!  Welcome to the entire Hamgar family!


Last week was National Foreign Language Week so each morning on the announcements, different students were teaching us how to say various words in different languages, since so many different langauges are spoken at Maybeury.  One language surprise in our classroom this week, was that on Braelyn’s birthday this Thursday, she pulled out this Japanese birthday song after I sang to her in boring old English! (Click on the video to hear her sing!)

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Did you know that EVERY year, students who receive ESL services (English as a Second Language) have to take 4 more tests than native English speakers?  They have to take a test to determine their reading, speaking, listening, and writing level every, stinkin’ year!  To celebrate finishing most of these tests so far, we had balloons, crowns, rainbow cookies, and surprise notes of encouragement for 7 of our ESL family members! We are so proud of all the hard work they put in every day and we love learning along with them!

Friday was another Spirit Day to celebrate Seuss Month (PJ, Stuffed Animal and Slipper Day) and yet again, your children did not disappoint.  I even caught them all sleeping when I was trying to teach!  Check out this video!

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In terms of what we learned this past week, we learned how to access age appropriate news reports on Newsela through our Clever website, worked more on our research and short reports, talked about author’s purpose in nonfiction texts, discussed how paying attention to sequence can help us understand fiction and nonfiction, compared fractions on a number line, and learned about how simple machines make work easier.  Here are pictures from throughout the week.

 

Your child had the opportunity to spend some of their hard earned mallard money on a ticket to the dance party in the cafeteria on Friday afternoon. It might have only been for 30 minutes, but we got down! Check us out in action! (Click on the video to see our sweet moves!)
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What a glorious way to end the week.  Don’t forget to dance your clocks one hour forward tonight! Hooray for spring being on its way!

Short Reports, Dr. Seuss, and Our New Friend

This week I challenged your children to think for themselves and start to research a topic so that they may later write a short report.  They had to choose a topic (from a reasonable set of choices) after looking at variety of nonfiction books.  They then had to write down what they already knew and what questions they had about their topic.  They also had to write down what resources they needed to gather to conduct their research.  On Wednesday, we started our research in the Maybeury library, using public library books that Ms. Beck gathered for us, and using safe online resources (Online Encyclopedias, PebbleGo, DK Find Out, etc.). While we are doing research, we are learning what it means to take notes in our own words, so that we don’tplagiarize someone else’s words.  We also have been creating a bibliography as a record of where our information is coming from.  Over the next two weeks, and once our research is complete, we will start writing our short reports, revise and edit them, publish, and then share our findings.  This has been a really great time of independent and challenging (in the best way) time in our classroom.

On Friday, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by dressing up as our favorite Dr. Seuss character.  I promised them that the most creative costume would get a free week of no homework, and they got me.  All of the costumes were so good that they are ALL getting a free week of no homework next week. The most you may ask them to do is read for 20 minutes each night. The looked amazing.  Absolutely unbelievable.  Check out these crazy kids.

We also welcomed a new friend to our class this week.  Lutfullah (Loot-foo-lah) comes to us from Afganistan and has been a perfect addition to our room 36 family.  We are so glad to have him, and we are eager to help him learn and to learn from him as well. I’ve already learned how to say “hello”,”face”, and I’m working on some other phrases this weekend in Dari.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Camping Day and more

Once we got past rocking our mid-year math benchmark, we dug into making inferences, or drawing conclusions, in nonfiction texts.  This skill mainly comes from previewing the headers and, using our background knowledge, trying to infer what we think the section will be about before reading.  Then we read the section and think back about the header.  Could we think of another header that would be just as good?  Check out what we mean in the picture of Marcelo and Ana’s work below.

We also learned how to really “dig into” pictures when making inferences in nonfiction. We practiced looking at primary documents first and tried to figure out what was going on in the document or photograph without any context first.  We dug into our brains and thought about all the things we knew about what we were seeing, while covering up the captions.  Once we had exhausted ourselves that way, we uncovered the captions and used the information the author gave us to deepen our understanding of the photographs.  We also shared out our initial inferences and then our deeper knowledge!

 

Here are just some bonus pictures of us working hard during reading rotations throughout the week.

The best part of this week had to be Friday, where when we used our class earnings to buy Camping Day! While the original plan was just going to be to “camp” for the first hour, spending time listening to cricket and campfire sounds while working under “tents” was so enjoyable that we made the decision to camp all day!  Check out some pictures and a video of what might end up being our favorite day of the year so far!

 
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Can you believe we’re almost to March? Have a great warm weekend, everyone!

Before our amazing field trip the Virginia Rep Theatre to see “Songs from the Soul” (which I highly suggest all of your families go to again before the end of February), we did a little making inferences around the room.  Check us out in action!


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After all the snow days and mid-year meetings one on one with Ms. Beck to determine our current reading levels, small group instruction is about to get back on track!  This week we worked on making inferences about characters based on author’s clues and our own background knowledge, learned about personal pronouns, discovered ways to determine if we should multiply or divide in a word problem, and learned more about natural event cycles. Here are a few pictures of us in action.

I hope you’re all having a great rainy weekend!

Parents,

WE WERE AT SCHOOL FOR FIVE WHOLE DAYS LAST WEEK!  Can you hardly believe it?  Yesterday I worked hard on your child’s report cards, which will be coming home on Monday, February 12th.  That means we have officially hit the mid-year point of third grade.  We are half-way through, with so much more to do!  I’m ready to keep working hard if you all are!  I think (knock on wood) we are one of the only third grade classes that hasn’t been hit with all the sicknesses, so let’s keep it that way.  We are religiously washing our hands as we come in to the class, and lovingly making each other wash our hands if we catch each other with our hands anywhere near our mouths during the day.  Kudos to you all for putting forth that effort to all this grossness this time of year!  A clean room 36, is a happy room 36!

-This is your child’s Tuesday Folder, which should come back to school on Wednesday, with the back sheet signed.  (Take it out and flip it over for more places to sign!)  If there are ever tests or assignments for you to sign and return, they will be on one side of the folder, stamped so you know what to do!  Remember that from now on, and school wide, yellow folders will be coming home with graded papers on Tuesdays!  Don’t look for them on Mondays anymore!

-Our “I can” statements for this week are as follows:

Reading – I can draw conclusions/infer what the author has left out of a fiction passage using clues from the text and my own background knowledge.

Writing – I can write a friendly letter.  I can use personal pronouns in my writing.

Math – I can multiply two digit by one digit numbers.

Science – I can describe the events and significance of natural event cycles.

-I hope to see many of you tonight for our Parent SOL night!  This is the night where the third grade teachers get a chance to meet one evening with just the parents of third grade parents to talk about all the ins and outs of SOLs.  If you can’t make it, we will be sending home any papers in your child’s folder next Tuesday, so be on the lookout for that packet!

Field Trip permission forms (Va Rep Theatre) and money ($15) are due this Friday, February 2nd, so if you need another form, please let me know so I can send one home with your Baby Duck tomorrow!

This Friday is Sports Day.  Your child may dress up in their favorite sports team attire (appropriate for school) to support their favorite football or any type of athletic team!

Mid-year benchmarks are nothing your child needs to study for; however, I do want you all to have them on your calendar so that you can send in some extra love with your child on those days!  Both reading and math will be over two days, and the scores will only be to help me direct my instruction more intensively!  These tests give me a ton of good information, but they are NOT to stress your child out!  Reading – Wednesday, February 7th & Thursday, February 8th; Math – Monday, February 19th & Tuesday, February 20th.

Book Fair & Field Trip

This past week was the Book Fair at Maybeury and we loved getting to visit the library to make lists of books we wanted!  It gave me a good idea of books my smart Mallards are interested in, and gave them a chance to voice their opinion on a variety of books!  I am so thankful to all the families who bought new books for our classroom library!  Thank you.  Thank you!  THANK YOU!

      

We had a great time on our field trip to the Valentine Museum on Friday.  We got a tour of the 1812 Wickam house and found neoclassical influences around the house.  Ask your child if they know what “neoclassical” means.  We also took a class to learn about the three different kinds of columns (doric, ionic, and corinthian) and played a game called “Richmond or Ruins” where we had to determine if pictures shown on a screen were of Richmond architecture or from Greece and Rome!  We did pretty well, believe it or not!  Lastly at the Valentine, we realized that we were already familiar with an ancient author, Aesop!  We then were able to design our own amphora with a mythological creature of our own making.  We quickly hit the streets for an hour tour around the city seeing Greek, Roman, and Egyptian influences around MCV, VCU, the Capitol Building, the Governor’s Mansion, and churches along the way.  We had a glorious time.  We then rushed back to school for lunch and recess.  What a day!

                                   

Overall, it was a pretty awesome day!

Busy Bees

The past few weeks have been insanely busy! First of all, did you hear that the third grade pumpkin on for best decoration at Mayboory?  It’s no Wonder we won.  Reading this book so far has taught us much about inclusion, being kind, and thinking about how others go through life with their own struggles just like we do.  What an incredible story!  Ask your child about anything they’ve learned while we’ve read it this year.  We hope to finish it soon!

We have been learning about narrative elements in fiction (including the plot, climax, problem and solution), identifying parts of speech in weekly mentor sentences, differentiating between possessive vs plural nouns and contractions vs plural nouns, tackling models of multiplication and division, and remembering the life cycles of various plants and animals.

We were all very proud of our classmate, Winn, for being one of the three running for Secretary/Treasurer of the SCA this year.  He gave a great speech and made us all proud to be a part of his journey!  Way to go, Winn!

 

With Veterans Day being this past Saturday, and celebrating with an assembly on Friday we loved learning about how there are people out there right now protecting our inalienable rights.  We have talked a lot about how even though we are a diverse population, that diversity amongst Americans makes us stronger!  Thank you, Veterans!

On Friday afternoon, we got to celebrate our first quarter achievements and hard work with a Mallard Rally in the gym!  We talked about how we set goals, work towards them, overcome stress and adversity, deal with frustration, and set new goals for the coming quarter!  Mr. Fernald got the teachers involved with a teamwork activity.  Check it out the winning 5th grade team in action below!
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Did you know I completed my fourth half marathon this weekend?  It’s true!  Mrs. Jones and I worked together all fall to prepare, although nothing could have prepared us for just how cold it was on Saturday morning.  We didn’t end up going quite as fast as we wanted, we worked hard, felt great, and enjoyed knowing that all of our hard work helped us to achieve something that we really wanted to do.  Now, my body is really sore and I’ll be taking Monday off to treat myself to a day of relaxation and reading.  I can’t wait to cozy up with a good book all day on the sofa.  I’ll miss you all, but I’ll see you on Tuesday!


One more thing:

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Our last two weeks…

Over the past two weeks, we have been “extremely” busy, as Jeremy might say!  Let’s start off talking about our surveys we designed, executed, and then turned the data into bar graphs and pictographs.  Did you hear that Ms. Beck is a better singer than Beyonce?  According to room 36, it’s the truth!

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In small group reading instruction, we don’t only read great books on our perfect levels.  We also discuss patterns in words that might help us decode new words, and we write!  Check us out in action!

        

Speaking of writing, something we do every single day in third grade is write!  While sometimes it’s as short as a mentor sentence lesson where we discuss what makes certain sentences from books we read exceptional, sometimes it’s working on a narrative or expository prompt from brainstorming to publishing.  Here we are in all stages of work.

          

We were lucky enough to have a visit from the Math Science Innovation Center (MSIC) this week to have a lesson about Animal Adaptations.  We learned how to determine if something is living or nonliving, we experienced how camouflage works to protect animals from becoming dinner, we learned about how scientists and inventors work together with biomimicry to make our world better.  Thanks, MSIC!

        

Finally, this Friday in the garden, we learned about how when plants have small seeds, we sew a whole bunch of seeds together when planting and then have to thin the seedlings later to give the plants room to grow.  You can see this demonstrated in the photo of Brianna, Rocco, and Daejanae below.  They were being the Spinach Triplets!

      

Like the mustard spinach, we are growing more and more every day!

Theatre IV, Deep Belly Breathing, & Getting DTB

We started off our week with an amazing visit from Theatre IV and their beautiful production of Pinocchio!

   

We read a book called What Does It Mean to Be Present and practiced our deep belly breathing skills.  This should come in handy not just when we rotate through reading stations, but anytime we are overwhelmed or stressed out.  Deep belly breathing calms our amygdalas down so our prefrontal cortex can make wise choices!

We really got going in reading groups this week and have been working our hardest in reading rotations. If you aren’t working with Ms. Beck at the macaroni table, you might be reading to yourself, practicing reading skills on Study Island or another assigned website, or completing a writing activity in the “Work on Writing” station.  Here are some photos of us hard at work during reading groups last week!

          

We also started digging into adding and subtracting big numbers, looking for addition and subtraction key words in word problems, and breaking apart those word problems with a 4-square graphic organizer to better understand what we are being asked to do.

  

Friday was “Fluffy Friend Day” if you chose to spend your mallard money on that item, but don’t worry, we’ll have another one soon!

 

I hope you all had a great weekend.  It certainly was a beautiful one!  Don’t forget we’ve got Mayboory coming up soon!  Will I see you there?

Last week tonight

Last week included walk to school day, a week full of the writing process, finding things we have been talking about in grammar in our reading, and just plain hard work!  What many of us found, especially with our writing, was that our first ideas are usually pretty good, but that everyone has room to grow.  I mean, if Thomas Jefferson, our third president, the founder of the University of Virginia, the writer of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, chose to revise the Declaration of Independence, even we, mindful third graders at Maybeury Elementary, can find something to revise and edit in our writing.  Everything can be made better.  Our theme for the next few weeks is shown in the last photo below: Don’t settle for great. HUSTLE!

              

Last week we dug into a lot of great new things!  We started off our week with a visit from James Riley who taught us about the hard work of being an author!  This week we learned about how suffixes change the meaning of words, specifically how adding -ed to the end of most verbs will change the verbs to past tense verbs and how when we add -er or -est to the end of most adjectives, we demonstrate comparative and superlative adjectives.  We learned about how good readers ask themselves questions before, during, and after reading to better understand the texts.  In math, we learned how to round 4-digit numbers to the thousands, hundreds, and tens place values!  We finished off our MAPS tests with the MAPS Fall Reading test, had our first Guidance lesson with Mrs. Pritchard, and had our first Garden Lesson on Friday morning.  Check out the pictures below of us working hard!  We were busy bees!

                       

Wow, week three!

While we still have a ways to go, we were starting to find our groove in week three.  We learned about the scientific method, syllables, making connections to fiction texts, synonyms, and antonyms.  We wrote complete sentences and expanded on an idea.  We explored four digit numbers, rounded number on a number lines, compared numbers, and squeezed in some time to learn about how the brain works!  We learned how being mindful is the key to being the best version of ourselves.  We even got to know each other a bit better throughout the fast four and a half days we had together!  Check out some pictures of us in action this past week!

                      

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wonderful Week Two

It might only be week two in third grade, but we are really digging in! In math, we are making sure we have nailed the four ways to demonstrate a number (see anchor chart picture below) and got to work in math stations to show our knowledge!

     

We also started rounding.  In third grade, we only round on a numberline.  No more tricks.  Rounding on a numberline demonstrates knowledge of WHY numbers are rounded to one or the other due to their relationships with the numbers around them.  This understanding of number relationships is key to all we do for the rest of the year.  We rounded two digit numbers to the tens place, three digit numbers to the hundreds place, and we even started rounding three digit numbers to the tens place!  Ask your child to show you their math notebook in their book bags!  They have done awesome work in there and they should be able to walk you through what we have done.  Check out Phelobater in action below!

I finally started hanging some of our Growth Mindset Inspiration Wall pictures, quotes, and sorts to help us change our speech.  Change your speech, change your mindset!

Lauryn and Tori even rocked two growth mindset t-shirts this week!  Awesome, girls!

 

In nine years of building reading stamina in my classrooms, never have I had a class be able to sit quietly and read for 10 minutes straight the first week we started at it! I am so impressed by their focus, dedication, and desire to become better readers!

   

To celebrate Constitution Day, we elected and swore in our class representative and alternate for our Student Council Association.  We are looking forward to being served by Rocco this year.  For some reason if Rocco can’t fulfill his responsibilities, Winn has agreed to step in.  Hooray for a representative government!

They might be worn out, but man, so am I!  I hope you’re all having a great weekend!  See you on Monday!

A look back at our first week!

Maybe you’ve heard that our school is focused on having a growth mindset this year? Come to open house to find out more of what this means for your child, our school, and our relationships!

   

We discussed what it means to be a good citizen and brainstormed what we could do to help make our whole class successful.  From the ideas we all came up with, we created expectations that we will ALL strive to meet each day, myself included.  We will be gracious with each other when we fall short, and we will help each other when we are frustrated or not able to make it on our own.  Together we will go far!

 

Here we are demonstrating our ability to write three-digit numbers in both standard and expanded forms.  In two weeks, we’ll be able to demonstrate numbers in four different four forms for numbers with up to six place values!

Sammi was our first Mallard to be able to recite the Mallard Growth Mindset to Mr. Fernald from memory.  Here she is in action one day at lunch.

We survived and had a great time doing it!

I can’t wait to see how this week goes!

Field Day 2017

Field day was awesome. We had such a great time hanging out with each other, and the other third grade classes.  A big “thank you” to Mr. Schreher who took almost all of the following photographs.

                   
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I am so very tired.  Thank goodness for all of our parent volunteers for coming along for the ride!  Enjoy your last weekend of third grade!


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Maymont Teacher Feature

All parents had the chance to purchase a “Teacher Feature” for every grade level at the Maybeury Silent Auction back in March.  The third grade teachers decided to fill up our cars with awesome kids and head down to Maymont Park for the fastest tour ever!  Click on the album below to check out some pictures of our awesome day!
Maymont 2017

Gilman Teacher of the Year Ceremony

I wanted to share some pictures (and a video) of my big night at the Gilman Teacher of the Year ceremony on Tuesday, May 2nd.  It was such a wonderful evening full of people I love…although, not ALL the people I love!  A special, special thanks to my little friends who surprised me with a celebration party on Wednesday afternoon!

           

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Class of the Year 2017

Your awesome third grade students have been my biggest supporters this year through the Gilman Teacher of the Year process.  We were filmed on Tuesday this week, and we even got a selfie with Mrs. Jackson, our amazing county videographer, producer, and director!

If you’d like to see the movie I created with help from some of my most favorite people for my interview in late March, click below!

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