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!


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!


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!

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:


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!


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.


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!


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!



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!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Fernald! and other fun happenings

It has been a busy week!  We started off Monday learning about fire safety!  Have you checked the batteries in your fire alarms?  Do you have a meeting place outside of your house in case of fire?  Ask your child what they need to know to be a Junior Firefighter in Henrico County!  We also got to meet one of Ms. Beck’s oldest friends, Firefighter Trinh who taught us not to be afraid of firefighters in all their gear!



Ms. Beck had her interview and presentation for Teacher of the Year and then ran by her old school, Donahoe, to deliver doughnuts and say hello to some of her favorites! Here she is with JMU alum Mrs. Collins!

We learned about probable outcomes and possible combinations.  Check out our work around the room!


On Friday, Mrs. Rao was our mystery reader!  She read us a book about how families can look all different ways, and they are still full of love!  She also gave us a sneak peek into solid figures in math that we’ll be tackling next week!

We had a visit from a brass quintet, courtesy of the Richmond Symphony.  We learned about brass instruments, how vibrations make sound, and how one song can be altered to completely change the mood!  Check out their version of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” when thinking about a New Orleans funeral procession.


Finally, we had to celebrate Mr. Fernald’s 40th birthday!  We bought him a giraffe head (because of our current love of April the Giraffe in New York) and documented his day around campus before hanging it in his office this afternoon.  Happy birthday, Mr. Fernald!


Reading, Reading, Reading!

I don’t know if you have noticed, but reading has taken on a whole new meaning over the past two weeks.  My students are devouring books as fast as I can get them into their hands!  I am amazed by how my baby ducks are no longer abandoning books, but revelling in their abilities to complete whole chapter books independently!  In small group reading, students are introduced to new books and after about four days, I release them to read the rest of the book on their own as we move onto a new book.  Seeing them take the initiative to finish their books has renewed my love for teaching during this latest cold snap!  We might have been stuck inside, but at least we were stuck inside with some great literature.  Check out a few of my great readers!


Ask your child what book they are currently reading and what level it is!  Here’s hoping this awesome thirst for good stories continues for a long time in their lives!

The past two weeks…

have been jam-packed of learning and fun!  Check it out!

We are rocking through some “perfect fit” books in small groups and responding in our favorite reader’s response journals.  What book has your child read from start to finish recently?  Be sure to ask them!


We had two great percussionists come to teach us about how much of our music today has come from the percussive beats of West Africa. Take a second to watch these videos and catch our star Amir on stage!


Last Friday, we visited the Math Science Innovation Center (MSIC) and revisited our unit on aquatic animal adaptations!  We got to review vocabulary, observe the vertebrae of a sea turtle, learn about different bodies of water in Virginia, and touch some sea creatures!


Along with learning about 2-digit by 1-digit multiplication and making change, we learned how to use calculators to check our work!


This past week, we have been celebrating Seuss Week with different celebration each day.  We rocked sock day, were wacky on Wednesday, and capped it off with hat and PJ days!


On Thursday, my nephew Tyler came to visit us with his mom and dad (my sister and brother in law) for his 2nd birthday!  We helped him open his birthday present and he came to recess with us!


On Friday, Grandma Edwards visited us after her trip to Burma/Myanmar and shared some photographs with us.  She also stayed and helped us stay on task while Ms. Beck met with word study groups.

Waiting for the bus presented an opportunity to play some cool group games.


I’m already excited about what next week might bring!

This week’s rundown:

We have been trying out some new desk arrangements that will help us to focus our best and practice our teamwork abilities! Here we are taking the zipties off of our old groups.


In reading stations this week, we have really come to love reading good-fit chapter books on our level.  I have loved seeing at least three groups finishing their books.  When in small group with Ms. Beck, we don’t ONLY read…we also write in response to what we have read!  Here are a few pictures of students using their background knowledge as well as clues from the text to make inferences!


We are up to our gills in money right now!  We are learning how to count, compare, and add collections of money using real money, team games, computer games, and old school worksheets, checked by calculators!



We also finished out our week of Pennies for Pasta by raising over $730.00 in just our class alone!  On Friday morning, we split up the money by value and then in teams, we counted the money, reported the amounts, and then added it all up to find this week’s total.


We had a mystery reader on Friday!  Thanks to Mrs. Fendley for coming in and giving her teacher skills a workout by reading three fantastic books.  As you can tell, no one moved when she was reading.  We also had an awesome lesson in saving vs. spending with Ms. Adams but I completely forgot to get a picture!  Ask your child how much we learned about saving money for the future on Friday!

We have been working so hard on our “who do you admire” writing prompts over the past two weeks, and the fruit of our labors are now hanging on our classroom window!  They are five paragraph narrative essays revised and edited with peers, and published in cursive!  Come check these out when you have a chance!  More will be put up when they are complete.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s what we did in music this week!


Winter or Spring?

The weather couldn’t make up its mind, but we had no problem!  We were so glad to be back in a normal groove after mid-year testing was completed last week.  We had time to play outside, work in teams, jump back into reading groups, learn about natural cycles, start a new writing prompts, and name our Mallard mascot!  Take a peek into our week!

I taught some gals a new game with a basketball during a warm recess.  (It’s much easier with a fully inflated basketball we found!)


We started a new writing about people we admire.  We are all in different stages of the writing process, but we all love writing time, when we get to cozy up anywhere in the classroom, and let our voices be heard on paper!


We learned about tides and moon phases this week.  The best part was turning two double stuff Oreos into the four major moon phases…and eating all phases when we were done!


As you know, we are raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through a program called “Pennies for Pasta” where we raise money in our classrooms to donate for cancer research.  After a week of collecting money, as a class, we counted the donations in groups separated by denominations.  Check out our current total!  This is a great way to kick off our next math unit…MONEY!


In our garden lesson, which tied in beautifully to our study of seasons, we illustrated what our garden looks like throughout the year.  Our farmers used a “Crankie” which is a moving panorama tool.  Check out the video below!


Finally, we celebrated our accomplishments in the second quarter by partying at the Mallard Rally!  The third grade teachers played Charades and acted out ways we can be kind to those around us. We also got a special visit from our mallard mascot, who we, as a whole school, named Max!

Life in third grade is the best!

Welcome to the Second Half of Third Grade!

With all the benchmark/F&P/PALS (reading level) testing, we’ve been off our blog posting game.  Check out a few of the things we have been doing over the past few weeks…in between tests, of course!

Early in the year, Ellie and Nickole took it upon themselves to write letters to President Obama detailing their concerns for the environments and animal populations around us.  We totally forgot about those letters until we received an embossed letter from the office of the White House!  The picture below shows his lovely response and a video of the girls getting to read their letter in front of the class!  Thanks, President Obama!


We sent a picture of us braving the cold recess temperatures to channel 12, hoping we might make it onto the “Dress for the Weather” segment on the morning broadcast.

We finished up our unit on measurement and took a “team test” helping each other to discuss the most reasonable answers!


We got a new pencil sharpener!

We prepared for the math benchmark like champions!

We learned what it means to make inferences in fiction texts and practiced our skills on one of our favorites comprehension sites, Into the Book!


And we learned all about natural cycles.  Here we are taking a BrainPop quiz together about what causes the seasons with Nickole as the facilitator.

There’s always something great going on in room 36!

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