Monday, September 29, 2014

Speedy September

I can't believe we are almost in October.  We have had a great time getting to know one another, learning together, and getting into our school year routines.  

Third grade math really hit an important milestone this week, as content was revisited in number corner, lessons and homework and emphasis was on using tens to count on (off-decade, like 24, 34, 44…). Students learned a new math routine this week as well:  math forum.  This is an opportunity for students to discuss specific strategies that were used to solve a given problem.  In fourth grade, students have been continuing to work with arrays and problem solving involving multiplication using a variety of strategies.  Math games reinforce learned strategies and prompt students to discuss their work with partners.    

We began word study as a house this week.  We have six spelling classes, which results in smaller groupings, and students are assigned to groupings based on their developmental spelling stage.  Students will be working with words in a variety of ways, depending on their groups, and some students have started using Lexia as well.  Students are not required to practice spelling words at home as it will put them over the homework time expectations.  However, you are welcome to do so!  We have a test each Friday. 

Students began decorating their writer’s notebooks this week, and wrote “authority lists,” which contain ideas for writing - writers write about that which they know a lot about.  Ms. Weegar’s authority list includes “singing in front of large crowds” and “helping others”.  Finally, students completed their narrative writing pre-assessment using Google Classroom, which is an app designed to help teachers and students organize, stream and share their work.

As we near the end of the first six weeks of school, we have been learning a lot about expected behaviors in our virtual classrooms - using the Chromebooks.  Students completed five different modules using Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport, exploring topics such as search habits, multi-tasking, crediting authors, safe sharing and awareness of potential cyber dangers.

This Friday is Fun Night at Williston Central School from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Please see the School Bell for more detials.   Also, there has been at least one confirmed case of strep throat in Equinox House, so please keep those hands washed and stay home if you are really not feeling well. 

Harper got the Student of the Week award!  Skyler got the Bucket Filler Award!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tech Saavy Kids

What a full week we have had!  We kicked off our week by celebrating Dot Day September 15th.  We read The Dot, by Peter Reynolds.  The theme of The Dot is "make a mark and see where it takes you".  We went to the computer lab and used Peter Reynolds animation program called "Animationish" to make an animation that showed about something we love.  We also posted them to our first "About Me" blog posts!  To get to our class blogs, click this link.  Feel free to leave comments and ask questions too!

We continue to build stamina with our independent reading time.  We will be launching into strategy instruction beginning next week!  We have started our first chapter-book read-aloud: Wonder, by R.J. Polacio.  The story tackles some challenging and important concepts and is very well done.  The English teacher, Mr. Brown, begins each week with “Mr. Browne’s Precepts,” - guides or rules for morals.  “When given the choice to be right or be kind, choose kind.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer  To learn more about our read aloud, click here.

In Math this week Third graders have been hard at work reviewing concepts of equality, composing and decomposing three-digit numbers, practicing strategies for addition and subtraction problems, and measuring in centimeters.  As part of their multiplication unit, fourth graders have been exploring factors, prime and composite numbers.  They created posters representing all of the different arrays for a given number and constructed their own definitions for math vocabulary.  

All students have been registered for xtramath.  This is their daily fact practice.  It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to do a session.  This will be part of their daily Morning Work when they arrive in the classroom.  If students choose to complete their sessions at home, they may.  When they graduate from xtramath (we have 4 Fourth Grade graduates already!!!) they are able to use Kahn Academy to strengthen their math skills.  Keep an eye out for your child's login information and how to sign-up for email updates in Monday's folder.

Chromebooks Are Here!

Our Chromebooks are here!  Our Chromebooks are here!  Last week, we were able to start logging in to our Chromebooks and began completing lessons online regarding digital citizenship.  We are also using “Typing Club” to practice accuracy with our keyboarding skills. Let me know if you need help logging on from home!  Also, student homework contracts were due this week and we celebrated the “Equinox Equinox” with our very first “Team Time” today.  The students were thrilled!  Our class has been incredibly tech-saavy and helpful to others!  We are using a new platform called Google Classroom to give assignments and turn them in.  Their first assignment was their Weekly Update!   There is a short video below we watched today to  help us understand Google Classroom before we began to use it.

A HUGE thank you to all of the parents who volunteered their time last Friday for our wonderful hike of Mt. Philo.  A great time was had by all!  I have many photos...and will post a video soon!

 Our Star Student of the week is Isabella and our Bucket-Filler Award was given to Harper.  Congratulations! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Building Our Community

Things are going so well for our class.   The focus of Community Building, Learning Expectations, and Setting Goals has been so powerful!   We are all really enjoying becoming a team and a class.  

In Reading Workshop this week we established independent reading expectations, reviewed how to choose “just right” books and discussed how teachers get to know and keep track of how their students are doing as readers.  We started our fall round of literacy assessments and practiced ‘stamina’ for independent reading.

In Math, third graders worked to complete the addition table this week, reviewing strategies for groups of addition facts.  Students made observations and generalizations about odd and even sums.  Number Corner in both grades is brimming with opportunities for recognizing patterns, making connections and new learning.  Fourth graders started a glossary for math vocabulary in individual math books, and are solving problems about school supplies.  They are working on four main models for multiplications and seeing connections with division models. 

Equinox Birthdays:  This year, we are steering away from food celebrations for student birthdays.  We have several new traditions we are beginning this year, including having core classes wear the birthday student’s favorite color on the birthday (or close enough!).  

To help you get more involved, here are some opportunities to mix and mingle with the FUN:

 - Ask about Hopes and Dreams for this school year
 - Read and Comment on the Class Friday Blog Post that Reflects on the Week!
 - Meet the Teachers on Curriculum Night, Thu 11 Sep 6:30 here at WCS.
 - Hike Mount Philo with us on Fri 12 Sep either all day or half day!
 - Volunteer on Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 1:30 with the Grade Four Biking Lessons in Phy Edu!
 - Join some Team Time Fun on Fri 19 Sep as Equinox celebrates the Equinox!
 - Solid Dark Colors work best for Photo Day on Wed 24 Sep.
Thanks for all that you do to support your child’s education!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Meet Our New Guidance Councilor

We have a new (to Williston) Guidance Councilor this year.  Her name is Shannon Dugger.  She created this fabulous presentation for the school staff to get to know her better.  I thought you may want to get to know her as well!  Shannon will work with your child during their Exploratory Rotation in Guidance.  Also, she runs friendship groups, meets with students to help resolve conflicts, and is available to see students who want to chat.  She is warm, friendly, and open.  Please feel free to contact Shannon at any time!