Friday, September 30, 2011

So...Who is this Kate Dicamillo?

Kate Dicamillo was born in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. She was raised in Clemont,Flordia. She currently lives in Minneapolis,Minnisota. She is short,loud,hates to cook and loves to eat. She is childless and single. She has lots of friends. She has a book club for kids. She moved away in her twenties. Her birthday is March 25,1964 she was born in the north. She had poor health as a child. She is an aunt of three children. She is the author of 13 children books. She is the author of The Tale Of Despereaux. Her first book was Because Of Winn-Dixy. She is skiny.


Guest Bloggers

Cullen and Emma

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Calendar Math Quiz Sneak Peek!

Each day, as part of our math skills blocks, students participate in a "Everday Counts: Calendar Math" lesson. On Wednesday, students will be assessed for the skills that were taught in September during our math skills block. All students should be able to answer the following questions:
Calendar Questions (a calendar will be pictured on the quiz):
  • Based on the calendar, what was the last day of August?
  • Based on the calendar, what will be the first day of October?
  • Correctly write the date of the second Saturday of September. (September 10, 2011)
  • What are three mathematical characteristics that are true about a square?

Other Skills Questions:

  • Write the following number in standard form: 6,000 + 400+ 30 + 7 (Answer: 6,437)
  • Write the following number in expanded form: 5,348(Answer: 5,000 + 300 + 40 + 8)
  • Write the following in standard form: three thousand, nine hundred forty-two (Answer: 3,942)
  • Today is the 17th day of school. If we collected one dime oneach day of school how much money would we have? ($1.70 or 170 cents)
  • Fill in the following math analogy: 150: 125 :: 325 : ____ (Answer: 300)

If you know how to answer these questions, you are all set! Want to practice more? Ask your parents to study with you by making up questions that are similar the those above.

Want to earn some class money? Answer the following questions:

What is your favorite part of Calendar Math?

What is the date of the third Monday of September?

Write the following number in standard form: six thousand, seven hundred forty-seven.

Don't forget to put your name in the post!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Distance Riddle Math Quiz

In class, we have been working on finding the distance between two numbers. Tomorrow students will be assessed on this information. The following is a sample problem that students have been working on:

Mrs. Shall and Miss Russell’s class has collected 432 Box Tops. Mrs. Smith’s class collected 284 Box Tops. How many more Box Tops did the Shall/Russell class collect than Mrs. Smith’s class?

When thinking about this problem students may think of it in two different ways. Some students prefer to work this problem as addition with the equation being 432-284. Some students prefer to think of this problem with a missing addend such as: 284 + ___ = 432. Either thought process is correct and will help the student get the right answer.

The following are some sample questions for tomorrow’s quiz. If you leave a comment with the answer for your correct group, you may receive a special treat tomorrow. Don’t forget to answer the entire question!

Russell Homeroom: I am 54 more than 100. What number am I? I am 54 less than 100. What number am I?

Shall Homeroom: I am 47 more than 400. What number am I? I am 47 less than 100. What number am I?

Lipsky Homeroom: Brandon’s family went on a family trip. They stopped at the gas station at mile 67. They stopped again to get lunch at mile 201. How far from the gas station to lunch?

O’Leary Homeroom: Over the weekend Miss Russell went on a road trip to Miami. Miss Russell drove 456 miles. Her friend only drove 267 miles. How many more miles did Miss Russell drive then her friend drove?

If you can answer these questions, you will be all set for tomorrow’s quiz!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What have the READING Superheroes been up to?

This week in Reader's Workshop, we have been studying the MAIN idea of what we are reading. The Main Idea is what a passage or story is MOSTLY about. Being able to figure out the Main Idea of a story is a very important skill to have. It helps us to understand what we read and tell others about it!

To brush up on this important Reading Skill, check out this fun video about Main Idea.

Here are some other sites with games about MAIN IDEA:




Hope you enjoy checking out these sites!

Love Mrs.O'Leary and Ms.Lipsky

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What is a Gizmo?

Gizmos are online simulations that power inquiry and understanding. Gizmos is one of the programs we will be using to explore on the laptop.

Your child has a log-in and password for Gizmos (as of 9-19-11) in the back of his/her planner. We have selected several introductory math simulations for students to use. These include:

1. Cannonball Clowns (estimation)

2. Rounding Whole Numbers

3. Target Sum Card Game (Close to 100)

4. Number Line Frog Hop (Addition and Subtraction)

We have also selected several science simulations that align with our current unit of study, Plants. These include:
1. Growing Plants (students are able to change variables in order to test how plants grow best)

2. Germination

As we explore more Gizmos in class, we will make them available on your child's account. In order to access your child's account, use the navigation bar on the right side of this blog. Under the heading "Our Favorite Math Sites," choose Gizmos. This will be available for the remainder of this school year.

What is your favorite Gizmos so far? :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Young Scientists At Work: From A Bean Seed to a Seedling

Our young scientists have been hard at work. Last week, they researched what a seed needs to germinate, and discovered that they need air, the right amount of water, light, and the right temperature. Armed with this information, they planted their seeds in a ziploc bag with a wet paper towel, and hung the planters in the windows by the art room so they would get some natural light. Several of our young scientists predicted that the seed would germinate, but others were doubtful that it would grow without soil. Their observations, questions, and conclusions have been a great learning opportunity over the past seven days.  

Some of the bean seeds must have had exactly the right amount of light, water, air, and the right temperature, because they began to sprout within several days. Others weren't so lucky, but their conclusions were equally as valuable. One of the students, before we began, wondered if a dry bean seed would grow more quickly than a soaked bean seed, so we set that experiment up as well.  Their surprised looks when they saw the seed turn into a seedling within five days was priceless.

Furthermore, early this week, we discussed variables in relation to our germinating seeds. What in our investigation stayed the same (constants)?  What is the one thing we could change to learn more about germinating seeds (independent variable)?  What, if we conducted this investigation, would happen if we changed that one thing (dependent variable)?  Students began designing their own experiments to test their questions, and will begin to implement their new investigations later this week. You'll have to ask them about their question and their hypothesis. Stay tuned if you want to learn more about our explorations as young scientists.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mrs. Shall's Birthday Celebration!

Our Shall/Russell students and wonderful room moms, Mrs. Wilson & Mrs. Boyd, surprised me yesterday with a birthday celebration. They sang Happy Birthday and we enjoyed scrumptious cupcakes, then they returned to bring me a delicious Panera's lunch! Their generous gesture warmed my heart and the kids absolutely loved the special time. I got so many hugs, a definite bonus! I don't know how I got so lucky to work in a learning community with the BEST children and their parents. It's a wonderful blessing and simply amazing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Tiger Rising

In Reading class, our students are not just learning to read, they are READING to LEARN. As they transition into richer, more complex chapter books, making meaning from what they are reading becomes more difficult. There are no longer pictures to guide the thinking that they do while reading. That is why visualizing, or making a "mind movie" while we read is so important! It helps us to understand, enjoy the story, and keep our minds awake while reading.

This is why Mrs.Lipsky and Mrs.O'Leary chose The Tiger Rising, by Kate Dicamillo, as the first read aloud chapter book of the year. The author writes with so many vivid details that it is a perfect book to practice making movies in our minds about what we are reading.

Students- Which part of this book so far made the best mind movie in your head? Leave a comment on this blog post describing the part and recieve 2 behavior bucks.

To learn more about Kate Dicamillo and to check out more books by this superb author, click here!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Box Top Challenge

In math, we have been working with numbers up to 1,000. As a class, we have decided to start a collection of 1,000 things to help us visualize this amount. After brainstorming different items that we could collect and keep in class, we have made a decision. Drum roll please...we will collect Box Tops! This will be the perfect item to collect because not only are Box Tops easy to find, they will also come in handy later in the year when PTA holds the Box Top class competitions. Start sending in your Box Tops to Miss Russell and Mrs. Shall's class today so we can reach our goal of 1,000 Box Tops! For more information about how your Box Tops help our school, click here to visit their website.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What Does a Scientist Do?

As scientists, we first ask a question and make a prediction about the answer to the question. Then, we design investigations that allow us to observe, experiment, gather data, and analyze data to try to find the answer to our question. Sometimes, the investigation leads us directly to an answer,
and other times, we just have more questions. This process called scientific inquiry is the framework we use for our explorations in science.

This year, we spent the first couple of days discussing the process of scientific inquiry and watching video clips of scientists at work. Then, we decided to be scientists ourselves and jumped into our first science unit on exploring plants.

By the end of the unit, we will be able to answer our question, How do the different parts of a plant help it live and grow?  On Wednesday, we began the unit with a pre-assessment by studying a plant, making a sketch, labeling the parts of the plant that we knew, and then writing about our observations.  It'll be interesting at the end of the unit to review what we knew when we began. I'll bet there will be many details we can add as our understanding grows.

To get the answer to the essential question of the unit answered, we have to explore other questions and design multiple investigations. So, we asked the testable question, How do bean seeds make a new bean plant?  We used hand lenses to observe the similarities and differences of an unsoaked bean seed and a soaked bean seed. Students drew and wrote about their observations. Then, they peeled the seed coat, the outer, protective layer covering of the seed, off the bean seed and opened the seed to observe the inside. They made observations, drew what they saw, and then wrote about their observations. After the observation, they were ready to make a prediction.  I predict that bean seeds make a new plant by_______ because _________.   

This is just the start of our unit. Stay tuned to read more about our explorations over the next couple of weeks. We can't wait to share our learning with you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The SOLAR Class Store

We are proud to introduce you to Miss Russell and Mrs. Shall's classroom commerce system. Students earn $2.00 each day for class attendance, and can earn additional money for doing class jobs, being respectful and helping a classmate in need, and for being hard working school citizens.  Students deposit their daily funds in their class bank book, and can spend their money by buying or renting items from our Class Store which opens on a weekly basis. In addition, because the store is set up to reward good choices, there are also fines which are sometimes paid for forgotten homework or not treating others respectfully. In those instances, students withdrawal money from their class bank book.

Last week, students who wanted to become store clerks submitted their job applications. From those applications, two students were selected to run the Class Store and two students were selected to run the Game Room this week. The students earned $10 for working. 

During this store time, students could purchase or rent items. The process was fun for students and interesting to watch. Some students were content with saving their money for more expensive purchases in the coming weeks, others strategically spent some of their funds, and others went for broke and enjoyed every moment of their reward time. If you have a child that participated in Class Store, we hope they shared their excitement with you. Listed below are samples of some of the things for purchase and rent.

Items to Rent:   Uno, Ring Toss, Bowling, Spiderman Operation, Twister, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cheese Game, Connect Four, Legos, Paper Airplanes, Play Doh, Crafts, Gone Fishing, Card Stacker, Special Desk, and Special Chair. 

Items for Purchase:  pencils, notebooks, erasers, silly bands, stickers, candy (only two pieces), mystery box items, pens, and Teacher Assistant.