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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Reported by Mr. Coley

Day 5 of this school year began the same way as yesterday – with D.M.A.  Students entered the classroom, got out their homework from last night, and began working on today’s problems.  While they worked, I went around the classroom and checked last night’s homework.  At a little after 9:00, we spent some time going over the answers to today’s problems.  In addition to the language and analogy problems, today’s D.M.A. included a geography question.  It asked, “How many states border Minnesota?”  The answer is four.

After Florida (the name of one of our classroom’s tables) turned in their journals for me to look at and the rest of the students put theirs away, it was time for Spelling.  The students got out page 9 in their Houghton Mifflin Practice Book, last night’s spelling homework.  The page asked students to group this week’s spelling words according to their short vowel sound.  For example, bunk and crush went in the short “u” group, and swift and ditch went in the short “i” group. 

Next, it was time to transition to Reading.  Today we began reading “Earthquake Terror,” the first story in our reading book.  We got through the first half of the story, and in it, Jonathan and his sister, Abby, were alone in the woods when a major earthquake hit.  Trees started falling down, and the undulating ground made it nearly impossible for Jonathan and Abby to stay on their feet.  Tomorrow we’ll find out what’s going to happen next!  After we finished reading, I led the class in a short lesson on sequence of events, the comprehension skill for this week’s story.

Up next was our first trip to the computer lab.  Unfortunately, most of the software programs like SRI, FASTT Math, and Accelerated Reader are still being set up, so today I introduced students to some of the terminology of the lab (e.g. desktop, icons, maximize, minimize) and gave them an opportunity to explore our website.  Students voted in this week’s web poll and then spent time navigating the various pages of the site.  The BrainPOP Featured Movie page was a popular destination.

When we returned from recess, I gave the class a short multiplication quiz, something that will become a common occurrence during math class.  I emphasized to students that a quiz like this is not something I want them to worry about, but instead that it is a tool they can use to help themselves get better at learning their math facts.  I told them I’m not looking for perfect scores, but rather for improvement.  After completing the quiz, I showed the students how to correct their quizzes.  Again, I stressed to the students I’m not looking for scores of 100% on everyone’s quiz.  I just want to see improvement. 

Following the multiplication quiz, students finished up the beginning-of-the-year math assessment they began yesterday.  Then, with the time we had left until lunch, I had students get out their Target Number homework from last night.  I called on about six or seven volunteers to share their solutions (for a description of Target Number, read yesterday’s Roving Reporter article by clicking here).  I think the students enjoyed using their creativity to come up with solutions, and that’s a good thing because…they get to do it again for homework tonight!  

It was then time for lunch.  I forgot my lunch today, so I went to McDonald’s for a hamburger and fries.  When lunch was over and the students had settled back into their seats, I pulled out and continued reading from Among the Hidden. Last time, Luke saw the face of what could be another third child in the window of a neighbor’s house.  Today, Luke decided to sneak over to the house and try to meet him.  After finally gathering the courage to go, he snuck through his backyard and over to the back screen door of his neighbor’s house.  Unfortunately, it was locked!  At that point, I had finished a chapter, and it was time to move on to Science.  When I closed the book, the students cried out, “No!!! Keep reading!”  Having students beg you to keep reading is a teacher’s dream.

Our final subject of the day was Science.  Today we spent some time going over how we'll be taking notes.  We talked about the layout of our science book, and I passed out notes sheets we'll be using for Chapter 1.  The first chapter is all about cells. While we read from the textbook, I used a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the main ideas of the lesson, and students took notes on the fill-in-the-blanks notes sheet I had handed out.

Before dismissing the class to go home, I announced that the Quiet Seat was quiet, and that it was none other than Alexander.  Students then gathered up their backpacks and headed for the door.  See you tomorrow!

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