Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How does SETTING affect a story?

Our Houghton-Mifflin selection this week is Cendrillon, a Carribean Cinderella Story, by Robert D. San Souci.
We are looking at how the setting of the Carribean changed the story from the original Cinderella story we are used to. We have also read several other versions of this classic story and noted how the setting changed things.
Then we made up our own settings and talked about how the Cinderella story would be changed.
For example:
if it took place in modern times VS the time of the dinosaurs

in modern times: Cinderella would arrive in a limo, have a DJ at the ball and it would be held at the Save Mart Center or maybe at a fancy casino in Las Vegas. Cinderella would have very high-heeled glass slippers.

in the age of dinosaurs: Cinderella would arrive on the back of a very large dinosaur, drums would be the only music played at the ball, and Cinderella would wear a moccasin.

We also discussed a winter VS summer setting

summer: Cinderella would arrive in a convertible or on a surfboard, the ball would take place at the beach, she would wear a tank top and shorts, and would leave behind a flip flop

winter: Cinderella would arrive on a sled or maybe a snowmobile, the ball would take place at a ski hill or ice rink, she would be wearing a parka and would leave behind a boot

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Activities

Here is a link to PBS with some activities for kids related to Veteran's Day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Order of Operations

We are working on expressions, equations and inequalities with all of the operations. The rule we follow to know which operation to do first is called the Order of Operations.
It goes like this:
Multiply and/or divide (left to right)
Add and/or subtract (left to right)

We use the Mnemonic Device to help us remember the Order of Operations.

Example: 45 - (3 x 8) + 9
In this expression we would multiply 3 x 8 first because it is in parentheses.
That would leave us with 45 - 24 + 9
Then we subtract because it come first moving from left to right.
That would leave us with 21 + 9 which equals 30.
So the value of 45 - (3 x 8) + 9 is 30.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Figurative Language

We are working on similes, metaphors, personification and hyperbole.

Similes are a comparison of two unlike things using like or as: the boy ran like the wind Metaphors are a comparison of two unlike thing: The misbehaving child was a monster. Personification is giving human characteristics to inhuman things, objects, ideas or animals: The wind whispered my name and told me to come out to play.
Hyperbole is exaggeration: that was the worst movie I've ever seen.

Here are some similes the students in G-2 have written.
I am as brave as a bear.
Mrs. Coleman is as smart as a scientist.
I was as hungry as a bear that hasn't eaten all summer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Test-Taking Strategies

Next week is the middle of Trimester 1 here at Mark Twain, which means we have a Language Arts test, as Science Test and a Math Test all in one week. Today we covered some good strategies for a taking a reading comprension test. We talked about how reading in a test is different than reading a book for pleasure or even information, so we need to approach it differently. Here are some strategies that can help us attack a test.

1. Read the Questions First
2. Highlight or underline key words or phrases in the questions.
3. Read the passage 2 - 3 times.
4. Highlight key words or phrases in the passage that relate to the questions.
5. Read the questions again and ALL of the answer choices.
6. Eliminate the wrong answers.
7. Choose the correct answer and mark it.

We are practicing these techniques now, and will continue to review them throughout the year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Learning Powerpoint

We made our second trip to the computer lab to learn how to use the program Microsoft PowerPoint to make presentations. The first presentation is All About Me. The students will be presenting these to the class next week. The students will continue to use this program to make reports on science social studies throughout the year. Some students may be able to compete to participate in Tulare County's Cyberquest on November 21st.

Properties of Addition

Zero Property - when you add zero to a number, the sum is that same number
Example: 5 + 0 = 5
Commutative Property - when you change the order of the addends, the sum stays the same.
Example: 3 + 4 = 7 and 4 + 3 = 7 so 3 + 4 = 4 + 3
Associative Property - when you change the way the addends are grouped, the sum stays the same.
Example: (2 + 3) + 6 = 11 and 2 + (3 + 6) = 11 so (2 + 3) + 6 = 2 + (3 + 6)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Some Good Books We've Read

Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull - The storyof how Wilma Rudolph overcame immense disadvantages to become a record-winning Olympic athlete. Used this in our discussions on Commitment, our character of the month for August.

Salt in His Shoes by Doloris Jordan - A biography of Michael Jordan, written by his mom, that let's us know, even superstars have to work hard for what they get.

The Honest to Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack - the story of a girl who tells the truth a little too well. This was used in our discussions on Honesty, our character of the month for September.

Tea With Milk by Allen Say - this is part 2 of the story Grandfather's Journey, which we read in our reading anthology this week. Grandfather's Journey tells the story of Allen Say's grandfather, who moved from Japan to California, then back to Japan. Tea With Milk is the story of Allen Say's mother, a California girl, who has to adjust to life back in Japan.

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco Ellen is bored with reading, so her grandpa takes her on an adventure to find the bee tree, in the process, teaching Ellen a lesson about the adventures that can be found in books.

Our class guardian

Thanks to the Sweatts for adding to my Star Wars collection! I love my new Yoda. He has a place of honor at the front of the class. Watch us he will.

We learned a new song this week in science to help us to remember how resistors, conductors and insulators help us use electricity. It is sung to the tune of "How Much is That Doggy in the Window"

Electricity Helpers

Resistors, conductors, insulators
Help us use electricity
Resistors, conductors, insulators
Help us use electricity

Resistors slow down the electrons
Then change them to heat, light and motion
Resistors slow down the current
Then changes it to other forms
Conductors help move the electrons
To places far and near
Conductors are metals like copper
Help charges flow smoothly for us
Insulators stop electric charges
From going where they shouldn’t be
Insulators like rubber and plastic
Keep us safe, you and me

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Reading Selection: Akiak

We will be finishing our first reading selection from the Anthology tomorrow: Akiak.
Tuesday will be our first selection test.
Use the information on our class wiki to review the story structure of Akiak.

Place Value Through the Millions

We spent a lot of time this week working on reading, writing, and understanding numbers up to the hundred millions place.

First we learned The Place Value Song

it is sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Place Value Periods
Come in Groups of Three
Ones, tens, hundreds
Read them right to left

Thousands, Ten thousands,
Hundred thousands
Place value periods
Read them right to left

Millions, ten millions
hundred millions
Place value periods
Read them right to left.

We also learned 3 forms of a number:

Standard form: 198,876, 612

Word form: one hundred ninety-eight million, eight-hundred seventy six thousand, six hundred twelve

Expanded form: 100,000,000 + 90,000,000,000 + 8,000,000 + 800,000 + 70,000 + 6,000 + 600 + 10 + 2

This week we will be working on rounding numbers and comparing and ordering numbers (putting them in order by size).

We will be using this rounding rhyme

Find your place
Look next store
Five or greater
Add one more
Digits in front
Stay the same
Digits behind
Zero's your name

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Data collection and analysis

We spent some time during math this week getting to know each other a little better. We did some collecting of data and then we displayed that data in bar graphs to find out information that might be helpful to our class. Our first two questions we did together: Do you have internet at your house? and What type of soda do you like? The first question is helpful to me for designing assignments that require use of the internet. The second question is useful when planning a class party. We found out that only half of our class has access to the internet and that Root Beer and Dr. Pepper are the favorite sodas of the class. The students then designed their own research questions and worked in partners to collect their data and construct their graphs. (some of those will be added to the post shortly)

What Do Good Readers Do?

They think while they read!

This week we practiced several reading strategies that good readers use.
I started the week by asking the students what they thought good readers do.
The answers were: reread if they don't understand and sound out words. Those are both very good strategies. There is so much more!

We talked about METACOGNITION - thinking about what we are thinking about.
Then we introduced several strategies using some very fine stories.

What we read:
The Pumpkin Runner
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The Araboolies of Liberty Street
What Do You Say Dear?
Odd Velvet
My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother

visit our wiki to read more about the strategies we practiced

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to 4th grade!

We have an exciting and challenging year ahead. I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you, and to helping you learn.

This is the place to go to keep up to date with homework, school events, and what is going on in class.

try this link to see our school calendar

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Corcoran teachers learning about blogs and wikis.

So today the K-5 teachers learned more about using technology in the classroom. One of the things we learned that I'm excited to try right away is a class Wiki. A wiki is similar to a blog, but I anticipate it will be easier for the students to use and to post their work and their projects.
Below is the link to our first class wiki. There is nothing there yet, but hang on, there will be soon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

State Testing - Good News

75% of 4th graders passed the writing test in March
That's up from 47% the year before.

Mark Twain's estimated API is 762 up from 735

Language Arts scores went up too from 36 to 47 % proficient

Math scores went up from 51 to 53 % proficient

Great job Mark Twain students and teachers!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shopping for classroom supplies

Back to School

Lots of Mark Twain teachers are hard at work setting up their classrooms. This is always an exciting, yet hectic, time of year.

Important dates

Wednesday, August 12th - Teachers officially return to work
Tuesday, August 18th - The First day of School

School starts at 8:03 a.m. We are taking the minutes we used to have in the recess before school, and adding them to the mid-morning recess.
If you are eating breakfast at school, the cafeteria opens at 7:30 a.m.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

End of the Year Dates

trimester 3 excellent behavior activity:
Water Day!
4th grade - Monday, June 1st
5th grade - Tuesday, June 2nd
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Talent Show
4th grade - Tuesday, June 2nd
5th grade - Wednesday, June 3rd
9:00 a.m.

Swimming at the Y.M.C.A.
Thursday, June 4th - 9:00 - 2:00

3rd Trimester Awards Assembly
Friday, June 5th
4th grade - 10:00
5th grade - 8:30

THE LAST DAY of School
June 5th
Dismissal is at 12:30

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Info For learning

I will be putting up information for parents here for the next few weeks about summer activities for students.

Positive Parenting

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Preventative Measures for theSwine Flu

CUSD has worked to come up with preventative measures to reduce the risk to students and staff to the Swine Flu Virus.

*The district ordered tissues and hand sanitizer for all the classrooms and offices during this outbreak. They should be distributed by the end of the week.There should be enough hand sanitizer for each classroom and office. One bottle should last quite a long time if it is used properly. Student use will need to be monitored, tissues --a couple of boxes per classroom. *Staff and students are advised to furnish their own supplies from home if possible.
*The custodial staff is to take extra efforts to wipe/clean door knobs and faucet handles. Still, the best defense is soap and water hand washing.
*Several articles have been sent with instructions on how to avoid the virus. They are the normal, common, preventative, measures we are all aware of:
- Wash your hands
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid physical contact with others
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose
- Wash your hands
- Wash your hands

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looking for Great Books?

for strong girls in grades 3, 4 and 5

to hook readers in grades 4 and 5

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leprechaun Glyphs

Tell us things about our class like:
Who wears green on St.Patrick's Day?
Who is part Irish?
Who goes to lots of parades?
Who would like to have their own leprechaun?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Key Questions: Rocks and Minerals

1. What are the properties of minerals?
2. What are some daily uses of rocks and minerals?
3. What are the 3 types of rocks, and how are they formed?
4. What is the rock cycle?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lightning Thief

We have been slowly reading the Lightning Thief in class. This book is about a boy who discovers that he is half Greek God. We have made it about half-way through, so I can't wait to tell the kids, it's going to be a movie too. We better hurry up and finish!
Here's the link about the movie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Narrative Writing

You are telling a story. Your story needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Write it like you would say it if you were telling your best friend!

Your story needs to catch the reader's attention. Give it catchy beginning. Use exclamations, actions, dialogue, a when, a where or describe a character or setting.

To keep the reader's attention use language that helps them make a picture in their own mind.
Use Action!
Use Dialogue!
Use strong verbs and adjectives!
Use figurative language - similes, idioms, hyperbole are the easiest to come up with.

Finish up with a strong ending, describe a feeling or memory, explain about a lesson that was learned. Be original, be creative.

Summary Writing

The Plan:
1. Name It/Verb It/Main Idea - this is how to write your topic sentence.
Name the article, tell what it does (describes, explains, compares, etc.) then state the main idea of the article/reading passage.

2. Outline the topic, important facts and supporting details.
T = topic (main idea)

3. Write a concluding sentence that restates the topic sentence (use synonyms).

Now, put it all together to write your summary.

Remember: Don't copy the article word for word. Don't add extra information that you know from watching the Discovery Channel. Only write about what was in the article.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Test taking strategies for Reading Comprehension

State testing is around the corner (end of April)
Here are the strategies we have been practicing for doing better on a reading comprehension test.

1. Read the questions first.
2. Underline or highlight the key words in the sentence.
3. Read the passage 2 - 3 times.
4. Underline or highlight the key words in the passage that help you answer the questions.
5. As you answer the questions, go back to the passage to check.
6. Eliminate the answers you know are wrong.

Other basic helpful hints:
Get plenty of sleep the night before.
Avoid high sugar foods.
Eat a breakfast high in proteins.
Chew gum during the test to keep you alert (with teacher's permission of course).

What are some other strategies you use?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Welcome to G-2!

We are 4th grade learners in California.
Tune in to see what we are learning about.
We used to be on edublogs, but had too
much trouble. Hopefully, things will work better here.

invention convention - what a cool idea, though not ours