Archive for February, 2011

We have the “ANSWER”!

I hope that over this vacation you had the opportunity to rest, read, laugh, run, and play as a family! We are returning to school this week for the last week of our second term of third grade! This year is flying!!

This year, we, as teachers, have had the chance to learn about a teaching tool that will help children demonstrate their reading comprehension skills through writing. We have brought this tool back to the classroom and are teaching the children to use it to help them organize information and answer (certain types of) questions effectively. It is called the “ANSWER Key to Open Response” questions. Here is what ANSWER stand for:

Analyze the question

Note Plan

Skim, Read and select

Write the response

End by


Attached you will find a sheet that describes each step in the process. We have spent class time (both whole group & small group) learning about “A”, “N”, and “S”. We have worked on each step, one at a time. For each step, I modeled the task for the children so that they could see how it should be done. Then, we practiced (extensively) together. Finally, the children practiced the steps independently. The children seem to be feeling confident about the process and are very good at it as well. These valuable steps are very easily integrated into our day to day work in reading.

This week, we will delve into “W”. This will give the children the opportunity to turn the specific details that they have written in their note plans into cohesive written answers for given questions. We will then move into the final two steps.

Coming home this week will be work samples completed by your child that I have been collecting after each step. It is my hope that this work will illustrate how hard your child is practicing each step and will give you a better idea of what each step entails. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to call, email or send a note.

Thanks, as always, for your continued support!

Posted on February 28th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

A Classroom of Poets

This week we will be finishing up our Writer’s Workshop unit on poetry. In this unit, the children have learned about lines and stanzas, rhythm, meter, rhyme, exaggeration, poetic license and the importance and value of using their imaginations! We have supplemented our learning by reading the books of some published adult poets. The children have been continually inspired by Jack Prelutsky and his amusing and informative book, Pizza, Pigs and Poetry. In this book, Jack Prelutsky challenges young poets to think about their own experiences, including those that were weird, gross, or funny and use those personal experiences to create poems.

We also shared the book, Guyku, by Bob Raczka, to get some inspiration for creating Haiku poems. What a great book! It really showed the children how tiny moments from their day-to-day lives can make powerful poems. Over the course of this unit, the children have tried their hand at different types of poetry including rhyming and non-rhyming poems, concrete poems and Haiku. Visit the “Writing Nook” page of our classroom blog to enjoy some of the Haiku poems that our class created! Here are three fabulous samples to pique your interest!

Beaches by: Will

I always find shells

at the warm, sandy beaches.

Sometimes I find crabs.

So Big! by: David

The picture is small.

The art is made. It looks so

BIG with its designs.

Floating by: Miranda

You float through oceans

in waves as big as buildings,

seaweed at your side.

A few items to make note of:

*There will be no new spelling words this week. Students will be practicing past sorts/patterns.

*Please remind your child to put his/her name on homework. Many are arriving without names and that makes it very difficult to give credit and return it to you in a timely fashion.

*If you have not already done so, please send back a signed slip indicating that you have seen and read the Book Talk information.

Thanks, as always, for your continued support!

Posted on February 14th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

90th Day of School

Posted on February 6th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Oreo Moon Phases

As we wrap up our unit on the Solar System, the children demonstrated their understanding of the phases of the Moon by creating the different phases with Oreo cookies. They worked in pairs to complete the project. As you can see from the pictures below, they all did a fantastic job!

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by hsawyer  |  1 Comment »