I've been thinking a lot about all-stars this week. We had an amazing encounter with the Harlem Wizards this past Sunday. They have mind numbing ball handling skills and can dunk the ball like nobody's business. I had the good fortune of attending game 1 of the World Series at Fenway on Wednesday night. Those bearded wonders seem to be taking turns being MVP from night to night. But truly, the all-stars I'm most taken with are your students!
We're quickly approaching the end of October and they are surpassing all of my expectations. We recently started a new math unit. We're working with much larger numbers and rather than using their number sense to navigate around the hundreds chart they're navigating around the thousands chart. Soon, we'll begin a class collection with the goal of making our way to a thousand. For a few years now the third grade team has challenged each class to collect a THOUSAND Box Tops. I can think of no better way to build a collection while helping to bring cultural arts etc. to the students at Clough. Please support your students in the following ways:
We continue to study Rocks and Minerals in Science and we have begun our unit on the Wampanoags. These literature-rich units require students to use the skills learned in the Daily Five and CAFE to conduct research and communicate their understanding. We'll be very excited to share final projects with you.
My schedule for the November conferences is nearly set. Please contact me if you have yet to schedule a conference as meeting with every family is important to me.
Finally, we'll be having a little Halloween party on Thursday. I'll share one of my favorite Halloween stories, we'll make a little craft, and have a little snack. If time allows, we'll play a round or two of Halloween Bingo. Drop me a quick email if you'd like to come in and lend a hand. We'd love to have a crafty parent or two to help us out.
Thanks for your continued support of all that we do in the classroom. Your extra efforts are the reason why I get to coach the ALL-STAR TEAM!
The first month of school has flown by! The weeks have been busy ones filled with getting to know each other activities, the introduction of new routines, and the completion of initial assessments. On Tuesday, the students will take a computerized math assessment called the Scholastic Math Inventory and then we're done with all initial assessments. Individual and small group reading conferences have started. I love meeting with students and focusing on their individual needs. Designing short lessons to add rigor to every child's instruction helps all students to quickly become more skilled and knowledgeable. I am very pleased with how these rock stars have adjusted to life in our studio! The expectations I have for all students are high. These artists are hardworking, responsive to feedback and slow to frustrate. I know that their work ethic, paired with rigorous standards and high quality instruction, will make for a successful year for all in third grade.
I am a reflective teacher who likes to set ambitious goals. There are many ways to measure success in the classroom.
The first measure, and perhaps most important measure, is student attitude. My students need to be happy to come to school each day and they must love to learn and be willing to work HARD. I work to create a culture where this is possible for all students. Establishing a classroom where risk-taking is encouraged and mistakes are just part of the learning process, where humor and having a little fun is the rule, not the exception, and where progress (even the smallest gains) is celebrated, influences student attitude.
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is another way for me to measure success. This test is standards-based and in my opinion, rigorous, and fair. As a teacher, it allows me to see areas where my instruction is strong and areas where I need to improve. While I am happy with the success my students have had on this test, I am not complacent. I know I can do better. This is NOT to say that I will "teach to the test". Instead, I will continue to design lessons aligned with the Common Core standards. I'll work to help my students make strides and I'll assess their progress along the way. I'll use the information gained from assessments to refocus my instruction making sure that I'm meeting the needs of all the students under my tutelage. My goal for the year? All students will score proficient or advanced on the English Language Arts MCAS test this year.
Of course, I've met success over the years because I've been able to work with AMAZING families who value education and who support their students at home. Thanks for all you have already done to help your student get off to a great start. The children are DEVOURING books. There is no clearer pathway to success than through reading. Thank you for inspiring them to read and for putting good books in their hands.
Please continue to stay in close contact with me as we progress through the school year. I'll be sharing information about your child's progress and strategies that you can use with your child at home. Never hesitate to let me know if you are finding these strategies helpful and effective. We can make adjustments, as needed, together.
Finally, I've updated the website a bit to include some photos from our New England map making experience. Thanks to Ethan's mom and Madison's mom for sending in homemade play dough and to Mia's mom, Jack's mom, and Madison's mom for lending extra hands during the construction phase. The band and I appreciate having such great ROADIES. The day was much more enjoyable for me thanks to all the extra help! The photo slideshow can be found under the "Pics from the Tour" tab on the left.
Many thanks for sharing your children with me. I am lucky to have a truly rockin' group this year!