Friday, January 27, 2017



We're excited about tomorrow's International Fair. We have a funky mural to share. Our theme was cooperation. Come see!

Painting occupied a lot of time, but everyone loved it. I recommend art supplies the next time you present your child with a gift. They all truly zoned into making art. 

Monday the pool will officially open. Thursday will be our pool day. Please make note of that day, so your child will be prepared with swim gear. There are two swim teachers and a lot of pool to learn, play, and exercise in. The kids can't wait!

In two weeks, 3rd grade will host an assembly. For this, the kids have to take a measurement of something at home. The funnier the better. We will need your help. Please take a photo of your child measuring the object and email the photo to me. The sooner I get the clever or unique or funny picture the better, please. We made one meter measuring yarn today, in case there is no measuring device at home. The measure can be dimensions, volume or weight. We will use the images to make an assembly presentation. Thanks.

  • We are currently working on the commutative property of multiplication (e.g. 7 X 6 = 6 X 7 = 42). Practicing IXL sections E1 - E8 , if time allows, would be helpful.  
  • And, as always, reading on RAZ-Kids, if time allows, would help our overall schoolwork too. 

Two January birthday boys made for a sweet time. 

See you tomorrow evening for more food and fun,

Friday, January 20, 2017

Butterfly Love


Report cards will go out next week, so this week we did a lot of housekeeping. The math final went well. Previewing the test was helpful. Thanks!

End-of-Quarter Cheese!

Everyone has done a Flight Check on RAZ-Kids so I have recordings of their reading. It's actually really cute. More importantly, I have an audio sample that can be analyzed with the reader and used for improved performance. Yay Raz-Kids! 

Winter Break Essays

We're staying creative in the corner. 

Salt and pepper shakers
Charging phone holder


Insulated bottle holder

Next week, we will begin a mural project ahead of the AISB International Fair. Monday, please have your child wear clothes that you won’t mind getting colorfully messy.

We warmed up to our peace, love and happiness-themed mural project with poetry. We need more poetry and "the love that butterflies bring."


Have a peace-filled weekend.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Creative Sparks!


Here's a brief weekly thought.

A few creation station trials
I could see online today that a few kids managed to study through this impromptu day away from school. Great!! For those I did not see, I hope, at least, their worksheets (1) (2) were completed. As I tell the kids all the time, we won't get time back. Thank you for supporting this continuity of learning during the Afrique-France Summit.

In other news, our Creation Station has started. The kids are crazy about making things! I love watching them use tools and figure out their ideas. Expect to see a few contraptions at home next week.

Please remember my request from last week, too: help your child to naturally use reading, writing and arithmetic at home. In doing so, you help to make classroom learning relevant in real life.

That's all for now.

Enjoy your weekend!

More photos with everyone next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Bon Sommet Afrique-France!

As you know, Friday's spur-of-the-moment public holiday will not interrupt our scheduled expectations. Friday's learning continuity tasks are described here. 


  • Lesson 19's 'homework' section in math should be completed and returned Monday (~15-40 minutes). 
  • A non-fiction book report (using our guided form) should be completed, and using a short book or chapter (~20 minutes). The kids do book reports routinely (~15 minutes), so each student understands the expectation.  

All of the necessary materials have been sent home. 

ONLINE WORK (if possible)

In IXL math, the kids should do the following sections (each ~5-10 minutes):

  • D.7 -- Subtraction for four digits or more
  • BB.16 -- Apply appropriate metric unit
  • P.1  -- Find place value

In RAZ-Kids, I'd like the students to complete the 'Flight Check' (~8 minutes). This is a fluency assessment that helps to determine the current reading level. Flight check is an audio recording that will be automatically sent to me. Each student knows about the flick check. Note that I prefer flight checks be done at home in a quiet place. Hopefully, you can see that the flight check happens. 


Ms. Isabelle has sent French language activities home with her students (2). You'll find the worksheets in their backpacks. 

Please try your best! 

A brief weekly thought will be coming tomorrow. 

As always,

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pure Imagination

Happy 2017! 
I hope you had a restful break. I certainly did.

Bottle car examples launch our creation corner. 

We started a novel study of 26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie DePaola. The true story of writer DePaola’s life is sweet and informative. After each chapter, we’re able to view online the events, people, or things Tomie remembered. So far we’ve seen the massive US hurricane of 1938, the child singing and dancing star Shirley Temple, and classic candies, plus laxatives. DePaola is an engaging author whose life story will help us exercise reading and writing skills over the next few weeks.

Reading highlights
Seeing Tomie's hurricane

We also read on RAZ-Kids and practiced math on IXL. Both online platforms yield helpful performance data. For example, the ability to compare and contrast items (people, places, things), sequence events and concisely summarize stories are weak areas for a few of our readers. If you elected to log-in at home, more skills assessment information would be generated to target individual instruction. Remember, in third grade, homework should not be more than 30 minutes.

But, really, what is homework? Definitions vary, of course. As your child's teacher today, I'd like you to consider my current take on homework.  

Measurement hunt

Traditional homework is mandated school activities at home. I obviously agree with the research that suggests homework does not support achievement in elementary school. I also know that in third grade we are at the literacy crossroads. By fourth grade, according to studies, students must be reading to learn and not still learning to read. Frankly, if a reader cannot answer questions about a page, chapter or book, he or she was looking at words and not reading them. All core subjects rely on reading skills. That fact cannot be overemphasized. One's school career will only become more challenging, for all levels of reader. Therefore, fluency, accuracy and comprehension skills through practice are essential now, more so than ever, again, according to the research. 

Measurement scavengers
So, it may sound like a contradiction to downplay homework and stress the need for reading. I believe in homework, but I too oppose the traditional kind. I believe in pure homework, which means reading, writing, or using arithmetic skills naturally. Please do pure homework. Ask your child to make, for example, a shopping list, measure ingredients, plan a budget, calculate kilometers, compare global temperatures, read the news aloud, tell the time on an analog clock or any everyday activity that reinforces general schoolwork. Do guided but child-led activities regularly. And, if you don’t already, model consistent reading for pleasure yourselfYour third grader has been watching you read or not read. 

Show and Tell - Grandma's Knit Ball
In addition, pure homework should include practicing courtesy,     organization, purposefulness, patience, preparedness, and boredom. Yes, overcoming boredom  is a waning skill.  There are actually countless apps for boredom and they’re all flawed. A phone app should be the last retreat from boredom.

As it is, many of us seek refuge from boredom in the small screen and so diminish our brain’s natural ability to wonder or be imaginative. Imagination seems to be an under-valued resource in our technophilic worldHere is a short article on childhood boredom that could benefit us all. Why not read it? You'll learn that doing less may be the more inspirational approach to soothing a restless child. Indeed, embracing boredom might even spark a numbed mind or settle a frantic one. It's not too late. 
Show and Tell - Harry Potter Almanac

Show and Tell - Beach Finds

Yes, that was quite a weekly thought, but it’s the new year, January 2017. 

And the crossroads to 4th grade success or struggles are just six months away (not counting summer where there could be a reading "slide" or regression). Doing pure, authentic, natural and certainly fun educational things at home will make the right turn clear. We’re surrounded by teachable moments, right? Pure imagination and reading skills create learnable moments, too. Talk with me about any applied schooling concerns noticed at home, so I can address them during the more contrived dayshift. 

Have a nice weekend, too!