Friday, September 29, 2017

Words Worth


Thoughts of Value

During a random discussion this week, the word value came up. As any decent teacher would do, I paused and asked, "What does value mean?" 

There were lots of confident guesses but, at first, no one offered a valuable definition. So, we continued to talk about value. 

Shared Values

Spoken Values

Later, another new word, habit, arose. And then there was benefit. Okay, you may be thinking, "Mr. Johnson, building vocabulary is your job." 

Yes, agreed. 

And I love these organic learning opportunities. But building your child's vocabulary is really OUR job.

So, to help you on the home front, I suggest you look at these four simple suggestions and make these valuable recommendations a habit for your child's benefit.

Of course, in the classroom, we go even further to make a point. For example...

Values drive action

This lesson needed the Old South Indian Monkey Trap. And now you have the pleasure of asking your child how it worked. 

Valuable lesson

What's worth holding onto?

In other news, we started MAP testing and will finish up next week. 

MAP Testing

This year we've tried testing with laptops in the classroom. Ordinarily we'd go to a computer lab. When you come in for the Parent Teacher Conference, we will discuss the new testing environment and the results.

Royally Rude
The Royal Family (picture above)
Kiare the Royalty

The Greedy Queen

Royal Writers

We continue to "give back" by reading a few minutes each week with Pre-Kers. 


Carpet pals

Chairing a book

Wacky tales from Louis Sachar's Wayside School is helping us analyze fiction and become more imaginative. 

Wayside writer

Wayside buddies

Wayside reader

Swimming starts next week and third grade swim days will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm sure your child will remind you but please make note too.

Also, there will be no school for students on Monday. Teachers will have a professional development day. 

Words Worth? 
The blog's title is a pun, as you may know, and it comes from a portion of William Wordsworth's (1805) The Prelude: Book 1: Childhood and School-time

      Wisdom and Spirit of the universe! 
Thou Soul that art the eternity of thought! 
That giv'st to forms and images a breath 
And everlasting motion! not in vain, 
By day or star-light thus from my first dawn 
Of Childhood didst Thou intertwine for me 
The passions that build up our human Soul, 
Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man, 
But with high objects, with enduring things, 
With life and nature, purifying thus 
The elements of feeling and of thought, 
And sanctifying, by such discipline, 
Both pain and fear, until we recognize 
A grandeur in the beatings of the heart. 

(The whole poem is here)

Have a valued weekend! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sid's Kids


Sid's Tai Chi Kids
The message in today's assembly was that Tai Chi removes or relaxes our energy and dancing recovers it. We think our demonstration was a success. 

We capped our assembly today with a rousing dance number from Sid the Sloth of Ice Age fame. 

In other news, we did one more predictive experiment, using coke and milk this time. Most kids thought the color would change to light brown, which was sort of true. But no one predicted the color would become clear. 


The only way to find the answer was to test the idea (i.e. mix the two liquids). 


Thanks science. 

Why not use Base Ten blocks to actually build countable structures with place value? Why not?

 We had a feedback (tee hee) session with our food service providers. Good talk!

Have a great long weekend, MORE news next time,


Friday, September 15, 2017

Map Testers



The blog title was not for the MAP test that we'll have in a couple weeks. These Map Testers were in social studies and used real (hand drawn) maps and compasses. It was serious a treasure hunt! 

 The much coveted super ball was their quest. The kids learned to value and follow maps, too, in addition to using a compass. 

Fours are better than two.
Have compass... will find super ball.

Divvying Up the Loot

Top navigator eventually found three!

This week we did our official Fountas and Pinnell reading assessments to determine your child's independent reading level. In short, the independent level is where reading is fluently smooth and comprehension becomes reliable. This diagnostic assessment, in the process of building literacy skills, helps teachers and students avoid texts that would be too easy or very difficult read.

We also opened the Chrome Books to do "Flight Checks" on RAZ-Kids.

 This formative or ongoing assessment can be especially useful for literacy instruction. 

The Flight Check is an audio recording of a reader's fluency and includes a story summary section plus a comprehension quiz. When I conference with readers, as you might imagine, the ability to sit together, listen, discuss and analyze the reading is priceless. 

I'm not a huge fan of "screens" but RAZ-Kids can be a valuable tool at this age, and one of several strategies we'll use to improve your child's reading skills. 

When we meet for a parent teacher conference, you will be able to listen in on your reader's Flight Checks.  And by all means, please use RAZ-Kids as a general reading resource at home. There are loads of fun titles within your child's range of understanding. Comprehensible reading is what's key. 

Dr. Seuss provided our week's spelling list and the opportunity to discuss greed and desire along with personal responsibility for one's actions. 

The book Bartholomew and the Oobleck also prompted the making of oobleck for scientific fun now and in the future. The excitement overwhelmed the experimentation, but the kids now have a sense of this gooey matter that changes from a solid to a liquid and back again. 

Oobleck washes away easily so have no fear when your child asks to buy corn starch. 

Here's a look at Friday's soccer After School Activity.

Clever agility training.

One happy player!
Yet another birthday. I think we've had one each week so far.

Happy Birthday Doc!


This Thursday morning will be our first Grade 3 assembly. We hope you can attend. We've been practicing some funky dance moves. You'll smile, guaranteed. And if you can't make it, you'll smile at the photos that result. So until soon...

Enjoy your weekend!