Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Friday is Coming!

Hello Families of Mr. Abbott's Class!

I'm so sorry for the late notice, but as you know by now I'm new to some of the rhythms of school life at Yarmouth Elementary School.  That said, I wanted to inform you of two upcoming events, both on Friday!

1. We will be having a Read-A-Thon all day long!  I have told students that they can bring in a sleeping bag OR a blanket, as well as ONE pillow to keep them as comfy as possible all day.  We're holding off on stuffed animals and pajamas (no matter what they tell you!) for this first foray (for me) into a Read-A-Thon.  It should be fun!

2.  We will be having a Publishing Party and Pot-Luck Healthy Snack Share on Friday afternoon starting at 2:20.  I will be sending home a paper invitation tomorrow with more details, but if you can come and join us we would love to show you some of the writing we've been working on and hear your comments!

Again, I apologize for the late notice, I know it will probably be hard for some of you at the last minute.  If you can't make it but can still send me an email update or email congratulations, I can print those out to surprise your author with during the Publishing Party!  You can view some of the writing we've done already this year (some still in progress) if you log in to your child's Google Account.  They know how to do this, just ask them!

I hope you're doing well at this exciting time of year, I know experientially that your children are quite excited right now!

Please feel free to contact me,

(And be sure to check back over break for some pictures of our Read-A-Thon and Publishing Party!)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Exciting New Science Update!

Hello Families of Mr. Abbott's Class!

We had a pretty good week here at Yarmouth Elementary School.  We've been practicing our multiplication facts and learned an exciting new baseball math game.  We talked about the rocks we brought in for our geology unit and how we know that they are perfect.  We even created "rocks" using Epsom salts and container lids.  But I'm not going to tell you about that.  Instead, we have a panel of scientists available to tell you more about that:

Quite impressive, aren't they?  Photos were brought to you by our Class Photographer Paige and voice-overs can be quickly identified by your child!  Now that we know how easy it is to make "How-To" videos, expect to see (and hear) more of us soon!

We also had our first volunteer join us for Daily 5 literacy workshop on Thursday, please keep your eyes peeled on email inboxes for more opportunities soon!

Have a great weekend,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Good-Bye Fall

December Greetings Families of Mr. Abbott's Class!

Once again it's been a very busy week here at Yarmouth Elementary School in room 103.  Here are a few highlights that I thought you might want to know about. 

Portland Public Library - Yarmouth Branch!  Our classroom librarians are responsible for signing books in and out of our new section of library.  Books became available this morning, and were almost all signed out by lunch.  We're very excited about this, and hoping it will continue.

Geology - Field Trip!  We started our new unit on Geology and took a field trip to the Maine Children's Museum (some pictures below, but not enough!  We may have a new classroom job: paparazzi!) and read about how to choose the perfect rock.  Don't forget to bring in a rock for Monday!  Also for Monday, try to bring in a jar or container top, something small, to grow Epsom salt crystals in.  If you want to cut out a small piece of sponge to go inside the top that is supposed to make the crystals a little bigger, but this will be my first time trying this too, so we'll have to see what happens!  I was so engrossed in our presentation at the museum that I didn't take any pictures of the rocks part, but here's some others from around the museum:

Space Shuttle Pilot set for launch.

The Maine Lumber Industry is in for a run for its money!

Apparently our Space Shuttle Pilot is also a Lighthouse Keeper.
She has many talents!

Multiplication and Division!  We've started exploring these concepts in math, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more work with them as this unit progresses.

Kind, Compassionate, and Considerate!  We took a few moments to try and imagine how sad the students at Falmouth Elementary School must be right now, following the loss of such an amazing person and teacher.  We put together a list of some of his attributes and wrote letters and illustrated cards to send to the students there at Falmouth.  You should be very proud of your child, they all showed very touching compassion and understanding.  Here is the update we (the teachers) received from Principal Betsy Lane regarding our act of kindness:

From: Betsy Lane

Hello Everyone - The cards and notes that some of you and the students made/wrote for the students and teachers at Falmouth Elementary School who lost their beloved teacher Kevin Grover were deeply appreciated. The person that called us this afternoon to express their gratitude said that students and adults were particularly touched by our thoughtfulness, especially the children writing to the children. They were genuinely moved by the gesture of friendship.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Thank you and your children for making such a touching gesture.
That's about it for now.  Enjoy the weekend, have fun looking for the perfect rock,  and I'll see you on Monday morning!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Classroom Update - Late November!

Now that Thanksgiving (if not the leftovers) is behind us, I wanted to update you on what's been going on and coming up in our classroom.  It's an exciting time of year, and with shorter and shorter days we're going to be fitting as much as possible into our classroom.

Science!  We have brought our Sound unit to a close.  We learned that sound is made of vibrations, it travels fastest in solids, fast in liquids, and slowest in air, and that two ways of measuring sounds are pitch and volume.  We did a series of Sound Investigations that were not only fun but extremely educational, and learned some of the habits of good scientists.  Our Sound Maker Parade was a fun way to showcase some of our learning for families and also to use what we had learned.  Now we move on to Geology!

Field Trip!  To kick off our Geology unit, we will be attending the Children's Museum of Maine for a learning session on Geology.  Please be sure to get your child's permission slip back to school as soon as possible so we can all enjoy this instructional, enticing experience.  Like Sound, Geology is all around us and presents a plethora of potential learning experiences and investigations.

Math!  We just finished up our unit on Measurement, which also focused on Perimeter and Area.  We will be doing our assessment of these skills early this week, your child should already have a pretty solid understanding of the foundational skills involved in these areas.  We have spent a few weeks practicing measuring with classroom units and standard units, and exploring the properties of perimeter and area of various shapes.  Sir Cumference helped us understand some of the different ways to measure a circle.

Reading and Writing!  Our class continues our work on the skills of a good reader during our Reading Workshop (Daily 5) and how to structure Better Answers during our Writing Workshop.  You may have heard that your "Turkey" wrote a letter to the farmer to try and trick its way out of being eaten this year, those writings will go home towards the end of this week.  We have some very creative writers in our class!

I hope you had a relaxing, replenishing, and thankful weekend, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Math-giving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours!  I hope that you are relaxing, enjoying family, and feeling quite thankful today. 

In case you were looking for some last-minute cooking ideas, in class we watched Vi Hart teach us how to make math-ed potatoes, vector-field green bean matherole with Borromean onion topping, and Thanksgiving Turduckenen-duckenen (you'll have to watch to see what that's all about!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Books and Nooks

Good news!  Mr. Abbott (that's me!) and Mrs. Abbott (my wife, not my mom... I have to keep clarifying this when I speak to the class) finally made it to Portland Public Library where I promptly filled my big bike messenger bag with books!  I found some great looking picture books, some amazing chapter books, some mysteries and Greek myths, and some graphic novelizations of classic tales!  These books are going to go into a special book bin in our classroom where students will have to sign them out (they can just take and trade books in our regular classroom library) so I can make sure I get them all back in time to return them to the Portland Public Library.  During conferences I spoke with some of you about trying to find High Interest books for your reader, and this is a first step towards doing that.  If these books (some of which are series) turn out to grab our class, then there are plenty more to get where they came from.

These books will need to stay in our class in our special book bin or in student book bins.  We get to read independently for at least 20 minutes a day in class during our Reader's Workshop, which we call the Daily 5.  During this time students either Read to Self, Listen to Reading, do Work Work, or go to Teacher Table for Guided Reading.  If you've been following our Final 5 page on this blog you'll probably have heard a bit about those already.  Which brings me to...

Nooks!  When readers are doing "Read to Self" they are allowed to find a comfy place in the classroom to settle in and really get wrapped up in their book.  Right now, it's usually a little bit of a mad rush to see who can get to one of the two "teacher chairs" in the classroom because they are the comfiest places.  I was hoping you could help us create a few more comfy nooks in our classroom for readers to snuggle up in.  If you have any old pillows, crazy-creaks, tiny bean bags, or similar items that are clean (or washed) and you aren't using or would be disposing of otherwise, we would love to be a new home for them!  We're getting along quite fine as it is right now, but there's always room for improvement.  Again, this is not an assignment, please don't go out and buy anything, but if you do come across anything that looks appropriate please let me know!

One last thought on that.  We are not allowed to add any "furniture" to our rooms.  There has historically been too much "stuff" in the schools and not enough space to store it all.  So we will have to graciously refuse any donations of E-Z-Chairs, sectionals, Air Chairs, La-Z-Boys, or other such items, no matter how comfy they are.  We will need to keep things quite compact.  :)

Thanks so much, and look for a fun Thanksgiving post tomorrow with links to all sorts of fun math ideas for a mathtastic Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 19, 2012


Good Monday Morning!

I just received a very exciting email from Rachel Clark, the math specialist here at YES.  She has a special blog set up just for YOU, the families of students at YES to help understand some of that possibly confusing math homework that has been coming home.

Rachel's Family Math Blog is a great place to see some videos on how we teach the algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as get some useful tips on how to make math an everyday activity.

While we're on the topic of math, I've been getting LOTS of Discovery Math worksheets back in these last two weeks!  Way to go!  We have many "Discovery Math Apprentice" certificates out there, and are about to hand out our first "Adjunct Discovery Mathematician" certificates.  Very exciting!  Keep up the good work.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Long Weekend and Homework Tips!

Hello on this beautiful Saturday, I hope you have some plans to enjoy this lovely long weekend.  I promised a few rapid updates on lots of subjects, so here we go!

At conferences so far, there have been a few parents who have asked me about homework and what homework is or should be coming home.  Here's a quick overview of most of our homework, there can and will always be small changes.  (This information will also be posted on the Homework page here on the blog.)

Reading: Your child should be bringing home a Reading Log every week.  I expect them to read for around 20 minutes a night, and to keep track of that reading on the log.  We will be doing this for our in-class reading soon, too.  When students bring them back to class I check them over, make comments, and then 3-hole punch them so they can put them in their Language Arts Binder to track their reading as the year progresses.  Since it seems to be the same students who are completing these on a regular basis, we are going to start tracking progress in a public space towards reading goals!  This is very exciting!

Your child should also be bringing home a "Word of the Week" half-sheet of paper each week.  We already do an "In-Class Word of the Week" each week, the at-home WotW is a word that your child has found in a book, conversation, sign, commercial... basically anywhere they hear a word they are unsure of.  Look it up, record the definition, and bring it back to school.  These get treated like the Reading Logs and we are going to make a class book out of them!

Spelling: Each week our new words for the week come home on Monday with your child's "Word Preview" showing what they have secured and what they should focus on that week.  On Wednesdays (usually!) there is also a Spelling Sheet that comes home isolating a specific skill that we are working on that week.  This sheet is not due back until Friday.  Some time during the week your child will get the previous week's spelling test back, with missed words circled and then highlighted on a review sheet.  You can practice with this sheet for future spelling checks.

Math: In general, you should get a math Home Link every night.  Some units take longer than one day to complete, and those days you may not get one.  These should be pretty quick to complete and will generally focus on a new concept and some review as well.  If they are causing stress, write me a note and send them back as-is.

Mastering Math Facts we do approximately two times a week.  We do the top half in class, and your child records how long it took and how many they got correct.  They bring the sheet home and try to do it faster than they did in class, getting the same or more number of problems correct.  We have completed up through letter J in addition already, so you should be familiar with these.  They do not come back to school, they are for your own reference/celebration.

Discovery Math comes home every Friday (unless I am not there or sometimes there are short weeks and strange schedules) and is usually on bright orange or yellow paper.  These are not collected until the next week, and get returned a week after that.  Since we don't teach directly to these, I cannot require your child to do them.  However, I will say that at Yarmouth we have noticed a correlation between completing Discovery Math and success in math in general.  These can be difficult, and should not cause too much stress.  If they become too difficult, then only doing part of a Discovery Math is totally acceptable.  Do what you and your child can, don't make it a stress-inducer.  As they are returned, students keep track of progress in their Math Message books, and receive "level" credits every four Discovery Maths they complete.  First four: Discovery Math Apprentice.  Second four: nobody's done it yet!  We'll see soon, I hope!

That summarizes the regular elements of our homework.  If there's something I've forgotten, I'll update it here and on the Homework page.  You will occasionally see additions/changes to this (such as the Sound Maker parade during NECAP testing, and other unit/theme-based activities) but these are the bones of our homework.  I hope this helps you keep track a little, and definitely check in with your child if some of this seems like news to you!

Enjoy the weekend,

Thursday, November 8, 2012



It's been a few weeks since we last updated and there's a list of items to tell you about that now extends across many sticky notes.  Rather than blast you all at once, I'm going to try and make a few small updates over the next couple of days to spread the excitement!

We've started Fall Conferences and so far they've gone great!  I would like to apologize to any parents if we started late, I try to keep on schedule but sometimes get a little backed up.  Thank you so much for your patience.  I'm really enjoying my time with the class this year, and it's nice to get to know some of the faces that brought them to me.  :)

Hannaford Gift Cards are an AMAZING way to help donate money to our school, and best of all, it's FREE to you!  If you send your money in to me I'll send it to the PTO who will then send you back a full-charged Debit-style card to Hannaford.  You get the full amount you pay, and 5% goes to the school's PTO!  That's 5% that goes towards trips, books, supplies, all kinds of great things for our school!  You can find out more information here, and if you have any questions please just ask.  This program seems great, they raised thousands of dollars last year!  Here's the link again:

I hope you can help out!  (For free!)

We're well into our work in Literacy Workshop following the Daily 5 format.  If you haven't heard about it from your child you should ask them.  Each week we work on a different skill that can help us with our reading.  This week it's chunking words into manageable pieces.  We watched a silly video that gave us some ideas of what chunking looks like, and played Chunk It in class.  I've been pushing our readers to use this strategy and have seen great results.

We also had a mock election at school this week, meticulously and tirelessly set up by Mrs. Colfer and Mrs. Parkin.  We learned much about elections and the electoral college and the road to the White House, and then on Tuesday we were assigned New Jersey (still a little waterlogged), Michigan, and Montana to vote for.  Once that was done we sent our electors to the electoral college in Washington, D.C. (the cafeteria) where they cast our electoral votes.  You may have heard the screaming when we heard the results.  It was quite an exciting event, and a great moment to talk about no matter how excited we were (or unexcited), the most important thing was that we all worked together to get it done and would work together in the future.

Here's a picture of how we divided the class into states and the start next to a name in each state was drawn from a hat to be that state's elector:

Then, during the Electoral Convention (lunchtime) our electors brought our class ballots to the convention floor:

Finally, the paparazzi caught a couple of our electors on their way out of the polling station:

Overall, this experience was a great success, and it was really fun to see so many students so excited about current events!

We're almost done our sound unit!  It's been really fun, we have one  more exploration, and today we listened to a kalimba just like (well almost just like) the one we have in class.

Snow!  We had our first snow today, and sadly had to stay in during recess while it rained most of that fluffy white fun away.  I've been "from away" for a while now, but my sources tell me there's a very good chance that we'll see even more of the stuff before winter is over.  I'll have to just wait and see on that one.

That's it for today, but keep your eyes peeled and fingers poised for more updates soon!
Todd and the Class

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Exciting Week Done, Exciting Week Coming!

Families of Mr. Abbott's class, have we got some news for you!

To start with, a quick recap of the exciting week we just finished.  During this last week we made trihexaflexagons for hexaflexagon day (today!).  We had our Sound Maker Parade around the School Garden which many of you were able to come and enjoy.  We finally started a pretty solid routine of our Daily 5, where students get to rotate through a series of activities related to literacy.  Our GloFish finally arrived, and now we need to give them names!  We also got a shiny new whiteboard for the front of our class that is just begging to be written on and erased clean over and over.

Busy week, right?

This coming week promises to be just as fun!  Even though hexaflexagon day is behind us, we still have to master the hexahexaflexagon.  The naming of our fish will be of utmost importance on Monday.  We have no library this week because we have the book fair to tackle instead!  We will also continue to work on our Daily 5 choices and extend our time for each activity a little longer.

Now to get to some of the details about the week past and the week upcoming.

Here is the content of an email I exchanged with Mr. Gordon, who teaches fourth grade, and who is excited to use the expertise of our students when his class works on hexaflexagons:

Mr. Gordon:

Here's some good videos:
This is the first video in her series.  I recommend #2 and "safety tips" too!

This is another video that I found a little more helpful with assembly instructions:

And her page has links to flexagons and directions written out that might be more helpful:

And I haven't done much with this page, but be careful, these are HEXAhexaflexagons, so they're more complex but more rewarding.  :)

Good luck!

-Mr. Abbott

Feel free to explore these delightful mathematical constructions at home, too, they are endlessly entertaining and the educational opportunities abound.

I was also able to snap a few pictures of some of our students hard at work during The Daily 5:

Here are some of us doing Read to Self:

We also worked on Read to Someone:

Listen to Reading is very popular:

Our newest addition is Word Work:

Now you can see (literally) why we had such a good week and why we're so excited for the next week to begin.  One of the more exciting things coming up this week is the Book Fair in the Library.  We'll be going two times (on Tuesday and Thursday) for 30 minutes each time.  I can't wait to see what books our students get, and there's a chance I'll be able to make my own "Wish List" for our class as well!

Keep your ears open for other exciting developments this week, and let me know if you have any exciting news of your own to share.

-Mr. (Todd) Abbott

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pesto! Pesto! Green All About It!

As I'm sure you've heard, we helped harvest cabbages and onions in the garden a little while back.  It was very exciting, we got a little dirty, we got a little rainy, and we got to taste the basil that other classes had harvested for the pesto in the cafeteria.  Well, yesterday there was a free sampling of pesto during all of the lunches, and I hope everyone took advantage of it.

In case you heard something about this, or are just hearing about it now, here is the recipe, from Susan Stowell and our nutrition team, for you to make at home!



For those of  you who tried the pesto and would like the recipe.

Fresh basil- 2 oz  
Garlic clove minced
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Parmesan cheese grated- 1/4 cup
Olive oil- 1/4 cup

Makes 1 cup 

Place basil, salt, pepper and parm. cheese in food processor, pulse a few times, then pulse while drizzling olive oil in the processor until it reaches a fairly smooth consistency scraping down sides.

We do not use any pine nuts which most of the recipes call for.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sound Maker Parade UPDATE!

The Sound Maker Parade will be BEFORE DISMISSAL, at 2:45, not directly after lunch as previously stated.  The old post has been updated!

Thank you, and sorry for any misunderstanding,

NECAP No More!

Hello and welcome to October proper!  NECAP testing is behind us, we don't even have anybody to take make-up sessions this year, so that is quite a relief.  As you probably heard, I was out at a conference on Friday and our class had a substitute.  Since we spent the previous two weeks squeezing every last drop of information out of our brains, we used Friday as a day-long "Brain Break" and did some relaxing work.  I hope all of our students found it beneficial.  Of course, I then had to come back and be the "Bad Guy" on Monday and start us back into our regular learning routines, but I think we can all get over that and move on!

A couple of reminders of things we have going on right now:

First, noise makers.  Hopefully you had some extra time over the last two weeks to put together some sort of noise maker.  We've been working on our sound unit in science for quite some time, and your child should be talking at home about pitch, tension, volume, and other sound-related terms.  We plan on having a "parade" on Thursday BEFORE DISMISSAL, at 2:45, behind the school along the walker's path and garden.  If you would like to set up a chair or just come and stake out a spot we would love to have an audience to show of our new noisemakers for!  If you haven't had a chance to send your noisemaker in, please do so ASAP!

Second, writing notebooks.  We spent some time yesterday decorating our writer's notebooks with pictures, stickers, and tape that the kiddos brought in from home.  Those that brought extra were very good at sharing, but if you want to send something else in please do at any time, and we'll try to make some time to spruce them up a bit more.  The decorated covers will serve as inspiration on days when we need ideas for writing.

Third, homework and spelling tests.  Homework will start up again as usual this week, so look for those math Home Links most days and spelling sheets on Wednesdays and Reading Logs each night and anything else that makes its way into the Take-Home folder!  We're starting some potentially confusing addition and subtraction algorithms so keep an eye out for explanations coming home with them.  Spelling tests will be coming home as soon as I can get them checked over, take note of any missed words and use the accompanying sheet and practice page to work on getting them down pat.

Fourth, I'm setting up dates for parent/teacher conferences starting the last week of October, please keep an eye out for an email and a letter home about scheduling.

Fifth, and final for now, hexaflexagons!  If you see your child compulsively folding some papers around and around and asking you for more paper, it's because we are celebrating hexaflexagons during October.  Check out the videos linked above to see more of what that's about!

So there's a bit of an update for you!  As always, if you need me please send me a note or an email and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible.  Keep checking our Final Five page for a glimpse into what we're doing every day!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Homework and Sound


So as I'm sure you've heard by now, we are in the middle of our annual NECAP testing.  We started yesterday, Tuesday, and will continue reading today and tomorrow.  Next week we will be doing math on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  There will be make-ups for absences the following week.

Hopefully you received the letter home about homework, and lack thereof, for the next two weeks.  What is most important right now is that your child gets plenty of rest and a healthy breakfast.  We will be doing the homework in-class, so you will still see it coming home, but it will already be completed.

I have told our 3rd Graders that I expect that they will still be reading at home this week because, if they are like me, they can't stop even if they wanted to!  It is up to you whether or not you would like to fill out a Reading Log.  If you do it will still be checked and added to our Literacy Binders.  If you would rather not, that is OK for now as well.

Discovery Math will come home and still be collected on Friday if you choose to participate.

Finally, for homework, keep working on those noisemakers!  One request I would like to make:  please wait to bring them in until after NECAP testing.  They are just too tempting in the meantime!

As always, it you have any questions or concerns please email or call, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

Thinking Caps On!

Friday, September 28, 2012

October Here We Come!

Parents, Students, and Families of Mr. Abbott's 3rd Graders!

Well you've done it!  You've made it through September of your third grade year!  October is on the way, and the leaves have already started falling from the trees.  Good work so far, there's lots more to come!

A quick update on some of the things we've been working on or you may have noticed this week:

1) Math Assessment.  We had our first in-class math assessment this week, and it should be home with you now.  There is a letter attached to the front of it, please take a minute to read that before you look over the assessment.  A special notice: the last question was extremely difficult.  We talked about it as a class afterwards and found some not-so-extremely difficult ways to solve it!  Give it a try with your student this weekend.

You also may notice that there is a smiley face and the phrase "Show Work" next to some parts.  This fits with our school's "If you think it, write it!" mantra.  Write your thinking down!

2) Reading Logs.  I collected our first reading logs today!  I was very excited to see all the fun books that our class is reading.  Some families had notes about differing times of reading depending on what was going on at home (parties, traveling, extra nights, etc.).  This is totally fine!  Our goal is to try and get a good amount of reading in as much as possible, and to make reading time a fun time each night.  Readers got stickers and started a new section in our Language Arts Binder!

3) Discovery Math.  Discovery Math came back today, and new ones were submitted.  Each student who submitted Discovery Math last week got to put a sticker on his or her Discovery Math chart this morning!  All the new submissions were sent down to get answer sheets attached for next week's return.  Good job discovering math!

4) Spelling.  We practiced our second week's spelling words today.  Look for getting those back early next week.  So far spelling has been fun and a great learning process for all of us.

5) Mastering Math Facts.  We've started working on Mastering Math Facts addition.  We're going to move pretty quickly on addition, a little slower in subtraction, and then see where we go from there.  When you get them home during the week, give them a try and see if you can beat your time from class.  There's a link to a timer on our Final Five page!

That's it for now.  I hope you're looking forward to fall and the upcoming sounds as much as I am!  If you have any questions for me please don't hesitate to email ( or call (846-3391) and I'll see you soon.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Week Three Roundup

Parents and Students of Mr. Abbott's Class!

Congratulations on finishing our third week of school!  Some exciting new things happened this week, so I thought I would update you on them.  This will give us all some things to think about as we rest up this weekend for the rigor of next week.

We started our spelling this week.  We're still adapting to the timing/scheduling aspect, so the homework didn't go home on Wednesday, but many of you still got it back in one night's time.  If you didn't, don't stress, just bring it in on Monday or as soon as you can.  We'll work on getting it out to you on time (Wednesday) next week.

We sent home reading logs today, and discussed how to fill them out.  Although there is no space on there for the weekend, you are definitely still allowed to read over the weekend!  Then on Mondays start keeping track of your approximate reading habits throughout the week.  I encourage you to read 15-20 minutes a night, but this is not a requirement.  Some nights are busy and might only be 5 minutes, other nights you get lost in a book and it could be hours!  I know the feeling!

We had open school night which was very successful and fun.  I got to meet a few of you who I hadn't met yet, which was nice.  Then I had to talk really quick and not talk to you but at you because of the kind of night it is.  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to talk specifically about your scholar at conferences.  :)

Our EcoSphere and shrimps are going strong!  It sounds like some of you have been hearing about them.

If you haven't had a chance yet, go and check out our "Final Five" page, it has the last three final fives and there are some old posts that will be going up soon!

I look forward to seeing my scholars bright and early Monday morning!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Post-Open School Night Update!

If you couldn't make it in to tonight's open school event, please don't fret: I will send home a folder with all the pertinent information with your child tomorrow.  However, as those who came tonight could tell you, that's a big task!  With a 30-minute time limit it was a sprint to deliver as much information, in the most boring format (lecture) available, as possible.  For those who were there, please rest assured that I wouldn't dream of subjecting your children to such a dreary presentation.  We have lots more fun when you're not there!  :)

In all seriousness, I do appreciate the time you all put in with your children.  Whether or not you were able to make it tonight, never underestimate the influence you have on your children's future success.  Working as a team, we can help our students reach above and beyond what they can do alone.

I would also like to add a couple of things that we didn't have time to address tonight:

1) Time for Kids money.  I have received $5 from almost everyone for our subscription to Time for Kids.  If you haven't had a chance to do that yet, please try and get that in by Friday.  This will be a great resource for many areas of the classroom, especially during our Daily 5!

2) Volunteering.  I would love to have parents who have the time to volunteer come in and help us, but at this point I want to get us settled in to a rhythm while I figure out exactly what our needs are.  Keep your eyes out for an interest/sign-up poll sometime in late October or early November.

That's it for now, keep checking back here, there will be new information and new areas opening up all the time!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Families of Mr. Abbott's Third Grade,

Wow, two weeks in already and the year is off to a great start.  A few of the things we've been up to so far, and then I'll get to some of what you can look forward to this week!

We have started working our math program with Everyday Math (you should be seeing Home Links just about every night) and Discovery Math just started up on Friday (this is optional, but HIGHLY recommended if you can find some time to look at it before next Friday!).  We've been talking quite a bit about classroom expectations and community building, with books like Swimmy, The Dot, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today.  Students have created "Guess Who" posters and put their own dots around our room.  We've done two science investigations as we explore the world of sound and begin to write scientifically about our experiences.  We began to unwrap the idea of "good fit" books (like good fit shoes), and will be using the IPICK strategy to find books appropriate for all situations (more on this later).

Some things to look forward to this week include starting our Poetry Notebooks, where we will be gathering a new poem each week and using it for introspection, fluency reading, and partner reading.  We will be launching The Daily Five, to help our students build reading independence and deepen our appreciation for reading.  This week we will focus on "read to self," and will work on increasing our reading stamina.  We will also be introducing Reading Logs, and will need your help to fill them out as we read at home each night.

See what I mean?  A great start!  I'm really excited and I think all my friends in class are, too.

Oh, and did I mention we are bringing in our class shrimp this week?  Go here to see more about them:

Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday night, and please bear with us as our class page gets up to speed.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012