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!