We started today off by designing covers for our homefun folders and organizing our desks and school supplies. Today was also our first day in art. Mrs. Yerby, the art teacher, reported that the Heroes did a wonderful job, earning five out of five stars. When we returned to our classroom, we had lessons on lunch procedures and behavior, recess and playground expectations, and a ten question review quiz aimed at teaching students how to record their answers on a bubble sheet. Right before lunch, we ended with a great discussion of what it means to be a HERO at school. The Heroes came up with some awesome ideas and responses. After lunch, we took a math facts test and learned how to play a math game called Race to 100, which helps reinforce place value and addition. We ended the day after recess with more discussion of what it means to be a HERO. We talked about how Heroes turn compassion into action and service for others. 

Don't forget that desktags and nametags are due this Friday. 

Tomorrow, we will have our first classroom party. Every day as a class, the Heroes have the opportunity to earn marbles for our class marble jar. They earn marbles by making great Hero choices, earning a five star day in specials, making quick transitions and earning compliments in the hallway. Tomorrow, we will take some time to rip open the stack of brightly colored boxes at the back of the room and enjoy their contents together. We'll take out the ten marbles they had to earn for the party and start earning more marbles for the next party. 
Today was a great start to an even greater year! The theme for our class this year is Heroes. We are going to try our best to be the Hero of our own life story, with each student doing the best they possibly can to help themselves and others. We began an Hero art project as well as learned about our class marble jar. The Heroes earned seven marbles, thanks to some great work, a couple of compliments in the hallway, and a perfect Mystery Hero (way to go, Ella!). We also learned about our Daily Team Points competition, what to do and where to go before school starts, the steps of our morning routine, and much more. We also read a book called the First Day Jitters.
In our class this year, we are going to have HomeFun instead of Homework. This week, there are two HomeFun assignments: creating a locker tag and creating a desk tag. Both are due this Friday. Let me know if you have questions.
Attached to this email are a couple of documents: our first class newsletter, a note about Nut Free snacks, and a yearlong specials schedule. You'll see most of these documents in homefun folders tomorrow. Please don't forget to sign your child's planner each night.
The Donley Open House and Ice Cream Social is a week from Thursday on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Please plan on coming to eat some ice cream and give your Hero a chance to brag about their classroom.

Today was a good day in room 12. We started the day with reading. Our first lesson today focused a reading strategy: when great readers come to a word they don't know, they break the word into small parts or chunks that they do know and then put those chunks together. We also had a workshop lesson on what makes a great reading nook: a comfy place to read where you can get lost in books. Our read aloud, Tomas and the Library Lady, was a great example of a boy who 'gets lost' in books while reading at the library. Today was also our first day in Library. The students were allowed to check out one book. Even though we have library on Wednesday, we are asking you to return library books on Tuesday so we can get them checked in and ready to go on Tuesday morning.

We earned three stars out of five in art today. The students worked on designing geometric patterns and coloring them with oil pastels for their lizard project, which continues next week. When we returned to class, we worked on our phonics and spelling as well as sneaking in some independent reading time. After lunch, we took the Unit 1 Pre-test in math to see what students were able to do and where we need to focus our teaching.

Our day ended with social studies, where we discussed our classroom economy and learned about using I messages. We are encouraging the students to attempt to solve their problems with words and are teaching them some strategies to help them out. Today, we talked about I Messages. When you are having a problem with someone, your first step is to use an I Message, whih follows this general pattern: _______ (Name of student) when you _______(tell them what they are doing that bothers you or how they hurt your feelings), that makes me feel ___________. Please _________ stop, leave me alone, or make better choices. We will be working with the students to mediate some of their problems using this strategy.  

First math homefun assignment came home tonight and is due tomorrow. Math will be on white paper and is due the next day. The writing Homefun assignment is due this Friday. Please let me know if you are having problems completing it. Thanks.  

The Donley Open House and Ice Cream Social is tomorrow, Thursday, September 13 from 6 - 7:30 pm. Please plan on stopping by the classroom so the Heroes can brag about what's going on. Ice Cream will be served in the multi-purpose room (cafeteria). Hope to see you there!
Today was a little rough at times, but we're still making lots of progress. We
started the day with our very first math lesson about Number Grid Puzzles.
Number Grid Puzzles are math puzzles based on a number grid that ask the
students to figure out what is one more, one less, ten more, or ten less than a
given number and fill in that corresponding box on a number grid.

Our read aloud today was When Charlie McButton Lost Power, the first story from Reading Street. During the read aloud, we practiced one thing great readers do: use their schema to help them make sense of the story. Schema is the fancy way of saying background knowledge or all of the information you have about a particular word, topic, or idea. Our reading lesson today connected picking books to shoe this time instead of shirts. Once we've found books (or shoes) that are a good fit, we want to make sure our book (or shoes) fits our interests and purpose for reading. After some independent reading time, we met for a second mini-lesson about literary elements: the characters, setting, plot, and theme. We used some of the books we've read to review these elements. Good readers pay attention to these literary elements as they read.

Our final activity before lunch was an on-demand piece of writing to serve as a benchmark or starting point for each writer. On-Demand writing asks the students to write a story in a set amount of time without teacher assistance, so we can see what each student is able to do as a writer. We will be referring back to this piece of writing many times this year. We took a Math Facts test after lunch and then earned three stars out of five in music. Our day ended with a great lesson about Voice Size taught by Mr. Cross.
Today was a great start to week 2! We started the morning with Addition Top-It, which is a game that provides the students with a chance to practice addition and comparing numbers. We followed that with some MEAP math review, using our SmartBoard Clickers (think handheld trivia machines from your favorite sports bar). Our focus was on exposing students to MEAP math problems as review, working our way through a step-by-step problem solving process (see below for the problem solving steps), and introducing the clickers.

Our read aloud during snack time today was Goldie Socks and the 3 Libearians, which is a fun take on the Goldilocks story, focused around reading and picking just right books. The follow-up to the story was a reading lesson about picking just right books using the five finger rule (see below for information about the five finger rule). We connected picking books to picking clothes that were a good fit. Books that are too easy are like clothes that are too small. Books that are too big are like clothes that are too big. Some day, they will fit... but they don't fit yet. We set expectations for our Read to Self (independent reading) time and then worked on spelling / phonics. This week, we are finishing our spelling homefun in class as a way to introduce the students to what they will be asked to do. Spelling Homefun for next week will come home this Friday on blue paper. More info to come on Spelling.
After lunch, we had a quick Rocket Math test (addition fact practice) and learned some lacrosse skills in PE. Our day ended with a visit from Mr. Stephenson, who shared with us Chris Van Allsburg's The Sweetest Fig.  

There is a Writing Homefun assignment in folders tonight that is due this Friday. 

Open House is this Thursday, Sept. 13 beginning at 6 pm. I've been telling you 6:30 pm for the last week, which is wrong. Sorry for the confusion. Hope to see you there!  

Hopefully, your child has come home in the last couple of days talking about money and our classroom economics system. I've attached more information about this system. We use this system as part of our classroom management as well as using it to teach about a lot of important economics concepts (earning money, paying rent, buying, saving, spending, opportunity cost, scarcity, etc.). The students have the opportunity to earn lots of money by making good choices each day at school.   This was a long email.

MEAP Problem Solving Steps
1. Read the problem (twice).
2. Look for key words that tell you what to do.
3. Do the math.
4. Think and check.  

Five Finger Rule

1. Pick a book and open to any page. Start with a closed fist. 2. Read the page and for each word you don't know, put one finger up. 3. If you put all five fingers up before the end of the page, the book is too big (hard). 4. If you put up 1-4 fingers, the book is just right. 5. If you put up no fingers, the book may be too easy (I'm not a stickler on books that are too easy as long as the students are interested in them and engaged in reading them). 6. If the book is too hard, try a different book.
I missed an email today. Sorry!
Yesterday was another great day in Room 12. We started the day with a short math assessment on addition fact fluency. The goal is for every ELPS third grader to be able to do 100 problems in 6 minutes or less and is a goal will be working on daily. This fact fluency allows the students to use more of their mental capabilities for complex problem solving. We followed that assessment with a math game called Race to 100 that reinforces place value concepts.

After math, we had a great read aloud and snack time. We read the story Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie DePaola. We also completed part of a Reading Baseline test. We had a five star day in music followed by a great lunch and recess.

Our afternoon started with a subtraction fact fluency assessment, which was followed by our first day in gym, where we received only two stars out of five. Mrs. Skubinna reported that we needed to work on listening to directions and keeping our hands and feet to ourselves. After last recess, we had our first writing lesson of the year.

Homefun due today: Locker tags, name tags, and quarter circles (many of you haven't seen the quarter circles because we have been working on them all week).

Open House is this Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 pm.

One last note worth mentioning... the bathroom is an ongoing issue at the beginning of every year, and we have very long mornings. Many students use the bathroom as a work avoidance tactic, and we are trying our best to balance our work and trips to the bathroom, without there becoming an endless stream of bathroom trips. Please know that we will continue to make adujstments as needed, but please talk with your child about taking a couple of minutes out of their long recesses (30 min) to take care of their personal needs (bathroom, filling water bottles).

Today was a great first full day for the Heroes. We learned more routines and
procedures for our classroom. We started the day by organizing our school
supplies (a big THANK YOU for all of the wonderful donations) and practicing our  morning routine. The students did a great job remembering what to do when the bell rang, and I even saw some of them being Heroes to other Dolphins by telling them what to do. Take some time to pick out a book that your child could keep in their backpack so they can take it out and read it each morning.
We enjoyed a fantastic story, Wolf by Becky Bloom, which is about a wolf who learns to read in order to fit in with the educated animals at the farm. After snack time, we went to art for the first time and earned three marbles out of five. Mrs. Yerby said we needed to work on listening when the teacher is talking, controlling our voice levels, and raising our hand to speak. After art, we talked bout playground boundaries and how to be safe, respectful, and a learner on the playground. We walked through our new lunch procedure and then did a great job patiently waiting for our lunch (which was delivered late for the whole school!). Our Present Party followed lunch and the students ripped into the presents, which contained over 1000 books for our classroom library. The students loved opening the presents, examining the books, reading the books, and sharing them with classmates. We ended the day working on developing categories for our books and organizing our class library.
Today was an awesome day in room 12! We got off to a great start, despite being
a little bit chatty. But, what do you expect when students go months without
seeing all of their friends? We started today with a HERO art project, where
each person designed a quarter of a circle. We will put all of the pieces
together to make a cool, multi-colored array of circles. Look for it in the
hallway outside our classroom next week at Open House.

After our art project, we  learned a few of our class management systems. We have a class marble jar, where  we can earn marbles for making good, HERO choices. Our first party, the present party, will be tomorrow since the Heroes were able to earn all ten marbles necessary in one day! Our class received compliments from four different teachers in the hallway, we earned two marbles for being awesome HERO helpers for the new kindergarten Dolphins, and another marble for a perfect Mystery Hero. A first in my teaching career!

After returning from helping the kindergarteners, we had a snack (nut-free pretzels) and listened to Mr. Cross read a great book First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. We used a concentric circles activity (called a washing machine) as a get to know you activity. The students also learned about Team Points, our daily points competition. As many of the students already know, the prize for winning three days of the team competition is the B.G.C., short for the Big Giant Cookie. With both of these systems (class marbles and team points), we will scaffold away the rewards. I want the students to receive the rewards quickly, so they will buy into these systems. After students earn a reward, they have to earn even more in order to earn another reward. Each successive reward becomes more difficult to earn, and 
the time between rewards increases. We also learned new procedures for what
students are supposed to do before school starts and what they are supposed to
do once the bell rings. We ended the day practicing these procedures and filling
out our planners. Make sure to sign your child's planner each night.