We have logged reading time, each day, in order to keep a consistency in the classroom. It's a quick part of our afternoon, but I can already see the benefit to my pupils: they appear to be sticking with there books for longer periods of time. I've even caught them searching for time in which to read, just so they can log it, later in the day. They are certainly off to a good start.
Saturday, March 14. Perhaps it is not a day that will live in infamy, and maybe it isn't an official national holiday, but it is a day that comes along "once in a lifetime". For several years now, mathematicians among us have proclaimed March 14 to be Pi Day, a day so proclaimed because of the initial digits of a strangely interesting number called Pi (3.14). This year, Pi Day makes extra strides for those aficionados of geometry. This year, the digits of Pi Day actually include as many as eight digits of pi. Isn't that just, like, the coolest thing ever!
What exactly is this funny-shaped symbol? Says the Pi Day website:
By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits past its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.
It seems that pi is key to many geometric measurements that will be discussed in future years for our fourth graders. It's more than π times radius squared. Just as multiplication is a catalyst to many of the things we do as ten-year-olds, pi is something that is imperative in the understanding of circles (which apparently aren't going away any time soon).
Farewell to a great kid: WENDELL.
We will miss your exuberant spirit.
We're going to try out Reading Rewards during the fourth quarter. It occurs to me that we have stressed the fluency part of reading and the comprehension part of reading, but that perhaps we have neglected the one part of reading that encourages people to enjoy reading: reading a text from start to finish.
I have witnessed that many students choose books based on their covers or their titles, but they fail to read far enough into the books to get interested in the storyline. Instead, they put the books aside and choose another to start, hardly ever getting through 30 pages of any given text. If this is the case, is it any wonder that they do not enjoy reading? If this is the case, students never get the satisfaction of finishing something, of reading a complete story; regarding nonfiction, they only gain partial information, or in many instances, they only look at interesting pictures, making very minimal knowledge acquisition.
I've never been a big advocate for reading logs - those lists of books and pages or minutes read. It's pretty obvious that there is some dishonesty involved in such, and I've not wanted to provide a resource for that dishonesty. At the same time, I realize that I need to hold my students more accountable for their recreational reading. I've always fought for the concept that more reading time, spent with materials selected by the readers themselves, is the best practice for reading improvement, but something more visible might be necessary to encourage completion in reading.
That's why we're going to experiment with Reading Rewards during the fourth quarter. While we have a record of everyone's reading fluency (reading rate), and while I assess weekly for varying aspects of reading comprehension (inference, main idea, etc.), Reading Rewards will give us some information about sustained reading both in and outside of the classroom. The program also rewards readers (hence the name) with "badges" and advancements of "levels" based on minutes logged. Finally, readers can review, recommend, and discuss books to others on the site. The video below describes the program from the reader's perspective.
Farewell to a super pupil: ANDREW.
You will forever be a part of our family,
and welcome to our newest Hoggatteer, RAVEN.
The Book Fair will be located in the library, all week. The class will visit the Book Fair, and students may purchase items in our Book Fair, but you are also invited to shop the books while you are here for conferences. Teacher wish lists will be available, but please do not feel obligated to purchase anything on those lists; primarily, the Book Fair is here to make reading materials available for students. Many of Missouri's Mark Twain Award nominees for next year will be available.
As a shortened week (with no school on Friday), we will not have paper homework, but I do ask that, in lieu of the homework, students should continue to read for a half-hour each evening (with half of that time spent reading aloud), and to refresh themselves on their basic multiplication facts (in preparation for four days of 5-minute, 100-problem multiplication quizzes).
Ice. Sleet. Snow. Wind. Nastiness. Slick roadways. Poor visibility. Bitterly cold.
With everything that came our ways, Wednesday, we still had school.
Right or wrong, this was simply a series of tough calls from our administration.
Originally, we received the message that school was to be in session. That's when I got up, got ready for school, and drove across town. By the time I made it to school, the news reported that, in a late decision, the middle schools and high school were cancelled. By that time, of course, buses were arriving at the elementary schools (Joplin elementary schools begins earlier in the day than surrounding districts, so buses were loaded before the brunt of the storm was realized.). Parents were given then choice of taking their children back home or leaving them with us for the day. Attendance was not affected by the decision to keep kids at home.
That also meant that we had smaller classes, but that didn't stop us from having a semi-normal school day. In addition to Math, Reading, and Writing, we entertained ourselves by a little bit of cleaning around the room.
With no school on Thursday, homework will still be due on Friday (or Monday, if there is another cancellation Friday). Who knows? Maybe this will be our last encounter with winter, this year. After all, Spring Break is just a week and a half away!
Please note: Parent conferences will be held next Wednesday and Thursday.
I will send home reminders of our schedule, on Monday.
Hoggatteer doctors used scalpels (scissors) and sewed stitches (with glue) to put things in order for each of 18 patients, answering review questions involving vocabulary words in grammar and math.
If a reader doesn't understand what you have written, it could be that you have not organized your writing to make it easy to read. Do you use paragraphs to break up larger concepts? Do you use transition words? Does it make sense to you when you read it aloud?
Friday was our Bring-Your-Own-Device behavior celebration. Students with no office referrals
were allowed to play with their own electronic devices during the last half-hour of the day.
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