Friday, December 31, 2010

Tumble Books-A Digital Book Resource

Reading digital books is another option in the reading lives of our children.  We recently discovered another digital book website called Tumble Books.  This site has a collection of picture books and early chapter books that appeal to a variety of readers.  The site currently focuses on picture books by our favorite authors and publishers, so we hope that you take time and explore this site.  I was able to use Tumble Books on the computer, but not on an iPod or iPhone.  If you have an iPad, there is a Tumble Books app for iPad readers to use;  let us know how the Tumble Books works for you on your iPad.
Here is the information that you will need:
username:  smith_andrea
password:  trial

We have a trial membership through January and hope to add a membership in the future. Let me know what you think of this website and if it enhances reading at home.  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrate The Season With Your Backyard Friends

Snowy days are filled with sledding, skating, and building snowforts; when the kids finally come inside and your family is looking for an indoor activity, think about decorating your backyard with edible ornaments for your local wildlife.  Here is a quick article about the history of winter gifts for wildlife and edible decoration ideas to help celebrate the season with your backyard friends. Follow the link to E-Nature and read about ways that you can surprise your furry and feathered friends with some holiday cheer.
Celebrate the season together!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Owl Adventures

December is a great time to remember that life goes on outside even when we are closing our doors earlier and spending more time indoors during the colder months.  

Consider taking a winter night-hike and discover how many creatures are out and about during the colder months.  If you are lucky, you might get to observe a local owl traveling though his or her territory looking for a night-time meal.  

If a cold night hike is not in your plans, you can always read Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen. 

We highly recommend a trip to a favorite owl website called Kidwings.  Visit Kidwings to learn more about owl pellets and to experience a virtual owl pellet dissection.

Keep us posted on your adventures!

How Do Birds Survive the Cold Weather of Winter?

 December has certainly been a month of warm coats, fuzzy mittens, and thoughts of hot cocoa!  When we were hiking this weekend, we noticed some of the birds taking advantage of the sunshine breaking through on the cold day.  It made me wonder how our year-round birds deal with severe weather such as blizzards, cold snaps and the snowy days throughout winter.  Behavioral and physical adaptations are important to our feathered friends, so take a minute to read and discover some new ideas when the snowflakes have you wondering: How do birds survive snowstorms?

Monday, December 13, 2010


IMA students share a Monday ritual called, "Expedition Monday."  As we launch each busy week, the IMA kids take time during Reading Workshop to explore new nonfiction resources.  If you visit our room on a Monday, you might find us sharing new or undiscovered books and magazines.  We might be exploring a new website or digital resource. The weekly ritual introduces or reminds children of the many nonfiction resources that we have waiting to be shared and explored at school and home. 

Due to the 2 hour snow delay, Expedition Monday will carry over to Tuesday this week.  The kids will be exploring a great new website called "Wonderopolis."  This dynamic website was created by Verizon and Thinkfinity.  Explore this site with your child and enjoy its many resources.  New wonder questions and answers are posted each day. 

You can visit Wonderopolis at this link:

You can watch an informational video at this link:

Enjoy the learning adventures!

Reindeer? Caribou?

Have you been thinking about reindeer lately?  Here is a link to a great article at ENature, a science and nature website that provides short nonfiction articles that children and their families find interesting and useful.  You can find out more about those magical mammals at:  ENature Update: Reindeer

Enjoy the article and let me know if you explore this great free resource!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What is Big Universe?

 Big Universe is a new digital book site we are piloting in IMA.  It is a place to discover a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction books for readers of all ages.  Please visit the site and let me know what you think about the books, the format, and if you think it would be a useful resource for our families.

Here is the information that you need:
username:  smith_andrea
password:  chapmanima

Here is the web address and the link: Big

Monday, December 6, 2010

Glogster? What is Glogster?

On Friday, the IMA kids explored a digital poster-making site called Glogster.  They learned how to use Glogster's many applications for creating digital posters by working together, playing with the many tools, and experimenting with the creative process of digital poster-making.  We will be using this new tool in many different ways over the course of the school year.

Glogster has public and private membership options.  We are using the website's private option so that students can work and share their posters within the supervised IMA community.  Students were issued nicknames and passwords at school. Their nicknames are a random string of letters and/or numbers and their passwords are their lunch numbers. Children are encouraged to explore the site at home and to view the work of other IMA kids.  They can leave comments for one another as they view classmates' posters.

Explore the website at this address: or Glogster EDU

This site brings a whole new meaning to posters and displays for class projects!

The Winter Performance!

The third grade and IMA students will present their holiday program on Thursday, December 16, 2010.  There will be a dress rehearsal performance at 2:30 on the day of the performance. The evening performance begins at 7:00pm.  Children need to be in their homerooms at 6:30.

The chorus singers need to wear:
  • brown, black or tan pants or skirts
  • solid colored tops
  • safe shoes for walking on the risers

We will provide the rest of the costume accessories.

Stage singers, speakers, and dancers will wear the same clothes, but T shirts and other accessories will be provided. 

Optional:  Please bring in cookies to share the night of the performance if possible.  There will be a serving table in the gym.  You can deliver cookies in advance or the night of the show.

The children have been working so hard on the performance and look forward to sharing the special evening with you, extended family and friends.  See you then!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The History of My Name

Please use this link to access our new survey, "The History Of My Name."  Each student will use the information to write a personal narrative about his or her name, how he/she received the name, and why the name is important to us. 

Grandparent Interview: Sharing The Past And The Present

Children learn new ideas and strategies best through hands-on, life experiences. As part of our project called "Change Over Time," students will interview grandparents or family members to discover cultural elements of an important generation.  Children will interview a grandparent over the 5 day Thanksgiving break.  They will gather their information using the survey tool listed below.  Students are asked to submit their information by December 2nd.

 Students will use a website called Survey Monkey to record their interview information.  Follow the link:  Grandparent Survey

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Learning Celebration and Parent Meeting: November 23, 2010

The IMA teachers hosted a parent meeting on November 23 following our first Celebration of Learning. Both teachers presented a summary of our past trimester's work and previewed our current units of study.  Andrea and Flora also answered parents' questions about academic programming, technology in the classroom, and students' projects.  Parents had an opportunity to provide feedback about homework, Progress Book, and perceptions of the IMA program.

This slide show is an overview of the biography unit, a current unit of study in Andrea Smith's language arts classroom.  If you could not attend the parent meeting, please review this slide show; if you have any questions or comments about the unit, please contact Andrea: 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beyond Our Wildest Hopes!

Have you looked at our class blog lately?  Have you seen the amazing narratives and poems posted?  Have you noticed the useful and kind feedback that readers provide for our writers?  We are so proud of the kids and their hard work.  This public forum for writing provides our kids with a variety of writing purposes, a caring audience, and authentic reasons to reread, edit and revise their writing treasures. 

Please visit our blog and enjoy the work of the IMA kids:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Read Alouds

What are the kids reading together as a class during our literature studies?  The fourth graders are sharing,  Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key and are discussing character development and conflict.  The third graders are enjoying, The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary, by Candace Fleming and are learning about the theme or lessons that a reader can infer from a story's plot.

Check out more information about these interesting novels at the following sites:

The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key

IMA Learning Celebration

Learning Celebration
Date:  November 23, 2010
Time:  1:45-2:30
Place: Commons
The Celebration will be followed by a parent session in Room 138

All IMA families are invited to attend the first Learning Celebration of the 2010-2011 school year.  The event begins at 1:45 in the commons.  Students will greet their parents or guests at the door and share their projects, favorite books, and blog entries.  Parents will also have a chance to see how students are using social studies resources to learn about the history and culture from different time periods in Ohio.  Following the celebration, Andrea and Flora will host a parent information session in Room 138. 

We understand how difficult it is to secure time away from jobs.  
If you cannot attend the event, please feel free to invite a relative, neighbor, or older sibling.  If you cannot attend the event, contact us and 
we will pair students with community members or former IMA kids.  

Thank you so much for your support!  See you on November 23rd!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

IMA Projects-Our New Classroom Wiki

IMA students recently completed science projects to summarize what they learned about ecosystems and Ohio habitats.  They used an application called Keynote to create digital books to showcase their learning. We will use this wiki to showcase projects throughout the year.  You can explore our wiki by following this link; find out how technology is supporting student learning in IMA.


This an intriguing title for  a poetry book!  Get it?  The word "guy" is blended with "haiku" to make "Guyku!"  A clever title for a poetry book written about guys, but not to be restricted to male readers-not to worry girls!  
I MUST add this book to our poetry collection as soon as possible.  

While we wait for delivery, you can also check out Bob Raczka and Peter Reynold's website for this book.  You can visit
for poetry fun.  While you are there, check out the different resources including:

Enjoy the resources!  I look forward to seeing the "Galku" poetry too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great Migrations-A National Geographic Adventure!

Mark your calendar for National Geographic's next television treasures!

On November 7th, National Geographic will debut the first episode of its new documentary series, "Great Migrations."   We hope that you view some of the episodes and discuss the many ways animals showcase behavioral and physical adaptations all in the name of survival.  

The website, has so many resources to read, experience, and use for home learning. Informative articles, interactive maps, video clips, and many educational resources wait for learners of all ages.  If you enjoyed the Discovery Channel's series called "Life," you will enjoy this series too.

Keep us posted on favorite video clips, new ideas and the conversations started by this long-awaited series.  Enjoy the adventures together!

Halloween Parade and Party

Please join the IMA classes on Friday for the annual Chapman Halloween Parade and Party.  The kids will have a busy afternoon.  They will enjoy Mrs. Werling's Halloween Obstacle Course at 1:30. Later, they will transform into all kinds of characters and participate in the Chapman Parade at 2:30.  The parade is followed by the party from 2:45-3:15. Parents are welcome to attend and celebrate with all of the IMA kids.  Thanks to all of the families donating party items and a BIG thanks to Noreen Marando and Laura Whitt for organizing the Halloween parties.  We look forward to seeing you on Friday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Third Grade Novel!

The third graders finished sharing their first novel written in verse called, Where I Live.  We just started a Johanna Hurwitz book called, Pee Wee and Plush.  It is an animal adventure story about 2 guinea pigs that are living in the "wilds" of Central Park.  It is based on the true story of an extended family of guinea pigs found living in the famous NYC park.

This story is told in first person by Pee Wee, a lovable and kind guinea pig; he shares the adventures of the guinea pigs and their close animal friends as they figure out how the guinea pigs will survive the NYC winter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Learning Resource

Many parents have asked about extended learning opportunities and resources to use for home learning.  Recently, we were introduced to,, a home learning program established by the public school district serving Sugarland, Texas.  The website offers many free resources for different grade levels and inexpensive resources too. 

Thanks to Jason Guo and his mom for sharing this link!  

If you try the Beestar resources, let us know what you think.

Cider Making on Thursday!

We will be making apple cider at our final fall Habitat Helpers' meeting on Thursday, October 21st.  Parents are invited to arrive at 4:30, tour the winterized gardens and to sample some fresh cider.  If anyone would like to donate paper cups for the event, the cups would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where I Live

The third graders started a new book called, Where I Live, by Eileen Spinelli.  Diana is a girl forced to move with her due to her father's job loss.  She leaves behind her best friend, a beloved house, and all that she thinks she can ever love about a house.  The story explores the idea of "house" and "home" and the ideas of cooperation and being open to new experiences.  

The book is written in verse and this is a new format for the children as listeners and thinkers.  The book is also told from the point of view of Diana, so the children are enjoying their "conversations" with Diana as they hear a story told by the main character directly to the reader in a "first person's" voice.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Habitat Helpers This Week

Due to conferences, we will not be hosting Habitat Helpers this week.  We will meet again on October 14th and 21st.  Winter meetings with indoor building activities are being planned too. Stay tuned for more information.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

OAA Reading Test for Third Graders

Our third graders will be taking their first Ohio Achievement Assessment on Tuesday, 10/5/10.  It will assess what they have learned to do as readers and writers throughout their learning lives.  The assessment measures how students read, comprehend, and share their comprehension with others.  The OAA reading test will also assess students spelling and vocabulary knowledge. Please read the IMA e-mail update that was sent on Friday 10/1/10.  If you did not receive this e-mail, please let us know and the information will be forwarded to you.

This information sheet from our school district is very helpful too.  You will find it on our website's homepage in the bottom right-hand corner.  OAA Information Sheet

Please keep this in mind:  Each child is at a different place on his or her learning journey.  Tuesday is one assessment of many that your child will experience in a lifetime.  Encourage your child to share his or her talents and to approach this opportunity as a do-able challenge during the test.  A positive attitude makes all the difference when facing assessments.

Blogging Is A Hit!

The IMA kids love our new blog called "The IMA Kids" and they are posting so many amazing pieces from home and school.  We will be looking at the purpose and etiquette of comments and the art of editing and revising as we explore the blogging world as 21st Century Writers. Keep checking our blog with your child-you will see so many interesting entries and purposes for writing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The IMA Kids Are Blogging!!!!

The IMA kids started using their blogs today!!!!!

Please follow this link to to see our work here:  The IMA Kids Blog

This site is password protected and can only be accessed by IMA kids.  Each child has his or her own password.  Please ask your child to keep his/her password private and to only share it with family members. The kids should not share this password with other friends. 

Enjoy reading the posts!

Friday, September 24, 2010

What are DRAs?

During the past week, students completed a special kind of assessment with Mrs. Smith during Reading Workshop.  The assessment is called a DRA or Developmental Reading Assessment.  This is a reading assessment used by teachers to figure out the reading strategies and skills a developing reader uses fluently and with ease.  The DRA also helps a teacher determine the short term and long term reading goals needed for each child so the most effective reading lessons can be developed in the future. 

The DRA is not for a grade;  it is to establish a baseline understanding of each child's reading development.  The gathered information is used to support and cultivate learning over time.  It is a performance-based tests.  Students read a selection and then demonstrate their understanding of the text by answering comprehension questions  Students share their understanding through discussion and in writing.  The teacher listens to the child read in order to see literacy skills in action, to check for reading fluency, and to determine independent and instructional text levels.  Knowing these levels helps a teacher match kids to just-right books for independent reading and for supported instruction.

DRAs are a priceless tool for understanding your child as a reader and information about your child's reading development will be shared during our October conferences.  Until then, keep reading, keep talking about books, and enjoy all kinds of books together.

Homework: Busy as Bees!

Thank you to all of our families for supporting our  IMA students as they develop their homework routines.  Keep us posted on your child's reactions to math assignments and their reading selections.  Work with your child to figure out a homework schedule so that homework time is an easy part of your week, rather than a dramatic rush.  PLEASE contact us if you are having technical issues with the Pearson website so we can help as soon as possible.  Send an email if your child needs assistance in selecting books for independent reading at home.

Remember:  homework time can be a window into your child's learning life, so enjoy the time together, talk about books he or she is reading, and encourage your child to build those math skills and strategies one step at a time.  You are key in developing your child's positive attitude toward learning and we really appreciate your support.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Read Alouds!

We started new read alouds in class.  The fourth grade students are reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  To find out more about this book, stop by Sharon Draper's website and learn about the creation of her book.   To read about Sharon Draper's book, visit:  Out Of My Mind

The third graders are reading, The Girls Get Even.  Read a book review about this hilarious book at:
The Girls Get Even

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Launch of a New Literacy Unit

Based on the district's expectations for reading and writing, we have two major literacy goals for the first trimester.  One goal is for students to become strategic readers of nonfiction texts.  The other goal is for students to develop their nonfiction writing skills. The IMA kids will explore nonfiction in both reading and writing workshops so that what they read can support what they write and what they are writing will be connected to what they are reading.

Wonder Questions will be our first big step in this process.  Ask your child about Wonder Questions and why they are important to learners.  Ask your child to explain how he/she uses Wonder Questions to focus his/her reading work.  Ask your child how he/she will use gathered information to write and share answers to Wonder Questions.

Our first Nonfiction Unit of study is one of the most powerful and exciting literacy units for students because children are so eager to learn about their world.  Be prepared for enthusiastic conversations at the dinner table!  Share your wonder questions with your child too.  Go and learn something new together.  You will be amazed at how kids seize opportunities to learn about their world!  Enjoy the adventures!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Little More About Word Study...

We finished our study of nouns after discussing and exploring the ideas of singular and plural nouns.  Once again the Habitat and the playground brought the ideas of grammar to life!  Next week begins our exploration of verbs and how they enhance our writing, thinking, and reading lives.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Word Study Lessons

During the first weeks of school, we developed a word list for our Living Words Wall.  The habitat served as a resource and the kids developed a detailed list of words that we will use to study spelling patterns, grammar structures and vocabulary during our Word Study time.

This week we are exploring nouns in order to develop an understanding of grammar while developing a shared, common language regarding Word Study.  Our questions to guide our work include:
What is a noun?
What is a common noun?  proper noun?
What are the differences between singular and plural nouns?
How do you turn a singular noun into a plural noun?

This work helps students as readers, writers, and thinkers. The kids are also discovering that Word Study can be an interesting adventure when the Habitat is our classroom!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Conference nights will be held on October 7th (Thursday) and October 13th (Wednesday.)  Look for an email regarding conferences later this week.  Please watch for the conference email and respond as soon as possible because our time slots fill quickly.

For the first trimester, Team Smith students will conference with their parents and Mrs. Smith and Team Marlatt students will conference with their parents and Mrs. Marlat.  Students will lead their conferences, show their work and share their accomplishments and goals.  

We look forward to seeing all of our families and celebrating each child's accomplishments.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Homework Starts This Week!

Don't forget that home learning journals came home this week and will be due on Thursday, September 18th.  Students will find their math homework on the EnVision website and should record their quiz in the journal.  Students are asked to read and record 4 or more reading entries in their home learning journal too.  We look forward to hearing your feedback regarding homework.

Please contact us if you have questions. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Reading Resources

Summer Fun!
Looking for summer reading resources?  Here are a few family-friendly links! Let us know which links are helpful and fun for your readers.  

Reading Websites:  click on school bell, then Language Arts. 
This site includes reading lists and reviews, online stories, poetry, word games and cool sites for kids.  poetry books and how to write and poetry  online leveled books and reading quizzes
on-line reading incentive program to motivate elementary students to read longer, more frequently and with greater comprehension   Read *Write* Now! Basic Kit developed by reading experts to build language and literacy skills from birth through grade six, includes fun reading and writing activities.  As an added incentive, readers who reach their reading and writing goals over summer can be rewarded with a free pizza from Pizza Hut. or call toll-free 1-877-4ED-PUBS.   Magic Tree House activities, book lists  Fake-Out? The Definition Guessing Game   This site offers word study and word play that will encourage dictionary use.  Students choose a word and try to determine the correct definition.  They can even offer suggested definitions for mystery words!  This site contains various puzzles and games children can play to build vocabulary skills.  It offers immediate feedback once students submit their answers.  Aaron Shepard graciously allows visitors to print out his Reader’s Theater scripts which come from a variety of genres and reading levels.  He also suggests props and staging.  This is a great activity for the whole family to participate in!  “Cyber-books” come alive online.  Each story explores themes like developing creativity and being true to yourself.   Time for Kids  Sports Illustrated for Kids games, quizzes and up to-the minute news stories.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OAA's are finished!

The children did a wonderful job with Ohio Achievement Assessments! The district will send you your child's results when they come in. Thank you to all the parents who donated snacks. We had so many that we will be using some as we work in the habitat over the next few weeks.
Since all the testing is finished we will go back to our weekly homework notebook as usual. If your child still needs to master their fact tests be sure to check the progress book site to keep up with which set of facts they are currently working on.
You can also download a copy of the fact inventories at that site. Let's work really hard to get these facts mastered before the end of school. Only 6 weeks to go!
Mrs. M

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Spring!

Enjoy the next week of vacation!  If you are traveling, gather memories and pictures.  If you are staying home, explore your yard or a nearby park.  We wish you good weather, happy adventures and safe travels. See you after break!

Mrs. S and Mrs. M.

(PS: Don't forget-if you read, keep a log of your book time.  Every 5 entries earns you lunch out in the Habitat with Mrs. S)