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.