Friday, December 2, 2011

The Gift of Poetry

This week our Fourth Graders took the first half of the Stanford Achievement Test.  Each testing day involved Jolly Ranchers and Lifesaver Mints.  Each day after testing, the third graders noticed how the classroom smelled "minty" when they returned to Room 137.  On Poetry Friday, the third graders decided to surprise the fourth graders with the gift of poetry and they created this Lifesaver poem using similes and metaphors.  We worked in pairs and created many similes and then we revised and crafted this poem.  Enjoy!  You will never think of Lifesavers in the same way again!


An alarm clock for your mouth!!!

A mouth preserver- pocket toothpaste
for pepperoni pizza lunch days

A cart-wheeling flavor dancing in your mouth

A steering wheel driving you to the cold wintry Arctic

An "OH" that burns all spicy like a
bouncing hockey puck!

A surprising candy doughnut that sprinkles fun
on testing days.

Congratulations 4th graders for finishing the first half
of the Stanford Tests!!!!

Good Luck next week!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Do Humpback Whales Really Eat?

I am so intrigued by whales and their secret lives in our oceans.  The latest Humpback Whale story circulating the Web is certainly one to think about the next time you are swimming in the ocean!  

Check out the short article on, learn a few things about whales, and then watch the video of some boaters and a surfer who had an unexpected visit with a Humpback.

You can read the article and see the video here:  

Word Study Unit: Compound Words and Prefixes

Dear IMA Families:

In Word Study, we are working on a vocabulary unit.  We are learning about compound words and prefixes.  Students are dissecting compound words and understanding how 2 base words are joined to form a new word with distinct meanings.  Students are exploring how the meanings of words are altered when prefixes are added to words.  At the beginning of the unit we will look at the prefixes: un- (unable),  re- (reboot), and dis- (dislike.)  Here are resources that your child can use at home to extend his or her understanding of compound words and prefixes.

At our Spelling City website:
I encourage students to play the vocabulary games because this unit of study focuses on the meaning of these vocabulary words.  Students can practice spelling these words but will not be assessed on spelling compound words. They will only be assessed on their abilities to define compound words.
•    Unit 7 lists: Compound Words
•    Prefix lists

Word Study Wonders:
•    Explore the resource links at our website.

Students are enjoying the exploration of vocabulary words that help them become better readers and writers.  Happy Learning! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another New Resource To Share!

 Hawksbill Turtle

A BIG THANKS goes out to Nick, one of our IMA students.  He discovered a FANTASTIC website called, Wild Facts.  The writer's mission is interesting.  His goal is to write 1,000 posts about animals with the hope of educating his readers about the natural world. You can read about his mission here:

Each weekday, the website creator and naturalist-writer introduces readers to a unique animal and highlights interesting information about the daily animal.  The videos are secured and child-friendly.  The website's index will help readers locate animals of interest.  We are so excited to explore this site!  Thanks again Nick-you discovered quite a treasure!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Calling All Nature Lovers!!!!!

The Wild Classroom is a website I just recently discovered.  This is an amazing resource for you nature lovers and science learners!  Are you interested in exploring the various habitats and ecosystems that create so many special places on the planet?  Are you looking for a great website to help you learn about the various plants and animals that make our Earth a special place?  Then this is the site for you!  
Follow this link:
While you are there, meet the scientists that founded The Wild Classroom and their mission as scientists and educators: 
Happy Exploring!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Gift of Choices and Opportunities

Poetry Friday supported and honored the work of our Veterans.  We discussed how soldiers, both past and present, served and currently serve the citizens of the United States, working to protect the freedoms and choices our society values. It is because of these freedoms, each person can contribute to our society and make the world a better place.  

We started with a childhood favorite, the beloved author, Eric Carle.  The kids wondered why I was sharing such a primary book called, The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse.   

We looked at the special message shared by Eric Carle and how a teacher preserved his choices and imagination as a developing artist during World War II.
 Once we explored the importance of choice and freedom, we looked at one aspect of such gifts:  the choice to bring joy to our world.  We explored a new poet named Alan Katz and how we can make a difference in our world using the talents we possess.  Alan Katz' main goal and purpose as a poet is to bring joy and laughter to a serious world.  A message that all of us need to hear!

We also explored his new book of poetry available for partial viewing at the publisher's website:

We also explore what it is like to be a poet and author with his interview videos on the same page as the poetry book available for preview.

Finally, we enjoyed a fun sing-along poem available in another beloved Alan Katz collection.

You would have been proud of your children.  Visit our IMA Kidsblog and see how they explored the idea that they can and do make a difference in the world!

Veterans' Day Celebrations

We cannot believe that a month has passed since our last blog post!  So much learning and so many celebrations occur in IMA that we need to take time each week to post the news to our families.  Consider this an early New Year's Resolution.

Veterans' Day is a tricky celebration with younger students.  As their knowledge of wars, soldiers, and service is within the childhood experience, we decided that we could honor our veterans while building an understanding of what it means to serve one's country.  Here are a few of the experiences shared on Friday's Veterans' Day by our IMA students.

Starting with a video selected by Mrs. Marlatt, students explored why our service men and women are valued.

Then students had a chance to visit and explore a day in the life of different soldier and veterans serving various communities.  A nurse, a helicopter pilot were just a few of the people shared in the presentation.

You can revisit the sites here:

After learning about many different lives in the military, students worked as  History Detectives.  Research teams used a variety of artifacts and learned the identity of a World War II veteran.  

The photos show the variety of artifacts used to explore and discover the identity of Mrs. Marlatt's father.

The students truly enjoyed using the real-world artifacts to explore the life of a soldier.

To find out more about our further studies for Veterans' Day, read the next blog post and find out how Veterans' Day and the value of choices and freedom were explored during the literacy portion of our Friday.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Spelling Units of Study: A New Way To Practice

Here is a new way for your child to practice his or her assigned words from our current unit of study.  Spelling City is now set up just for our IMA kids.  

We will work on this site at school, but you can use this site for home learning too.  Your child will need to select his/her assigned unit of study.  The units are usually divided into 2-4 sub lists for practice.  Let us know if you have questions.

Friday, September 30, 2011

IMA Newsletter: September 30, 2011

September 30, 2011

OAA Testing For Third Grade:

On Tuesday, October 4th our third graders will be taking the OAA Reading Test.  They will take the test in October and a more advanced version in May. We will begin testing at 10:00 and will finish at 12:30.  All IMA kids will go to lunch at 12:30 and finish recess at 1:30.  If your child is absent, he or she will need to make up the test later in the week with a different teacher.

All IMA third graders will be testing with Mrs. Smith.  The fourth graders will be working all day with Mrs. Marlatt.

Scores should be available in late November.

Testing Snacks:

Thank you in advance to all of the families that are sending in snacks for the third graders on Tuesday.  The snacks make a big difference during our testing time and the thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated.

The IMA Kids Blog:
Our students each have their own blog and will be posting different forms of writing on their blogs throughout the year.  The link to our blog is:

Students worked on the blog today and many of the kids published their first posts.  Your child logs on and uses his/her lunch number as a password.  Students are welcome to write on the blog from home at any time.  

If you have any questions about the blog, please contact Mrs. Smith.

Have a great weekend.  Can you believe that it is already October?

Monday, September 26, 2011

IMA Newsletter: September 26, 2011

Word Study
Your child should have brought home his/her individualized Sight Word and Spelling List.  Please review the parent information letter and your child's study plan.  We are working on word study strategies that will increase word knowledge and writing fluency.

Writing Workshop:
We completed our first week of our writing unit called "Writing Like A Reporter."  First, students drafted and created a list of interview questions.  Students are now using the questions to plan and draft their answers, creating an "All About Me" digital book.  Students are using Keynote, Google Images, and Photobooth to create their personal books.

Reading Workshop
Students are working on developing their own questions to focus their reading and comprehension of different genres of texts.  They are recording questions before and as they read, using the questions to guide their purposes for reading.  This is a strategy that you and your child can use at home as you read together.  Asking questions keeps a reader actively involved with a text and builds a deeper understanding of a story or informational text.

This week I will be assessing the children's math knowledge with the Dublin grade level diagnostic test. This test is extensive but it will give me an insight into what each child has already learned in math and where I need to focus their instruction.  

We have finished our math unit on reading and writing large numbers in various forms. We will be reviewing for a test on Thursday. Be sure to check over this week's homework as it is a review of these concepts. The homework should provide you a chance to help your child with any problem areas before the test. 

Our 4 monarch butterflies have left their chrysalises. We said goodbye and they are now on their way to Mexico! Our Life Science study will be wrapping up soon, too. The children have completed an independent study on a particular life cycle and they are creating a graphic organizer to show what they have learned. We will be discussing food chains and webs next. Children and families can access our science book that supports these topics at  User name is dublinscience and the password is dublin. We are using the third grade book(the toucan) and reading Lessons 1-3 in Chapter 5.

Read Aloud:
Students began reading and discussing 2 interesting novels in a book club format.  The third graders are reading, Dolphin Tale,  and the fourth graders are reading, Pond Scum.  Characters, character traits, and character changes and development are an important part of this read aloud time.  Using a reader's notebook is an important responsiblity of the book clubs.  Students are expected to track important events in the plot, track character traits and changes, make predictions, and ask questions as they stay actively involved with the texts.  

Chapman's walkathon will be held this Friday.  IMA students will walk during their recess time from 12:30-12:45.  Thank you for supporting the school's fund raising efforts to build our technology resources.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

IMA Newsletter: September 18, 2011

 Thank you for helping with homework this week!
This was a VERY busy week for the IMA students and teachers!  Before we talk about our class work, we want to extend a tremendous thanks to all of our parents.  The first week of homework is always an adventure and your support was greatly appreciated by the kids and the teachers.  Homework only gets easier…we promise!

Your child participated in a variety of word study assessments this week.  The results of these assessments will shape your child’s learning for the year.  Each student took the Developmental Spelling Inventory, the Hearing Sounds In Words Sentence Dictation test and the Sight Word/High Frequency Word spelling test.  Your child will be receiving his/her personalized spelling list next Friday with goals, home study ideas, and an assessment schedule.   We are ready to return to our word work and vocabulary studies next week!

Our Writing Workshop and Science Time merged in our unit called “Writing Like A Scientist.”  Students refined their nonfiction reading and writing skills. Students studied common creatures and items found in the habitat and the classroom while recording their observations and noted attributes.  Students researched and observed like scientists, studying the attributes and behaviors of Monarchs using a variety of living, digital, and print resources.  Students worked like engineers and studied pencils, discovering the materials and design ideas of this common, but very useful invention.  The kids studied the purpose of each design element and gathered information about pencils, using their notes to create diagrams and information paragraphs.

Reading Workshop gave us a chance to extend our reading lives.  We continued to build our book selection strategies and some students joined research projects or book clubs. Students took a literacy survey.  The survey results will guide students and their use of a reader’s notebook.  Next week’s goal is to help students learn new and enriched ways to use their notebooks to reflect their understanding as they read.

Math: The amount of reading involved in math is often surprising! In Math Students have extended their nonfiction reading and writing into reading graphs and charts. We are practicing how to use the title and labels of a graph to determine the question that was asked, the audience and the data that is represented on the chart. We are discussing trends displayed on graphs and we use math vocabulary words such as mode, median and range in our discussions.
We have also been exploring place value structure and learning how to read, write, and represent numbers in multiple ways. Children should feel comfortable talking about the expanded form and ordinal form of a word as well as the standard form. Using the ones, thousands and millions periods of numbers help children correctly say the word form of a large number such as ten million, three hundred seventy six thousand, four hundred fifty two. Here is a digital resource children can use at home to help them read numbers in word form: One area that is especially difficult for students is estimating to the nearest round number. Students often struggle with this skill as numbers grow into the thousands and millions. Here are some links to give your child practice with this skill: and ( On the funbrain site what we are doing in class is demonstrated at the easy and medium levels.)

A great technology opportunity arrived; students had a chance to use Chapman’s new iPads and iPod Touches.  Over the summer, Chapman added 10 iPads and iTouches to the school’s technology resources and the IMA family is HAPPY about these new tools!  Ask your child about these fabulous resources.  Students already had access to Mrs. Smith’s iTouch and iPhone, but a mobile cart of 20 new learning tools is quite exciting!

Here is a great digital connection from National Geographic that can be used as a reading resource this week.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to an exciting new school year!  

Our Learning Community is the IMA classroom blog.  This is a place for you to discover what the IMA students are learning and discovering at school.  Rather than the quick summaries of projects or units of study that you might read about in our newsletters, our blog will give the teachers more room to explain our work while sharing classroom pictures to help you see what students are doing.  

The blog is an easy way to stay updated on your child's classroom adventures.  
It is a great launching point for family conversations about school.  
The blog can be shared with relatives that live far away so grandparents and other family members can stay connected to your child's school year.

Enjoy your reading visits and we hope that you find our classroom blog helpful. 


Since this is our first week of homework, we are sending along one of our FAVORITE resources for home reading logs.  The site is called:

Wonderopolis is a fantastic reading site for IMA students and their families too.  
The top reasons that we love this site:

1.  Wonder Questions greet the reader with an interesting question to focus the reader's thinking.

2.  A fun or informative video helps a reader to access their own background knowledge or to see and think about something completely new. 

3.  The short, but powerful articles are filled with information, vocabulary, and child-friendly research resources.

4.  Each topic and article provides children with interesting ways to increase their vocabulary and build an understanding of their world.

Take some time to wonder and read together this weekend!

This is a Milkweed Tussock Moth found by our students. 
Ask your child why looking like a Monarch Caterpillar 
would keep this creature safe from predators.

Monday, June 13, 2011

GoGo News: A Nonfiction Reading Resource

 GoGo News is a news website designed just for children.  Capitalizing on the natural curiosity of children and their need to read "kid-friendly" news articles about the world, the writers at GoGo News have created a fabulous info-site. GoGo News wants children to follow their instincts, ask questions, and learn about their world. The writers want readers to learn about other cultures, current news events, and interesting information about the natural world. What will you find when you visit GoGo News?

Each day, the Home Page or front page has an assortment of articles for all kinds of readers and learners.

GoGo Planet is a great source for science articles and activities that kids will LOVE exploring.

The GoGo Cool link hosts a daily historical fact similar to other "On this day..." websites designed for adults. The GoGo Fun link lets you explore unique information related to famous people and events in our world.  The GoGo Picks link is a great source for home learning resources and gift ideas that focus on helping children become better, more interesting people.

On the right sidebar you will find other links too. 

There is a daily vocabulary word activity called GoGo Words that is great fun.

GoGo TV is an area of the site that hosts interesting, kid-friendly video clips. It is in its early stages of development, but it looks like it will be a great information source in the future.  GoGo Gallery will soon be a photo resource to extend learning opportunities.

Information About This Site: To learn more about this news site and its creator Golnar Khosrowshahi, visit the About section of the GoGo website.  Find out how this working mother decided to take her daily newsletter to her twin girls and share it world-wide on the Internet. To read other reviews of this kids' website, visit GoGo News' Pressroom for reputable recommendations. As a teacher and mother, I visited this part of the website and it validated the mission of this website and increased my confidence in sharing it with my own child and students.

Happy Reading!!!! 
Let me know what you and your family thinks about this website.  
I think it has unlimited possibilities for learning!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Special Visitor At My House: A Hummingbird!

This morning as I watered and weeded my vegetable and herb garden, I enjoyed the chorus of birds and the lovely morning after a night rain. Suddenly I thought I heard a humming sound from a flowerpot on my nearby deck. With fingers crossed, I quietly crept up the steps and guess what I discovered? A very lively Ruby Throated Hummingbird!  

As satisfying as witnessing a rainbow, I sat down and watched him browse my flowers for a good 10 minutes.  Suddenly, just as quickly as he was discovered, he whizzed off into the trees. I am hopeful that the tiny but mighty bird will be back now that he knows a flower buffet can be found at my house!

Follow this link to Archimedes Notebook to think a bit more about hummingbirds.  Then visit Cornell University's Bird site to learn more about hummingbirds, listen to audio clips, and to watch a few short videos. You can also head over to Journey North and enjoy the Hummingbird information that we used during the school year too. Happy Reading!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Nonfiction Resource for Kids!

DOGOnews is a great resource site for children and families to enjoy together.  Whether a child is interested in independent research or looking for websites for recreational reading, DOGOnews offers so many options to inquiring thinkers.  A talented teacher/librarian named Franki (see her website A Year of Reading) shared this resource on her blog and I started Monday's Reading Workshop with an introduction to DOGOnews

The kids noticed the following features:
  • the organization and navigation tools make it easy to find interesting reading material
  • the site links to a HUGE assortment of student-friendly websites
  • no matter what interests, hobbies, or questions you have-you will find something to capture your attention as a reader
  • you will read and think of many more wonder questions after you read just one article
  • the appealing and helpful videos support your learning

"This is such a FUN website!" raved a child during independent reading time.  "I cannot wait to keep reading on this site every single day!!!!" added a second child. It was so rewarding to see them chattering and engaged as learners, reading side-by-side with such joy and enthusiasm. Thanks to Franki for sharing such a great resource and to my IMA kids and families: Happy Summer Reading!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unless You Are A Snake....

"Never eat anything larger than your head...unless you are a snake."

Our garter snake named Fred firmly believes in this quote!  The kids are mystified by Fred's ability to eat his weekly mouse and after all of these years, I am still intrigued too.  How is possible for a snake to swallow something so big?  To find out more about the eating adaptations of our snake, Fred, follow the link below to a quick read about those amazing predators slithering around our gardens and yards.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dear IMA Families:

Multicultural Day is scheduled for May 20th .  In order to prepare for the event, we will be starting our geography projects on Monday.  Each child will create his/her own geography project at school.  Students are encouraged to read about their selected countries for home reading and this may be recorded on their homework logs.  Students can also collect artifacts outside of school with family members.  Artifacts are not required;  however, if your family has artifacts (money, samples of clothing, postcards, or other cultural items), students may bring those to support his/her digital display on Multicultural Day. 

This project integrates so many literacy and social studies standards and skills and promises to be an exciting learning adventure.

Students will:

•    select a country of interest.
•    generate 5 or more wonder questions about the country
•    conduct research to answer these questions
•    collect maps, images, and videos to support their learning
•    present their learning in a digital format, using applications learned in IMA

Many resources are available at our digital workspace for home learning.  Please visit:

Your child will need to log on to see the resources.  We use this resource at school daily, so they should know how to log on to our workspace.

Go to Mrs. Smith's file and find Geography Project for many helpful internet links.

Please let me know if you have questions about our upcoming work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pebble Go Books

Chapman students have another new digital reading option for school and home reading.  The website is called Pebble Go Books.  This site was a gift from the Chapman PTO for the entire school community to share and enjoy.  Designed for kindergarten through third grade readers, it is a resource that can be enjoyed by older readers as well.  It is a great place to launch wonder questions and animal research.  A huge THANK YOU to our supportive PTO!

The username is: chapman1
The password is: animals

Enjoy the new digital book website!

Can you imagine how little this tortoise is now 
and how huge he will grow over the coming decades?

Talented Songbirds and Helpful Adaptations

Why do birds sing complicated songs?  
Do males and female birds sing?  
How do birds sing complicated songs without stopping to take a breath?  

Follow this link to an interesting article about our talented backyard musicians and their amazing adaptations.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reality TV At Its Best: Bald Eagle Parents and Their Young

Add a daily dose of unique joy to your family's day and check in with the Bald Eagles in Decorah, Iowa.  The adult pair recently became parents and to bring awareness and knowledge to the public, a live stream video camera was installed so the world can watch many miracles unfold.  

Not only can you watch the daily events in the nest, but viewers can review captured video clips of important events such as egg turning, hatching, and feeding time.  Enjoy!