Wednesday, April 1, 2020

So there is this..

None of us have written in a while and there is no excuse for it. We are sorry.

I started the following as a post for parents in our communication app but it is something I think more than just my parents need to hear. Maybe something you are feeling too. It's been hard lately. It is going to continue to be hard. My third graders are having a hard time. I am having a hard time. Maybe you are having a hard time too. I am sorry. There is nothing I can do to make it all go away for the kids or anyone really but I do have some things to say. I hope it resonates with you too.

Dear Parents,
Things are getting harder. Emotions are raw, for the kids and the adults. We know. We feel the same way. We miss you. We miss our classroom. We miss our routines. We are going to make the best of this situation for as long as we need to. It isn't ideal but it is what we have and we are fortunate that we can meet via Meets and Hangouts. So many districts don't even have that.

We have spoken with several students this week about how they are feeling and how to redirect our thoughts when we feel like crying. Some of the common ideas that have come up:
*Take a bubble bath
*Take a walk/exercise
*Listen to music and dance/sing
*Go outside and watch the clouds to see if you can make objects out of what you see
*Talk to your best friend (Meet, phone, Google Hangouts)
*Reread a favorite book
*Play a game with someone
*Ask for/give hugs
*Eat chocolate
*and last but not least, cry if you feel you need to

This is a sad time and in no way do we want to negate the way anyone is feeling. It is hard. This is more than any of us thought it would be but we will get through it together. We are still a class even if we can't be in the same room together we will have shared experiences. (More on that to come.)

Many of the students are struggling with their parents suddenly being their teachers. This isn't the job you signed up for. It isn't the job we wanted to hand over but there it is and we will make the most of it. Do what you can. Leave what you can't. It is the trying that is the most important. Yes, we want the work done but we also don't want to break anyone. The kids feel like there is so much more to do now when in reality it is a lot less than what we do each day in school. But in school they have partners, they work in groups, they get breaks with their friends. At home they don't have the breaks with their friends, you (as much as you are trying, and we love you for that) "are not teaching it the right way" because "that isn't the way Ms. V/Ms. Ryan do it." We know. We see you. We understand. We are all trying to do our best. The kids are too. Please, please, have them login during the small groups, take advantage of the parent meeting times to discuss things with us, and maybe even have your child nearby to listen in and share. We want the kids to know that we are there for each one of them - not just the ones who share the most online.

We are going to survive this, we will be together again at some point - even if we have to meet at a park with social distancing. Nothing will ever be the same as it was. Nothing is going to be the way we wanted it to be as we approach the coming weeks. We will make it special. We will make it memorable. Not because of the difficulties, but in spite of them.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Field Trip!!

Every day has been an adventure with this class (in a good way)! Today we went on our second field trip of the year. We went to see The Sword and the Stone. The kids had a blast! It is always a bit (okay, more than a bit) nerve-wracking taking kids off-campus. Still, it is something I love to do and would love to do more often if we could. This being the real world, money is an issue so we are limited on what field trips we can go on. 

Students loved our first field trip last month to go to the Exploratorium. We took public transportation and even the train was no match for 120 third graders! The kids loved the Exploratorium and had so much fun engaging with the hands-on activities. Their smiles were a mile wide. 

I think that today rivaled that day! Students love being off-campus, they learn so much, and it provides them with the opportunity to show others what great role models and rockstars we are. 

Our next off-campus field trip will be in March. I am hoping that we can do several virtual field trips between now and then. 

Third grade is an adventure for sure! 
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Sunday, October 6, 2019

What a Way to Begin!

This year has been amazing! Yes, I know we have only been in school for 6 weeks. But that is 16% of the school year! By now the honeymoon has worn off. Students are comfortable, the teachers are comfortable, rules have been firmly established (one would hope), and the hard work of learning has been underway for quite some time. 

Yet, this year, with this class, it doesn't feel like 6 weeks have passed. It feels like we have been together much longer than that in terms of the relationships we have built and the way our class runs. We are laughing, learning, and having fun together and it is fabulous! 

Sure, the grading is starting to stare me down, progress reports are due in a few days, and there is so much I think we should have already completed or accomplished. But it has only been 6 weeks. In many ways, it is still early in the year and we are still practicing what will be like a well-oiled machine in a few more weeks.

We are getting there. 

This is a great class. Ms. Villarreal and I have so many fun things planned. We are off to a fan-tab-u-lous start!
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Blasting Off Into a New Year!

This year got off to a busy start! We welcomed kids back on Monday, August 26th. (Yes, it has been 3 weeks already. I can hardly believe it!) We started the year with a space theme from our room transformation, following the moonwalk on the JFK Library MoonShot app, and passing out space-related gear.  The kids were excited and so were we! 

We completed a number of STEM and team-building activities. One of my favorite being the Cheeto challenge which I found on Twitter (posted by @EducatorSanchez). The kids were given a Cheeto to analyze. Without marking or altering their Cheeto in any way they had to select their Cheeto from a number of others after they were all placed on a paper towel. We mixed in other "decoy" Cheetos but we couldn't fool these kids - no way! They took great notes and were very observant! 

We have started our persuasive writing essays and boy do they have ideas! I love the way this class just jumps right in and gets started. I can't wait to share their essays with their parents. 

We are going on our first field trip next week and we are taking public transportation. Wish us luck! 
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Change is Good! Adding a New Partner

Life is great in third grade! Change can be good too! As you know, Mrs. Solis left our class for a class of her own and that meant getting a new partner for me. We found one - Ms. Villarreal - it helps that she has been my best friend for 15 years. I think that this will be a great fit. Now the three of us are once again at the same school and on the same grade level. This time though Mrs. Solis will be working on her own. This doesn't mean that she can't - or won't - be posting here. We decided that this collaborative blog should stay that way and rather than remove her from the blog and add Ms. Villarreal we would simply add Ms. Villarreal to our blog. So from here on out, there will be posts from the three of us about what is happening in third grade - what we are up to and things that are happening in our classes.

The parent pages on this site will remain in effect for Ms. Ryan and Ms. Villarreal's class. Mrs. Solis will let her parents know what applies to her classroom (as many of the procedures and beliefs will the same in both classes (it seemed silly to have her recreate what has already been done).

We look forward to sharing our new adventures in third grade with you all once school starts on August 26, 2019.

Stay posted for the fun to begin!
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Monday, February 18, 2019

Quick Check In

Hi! It is has been a while since we added anything to our blog and we wanted to let you take a peek into what is going on in our classroom.

We recently participated in Global Play Day. The kids had so much fun using their imagination to create forts, games, and homes for their stuffed animals. Some of the kids invented games that we will be playing in class soon.

We are working on writing informative essays. Our prompt is: What made Bell and Edison want to become inventors?  Students have been working on writing a 4 paragraph essay to answer this question. We have been using pass/revise rubrics to judge our work and help our peers make necessary improvements.

These rubrics focus on 3 - 4 points for each day's writing. Students pass if they have everything on the rubric and have to revise their work if something is missing. Peers determine this and provide appropriate feedback to help each other improve their writing.

We have been focusing on strategies to help us solve multiplication problems with factors up to 10. Many students are able to solve problems but are having difficulty relating helper facts (near facts that help you solve a problem) to help them solve more difficult multiplication problems.

By the end of the school year, students should be able to quickly solve multiplication problems with factors up to 10. Once they learn their 0-5 facts it is just a matter of recognizing the 6-10 facts are turn around facts.

There are only 69 days left in the school year. It is flying by! There is still so much to learn and we are working hard to master all of our third grade standards.
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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy New Year!
In a way I am sorry to see the holidays behind us. I love the last weeks before Christmas when decorations are up and we to do some fun things at school. Everything is so festive! This year we tried something new for our parent gifts (thank you Pinterest) and they turned out amazing.

Here is the link if anyone else wants to try these:

With the holidays over, I am also excited to be get back to school. These winter months are when everything starts clicking and the students really take off. I am anxious to see what they do.
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