Friday, December 17, 2010

Wonderful Readers

Mr. Pahl made a pact with his third and fourth graders at the beginning of the year. He told them if they read 200,000 minutes this year, he would sleep on the roof of the school one night. Yes, it's true. He isn't sure what he was thinking at the time he made this agreement with his students, but a deal's a deal.

A little more than three months into the year, the class has read (drum roll please)...

58,346 minutes!

That is around 19,500 minutes per month!

I'm very proud of the students even if they are a little behind in reaching their goal, but they are a hardy, intelligent bunch. Don't count them out!

They also know that reading isn't about quantity, it IS about quality. The emphasis of our reading conversations at the beginning of the year has been our THINKING. Reading is thinking. These students know that good readers ask lots of questions, make connections to other texts, to their lives, and to world events, talk with other readers about their thinking, compare and contrast characters and events, and they do many other things that help them understand or comprehend the texts that they are reading.

Will you share your thinking with us? 

Please tell us what you have thought about something you recently read. 

Was there a character you loved or one that aggravated you to no end? Why? Was there something you didn't know or understand - what did you do to help you figure it out? Was there a story that filled you with joy or hope or one that made you feel sad? Is there a book or an author you would recommend? Why?

Who? What? When? Where? Why? Poems

Start with basics- the order doesn't really matter; just be sure it makes sense:
Who? Mr. Pahl
What? got out of bed
When? early one morning
Where? into the kitchen
Why? to make coffee

Then add descriptive language to make your poem "delicious."

Mr. Pahl, a tired, short haired man in his late 30's,
stumbled out of his comfortable, warm bed,
like a wobbly, newborn calf,
into the cold, dark kitchen,
early one morning,
to brew his favorite, steaming, hot coffee,
because his lovely, two year old daughter had kept him awake most of the long, sleepless night.

Please share your 5W poem with us! Click on "comments" to share.

x 11

Thanks to our hard working students for completing another set of multiples. This time, it's x 11!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Fun with Technology and Multiplication

More Multiplication Facts. This Time It's Times Nine!

I'm so excited! Here are 2 more multiplication MC's to dazzle you with their "x 9 Rhmye." Give it UP!!!

This takes a lot of guts. Girls, thank you very much for all of your hard work and for taking a risk. I really appreciate you participating in this.

Mr. Pahl

Multiplication and Division Story Problems

Write (AND SOLVE!) multiplication and division story problems. Be as clever as possible.

Let's see...Mr. Pahl was abducted by aliens AGAIN. This time they cut him into 56 equal pieces and sent those pieces to 8 of their ships. How many pieces of Mr. Pahl did each alien ship receive?

I know my doubles. I know that 8 x 8 = 64 and 64 divided by 8 = 8.
56 is 8 less than 64, so 56 divided by 8 has to be 7 pieces.
Yes, I checked 8 x 7 = 56, so 56 divided by 8 = 7.

The answer is 7 pieces each.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Special Visitor Comes to Sunnyland

     On a dark, gloomy Tuesday afternoon in December, several third and fourth grade classes learned about using descriptive words and fantastic details in their writing from children's author Gary Hogg. Some of his books include a series called "Spencer's Adventures," a chapter book called Scrambled Eggs and Spider Legs, and a picture book called I Heard of a Nerd Bird


     During the terrific writing workshop, he taught us two important rules to include in our drafts. The first rule Mr. Hogg introduced to the attentive students was "Writing is thinking." We practiced that rule by getting a good picture of something in our minds and then jotting our ideas on paper.

      He mentioned that we should not worry about spelling in the first draft; instead, we should just focus on getting our ideas on paper. The second rule was "If you can think it, you can write it." He shared how important it was for us to write about things we know about. The idea of writing about a rocket ship is exciting, but if we don't know much about rockets, it's hard for us to write about them.

     Near the end of the workshop, our guest invited one of our classmates to the front of the audience. He read what had been written and asked the apprehensive student many questions that helped him write a more detailed and descriptive piece. In the end, our fearless student felt excited because of all the details and ideas he walked away with in his writing notebook!  

     Thank you, Mr. Hogg, for visiting Sunnyland and for spending time with us and teaching us more about descriptive writing. Thanks to the Sunnyland PTA, too, for sponsoring this workshop. We returned to class feeling inspired to write spectacular stories. 

Please Comment! What is something you learned from Mr. Hogg or something you will remember about his visit?  

Third and Fourth Graders Are Learning Basic Mulitplication Facts

     When I was a third grader learning multiplication facts, I had trouble getting all those numbers straight in my head. I struggled and struggled to remember them. Then, for three nights in a row, I was sent to my room to write down each fact: 1 x 0 = 0, 1 x 1 = 1, 1 x 2 = 2, and I did this over and over and OVER until I had finally memorized them. Now that I am a teacher, I think "There MUST be a better way..."

     Please come back to our site often in the next week or so. Hopefully the students will do a better job than I did!

Please comment! What are ways you learned your multiplication facts or "times tables" (as we used to call them)? Are there any tricks or shortcuts you used?  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where is Your Favorite Place to Visit?

     One of my favorite things to do is to journey into the San Juan Islands aboard a boat. Leaving from Anacortes, WA, about an hour south of Bellingham, the large, white and green, sailing vessels of the Washington State Ferry System carry me into a land of wonder. There is something different and surprising around every corner. The islands often appear to be covered by a gigantic forest of trees from far away, but when I get closer, marvelous homes surrounded by trees stand in front of me. I often wonder "How did they build a house here?"

     On a few of the islands, small towns have been built right along the shore. It is a delight to walk or bike off the ferry and check out the sights. I enjoy browsing in the bookstores and eating a tasty meal in one of the small, locally owned eateries.

     During the trip, I am sure to see many varieties of birds soaring above or bobbing around in the deep, green water. If I am lucky, I will encounter one of the majestic, graceful pods of killer whales that live part time in these islands.

     Behind the boat is a long trail of bubbly, white foam. Further in the distance on a clear day sits Mt. Baker like a sentinal keeping watch over everything. I have seen it many times, and it still takes my breath away. My next trip to the islands is only a few weeks away, and I await it with great anticipation.

Please comment! Describe your favorite place to visit.