Happy October,
  Time is going by really quickly.  If you have a parent / teacher conference
on the first scheduled evening which if October 16, I sent reminder notes home
on Friday (yesterday).  The second scheduled evening is October 22, the
following week.  Remember, conferences are scheduled close together.  I will
do my best to stick to the scheduled times.
    The children are excited about our pumpkin book reports.  We practiced
these with a group project.  We read Enemy Pie and used a character circle map
to brainstorm character traits about the main character.  We then took this to
the next step as a whole group.  We wrote about "What kind of a person" he is.
 We had great discussion about how his actions helped us determine these
qualities as well as how character traits are very different than traits we
see on the outside of someone.  They do seem to be able to categorize these as
different. We also did the next step together which was to write about, "What
did the character do?" in the story.  This was good practice to not tell the
entire story, but to focus on main points and stick to the things that show
his / her character.  (Certainly, a bit more difficult).  On Monday, we will
work together to retell the story - this is a lengthier activity, but one they
are more familiar with.  They all retell stories when they take reading tests
and have quite a bit of practice with this.  It is actually more of a lesson
in not telling too much for most of them than telling too little.  Then we
will be on to their own books and they will begin this whole process with
their own stories having practiced it once all together.  Of course,
decorating the pumpkins to look like the characters is the culminating and
most exciting part, but we will do the writing first.
   I must say I was doing the "happy dance" with the first unit math test. 
The class average was 87%.  That is fantastic!  We have made progress in huge
leaps and bounds already.  The children are working so, so hard in math.  I
can see their determination and will to improve and master what they may have
missed or just plain misunderstood in math in the past.  What hard workers.  
   Please be sure to log onto www.everydaymathonline if you have not as of
yet.  You should have received a letter regarding this site as well as your
student's password over a week ago.  They are able to play 3rd grade math
games on line against the computer or log on with another classmate (even at
different homes) and play against one another.  Great practice!!  Also, many
of our students have passed one of more levels on  Please
log on and practice basic facts as often as possible.  
   This past week, each child set up a personal Data Notebook.  This is a
notebook for them to log / graph their personal progress in each content area.
 They will also set personal goals on a periodic basis.  They will be able to
track their own progress and success throughout the year.  This is a learning
tool as well as a visual reminder of how their learning is changing.  I will
share these with you at conferences.
   Please remember that reading logs are due each Monday.  I will still take
these on for a couple of days following the due date, but I am receiving these
weeks later, post dated.  The purpose of due dates is to teach responsibility,
not only for turning things in on time, but for logging the reading daily,
asking parents to sign, keeping the log in a safe place, etc.  I will accept
reading logs for the current week through Weds. of the week for credit.  Kids
are more concerned about their reading logs as of late because we are logging
their weekly reading minutes from home in their Data Notebooks as well. 
(Method to this madness!)
   Thank you to so many of you for the generous contributions and
participation to our Fun Run.  I saw several of you volunteering that day
also.  That means a lot to our kids.  They had a ball.  
   Enjoy this beautiful fall weather and be sure to send jackets as the
temperature sure isn't predictable.
   Mrs. Teskey