Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Reading Is!

Originally uploaded by Pedrick.

Good job, class! I knew I couldn't trick you with a question like "What is Reading?" In any event, read on for more of my thoughts on what reading is...

We read for many reasons: escape from reality, enjoy the sound of interesting/playful language, explore important issues, get information, learn something, etc.

What is reading? Is reading knowing the letters, and what sounds they make? Is reading figuring out the words on the page? Both of these are important skills that help us learn to read, but reading is about more than “decoding” words. Reading is thinking. You have to figure out what the words mean, sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard.

Our four major goals for you for the rest of this year (and beyond) are:
1. to get better at understanding what you read (not just knowing what the words say)
2. to use reading to gain knowledge about the world around you and your relation to it (and to use that knowledge to get the message of a piece of writing, form an opinion, or gain a deeper understanding of an issue)
3. to think more deeply about what you read (to gain insight, which makes you a more interesting person!)

Teacher responsibilities: To help you reach these goals, we will teach you several strategies that good readers use. We will try our best to show you how to use these strategies, not just tell you what to do. We are readers, too! We use these strategies everyday.

Student responsibilities: To help yourself reach these goals, we expect you to listen to and watch us carefully, and also to make every effort to use and practice these strategies in class and at home.

If we each take care of our responsibilities, all of us will be successful!

What is Reading?

Trick... or Treat?

Read our students' responses, then tell us what you think reading is by leaving a comment....

"Reading is thinking." SS

"Reading is thinking." NL

"Reading is thinking." CL

"Reading is thinking." GC

"Reading is thinking." EP

"Reading is thinking." AH

"Reading is thinking." LN

"Reading is thinking." AL

"Reading is thinking." JE

"Reading is thinking." ES

"Reading is thinking." GC

"Reading is thinking." KH

"Reading is thinking." LN

"Reading is thinking." KN

"Reading is thinking." JL

"Reading is thinking." Anonymous

"Reading is thinking." Anonymous


Early Results of Class Survey on 'Good Listening'

Thanks to those of you who have left your comments on the "Good Listening in Class" post from last week. As promised, here are your comments (names deleted). Look for a follow-up post with my thoughts as well as those of Mrs. C.

1. I rate our class a 6 because we have a bad time during transition and we do that a lot.
I rate myself an 8 because I listen most of the time, but I have to admit that I can stare off into space.

2. I would rate the class a 4.5 for good listening and paying attention!
I would rate myself a 8 for good listening and attention!

3. I think that the class behavior would be about a 5.
Again I think I am not doing so well either, So I rate myself a 4.

4. I rate the class 4.
Me a 4.

5. I rate the class a 6 and myself a 5.

6. My rating of our class would be a 4.5. I is loud alot of the time and it is hard to consatrste.
My rating of my self would be 7.5. I try to listen all of the time but I get distracted and some times I half to talk.

7. I rate the class a 3 because the class talks to much and we hardly ever lisen and Mr.C. has to repeat to much.
I rate me as a 3.5 because i talk to much to my friends but i still do my homework and i always get distrected.

8. There is to much talking around the classroom and nobodys not talking.I rate are classroom a 5 on talk,but it goes down to a three at the end of the day.

9. I would rate our class a 5.
I would rate myself a 6.

10. My rating for the class was 4.5 .
My rating for me was 5.5 or 6.

11. I rate myself a 8 because usually I'm listening, but sometimes I get a little off track. When I do listen, I listen with my eyes and ears.
I rate the class about a 4 because of a lot of interrupting, blurting out and chatting by a few people who are being disrespectful.

12. I'd rate the class a 4 on listening.
I'd rate myself a 5.

13. I think I would give our class a 4 1/2 .
I think I would rate myself a 6 1/2 (I don't know it's hard to rate myself!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Banana Hunt Challenge

Today in class I showed you all how to play Banana Hunt. You can find the link if you scroll down and look on the right hand side of the page, or you can click on this link:


Give it a try and see if you can set a high score. Remember to use what you know about angles (straight angles, right angles, reflex angles, etc.) and their measurements so you can get the best possible score. If you've turned in your signed Blogging Terms and Conditions sheet and had it signed by a parent, go ahead and leave a comment on this post to let me know your score! Good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Listening

We've talked a lot this year about how important it is to listen in class. Below are some things to remember so you can be a good listener and full participant in class:
  • Come to school ready to listen. Complete all homework and/or review work done the previous school day, and think about what might be covered in school each day.

  • Attitude is everything! Everyone has their favorite subjects, as well as those that don’t interest them as much. Be committed to learning something new each day. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish if you just let yourself!

  • Be attentive. Focus on the lesson being taught or the class discussion. Resist the temptation to talk, or to become distracted by your surroundings. Maintain eye contact with your teacher – often we forget to ‘listen with our eyes’ as well as our ears (also, it is respectful to look at someone who is speaking to you).

  • Be an active listener. You can think faster than your teacher can talk. Always be evaluating what is being said and try to anticipate what will be said next.

  • But don’t be too active! Not everyone may be thinking as fast as you are. Resist the temptation to blurt out answers or comment on what is said without being called on. You can show your teacher (and classmates) that you are connecting with what is being said by raising your hand (or by linking your fingers together like Mrs. C showed you). Accept the fact you won’t always get to share your ideas and be willing to listen to other points of view.

  • Challenge yourself. Don’t ‘tune out’ when the material being presented seems too hard to understand. Listen even more closely and work hard to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – no one expects you to know it all!

  • Adapt to the environment. At times you may find the classroom too loud, too quiet, too hot, too cold, too bright, or too dark. You may be seated near someone you don’t get along with, or you may wish you were seated near a friend. Don’t let that affect your real goal – learning. Life is seldom perfect – the ability to overcome inconvenience will serve you well in life!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Letter to Parents

Dear Families,Beginning after MEA break, we will introduce our students to their very own class weblog. A weblog, or blog as they are commonly called, is a special type of web page that can be created and easily updated using a web browser. Each new entry has its own date stamp. Each entry has a comments section where visitors to the blog may leave comments to the author.The idea is to allow the students an opportunity to utilize this technology to read, write and respond to questions, comments or links, while at the same time sharing their thoughts with a real audience, you!HOW IT WORKSA few times a week (sometimes more frequently, sometimes less), Mrs. C. or I may post a comment, problem or a link to a website, and invite the students to share their responses via email from home. Alternatively, we may give kids time in the computer lab to word process a piece of their own writing which can then be uploaded onto the blog. These assignments will not be assessed, rather they are meant to familiarize students with a form of communication which has already transformed many fields within our society (journalism, politics, business), and will soon transform education as well.Having a real audience is the key component to this experience. In addition to receiving comments from Mrs. C. and me, we are trying to arrange for other fourth or fifth grade classes who visit our blog to post comments as well. Parents, grandparents, other family, and friends are also invited to visit the blog and respond. Potentially, anyone on the internet could respond to our blog, however, it is not likely that the world at large will stumble across it. Additionally, as the blog administrator, Mr. C. must approve any comments left on the blog before being published on the site.This blogging experience is designed to minimize risk to your child. The only personally identifying information included in the blog will be their first name. The will be no mention of our school name or our location. Students will not be allowed to post their age, email address, photographs of themselves, or other sensitive information. More directions for working from home will be provided.
Mr. Con(verse). and Mrs. Cav(anaugh).
Resources:Blogs created by fifth grade students in the USA
BBC News article about blogging in a school in the UK