Grades 3 & 4
Following our middle of the year benchmark assessments, third and fourth graders began book studies. Third graders are reading Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor which is the story of Roxie Warbler and her remarkable ability to save the day when she is stranded on an island with a group of bullies. Fourth graders are reading Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. This is the story of a class of fifth graders who don't get along and an amazing teacher who changes all that during a school year that they will never forget. Both grades are reading parts of the story in various formats: independently, with partners and even during read alouds. They are using graphic organizers to help them remember characters and traits to identify them by. Students participate in discussions around the books' events and even share their thoughts in writing. The book studies have been a wonderful way to kick off the second part of the school year!
Students make their way through the books in a variety of ways....sometimes a chapter on their own, sometimes with a partner and other times while following along during an interactive read aloud.
Readers respond to questions about the books through Google Classroom. Responding in this format provides them with practice for answering extended response questions on tests.
Each year, students in Title I make reading rocks. Reading rocks are ordinary rocks that students bring to life through decorations and writing. The rocks and decorations are purchased with grant money awarded to the Title I program by retired BPM teachers Tim and Cec Carpenter. The purpose of this project is to provide students with an audience to read aloud to. Most students prefer to read in their head, especially when they reach the upper elementary grades. Unfortunately, when students read in their heads, they do not hear the mistakes they make or listen to make sure that the words they read make sense. This results in missed opportunities to sound out challenging words and strengthen vocabulary and gaps in comprehension. The rocks provide students with an audience and encourages to read to and results in not only increased vocabulary and comprehension but also stronger fluency as well. Students write an introductory story about their rocks at the beginning of the year and will include them in stories periodically throughout the year. When the school year comes to an end, reading rocks go home with their students to be read to throughout the summer break.
The project begins at Mr. Yard in North Olmsted where 200+ rocks are handpicked from the rock pile and brought to BPM to begin their new life as reading rocks. The rocks are washed by hand and then laid out to dry. After brainstorming ideas for their rock, students analyze the size and shape of the rocks and choose the one that best fits their design. They complete pre-writing activities that help them describe what their rock is, what it looks like, where it came from and why it is here at BPM.
After choosing their rocks, students then paint them with 1-2 coats of paint.
Once the rocks have been painted, students pick out decorative items such as eyes, pom poms and pipe cleaners. These items are glued on by teachers using hot glue and bring the characters to life. While students wait for their rocks to be glued, they continue writing their rock stories. Once sloppy copies are finished, they edit their work and then write and illustrate final copies. These stories are put into a book that is kept in our classroom library for students to enjoy throughout the year.
Ready to read to our finished products!
Reading to rocks for the first time!
Finished products! We made mice, dogs, fish, cats, pandas and even a strawberry!
More finished products! Can you find the mouse, the rabbit, the owl, the turtle and even a bee? What else do you see?
Research shows the best way to improve test scores in reading is to allow students time for reading in books that are a good-fit for them. Students in third and fourth grade have access to not only classroom library books but also as many as 300 books that have been signed out from the Cuyahoga County Public Library by Mrs. Gallagher and Mrs. Labuda. Throughout the year we focus on increasing our stamina for reading and choosing books that help us become better readers. Students are expected to bring their good-fit book to class every day. Mondays are "check-in" days. On Mondays, students report the pages they have read and set a goal page for the following Monday. This goal is set by students and is usually 10-30 pages in length depending on the length and difficulty of the text. Students are expected to use time at home and in the classroom to read their good-fit books and these books can be used to complete classroom reading logs. On check-in days, if students have successfully met or exceeded their goal, they are given a sticker that goes onto a chart. Stickers are tallied after a period of time and students with the desired number of stickers participate in a game day. There is no penalty for not meeting reading goals but students do not receive their sticker for that week.
Each Monday when students check-in, they fill out this slip. It includes the date and the current page the student is on in their good-fit book. Students set their own goal page and the next check-in date. This slip is meant to be kept in their good-fit book so they always know their goal.
Status of the class sheet: Teachers keep track of students' current pages and goal pages. Whenever they meet their goal for the week, they are given a check mark and a sticker on a chart. Stickers accumulate to earn a game day reward.
Student sign-out log: When students sign a book out from the classroom, it may be a classroom library book or a public library book. All books are to be signed out with a teacher before they leave the classroom and signed in when they are returned. At the end of the year, students can look back and view their successes throughout the year.