December 1, 2017

Happy weekend, WINNers! We sat down yesterday and planned out an outline for this post. We couldn’t write the whole thing together since we had to get outside and meet up with our first grade buddies. We’re always on the go! Things have been so busy, this is our first time this year going three weeks between posts. Yikes! So sorry about that! Here’s what’s been going on…


In writing, we continue to work in our informational unit. The students are nearing publication! Every student chose a subject they they are known for or are an expert in. The idea was to write most of the book from what they already know. This is not a research report. We have done a day of researching, but that was more for fact checking or finding a few more bits of information to add in. With all of our writing, our main focus is on the revisions. That’s where the real work comes in. We have studied mentor texts, learned about having a balance between facts and ideas, and read aloud with our writing partners in order to make BIG and BRAVE revisions to our writing. We talked about how it’s easy to say your writing is done. It is hard and takes bravery to decide to rewrite a chapter or make other big changes. We looked for places that we could make those brave changes. We also worked on the structure of our writing. The students developed introductions and conclusions, and learned the reason they’re important. We also learned how to use transition words to link paragraphs and chapters together. Before break, we had a trainer from Teacher’s College in New York come and help the teachers with their writing instruction. It was a busy three days because the trainer worked with three grade levels for 90 minutes each. We also had teachers from Nimitz join us. Room 21 is the lab classroom for third grade. So, when the trainer came on those three days, she came and spoke to the Winners. She ran writers workshop while the teachers and staff observed on the first day. The second two days, all of the teachers pulled students and practiced our conferences and mini lessons. The students did a wonderful job and were so willing to help out. Some of them were asked to have a conference or try something while the whole group of adults watched. They were all so confident and composed. I was so impressed! It was great for me to have all of those teachers in there too. All of a sudden, I had about 15 teaching assistants and could get data on so many kiddos at once! While, it can be a lot to have all of those people in our room, the students rose to the occasion and it truly helped me as a teacher to see it all happen with our kiddos. Teacher’s College will be coming back in the spring for two days to do a similar training.




In math, we completed chapter three (an introduction to multiplication). We will be having our computerized chapter test on Monday along with the performance task on Tuesday. Within this chapter, we learned about what multiplication is and then strategies for understanding and solving problems. The students learned about equal groups, using number lines, arrays, and bar models. We also learned about three of the


multiplication properties: Commutative, Identity, and Zero. Each of those properties, the students has already discussed and discovered on their own. So, all we needed to do in the end was attach a name to them and find ways to remember them. As we continue with multiplication in chapter four, we will be learning more about multiplication properties. As always in math, we continue to strive towards working as mathematicians, providing evidence and proofs. We continue to try out incorporating more workshop model into our math. As that happens, you may see less work done in the workbooks and more done in our notebooks or other papers. Remember, as always, your student is welcome to bring work home to show you what’s going on in class as long as it comes back the next day. This coming week, I will be out on Wednesday and Thursday to continue my math workshop trainings.


We’re sad to report that the Global Read Aloud has come to an end. We finished reading the book and are anxiously awaiting the sequel to be released in March! We can’t stand the suspense! Because of busy weeks for both us and our Connecticut buddy class, we were unable to have a video call at the end of the book. We will try to have one, if we can. For now, the students wrote good, old fashioned post cards to them. We sent them off in the mail. And can’t wait to hear back! On the Friday before break, we held a GRA wrap event with the two other classes that participated, Mrs. Reuterskiold’s and Mrs. Lowe’s fourth grade classes. We got together in 15 cross grade level, cross class groups and started with a book talk. After the talk, they all participated in an art activity. In the book, Roz the robot, ends up stranded on an island. She begins analyzing the animal behavior and adapting to survive. One thing she learns to do is camouflage. The students were given different pictures from National Geographic magazines and a paper Roz. Their job was to add Roz to the picture and color to camouflage her in. The ended up looking fantastic! We are working on mounting them and hope to display them in the office!



Since our last post, the only thing that has happened in Science is that we took our unit test. The tests were returned yesterday. You may have noticed how big they are! It took us a few days to get them done. Our next unit is Sun, Moon, and Stars. We’ll be starting that after winter break as our afternoons will be devoted to the play for the next two weeks.

Social Studies

In social studies, we did a mini unit about our local Native America tribe, the Ohlones (Coastanoans to the settlers). We read about the tribe’s lodging, tools, trade, food, etc. and participated in a jigsaw activity. We started with one group becoming experts in each section. They worked together to decide important information and create an artifact to share. Then, they rotated into new groups where one person represented each of the previous groups. They each shared their information to the new group. Then, those groups worked to create an informational poster about the Ohlones using the artifacts created by each group. On Friday before break, we had the Environmental Volunteers come and they presented us with four activities to help us learn more about the Ohlone. We played Ohlone games, worked with tools, learned about food, and cordage. It was a enriching, hands-on experience! Thanks to you for your third grade donations at the beginning of the year that funded the experience!


We’ve had a lot of special activities take place over the last three weeks.

Author Tyler Enfield (a.k.a. The Karakul) visited us to share about the writing process and his books Wrush and Hannah and the Magic Eye. Mr. Enfield was a great example of perseverance and a growth mindset. He said he was not a great writer as a kid. He struggled in school. As he realized that he wanted to write his first book, he had to work hard and rely on a lot of people to get it right. It was also pretty amazing to watch him “read” from his books. He knows them so well from working with them so much that he clearly had them mostly memorized. What a great lesson to us as writers!


Also before break, we had Austin and Michael join us for some critter talks. Some of you may have met Austin at McClellan Ranch. He and his family have many different animals that they rescued. They now use some of these animals to help teach about different species along with promote responsible pet ownership. It was a wonderful connection to our structures of life science unit!


We did a lot in preparation for Thanksgiving. Maddox’s mom, Julie, came in twice. The first time, we made pilgrim and native American hats. Then, on the second visit, the student made adorable apple turkeys. They all turned out so cute! We also made thankful windsocks with our first grade buddies. It truly was a time to reflect on all the things we’re thankful for!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


On Fridays, we are continuing our work with National Geographic that we started with Nidhi’s mom. It is a four week cycle that small groups rotate through. This rotation we have an article about giraffes, one about the oceans, one about money, and a map of Africa that the students are working with. We are able to look at text features and structures, learn about science, and social studies all at once! We run the groups from 9:00 to 9:50 on Friday mornings if anyone is interested in leading one!

Back in October, Julie came in to teach us about germs. We did an experiment with bread were we looked at an untouched piece of bread, one that had been touched with washed hands, and one that every student touched with their unclean hands. We were planning on observing over a few days, but nothing happened. Well, all of a sudden (47 days later) we had a lot of growth all at once! We made day 47 observations this week. It’s pretty clear how important it is to was our hands! Thanks, Julie!


With, I’m sure, many things left out, that’s it! Three weeks in room 21! The next two weeks bring an end to our writing unit, our play performance, and our holiday party! The busy times never stop for WINNers! Have a fantastic weekend!


November 3, 2017

Happy November! We’ve had a really busy couple of weeks.

In writing, we’ve started our informational unit. Before getting started, we took a pre-assessment to find out where we were staring from. Then, we learned about what makes a strong informational piece of writing. We learned about different text structures to organize our writing, like boxes and bullets, problem and solution, pros and cons, compare and contrast, and cause and effect. We learned to start big, and then focus in on the details. After we talked about structure of our table of contents and chapters, we did a flash draft. We are moving into our revisions next week,

In reading, we’re on our second to last week of the Global Read Aloud, reading The Wild Robot. Today, we did a video call with our buddy class in Connecticut after finishing chapter 60. We’re a little bit behind, but will try to finish next week. Before each call, we take time to plan out thoughtful questions that we can ask the other class. We make sure everyone has at least one question to ask. The students are also tweeting on our class Twitter feed and we’ve tried to get more active on our actual Twitter account.¬† After today’s reading, we focused on our purpose. Roz said in the book that she was meant to help others. We spent time thinking about what each of us are meant to do.

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 1.59.42 PM


In math, we completed chapter 2 about data. We reviewed and took our chapter test. We have a few students that still need to complete that and their performance task. Yesterday, we began introducing multiplication by talking about equal groups. We worked with the idea of parts on a car to calculate using equal groups.

In science, we’ve wrapped up and reviewed in a couple ways, including a fun game on Kahoot. All that’s left is our unit test next week. As part of our science unit, we went to McClellan Ranch and learned about the riparian habitat there. We went on a nature walk and learned about the habitat. Then we checked on the water quality by identifying the bugs living in the water. While on our walk, we were lucky to see a fawn in the bushes.

Tuesday was Halloween! Everyone had so much fun dressing up and celebrating.

Wednesday, we had the disaster drill. We talked about what to do during an earthquake. Then we practiced school wide. The students did an awesome job.

We’ve started practicing our play, The Holiday Show. We’ve been practicing our lines and learning the songs. Next week is our last week using scripts! We’re working on putting emotion and expression into what we’re saying (and singing), and with a loud voice.

October 20, 2017

Hi There, Winners! We’ve had another couple busy weeks. We may have a trend going on here… In writing, we’ve wrapped up our first unit. The students had a publishing party last Friday with their first grade buddies. They each had popcorn and shared their stories with each other. I wish I had pictures to share with you. I had a family emergency and had to leave school early that day. The students were in really good hands with Mrs. Kropp acting as their substitute! Now that their stories are published, they are currently in our class library. They may even spend some time in the school library for students to enjoy! Sometime next week, we’ll send home the work from their writing folders from this unit. As you know, they do work in notebooks and folders. The notebooks will be used for the next unit, but the folder work will come home to you. Remember, at any time your student is welcome to bring work home to share with you as long as it comes back to school so that we can continue our work. On Monday, we’ll dive into our informational writing unit. We’ll be joined by ten new teachers from all over the Cupertino district for an observation during that lesson!

In reading, we’ve paused our Lucy Calkins reading program to participate in the Global Read Aloud. We’re reading The Wild Robot and loving it! It’s amazing how much humor and compassion can be found in a story about a robot without feelings. As a part of the GRA, we’ve done three Mystery State Calls now. These calls help us brush up on our geography skills while we ask each other yes and no questions to figure out what state they are in. After we find each other, we have a book talk about The Wild Robot. This week, we connected with a class in Connecticut that we plan on doing a weekly video call with to continue the discussion for the rest of the GRA. We’re also upping our Twitter game. We’ve posted some of our own Tweets on our class account (@MrsWinn21) and have started using our low tech twitter feed in the classroom. By reading, responding to, and posting our own questions on Twitter, we’re able to expand our book talk to the global level. On Friday, a class from another school posted a tweet about Roz (the robot) being lucky that she didn’t have feelings. Then they asked if people agreed. It sparked a really interesting discussion and it was wonderful to hear the deep thinking that the students were doing! In math, we continue to work with data. We’ve looked at many different ways to collect and display data. We’ve also worked on reading different graphs. The change in third grade is the use of keys and scales. While working with the graphs, students now have to add the layer that one item, or one block on a graph no longer equals one. It is a concept that most students understand pretty quickly, but are often tricked by if they are reading and working too fast and not paying attention to details.

Our first science unit is coming to an end. We’ve discussed the structures of plants and crayfish. On Friday, we explored the adaptions of many different species. All we have left to do now is review and assess our learning.

While our focused social studies lessons have been on pause during our science unit, the students have been getting a lot from our Mystery State Calls as well as our weekly National Geographic work that we do with Nidhi’s mom. On Friday, we had our first Music class. Thank you for all of your contributions to LEEF so that we may have these wonderful classes! The students already learned the difference between a beat and a rhythm. It promises to be a year full of musical learning! Maddox’s mom has come in twice since we last posted. First she came in to do a lesson on germs with us. We placed an untouched piece of bread in a bag, a piece that was touched with washed hands, and a piece that all of the students touched. Now, we’re waiting to see what happens next. The bread is hanging on our wall and we are checking on it daily for progress. She also came in to do a Dia de los Muertos art project with us. The students did some beautiful skull art. They are currently being flattened, but I can’t wait to see them on the wall!

We also had an internet safety assembly with Deputy Hick on Wednesday. We talked about ways to stay safe and things to look out for while on the internet.

Have a WINNing and restful weekend! Next week is promising to be just as busy!

October 6, 2017

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks! Last week we had THREE different substitutes! That kept us from getting our blog post out last Friday. Here’s what’s been going on in Room 21…

In science, we’ve been studying our crayfish. So far, we have observed them and learned about their structures. Next, we’ll be studying their behavior before they leave us next week.

In math, we completed our first chapter. We then took our first computerized math test. There is always a learning curve with this. Their scores often do not truly reflect their understanding on the first test. The students are still learning how to take an online test and that impacts their scores.

On Fridays, we’ve started a routine that Nidhi’s mom comes in and helps us do a weekly rotation with our National Geographic magazines. We work in small groups of six either with Nidhi’s mom, Mrs. Winn, or independently to read and work with the articles in each month’s magazine’s.

In our reading, we finished Stone Fox. We were all shocked and saddened by the ending. Maddox said that Mrs. Winn and Alex were as red as tomatoes as they fought back tears. Now, we are moving into the GLOBAL READ ALOUD!!!! We’ve started with The Wild Robot (we’d still love some donations of the book if you’re willing). We’ve read the first few chapters and have even had our first mystery state call. We did a video call with a class and first asked geography questions to figure out where they were. We found out that it was Ms. Shen’s fourth grade reading group over at Faria! Once we figured out where they were, we shared some predictions for the book. We’ll continue reading aloud and connecting with various classes from all over. We’ll also be more active on Twitter to allow book discussions. Follow us @MrsWinn21 to be in on the conversations. We will be starting a student Tweeter of the day to share our thinking along with responding to other classes. We have a partner class that we will be calling every Friday of the GRA to discuss the book. We may even throw in some blogging! Today, we did a mini version of a Twitter chat. The chat had already happened, so we used the opportunity to write down our ideas. I’ll go through them and add them to our feed.

In writing, We wrapped up drafting and revising our second story in five sessions! We took a break to do our post unit assessment. Now, we’ll use the coming week to complete our revisions and publish one of our stories.

Last week, we had an author assembly. Max Brallier came. He writes the Last Kids on Earth series. We loved it! He signed our books for us! Room 21 even got a set signed for the class! He told us his dream was to be a professional baseball player, but he was really bad. He ended up not being played on the baseball team, which gave him a lot of time to daydream. Those are the first stories he started to develop and write.

Also, last Friday we met with our first grade buddies. We did an activity where we needed to build a structure that held an apple made from cards, a choice of 4 straws or 4 sticks, paper, and tape. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about engineering.

“Zombies are people too. Be nice to them.” – Alex

“What is a bird’s favorite type of math? — Owl-gebra!” – Karl

Have a WINNing weekend!

September 22, 2017

Wow what a week! Happy fall!

In reader’s workshop this week we learned about how to give a retell. We looked at the progression from second to fourth grade and identified what makes a good retell. Then, we read and practiced with our partners. We also talked about predictions. Strong readers not only make predictions, but also explain why. Really strong predictions are based on what’s happened in the text, how other stories like this have gone, and empathizing with the characters. Today we practiced having reading conversations with our partners. Our partner conversations should push us into deeper levels of understanding and help us to look at things in a new way.

In science, we’ve been observing four types of seeds as they sprout (germinate). We made small sprouters with a plastic cup and a coffee filter. In groups of four, we experimented with corn, peas, sunflowers, and bush beans. Each day, we observed and recorded the changes we saw. Many of our sprouters began to mold and so we got rid of them. We saved some of the sprouted bush beans and are growing them in a hydroponic tub. We’ll be observing their growth from here. We also did an experiment with lima beans. We weighed them dry and then soaked them over night. We then weighed them wet to find how much water they absorbed. Then, we pealed open the seeds and discovered that the seeds had a small plant already inside of them. The crayfish have arrived!!! We will be introducing ourselves to them next week. For now, they live on the back counter with our bush beans.

We’ve done a lot of art this week! Maddox’s mom came in and did an art lesson with us. She helped us to draw owls. We all got to decorate them however we’d like using oil pastels. Now, we have an amazing parliament of owls (thanks to Mrs. Julie for teaching us that word!) hanging on the wall! She made it so easy for us to produce beautiful art pieces! We’ve also started our seasonal art project! We’re celebrating the first day of fall by creating a fall art piece that we can enjoy for the season. We will hopefully finish those pieces this afternoon.


We had our first visit from Hrishita’s mom for Project Cornerstone. She read us a book all about friendship and then we did an activity that helped us find people in the class that we have things in common with that we might not have already known.

We’ve been busy in writer’s workshop as well! This week we finished up our first stories. We focused on adding paragraphs and the internal story for our final revision lessons. On Wednesday, we chose the part we were the most proud of and did a mini writing celebration. Everyone circled their favorite part of their own writing and we took a gallery walk around the class. We left compliments on post-its as we traveled around the room. We enjoyed reading each other’s pieces! Today, we started writing a new story. We are all the captains of our own stories and so, we’ll be self paced to complete a story in our next 5 writing sessions.¬†

In math, we’re now working on subtraction strategies. We’ve worked with estimation again. We’ve also learned about using a number line, friendly/compatible numbers, and today we used place value to subtract. We’re finally getting close to our first test! We had a lot of interruptions to our math, but we’re on a roll now!

We can’t believe the week has gone so fast! The students were all impressed with how much we’ve covered this week! Have a WINNing weekend and get some rest! Next week will be even more busy!

September 14, 2017

We got busy with science last week and weren’t able to post on Friday. Here’s what we’ve been up to in Room 21…

In reading, we’ve been learning a lot about how to understand our books. We learned how to give ourselves comprehension checks by stopping and asking ourselves, “Who is in this part? What just happened? and Does this fit with something that already happened or is this new?” We also learned that strong readers envision what is happening in the story. We also notice times that we are collecting information rather than envisioning. Yesterday, we talked about how strong readers also predict while they’re reading. A good prediction is based from evidence in the text and not random.

We started science last week. We are starting with our Structures of Life unit. We started by looking at different fruits and counting the number of seeds found in each. We found that some fruits have only one, while others have hundreds. Then, we looked just at bean pods. We opened them and made a line plot of how many seeds were in each. We found that they were all different, but most had around 6-8. On Monday, we started sprouters. We are now observing our seeds almost daily as they sprout.

Math has been interrupted a lot lately. We introduced our September Problem of the Month called Friends You Can Count On. Our regular curriculum has been working on addition strategies. Next week, we’ll move to subtraction strategies.

Writing is getting exciting! Last week, we wrote our first drafts. Since then, we’ve been learning how to revise our work. We learned how to look at mentor texts and model our writing from that. We also learned how to write different leads to start our stories in interesting ways. Today, we read another mentor text and had more time for revision. We’re really working on adding detail and creating a mental movie for our readers. We also continue to have choice writing at the beginning of every day. This gives us some time for artistic freedom.

Today, we met with our buddies. We did an activity that helped us find things we have in common. Then, we had a short walk and talk to get to know each other even better.

On Monday, we did our first video call. Mrs. Simpson (Mrs. Winn’s sister) is a fourth grade teacher at DeVargas. Her class called ours to interview them for a project that they are working on in class. They want to find a way to create better community in their school.

Last week, Deputy Hick came and talked to us about bike safety. He sure sure made a very serious subject a lot of fun!

When we’re done with this blog, we’ll be doing our first book reviews of the year! We can’t wait to hear about some good books!

We also had student council speeches today and voted. Mrs. Winn will be counting the votes as soon as she can.

September 1, 2017

Happy Hot Friday!

We’ve had such a busy week again in Room 21! It was wonderful to see so many of you at Back to School Night! If you were unable to make it, I will be sending home a packet of papers and forms for you.

In reading, we’ve been talking more about building a reading life. We’ve learned how to look for patterns in our reading and use those to set goals for ourselves. We’ve also begun to discuss our reading with our new work partners. We interviewed each other to find out their likes, dislikes, and goals surrounding reading. We’ve got some amazing book talks in our future! Keep up the reading and the agenda reading logs at home!

In math, we were interrupted mid week a couple times. We introduced rounding and then we weren’t able to get back to it for a couple days. Rounding caused everyone a bit of a headache. We told everyone not to panic, we’d continue to talk about it. It’s a confusing process. We went back through rounding today. We watched two Khan Academy Videos, discussed rounding more and did some practice on the board and on Khan Academy. Here’s one of the videos and the math challenge.

In writing, we’ve been learning to analyze our writing. We were introduced to the narrative writing checklist and used it to analyze a sample paper. Then, students used the same process to analyze their own work, and create goals for their writing. Today, as a part of this, we talked about how their last writing entry should always be their best entry. If they are applying the lesson to their work each day, and putting in effort towards growth, we should be able to see improvement (although small) in each piece of writing.

In the afternoons, we’ve had many different activities this week. We completed some work with the California regions. The students made group posters to show each region’s special features. We also had running program on one afternoon. We had to miss some of it because we needed to talk about making responsible choices during campus clean up. We also took our first trip to the computer lab! We learned how to use a QR code to log into our school accounts!

On Wednesday, Deputy Hick (our campus resource officer) came and talked to us about bullying and respect. We learned what it means to bully and some strategies to help ourselves and others if we’re being bullied.

Today we met our first grade buddies for the first time! We will be meeting with them every other Friday this year. Today, we just met each other and played games together while getting to know one another.

It was so hot today and it has been declared a “Spare the Air Day.” We probably could have cooked eggs on the blacktop! Because of that, we had an indoor schedule today. We had indoor recess and lunch to beat the heat. Because of that, we met our rainy day monitors. They are upper grade helpers that come to our class each time we have indoor recess. While we were outside, we made sure to stay in the shade.

stay cool