Room 9 Updates

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hello All,
This week our class will be having a "Game Day", which the class won through its great behavior. Kids should bring games to share on Tuesday (not electronics). Kids should also bring $ if they wish to stick Mrs. Dorney to the wall on Tuesday ( part of the "Stick it to hunger" campaign). On Friday our class will be having its winter holiday party.

This week we will have a regular Homework Packet, due on Friday. In math we'll continue learning various strategies for division. RTI groups will be reading a biography of Gloria Estefan, and we'll read about European explorers of California in Social Studies.

Finally, have a warm and wonderful holiday, with much joy and family connection.
Yours,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hi All,

First of all, thanks so much to the parents who were able to chaperon the Monterey Bay Aquarium field trip. I heard from many kids that this was the best field trip ever!  For those of you who weren't able to drive, let me encourage you to take care of the district-level paperwork (TB test and fingerprinting). It's a process that takes some time, but it'll last throughout your children's time in PVUSD, and enable you to volunteer for trips and activities on a more spontaneous basis.

This week our math will be shifting from multiplication to division, although it's still all part of Module 3. While many kids are aware of the relationship between these 2 processes, expect many more opportunities to make the connection. In RTI we'll be doing a short biography unit. We will wrap up our unit on Ecosystems this week, with a test on Thursday. This week's homework includes the final lesson of this chapter, as well as a review of the whole unit. During the last week before break we'll return to Reflections, the Social Studies text, and read about explorers and the beginning of the Spanish missions in California. We will not be doing a mission report or project until January.

Finally, I realize that this time gets busy, with lots of extra activities and holiday gatherings. Please work with your child to plan ahead in terms of homework, and to get plenty of rest.

Have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hello All,
I hope you had a joyful holiday.

This week we will be continuing with our study of ecosystems in science.  The kids will return to reading in the CA. Science textbook for a portion of their reading homework.  I've added a note to the homework about my expectations regarding the reading of the texts. (Reread the lessons first, then use the skimming and scanning strategies to find support with the questions on the back of the homework handout.) In math, we'll spend a couple of days reviewing the first portion of Module 3 and will have a Mid-Module Assessment on Thursday.

This Friday we'll be heading to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for our field trip.  Please note that we are returning to school late, and let me know if there is some special arrangement made for your child if you are unable to pick them up at our 3:00 arrival time. All students will need lunches for the trip, as well as a drink and comfortable shoes. Please don't send any money for snacks or souvenirs! Thank you to all that have volunteered to drive and chaperon on this trip!

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hi Parents,
I'm looking forward to seeing you all this week. The kids brought home notes with your times, but feel free to email to confirm times. The schedule is tightly packed.

This week, the kids will be bringing home permission slips and information about our next field trip, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on December 5th. Please return completed forms ASAP, especially if you are able to drive!

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hi Parents,

Sorry to be a bit tardy on my posting!  First of all, a big thank you to the parents that were able to chaperon our Mission San Juan Bautista field trip (Mrs. Kolassa, Mrs. Lauderbach, Ms. Harrington, Mrs.Varela, Mrs. Manchester, and Mrs. Harris ). The kids had a great time, and made a good beginning on this portion of California history, which we will be reading about in the Social Studies text quite soon. Our next field trip is coming quickly; we're going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on December 5th! We will be leaving school at about 9:15, attending a Kelp Forest Lab, eating lunch, and then having some touring time in the museum.  Because we are not allowed in the museum before our 10:45 lab, I intend to return to school a bit past the regularly scheduled time (return to school about 3:00). I will need drivers for this trip.  Please remember that the state requires volunteers to submit a TB test to the district, and be fingerprinted.  When you've done this once, you'll be authorized for all your children's years in PVUSD.  This policy is for the kids' safety.
Please take the time to do this, even if you can only drive on occasional field trips. I would hate to cancel a field trip due to lack of drivers.

Next week is Conference Week, and almost all students have one scheduled at this point.  Please come to your conference on time, as many of them are scheduled back-to-back. The library's Scholastic Book Fair is also scheduled for that week, and purchasing books (including holiday gifts) is a great way to support our library's book collection. The kids will preview the Book Fair on Friday, and I'm sure they'll get back to you with their Wish List.

You will notice the homework is a little different this week, as we are stepping away from the Science and Social Studies texts to work on a short research project on phytoplankton. We will be working on it this week, and have watched a short video and read an informational article already. I reviewed the homework with the class on Monday, and gave them clear directions about my expectations about it on both the front and the back.  In addition, the kids appear to be working comfortably with the math these days, and are able to push through and ask questions when they're unclear.

Take care, and I look forward to seeing you all at conferences next week!
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hello All,

First of all, a big thank you to Brandi Manchester and Julie Harris,  Room 9's Room Parents who organized and hosted our Halloween party.  Thanks also, to their able assistants, Sandi Kolassa and Adele Lauderbach, who ran and supplied terrific party stations.  You ladies are all troupers and made a fun party, despite the rainy weather!

Last week I sent home a message notifying parents about the lack of cleared volunteers for this Friday's field trip.  Since then, one additional driver has fulfilled the district's requirements, so at this point we have space for 14 students.  If you were planning on driving, please come by the office to fill out your driver forms and make copies of your insurance information and California Driver's License. The office needs these forms on Monday, as they can't authorize a flurry of last-minute additions to the driving pool. 

As you will have noted, we began Module 3 in Math last week.  It is another challenging one!  I will work on posting example of in-class work in the blog and also taping some "Show Me" lessons.  In addition, Mrs. Deering, the school librarian, will now be available Monday- Thursday, from 7:30-7:55 in the library to help students with math. We will continue with math homework most nights, due the following day, as that seems to allow students' questions to be addressed. I will also limit the quantity of math homework, so that students can focus on their thinking and doing high quality work. Finally, I'm happy to report that most students performed well on the first district benchmark of the year, primarily 80% and above.

In RTI, we wrapped up our poetry unit and are now moving on to a Realistic Fiction unit, focusing on Common Core Reading Standard 2.  Students will be practicing finding the theme in various anthology stories, as well as writing summaries that include only the significant details from the stories.


Finally, if you have not yet scheduled a Parent/Teacher Conference (sign-ups began at Back-to-School Night), please contact me via email or leave a message at the school.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Dear Rio Parents, 
We did not receive a volunteer for your class this year for “Yearbook Photographer” or "Yearbook Page Designer” and we need your help! We are asking that someone from your classroom step forward asap. Usually we have a photographer in time for your classroom and your child’s special moment in the Halloween day parade. The parade is next Friday at 10:30. Can you please help us out this year? Most any camera is good enough to use as a photographer and, on occasion, take photos for classroom field trips or events. Pages are designed in Photoshop with support from the after school program so there is help to assist you. Volunteer by emailing this address: AdamandSharron@sbcglobal.net We have a lot of classrooms to staff and it would help if we received your response by Tuesday Oct 28. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. Thank you, Sharron Voorhees (yearbook volunteer).

From Mrs. Mayer:
I am not posting Mrs. Voorhees's number, but I will be happy to give it to volunteers that wish to contact her.  Phone me at school.

Thanks!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hello All,

Just a few reminders...

  • Harvest Festival this Friday
  • Permission slips for Mission San Juan Bautista field trip due
  • Math test on Module 2 on Tuesday (Practice Test/Homework Monday night)
  • Social Studies test (California Indians, Ch. 2) this Thursday
  • Poetry Unit in RTI begins Monday
Have a fun and productive week!

Carroll Mayer

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Drive for Schools' Last Day is Friday.  Make the final push so we reach our goal of $10,000.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hello All,

On Monday, the kids are bringing home permission slips for our first field trip, to Misssion San Juan Bautista. Please return these forms  as soon as possible. Parent drivers are needed, and must have cleared fingerprints and TB tests. If you were cleared last year, that information is still valid. For those still needing clearance, the district office does the fingerprinting when you bring a copy of your TB test from the doctor. Driver forms need to be updated this year, even if you've driven during other years.

The kids are also bringing home the Module 1 math test. If your child struggled with this test, or didn't perform as well as they have done in past years, let me encourage you to see this exam as an opportunity to develop a "growth mindset". I intend to persevere in building my skills in clearly communicating the concepts and expectations of the new Common Core standards, and I expect your children to persevere as well. Most of the kids are already demonstrating a greater degree of effort and engagement than I've seen in math during prior years. We are all going to be better and stronger because of this challenge!

In RTI, we are beginning our 3rd week studying Text Structure in Informational Text. This week's Social Studies reading will be about the California Indians in the Central Valley and Desert Region. Last week we finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphins, which brought the story of one California Indian to life. The kids loved this story, with several interested in reading Scott O'Dell's sequel. This week we'll begin reading Roald Dahl's The Witches. Finally, in math we're continuing Module 2, which is a short unit on the metric system. Math homework will be coming home daily during this unit, and will be completing worksheets begun in class.

Finally, for those interested, Scholastic book orders are due by Tuesday.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hi,
A few items left off yesterday's entry:
  • Pajama Day for Room 9 on Friday -- no pillows or stuffed animals please!
  • Book Order coming home today (Monday), due by next Tuesday, 10/14 (Room 9 online ID is H6KT4
Thanks!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hi All,

This week we will be finishing our first math module, and moving on to a tiny Module 2. The test on Module 1 is scheduled for Tuesday, so Monday's homework will be a practice test. We will begin the practice in class, as we review the module.

In RTI, we're continuing our study of Informational Text structures. We will finish up our Arcimboldo style portraits this week, and continue reading Social Studies Chapter 2, about California's Native Americans.

Finally, thanks Brandi Manchester and Julie Harris for offering to be Room Parents. It's much appreciated. Brandi has asked that you email her contact information at brandibill@yahoo.com so she can put together a class roster.

Have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hello Parents and Students,

As you know, we are beginning RTI this week. Students brought home the name of their RTI teacher on Friday, stapled to their spelling test, so as not to be misplaced. RTI is scheduled Monday -Thursday, from 9:15-10:10 and is the time teachers will give targeted reading instruction. However, be assured that the kids will be doing plenty of reading during other times throughout the day, and will have ample opportunities to practice the skills and strategies introduced during RTI. The team meets weekly to develop our RTI lesson plans. The focus for the first 3 weeks of RTI is non-fiction text structures. We'll be using Reflections, and additional non-fiction materials, to identify the comparison and cause/effect structures.  We will also be studying how maps and charts are used to convey the writer's message. It should be interesting and challenging!

We are also starting a new chapter in Social Studies. This chapter is about Native Americans in California, and shows the various ways different groups utilized the natural resources within the 4 California regions.

In math, the focus is on applying all the concepts addressed in this first module, and tackling some story problems. The problems are multi-step, and it's expected that kids will work slowly and carefully; first analyzing the problem and estimating the solution using rounding and a tape diagram, then going back and finding an exact answer using the standard algorithm and computation, and finally assessing their answer for reasonableness by comparing it with their estimate. The kids are sometimes daunted by all these steps, so please continue to encourage them by pointing out how "real" these math problems are. In adult life, we are constantly estimating, and then comparing our exact figures against our estimates, and then recalculating if the two aren't close-ish!  The rounding and tape module step are also an additional time for the kids to rehearse their approach to a given problem. I've posted a Lesson 16 Show Me, and will be working on a Lesson 17 one as well.

Finally, I've located an online resource for nonfiction articles called Newsela. In order to enroll, kids need our class code, which is IWAHG. When they sign up, they can receive news articles written at a 4th grade Lexile level, and sometimes follow-up quizzes. I'd be happy to see this reading noted on students' reading logs.

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hello All,
It was great to meet with you on Thursday at Back-to-School Night. I hope I was able to answer any questions you might have.

This week we will be reviewing our Social Studies chapter on California regions, and will have our first test on Friday. The questions on the back of the homework sheet are a review of the content covered these first few weeks. We are continuing with Module 1 in math, with continued focus on addition and subtraction in story problems and by themselves. The kids are expected to show their thinking through pictures, as well as the standard algorithms, when solving story problems. In ELA, we will be wrapping up our unit focused on character, and and getting ready to begin RTI.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hello All,
I hope you had a great weekend! I had some wonderful learning opportunities at the Cotsen conference and returned Saturday night with some terrific ideas about teaching Reading and Writing.

This week, our anthology story is called Boss of the Plains and is about the Stetson hat, and the man who designed it. We'll be continuing to focus on character and 1st/3rd person narration.  In Social Studies, we'll be completing Chapter 1 with a section entitled "Life in California" and will have a test next week on the entire chapter about California's regions.  I will let you know more details about the test next week. In math, students are scheduled to have a Mid-Module Assessment on Tuesday.  This test will assess their understanding of place value to the millions, and their skill with rounding to the one, ten and hundred thousands.  I am sending home a review homework on Monday, and will take questions from students on Tuesday before the test.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday night for Back-to-School Night. The schedule is posted on the Rio del Mar website, with different times by grade level, as well as Mrs. Dorney's presentation.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer


Wednesday, September 10, 2014





Here is a strategy for those problems that ask you for the greatest number you round down to a target--in this case 300,000, and the smallest number you round up. Hope it helps!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hi Parents and Students,
This week I am meeting with students and discussing a short term AR goal.  The goal is for the next 3 weeks, until September 26th.  Students have a target ranging from 1.0-4.0 points, depending on their reading level.  Please encourage your child to read their books (both at home and during in-class silent reading) and then take the AR test as soon as possible.  It's not a good idea for them to take tests on books they read this summer, unless they quickly reread them first.  The AR questions tend to be very specific, and fact oriented, rather than focused on big ideas and themes. I expect many students will easily achieve this first goal, but you can remind them that they can set a bigger, yearlong goal to read a million words, or even two.  Also important to remember is the even greater view, that we want them to be lifelong readers and lovers of books!
See you soon,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hi Parents and Students,
I hope you're having a terrific weekend.  I'm starting to feel that we're on a roll, with the kids understanding this year's routines and expectations, now that they are 4th graders.

I've added something new to the blog this week, which you will see on the right.  There is a section labeled "Homework Help". So far, I've posted the 3 "ShowMe" videos that review the main concepts of the math lessons we will address this week.  I've also posted a copy of this week's homework, so students who are absent or have misplaced the homework will be able to find it.  I will continue to search for resources to support the kids with homework as it changes.

Today I also read (in the Sentinel) about what sounds like a terrific presentation for parents on Friday night at Aptos High. I'm including the article, and encourage you to attend even though it sounds directed toward parents of teenagers.
 Aptos High Parenting Presentation
The thing that appealed to me was the shift in focus, away from grades, and toward learning.  I think this is an especially valuable reminder right now, as we are currently expecting kids to work at school in ways they haven't experienced before.  Of course it will take time for kids to become familiar with new formats, and increased rigor! I would attend myself, but this Friday and Saturday I (and several other Rio teachers) will be attending a conference sponsored by the Cotsen Art of Teaching Foundation.  The kids will have a sub on Friday so that I can observe classrooms in southern California prior to the conference.

This week the kids will be reading a story in the anthology called Cendrillon.  We continue to discuss character in ELA, as well as 1st and 3rd person narration. In Social Studies, they will be reading about California's population, and where the residents of California tend to live. Finally, in math we will continue with rounding, moving from the vertical number line to mental math, and applying rounding in story problems.  By the end of the week we will be adding large numbers, using a variety of models including the standard algorithm. (Module 1, Lessons 8-12)

Finally, a reminder that Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Thursday, September 18. 

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hello Parents and Students,
I've found an App that I think will be very helpful with math.  It's called "Showme" and there are two teachers, Mr. Serrano and Mrs. Perri that have posted many helpful short video clips, labeled by Engage NY Modules and Lessons.
Here is are some examples:
Module 1, Lesson 8 

For next week:
Module 1, Lesson 9 --Showme

These can be viewed on all devices I've tried so far!
Try it out.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hi Parents and Students,
I hope you're enjoying this extra long weekend; I know I am.

First of all, I'm still working on providing support for the math homework in the clearest, most user-friendly format. Hopefully, the need will decrease as we all become accustomed to the math program. I've decided to decrease the math homework, so that students will be responsible for two lessons' worth of homework, rather than 4. I am also going to have students turn in all math on Friday with the other homework. This should allow for student follow-up with confusing questions, and flexibility about pace. It will be essential for the kids to work throughout the week, however, as it will be miserable and not very useful to try to complete all the work on Thursday night.  Along with the math homework, the kids have a spelling list to study, and sentences to write using their assigned words ( either challenge or the regular list, depending on their pre-test performance.) In addition, kids should read nightly. I've assigned one of the night's reading, and students will also be responding  to questions on the reading, and defining some vocabulary words from the text.  The other nights are up to the individual student, and kids may reread Reflections  over 2 nights if desired.

In class this week, we will  continue reading Island of the Blue Dolphins. In addition, the class will read a short biography of Lou Gehrig from our anthology, and do a first reading of the Social Studies lesson on the climate and vegetation of California's 4 regions. In math, we will be progressing from place value to rounding, using numerals as large as a million.

Finally, I've begun the class incentive system, using "Mayer Moola". I'd love contributions to the prize box. In the past, parents have recycled party favors, and sent on leftover prizes from birthday parties as well. Kids will be allowed to spend Mayer Moola on picks from the prize box, as well as lunch time parties, and homework passes.

I look forward to seeing you all at our Back-to-School Night, on Thursday, September 18th. In the mean time, please feel free to call or email your questions.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hi Parents and Kids,
I've heard there's been a lot of frustration about the math. Parents, I understand you're on a learning curve too! Please don't stress.

I've posted the EngageNY site on the blog under links, and you should be able to find and review the day's lessons with some snapshots of work on the pages we're doing in class.  You will have to skim through the pages to find the specific examples.  There aren't any homework answers on this link, but this should give some support.  I will also post some partially completed homework pages this week, and will reflect on what other supports I can provide.
Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear Parents and Students,
Wow!  That first week seemed to fly by! It's been terrific to see old friends, as well as make some new ones.  The kids all seem well-rested, and eager to access new skills and knowledge.

First of all, thanks for the timely return of school forms and the Cotsen Foundation permission slip.  All but 2-3 students have returned the papers.  If your child is one of the kids who has not, please do so right away! In addition, please take note of the supply list on this site.  While the complete list is not mandatory, it will be very helpful if each child has a folder for homework, and an old sock to use as a white board eraser.

This week the kids are taking home the first official homework assignment.  They will not be getting a packet, but will bring home a single sheet with all regular work for the week listed.  Some students may also find that they need to put in additional time on classwork they have not completed. In a nutshell, there will be:
math homework --due daily *
spelling words--assignments due and tested on Friday
reading-- assignments and self-selected, due Friday.

*Each math module's homework will be sent home at the beginning of the unit.  Students will remove pages as they are assigned.

The spelling list will be included on the weekly handout, but students will have the opportunity to move on from the weekly list, to a Challenge List, if they score a 22/25 on Monday's pretest. I will explain the Challenge Lists to the kids, and they can access them through the link to Mr. McMillan's blog.  On Friday, those kids assigned to these challenge words will have their own quiz.  In addition, they will do their homework based on the Challenge List they're working on.

Finally, Parents, please email me with your best contact information, as well as confirmation that you are able to access the blog.  I will be updating it 1-2 days a week, and most information will be noted here first.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hello Parents and Students,

Happy 4th grade!  I'm excited about the new year and grade.  This week we will be focused on getting to know one and other, warming up from the summer break, and taking care of paperwork!  Regular homework will begin in a few days, although parents will find they have some tasks to complete.

On the right you will see some optional supply items.  It's fun to start the school year with new gear, but I will provide all the essentials.  Please don't purchase a full-sized binder or a large pencil box.  The desks are not that big, and hauling a binder to and from school will just make your backpack heavier.  As noted on the list, you may want a binder to keep math modules in at home, as we will be sending home about a month's worth of math homework at a time, and you will not be doing it all on the first day!

I've also listed some wish list items, for those of you that want to contribute extra materials to the classroom.  I will be looking for Parent Helpers this year, but will not have signups until Back-to-School Night on September 18th.

Finally, please sign up at the top to receive these blog posts via email. If your child is not in my class this year, it's time to unsubscribe.

Take care, and I'll see you on Monday!
Carroll Mayer

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hello Parents and Students,
Summer is almost over, so I know you're all eager to see and learn what the new year's going to bring.  First of all, along with you, I've moved to 4th grade!  I'm really excited to discover what 4th graders are learning these days, as it's been a long time since I was one.

I'll be updating this blog again before school starts, to let those of you who are in my class know how to prepare for the first day of school. 

Finally, for those of you that are not on my class list this year, I certainly hope you drop by and say "Hello" once school has started.

Enjoy these last precious days,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hi All,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to spend this year with your children. They are curious, thoughtful, kind-hearted, and hard-working. It's been a delight. Have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you all around Rio next year.
Carroll Mayer

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hi All,

I so enjoyed seeing those of you that could attend Open House last Thursday. The kids really love showing off the classroom and their work from this year.

This week the kids will have a "Mini" Homework Packet, consisting of a Reading Log and a single multiplication page. Please make sure your child takes this final packet seriously; many kids have been slacking off about doing and returning quality homework.

The kids will be wrapping up their astronomy research on Tuesday, and will be a part of a panel presenting information about their topic to the class on Wednesday. The class will have an Astronomy Test on Friday. We will also have a final multiplication facts quiz on Friday.

Finally, a big thank you to all the parents who have helped in our class throughout the year, driven on field trips, organized parties, and worked behind the scenes to organize and support our students, classroom, and school. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hi All,
We're in the countdown and the days are short. Every year I'm surprised how quickly June comes. This Thursday is Open House. The kids are excited and happy to show their room, see their siblings' classes, and explore the Fourth Grade.

Thanks to all the parents who have helped in a variety of ways throughout this year, from helping to organize parties, volunteering in the classroom, driving on field trips, participating in fundraisers, working on Site Council and Parent Alliance; without all you do our school would not be such a special place. A special thanks to Kristen Barrett for my yummy birthday lunch and cupcakes. I felt very fussed over and loved all the kids' cards. And then the next day was the Staff Appreciation Lunch--which was terrific!

This week the kids are bringing home a packet with our final spelling list. We are continuing with Astronomy, Measurement, and reading Little House in the Big Woods. The kids will have a small math test on metric units, and then we will study standard units of measurement. Many kids have not reached their AR goal yet, so please remind the kids to stay on top of that. There's still plenty of reading time, and anyone that wishes may also test on Little House...

Have a great week and I'll see you all on Thursday at 6:30,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hello All,

This week we will be continuing state testing on Monday, so I will not be sending home any math homework on that day. Math homework will restart later in the week. Students received their Homework Packet for the week on Friday, as I know many like the extra weekend time to work on it. This week kids will be reciting a poem, rather than learning spelling words. Students should memorize one (or both) poems, and also practice, keeping aware of the presentation skills we've discussed in the past. Specifically, students should be aware of eye contact, voice volume, and  pacing. They've made great progress this year in their oral presentations. 

In class, our literature focus is Little House in the Big Woods. We are continuing our study of Astronomy in science, and will also be working on writing our own constellation myths. The new math unit will be capacity using metric units. Finally, the kids are having a terrific time studying cartooning with our Spectra artist, Jon Hastings. 

The final Scholastic book order is coming home on Monday. Although I'm sending home several brochures, families may order books from any flier on the website. Please keep  summer reading in mind, as it's essential the kids keep reading throughout the summer to maintain their skills. 

Have a great week,
Carroll Mayer



Monday, April 28, 2014

Hi All,

Most of this week's information are repeats from last week.  First of all, if your child is not done with typing their Little Red story, it must be finished and typed by Wednesday morning to be submitted to the Student Authors' Fair.  Your child knows whether they've finished typing the story, and how to access Google Docs to complete it.

Secondly, this week's Homework Packet is the one sent home last Monday.  Make sure your child is working on the packet and completing both pages of the Reading Log.  The kids will definitely have math homework this Monday and Tuesday, no math on Wednesday, and I'm not sure about Thursday. RTI is ending for the year on Tuesday of this week.

The reason I'm not sure about Thursday is that we will be having state testing "Smarter Balanced" on that day.  Our testing schedule is: Wednesday and Thursday morning of this week in the Computer Lab.  Next week, we will be testing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, using the Chrome Books in Room 24.  The other two 3rd grade classes are also testing in Rm. 24, so we will be moving from room to room during those days.  It's essential that students be on time to school during those 5 days, as testing will begin at 8:00!  Please don't schedule appointments either.

Finally, I still need a few permission slips for the field trip to the Agricultural History Museum.  At this point I have enough drivers.

Take care and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hello All,
Welcome back from break!  I've heard about many fun activities from the kids.

This week we will be working on Telling Time in math.  The math program we are using is from Engage New York and was developed in that state to align with the Common Core.  It's my understanding that the district will be providing us with this same math program next year, so it's worthwhile for the kids to become accustomed to the format. We will be returning to nightly math homework, which appears to be clearly aligned with the lessons.  Kids should be able to work very independently on this.  Our Homework Packet is for 2 weeks, rather than one.  Because of this, I've told the kids I expect all spaces in the 2 Reading Logs to be filled.  They have less homework than usual because it's spread over 2 weeks, so they can read an extra time!

In addition some of the kids will be bringing home drafts of their "Little Red" stories to type.  We've been working in the Computer Lab, but will not have any more time in there for a few weeks due to testing.  Stories will need to be typed in the next week to be ready for the Student Authors Fair.

We are beginning our Astronomy unit in earnest now.  Expect lots of questions and conversation about the solar system.  I also encourage outside reading (of informational texts) about space.

Finally, I've sent home a permission slip about our last field trip, to the Agricultural History Museum at the fairgrounds.  This is a terrific field trip, with some cool hands-on activities.

Have a great week!
Carroll Mayer


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hi All,
Famous American speeches will be presented on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 AM until they're finished. On Friday, the kids brought home a schedule, and all of the class indicated they knew the day they were to speak. Parents are welcome to attend.

We will be having a Homework Packet this week, but nightly math homework will not restart until after break. Happily, the moon is finally visible so the Moon Observation Chart should be a lot more interesting. Rob Hoffman, PVUSD's Science TOSA, will be the Third Grade's guest speaker on Monday, kicking off the astronomy unit.

Have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hello All,
On Monday, students' Famous American speeches will be coming home to be written in final draft, practiced, and "costumed". We have spent many hours in class working on the speeches, and most of the students were able to complete their research and first drafts. It's now homework, so students will be given a very small Homework Packet this week in order to focus on the speech. This week's packet will consist of a Reading Log and the Moon Observation Chart only. (We hope to see the moon this week!) Attached to the packet is the rubric for the speech, as well as a letter explaining dates and expectations. Students in our class will be speaking on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 8th and 9th. It's been exciting watching the kids learn about these special people and I know they are eager to share the information with the class.

This week we will also be wrapping up our unit on fractions. The kids will have an assessment and then will work on an interesting (in class) project to demonstrate their knowledge of fractions. We are then moving on to forms of measurement not yet addressed (capacity and time). In RTI we'll be enjoying a terrific narrative about the explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew.

Finally, we will continue to practice with the Smarter Balanced format and technology. As you've seen, the tests is quite a shift from former ones, and we'd like the kids to be as comfortable as possible with its structures.

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello All,
I hope you are making the most of our beautiful spring weather;  I know I'm trying!

This week we will continue with fractions, making the connection between fractions and measurement. The kids are continuing to have lots of opportunities for hands-on exploration, and are coming to a deep understanding of fractions and what we really mean when we write these mathematical expressions.  Thank you for your patience with the homework.

This week's homework packet went home on Friday, as so many of the kids like to get a head start on the weekend. I will be sending home one additional page on Monday-- a moon observation chart!  This page should be interesting, and not too time consuming. We are encouraging the kids to make daily observations of the moon for the next 4 weeks in preparation for our science unit on Astronomy. This is one of my favorite units of study in the third grade year, and I'm sure that most students will find it equally engaging. We will begin the unit after the Famous American speeches go home for final drafts and rehearsal.

The Famous American speeches are on the calendar for Tuesday, April 8th,  and Wednesday, April 9th.  We have been working on research and writing in class over the last 2-3 weeks, and will continue through this week. On Monday, March 31st, students will bring their drafts home for finalizing. At that point kids should complete and recopy their speeches (typed or handwritten), rehearse them, and put together their props and/or costume. A rubric will come home with them on the 31st.  I am looking for parent volunteers to video the speeches on the 8th and 9th, but any parent who wishes to watch in person will be welcome.


Take care,
Carroll Mayer


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hi All,

Report cards will be coming home on Thursday!  When they arrive, please take some time to reflect on my comments, and then work with your child to set goals for the final trimester of third grade.  We tell the kids that they are all different, with various strengths and weaknesses.  It's one of the reason why they are instructed to save their report cards for their parents (to whom they're addressed).  Please remind your child to use the report card to think about their own areas for growth, and not to focus on the struggles or achievements of friends and siblings. Finally, I encourage you keep your plans very specific and achievable.

This week in RTI we will wrap up the story Seal Surfer, and then move on to an historical selection called Across the Wide Dark Sea.  In math, we continue with fractions.  Thanks, again, for your support on the math homework. Our in-class writing focus is now 100% Famous American, so be sure to have your child bring any books they have to school to use while taking notes.

I've moved the Smarter Balanced link to the links list on the right side of the blog.  Please have your child experiment with this site so that they may become familiar with the testing format.

I'll be sending home another Scholastic book order on Monday, which is due on Tuesday, March 18th.  The class code is located on the blog.

Lastly, thanks to all of you who have worked so hard on the Auction/ Dinner Dance Fundraiser.  The on-line auction portion of this event is now live, and I encourage you all to take a look at the item from our class, as well as those donated by various members of the community. This fundraiser pays for many things that make our school run smoothly, as well as enhancing educational opportunities for all who attend Rio del Mar.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Thursday Night's Homework 3/6/14
More cool math homework on the computer! Practice for at least 10 minutes.

Here is today’s link. 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hi All,
I hope you enjoyed our rainy weather.

This week we will continue studying fractions in math. Thanks so much for the support as we explore various homework options that we feel support the new standards. In RTI we will continue the theme of animal habitats, finishing up puffins and moving on to a story set at the beach. We also have several writing projects in various stages of production. Students are typing "Little Red", drafting a district writing about the transcontinental railroad, and researching their Famous Americans. Whoo!

Please support technology practice  for your child as much as possible by encouraging him/her to type the LR story on Google Docs. In addition, we are asking that kids try out the Smarter Balanced test questions so as to become familiar with the various navigation tools needed for the state testing.  The link is on the Rio Del Mar website. We will be working on these items in the computer lab, but are limited to 45 minutes a week.

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hello Families,
I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend. Sadly, no more holidays for a while.

This week the kid will continue with the homework packet that we sent last week. Hopefully, they are pacing themselves, as there was plenty to do on the packet. Tomorrow we begin fractions in math. Instead of the HM text we've been using for the last several years, we are going to test curriculum developed in Georgia to meet the Common Core standards. Because of this shift, the nightly math homework will vary from day to day. I will work with the kids daily to make sure they understand what's expected each day, including some days without math homework.

In RTI, we are reading my favorite story in the anthology, Nights of the Pufflings. The skill associated with this story is Fact and Opinion. This week the kids will begin note taking on their Famous Americans, so if you've purchased books, they are welcome to bring them in. Each child will also be working from at least one article found online, which we will print at school. Kids are also bringing home copies of their "Little Red" stories, which they are typing on Google Docs. Whatever support and access you can give your child with this is much appreciated. Common Core places an even greater emphasis on technological know-how for the kids, as the year-end assessments will be done on the computer.

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer


Monday, February 17, 2014

Hi All,
I hope you are enjoying the second of our February holiday weekends!

Last week went very quickly, with a very busy Friday. Thanks so much to the parents who came in to help with the Valentine's Day party, especially Amy and Kristin.  They have also been busy working on our class Auction Item, as we didn't have a coordinator for this project.  Above and beyond!

As well as the party, the kids also recited their poems, which went very well.  Almost every child was well-rehearsed, and they now appear much more comfortable speaking in front of the class than the first   couple times.  They were also a very respectful, patient audience!

As many of you may have noticed, the Homework Packet sent on Friday is for 2 weeks.  Because of this, the packet contains 2 Reading Logs, as well as an additional assignment: writing sentences for each of the 20 spelling words.  Our purpose in assigning the sentences was twofold: first, to give the kids additional practice with writing strong, complete sentences; and second, to give the kids the opportunity to clearly connect the meaning of each homophone with its spelling.  This is an especially hard list for many kids because they must be clear about the meaning associated with each spelling.  In addition, please be certain to have your child fill out both Reading Logs completely; they have 2 weeks to do 8 entries.

You may also be wondering what's going on with the Famous American project. The answer: we've been working on finishing up some other writing assignments prior to fully focusing on the biographies. In the mean time, I've noticed many students continuing to read additional biographies of other interesting people, as well as a many other informational books.  This is a great way for the kids to practice their reading, and build background knowledge about the world.

I will be having a substitute several times over the next few weeks. With implementation of  the Common Core standards, many additional meetings and training sessions have been scheduled for all the teachers. Fortunately, we have some terrific subs at this school, and I'm confident the kids will be flexible and respectful.

Take care,
Carroll Mayer


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hi All,
I hope you're enjoying this rainy day. This week I will be out on Monday at a Common Core training. Mrs. McCraw will be subbing. On Tuesday we will be going on our field trip to the MAH. Drivers, please arrive at the school at 9:25 to leave at 9:30. Kids will eat lunch at school, but should have a good snack as it will be later than usual.

If you would like to order from Scholastic, please send in an order form and check made to Scholastic by Wednesday, or order online.

I have an opening for a Parent volunteer on alternate Fridays, from 8:00-9:00, correcting and checking in Homework Packets. Please let me know if this works for your schedule.

In math we will continue to work on the concept of division. On Friday, the kids will have a multiplication facts quiz, as we have learned all the Rhymes 'n Times rhymes. Students are expected to continue reviewing multiplication facts until they have achieved fluency. In RTI we will continue with the story, The Mysterious Giant of Barletta, supplementing it with an informational article about Italy, the story's setting. The kids continue working on their "Little Red"stories, with many approaching final draft. We will be working in the class and computer lab to type them and save them as Google Docs. We are also continuing a Social Studies unit on Government, as further background for many students' Famous American reports.

Take care, and have a great week,
Carroll Mayer

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hi All,

Last night I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Booka thanks to the generous gift certificate I received from the class at Christmas. Thank you all, once again; it was a real pleasure!

This week the class will be learning about government during our Social Studies block. In writing, the kids are working on the text for their "Little Red Ridinghood" pop-ups.  The geometry unit in math wraps up on Tuesday, and then we will move on to division.

Many people have been asking about the Famous American projects. At this point, students should be reading the biographies that they were to have selected by the 17th. We will start working on the project in class in a couple of weeks, and will be doing the rest of the research and first drafts at school. I will keep parents and students up-to-date as we set various deadlines, and there will be plenty of notice as they approach.

Finally, the permission slip for our field trip to the MAH was sent home on Tuesday. If you haven't already returned it with your child please do so ASAP.  Thank you Sandi Kolassa for coordinating this trip, along with all the others!

Take care, and have a great week.
Carroll Mayer

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dear Parents and Students,
Welcome back!  I trust you had a great vacation, and are ready for the second half of the year.  Thanks to all of you who sent us off with such a great party in December, especially Kristen and Amy.   Thanks, as well, for my fun gifts. I will be enjoying the various gift certificates and the museum membership for all of 2014.   Happy New Year!

This week, we will begin Dogzilla, one of the most popular stories in our anthology. We will be studying the ways that authors inject humor into their writing, as well as comparing elements of fantasy and reality. In math, we will review perimeter, and then study area.  There will be a test on these concepts later in the week.  In Social Studies, we will learn about some of the various individuals who have worked for our freedoms, from the Founding Fathers to Martin Luther King, Jr.  

As for homework, students should have a plan as to who they want to read about for their Famous American research project. The homework packets now have an additional page, so that students can practice grammar skills addressed in class.

Finally, we have a field trip coming up in early February, to the Museum of Art and History. Please be on the lookout for the permission slip for this trip on 2/4/14.

Take care,
Carroll