"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think."
-- Socrates

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well, our school year is well underway!  What an AMAZING classroom family we have in Room 190! We have been busy with team building activities, getting to know each other and establishing classroom routines and expectations that will carry us through the entire year of third grade.

We seem to be quite a cohesive, cooperative group - helping each other when needed and collaborating effectively during classroom activities and projects.

Daily 5, our literacy block routine, is almost completely underway!  We are practicing building stamina in order to be able to work independently for 20 minute intervals during a 90 minute ELA block.  This management system for literacy allows for flexible, differentiated instruction in order to provide individual students support they need in order to become better readers and writers!

In Math, we have begun studying the concept of multiplication.  We have learned about factors and products, arrays, the Commutative Property of Multiplication and making combinations through multiplication.  This concept of multiplication may bode challenging for some, as our school delves into the newly adopted New York State Common Core Standards.  If you would like more information regarding these standards and what is now expected of your children, please visit the PARENT portion of engageny.org.

In Social Studies, we are beginning to discuss Elections.  You may have heard about the posters we made last week in class about Skittles and M&M's.  We will be conducting a Third Grade-wide vote between the two candies at the end of October.  We have already placed our presidential ballots with Scholastic.com and our votes will be tallied in the nationwide kid vote.  Stay tuned for details about that!!

We have not had a formal Science class yet, however, our hermit crabs, tadpole and just-released-into-the-wild Monarch butterfly have provided us with plenty of hands-on learning and inquiry.  I am attaching a link to my ongoing Third Grade Gallery of pictures so you can enjoy the pictures I have taken of our classroom events thus far.  Feel free to download pics of your child and print them as you wish. The picture gallery is password protected and may only be accessed by those of you who know the password.  (The password is room190 when you click on the link below).


I also would like to thank the three gentlemen from the Elks Lodge who delivered dictionaries to each and every third grader at Lawrence Avenue!  They did a few fun activities with the class to really get them excited about their new literary gifts!

We started Spelling this week.  Spelling pretests will be given on Mondays and spelling tests will be given on Fridays.  Bonus words will be added as optional words (will not count against student if (s)he gets a word incorrect on Friday).  Students should choose one spelling activity each night from the yellow Spelling options page.  This page should be kept in your child's Take Home Folder each night of the week.  One of the options is www.spellingcity.com.  Click on the "Find a List" tab towards the top of the site page.  Type in Cruikshank, and my name will appear as a choice.  There are many games and activities children may choose from in order to study that list of spelling words.

I plan to keep this blog updated as a tool for parents and students throughout the year.  The picture gallery will be updated from time to time as well, with shots from classroom/school activities.  I am also working on finding meaningful student website links to add to our page as well.

Thank you for sharing your child with me.  I am thoroughly enjoying each of them!  Please know if you ever have a question or concern regarding your child, you may contact me anytime.  The best way to reach me is via email at kcruikshank@potsdam.k12.ny.us.

Kate C.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome to Third Grade!!

The start of school is just around the corner.  It is an exciting and busy time of year for students, their parents and teachers, alike.  Purchasing school supplies, maybe some new school clothes or sneakers, getting to bed early and trying to establish some sort of 'routine' before next week...the list goes on and on.

I, personally, love the smells and sights at school during this time of year.  Newly waxed, shiny hallway and classroom floors, crisp bulletin board paper lining the walls, energized and refreshed colleagues anxious to meet their incoming students for a fresh, new year, Mr. Jenne's homemade chocolate chip cookies on the afternoon before students arrive (he really does make them himself...he even brings in milk to go with them)...again, the list goes on and on.

I am very excited to be joining the Third Grade team this year.  I have already been into our classroom getting things prepared for your arrival on September 6th.  I worked several weeks over the summer at Tech Camp, Math Camp and the Constructivist Design Conference, walking away with soooooo many new ideas for this school year.  How would you like to have your own blog?  We can report out on the day at school, or about your favorite book, or anything you would like to write about.   Wouldn't an iPad be an awesome tool to have in our room?  I have a colleague in California (now competing for the honor of California Teacher of the Year) who taught me many ways to use the iPad in our classroom.  Hopefully, we will have one soon!  My fingers are crossed.

Anyway, if you are in the neighborhood of Lawrence Avenue, there is a chance you may run into me in Room 190!  I will be in and out all week.  If you can, stop by to see where your new classroom will be and to say "hello"!

Monday, February 20, 2012

PTSA Hard at Work!!!

Our PTSA has been hard at work lobbying for equity in the state aid disbursement formula. Please view their recent full-page ad in North Country This Week.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Be Informed

Happy February, everyone! It is hard to imagine it is already February...and we have virtually NO snow in the ground...almost unheard of in these parts!!!

Although this time of year brings hope of milder weather and blooming of crocuses just around the corner, it also brings with it a highly stressful time for our school districts. As it stands right now, if Governor Cuomo's proposed budget plan is endorsed by our state legislators, North Country schools, some of the poorest in the state (Potsdam included) will face significant cuts in programs or go bankrupt trying to survive. Not only will teaching positions be done away with (larger class sizes = less individual attention to your child), but AP courses in the high school, and any other 'unmandated' courses (such as elementary music, orchestra, art) may also be affected as a result.

As a parent as well as a teacher in this district, I implore you to educate yourself on the impact Governor Cuomo's state budget plan will have on the Potsdam Central School District and all children who are attending our wonderful school. Below is a list of forums and meetings the public is invited to attend.

* Community Forums - February 27 and March 15
* District Budget Meeting - February 13

*** Also, our Board of Education meetings are held every SECOND and FOURTH Tuesday of each month in the Potsdam High School Library at 7 pm. Please attend those meetings as well, to stay in formed or to voice any concerns or ideas you may have regarding the welfare of the students in this district.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Well, 2012 is here...a new beginning. Upon returning to school tomorrow, Room 108 children will be busier than ever learning many new concepts, while at the same time continuing to become more independent little individuals. We will be delving into reading sight words and writing more rigorously. We will also be going full swing into our Daily 5 approach to literacy (small group work, much like centers...which is why we need to be working on our independence in the classroom).

But before the new year begins at school, I must share some pictures and news from Nov. and Dec. of 2011. This year, for some reason, has proven to be much busier than most years for me...thus there have been many fewer updates to this blog than I usually post. Therefore, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to post updates more often for those of you who find this page a helpful resource.

In November, we were busy with MANY things. We had our Native American Craft Day, our annual Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast and our first Royal Reader (thank you Mr. Rossner!!)

In December, we filled many days with fun crafts and activities including our Gingerbread House Project (thanks again to all parents, grandparents, as well as our friends from the SUNY Potsdam Mens' Hockey Team, who helped make this project a success!) as well as our Holiday Concert.

Please take a few moments to view the following slideshow. And thank you for sharing your child with me. It amazes me quite often what 'little sponges' they are! Their little brains soak up so much at this age.

Happy New Year!!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkins and Reading Buddies

First of all, I would like to thank the entire Room 108 family for all donations to our Thanksgiving Feast on Monday! Such generosity and sharing help make your child's feast day one to remember!
If you are volunteering to help, we are asking volunteers to arrive at school by 10:30 am Monday morning. This should give us plenty of time to set up before our first serving at 11:30!

Also, a HUGE "THANKS A BUNCH!!" to parent/grandparent volunteers on Friday for our Native American Day! The children had fun and I could have not done it without you! Unfortunately, time was so tight I forgot to take pictures...;o( But rest assured, there will be plenty of pics from our Thanksgiving Feast coming up tomorrow!

Below is a slide show of activities from October. Miss Miriam Johnson was a Block 1 student from SUNY Potsdam. She visited our class for a total of 8 visits, learning first-hand about teaching our youngest children. She was a wonderful addition to our class. The children adore her. They were extremely excited to see her return voluntarily on Friday for Native American Day!

In the slideshow you will see pictures of children gutting pumpkins. This was an exciting part of Miss Johnson's lesson she taught on counting, using the pumpkin seeds the children took from the pumpkins. Later that day, we decorated tiny pumpkins brought in by our classmate, Raegan, and her family. Much fun was had by all!!

You will also see pictures from our first session of Reading Buddies. Our Reading Buddies this year are from Mrs. Martin's Fourth Grade Class. It is fun for both sets of students to experience such a worthwhile event! We will continue Reading Buddies every Day 2 from now until the end of the year.

Thanks again for all you do for our classroom. I am thankful each day for my Room 108 family! Happy Thanksgiving!

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