Thursday, September 30, 2010


Tonight's homework:

- Read 20-30 minutes

- Word Study Practice Quiz
     * This is where you find someone to quiz you on your spelling words for the week.  Please record your answers in your word study journal.  There will be a spelling quiz on your words tomorrow!

- Finish the Math worksheet (Counting by 100s/Corral These Numbers)

Stay dry!

- Mr. B

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Tonight's homework:

- Read 20-30 minutes
- Word Study Menu Item (your choice)

PLEASE remember to bring your Word Study journal back to school, as we will be using it in class each day. Soon it will be automatic, but right now it's new and may require more reminders.

Also, GREAT JOB today during our second attempt at the Marshmallow Challenge! The class improved in all areas: teamwork (lots of kind words), planning (great drafts!), and the actual building techniques (new record height of 18.5"). We had more structures standing at the end than our first attempt and the average height was much taller. Way to go class!

- Mr. B

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Tonight's homework:

- Read 20-30 minutes
- Choose a menu item for Word Study & write it down in your journal
Choices (can be found glued inside the front cover):
* Draw & Label: Draw pictures for 8-10 words. Label each picture.
* Riddles: Make up riddles for 5 words. Each riddle should have 3 clues.
* Same/Opposite: Choose 8-10 words and write a synonym/antonym for each.
* Word Hunt: Find 8-10 new words that would fit your sort this week.
* Dictionary Work: Look up 8-10 words. Write a clear definition for each.
* Writing Fun: Make up a story/poem/song using as many of your words as you can.
- Finish Math Worksheet(s)
* Finish classwork
* Complete "Race to the Top"

This is a significant step up in the amount of homework we have. Please plan accordingly!

Have fun!

- Mr. B

Monday, September 27, 2010

Homework (Word Study)


This week we are starting a new homework routine: Word Study!

In addition to the "normal" read 20-30 minutes, students are asked to sort their words at home (saying each word aloud) and copy down the sort in their word study journals. The word study homework schedule has been glued to the inside cover of the journal.

A typical week might look like this:
- Monday: Sort words at home and copy them down in journal
- Tuesday: Choice from the homework menu (e.g., Dictionary Look-up)
- Wednesday: Choice from the homework menu (e.g., Riddles)
- Thursday: Practice spelling test @ home
- Friday: QUIZ @ school (no homework at night)

Good luck & have fun!

- Mr. B

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Marshmallow Challenge!

Today we tried out an engineering project during our Extended Learning Time (ELT).

The Marshmallow Challenge goes like this:
- teams of 3 students
- each team receives 20 spaghetti strings (uncooked), one yard of string, one yard of masking tape and a single marshmallow
- teams have 18 minutes to create the tallest free-standing structure
- the height of the structure will be measured from the base to the top of the marshmallow

Our class did a GREAT job of coming up with unique designs and working together to try and accomplish them. We were a little rushed, and only a few structures stood the test of time (18:00), however, for a first try I was very impressed. Students were under "pressure" to work together and solve a complicated problem - it's called the Marshmallow Challenge for a reason! Stay tuned for news on our second attempt...

(special thanks to Mrs. Livermon for the idea & all of her help!)

Tonight's homework is to:

- Read 20-30 minutes
- Finish the "Count Them Up!" worksheet (front and back)

The front has riddles that test your number sense.
The back has math tricks you can use to wow your friends!

Thanks for reading.

- Mr. B

Monday, September 20, 2010

Math Exit Slip

Hello again!

Tonight's homework is to Read 20-30 min. & complete the Math Exit Slip related to place value.

One note that I tried to reinforce at the end of the day:

"Representational form" means draw blocks to show the number indicated.

For example:

1,259 in Representational form would be seen as:

1 giant cube (worth 1,000)
2 flat waffles (worth 100 each)
5 rods (worth 10 each)
9 small cubes (worth 1 each)

Hope that helps!

- Mr. B

Wednesday, September 15, 2010



Today we watched a short video from a favorite cartoon of mine (see below):

As a class, we tried to make a list of as many countries as we could.  After 3 viewings, we had lots of different countries to share and our "master list" on the board was quite impressive!

Tonight's homework:

- Read 20-30 minutes

- Finish "Global Fun" worksheet (if needed...most/all finished in class)

- Read page 1 of Geography Study Guide* (page 2 will be used as a practice quiz tomorrow night...feel free to complete early if you wish)

*Please note that it may be helpful for an adult to review the vocabulary with the student.

- Maps & Globes Quiz will be on Friday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to School Night!

Greetings Parents!

Welcome to Room 303.  This is where your child spends most of their time when at school each day.  Please feel free to get up & look around the room.  There is a letter addressed to you at your student's desk.  If you feel up to the task, take a minute and respond to it (on the front or back)!

We will start once everyone has had a chance to arrive and find the room.

Thank you very much for coming!


Mr. Balnave

P.S. - Tonight's homework is on the board:

- Read 20-30 minutes with a good book
- "Wavy Water World" worksheet (Social Studies Maps/Globes/Grids) front & back
- (optional) Bring in a map (sticker reward)

Monday, September 13, 2010



Tonight's homework is to:

- Read 20-30 min. with a good book.

- Complete the contractions worksheet.  Students are given a common contraction (e.g., "they've") and are asked to write down the two words that combine to make it (e.g., "they" and "have").

Coming soon - a Words of the Week segment that highlights vocabulary words we have discussed so far this year.

- Mr. B

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Homework

Hello class!

I think weekends are best used to recharge and get away from school.  With this in mind, I will do my best to keep weekend homework assignments "light".

This weekend's homework is to:  (drum roll)

- Read 20-30 minutes each night from a good book.

- Play outside, spend time with your family, enjoy life.

Have a great weekend!

- Mr. B

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Tonight's homework deals with the grammar usage of apostrophes.  As a class, we watched a short BrainPOP video on "contractions" (smush words together and replace something with an apostrophe).  This worksheet is an attempt to reinforce that concept - students are to match the contractions in the word bank to the appropriate blank.

Most challenging part?  Probably coming up with 3 contractions on their own.  Second most challenging part?  Probably reading words that are written in cursive!

Please also remember to spend 20-30 minutes each night reading a good book.

I've invited students to bring in a map (of any kind) for a "sticker reward".  We have just begun a new unit on maps & globes!

Best of luck!

- Mr. B

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homework (still trying...)

Okay, the preferred method seems to be via GoogleDocs.

Here's the latest link to our beloved Forks, Spoons & Knives homework (assigned 9/01, due 9/03).

**You should not need a log-in to view this**

Homework (cont.)

Here's a first attempt at posting an example of tonight's homework...

The sizes are funny and the current method is to create a .doc file, save it as a .pdf, save that as a .jpeg and then "Insert image" to get it to show up here (thanks to Ms. Perry for the help!).  Hopefully an easier way will present itself soon!

Anyways, if you're in need of help with Forks, Spoons & Knives, here it is!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


My goal is to get into a routine of posting the night's homework for students and parents to view.  This can act as a "backup plan" to the current agenda book system we have here at Brownsville.  If you have any questions or comments about the homework posted, please reply with your own comment and I will try to respond.

Here goes:

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Reading:  20-30 minutes

Math:  Forks, Spoons & Knives Graphing Assignment (Due Friday)

Thanks for viewing!

- Mr. B

Science Experiments

This year, the third grade teachers wanted to start the year exploring the scientific method.  Each teacher is introducing vocabulary, conducting demonstrations and experiments, modeling the scientific thinking process and asking the students to record their work (questions, hypotheses, procedures, observations and conclusions).  So far the students have been up to the task!

Lava Experiment - See this link for details.

We currently have three experiments going in Room 303.

1) The Mold Experiment - Which food (cheese, strawberry, bread or grape) will mold the fastest in dark, moist conditions?

2) The Eggsperiment - (Part I) What will happen to raw eggs if they are left in cups of vinegar? 
(Part II) What will happen to the same eggs if they are moved into cups of water and corn syrup?

3) The Lava Experiment - Borrowed from, see the link in the caption above!

That's all for now!  Thanks for visiting.

- Mr. B