Reading Parade and Book Character Dress Up Day 2014

The Holsenbeck Elementary School Summer Reading Parade and Book Character Dress Up Day was on Friday, August 22, 2014.  Everyone had fun at the parade first, and students did such a great job with their character presentations in the classroom after the parade.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

Characters reading their books

                     Characters reading their books

The teachers had a great time dressing as their favorite characters too.

Ms. Masters as Luna Lovegood

Ms. Masters as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter

3rd Grade Teachers

3rd Grade Teachers











Here’s a link to a picture of our class’s parade participants on the Holsenbeck Elementary School Facebook page.

And we even made the news

And here’s a link to pictures on the Barrow County School System website.

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT)

Today, students took home information about Barrow County School System’s BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) program.  The letter details the agreement, plan, privacy information, network security, and student consequences for misuse/disruption.  The agreement form details acceptance of responsibility and device use.  The form must be signed and returned before students are allowed to bring devices to school.

You may have more questions about the BYOT program.  Barrow County has an information website that details the program and compatible devices.

Before we begin using BYOT in my classroom, we will be reviewing the agreement and my classroom expectations.


This summer, I took professional learning classes related to BYOT and read books about it.  I found a great quote in Making Connections with Blogging: Authentic Learning for Today’s Classrooms by Lisa Parisi and Brian Crosby (2012, International Society for Technology in Education): 

“Scissors, sharp pencils, compasses, playground equipment, driving to school in a car or buss—all can cause injuries.  But all of these things are deemed too valuable to do without, so we teach safe use and monitor students…. Children won’t learn proper, ethical use without experience.” (p. 31)

I want my students to be prepared to be successful in the 21st century.  Students are going to learn how to use the technology (most of them probably already know how); I want to make sure they learn how to use it efficiently, safely, and respectfully.

Reading Parade and Character Dress Up 2014


This Friday (August 22nd) is the Reading Parade at Holsenbeck!
Students can dress up as a favorite character, and each student will give a character presentation.  Students began working on their presentations today.  Here’s a copy of the directions.

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Students will present “wax museum” style.  This means they don’t have to present to the entire class at once, and they don’t have to interact with their audience.  Students will stand around the classroom like wax statues in a museum until someone presses their “on” button to begin speaking.  We will practice this at school so students will feel comfortable doing it on Friday.

Word Study Program

For spelling this year, we are using a word study program.  This program teaches spelling patterns, but it also requires students to learn to spell high frequency words.

Here is a parent information sheet that explains the program in detail.

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Each week, students will complete three “Tic-Tac-Toe” homework assignments from the page in their binders.  They will take a practice spelling test for homework on Thursdays, and they will take the spelling test on Fridays.  The spelling test will cover the ten assigned pattern words, five new pattern words, and the five high frequency words.  Students will have to write a sentence with each assigned high frequency word.  You can see an example on the information sheet in this post.

Math Fact Fluency

MathMath fact fluency is very important for student achievement in math and it is a standard in 3rd grade.  The standard states that 3rd grade students should fluently multiply and divide within 100 and by the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.  The 2nd grade standard states that students should be able to fluently add and subtract within 100.  By the time our students finish 3rd grade, we want to be sure they are fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  We have several programs and incentives related to math fact fluency in 3rd grade at Holsenbeck.

Math Masters

The Math Masters fact incentive program has been used at Holsenbeck for many years.  Each week, students are tested with a 100-problem sheet.  The program requires students to successfully pass each of the areas below with 98% accuracy or better before going on to the next level.

Addition (“Math Master”) levels: 6 minutes, 4 minutes, and 3 minutes
Subtraction (“Math Mentor”) levels: 6 minutes, 4 minutes, and 3 minutes
Multiplication (“Math Wizard”) levels: 6 minutes, 4 minutes, and 3 minutes
Division (“Math Genius”) levels: 6 minutes, 4 minutes, and 3 minutes
Double digit (“Math Champion”) levels:  6 minute addition, 6 minute subtraction, 6 minute multiplication, and 6 minute division

For each “minutes” level students pass, they will receive a certificate.  For each operation level students pass, they receive a bigger award (ribbons, medals, trophies, t-shirts, and plaques).  These are all awarded at awards celebrations.


To help students master their math facts, we use the Reflex math fact fluency online program.  We use this fun program instead of just using worksheets or flash cards.  All students will have log in information for Reflex in their agenda binders.  To use Reflex, students go to or open the free Reflex math app on an iPad.  They enter “smasters” as the username and then click on their class name.  After clicking on their name, they enter their password.  Parents can sign up for a parent reporting account by going to  Follow the onscreen instructions to easily set up your account.  This will allow you monitor your child’s math fact fluency progress.  (You will need your child’s password to access this.)

Usage is important for success with Reflex.  (Three days of usage is good but four days is better!)  Any help you can provide by encouraging your child to use Reflex at home will be appreciated.

First Week of School


We had a great first week of school!  We started talking about goal setting (long-term and short-term) and students wrote one goal on a cutout of their hands.  This is out in the hallway on our bulletin board to remind students to “reach” for their goals.  Soon we will begin writing our data and goals in our data notebooks.  This will help students to be responsible for their own learning.  Watch for more information about each of the pages in the notebook.

For more information about what we will be learning this month and for important dates this month, be sure to read the 3rd grade August newsletter.

First Day of School


Today was a great first day of school!  Our class spent time getting to know each other, me (Ms. Masters), and the classroom procedures and routines.  We practiced Read to Self and took our first Math Masters test.  We read books and wrote about ourselves.  Students reviewed school wide expectations and rules.  We went to music for specials and had pizza for lunch.  On Monday we will start our regular schedule–including homework! 🙂