Posted in Class News

The Imagination Machine

We recently had an assembly by “The Imagination Machine” brought to us by our PTA.

The students really enjoyed it and afterward they were tasked with writing their own stories. After we brainstormed of “who, what, where” students wrote, and had a good time doing so. They practiced the writing process and improved their pieces. Teachers were asked to turn in the best papers so that they could be sent on to The Imagination Machine for consideration as they will be visiting us again before the school year is out to perform some of our students’ stories. I wanted to share the stories of those selected from my class in a new way, so I decided to finally try out SoundCloud and have students make their stories into mini podcasts for anyone to listen to.  Please click HERE to access the playlist that contains the following stories:

  • “The Lost Swimmer” by Xiomara
  • “Aquaman Saves the Ocean” by Jesse
  • “The Lost Little Girl” by Audrey
  • “The Boy With Bad Luck” by Andrew
  • “The Hero” by Wyatt
  • “Samantha Steals Jewelry” by Amanda
  • “The Friendly Ghost” by Therese

The class on the whole did a great job with their writing. I am seeing much neater penmanship, improved spelling and sentence construction, and proper paragraph structure. One area I observed that needed some work across all students was adding more details, which we will continue to work on.

Posted in Class News, Classroom Ideas



We were recently were gifted with a box of supplies from Yoobi. The class was surprised and thrilled to get such lovely new school supplies. They were just in time too, we were about to color and sort triangles and quadrilaterals!  Thank you Yoobi!





Posted in Classroom Ideas

Happy New Year!

School is back in session and we are back at school learning and working on our Common Core standards for 3rd grade. I know how excited the kids are after a long break and I wanted to give them a couple of opportunities to share in fun ways.

First I told the class they would get to be reporters and interview one another. I gave them some time to brainstorm questions then split them into A/B partners. Rather than just have them talk about their own breaks, I had them ask probing questions of their partner. After about 10 minutes of interviewing, they shared what they learned about the other person in pair presentations to the class. The students could then take one question each from the class about their own breaks.  It went very smoothly and they students really enjoyed the experience. I was amused by some of the questions, though many of them were largely the same.

Being the new year I thought it was a good time for some thought on what my students wanted out of their 2015. I saw some cute ideas on Pinterest for posters kids made that had their hand and foot prints and things about them…a keepsake essentially. I thought I would make it more like resolutions/goals. I discussed the concept of resolutions and goals with the class and had them brainstorm on what things they wanted out of their 2015. I had several confused and simply stating things they wanted and I had to remind them that they were not making a gift list for next Christmas. I also had several not maximizing the poster I had given them and I had to explain the importance of visual appeal and readability. I have included my instructions as well as some of the best posters in the class.

2015 Poster_teacher

2015 Poster_Xiomara

2015 Poster_Elena

2015 Poster_Denise

I thought the posters turned out well despite confusions. I will display the posters in the class for a time then give them to the students so they can see how their 2015 turned out in the end and if they achieved some of the things they wanted from their 2015.

Posted in Competitions, Fontana Teachers Association

Hispanic Heritage Month

The Fontana Teacher’s Association has released information that its Hispanic Heritage Month Contest is now open!



I will be working with the class on entries for the essay and multimedia categories for sure, but you are more than welcome to work on an entry at home with your child and send them to me for submission to FTA. If you plan on working with your child independently on this, please let me know so I don’t leave your entry out!

Entries due to FTA by 4pm on Tuesday, September 16th. Entries due to me Monday, September 15th.  Have fun!

~ Mrs. Ruiz

P.S. Click HERE to visit Fact Monster for more information on Hispanic Heritage Month.  And HERE for a list of notable Hispanic Americans.


Posted in Interesting Websites

Summer Slump

Hello Everyone!

I am often asked about educational apps and programs for students.  I wish I knew them all well.  There are so many great programs out there!  One site I personally turn to when evaluating technology for my 9 year old son is Common Sense Media.  They have a great guide on avoiding the Summer Slump, do have a look!

~ Mrs. Ruiz

Posted in Class News

Class News for May 16th

Hello Families!

As we come up on the last several days of school I have decided there will no longer be any “official” homework.  Instead I am sending home easy to do science projects and math art for students and families who still want something to work on.  Any work completed will be worth ClassDojo points.  We will have Math and Science Show and Tell Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to give an opportunity to those students who choose to do the optional homework a chance to share their work with the class.  I have encouraged them to use technology when doing so.  For example, they could make a Power Point presentation, or make a movie or video of themselves working on the task to show to the class.  I have encouraged them to be creative!  Students can bring any tech work they do in on a flash/thumb/jump/USB drive, it can be burned onto a CD ROM, or if the file is small enough it can be emailed to me.  If they bring their device (with your permission) I have the necessary projection adapters for only Apple devices (sorry Android users). If they publish work on a site, they can provide me the URL and we will have a look at it in class.  If you have any questions about this, please email me.

Here is the first bit of optional science work I have given the class.  The copier jammed so I didn’t have enough for everyone and I wanted to be sure to post it here so those who may not have gotten it and want to try it can read what is required.  The images are sideways, and I couldn’t figure out how to correct that in the time I had to make this post (believe me I tried), but if you save them, you can correct them on your machine before printing.

27 Separator pg 1

27 Separator pg 2

Any of the optional science and math work can be done at the student’s pace and be turned in at any time.

The ClassDojo reports appeared to print out incorrectly today, but I did not have time to investigate.  So please do log into ClassDojo and have a look at your child’s points.

We had a great Career Day today and we will be writing thank you letters next week not only to those who came to see us, but to those at DGE who set up such a wonderful day.  The visitors inspired discussions about what the kids want to be when they grow up and we did a bit of writing about it and made a very cute little movie that I think would make a great keepsake of their third grade year.  I cannot publish it here due to privacy issues, but I will be attempting to email a copy of it to the parents for you to see and enjoy very soon.

Beginning next week we will be having PE each morning.  Please make sure to send your child to school dressed appropriately.  Sandals are not allowed at school and unsafe for PE.

I believe that addresses everything I discussed with the class today.  As always, if you have any questions please send me an email and I will reply as soon as possible.

~Mrs. Ruiz

Posted in EdTech Experiment, Graduate Studies, My Opinion

21st Century Learners

I am presently attending online classes at Grand Canyon University to earn my Master’s in Educational Technology and I am very excited about the way it is already getting me thinking.  It was just what I had hoped for in bringing back some of my passion for teaching had been killed due to the drastic cuts in funding for education.  The following is one of the discussion questions I had to reply to and my response.  If you are interested in the link I am referring to, it can be found on the right side of this page under “Graduate Studies.”

“Based on the Standards for 21st-Century Learners, how prepared are students for using technology in their daily lives after leaving your classroom? What improvements might you make in your curriculum? Provide specific examples.”

First off I was quite impressed with the depth and detail contained in this brochure by the American Association of School Librarians. I don’t think I have viewed libraries in the way outlined in the brochure and that is an error on my part.  I do believe that my impression of the libraries I have access to is that they are (like my school) limited in what they can serve the community due to funding.  There is ONE library in the city in which I teach that is anything at all like what the brochure describes, but that is because it is a relatively recent addition to the city having opened in April 2008.

As to the discussion question, I feel like a broken record at times as I consider my response to this, but being that is a new class I will reiterate. My students were much more prepared for using technology in their daily lives after leaving my classroom about 4 or 5 years ago when my school had the funds to expose them to those technologies.  Technology needs replacing and updating, and with all of the reductions in education, my school did not and continues to not have the funds to buy new technology for the students to interact with.  As technology slowly shriveled I took it upon myself to do what I could to continue to expose my students to current technology.  I am a lover of technology and while I am not one of those that will run out and buy every latest gadget, I do invest in those that I feel will serve me in some way in both a personal and professional way.  This was the case when the iPad first came out.  My family invested right off and I looked for ways to bring this to my classroom.  I bring my iPad to school every day and have not only taught with it, but have had students create with it.  Granted, 32 third graders and ONE iPad is a bit of a challenge, but at least I was exposing them in some small way to what possibilities there are.  I share applications with my students and they are always surprised that they too can have the application I am using.  I often have parents asking me about applications and referencing their child telling them about me using it in class.  I love when that happens!

Just the other day I asked my students how many knew how to use a touchscreen…whether it be a tablet or otherwise and every hand went up…32 hands!  That wasn’t the case a few years ago.  I recall I had students who had no idea how to interact with a tablet and I was amazed at how quickly things change.

After years of being disappointed and frustrated at the technology situation at my school, I have noticed more and more families have access to the technology I would like to use in my classroom.  While my district has not embraced the BYOD (bring your own device) notion, I am working on doing it my way in creating an online tech club.  Essentially I will use my class website, Discovery Education and Edmodo to create assignments that enhance the curriculum that students can do at home with the technology they have access too, and with the aid of their parents.  I of course would be accessible for help as well.

As to a specific example, March is Women’s History Month.  I would expose my students to text and video to build and enhance their knowledge on the subject.  I would then build an assignment within Discovery Education where students use the Board Builder feature (much like Glogster) to meet the following common core standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Students would share their completed “boards” with one another as well as present them to the class as well as other audiences.

Discovery Education:


Womens History Month:



I will be developing this idea along with the structure of Dorothy Grant’s Online Tech Club, so stay tuned!

~ Mrs. Ruiz

Posted in Class News, Competitions

Class News

FTA program

Several Dorothy Grant 3rd graders were recently honored for their essays and art created in honor of the Fontana Teachers Association’s Black History Month Essay, Visual Arts, and Media Presentation Contest entitled “Civil Rights in America.”

I had the pleasure of working with all the 3rd graders on this project and the following students’ work was selected as exemplars by the 3rd grade team and sent on to FTA to represent DGE:

Essays from Mrs. Alaniz’s class: Madison, Gilson, Sergio, Ytzell, and Evelyn

Essays from Ms. Moore’s class: Steven, Mariely, Litzy, Xavier, and Ava

Essays from my class: Jacob T., Jaqueline, Joseph, Jacob F., and Matthew

Essay winners in the TK – 3rd division (as determined by FTA):

1st place: Jacob T.

2nd place: Litzy


Art from Mrs. Alaniz’s class: Anyiah, Madison, Riley, Evelyn, and Alan S.

Art from Ms. Moore’s class: Ava, Sophia G., Ramneek, and Paris

Art from my class: Isabel, Suzette, and Joseph

Art winners in the TK – 3rd division (as determined by FTA):

Honorable Mention: Ava


The next FTA contest will be on Women’s History and the details will be announced soon.  I look forward to working with all of the 3rd graders again.  This time I will also be attempting to guide students in a media/technology project, so do stay tuned for that!

~ Mrs. Ruiz

Posted in General

Multiplication Monsters

I have been a bit late in getting this going, but I finally have had enough time to set it up so I present MULTIPLICATION MONSTERS!

photo 2

Having basic multiplication (0-12) committed to memory is HUGE in third grade.  It isn’t uncommon for teachers to make some sort of visual incentive to motivate their students.  I am a heavy user of Class Dojo (which I may write about at another time) and on this behavior management system the avatars used to represent my students are “monsters” which I find amusingly and affectionately appropriate.  So when I saw these Trend Enterprises Furry Friends Mini Accents in a pack of 36 (yes having 36 is a big deal…I am often quite irritated at packs of 20 or some nonsense when class size is always on the rise..I presently have 32 students and have been told I could have 33 at most…but this is a rant for another post) I knew they were perfect.

photo 3

So I picked them up along with some lil stars and made a simple table in Word for each lil monster to hold.  Each one of my students has their very own Multiplication Monster for them to track their progress on. (click photos to enlarge)

photo 1

I have never been one for flashy bulletin boards.  I rather prefer the clean and non-time consuming approach.  So I was rather pleased with the way it turned out and I know my students will be thrilled to see their new monsters and will be excited about their multiplication quizzes.  The “party” I use most is what I call a reward lunch where top point earners in Class Dojo are invited to lunch with me in the classroom where they can watch a movie (as much as a 40 minute lunch will allow).  They LOVE this and it has been a huge hit.  So I will be having a special lunch for those students who successfully reach their twelves.

Thanks for reading!

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  
~ Mahatma Gandhi