Niceness Abounds in Room 14 with Holiday Secret Pals!
Tis the season for giving and caring! Students have picked the name of a classmate who will be their secret pal for the next two weeks. (Boys picked boys and girls picked girls.)To be a secret pal all a third grader has to do is show they care by doing three nice things (more if they like!) for that person before Thursday, December 19 and make a small gift for them.
The best gifts come from the heart, not Walmart! The three nice things must be “acts of kindness.” We talked about lots of examples in class like inviting your pal to eat lunch with you or play at recess, taking down their chair, getting their boots or lunchbox, giving them a really great compliment. Students can also draw a picture or do a simple paper craft as one of their acts of kindness. We also said that picking up a
classmate's pencil when they drop it is not considered a "going out of your way act of kindness" but the simple decent thing to do so little things like that don't toward your three. Students were also told to keep theirr identity a secret, they should do lots of nice things for others in the room, just to "throw them off."
On the morning of December 19, Secret Pals will be unveiled when each student presents their pal with a small homemade gift. The idea here is for students to give their time and effort for someone else. It might seem more fun to play xBox or watch TV for an hour but hopefully students will feel the joy that comes with using that time instead to work hard to make something for someone else. I told students to make something they would like to receive themselves! We discussed the homemade gift should be made out of items you already have at home. Nothing new needs to be bought!! This is a great way for students to use their ingenuity. I don't want anyone having to run to the store at this busy time of year. Ideas we talked about for gifts include ornaments, bookmarks, decorations, jewelry or even anything from craft kits you may already have at home and haven’t used yet. I have lots of craft materials and paper here, so third graders can ask me for anything them might need! If I have it, you can have it! Make something you would like to get! Gifts should be wrapped or in a bag with a card on it that we will make in class.
Holiday Raffle: For a little extra motivation, everytime a student does something nice for a classmate, they get to fill out a ticket describing their deed that acts like a raffle ticket for a drawing we will have right before the Sing Along on Dec. 20. Hope your students have fun with being Secret Pals of Niceness!
Students were asked to tell what they were most thankful for. Enjoy what they had to say. Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Fire Safety Assembly
Our third graders learned the basics of fire safety with a visit from the Troy Fire Department.Students were reminded that they need to practice escape routes with their parents, have a special meeting spot outdoors and that in case of fire and smoke, they need to stay low were the air is. We will be doing the Troy Fire Department Safety House assembly in the spring.
Our class enjoyed a little excitement when we took a virtual field trip to Plimoth Plantation--no permission slips or admission required. In preparing for our "trip" we used iPads to learn how to find a ten day weather forecast and Google maps to find the directions and number of miles from Leonard to Plymouth, Massachusetts. (754 miles!) Students were asked to look at the three routes and decide which would be the best to take. They were very surpised to discover that the shortest route was through Canada.
Character Trait Silhouettes
Over the past few weeks as part of our reading and writing curriculum, students have been learning about character traits. In reading, recognizing a character's personality can help you understand why a character acts the way they do and how they may change throughout the story. In writing, we are developing characters in our narratives, giving them distinct personalities through our words, actions and dialogue. During our literacy centers, students combined what we were learning in language arts with our study of shadows to create silhouettes of themselves that listed ten character traits they thought best described them. See our silhouettes below, or better yet, stop by and see them in person!
Student Council Elections
I was so proud of our fifteen boys and girls who made posters and gave speeches to be our class representatives. This was an election that truly had no losers; everyone who ran was a winner just for trying! This year Danny and Sonia will be representing our class at morning Council Meetings. Below are some pictures of our candidates with their posters.
The class had a wonderful time at our Halloween parade and parties. Thanks so much to our Room Moms, Mrs. Puri and Mrs. Mukhales, and all of our parents who contributed to make this one of the nicest Halloween parties Room 14 has ever seen. See more pictures from our fun-filled afternoon in the photo gallery.
Name Brand Skeletons!
Our third graders created these skeletons by painting their name in cursive, then folding the paper in half to create their very own personalized skeleton body. They wrote fictional narratives to go with their creations.To watch the made for Scholastic, click here.
Write All About It!
We have been hard at work this quarter perfecting our personal narratives, or short stories from our lives. I can already see great progress in beginnings, idea development and sentence structure. Students also love "Freewrite Friday," when for thirty minutes they can write about what ever topic they like in a format of their choice. We have students writing comic books, poems, picture books, letters and even a chapter book! They look forward to this special time each week!
Only the Shadow Knows!
On Thursday, after the heavy fog lifted, we furthered our scientific study of light and shadows by becoming human sundials. Students went outside four times during the day, and with a partner traced their shadows on the blacktop. They measured their shadows and recorded the time, length of shadow and position of the sun. Next they wrote observations and made predictions of what the next trip outside would bring. Students discovered that their shadows moved in a circular, clockwise direction, and in a direct line with the sun's position. Shadows were longest early in the morning, shortest when the sun was directly overhead and began to lengthen again in the afternoon. Towards the end of the day we watched a short clip on how sundials worked and students were amazed to discover they had become human sundials. Interactive science at it's best!
The Relatives Came Read Along
Thank you so much to all of our relatives who came for our surprise event. Even if the weather did not fully cooperate with us, I'm so happy the third graders could enjoy a few good books and a few good treats with their family and friends. The boys and girls used the Cynthia Rylant book, The Relatives Came, this week as mentor text for a personal narrative they wrote then published as a picture book. These should be finished and ready to display soon. If you would like to see more photos from our Read Along, please be sure to visit the photo gallery.
The First Day of School
The 2013-2014 school year got off to a great start with 28 wonderful students all eager to learn in the third grade. We began our day with a Who's in Room 14 Word Search, next we read the short story The Kingdom With No Rules, No Laws and No King which led to a class discussion on why we might want a few rules and laws (procedures) in our classroom. Students came up with a pretty good list of things that would help make our room run smoothly. Turns out, we decided, rules aren't created by mean teachers looking for new ways to get students--they are there for two good reasons, safety and respect. Our class decided we only needed three rules to cover everything: Respect Yourself, Respect Others, Respect the School Community.
Folowing recess we read a great back to school book, Teacher from the Black Lagoon. Then of course, being the teacher that I am, I made them write about their first day of school! To complete our day, we dusted off some math skills, did an all class icebreaker activity, and unpacked all of our supplies. Hopefully your boys and girls had a wonderful first day too!
It's Almost Time for School!
I am so looking forward to meeting all of my new third graders. I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and is ready to start a great new year together! Click on the links below to find some important information about the upcoming year!
Letter to Parents
Letter to Students
Note: Please have your child bring a favorite 4 x 6 photo with them the first week to display in our room all year.
I'm so happy to have the opportunity to be sharing some of the things I do in my classroom on Scholastic's Top Teaching Blogs. I hope you will join me and several other teachers as we share our ideas weekly.