Extra! Extra! Our Historical Newspapers are Finished!
Our class finished their Titanic newspapers last week which highlighted all the non-fiction reading and writing skills we have been working on the past several weeks. To showcase their work, I allowed the class complete autonomy in creating a hallway display! They worked in partnerships or small groups that they signed up for based on their interests. I especially loved the way they grouped themselves because some people were working together who had rarely worked together all year. Each team worked together to plan the backdrop, decide what all the components should be, and even what colors and materials they needed to complete their tasks. When the "sky" and "water" teams handed me a list of materials they needed, and I asked them exactly how many feet of purple and blue roll paper they wanted, jaws may have dropped a little, but they happily headed out to the hall with tape measures and calculators to give me the total. The backing came out so wonderfully that I have to admit I hated to cover it with their newspapers! See the complete behind the scenes making of our newspapers in our photo gallery!
September's Special Schedule
This year the Troy School District is structuring our special classes a little differently. Instead of having the specials on the same day each week, they rotate. Students will have art, gym and music once every four days for 45 minutes. Library and Spanish will be held once every eight days for 45 minutes. You may click the image below to download and print a copy for yourself. Our specials are held from 11:55-12:40 every day. Lunch follows from 12:50-1:30.
Welcome to Room 14!
If you are reading this, chances are you just found out you will be in my class this year! Hooray! I'm so excited to get the new year started. We are going to have an awesome class this year, I can tell already.
Our theme this year is Reading for Success and 3rd grade chose the comic book genre. I'm just curious? What's Your Superpower? Maybe you use kindness, or intelligence, or creativity, or determination or another superpower to succeed. If you're not sure, we'll unlock the mystery to your talents this year!
Check out the website to get an idea of what last year's class did in third grade. We may not do the exact same things this coming year, but whatever we do will be great! I'm hoping I see you at the open house on Wednesday from 4-5! If you click on the Kids' Blog tab above, you can even answer a question about what you are looking forward to this year.
The New School Year is Almost Here!
Are you getting excited about going back to school? I know I am! Leonard's theme this year is Read to Succeed and Third Grade has chosen comic books as our genre. I just know it is going to be an amazing year!
Letter to Parents
Letter to Students
School Times this Year
9:10 a.m. to 4:02 p.m.
First day dismissal at 12:44.
Hey Kids, You Had an Amazing Visit with Jerry Pallotta
How lucky we were to have the incredible Jerry Pallotta do an assembly for grades 1-5, then pay a visit our classroom. Mr. Pallotta gave generously of his time as he shared some information about his childhood and the inspiration for his books. We got sneak previews of upcoming books and he even showed us how he changes his writing in draft after draft. All of the boys and girls in our room were invited on stage only to be "attacked" by vicious predators like a gigantic wasp and a great white shark. Scholastic sent us books which Mr. Pallotta graciously signed and personalized. We shared our 90 minute research projects with Mr. Pallotta and he loved them, even taking pictures of our projects with his phone. The morning ended with a pizza party and cupcakes which were all part of the prize Riya won in the Animal Showdown contest she entered.
Some Very Special Guests!
I was very honored this weekend to host some very special guests Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. My whole family enjoyed spending time with the boys and girls they have been hearing about all year. On Friday evening, the girls enjoyed decorating cupcakes, doing scratch art, making their own mini pizzas, and getting their nails done all before their ice cream treat. On Saturday afternoon, the boys enjoyed an inflatable hockey stick battle (and to think I actually think they would play hockey with them,) getting completely soaked, having a cookout, visiting the middle school field and going for ice cream. You can see more photos of our day in the photo gallery.
Greenfield Village on June 4
The class really enjoyed, and learned quite a bit from our day at Greenfield Village. After returning, we discussed what we saw, thought and still wondered. While expressing what they took from their day, many students used words like surprised, astonished, fascinated and amazed. Going back in time at Greenfield Village is a great way for the students to gain an understanding of how things like the lightbulb, car and Heinz ketchup got their start as well as a look into how life has changed from so many years ago. Thanks so much to our sixteen parent volunteers who spent their day with us, guiding the children around the village for four hours! See some pictures from our day in the photo gallery.
Our Summer Bucket Lists
On Friday morning, our class created these great buckets to go along with a Summer Bucket List they wrote earlier in the week. We discussed what a bucket list was--things you wanted to do or see that you hadn't done before, then we wrote lists of things we wanted to do or try for the first time before summer vacation ended. The class came up with some wonderful things for their bucket lists--for the first time our third graders would like to try to have a lemonade stand, read a chapter book without pictures, save their allowance for an iPad, try a cannoli and a lobster tail, read a classic book like Charlotte's Web, read for an hour straight, ride on a skateboard, memorize the 9's in multiplication, visit that restaurant The Alibi that everyone talks about, and on and on the lists went. "Work on your bucket list" will be one part of our summer learning pack! If they manage to check one or two things off their "bucket lists" that's something to be proud of for sure!
Field Day-May 30
If you could choose perfect weather for field day, we had it today! Under sunny, blue skies and warm temperatures a wonderful time was had by all. The students had a great time competing against, and cheering on their classmates during field day. Check out all the fun we had in the video below.
Our Pond Study at the Troy Nature Center
We visited the Lloyd A. Stage Outdoor Education Center on Tuesday morning as part of our science unit on Life Cycles. Turns out it was also great for our study of water cycles--the precipitation component to be exact! Despite being poured upon, the kids' enthusiasm and curiosity were very high as they dipped their long-handled nets into the pond, then picked through the muck to discover all sorts of creatures, many of which the students had never seen up close before. We found many dragon fly, damsel fly and may fly nymphs, darters, aquatic isopods, snails, snail eggs, baby cray fish, minnows, beetles, and more. Watch the video below to see your third graders in action and check out the photo gallery for even more pictures!
HAPPY to be 3rd Graders!
Enjoy watching our 3rd graders as they show how Happy they are! Music by Pharrell Williams. :)
Mystery Genre Reading Project
The third graders spent much of the past month learning the language and story structure associated with mysteries. We read long and short mysteries, completing story maps for each. Students became acquainted with the ageless detective Encyclopedia Brown and with some new-found detectives in books of their choosing. Students completed a graphic organizer pack while they read their mysteries which helped them write their jigsaw puzzle report that you will see on display at Showcase. Visit the photo gallery to see the whole project in pictures.
Buddy Reading With First Grade
We enjoyed so many different activities for reading month! Our third graders paid a visit to Mrs. Haboush's room to read aloud to her students and many of her students enjoyed reading back to us. Check out the pictures in the photo gallery to see our third graders with their first grade buddies. You will also find a few other photos from our March activities.
March is Reading Month
If you have been at Leonard awhile, you know how much we love to celebrate reading. In Michigan, March is designated as "Reading Month." Each year a committee of teachers at Leonard come up with different fun and motivating activities. The calendar for the month is below--click on it for a printable download.
We have a few activities all our own in Room 14 that we have been doing for years. The first is our March Mystery Readers. If you would like to read aloud a picture book of your choosing to the class, let me know via email, or using the slip below and I'll be sure to get you scheduled. If the time (1:05) or a date in March doesn't work and you would like to come in, contact me and we'll get you a more convenient date or time.
We also enjoy Mystery Caller. Each week I set aside some time to call my third graders at home to see if I can "catch" them reading. While I won't call everyone every time, I will do my best to make sure I reach each student at least twice during the month. If I catch you, you earn a ticket for our Room 14 Reading Raffle that is held on the morning of April 4. If any parents would like to donate reading related prizes such as bookmarks, books, book character stickers, $5 gift cards to Barnes and Noble, etc. that would be wonderful (not necessary of course, but wonderful!)
Finally, students can also receive one raffle ticket for being a Top Banana Reader. If students complete a chapter book in March, they can fill out the Top Banana form which also earns them a ticket in our raffle. Because of all these activities, there will be no Big Buck reading calendar this month.
102 Stories: Our Climb to the top of the Empire State Building
We wrapped up our study of the Northeast Region by climbing to the top of the Empire State Building in New York City. Students first estimated how long it would take to climb all 1,860 steps from street level to the 102nd floor. Predictions ranged from 13 minutes to 2 days. We discovered that it took us about 47 minutes over two days, including a couple of water breaks. We also decided that next time, we would take the elevator! You can watch a bit of our climb in action in the video below. We discovered climbing to the Just Dance Wii music videos made the climb even more fun!
Working on the Assembly Line
Students learned about mass production by taking part in an "assembly line" at our imaginary chocolate factory . Each worker had a specialized job in making the candy kisses. The first person measured and cut the foil. The second wrote readied the small paper flag, the third person placed the glass gem on the foil, the fourth person wrapped it up in a kiss shape and the last person on the line acted as an inspector. At the end of their 8 minute shift, everyone agreed that while it was probably easier to have specialized jobs, they felt a lot of pressure to keep the line moving. We related this to the manufacturing of the early 1900's when mass production was first introduced and to modern day manufacturing which is highly automated. And of course, how can you have a candy factory in your room without thinking of the video that follows these pictures.
Valentine Week Fun!
Oh what a "lovely" week we had. Our music program on Wednesday was great, and we began wrapping up our mystery genre puzzles project unit this week. We had great fun on Friday admiring all the wonderful Valentine boxes. I was so proud of everyone for the effort they put into their boxes. Thanks so much to Mrs. Puri and Mrs. Mukhales and all of our parents who helped out at the party and sent in goodies. The party was a huge hit, and was certainly enjoyed by all. Look for pictures of everyone's boxes and more in our photo gallery.
Practicing Time Skills
Telling time in varied ways and calculating elapsed time has proved tricky for many of our third graders. We took some time out this week to practice using hands-on manipulatives--also known as things I found in my basement. As you can see in the photos, the he kids loved matching time using Legos and plastic eggs.
Third Grade Stars! Music Performance on February 12, 2014
I thought our class did a great job at their music performance Wednesday evening. I was so proud of them and I'm sure you were too! I hope you enjoyed the performance as much as I did. There is a video clip and photos below for you to enjoy and share with family and friends who may not have been able to attend. You will be able to see exclusive, never before seen backstage footage!
Crayfish and Giant Hissing Madagascar Cockroaches Pay a Visit
It's not often people get excited about discovering they have been invaded by giant cockroaches and crustaceans, but that's exactly what has happened in Room 14! I'm sure you have heard by now of our visiting crustaceans and insects. They arrived the second week of January as part of our Structures of Life unit. Students have completed diagrams of the crayfish body structures and had the opportunity to do some observations of how both react to touch, light, dark, noise and changes in their environment. We also monitor their habitats for proper water levels and food. This week we completed a four part writing piece about the crayfish lifecycle. Check out the photos below.
Our third graders had a great 5 days of keyboard training at "Camp Almena," and we also enjoyed some special activities along the way, like our reading campout, winter hike and of course making birdhouses, s'mores and old-fashioned scout-inspired "Gorp" out of cereals, fruit snacks, pretzels, raisins, m&m's and more! Oh, and student were also learning to type! Most students had memorized the keyboard by the end of the second day and were able to type with the "skins" (keyboard covers) on with no problem. I saw the newly learned keyboarding skills transferring back to the classroom by the end of the week when they were working on laptops--students were typing with both hands, keeping them firmly planted on home row. I was very excited to see the progress they made by the end of the week. Most students were typing over 18 word per minute without errors and a few were averaging over 30 words per minute. You can view photos from our week in the photo gallery.
If you ever need something to do, give these fun activities a try!
Getting Crafty with Our Science!
We looked at the leaf structure of perhaps the most well known of the holiday plants, the poinsettia, discussing how water moves through the veins and feeds the plants. We also discussed how the "flowers"are actually groupings of leaves. The bracts, or leaves turn red after they are kept in the dark by growers for 12 hours a day for several days. The lack of light is what makes the leaves turn colors, similar to how tree leaves change color in the fall when they are not undergoing photosynthesis. The students took their knowledge of plant structure and represented it in an artful way with their poinsettia paintings.
A Visit to Morley Candy Makers
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!
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.