Some Very Special Guests!
I was very honored this weekend to host some very special guests Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. My family enjoyed spending time with the boys and girls they have been hearing about all year. On Friday evening, the girls enjoyed decorating cupcakes, attempting to make a dream catcher (terrible craft, Mrs. Connell!!), making their own mini pizzas, and getting their nails done all before their ice cream treat. On Saturday afternoon, the boys dodged the rain and enjoyed an inflatable hockey stick battle and races, played water soaker dodge-ball, and had a cookout shortened by the thunder and lightning. After they ate, there was an impromptu video game tournament and when the sky cleared, we were able to visit the middle school basketball court and field and enjoy some ice cream at Dairy Treat. You can see more photos of our day in the photo gallery.
Our Pond Study at the Troy Nature Center
We visited the Lloyd A. Stage Outdoor Education Center as part of our science unit on Life Cycles. Enthusiasm and curiosity were very high as students 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, a huge cray fish and beetles! Watch the video below to see your third graders in action and check out the photo gallery for even more pictures!
Our class did an amazing job on their interviews on Tuesday, April 14. Everyone took the task at hand very seriously and asked the Titanic "survivors" the questions they wrote for their interview of a lifetime. These interviews became part of a mock front page of a newspaper with a print date the week of April 15, 1912. For the newspaper, students also used their new found knowledge of this disaster to write a summary article that detailed the facts from sailing to rescue, a timeline and a list of facts they felt were interesting. It is the culmination of our non-fiction unit which also included research reports on natural disasters. The theme presented throughout this unit was "Whenever a disaster occurs, lessons are learned and changes are made for the better." Pretty much a life lesson I've tried to impress upon the class--whenever something goes wrong, learn from it, make improvements and changes so it doesn't happen again and move on!" There are a few photos below but check out the photo gallery for more pictures from our special day.
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!
From Sunshine to Syrup at the Outdoor Education Center and Pancake Breakfast
We put our taste buds front and center on Wednesday, April 1 during our pancake breakfast, which is an annual follow-up to our visit to the Troy Nature Center on March 26. During our visit to the Nature Center we learned about the role photosynthesis plays in sap production and the process involved in turning sap into syrup. The breakfast was a tasty conclusion to our learning, made even more special by it being pajama day!. Our hungry third graders went through 94 pancakes, 5 packages of sausage, 16 ounces of pure maple syrup, and even more Mrs. Butterworth's. No one asked about having snack that morning! Special thanks to the Erdelean, Nowak and Merem families for their generous donations!
Our boys and girls had a great time during their reading campout! Of course the best part was turning the classroom into a reading campground!
Owl Pellet Investigation
We were so excited to welcome naturalists from the Troy Outdoor Education Center to Leonard where they taught us all about owls and their place in the food chain. Students had the opportunity to dissect a pellet in order to discover what their barn owl had eaten. We found a wide array of skeletons from birds, mice, and shrews to the most popular, the vole. Thanks so much to Mr. Nowak and Mrs. Vesperini for helping out!
Valentine's Day is always a huge favorite in the third grade and this year was no different. Student began the day by showcasing their amazingly creative Valentine boxes. That afternoon we enjoyed a fun-filled party thanks to all the efforts of our room moms, Mrs.Stakits, Mrs. Walters and Mrs. Mosey and the donations from many more parents.
Biography Research Reports
To kick-off our non-fiction unit, students began with a high interest genre, the biography. After a few days reading about many different people who made a difference, students selected a person who interested them and they wanted to learn more about. Following step-by-step procedures, they researched, took notes, wrote a rough draft then final copy of their report. Afterwards, they created ""biography people" to display their reports on.
After weeks of reading mysteries, our third graders selected one for a book report. The natural presentation was a mystery puzzle! The report was broken into seven paragraphs and put into a mystery puzzle that students cut apart for classmates to solve.
Science Technology Engineering Challenge
Our third graders put their knowledge of measurement, force and motion to good use when they were challenged to create a simple machine that would push an object through the air Through a process of small steps, our boys and girls learned about catapults and projectiles. Because it was right before Valentine's Day, the natural projectile was heart shaped candy! The video below will take you through the steps of the challenge. It was a great way to learn about engineering, research, along with trial and error. After students created catapults that they thought would launch a projectile the furthest, they needed to switch their thinking an create a catapult designed for accuracy in order to hit a target 36 inches away.
During our study of crayfish life cycles, the students'absolute favorite part was when the crayfish came out of the tanks for exploration. One day, I challenged the kids to work in teams to design and build a maze for the crayfish to go through. The maze needed to have a start and ending point and at least two dead ends. They could choose from any of the building materials in the classroom. I loved watching all the changes students made to their designs when they realized they needed to make the maze more challenging or easier for their crayfish to maneuver through.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy year filled with all things wonderful!
Holiday Fun in Room 14
Check out our video below to see all the fun activities students took part in the last few days of 2014!
2014 Comes to an End in Style
Our last week of the school in 2014 was certainly busy! Lots of smiles abounded at the end of the week with our Holiday Party, gift giving, gift making and the annual Holiday Sing Along. Thanks so much to our room mothers, and all the other parents who helped make the class party a memorable experience. You'll find lots of pictures to commemorate the week's events in our photo gallery. I hope everyone had a joyous and restful vacation with their family.
Beautiful Watercolor Poinettias
The boys and girls loved making poinsettias for their parents. They took pictures of real poinsettias, then we analyzed the leaf and vein systems. Students drew the poinsettias, then painted them as presents for their parents.
A Deliciously Educational Field Trip
The class thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Morley's Candy Factory and Sweet Shop. We started our tour by heading upstairs to watch a film on the history of chocolate and got a delicious taste of their chocolate cream candy. The third graders were surprised to learn that chocolate was first enjoyed over 2,000 years ago! In discussion after the trip students seemed most surprised that the chocolate started with the seeds of a plant and underwent an extensive journey before making it to the factory to made into candy. They also drew on recently acquired geography information when they found out cacao beans can only be grown twenty degrees north and south of the equator. Next we visited the factory where students were impressed that 60 people work at the factory in ten hour shifts. They use 20,000 pounds of chocolate a day and make 6,000 jars of Sander's chocolate sauces every single day. Sea Salt Caramels are their biggest seller and they make 600 of them a minute! Also very interesting,(to me anyway,) Morley's makes Kirkland candy for Costco, display case candy for Macy's, candy bars for the Disney World Resort shops, and Maud Borup Candy for Target and Walmart! They use the exact same chocolate in each, so fascinating how the price can be so different for the exact same candy depending on where they are sold! We ended with a visit to the store where students did a scavenger hunt looking for the many different things that Morley creates.Check out photos from our trip in our photo gallery!
Our third graders had a great week 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 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 watch a Camp Almena montage below and you can view photos from our week in the photo gallery.
Typing Camp Video
Feeling Gratitude in Room 14
Right before Thanksgiving we took some time to think of all the things we were grateful in our lives. We wrote some poems and worked on "flipping our attitudes."This meant instead of complaining about the little things, be appreciative for what we have. For example, students had been complaining that it was taking soooo long for them to get their iPads. I mentioned that while I had been listening to that complaint for weeks, I hadn't heard anyone say how grateful they were to be getting iPads that they could use at school and home. That short conversation led to many more "flips"that students wrote on leaves and added to the board.
An October Recap Video
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 perspective pieces, "stepping inside" their skeletons to share what it would see, hear or wonder.
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 Emily and Sungat will be representing our class at morning Council Meetings. Below are some pictures of our candidates with their posters.
The First Day of School!
The 2014-2015 school year got off to a great start with 26 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: Be Nice, Respect Yourself, Others, and the School, and Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated. Following 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!
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.
HAPPY to be 3rd Graders!
Enjoy watching our 3rd graders as they show how Happy they are! Music by Pharrell Williams. :)
Mrs. Connell's Class