Sunday, September 28, 2014

We Found Gems!

It's been another eventful week as third graders at YES! 

Where to begin? So many things to write about this week…….

Each day in Morning Meeting, we greeted each other with a friendly "Ni Hao!" We participated in activities like the Middle Name Game, and happy birthday wishes for Walter. Happy Birthday Walter!

In Math, we learned about graphing, measuring, clocks, chance, and probability. We graphed the letters in our first names, last names, and the size of our watermelons we picked from the YES garden. We were introduced to new math words like mean, median, mode, and range. Ms. Sleeper shared a few tricks to remember our math words, like; "The mean teacher made us add up all those numbers to find the average number!"

Here are our watermelon graphs:

In Writer's Workshop we shared and wrote 'seed stories" that are based on our lives. Mrs. Moore visited this week to help us with writing, and she told us all how excited she is to work with our talented bunch! She explained that finding our special moments to write about is a lot like finding gems. Ms. Sleeper shared another Rosemary Wells book called, Moris's Disappearing Bag. We marveled at the author's ability to express all of Moris's complicated feelings, by showing and not telling us how Moris felt.

In Spelling and Handwriting, we began to explore the spelling patterns in Unit 1 Sitton Spelling, and we participated in "Word Work" lessons on "-ed and -d" endings and "-ight" patterns. We also brainstormed lots and lots of words with short and long vowels. In Cursive, we took a quick peek at our new cursive workbook.

In Reading, we had a a few mini-lessons about "Building Our Reading Lives", and the "Daily 5" reading choices, and we read with Reading Buddies and Ms. Sleeper. We also brainstormed ways to use our little Sticky Notes as we devour a good book. We're collecting a plethora of little yellow notes with words we find super-interesting or challenging!

In Science, we shared more rocks and minerals with classmates. Some of us are now official Rock Hounds! (Beware of heavy loads in our backpacks!!)

On Friday, the moment arrived when we sluiced through tailings from Mt. Mica. Our enthusiasm was a sight to behold ---- But, we found GEMS!!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Growing Each Day!

Our Morning Meeting greeting this week was the Greek "Kalemera!" We all had an opportunity to whip-share our favorite weekend activity, play with the "Chatty Ball", and continue to share our Morning Message along with rocks and minerals from home.

By 8:50 each day we are off to our "Special" and then back for a hearty snack before we begin math. In Library, we selected 2 books this week, and by next week we'll be able to select 3. Before we selected books, Ms. Sleeper asked us to recall favorite read-aloud authors' names. 

In Math, we've been practicing how to write and say numbers, search for items in our Everyday Math reference book, make clocks and tell time. We've also set up our math "Tool Kits" and found "Clock Buddy" math partners. 

In Writing, we've worked on our "seed ideas" about special memories, people, places, and pets. We heard a heart-warming read-aloud about a special bond with a little brown dog called, The Old Woman Who Named Things, by Henry and Mudge author Cynthia Rylant. This book was a BIG hit! 

Later in the week, Mrs. Moore visited our Writer's Workshop to talk with us about "seed vs. watermelon" stories, and we all took a trip to see the watermelons we planted with her last spring in our YES garden. (Mrs. Moore is a published author who'll be visiting our workshop weekly). As an added bonus, Riley released 2 beautiful monarch butterflies into our garden that she has nurtured.  

Everyone got to pick and taste watermelon. We decided our watermelon tasted better than store-bought, since we planted them! 

Later in the week, we each had an opportunity to use our "seed ideas" to write a story about a time when we felt happy, nervous, excited, scared, proud, or sad. We also began our first spelling unit and began to work in our Word Work Journal.

In Science we've continued to each have an opportunity to share a special rock or mineral from home. We've seen beautiful granite pegmatites, citrine and quartz crystals, basalt in the shape of a whale, and more! A big thank you to our classmates who have shared; we are all scientists! We've also heard a book about minerals and discussed if coal is a rock, mineral, or neither. What do you think?

In Reading, Ms. Sleeper has continued to read with us individually while we explore our selected books. We also had our Reading MAP Assessment on Tuesday. Later in the week, Ms. Sleeper introduced the "Daily 5" choices we can make during reading. 

And….on Monday, we had a visit from our Computer teacher Mrs. Wolinski. She spoke with us about how use of our laptops is a privilege, and she explained that we use our computers for educational purposes.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our Second Week!

Here are just a few highlights from our second week….

Our greeting this week was a friendly, "Ciao!" followed by a group-building activity and Morning Message. After our message, we have our "Special" each day.

Our Weekly Specials:
Monday - PE
Tuesday - Music
Wednesday - Library
Thursday - Art
Friday - Guidance

Morning Meeting and Closing Circle activities this week included: 3 or 4 Words About Our Weekend, The String Game, The Animal Sounds Activity, The Chatty Ball, reciting the "September" Poem by John Updike, and Books We L-O-V-E. (These last two activities are optional; students can memorize the monthly poem if they wish to, and they have the option to bring in and show a book to the class and share why it's special to them.)

Ms. Sleeper shared books with extra-special memories for her- like First Tomato, by Rosemary Wells, and If You Find a Rock, by Peggy Christian.

In Math, we shared "Math All Around Us" cut-outs from home and made a class collage. We explored our Everyday Math materials, reviewed the class number grid, and wrote the BIGGEST and smallest numbers we could write and say on our own whiteboards. On Tuesday we had our MAP Math Assessment. 

In Writing, we composed "I Am" poems to share at Open House this Monday. We also wrote about our Hopes and Dreams for this school year.

In Reading, we had an interesting discussion about the things that have worked well and not-so-well for us as readers. Ms. Sleeper finished our read-aloud, The Boy Who Talked With Animals, by Roald Dahl. We talked about why that story and author captivated us, and whether the story was fiction or non-fiction. Ms. Sleeper also continued to meet with us individually to read together.

From 'The Boy Who Talked With Animals'- "We sees that old monster turtle swimming away out there, the one on the beach yesterday, and we sees the boy sitting high up on the turtle's back and riding him over the sea like a horse!"

In Spelling, we finished our assessment of the Priority Words in 3rd grade. 

In Science, we shared things we wonder about. We also began our study of Geology. Some of our classmates have begun to bring in and share special rocks or minerals they've found, so we decided to share a few each day, when it's our "share day". 

Here are a few upcoming special dates:
Monday, September 15th - Open House (6pm)
Tuesday, September 16th - MAP Reading Assessment
Friday, September 19th - Picture Day!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Welcome 3rd Graders!

Our first (short) week back to school was fun and eventful -- welcome baby Jocie Wentworth!

     Our first day, Ms. Sleeper introduced herself and our new students, Lenny and Myles, and then we were quickly off to Music class. Later, for a team-building activity, we set goals and built "Newspaper Towers" with small groups, using only a roll of masking tape and three newspapers. We planned out our strategies and created team flags with our building goals written on each; we could choose from: CREATIVE, STURDY, TALL, USEFUL, or a combination of 2 goals. We had a lot of fun, and learned about teamwork, planning, and working hard to achieve our goals. Later in the day, we discussed our classroom jobs, new and old routines, and we each posed for individual and group photos. 

     On Thursday, we greeted each other with a welcoming "Bonjour!", and the "Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee chant, and we read our Morning Message together. Our special was Art. Later, we shared our summer artifacts, asking our writing partners,"What does that remind you of?" Ms. Sleeper introduced the monthly poem, "September", by John Updike, and she challenged us to try to memorize the lines. She was able to remember almost every line……..with a little help from us. Later, we worked on spelling and reviewed our "Classroom Pledge" from last year. We also set up a few of our folders, and had a chance to check out our classroom library of books with friends. For a read-aloud, Ms. Sleeper shared the Roald Dahl short story, The Boy Who Talked With Animals. For science, we planned our much-anticipated trip to the pond behind the athletic fields. We learned about the aquatic macro-invertebrates that live in fresh water; we also learned about metamorphosis. To end the day, we did an activity called "Fist to Five", rating the events of the day from a closed fist to an open hand with one to five fingers. For another end-of-the-day activity, we lined up at the door for dismissal once we found a classmate who had chose our matching-length string.

On Friday, we discussed important pond safety rules, read our Morning Message, and had Guidance in the classroom as our special. After snack (and lots of water), we were off the the pond! Mrs. Moore joined us. When we got there, Ms. Sleeper and Mrs. Moore had an outdoor classroom all set up for us -with pond guides and dishpans full of icky but interesting pond plants and animals. We used spoons to find the invertebrates and vertebrates (like small fish), and transferred some of our discoveries to ice-cube trays for better observation. We found many giant water bugs, water scorpions, dragonfly larva, damselfly larva, and much more! We also each got to scoop directly from the pond in small groups. Lastly, we each had an opportunity to hold a dragonfly larva as it crawled up our hand! Later in the day we made individual goals for our classroom pledge. We also had reading, decorated our writing journal, and continued our spelling work. At the end of the day, Ms. Sleeper offered students canvas book bags to take home for the weekend if students would like to bring in and share books they have loved! 

Here are a few photos from our first days as 3rd graders: