Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Rock!

This week in school….

During Morning Meeting- we've shared birthday wishes with Lucia and Clara, played games like Chief and Alibi, and shared a message about our day.  Happy Birthday Lucia and Clara! On Friday, we heard a preview storytelling session from Mr. Mason and everyone really enjoyed the story. Thank you Mr. Mason!

In Math, we've been studying fact families, fact extensions, algebraic thinking equations, Function Machines, T-charts, Fact Triangles, problem solving strategies, and story problems. We also reviewed clocks, and studied the Communicative Property using gummy bears. Yum!

Some of us chose to share our work with the class using the projector.

In Writing, we've continued our personal narratives. We've been meeting with our Writing Buddies to edit our stories. We've reviewed how to write a good lead and use punctuation like a period, question mark, and exclamation point. For an extra challenge, we've learned about other punctation too, like: the colon, semi-colon, apostrophe, and comma. We've also helped our partner to find where we should have capital letters in our stories, and we've practiced editing leads to Ms. Sleeper's and classmates stories. 

In Spelling, we studied the "or" sound for the "Skill of the Week", and we brainstormed words with the or, oar, our, and oor patterns.

In Handwriting, we've been practicing cursive each day. Although it's really tempting to move ahead and want to zoom into knowing how to write all the letters, Ms. Sleeper is encouraging us to follow along with her step-by-step directions.

In Reading, we've continued to meet with our groups. We've studied book characters this week. The Dad from Danny Champion of the World has turned out to be a very complex and interesting character to study. "Persuasive" is the favorite word the class came up with to describe Dad. We've brainstormed lots of other words that describe his character traits, and we've described a character we'd like to meet from our group books. We've also rated the lead (or 1st few sentences) of classic literature to see if the story "hooked" us or left us with questions.

In Science, we've watched a movie about the changing geological landscape of the western part of the US. We've also reviewed our rock identification of 10 Maine rocks. Ms. Sleeper is extremely impressed with our skills! (She said news crews should watch us in action!)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hello, Hylo, Namaste, Sawadee!

Hello to you all, in every language!

Here are a few upcoming dates:
Monday, October 20th from 11:50 - 12:10 - Class YES Book Fair visit
Wednesday, October 22nd from 9:55 - 10:25 - Class YES Book Fair visit
Monday, October 20th - Friday, October 24th - YES Book Fair
Friday, October 24th, 8:40 am - Preview, 'Stage Fright' - Storyteller, Dave Mason 
Tuesday, October 28th, Picture Retake Day
Wednesday, October 29th, Storyteller 'Stage Fright' - YES Gym, 5:30 pm Grades K-4, PTO (7pm, Grades 5-8)
Friday, October 31st, Grade 3 Field Trip, Mt. Apatite

Here's a summary of our last few weeks in Grade 3:

In Morning Meeting, we've continued to share a multi-cultural hello, and read a brief message from Ms. Sleeper each day. Here are some of the activities we've participated in: Silent Communication Counting, Pet Stories, Middle Name Game, Fishing For a Buddy, Chief, and good-ol' Chatty Ball.

In Math, we've tackled: calculating years, elapsed time, money, and algebraic thinking. We've reviewed chance, probability, Name Collection Boxes, big and little numbers, and much, much more. On Friday, we ended Unit 1 in our book and completed the unit assessment. For "Extra-Math" in the afternoons, some of us have have met with Ms. Sleeper in small groups as we caught up on our journal work and reviewed "fuzzy" concepts. We've also worked on math facts and begun problem solving in 'Figure It Out' booklets. 

In Writing, we've continued to revise our personal stories. We met with our partners and Ms. Sleeper to receive feedback. Ms. Sleeper introduced new methods like timelines, "time waves", and webs to plan our stories. Mrs. Moore visited and shared little parts of toys she brought in a box. Some of the parts fit together to make a tiny bicycle; the pieces represented parts within our stories to revise: those that fit, do not fit, and need to be added. She used a tiny screwdriver to put the bike together, mimicking our writing tools we can use to write our stories: like sticky notes, extra paper, partner reading, and partner feedback. Ms. Sleeper also reviewed punctuation marks, and we edited lots of sentences together. 

In Spelling, we've done "Word Work" activities, like: word searches, word scrambles, Fix It, Find It, Add It, and Double-handed Writing.  We've also made spelling "Anchor Charts", studied long vowels, and OW and OU sounds. 

In Handwriting, we worked in our Handwriting Without Tears journals. Many of us found this work really fun!

In Reading, we've discussed how while we read, we can imagine or visualize the story - and each of us can have a unique movie playing in our heads. We've studied characters and their traits, and Ms. Sleeper read a few chapters from Danny Champion of the World. Afterwards, we brainstormed what each of us were able to picture (about these characters) in our heads as she read. We've also continued to read self-selected and teacher-selected books with our reading buddies and with Ms. Sleeper in our reading groups. 

In Science, we explored a computer activity Ms. Sleeper helped make with USGS (US Geological Survey). This activity demonstrates the minerals we can find in our homes and everyday lives.  It's shocking to see that there's gold in our cell phones, or feldspar in our toilets! Here is the 'Minerals In the Home' activity link:

We shared rocks and minerals, sorted and identified sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks, created a jar of water with sediments, and began to color and cut a paper globe-representation of the layers of the earth. 

Here we are sorting our rocks:

We used the Geology Rocks! posters below to sort our rocks and minerals. 
(Ms. Sleeper helped design these posters.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Good-bye, September. Hello, October!

So, it was our last week in September and our first week of October -- all wrapped in one!

For Morning Meeting, we played the Middle Name Game, and we tried challenges like Silent Communication Counting. Many of us took the challenge to memorize the "September" poem by John Updike before the month ended. 

"September" and "October", by John Updike: 


The breezes taste of apple peel.
The air is full of smells to feel.

Ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush.
New books, erasers, chalk and such.

The bee, his hive, well-honeyed hums.
And mother cuts chrysanthemums.

Like plates washed clean with suds, the days 
are polished with a morning haze.


The month is amber, gold and brown.
Blue ghosts of smoke float through the town.

Great V's of geese honk overhead,
and maples turn and fiery red.

Frost bites the lawn. The stars are slits-
in a black cat's eye before she spits.

At last, small witches, goblins, hags,
and pirates armed with paper bags.

Their costumes hinged on safety pins,
go haunt a night of pumpkin grins.

In Math, we reviewed telling time, moving around the number grid, clocks, measuring, and more. We also reviewed probability, chance, and challenged ourselves to figure out all the possible dice rolls that were both larger and smaller than Ms. Sleeper's. We studied how our calculators work, and we speedily tapped away on our calculators to arrive at the smallest and largest numbers in the class! We practiced adding coins, and we wrote our money totals in the new way, like this: $0.10, or this: $0.05. 

In Writer's Workshop, we continued to write true stories about our lives. Many of us have shared our writing with the whole group and with our partners. Suggestions and comments we've received from classmates have helped us to craft, expand, and revise our stories. Mrs. Moore visited us again this week, and we discussed finding the best titles for our writing. Ms. Sleeper read us a short story, and given several options, we voted on the very best title for the piece. We also brainstormed transition words we could use that might take the place of the word "then".

In Spelling, we reviewed long vowel sounds and brainstormed a bunch of long vowel words. Ms. Sleeper is always amazed at our limitless ideas when we have the opportunity to write on our charts! 

For our "Word Work" this week we studied long vowels with both a word scramble and word search.

In Reading, we read books with a reading buddy and on our own, and Ms. Sleeper began selecting group reading books and meeting with groups; she also interviewed us each about the books we are choosing. We had mini-lessons about selecting books, reading with a buddy, selecting "just right" books, and finishing an entire book with one partner before we start another book with another partner. 

We began our new read aloud, Danny Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. Ms. Sleeper's copy is pretty tattered from the multiple times she's read it! 

In Science, we've continued to study rocks, minerals, and the earth. Ms. Sleeper shared images from the underground gypsum caves in Mexico, and we made a cut-out pattern for a pop-up, cardboard dodecahedron. We discovered the center of the dodecahedron is a pentagon, with each angle measuring 108 degrees. We've also worked on our laptops to play geology games Ms. Sleeper helped design. Here's the link to these games:

Here is a picture of a scientist in an "ice suit" climbing on crystals inside the Mexican gypsum caves:

Here are pictures that show how to make a pop-up dodecahedron: