Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family Mousetrap Car Challenge

Our second quarter science unit focused on the study of force and motion and our Unit 2 literacy theme was "Science at Play."  These areas of study allowed us to focus in on how things work, the six simple machines, and inventions.  We enjoyed reading about these topics, doing hands-on experiments, playing with iPad invention apps, and designing our own inventions.  (Be sure to keep checking our kidblogs as we will be posting our invention write-ups there real soon!).  As a unit wrap-up, we sent home an optional family challenge.  Families were challenged to build a mousetrap powered car to bring to class to help us review our science learning.  Pictured above are mousetrap cars that were created to share with the class.  Each entry was presented by a student and then the class loved watching them take-off across the floor!  What a great way for us to review concepts such as energy, work, friction, force, and more!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  The cars looked great and are now on display in the west display case in the lobby of our school.  Be sure to check them out!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Community Instagram Project

On Friday, December 6th, we were excited to meet some of the classes involved in our Community Instagram Project.  This project was initiated by Mrs. Bettess, a 3rd grade teacher, in Canada.  Using Twitter she contacted other interested classrooms (including us!) about sharing information about the different places we live via photographs.  This fall our class took a "Photo Safari" around town and took pictures of places in our community.  We are now uploading a few of those photos each week to our Instagram classroom friends to share.  We have classes in Iowa and Georgia participating as well a class in Canada and Great Britain. 

Friday we got to put some faces with class names as we were able to connect via Google Hangouts with three other classes involved in the project.  We introduced ourselves and talked to classes from central Iowa, Atlanta, Georgia, and Manitoba, Canada all at once.  It was great to hear about their communities in person and also compare weather!  Last Friday as we in Iowa hoovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit, our friends in Canada were -35 degrees Celsius, and our friends in Atlanta, Georgia were 69 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some of them were even wearing shorts to school- we were jealous!  

It is always great to talk to other 3rd grade classes, and we look forward to continuing our Community Instagram Project throughout the school year.  What a great way for us to learn about other destinations!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Math Rotations

Math is such an interesting and fun area of study.  Sometimes when we think about math we only think of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division, but it is really so much more.  Math is patterns, shapes, money, graphs, data, measurement and more.  I am proud to say I have some excellent mathematicians in my classroom this year.  If you were to visit our math classroom- what would you see?
  • individuals, partners, and groups completing problem solving activities
  • math games to help reinforce important concepts
  • individualized math work using Moby Math on our iPads
  • hands-on math activities to help us understand the "why" behind what we do
  • different activities to help us learn our basic facts including games, flashcards, singing, and more....
  • peer teaching (helping others master math concepts)
  • math enrichment centers
  • and much, much more!
Some days are lessons are whole group lessons, but we also use what we call "Math Rotations" on a regular basis.  During math rotations students move through small group stations that include teacher time (a small group working on math concepts with Mrs. Adams), goal time (working at the student's level using Moby Math), and center time (small groups working on math enrichment activities).    Students also use their morning work time to work on individual math assignments and get help from Mrs. Adams as needed.  Below are some pictures of our math classroom in action:

 Students work on patterning activities in the math enrichment center.

Students use their problem-solving skills to do some computer coding.

We are currently studying multiplication, so small groups work with Mrs. Adams during teacher time to practice their skills.  Here we are creating multiplication arrays.

Students work daily on their Moby Math accounts which individualizes their math instruction to their strengths and weaknesses.  Moby will be available during summer vacation to use also!

Partners create multiplication array problems to solve.

Students use their iPads to create "Show Me" presentations to teach others about multiplication.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Mystery Skype Time!

Where in the USA is Mrs. Crawford's Class?
Third graders have been waiting patiently this week for Friday morning.  Specifically Friday morning at 9:30 when our computer rang in with a Skype call from another classroom somewhere in the United States!

Today we participated in our first Mystery Skype.  We prepared for this event by writing ten clues about the state of Iowa and then practicing researching clues.  Despite a few technical difficulties (technology is great when it is working well!) we were able to connect with Mrs. Crawford's class.  The students from both classes did a great job sharing their clues and working hard to find answers.  A few of the clues shared with us included their state was home to a very large Nascar race track, the apple blossom was their state flower, and they were a Great Lakes state in the midwest.  We shared clues about our state symbols, visitor's attractions, and famous people from Iowa including Dan Gable, Kurt Warner, Henry Wallace, and Norman Borlaug.

Students were assigned jobs throughout the Skype experience.  We had videographers, photographers, map experts, clue recorders, clue readers, and research experts in our room.  At the end of the 10 clues, our class accurately guessed that their class was from Michigan and they guessed we were Iowans.  It was a lot of fun, and our students thought it was like a game show (without a prize!).  We hope to participate in a few more Mystery Skype lessons this year.

Enjoy the pictures below that were taken by our class photographer during today's Mystery Skype event. 

Students share clues with Mrs. Crawford's Class.

Research and map experts use clues to determine the class' location.

Students use "Skype Manners' by introducing themselves and talking clearly and loudly.

Clue recorders keep track of the clues we were given for reference.

Mystery Skype in Progress

Map experts use USA maps and electronic maps to find the location. 

At the end of the Skype we shared information about our town and school with 
Mrs. Crawford's class.  It is also interesting to compare and contrast different areas.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Farm to School- Nutrition Lessons

This year we are lucky to be partnering with ISU Extension to bring the "Farm to School" program to grades 1st through 3rd grade at Lime Springs/Chester Elementary.  Michael Schwab of the Howard County office will be visiting once a month for a "tasty" lesson.  The goal of these lessons is to teach children about locally grown foods, nutrition concepts, and provide food tasting to encourage the trying of new foods.  Today's lesson centered around apples.  Students learned that apples are full of fiber to help with digestion and lots of vitamins to keep us healthy.  Students were also introduced to "My Plate" and good eating habits.  Finally students taste tested four different varieties of local apples and described how they tasted and felt.  Below are some pictures from our first "tasting lesson."  We look forward to our next lesson in December.  Thanks, Michael!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall Fitness Celebration!

Today students enjoyed an afternoon of fun and exercise at the local roller rink for all their hard work and "Cadet Character" during the first few months of school.  This activity was sponsored by our local PATT Group (Parents and Teachers Together).  Lime Springs/Chester Elementary Kindergarten through fifth grade student attended and had a blast, lots of laughs, and a great afternoon of exercise (perhaps coming home with a few bruises also!).  PATT rented the rink for the afternoon, provided snacks, and door prizes as students enjoyed music and skating.  As teachers we were so proud of the students as expert skaters helped inexperienced skaters.  It was great to see how caring our school community is!  Thanks PATT and all the parents that volunteered to help this afternoon!  Enjoy some pictures from the afternoon.......

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It is November!

It has been another busy week!  I enjoyed visiting with everyone at conferences this week.  Thanks for taking an active interest in your child's education.  Remember if you ever have any questions- just let me know!  Here are a few photographs from the first full week in November.  Enjoy!

We began the study of force and motion this month.  Students are learning about friction below and using a lubricant to decrease the amount of friction.  

In math we are studying measurement.  We love practicing our skills!  We are measuring in both inches (to the half and quarter) and centimeters (to the half).  We are also learning to figure out the area and perimeter of a polygon.  

Students presented their inquiry projects this week.  Each student picked a living thing (plant or animal), researched it, and created a slideshow about its life cycle to present to the class.

We finished reading our Global Read Aloud Book- Marty McGuire this week and have enjoyed blogging about it and reading comments from our virtual classmates all over the world. It is great to have other 3rd graders to share our thoughts and ideas with.

On Friday we attended the play "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" put on by the Lime Springs Children' Theatre Troupe.  Several of our classmates were stars in the show.  They were awesome!