Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Morning Routines!

As a teacher, I love this time of year!  Students are very familiar with our classroom routines, and we are able to get so much done.  Most of our teacher-led literacy time is spent in small groups, so I can work with students at their level.  The rest of the students work on their choice of literacy workstations (based off of Daily 5 routines) independently as my small group works.    It is awesome to sit back for a few seconds, and see how easily students move through their literacy stations with very few reminders.  Below are some pictures of our Friday literacy routines:

 On Fridays, third graders usually spend some time on Quizlet reviewing their weekly word study list.  There are links to each week's word study list under our classroom web links.  They practice using the speller feature and then move on to scatter and space race.

 Students individually record their weekly fluency passages on their iPads using iTalk.   This provides a great record to watch their fluency increase throughout the year.

 Students work on their reading assignments as I continue to work with other groups.

There is always time for "Read to Self".  Students enjoy filling their book bins and relaxing with a "Good Fit Book"!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What in the world is a dodecahedron?

 We have been studying geometry in math.  Students created prisms and pyramids 
as examples of three dimensional shapes (or polyhedrons).
 Today's challenge.... Figure out what a dodecahedron is and create one!
 Lots of cutting, taping, gluing, and folding......
 Works in progress....
Our dodecahedron will be a fun calendar!

Still don't know a dodecahedron is... Ask your third grader!

Friday, March 14, 2014

It is that time of the year again......

This week we took one of our district-wide assessments- the Iowa Assessments (formerly Iowa Tests of Basic Skills).  Students worked hard on tests in reading, math, science, and language.  These timed tests provide us with one snapshot of a student's progress.  Third grade is the first year we test with this standardized piece, so students learned about bubble-sheet tests, timed tests, and many testing strategies.  We will also take the computerized MAPS tests again this spring, which provides us with another snapshot of each students' progress.  Students take the MAPS tests on the computer and they have unlimited time.  This test is nice for those students who are slow and methodical test takers.  It is always interesting to compare the results of these two tests and students' classroom performance.  It will be nice to get back into our regular schedule next week and we are proud to say that we gave our best!

On Friday following our last test, we decided to kickback and have an Iowa Assessment's Beach Party.  Students rotated though theme centers and enjoyed some free reading time on their beach towels.  We are all dreaming of warmer weather and of course- Life's a beach in third grade! 

 Sunset "Art" Island
 Aquarium "Research" Island
 Landform "Geography" Island
 Shipshape "Math" Island
 Word "Language" Island
 Treasure "Math" Island
 How much is the treasure worth?
 Can you crack the code?
Diligent Code Breakers!
 Sea Creature Research in Action
 Creative Silhouettes!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Today we were lucky to take a "virtual field trip" to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.  They are located right next to Yellowstone National Park.  Last fall we enjoyed a science unit on animal and plant population which let us explore topics of predator/prey, habitats, and adaptations.  This Skype session was a great extension and review of that learning.   The staff presented on different native animals to the Yellowstone ecosystem starting with animals that lived at some of the highest elevations and working our way down to the lowest elevations.  Using an iPad the staff was able to take us on a walking tour of their museum to show the exhibits and experience the sound effects.  It was very cool!  Be sure to ask your child to share about some of the special adaptations of animals such as bighorn sheep, pronghorns, hawks, grizzly bears, and more.  Students also researched a native animal to our area prior to the Skype call and several shared their illustrations and information on their chosen animal's habitat with the museum staff at the end of our call.  Students then finished the day by blogging about the session.  We will finish these tomorrow and then post them.  Be sure to check out the students' blog entries on our Kid Blog account. 
It was neat to be able to visit a place that is almost 15 hours by car away without even leaving our school building! What a great day of learning!

A big thank you to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for taking 

time to talk to us and sharing your expertise!

Friday, March 7, 2014

World Read Aloud Day

Wednesday, March 5th, is known as World Read Aloud Day.  It recognizes the importance of literate societies.  Everyone has the basic right to learn how to read and write.  What an important message!!!  We celebrated World Read Aloud Day at home this year due to about 8 inches of new snow in the area.  Today (Friday, March 7th) we had a chance to enjoy a skype session with Mrs. Cook's elementary library in a suburb to St. Louis, Missouri.  We met Mrs. Owen's 4th grade class and had a wonderful book share.  Students in both classes shared favorite books with each other and explained what made it such a good book choice.  It was great to celebrate the power and joy of good books together!  Below are some pictures from today's skype.  I compliment the class on using their excellent skype manners and also sharing such great book choices.

After our skype session we enjoyed a great discussion about our favorite books and ones that we would like to try that Mrs. Owen's students suggested.  

Don't forget to celebrate the power of reading!!!!!