Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Math Practice!

I have had several parents ask about how they can help their student practice math at home or even during school vacations!  The school is providing two great math resources for your child that can be used anywhere you have internet access.  We use both in the classroom, but they can also be utilized at home for extra practice and enrichment for your student.

Moby Max is a website we have been using all year in the classroom.  We use the math and fact master portions of it, but there are also reading and language arts activities too.  This program tests your student to see where they are at, and also to find any gaps in their math knowledge.  It then assigns lessons to your child according to his/her ability.  I love this program because it provides a lot of extra practice for students, but also pushes students who are talented in mathematics to work on harder and more advanced concepts.  The lessons contain tutorials for help if the student needs extra hints and instruction.  As a teacher I can log-in and get detailed reports on student progress and look for areas that students need extra help in.  As a parent you can also see how your child is doing by logging in with them and pushing on the "green elephant" progress button.  If your child needs to work on learning their basic facts (both for speed and accuracy), the fact master button is the place to go!  Students must answer facts correctly within five seconds.  You can also use the progress button to see exactly which facts they have mastered and which ones they haven't.  What a great tool!  I sometimes refer to Moby in our classroom as our personal math tutors. 

A second math website that we have recently rolled out is First in Math.  First in Math is also an adaptive math game site that helps students practice the skills they are learning at school.  As students pass levels in different skill areas, the program is designed to keep challenging them by increasing the difficulty in the game.  They love playing it!

Usernames and passwords for both of these sites can be found in your child's blue take-home folder.  They are easy to log into, and a great way to provide your third grader with extra practice.  I really encourage you to check them out! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mrs. P's Writing Contest

Earlier this year, the third graders had a chance to skype with Mrs. P (TV actress Kathy Kinney) in California to learn more about getting ideas to write about.  Mrs. P encouraged each 3rd grade class to enter her annual "Be a Famous Writer" contest. 

During the last month, students enjoyed drafting different stories about time travel which is the theme of this year's contest.  We shared our drafts and voted on one that we thought would be a great class submission to the contest.  Congratulations and thank you to Delaney for writing a great draft that inspired the class.  As a class we adopted Delaney's original draft, and it used it to discuss the steps in writing process.  Delaney had completed the first two steps of prewriting and drafting for the class.  We then worked on step three which is revision.  When we revise we look at our story and we make it better.  What can we add, change, or describe more, so our story can be the best that it can be.  The class then worked together to proofread the story (fixing any mistakes). 

Today I'm excited to say that we officially shared our story with Mrs. P which is the final step in the writing process- publishing.  Win or lose- it is fun to do our best and participate in her contest.  Each student will now be taking one of their own drafts and working through the writing process to publish it.  I can' t wait to read all the wonderful final products.  Below is our class's time travel story.  Enjoy!

The Amazing Adventure
By Mrs. Adams’ Third Grade Class
Once I was walking to the museum where I saw the old times where they didn’t have TV, iPads, phones, and electronics.  So I said, “I wish I could go their mom.”  She said, “Really?” “Yes,” I said back and with a click we were back in time.
 I said, “Where are we?”  I looked for my mom.  It took me a little time to find her, but I did.  I was getting really cold.  Mom said, “Look!”  So I looked and I noticed everything was covered with snow and ice.  It was the ice age!  My mom and I both said, “Wow!” because we saw cavemen and dinosaurs. 
So we took a walk around.  We were walking and suddenly a caveman popped out from behind a snow bank.  We screamed and started to run away.  The caveman chased after us.  We ran into some rocks and found a cave to hide in.  We were in the cave and we heard a thump and a growl.
 We looked behind us and realized a humongous dinosaur was behind us.  We ran out of the cave and hid in a hole in the snow.  I whispered to Mom, “Let’s get out of here and go home.” 
Then we tried to get out of there, but we couldn’t so we kept walking.  We asked a nearby caveman how to get home.  He said to go west to get to a teleport.  We did and found it.  It was locked. 
We kept walking looking for someone.  We found someone, but unfortunately he was frozen.  Then he moved, so I said, “Hello.”  He replied, “Hi.”  “Can you help us?” I asked.  Then he said, “Hug me.”  “Hug me?” I questioned.  “Yes, then I can get you home,” he said.  “OK,” I answered.  “Mom let’s go hug him,” I told her.  “OK,” she answered.   “Ready,” I said.  “Yes!” she exclaimed.  “Go,” and with a click we were…..still not home.
 “I thought you said you wanted to go here,” the caveman said.  “You better get us home,” I yelled.  “I will,” he insisted.  “Ready, set, go,” yelled Mom and I.  With a click we were back home. 
“Let’s go to our house now, Mom,” I said.  “Yes, we need to feed our pets, Clementine and Delta,” said Mom.  But when we got home we started to laugh because the caveman was there!  We said, “Dad.”  He said, “What?”  We asked, “Why are you dressed up like that?”  He answered, “Because you saw cavemen and I wanted to see some too.”  Just then Delta and Clementine came in and they were dressed up too.  I said, “Mom………”  Then we all laughed and lived happily ever after.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Global Read Aloud 2014

Third graders are excited to take part in this year's Global Read Aloud.  This is a project designed by a teacher in Wisconsin which encourages classes all around the world to read the same book for a six week period.  Good stories can be shared around the world, and the students get a chance to collaborate with other classrooms virtually.

We started Global Read Aloud last week by introducing The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  It is a story of a china rabbit who is lost and though that journey learns a little bit about love.  The kids (and myself) are enthralled with the story so far!

We have bee working on an interactive padlet site at ( to post thoughts and information about the story.  We also have joined forces with Mrs. Osterbind's third grade class in Virginia to discuss the story.  We met them virtually this week through a Google Hangout (like Skype), and will discuss the book with them weekly in this format.  We have also set up an Edmodo site where students can discuss the story with their virtual classmates in Virginia.  Pretty cool!  Below are several photographs from our Google Hangout.

Friday, October 10, 2014

ZooKeeper Skype Visit

Third graders enjoyed a special visit today by a zookeeper from Tennessee.  This Skype session was a great way to begin wrapping up our first science unit on plant and animal populations.  Habitats and adaptations were emphasized throughout the conversation, and it was great to meet some new animals via technology! 

The kids were excellent listeners and loved all the information about different animals shared.  We learned a lot of great fun facts!  How much does a giraffe's heart weigh?  How many animals does the Tennessee Zoo provide a home for?

Students were introduced to the chinchilla which is native to South America's Andes Mountains.  Did you know that Chinchilla's have specially adapted lungs to help them breathe in higher altitudes?  Be sure to ask your student what other adaptations a chinchilla has.

Student attention was so focused on our guest speaker.  They also took tons of notes to use later in the afternoon to write blog posts about the skype session on Kidblog.

Another special visitor was a toucan which is native to rainforests.  Its coloration helps it to blend in to its surroundings to protect it from its predators.

Students also were excited to see a ball python up close.  This is a constrictor, and students learned what snake scales are made of.  It is a predator who loves mice and other small rodents.  Do you know what is faster- a mouse or the ball python?  Your third grader should know!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Class Goal

Our school uses a PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) system to help support good student behavior and choices.  Students have been working on earning "Cadet Bucks"by showing their "Cadet Pride" throughout the school day.  In our classroom those "Cadet Bucks" translate to X's on our hundreds goal chart.  At the beginning of the year, this year's class voted to set our first hundreds goal for a dinner and movie (eating in the classroom while watching a short movie).

Last week we met that first goal- hooray!  On Friday students brought their lunch trays back to our classroom and we enjoyed watching an original episode of Scooby Doo while eating.  It was relaxing and fun way to end our week and celebrate hard work on our behaviors and choices.  Our new class goal is to invite another class for a kickball game.  We will be working hard to accomplish this before the snow flies! :-)   Keep up the good work "Team Adams"!