Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"STEM-tastic Day"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We enjoyed a great day of STEM learning here in third grade on our day before the Thanksgiving break.  Last year we received a Iowa Governor's STEM grant to buy kits from a program called Engineering is Elementary.  Third grade purchased the Engineering Adventures Kit:  Bubble Bonanza.  The kit challenges students to explore properties of bubbles and bubble wand designs.  They then engineer their best bubble wand using the engineering design process.  It was great fun to see students exploring today as they used their science and engineering skills to help solve problems.  We will finish the second part of this challenge sometime in December.  Check out some pictures from today's activities below.  It was definitely a STEM-tastic day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sharing our Reading Selections

Our current literacy theme  is "Science at Play."  As we practice our strategies and skills while we read, we have been learning all about science.  Some of the areas we have focused on are forces and motion, entertainment technology (video games, movies, TV), and science in nature.  This is such a great group of aspiring scientists, so it is great to see their interest and listen to their discussions.  This last week, students used their determining important information and summarizing skills to create a Pic Collage (digital poster) from their guided reading story.  Today we shared these with the class to teach others about our learning.  It was also a great way for us to informally practice our presentation skills as we had to use our "teacher" voices and present in a way the audience could understand.  Below are some pictures from the student presentations.  Great job Team Adams!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cadet Time

Crestwood Elementary is very committed to providing every opportunity that we can to help your child become a strong reader.  One way we do this is “Cadet Time”.  This is a daily 30 minute block of time where we group your child into a small group according to his/her strengths and weaknesses.  We use standardized test scores, classroom work, and teacher observation to determine what your child needs.  They are then assigned to a teacher for a period of time to work on these areas.  In third grade we are very lucky to have a great team of teachers (Mrs. Kerian, Mrs. Midthus, Mrs. Vacta, Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Cray, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Walter, and Mr. Knobloch) available, so we can provide as small of groups as possible.  Our Cadet Time takes place between 9:30-10:00 daily. 

During Cadet Time teachers may be working on reading fluency, decoding of text, and comprehension strategies and skills.  It all depends on the needs of the student.  Third graders have been currently focused on improving and enhancing their understanding of fictional text.  Following the Thanksgiving break, we will regroup and then focus on nonfiction. 

Click on the video link below to listen to a reader’s theatre by one group.  Reader’s theatre is a great and fun way for students to practice repeated reading which greatly improves their fluency. 

We are so glad we are able to implement a quality “Cadet Time” to help each student improve their reading skills!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

America's White Table

"You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains."

Front Cover

Happy Veteran's Day!  Today we shared the book America's White Table by Margot Raven.  It explains the tradition in the armed forces of setting a white table in honor of our veterans especially those who never returned home.  Following the reading of our book, we set a white table in our classroom in honor of Veteran's Day.  Students are invited to bring in pictures or names of friends and family that are veterans (have served in the United States Armed Forces) old or young to add to our display through Friday, November 14th, 2014.  On Friday we will share these names and pictures with the class in honor of all veterans.  As a family take a moment to think about and thank all the veterans who have served our country.  

Our classroom's "White Table"

"We cover a small table with a white cloth to honor a soldier's pure heart when he answers his country's call to duty."
"We place a lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier's bitter fate and tears of families waiting for loved ones to return."
"We push an empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here."
"We lay a black napkin for the sorrow of captivity, and turn over a glass for a meal that won't be eaten."
"We place a white candle for peace and finally a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon for the hope that all our missing will return someday."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What have we been up to? Here is a peek into our classroom....

We are continuing to help Anna with her middle school science project by reviewing and taking tests over high frequency spelling words.  Anna's question is will classical music help with concentration.  We have enjoyed listening to Beethoven during the first part of her project.

Inferencing involves putting the pieces together in our reading.  We use the clues from the text plus our prior knowledge to understand what the author does not directly tell us.  We enjoyed using some fun photographs to help us practice making inferences.  Third graders are becoming inferencing experts!

We have been working addition and subtraction strategies and problem-solving in math.  Several of our classmates became teachers to help us solve some word problems.

We met Eric James, a British author, who wrote A Halloween Scare in Iowa via Skype.  He shared several other versions of his story with us and answered questions.

On Halloween we switched between all three 3rd grade classrooms to enjoy some activities.  We worked on spooky Halloween blog posts, used the CoLar Mix app to produce some augmented reality from a picture we colored, and played some fun Halloween themed games.

We are revising and proofreading stories we have wrote that will be published using the app Book Creator on our iPads.  It is great to see the excitement at writing time.

We participated in a Mystery Number Skype and were able to guess the other class's number which was 45.

We have started Cadet Time (MTSS) where we break into small groups daily based on our individual literacy needs.  All third grade classes are combined at this time, so students have enjoyed getting to know other third graders and teachers.

We have discussed our Global Read Aloud 2014 book with a class in Illinois and a class in Virginia.  It is fun to share our thoughts, reactions, and predictions.  It is a great story!

We have been sharing our animal and plant research (using Keynote on the iPads) with our class from our first quarter science unit.  We are now studying social studies by focusing on geography and communities.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

First Mystery Number Skype

Today we enjoyed our first Mystery Number Skype with a third grade class in Joliet, Illinois.  They are also participating in the Global Read Aloud 2014, and we had a chance to discuss our book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane with them after the mystery number skype activity.  Prior to the call, our class selected the number 95 as our mystery number, and we brainstormed questions we could ask their class to figure out the number they had selected for us to guess.  I was so impressed with how the class used the yes/no questions to help them zero in on the mystery number.  We had several team members who were at the whiteboard recording answers to our questions, a team member who marked off our large white hundreds board, and the rest of our team used their individual hundreds charts to figure out their number (which was 45).  Students took turns asking and answering questions.  It was a great team math thinking activity, and we hope to participate in several more this year. 

Their class is enjoying our #GRA book as much as we are.  We were definitely in agreement on the saddest part of the book.  It was interesting to hear their predictions about how they think the story will end.  Great books can definitely be enjoyed all over the world as the Global Read Aloud is showing us!  Be sure to ask your third grader about Edward's journeys in the book.