Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"I Wonder....." Project- How does the heart work?

One of our classmate's presented their "I Wonder" project this morning.  He had researched about the human heart.  Mr Knobloch, our school GAT teacher, joined his presentation and brought in an actual
cow heart for the students to look at.  It was fascinating to identify the parts and learn more about how the heart works.  It was a great project!

Arbor Day Outdoor Classroom

On Thursday, April 23rd, we enjoyed an Arbor Day Outdoor Classroom.  A big thank you to the Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District for sponsoring this day.  Also thanks to all the volunteers who taught us about the environment around us.  Thank you to Mary Jo Hartogh, Jed Becker, Iowa State University Conservation Station, Angela Bries, and Neil Schaffer.  We had a ton of fun and learned a lot.  I also wanted to share that the class heard many compliments throughout the day on their behavior and listening.  Great job, third graders!  Here are some photos from the day's activities....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Summer Math Practice- Fabulous Opportunity!

This is a great way to keep math skills strong over the summer.  Check out the article below.....

TenMarks Offers a Free Summer Math Program for Families

 For the second year in a row TenMarks is making their family math program free for the summer months.

The TenMarks summer program begins with students taking an assessment. After taking the assessment  an individualized program that adapts to his or her specific needs is created for the student. Each student’s summer curriculum is designed to review concepts from the past year, and get introduced to concepts for the year ahead. TenMarks offers real-time feedback to students and their parents. The feedback measures a student's progress toward a standard or goal. Based upon a student's responses to questions the program automatically adjusts to provide more or less of a type of question.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Visiting Author Maribeth Boelts

We enjoyed a visit from author Maribeth Boelts today. Thank you to Mrs. Shekelton for arranging her visit.  She talked to us about how to write from our own experiences, how to revise our work, and that writers love to read.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I WONDER......

I will learn, I will work, and I will share!
This year during out morning meeting, we often visit the website Wonderopolis ( to learn the answer to questions asked by students around the USA.  Just today we learned that there is a difference between a rabbit and a hare.  Do you know what makes each unique?  What else are you curious about?

Wonder Bubble Project Examples

During this second half of the school year we have introduced our "I Wonder" work time.  This concept originates from the "Genius Hour" concept where students are given time to learn about and complete projects about their passions and topics they choose.  We began this process by having each student work on a "Wonder Bubble" project of their choice.  We spent a lot of time learning about how to research.  We discussed the importance of paraphrasing (we call these our dash facts) our information and also citing our references.  Safe searches and kid appropriate search engines were introduced and then used by students.  We have links to many of these search engines on our classroom website.  After the completion of our " Wonder Bubbles", students chose another topic from their lists to learn about.  They then follow our classroom task of:  I will learn, I will work, and I will share!  Students research their topics and consider what they want to teach others about it.  They then plan and complete a project of their choice to share with the class.  Projects can be in many formats including posters, iPad Keynote presentations, books, and models.  It is always amazing to see the variety of topics the students are interested in.  They always look forward to the next "I Wonder" time!  It is a great way for them to practice their 21st century skills of research and learning about something they are truly interested and curious about.  We are truly learning how to learn!

Below are some snapshots from our "I Wonder" Workshop Time:

2015 Cabbage Challenge

My student brought home a cabbage plant- now what???

Your third grader should have brought home a cabbage plant today with an informational sheet and growing guide.  These cabbage plants were provided free by Bonnie Plants.  The students are challenged to tend to their cabbage plant all summer.  When the cabbage is ready to harvest, they should weigh their cabbage and email me a digital photo of their cabbage and its weight.  Then enjoy a meal as a family using your home grown cabbage.  I will choose a winner for our classroom (a big, healthy looking cabbage) from the photographs to then submit to Bonnie Plants.  The winner is entered into a statewide random drawing for a $1000 scholarship.  This is a great way to get your student excited about gardening and being outside.  There are a lot of studies out there that remind us how important it is for children to spend time outdoors.

Your photograph submission is due to Mrs. Adams by September 20th, 2015.  I will have my same email address next year, so please submit there (  I hope I have lots of cabbages to choose from!  I encourage you to visit website to learn more about this fun challenge.  Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Testing Dates!

Spring is here and the end of the school year is quickly approaching.  Here are several important end of the year testing dates to put on your calendar.  All of our testing is completed in the morning.

Spring MAPS Tests:
Reading- April 14th
Math- April 15th
Language- April 16th 

Spring FAST Tests:
aReading (Comprehension)- April 28th
CBMR (Fluency)- May 5th 

We appreciate you trying to schedule appointments around these days and also making sure your child is well-rested and has had a good breakfast on these days.  We want students to do their very best, so we can celebrate the progress they have made throughout the year.  It has been great fun to watch them grow academically, so this is their chance to shine!  Thanks for all your support at home.

"Hamburger" Paragraphs

How is writing a good paragraph like a hamburger?  Third graders have been exploring how they can use a hamburger model to write a quality paragraph.  Nonfiction is our current focus area in writing.  We have read several different formats of nonfiction book.   Students have been reading about lots of different animals.  They are now using this research to practice paragraph writing.  They will then be focusing on an animal of their choice to write a nonfiction book about.  I'm curious to see what animals they choose and what writing formats they use.  I'm so proud of this class' progress as writers!

So what do we mean about "Hamburger Paragraphs"...

The top of the bun is our topic sentence.  The fillings and meat patty are the juicy details we want to share in our writing about that topic.  Finally the bottom bun is our concluding sentence.  It would be hard to eat a hamburger without that bottom piece, so it is important for us to remember that when writing we must include a conclusion that summarizes our main idea (topic sentence). 

Below are a few of our "Hamburger Paragraphs."  We wrote them by hand to practice our handwriting (that skill gets rusty sometimes in our age of technology).