Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Half Day

Spanish- Today, Ms. Joanne helped the kids learn how to perform their bull fighting demonstration. They will be performing this for all of the parents at their Mexican restaurant night! They have named their restaurant “Taco Fiesta”! In preparation for the big night, the students also designed signs in Spanish to be displayed in the school house. Keep working on those Spanish words at home!

Spelling- In spelling today, we discussed the spellings of each word in List 21. We chose a few of the hardest words and wrote them each in cursive.

Grammar- Today, we learned a new definition. Prepositions are words that show the relationship between a noun or pronoun and another word in the sentence. We will be working for the few weeks on memorizing the list of pronouns. This will help the kids greatly as they begin diagramming prepositional phrases. We will be breaking the list into bits, but I did tell the kids that if any of them would like to try to make up a song to help them remember the list, they can work on it and present it to the class! The list of prepositions can be found in your workbook in Lesson 48.

Math- Today, we reviewed long multiplication. The kids were easily multiplying four digit numbers by a single digit number. We then played a card game where we made three digit numbers and multiplied them by the number we rolled on the dice. As all the card math games that we play, it was a hit!

The kids did an amazing job on Thursday with their water cycle skits! We are going to be making our “costumes” this Thursday, and then the kids will perform their work of art!

Last week, Ms. Joanne taught us about Kings Day, bringing in a Kings cake for us to enjoy. As it turns out, the person to found the baby Jesus was able to pick a fun thing to do. The kids decided that if I was the one to find the prize, that they should all be able to go to a jumpy place together. Much to my surprise, I was the one to find it! So... I am polling parents to see what the best time and location would be for our playtime outing. Let me know what would work best for you. Thursday 11-1:30 would work, or we could choose a day that we are not in class. Either way is fine!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learning Safari

 Spanish- Today was a day of preparation for our Mexican restaurant! The kids worked on signs for the room, menus, and practiced their Spanish terms. We will have our Mexican restaurant night on February, 16th at 6:00.

Spelling- As a review today, the kids took to the yard. They jumped from one hula hoop to another until I yelled “stop!”. Whomever landed on the orange disk had to spell a word from list 20. Love that kinesthetic learning!

Grammar- We had a much needed review over the four types of verbs, direct objects, predicate nominatives, and predicate adjectives today. The kids are doing an amazing job with all of this! We will be doing many more at home video lessons as the material gets tougher and tougher. It's just amazing what sponges these kids are!

Reading- This book is a hit! Not only are we tackling some tough vocabulary, this book is catapulting us into some great discussions on plate tectonics. After we went over each of the vocabulary words and created our own sentences with them, the kids illustrated a scene from chapter 8.

Math- We took our long multiplication a little farther today... multiplying numbers into the hundreds! The students learned to regroup more than once today... and saw that it wasn't a tricky as it seemed like it would be! Keep drilling those multiplication facts... having them memorized will make things easier from here on out!

Science- We have been learning about the Earth's resources. Today, we learned about the water cycle. After taking notes and doing an experiment with evaporation (which we will have to get the results of on Tuesday), I passed out notecards with the words sun, rain, glacier, water vapor, and ocean. The children had to take their characters and work together to create a skit on the water cycle. At first, the room was in chaos. Kids talking over kids, ideas smothering ideas. Tempers, opinions, and frustrations flew about! I decided to step back and explain why group projects are so important. They learned that most jobs work on tasks that are far too large for one person to complete! Even grown ups have a hard time working together... and all for the same types of issues that this class of 3rd graders had. After a little pep-talk, magic happened. They started to work... and write... and brainstorm. They were on FIRE! All of them worked together, without any interaction from the adults. They worked right through writing class. Why stop enthusiastic learning?! After an hour and fifteen minutes of solid cooperative brainpower, these kids had written a play. They even decided that one of them would have the job of combining the separate pieces of paper into a single script. On Tuesday, I will film the product of this awesome lesson on not only the water cycle, but on working in a group!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis began his lesson on the American Revolution today. The kids had some background knowledge from their internet reading yesterday, and the lesson took off! They completed a crossword puzzle using the terms from today. Also, Mr. Dennis introduced them to their new long-term project. They will be making a big timeline of the American Revolution. They will keep this at home, adding to it the information that they learn in class each Tuesday and Thursday! They can add pictures, either hand drawn or printed. Their timeline will begin with the French and Indian War in 1754 and end with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. I think this will be a great way for them to keep a handle on all of the important events!

During free time today, the kids checked out a Lego robotic rover that one student had made at home. He had created it using motors and an RC receiver... and a small video camera. In no time, the class had devised a plan. They took off into our little country scene, gathering sticks and twigs and clumps of grass. They worked during their entire free time, and then again after school. Then, they shouted out for all the parents to come and check out their finished product. What they had created was just awesome. They had made a path for the rover that was lined with miniature models... a turtle with turtle eggs, a giraffe eating from a tree, and an Indian fort. The rover made its way through the path, filming as it rolled across the ground. They even narrated their adventure, which they then asked for me to edit and post here. The beautiful thing is that this beautiful project was spontaneous, collaborative, and born from the minds of children. I love this place.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Checking on the chicks

Finally! We have been patiently waiting for a sunny day so that we could see how much our chicks have grown. Today, we took a hike over to the barnyard. Our little chicks have grown into medium sized chickens! We also checked out some newer chicks and learned the word “repurposing”. The kids were very familiar with the terms “reuse” and “recycle”, but “repurpose” was a new one for them. Sometimes, recycling can mean that materials are changed into a different material. Reporposing is when we take an unwanted item and use it for a different purpose. Our chicks are living in a brooder that is made from the repurposed camper shell of a truck. The unwanted camper shell makes for a perfect chicken shelter... keeping the wind and predators out and the chicks nice and warm!

Spelling- We went over list 20 and discussed each word. This seems to be an easier list for the kids than some previous lists!

Grammar- After a review of diagramming commands and direct objects, we learned how to diagram questions. The kids learned that the subject in a sentence isn't always at the beginning. Sometimes, it is in the middle! The sentence “Is Tommy sleeping?” has a helping verb, an action verb, and the subject. To help the students know how to diagram questions, they can rearrange the words into a statement. The sentence above can be rearranged into “Tommy is sleeping”. This may help them to recognize the verbs and the subject.

Math- We continued drilling multiplication lessons today. We reviewed the multiplication of numbers that end in “0”. (4x6=24 , 40x6=240 , 40x60=2400) We also expanded on our lessons of long multiplication as we learned how to regroup in multiplication. To help the student remember to ADD the carried number, I had them write a + sign before the number.
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Social Studies- After a big review at home on the Southern, Middle, and New England Colonies, Mr. Dennis put the students' knowledge to the test! They had a sheet divided into three colonies. Mr. Dennis called out a phrase and the kids had to put each one in the right column (without looking at their notes)! It was tough, but the review was excellent!

Writing- We read through each rough draft today and made suggestions on how to revise and edit them. Each student has a rough draft that is covered in post-in note suggestions. At home tomorrow, each of them will make changes on their rough draft. They do not have to start on their final copies yet, but need to make any corrections (either on the the same paper, in the margins, or on another sheet of paper) so that they can easily write the finished product on Friday!

Art- Today, Ms. Nancy helped the kids to create a project using crayon shavings, wax paper, and an iron. They loved the results! Then, they continued their watercolor lesson. They learned how to paint wet on wet and wet on dry, as well as resistance and transparency properties. Their watercolor work will be made into little books for them to keep.

Music- In preparation for the recital, we will be having some extra group music practice during regular class time during the week. Make sure each child is practicing “In the Morning” as much as they can!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Where there's smoke...

Spanish- Ms. Joanne kicked off the second semester of Spanish class today! We are so excited to get back into our Spanish lessons. Today, she reviewed terms from last semester with a game of Spanish bingo. She also explained the different Spanish holidays, such as Día de Muertos and Día de los Reyes (Kings Day).  The class also discussed their restaurant plans. Our Mexican restaurant project will be on Thursday night, February 16th at 6:00!

Because of Christmas tree season at her farm, Ms. Joanne missed Christmas with the class. So, today was a day of celebration!

Spelling- We did a quick “round table” review of list 19 today. The kids did a great job with the words though, through, thorough, and thought!

Grammar- In today's lesson, we learned how to diagram the understood subject “you” in command sentences.

Reading- In our book, “The Earthshaking Earthquake Mystery”, the characters come up with items that they would put into an emergency survival kit. For homework, our students each made a list of items that they would add in their own kit. We shared these lists today, discussing the items.

To enrich our discussions on emergency preparedness, we had a guest speaker today! Billy Harrison from the Fayette County Fire Department came to share with us some important fire safety tips. He taught us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors once a year and to pick a location for your family to meet outside of your home. The kids had around 45 million detailed questions, hypothetical situations, stories, and random trivia to share with Mr. Billy!
Math- We began learning how to do long multiplication of two digit numbers today. This was a day of introduction to the concept. We will work more on applying it on Thursday!

Science- In science today, we learned about the Earth's resources. We talked about fossils, imprints, and petrified wood, and how scientists use these things to learn about the Earth's history. We also discussed nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. For our activity, the kids each made imprints in oven bake clay. They each had to make imprints of two different plants or animals. Then, they created a story around the two characters that they created. We baked the clay, painted them, and will be sharing our stories next week!

Social Studies- Our lessons on colonial America have brought us to the southern colonies. Today, the students learned about life in the southern colonies. Mr. Dennis taught them about cash crops, plantations, and small farms in the south. Then, the kids flew through a crossword puzzle and map-reading activity. Their reading comprehension has improved greatly this year!

Writing- As the group worked on their stories for science, each individual student met with the teacher to discuss their graphic organizer for their earthquake rescue story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Display Box Success!

Spelling- Today, we began by discussing each word in List 19. We especially spent time focusing on the words through, thorough, thought, and though. To reinforce what we discussed, we played the letter tile game. Each team worked together to spell the words on the list.

Grammar- Today was a review day over the four types of sentences. I think we needed a review after all of the brainpower we have been using on grammar lately! We discussed the different sentence types: command, statement, question, and exclamation. I also explained why commands are able to get away with having sentences that lack a subject.... the concept of the implied “you”was totally new to them!

Poetry- The kids all agreed that they will be able to have their poem memorized by next Thursday. We will be working on our next (and far less elaborate) video that day!

Agricultural Education- We started thinking about our garden today!  The kids made a wish list of things they would like to grow.  They also designed and drew their dream garden.  Soon, we will need to put our ideas into action!  Spring is right  around the corner!

Math- We played a dice and card game today. Each student drew a card and rolled their number cube. They had to multiply the number on the card by the number on their cube. The student with the highest number won the hand... and collected everyone's cards. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. It's amazing how much more fun math equations are when you add some hands on activities!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis taught the kids about the southern colonies today. They learned about the beginnings of Georgia and the Carolinas. They also showed off their fabulous display boxes! The kids each researched a colonial occupation and displayed their information on a covered cereal box. These projects were very impressive! The students took turns sharing what they had learned. Great job!

Art- Ms. Nancy helped the class finish up their clown mosaics. Then, she brought out the water colors! Although the kids think they may know everything there is to know about watercolors, Ms. Nancy showed them otherwise. She took some the paint and placed it onto watercolor paper. Then, the kids used straws to blow the paint across the paper. After lots of hotheadedness, they were left with beautiful grasses and shrubs as a base for their artwork!

Music- Mrs. Beresford is working with the children on their recital pieces. The recital will be on March 17th (time to be announced). There will be a dress rehearsal on Friday, March 16th. I will give you more information as it comes!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Playin' in the Dirt

We began today with a group project. The kids were given a huge sheet of paper. Their assignment was to work together and come up with a poster that illustrates what they learned in science over the last week. They had to work as a group and all agree on the ideas, use scratch paper to sketch them out, and then create their final poster. It was great to see them working through multiple ideas, choosing one, and resolving their differences on their own! After it was complete, I sat back as they taught me about the three types of rocks!

Spelling- We played hang man with list 18 today. It was a great way to really think hard about those spelling words!

Grammar- Today was a review day for linking verbs, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives, and direct objects. Remember, if the adjective that describes the subject comes after the verb, it is a predicate adjective. All of this new information is still tricky stuff, but with practice, they are getting the hang of it!

Math- We played a speed game today, racing through multiplication and division problems for stickers!

Reading/Writing- The kids did an excellent job with their vocabulary words! We have been incorporating science into our reading class with “The Earthshaking Earthquake Mystery”. Now, we will also be incorporating writing into the mix. The kids learned more about earthquakes, specifically the large earthquake that rocked Georgia in 1886. Ms. Sharon taught the kids some earthquake safety practices.

Science- We continued through our Earth science unit with a lesson on dirt today. You just can't go wrong with dirt! The students learned about the different materials that make up soil, the different soil horizons, and factors that affect soil. We also discussed soil's properties, porosity and permeability. To illustrate this, the kids took soil samples from different location. We made a filtered funnel, added a cup of water to each sample, and waited (and waited, and waited) to see which one had the higher permeability. The (porous) sandy soil was the winner!
Social Studies- Today, the kids learned about life in the learning colonies. They learned about diverse populations and life in the cities. After their reading assignment, they applied them with a bar graph and a crossword puzzle. This group is learning so much about colonial history!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clowning Around

Spelling- Today, we discussed all of the special sounds and spellings in List 18. We played the quiet/loud game as we reviewed the list. As you can imagine, they like spelling them LOUD the best! The kids also wrote some of the more difficult words in cursive. I am being very picky with these, but they have already shown so much progress with their handwriting! Focusing on each letter is sure to help those spelling words stick!

Poetry-  The kids worked together in groups today, listening to each others' poetry recitations and checking it against the written poem. I think this was a great way to practice. They helped each other with any words that may have been left out or changed... and enjoyed it!

Grammar- We went over the worksheets from home, making any corrections and discussing it along the way. After our review, we learned about “predicate adjectives” today. Predicate adjectives are adjectives that follow the verb but that describe the subject. For instance, in the sentence “The sun is hot.”, the word “hot” is an adjective that describes the subject “sun”. It follows a linking verb, but it is not a noun or pronoun... therefore, it cannot be a predicate nominative. This is a predicate adjective! We diagram it the same way as a predicate nominative, on the line beside the verbs, but behind a slanted line.

Math- We worked on some really hard word problems today! These word problems had more than one step to them, and they really taught the kids to read carefully! Here is an example of a problem that we learned to do: “Bob has a pole that is 3 m long. He has a rope that is 8 times as long as the pole. If the rope was divided into four equal parts, how long would each part be?” We worked through how to set up multiplication and division word problems last week. Now, the students are doing a great job taking it to a new level!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis lead the kids through a lesson on the middle colonies. They discussed William Penn and the founding of Pennsylvania. Key words from this lesson include: treaty, intolerance, proprietor, and representatives. They also made a flow chart of information on New York and New Jersey's governments.

Writing- I met with each student individually and discussed the progress they are making on their “Pay It Forward” papers. I can tell that each of them will definitely be able to meet the challenge of writing three paragraphs papers this semester. We will work on making all corrections and finishing the final copies at home... and share them with Ms. Sharon on Thursday!

Art- There was a lot of clowning around today! Ms. Nancy taught the kids about mosaics today. The kids created clown pictures using torn bits of construction paper. And, as I said, did a lot of clowning around!

Music-The kids did their "popcorn" game with music flashcards.  After a great review of music notes and symbols, they worked on playing their new song, "In the Morning". 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Science you can SQUISH.

Spelling-  We played the hamburger game with our spelling words today.  It seems that instead of pretending to eat the imaginary hamburgers that they build, the new thing is to pretend to store them away... for a huge imaginary food fight at the end of the review!  Imaginary food fights are the cleanest kinds!

Poetry-  We did some in-class poetry review today.  We will be working on memorizing "My Shadow" in the next couple weeks.  Hopefully, we can do a video for it at the end of the month!

Grammar- We had a review day for predicate nominatives and direct objects.  We went over yesterday's homework together, making any changes that were needed.  Today's review really helped them to understand the difference between the two.  We will be doing even more review at home on Friday and Monday, so we don't forget what we have learned!

Reading- By popular demand, we read another chapter in our reading book.  The kids are eating this stuff up, learning vocabulary, AND reinforcing our Earth science material.  I love it!  I gave each of them a composition notebook today with some vocabulary words written down inside.  These are the words that they may not know for chapters 4 and 5, which they will be reading at home. 

Math- We are working on multiplication and division word problems.  Although these can be tricky, it helps to just remind the kids to not over think them.  For instance, if John has $32 and John has four times as much money as Ricky, then it doesn't make sense that the answer would be 32 x 4!  With practice, they are getting better and better at applying the right equation to the word problem.

Science- We learned about the three types of rocks today:  igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.  To illustrate how metamorphic rocks are formed by heat and pressure deep in the Earth, we used Play-dough!  We created "rocks" with different "mineral grains".  The students had to use a ruler to measure the width and length of each "grain" in centimeters and record their findings on a chart.  Then, they applied pressure to their "rock".  Final measurements were taken.  They answered questions (in complete sentences) about their results, comparing them to the creation of metamorphic rocks!  Math + Science + Crafts = AWESOME!

Social Studies-  The students learned more about life in the New England colonies today.  They learned about exports, imports, and trading between the colonists and other countries.  I have been amazed at how much their social studies lessons are increasing their reading retention and comprehension!  I will send home the kids' display boxes for them to continue to work on.  Help them to research those colonial occupations.  They will type up the information that they would like to share, print it out, cut it out, and paste it to the back of their display box.  The front should have the title of their occupation as well as a picture, hand drawn or printed. 

Writing-  Ms. Sharon brought out the students' "Pay It Forward" papers today.  They discussed each paper and talked about ways to improve them... as well as to expand them into three paragraph papers.  Now that we are into the second semester, we explained that they will need to step up the effort that they put into their writing!  Although I thought the stress of this concept would bring them to tears, I know that they will rise to expectations and, as painful as it may be, be writing those three paragraph papers by the end of the year! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012, Here we come!

Welcome back! It sounds like all of the kids had a great break!

We kicked off the first day of the new semester with a in-class writing assignment titled, “My Awesome Christmas Break”. The sat and wrote about their holiday and we shared them with the class!

Spelling- We discussed the spelling of each word in list 17 today. Also, we worked on writing some of the harder words in cursive. We will be making corrections and going over our handwriting mistakes on Thursday.

Grammar- What a day! We weren't baby-stepped back into grammar today, we were dunked into some awesome new material! Before the break, we learned about simple subjects, complete subjects, and complete predicates. We also learned about direct objects in previous lessons. Today, we learned about linking verbs. The same verbs that make up our state-of-being-verb list also make up our list of linking verbs. These words act as linking verbs when they link the subject to a predicate nominative. For instance, “It was Karen.” In this sentence, “was” links the subject “it” to the noun “Karen”. Karen becomes a renaming word for the subject. A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun in the complete predicate that renames the subject. The difference between direct objects and predicate nominatives is that direct objects follow action verbs (“She threw food.”), while predicate nominatives follow linking verbs (“Is is food.”).

Reading- We began our new book today, “The Earthshaking Earthquake Mystery”. This book will bridge our lessons in Earth science with our reading lessons. Today, we read the first two chapters out loud. Although there are some tough words, the kids are loving the story already!

Math- We worked on multiplication and division word problems today. The kids could draw pictures, bar representations, or number bonds to help them work their way through the problems. Afterward, we used Popsicle sticks and masking tape to create a multiplication helper!

Science- We learned more about the layers of the Earth and tectonic plates today. The kids worked in groups to come up with their own theories of how the Earth looked millions of years ago. They cut tectonic plates out of paper and used clues, such as commonly found fossils, minerals, and continent shapes in order to come up with their own version of the super-continent. Then, we compared their theories to a map of scientists' theory of Pangea.

Art- Today, the students worked on an overlapping abstract with oil pastels. Sometimes it is hard for them to accept creating something that isn't true to life. However, they are getting more and more trusting as they get more comfortable with their artistic sides!

Music- Today, Mrs. Beresford led the kids through a lesson on playing notes on the staff. The followed the notes on the screen... each student was a note as they popped up and shouted their note with the beat. They had a hard time remembering the location of the “D” on the staff. To help them remember that it is right below the staff, the class had to go under the table and get a good visual on being under the staff. Hopefully, that will help them remember! The kids worked on a new song, “In the Morning”, which Mrs. Beresford gave out today.