Thursday, Nov.1 - Outdoor Classroom Day -(Location change due to hunting season!) We will be using our school campus and the Whaleback Shell Middens
Monday, Nov.5 - All day at the Darling Marine Center
Nov. 13-29 - Parent Teacher Conferences
Thursday, Nov.15 - Outdoor Education - 8:30-11:20
Nov. 21-23 - Thanksgiving Break
,We have made an online connection with a 5th grade classroom in Elon, North Carolina. We do this through an online educational exchange program called Empatico.org. The purpose of this exchange is to foster understanding and empathy with others who are different from us. We were connected to a "Global School" that has a high percentage of English as a second language students. This is a great connection for us considering that three of our students also speak other languages at home. This school has been really struggling lately with weather. They have been affected by the last two hurricanes and have gone many days without power or school. We have met with them twice so far. The first meeting connected with our science standards surrounding weather. We shared weather stories - we were super curious about the hurricanes and they were super curious about snow! We met again to learn more about each other as the students shared some things about themselves and our school. We also asked and answered questions to learn more. Our kids made cards when Hurricane Michael hit and we have been sharing these online. This is proving to be a very enriching experience and our students love having friends from North Carolina.
On the last hot day of the season, we completed the Jog-a-thon! The kids were hot but committed. They ran and ran and ran, then celebrated with cold water and apples. The third grade raised so much money this year, with Mrs. Peters' class being the top earners in the school! Thank you to all who donated.
We are so lucky to have the DRA and Sarah Gladu help us with our current studies. After mastering our continent and ocean standards, we have moved on to studying fossils in science and the Wabanaki People in social studies. The DRA hosted us for an afternoon of immersion into the world of fossils and then again for an entire day to learn about Wabanaki People. There we met Judy Dow, an Abanaki woman, who taught us much about Native American culture - stories, games and technology. We learned to build shelters and forage for native foods. It was a soggy, but wonderful day!
Our differentiated math instruction is working well to meet the needs of our students. The three third grade teachers have sent home newsletters to parents letting everyone know what is being covered in your child's math class. We are about to finish the first unit in our Bridges math curriculum. This means we have been focusing on double digit multiplication and subtraction strategies, linear measurement, place value, arrays, ratio tables, repeated addition as multiplication, and the use of number lines. We feel that the students are benefitting tremendously by being instructed with their same-level peers, especially knowing that these groupings are fluid depending on the concepts we encounter as we go forward.
It's only the middle of September and our routines seem to be nicely in place. The students are becoming familiar with the flow of our days and they are learning how to function in their new spaces. We have a structured routine that is perfectly in sync with the other third grade classes to avoid distractions, noise and chaos. Our typical day looks something like this:
8:00-8:40 - Arrival and Morning Work (differentiated math practice)
8:40-9:00 - Morning Meeting (a class check-in, greetings and schedule of the day) Done in classroom pods
9:00-9:20 - snack outside with whole grade
9:20-9:50 - one of our specials
9:50-10:20 - Mentor Sentences (grammar and parts of speech) Done with classroom pod.
10:20-11:20 - Math (differentiated grouping with one of the three teachers)
11:20-12:10 - Recess/lunch
12:10-12:40 - Read to Self while I meet individually with students.
12:40-1:15 - Differentiated writing Instruction and Daily 5 (literacy choices) Done with the entire third grade
1:15-2:00 - Project Time involving science or social studies.
2:00-2:25 - Come together whole grade for a read aloud
2:25 -2:35 - Pack up and go outside
Third graders utilizing the Maker Space. This is an area where students work together in teams to solve engineering challenges. They become familiar with criteria and constraints as they work to solve to hands-on design problems. It is always a favorite spot in the classroom!
We have the best library in the whole school! Besides our main library, of course. The students love to lounge about with their books in here. There is a fantastic selection - there are books for every interest and reading level. We have a bunch of satisfied and voracious readers around here!
I hope you are all having a wonderful summer. I wanted to send a quick shout out to all my students from last year and my new students too. I am sharing some pictures from my big adventure. I climbed Mt. Katahdin! For my new students, this is significant because we study Maine in 3rd grade and we read, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, which is about a 12 year old boy who was lost for nine days on Mt. Katahdin and survived. I have always wanted to do this since I have been reading this book to my students for many years. Wow! It was hard! It took us 13 hours to climb to the summit and back and we were sore for days. I climbed with my best friend from college and we had an amazing time. I have a whole new perspective on the struggles that Donn Fendler must have gone through for those nine grueling days - one day was hard enough! I'm including a few pictures from my summer so far and I hope you know that I am thinking of you all and can't wait to see you in September!
Jaxson, Mona and Matilda
Monday, June 11 - Darling Marine Center - would love some parent volunteers!
Wednesday, June 13 - Portfolio Night Open House from 5-6p.m. in our classroom.
Friday, June 15 - Step up Day
Monday, June 18 - Variety show and last day of school - half day
We had the perfect weather for field day this year. The slightly overcast sky helped us to enjoy the afternoon without overheating. The kids seemed to really enjoy themselves and it was wonderful to see them all making the rounds with each other. I got some good action shots of the class - they were pretty impressive.
The Bike Rodeo was lots of fun. We learned about bike safety and the event included an obstacle course that even went through mud! We also had the opportunity to listen to a police officer explain how he trains and uses dogs for the canine unit. We met his dog, Duke, and were fascinated to see him perform. As for new bikes - our class was very lucky this year - we had both third grade winners - Ben and Natalie.
We were invited for a brief visit to Pinkham's Plantation to help them plant giant pumpkins. We helped to fill pots with soil, file down seeds and get a tour of the pumpkin growing area. We learned about how much compost a giant pumpkin needs to grow and we got excited about the pumpkin fest. We sprouted our seeds back in the classroom and will be planting one of our seedlings here at school for the summer. I may be asking for some pumpkin visits throughout the summer...stay tuned!
Maine State Museum
We had a wonderful visit to the Maine State Museum in Augusta. The students were given a scavenger hunt as they wandered the museum in search of important historical and cultural information about Maine. This is the perfect field trip for third grade because it covers so much of our curriculum. From fossils to Native Americans to Maine geography and industry - it has it all!
Newsletter Post 4/26/18
It's here! It's here. Ok I admit it, I was here, in New Orleans while everyone in Maine was having the worst weather ever
but now it truly feels like spring and we can all rejoice! Enjoy my spring newsletter and stay tuned for more exciting learning as we head into the final stretch of the school year.
Maker Space Donors Choose
I am thrilled to announce that I put a request out for some Maker Space materials on the educational fund raising site, Donor's Choose and...it was fully funded! Our class will be making thank you cards for our generous donors. We got some new shelving and some tools and some snap circuits. The kids put the shelving together and have been organizing our Maker Space. They are very excited! We are using our new tools whenever we can.
April is National Poetry Month so we have been having fun exploring poems and writing poetry. For our first lesson we "dissected" a poem called "Recess! Oh Recess! by Darren Sardelli. We noticed right away that it was a poem inspired by Jack Pretlusky's "Homework! Oh Homework!, which we all know and love. We made a list of all our "noticings" and then modeled our own poems after the original. We used the same number of words, lines and stanzas, and we borrowed some word patterns and phrasing. It was pretty challenging to stay within the framework, but the kids persevered and made some great poems. Now they are experimenting with poems of their choice - anything goes in poetry - that's what makes it so fun!
Tennis at the Y
We had four weeks of tennis lessons at the Y. Our coach was great and he felt very encouraged by the improvements of our players. It was the perfect opportunity to get out and move our bodies for 30 minutes, learning about the great game of tennis. We are so fortunate to have the Y right next door and to be able to provide some non-academic learning experiences for our students. If you haven't been over to check out the remodel, I highly recommend it - it looks beautiful!
Hard to believe this was March 23rd! But we were happy to take advantage of the lovely weather and the DRA's snowshoes. These kids were pros on the snow and it was lovely to spend some time out in our back woods enjoying the outdoors and each other. Thank you to Sarah Gladu for bringing the snowshoes over to GSB.
A Visit from Chewonki
Chewonki came to do their presentation about predators and prey. This fits beautifully into our study of adaptations. Our students are always excited to see the live animals that they bring and this visit was no exception. They brought a barred owl, a snake and a tarantula. Very exciting!
Newsletter Post 2/26/2018
A New Puppy!
I hope you all had a wonderful break. I spent the week doing house projects and tending to our newest addition to our household. I'm pretty excited about it. Her name is Matilda (from the Roald Dahl novel) and she is keeping me very busy! She was just going to be a foster pup...what was I thinking? Of course we fell in love and now she is ours. I've always gotten rescue dogs who were just past the puppy years so if anyone out there has some sage advice about puppy training, please contact me!
Science and STEAM
In Science we are digging deeply into our Marine Animal projects. The kids have chosen an animal from the Gulf of Maine to research and will be making online books about their animals. They are learning about informational text features and are applying these, along with design elements, to their books. For Maker Monday, they have been creating an accurate model of their animal's life cycle and using paint and pastels to turn it into a piece of science art. In Science Buddies the kids have been making and testing anemometers, which are instruments used to measure wind speed. They were given material constraints and the students determined that they would judge them based on how may complete rotations they make in one minute when impacted by a constant wind force. They have begun the test runs and are making modifications to their designs based on their tests. This is a wonderful collaboration between the third and sixth graders and it is exciting to watch them learn from each other.
We continue to work on our multiplication and division facts. We have been playing games, writing them in our notebooks, making flash cards (and cool little pouches to hold them) and testing each other. We have fact "clubs" that the kids are working towards. The breakdown looks like this -
We are also practicing our double and triple digit addition and subtraction. These skills are not solid coming into third grade and there is a lot of confusion about the process of borrowing and trading. We use many different strategies to enforce these concepts. Using the number line can be very helpful. It would be good to throw some triple digit subtraction problems at your children here and there. The more they practice, the better.
Through our Number Corner calendar activities, we have transitioned from the concept of arrays to finding area. They are starting to realize that they use the same process to find area as they were using to multiply with arrays. Now they will practice knowing the difference between perimeter and area and finding them both through real life applications. Just for fun, ask them to find the area and perimeter of your dining table or rug...as long as they are rectangles or squares please!
I have to say, this class came into third grade as fairly reluctant writers. I was a little worried about them, I must confess. But I am happy to report that I am seeing a turn around in their desire and enthusiasm for writing. They are starting to choose writing during their Daily 5 choice time and they seem to be enjoying our genre studies and asking for more. At the moment, we are dabbling in two different genres- persuasive/opinion and informational. Some of you may have been on the receiving end of some persuasive letters...I do apologize! I like to give them free reign with their topics because I find that when given the choice, their excitement level is higher and they write more! The students are also doing some extensive research for their Marine Animal project and some have begun the writing process as we explore informational writing features.
Ice Skating at the MRC
Once again, our third graders are making huge gains on the ice this year. It is always so wonderful to see the progress that these kids make over such a short period of time. While ice skating is not part of our curriculum, I find this to be one of the most powerful learning experiences of the third grade year. The kids learn about perseverance, practice and growth mindset in a very practical way and every single one of them is rewarded with the success from these outcomes. These are lessons they can bring with them into their classroom and throughout their lives.
Look at those faces!
This is what STEM education is all about! When students are given the opportunities to design solutions to problems and test their creations, it instills the curiosity and wonder that is essential for innovation in our world. Pictured here is one of the winning teams testing their catapults for distance.
Science Buddies with Mr. Feltis' 6th Graders
We continue to enjoy our STEM explorations with our science buddies. Recently, we have built catapults, made giant bubbles and practiced measuring their diameters in millimeters and centimeters. Now we are making anemometers to measure wind speed. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to work with mentor students, work in a team and get experience with innovation and design - all real world essential skills.
The week before the holiday break was a lot of fun. Our class participated and shared first prize with the other third grade classrooms for the longest scrabble word. It was a word that one of our students found and the rest of the class jumped into action! We had a lot of fun decorating our holiday door as well. It was voted upon and they set to work creating our Ewok-themed door. We even had the an audio feature of the Ewok Yub Nub Celebration song. It was awesome. This class is full of Star Wars fans, clearly.
In our study of Maine Native Americans, we read several legends. We also spent some time studying fables. We learned that most of these stories provide a lesson of some sort or provide an explanation to some phenomena in nature. For Writing Workshop, the students drew from these examples to create their own legends. They are now creating picture books of their legends and will be sharing them with other classrooms. They are very excited about these published books!
A Visit from WMTW Channel 8
Wow! There are some seriously nice parents out there! We had quite a crew to greet Ted Mcinerney, meteorologist from Channel 8 News. He was at GSB from 4:30 a.m. on and kids started arriving before 6 a.m. There were a bunch of students on TV and our whole third grade received an informative and fun presentation. One of our third grade science standards is all about weather, so this serves as a great way to kick off our study. Oh yeah...we were filmed in the classroom too. Check out this link for footage.
The Wigwam Design project was a huge success! It was wonderful to watch the students as they went through the design process and deepen their knowledge of the geography of Maine and its natural resources. They drew and revised their designs and added to their wigwams until they were "just right". So much hard work and dedication went into these. It was quite impressive!
Upcoming Field Trips
On Thursday, Oct. 26 we will be spending the day at the DRA learning about Wabanaki culture. We will be outside all day so please make sure your child is dressed for the weather. On Tuesday, Oct.31 the kids will go the Hidden Valley Nature Center with Mrs. Davis, Ms. Schaff, Mrs. Peaslee, and Mrs. Herrick for an outdoor ed. day. The third grade teachers will stay at school to work on curriculum and planning. If you would like to help out with either, please let me know.
Researching Oyster Aquaculture at the Darling Marine Center
Clink on link for more photos -
Outdoor Classroom Day
Our class will be celebrating our second Outdoor Classroom Day with the rest of third grade by having some adventures at Lakehurst in Damariscotta on Thursday. We will take a bus there after lunch and we will find several outdoor missions to accomplish together. If you would like to join us, please let us know. Our class will also be going to the Shell Middens in the morning for a fact finding walk. We have just begun our Maine Native American study and there is lots to learn about them over at the Middens,
Last week we had the experience we had all been waiting for! Our class had been working with their 6th grade science buddies on a design challenge to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from the bell tower on the playground. Out of 26 teams, only two teams were successful in protecting their eggs. It was a lot harder than we thought it was going to be.
More photos here -
One team hard at work
Hurricane Relief Fund
Our class has been raising money for those effected by the devastating hurricanes. We are not participating in the Penny Wars, but we are doing lots of money and graphing math as a result. So far we have $65.47 and we have made two types of graphs to represent our data. Thank you for letting your child donate to this cause!
Our last Maker challenge involved meeting Social Studies and Design standards. The students needed to create a model of the continents and oceans, using paper. They could not use scissors! This was challenging but the results are wonderful! You can see them hanging on the bulletin board outside our classroom. This process helped them to learn the approximate shape and placements of the continents and oceans. They are now being given an assessment to determine their knowledge.
The Third Grade investigates balanced and unbalanced forces by playing Tug of War
On Mondays we have a design challenge and problem solving activity. This week we explored using gravity and inclined planes to make a marble move. The challenge was to make a ramp and move a marble the farthest distance by using gravity. The farthest marble measurement was over 600cm.!
Our new writing project is Folktales. This genre uses what we learned about writing narratives and adds the important elements of folktale, legend and fairy tale stories. In class, we have been sharing and reading Native American folktales. The students are discovering that these stories all have a lesson or a moral they are trying to convey. We have discussed how Native Americans use stories to pass on their beliefs and lessons, much like many cultures around the world. These stories will be turned into books with illustrations to be shared with our classmates and families.
We are continuing our Mentor Sentence work which enforces grammar and parts of speech, all while examining the structure of some of the best children's literature. When students pick apart their favorite stories, they start to understand the important elements in a good story, which starts to transfer to their writing.
We are also making gains on our reading goals. Our students are starting to understand which books are best for them based on a combination of interest, genre and level. In third grade, our goal as teachers is to pass on the love of reading. Our program is designed to give them time to read and learn about themselves as readers so that they grow into skillful and prolific readers who chose to read good books because they love them. They are not all there yet, but third grade is an important year for establishing this ideal.
In math, we are continuing to work in our differentiated groups. We have all finished Unit 1 and are deep into Unit 2, which is a third grade favorite. This unit introduces the concepts involved in multiplication and division. Focusing on repeated addition makes multiplication accessible to kids who don't think they know how to do multiplication. It builds a foundation for success when they truly understand what multiplication is and can easily convert repeated addition facts into multiplication facts. (ex. 2+2+2= 6, can also be written 2x3=6.) Minds Blown! The wonderful aspect of our team teaching model is that we can spend as much time as we need on solidifying these foundational skills with our respective groups. Those that understand these concepts can move on quickly to more challenging problems and those that need more time and practice, are given that instruction.
Our local firefighters came once again to GSB to reinforce the important life-saving rules of fire safety. By the time they are in third grade they have learned how to keep their families safe in a fire. They love going into the smoke trailer and pretending to escape out the back window. And the tour of the fire truck is always fun too!
Our science buddies are in Mr. Feltis' 6th grade class. They come to our room and we work in teams to complete science challenges. We have been investigating fossils together and are now planning a poster to describe why fossils from the same site can come from different habitats depending on the depth of the dig.
Chewonki came to teach us about predator and prey animals. Jessica brought a bard owl named Luna, a tarantula named Parker, and a corn snake. We learned the about the characteristics and adaptations of predators and how they are different from those of prey animals. We learned about food chains and the importance of all animals and plants in keeping the balance of ecosystems. Their visit connects to our science standards that explore animal and plant adaptations and habitats.