Monday, December 30, 2013

Atom Arrangement, Aboard Air Holiday, Division in December, and Snowman Scoot

December sure was a busy month in Room 16! So much, that it left little time to blog about it!

A huge thank you is owed to the wonderful members of MP's PAC. The kids were overjoyed to make their purchases at the school's holiday fair. What a selection! 

In writing, students were very eager to respond to their Pennsylvanian pen pals. Using a two-column note organizer, students responded to their pen pal's questions, shared the events of their Thanksgiving break, their Holiday Fair purchases, and plans for winter break.  

In our study of matter, we discussed the placement of atoms in solids, liquids, and gases. Atoms in solids are very close together, tightly packed and move very little. That is why solids have their own shape. In liquids, atoms are close together but move more. In gases, the atoms are well-separated and spaced a good distance from each other. Scientists enjoyed using cereal to replicate the arrangement of those atoms. Check out this website to see atoms in motion.

In reading, we continued to work with main idea, details, and nonfiction text features. In book club groups, readers played "Scoop and Stack" as they sorted details into the correct group. As we read, it's important that readers monitor their understanding and think about the main idea of the text. Check out this game on finding the main idea.

Below, Bryan displays his text features poster. Students matched the text feature with the appropriate example. 


We ventured on a text feature scavenger hunt looking for tables of contents, glossaries, bold print, and captions in our independent reading books. All of these text features help us acquire new information and facts on a range of topics.

We are getting in the habit of using a book's text as we respond to reading questions. Locating evidence gives us confidence that we have found the correct answer. Below, Conor refers back to the text as he responds to Sarah Morton's Day questions.

Here, Charlie used mini post-its to record thinkmarks as she read. She found some interesting facts in this animal encyclopedia and also marked text that left her with wonderings...

In spelling, we worked with rules to apply when making singular nouns plural. We made flip books to show the different rules. For most nouns, we simply add an 's.' For nouns that end in -s, -sh, -ch, or -x, we add es. For nouns that end in a consonant and a y, we must change the y to i and add es.


Topic 6 began with the Distributive Property--a math principle allowing us to break apart large arrays into smaller arrays. For example, 6 x 9 = (3 x 9) + (3 x 9). We had fun working with the Distributive Doctor to make sense of this new principle.


Mathematicians used known facts, rhymes, and arrays to solve these multiplication ornaments. Check out Mike W.'s Multiplication Tree below!

As we concluded Topic 6 about multiplication and multi-step problems, students worked with their math partners to create their own multiple step problems using donated store flyers. (Thank you for those!) Great teamwork, strong math thinking, and math talk made this a fun, real-world activity.

In small groups, third graders worked collaboratively on a number of holiday-themed games and activities. Here, students solved number sentences to see if the given answer was correct or incorrect. If the answer was correct, the card was placed on "Santa's Nice List." If the answer on the card was incorrect, the card was placed on "Santa's Naughty List."


The entire third grade took part in a festive Reading and Social Studies activity last week. Students "traveled" on Air Holiday with boarding passes in hand as they flew to a number of countries learning about the holiday traditions and customs. After visiting such countries as Germany, Mexico, France, England, and Israel, students recorded information about the country's gift bringer, traditions, foods, and decorations, stored it in their "suitcase," filled in their passport, and enjoyed inflight readings.

Students were thrilled to learn that we would be starting division before the close of 2013! In a math activity entitled Division in December, mathematicians used mouthwatering manipulatives to demonstrate division as sharing. We had to equally separate ornaments onto 3 trees and presents into 5 boxes. We realized that knowing our multiplication facts will help a great deal with division! 

What better way to close out December than with a class store! Hard-earned BBQ Bucks were spent on an array of goodies and prizes including Line Leader for a day, holiday buckets, silly sunglasses, window clings, and a pass to wear slippers to school!


Two new games debuted in Room 16--"I Have, Who Has" and Snowman Scoot! Each student got an "I Have, Who Has" card. We had to listen carefully to determine if our card matched the one read aloud. To get into the holiday spirit, we played a Christmas version.


To play Snowman Scoot, 26 question cards are placed at table spots. Each student records their answers to reading, spelling, and grammar questions on a recording sheet. When they hear "Scoot!" students scoot to the next seat to read and answer the next question. What fun we had!

After reading about the anatomy, diet, and habitat of reindeer, students visited our Reindeer Food Bar to make a bag to sprinkle on their lawn to let Rudolph and his friends know to stop at their house Christmas Eve. Flying Powder, oats, raisins, potato chips and glitter were a few of the options at the "bar."

As we got in the holiday spirit, third graders stepped into our festive photo booth and chose props for their holiday photos. Once framed, students wrapped their gifts for moms and dads. We sure hope they liked them!

See you all in 2014!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wax Museum, Math Patterns, an Author Visit and the Share Chair

We stepped back in time in November and welcomed many famous Massachusetts figures to Room 16.

Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, Robert Goddard and Benjamin Franklin shared with us a few of their famous accomplishments. 



In Social Studies, students read about the daily life of a Pilgrim boy named Samuel Eaton. A busy day spent fetchinig water, collecting firewood, helping with the meals, and joining his father in the rye harvest left little time for play!

Below, Billy and Isabella, Derek and Ryan C. partner read Samuel Eaton's Day.  


As we learn our 2s, 5s, 9s, and 10s multiplication facts, we used a hundreds chart to notice patterns. All multiples of 2 are even and have a 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 in the ones place. Multiples of 5 have a 0 or a 5 in the ones place and we noticed the tens digit increases while the ones digit decreases in multiples of 9. Be sure to study multiplication facts each night! :)

Two weeks ago, author and illustrator Kate Sullivan visited Memorial Park and read her fictional story On Linden Square. She talked to us about the importance of characters in stories and suggested ways to describe them that would engage and interest the reader. She inspired us to draw and write character descriptions about people in our neighborhood using physical traits as well as observations we have made about them. What a treat it was to have her read our writing!

In Writer's Workshop, students wrote persuasive pieces from the point of view of alliterative turkeys. Writers had to convince readers to NOT cook them on Thanksgiving. In addition to giving three reasons why they should not be eaten, writers added supporting details and an alternative solution.

Rosie shares her persuasive piece with a few of Miss O'Day's buddy readers. 

With personal narratives edited and revised, writers celebrated their accomplishments in the Share Chair. We offered compliments, questions, and suggestions to these budding writers.

Next week, we dig deeper to find the main idea of stories and passages and begin a unit on informational texts. Topic 6 in math introduces us to the 3, 4, and 6 multiplication tables!