Our Week – April 20

This week was full of special events.  On Monday we worked on a map reading challenge with Mr. Caron.  On Tuesday and Thursday we prepared for and practiced the Grade 3 all school assembly.  And also on Thursday we attended a Randy Armstrong concert.  We got to hear music played on instruments from around the world. It was incredible!  Of course, in and around those events, we read and wrote, updated our fact checks, solved a few problems and explored fractions.

State Wonder Research

This week the children researched their first three wonders.  They know quite a bit about their state’s symbols and why they came to be selected.  They also know about many famous people who are from their state.  They’ve chosen one they would like to learn about and feature on their floats.  They are using much of what they learned from their 2ndgrade biography project as they write about the life of their State Hero.  And finally this week, each of the children has chosen a Manmade Wonder to feature on their floats.

Thank you to the families who have read and returned the float criteria slips.  If you’ve not been able to do that, please take a minute for that now.  The project is an exciting one, but involved and I want to ensure that all of the children have what they need to feel proud of what they are presenting.  Also be on the lookout for the float blueprint worksheet on April 30th.  The children should be doing this work, but will certainly need your help talking it through.  Springtime sports and end of the year recitals, etc… make time a premium, so thank you in advance for your support of this project.

For our assembly the children presented their state and shared the artwork they’d created of their symbol.  They did a nice job sharing their information.

Writing Stamina

Writing lots and long has been our focus this week.  Many of the children enjoy composing on the computer, but what that means for many is lots of time searching for funny memes and images and little time actually writing text.  We’ve gone back to more frequent quick writes so the class can see how much text they can generate in a short amount of time.  We’ve been talking about what to do when the writing doesn’t seem very good or really have meaning.  We’ve been trying to work through that to discover a line or an idea that we might use the next time.

This week’s writing prompts have been about ideas like making a difference in the world or the feeling of spring.  These have been more challenging than personal narrative prompts like tell about your favorite meal or most memorable birthday.  It has been fun for the children to realize that while some people are writing 100 words and some are writing 32 and others are writing 56, all have some nugget that sparkles and can be shared.  We’ve been hearing some great phrases and sentences, some impactful poems and some creative stories.  We have a class of strong writers!

This week our blogging challenge was to leave comments on at least five other student blogs who are also part of the challenge.  They class learned how to copy and paste their URL into their comment as a live link. They are hoping they will receive comments for other places.  As always, they’d love comments from you as well.  Share their blogs as widely you can.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’re really into the story of Winterhouse. This week we listing a whole page of questions that we are interested in finding the answers to. It is clear that everyone is thinking about they mysteries in this story.  They are predicting and making inferences. It is interesting to hear all the connections they make and their attention to even the smallest details.
  • They’ll be using those abilities in our final mystery book club when they return from vacation.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance. We’ll be coming back to have lunch in our classrooms.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.

Float Examples From Past State Parades

Over the next few weeks the children will be identifying the Wonders of their state.  They’ll be choosing a state symbol to learn more about.  They’ll be identifying a famous person from their state, as well as choosing a man-made wonder, a natural wonder and a state festival, tradition or celebration.  Children may choose other Wonders if they would like to represent them on their floats.

These Wonder will be represented on their floats.  We’ll be painting the symbols, creating State Hero and creating a collage of the man-made Wonder in the classroom.  The other two wonders will be added as you create the floats at home.

The floats may be a sandwich board







On on a wagon, rolling suitcase, cooler, skateboard or an original base.

Suggestions of how to build each type of float along with the following criteria will be sent home on Monday, April 16.

Size Criteria:

  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 36 inches long.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 48 inches high.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 30 inches wide.

Design Criteria:

  • The float obviously represents your state and shows its uniqueness.
  • Clearly represents your, the student’s, own ideas, work and effort
  • Shows common easily found materials were used to create the float.
  • Clearly demonstrate your, the student’s, best effort and creativity.

Content Criteria:

Represent and label your Wonders on the sandwich board or float clearly and accurately.

It is a fun project and such an exciting celebration of our country and a year of learning!  We can’t wait to see you on Thursday, May 24!

Our Week – April 13

3E is a busy place. There’s lots of reading, writing, problem solving and research going on.  There’s also lots of cooperation, working through challenges, kind support and encouragement.  More and more children are taking responsibility for their learning choices. They are better able to focus in the morning and get tasks done.  It is a fun place to be

Animal Awesomeness Continues

On Monday I was still thinking of how proud I felt about the great work The Good Deed Club had done. They had all worked together to create an incredible fun family night with a real purpose.  On Monday they counted the donations and found they had raised $700.09 for the World Wildlife Fund. They drew out the names for each raffle item and discovered they knew each of the winners.  That was exciting too – a great fun to deliver around the school.

As part of morning meeting we collected favorite memories and important lessons learned through project. When we put them altogether it was clear that The Good Deed Club had learned many important life-lessons about perseverance, collaboration, cooperation, effort and fun.  Using the Top 10 format most of the children created a blog post sharing what was important to them.  Emily wrote and submitted an article with photographs to the Hampton Union.  We hope it will be published, but we don’t know for sure.  The energy from that work remains with us as we wonder about what The Good Deed Club might want to do next.

The Parade of the States Is Coming!

This week the children read two or three different books about their chosen states.  They began to create lists for each type of wonder they are looking for.  From this gathering of ideas, they’ll choose a state symbol, a state hero, a manmade landmark, a natural wonder and a state celebration/festival/tradition.  Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  They may also choose to only research five.

At this point we are hoping to gather information about two wonders each week so the research portion of the project should be done the week we return from vacation.  That is when the details about float building will be sent home to you.  The children will create a blueprint and once approved, will be receive a building permit. That will be the signal at home that they’ve met all the criteria and are ready to build.

Over the weekend I will create a blog post highlighting floats from years past so that if this is your first time with the Parade of the States Project you have a clearer idea of what the project entails.  The children have seen these already.  Many have begun brainstorming ideas and dreaming.

At this part in the process, it is fun to hear the children say things like, “At first I didn’t want to learn about ________ , but the more I read, I realize it is really cool” “Did you know…?” they ask, and I course I don’t.  Learning about our country is pretty interesting.

Fractions and Equivalence

We’ve been exploring fractions and division in all kinds of ways.  We’ve cut shapes apart.  We’ve sorted shapes into different sized groups.  We’ve explored fractions on a number line as if we are measuring with a ruler.  This is really stretching their thinking and they are feeling frustrated.  It’s hard for them to realize that both the number of groups and the size of the groups matter.  Fractions have to be even in size.  They’ll understand this with time and practice.  Please encourage your children to be patient and remind them that this new, challenging thinking is growing their brains.  Sometimes learning feels tough.


Everyone has completed a first revised draft of his or her fable.  We’ve been practicing ways of giving positive and constructive feedback. We’ve read a couple original fables that students have written in past years.  It’s been fun to notice the intentional decisions these authors had made and we ‘re trying to do the same.  Next week we’ll be naming our collection and working to plan and create illustrations that will highlight the most important idea in our fable.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Happy Birthday today Derek.
  • Most of the children have posted their magnet books and wrote about Animal Awesomeness.  If you have a chance leave them a comment.  They’ll be grateful and proud.  Thanks!
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron on Monday, April 16.
  • We’re really into Winterhouse.  There are so many different twists and turns in the mystery.  We can’t wait to see how the pieces all go together.
  • We’ve read some more about Earth Day and more about why conservation matters.  We are all trying to be mindful of using only what we need and reducing waste as much as possible.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance.  We’ll becoming back to have lunch in our classroom. We are not certain we’ll be back in time for school lunches.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.

Thank You!

Thanks to your kind generosity our Animal Awesomeness event was able to raise $700.09.  We will send this money to the World Wildlife Fund to support threatened and endangered animals.

Here are the Animal Awesomeness Raffle Winners:

  • Fox Journal – Joe from KC
  • Hippo Journal – Carson from 5 Mc
  • Tiger Journal – Nolan from 5 Mc
  • Turtle Journal – Vera from 1N
  • Cheetah Head Journal -Estella from 1G
  • Red Panda Journal – Elena 1G
  • Lion Journal – Alex from 3 E
  • Sloth Journal – Eily from 3M
  • Lion Profile Journal – Ian, Mrs. Coronato’s son
  • Shark Journal – Joe from KC
  • Giraffe Journal – Corbin from 3E
  • Lion Head Journal – the Martinos from 5Mc and 5M
  • Books by Gina Perry – Joey from PreK
  • Books by Nicola Davies – Lexi from 3M
  • Panorama and Outside Your Window books Terra from December’s family

We are beyond thrilled and wondering what our next Good Deed might be.

The Good Deed Club presents Animal Awesomeness

Our first major study of the year is an integrated exploration of habitats and animals.  We traveled to a zoo and then created our own classroom zoo. In the middle of the research process the students began to realize many, many of the animals they were learning about were threatened or endangered.  They discovered that the loss of one animal – no matter how large or small – changes the world forever.  And they realized this change is never good.  They decided they wanted to do something to make a difference.  But what?

At home one night, Emily wondered if the class would join her in starting The Good Deed Club.  The next morning she asked and a few classmates agreed to meet and talk during recess. In a few week’s time, seventeen third graders had joined, decided their first mission would be to help animals and began meeting weekly to plan.

From those first November talks they ideas began to take shape.  They decided they would invent games and activities with an animal theme and invite the school community to an event.  Every time someone played a game, they’d get at least one ticket for a raffle.  They met with the principal to share their plans and got the okay.  They created fliers about the event to send home and post around the school.

They planned and created The Sloth Lounge – for parents to rest in after a long day, Animal Safari, Pin-the-Tail on the Wildebeest, Red Panda Pie Face, Animal Chairs, Cotton-topped Tamarin Bowling, a Feed the Animals Obstacle Course and Toss The Poison Dart Frog.  When the games were done they created animal-themed journals for the raffle and decorations for walls.

At last, after four months of planning and making, they set up Animal Awesomeness in the gymnasium and hoped people would come.  They did!  For an hour the gym was filled with families playing games, winning tickets, taking chances in the raffle and most importantly helping the Good Deed Club change the world!

The commitment, effort and creativity of these seventeen third graders was on view for all to see.  Their pride and joy filled the room.  Thank you all for celebrating Animal Awesomeness  and helping the Good Deed Club’s dream come true.

Our Week – April 6

Our week has been much more focused on accomplishments and achieving personal best. Thank you for talking to your children and continuing to remind them that how they use time does matter. This week more and more of the children were able to finish each task and move on to extra reading or writing.

On top of this work, has been the excitement of Animal Awesomeness.  Thank you for fitting the extra work times into your schedule.  I know that’s not easy, but because of it we have some beautiful decorations and innovative games that many will enjoy. We’ve also got some awesome animal journals for the raffle.  The Good Deed Club can’t wait “to change the world!”

Fable Storyboarding

For this writing project we’ve moved through several different planning steps before actually writing.  First we chose the moral that we wanted to teach.  Next we chose our characters, a setting and outlined a sparse plotline. Next we quickly sketched the beginning, middle and ending of our fables. On the next day we added essential images until we could use the cards as a reminder for how we wanted to tell the story. We told our fables to a partner and to ourselves until it seemed just right.  Some of us discovered we prefer to write first, while others really liked to talk it through.  That was a valuable lesson to learn.  Finally we began to write the actual first draft.  Some are short and need to be expanded.  Some are long and need to be shrunk.  We’ve got some revising steps to work through.  Our plan is to have them ready to share by April vacation.

State Research Begins

This week the children learned what state they will be researching and presenting at the Parade of the States on Thursday, May 24 from 4:45 to no later than 6:30.  The children are doing the research and writing for this project here at school.  It will be a combined piece of information and persuasive writing.  They are hoping to convince you that their state is the one you should visit for your next vacation.

To begin with the children are reading about their states.  They are making lists of possible wonders in five different categories: State Symbol, Manmade Wonder, Natural Wonder, State Hero and State Festival, Celebration of Tradition. Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  Once they have a general awareness of their state they’ll begin to do some more specific research and begin a selection process.  Just as with the country project, understanding a place more fully than what you know if you’ve visited or what you see, is tricky.  It takes a great deal of inferencing and thinking to make meaning of a whole new place.

Our goal is to have the wonders chosen through April so that they have several weeks to craft their writing at school and to build their float with you at home. Clear float criteria will be sent home when it comes time for building.

Fractions, Problem Solving and Fact Practice

We’ve begun comparing fractions with different denominators.  Sometimes that’s quite simple, but other times it is very tricky. The remaining part of the whole looks almost the same.  We’ve been learning how multiplication and division can help us understand equivalence.

As you look at your child’s work over the next few weeks stop to notice how many problems it seems s/he may be solving a day.  Many of the children are challenging themselves to solve all four of them each day.  When they do that they are solving multi-step problems using a combination of all four operations.  It is exciting to see their effort and determination.  It is also fun to see how proud of themselves they are.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Please keep checking your children’s blogs for new posts.  They love comments.  The comments are proof that their work is read and appreciated.  This week Ms. Schmidt commented on each of their posted book reviews.  We are trying to post more frequently about classroom accomplishments – some magnet books have been posted this week.  Please share this with friends and extended family – they’ll be thrilled.
  • We’ve read the first 11 chapters of Winterhouse and it seems that we’ve just begun to understand the main action of the mystery.  It was interesting to realize we had to wait that long into the story (hint – don’t abandon a book too soon) before the real conflict and action was revealed.  We’re keeping a log of what’s happening in each chapter.  Our goal is to solve the mystery first.
  • We’ll begin mystery book clubs next week and continue learning more about mapping and regions of the United States.

Our Week – March 30

It is hard to believe we’ve completed the first week of the final part of 3rdGrade – time surely flies by!  We’ve finished up some projects and taken time to post a book review on our blogs. We’re learning about mysteries and the things that make this genre special.  We’re planning original fables and learning some revision strategies. And, of course, the Good Deed Club’s Animal Awesomeness event is just around the corner so we are creating games and decorations, gathering supplies and making sure everything is in place for a fun time.

Animal Awesomeness

After months of meeting during lunch on Thursdays, the plans of the Good Deed Club and coming together for the Animal Awesomeness event.  Nearly everyone in our class and some friends from the other third grade classrooms has been part of this planning and learning process.  At times it has been challenging to work together.  At other times it has been difficult to make choices, but your children have stuck with it.  They are determined to make the world a better place – they think animals are important and are concerned that so many are threatened or endangered because of the choices people make. They wanted to do something and they have!

The Animal Awesomeness event is Friday, April 5thfrom 5:30 to 6:30.  The kids, with the help of some 8thgraders {and any of you who can spare some time (I’m asking – they really want to do it on their own, but I’m nervous)} will be setting up the games and activities after school so everything is ready for the big event.

I am also planning some extra before- and after-school work times to complete the raffle journals, create donation containers and signs for each of the activities.  Please sign the permission slip so I know who will be able to attend the extra work sessions.  There is no expectation that children do this.  The extra time is so we feel certain that we’ll get everything done.

A huge shout out to THE GOOD DEED CLUB!  They have put forth a great deal of effort. Their ideas are inspiring.

Writing Projects and Revision Strategies

We’ve been reading many fables.  With those ideas in mind, we generated a list of “original” morals we think could be important reminders for us.  Using these moral ideas and what we know about fables, we’ve begun to plan our own. They have so many great ideas about being focused, patient, kind and honest.   I am looking forward to reading their fables.  At this same time we’ll be learning some revision strategies – we’ll apply these to the writing of our fables and some short personal narratives.

In addition to these writing projects, the children are learning the qualities of persuasive writing. We’ll begin this with a study of book reviews.  Our baseline review was done this week.  As we learn more about how persuasive writing is structured, we create more reviews. Our final persuasive piece will be one that convinces you to visit the Wonders of the state each child researches for The Parade of the States.

Fractions and Equivalence

Equivalence is challenging concept.  It is seems simple, but it’s not.  We’re exploring this concept with fractions and parts of a whole.  And we are also exploring the concept in equations.  Here’s an example:  What would make this number sentence true – 3 x 8 = _____ + 18? Almost all of the students feel that 24 should fill the blank and they just move on adding another equals sign and finishing that the answer to it all is 42.  You can see this process on some of the multi-step problems where the solution of the first equation becomes that next part of the second equation. We’ll be exploring equivalence as the idea of balance.  It means slowing down a bit to consider what “being equal”means.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve completed a third challenge for the Student Blogging Challenge.  We’ve had a few comments from other places.  We are hoping for more.  The next challenge is to do something to make the world a better place. I wonder if the class will choose to post about things they’ve already done, or if they’ll come up with a new idea and do things that are even more awesome.
  • The Good Deed Club presents Animal Awesomeness on Friday, April 6 from 5:30 to 6:30 in the school gymnasium.
  • Winterhouse, our mystery read-aloud, has started to get exciting.  We’ve met most of the main characters so now we can discover what the mysteries are we should be keeping track of and reading closely for clues.
  • Mark your calendars now! The Parade of the States will be Thursday, May 24.  It will begin with a recorder concert on the stage.  We’ll ask the children to arrive at 4:45 so the concert can begin promptly at 5:00 with the parade to follow.  The event is typically over no later than 6:15.  We know this is right in the middle of spring sports, but please make every effort to save this date and time.  It’s such an up-lifting celebration of learning and of our country.

Our Week – March 22

Report cards will be open to you next Tuesday afternoon. I trust you already know most of what you’ll find there. You’ve been reading the weekly memos to know what we’ve been focusing on. You’ve been reviewing the work sent home most Fridays and you’ve had the chance to see your child’s work in the hall and at The Country Convention. As I’ve been working to code report cards and craft comments to help you understand more about your child’s growth during our second term I am struck by several things. The first is that the standards expect a lot of eight and nine year olds, and your children are putting forth a great deal of effort to meet them.

The second is that your children have done many things and accomplished a lot since our goal setting/report card conferences in November. They’ve been part of two different book clubs – one nonfiction and one fiction. They’ve read and discussed books on their own. They’ve written many first-draft personal narrative quick writes, created stories and posted on their blogs. They’ve learned about maps and mapping and explored a different part of the world. They prepared and presented informational text about that country. They’ve explored the ideas of what it means to be a global citizen and what it means to be present and bring kindness and peace to the world. They’ve spent time to understand how to use the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction and learned more of how multiplication and division are related. They’ve learned how division and fractions are related. They’ve worked to solve multi-step math problems and become more skilled at representing their math thinking. They’ve learned about magnets and magnetism. And while exploring these topics and content, they’ve been learning how to support each other as a community of learners as a class, in small groups and independently.

The third thing I’ve noticed is that two-thirds of the class struggles mightily to focus on learning. They’d rather chat time away, than meet a challenge or complete an assignment. Some of the children will not meet report card expectations, not because they can’t, but rather because they’ve chosen not to. This week we’ve come up with three new rules: If you choose to talk during group instruction, you’ll be asked to go to the office. If you talk during independent or small group work time rather than completing assignments, recess will be used to complete them. During snack you must sit and talk with those at your table, rather than fool around. (We are chronically late for UA classes.) I’m not sure if the children understand the consequences of their choices. They are having a negative effect, and on top of that, the behavior is disrespectful.

Thank you for talking to your child and making a plan for how he or she will chose habits and behaviors that will promote success for all in our classroom.

Magnets – Force and Motion

We’ve been learning more about how to take notes and reword text to share our own new understanding. We spent several weeks doing this as we learned about magnets. Once the children had their notes, they used them to create a storyboard of an informational book teaching others about magnets. They’ve been creating the books using an app called Book Creator. We plan to publish them on our blogs. They are a fun final project showing both what children can do with informational writing and what they know about magnetism. They’ve all included original text, drawings and photographs. Some have also included original videos and images from online sources. We plan to publish them next week.

Fractions – a fair share

This week we’ve been naming and comparing fractions with like denominators. This feels easy for the children – it is. But we’ve been using these tasks to understand the roles of the numerator and denominator. In these tasks we’ve focused entirely on the numerator. We know that if the numerator is larger then it is the greater share. We’ll begin to compare mixed denominators next week. That will add the next layer of complexity.

Morals Remind Us of Right and Wrong

We’ve continued reading fables. We like them. We’ve been reading some in their original form and some in more elaborate picture books forms. We’ve read some chorally together – they’ve been written in a rhyming format for two voices. We are beginning to collect morals that we think may help guide our choices in the classroom and on the playground. Next week we’ll begin planning original fables. We’ll practice telling them in a storyboard format until we feel our story language is ready to be written. We are going to create both a narrative version and a comic version using Comic Life. We hope everyone will be mindful of deadlines and focused on the task so we can publish them in a class magazine.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve begun a mystery unit. We’re exploring the elements of this genre and plan to begin our third book club next week.
  • We’ve begun Winterhouse – a mystery read-aloud. We are learning how to identify and name main idea and important details through this read-aloud.
  • We are part of the Student Blogging Challenge. Most of the students have created two new pages. The first is an “All About Me” page and the second is a directions page for “How to Comment.” We’ve had a comment from a student in New Zealand so we are encouraged and excited to know that our writing is getting out into the wider world.
  • For the past two weeks we’ve gotten into the routine of recording things we are grateful for and taken note of what we’re learning and realizing each day. We are looking forward to what this record reveals at the end of the school year.
  • We had fun exploring The Invisible Maze with Mr. Caron.  We had to focus on observation, cooperation and respect in this challenge.

Our Week – March 16

Thank you so much for making arrangements and plans to make The Country Convention – our research, your learning a success. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful artifacts and information. Also thank you for helping the children work through their concern and worry in dealing with our unexpected days off. When the event started this afternoon you could feel the excitement and enthusiasm in the room – and you could hear many interesting things about Wonders in our world.

Because our week was so wonky, I asked the children to help with the memo. The sentences that follow are their own description of what they think is most special about the country they researched and what they liked most about the research process.

Here’s what they said:

“I think the Great Pyramid is the most special Wonder of Egypt because it shows Egyptian history. I loved making the 3D Sphinx because I got to choose how he should look.” Emily


“I think the beauty and the wonders were most special. I thought learning about this country was really fun. I liked finding out the fun facts and learning about the pretty things.” Annika


“The places that have history behind them like the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps are the most special. I like making the model of the Forum and the felt Italy.” Alex


“What I think is most special about Germany is that it has a very fun language. I say this because it’s a cool sounding language. I like that I got to do this project with my friends.” Izzy


“I chose France because of its history. I like to do the set up for our countries because I got to use my imagination.” Tavi


“I think Ireland is special because there is lots of nature and green. Researching.” Miles


“I like my country because of the fact that it’s a country and a continent. Its flag has another flag in the corner. I just really, really like it. My favorite part of the research was gluing things on and saying what mom should type.” Willow


“I picked the Hagia Sophia Museum as most special because they have facts about Ancient Turkey. I like writing because if I didn’t, you would not be learning what I know.” Dylan


“My country was special because my Nana and Baba went there and I wanted to know more about it when they brought it up. My Nana and Baba got real stuff from Greece.” Ryan.

“I chose Russia because at the time I thought I was 50 percent Russian, but now I know I’m 2 percent. Still I think Russia is cool and all the places there look pretty. Sadly, I’ve never been to Russia, but I’ve seen pictures of it. I liked it all, but it was most fun setting up the board. I like typing on the computer and I also liked reading a lot. The way I saw most of the pictures of Russia was from researching the information for making the display boards.” Maxim

“The Visocica Hill Pyramid because it had really cool stones and gems. I like making my bridge the best because it looks just like the real thing. Me and my mom worked on it.” Jack


“What special about Venezuela is that the Amazon forest and river are in it. I like setting it up.” Derek


“I think the baobab tree is most special because it hold water and makes medicine and other things. Making my board.” Brian


“Christ the Redeemer is the most special thing in my country. Because ever since I’ve known about the statue, I’ve wanted to go there. I like drawing Christ the Redeemer the most.” Corbin


“There are beautiful lakes and animals there. I would love to go to Guatemala. Making the display board was what I liked most because I love doing arts and crafts and this is some like that.” December


Finally I asked the class what they’d do to help the world become a happier and more peaceful place. They said:

  • Keeping the water clean. Listen to the water in streams. It sounds so peaceful.
  • Sharing something special and that will help him want to do something nice and it keeps going and going and going.
  • Instead of fighting talk it out with words.
  • Drop cookies from planes.
  • To make peace we need no wars. The Bosnian War ruined lots of things in Bosnia.
  • People should have the stuff they want.
  • Give the people the money, water and food they need.
  • Sharing a toy with a friend and then my friend sharing a toy with one of his friends. It keeps going on until none of the bad people are bad. They turn nice and there will be no harm.
  • I wish to stop cancer around the world so everybody is healthy.
  • I would like to clean the water in all places because not a lot of people have clean water.
  • Let people be free.
  • Help people treat people equally.
  • Feeding and helping poor people.
  • Helping animals all over the world because I think they should have better homes.

Your children are wonderful ambassadors of our world.

Our Week – March 9

I am hoping you have weathered the storm easily and that few of you were among those who lost power. At least we can be comforted that this snow won’t last long now with our longer days and the water table is better restored. How’s that for looking at things as if the glass is half full?

Even short, our week has been busy and full. We’ve been researching and writing, reading fables and learning about magnets. We’ve been building and creating. Best of all, we’ve been having fun together.

Writing Grows

We have lots of different opportunities to develop our writing skills. We’re excited to share our second informational writing project next week. We’ve been exploring ways of making our writing more interesting by becoming more aware of using sentence variety to keep our readers interested. The children explored these ideas further in creating an All About Me page on their blogs. This was part of the Student Blog Challenge. We hope you’ll read them as they get published and tell us what you think. Page links are found on the Home Bar at the top of each blog. Our goal was to make sure everyone’s got published this week, but our snow day may make that impossible.

We’ve also begun preparing for a third informational writing project – a digital book to teach others about magnets. The focus of this project is to make certain that every word of the published text is original. We’ve been sharing books together and taking notes after the text has been put aside. Through this process we’ve been working to identify the main idea and supporting details of the text.

I hope you notice how your child’s abilities with information writing are growing and changing through each project. There are so many differences between what they shared at the zoo and what they are preparing to share at The Country Convention. They deserve to feel proud of their effort. We are looking forward to our next writing projects in the last part of the year.

Questioning Like a Scientist

We’ve been exploring the properties of magnets for the last few weeks and developing questions we’d like to answer. Magnetism is an exciting force because it is invisible, unlike many of the other pushes and pulls we observe. Through our exploration of magnets we’ve been thinking about the difference between thin and thick questions. Simply put, thin questions are those we can answer easily by asking Siri or doing a Google search. Thick questions are one’s we’ll have to research and develop experiments so we can gather evidence and data to support or dispute our ideas.

We’ve been learning about the line of force as demonstrated by the way iron filings line up when they come close to a magnet. We’ve been exploring magnet strength as well. It’s fun to explore our questions and fun to mess around with this amazing force.

Fractions as Fair Shares

We’ve continued to learn about fractions. They are making us think about numbers in different ways. We are learning how to label shares by reading them out as one of two, rather than one half or two of six rather than two sixths. We are doing this so we keep in mind that it is the number of shares that is important. Sometimes this study seems easy, and other times it feels confusing. I trust that by the end of our unit all of the children will be able to explain what a fraction is and how division and fractions are related. They will be able to show and name equivalence, compare fractions and add and subtract fractions with like denominators.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve been reading several fables each day. We’ve been reading them in their original forms and also sharing many elaborated picture book versions. After we’ve explored many, we’ll being to craft our own. I am looking forward to discovering what morals they feel are important to remind us of.
  • We’ve begun a read aloud that takes place in Nigeria. It is called The No. 1 Car Spotter. It is sharing a very different way of life. We’re finding it very interesting and challenging to imagine. Talk to your child about what he or she understands and wonders.
  • We are focusing on the difference between common and proper nouns. The goal of this mini-unit is to help remind children of word that are properly spelled with capital letters. It is a small thing, but it matters when others are judging your work and will matter during the upcoming state testing. It is a habit worth cultivating.
  • Thank you for you time and support. We can’t wait to see you next Thursday at our Country Convention – our research, your reading. The museum will be open in the afternoon from 2:15 to 2:45 and later in the evening from 5:30 to 6:30.