Our Week – February 24

Yikes! Where did February go? It seems impossible that another month has come and gone. Time does seem to speed by. It was been wonderful to have a full week of school and to have three days that have followed the normal flow of things. It has felt good!

16 Kids + 15 Countries in 1 Room = Wow!

Thank you so much for making Tuesday a real celebration of learning. The class was glad to have an audience to share their country with. We are grateful to you for sharing your time with us so we could teach you what we had discovered about the world. On Wednesday and Thursday as they reflected on the learning process many of the students realized how much they had learned about the world just be being part of our class. With all the talk about countries and their history and traditions, places and landmarks, the class has become much more curious and aware of the amazing diversity of our world.

Subtraction With Zeros – a challenge to be sure

We have continued working with subtraction. It is challenging. We’ve been using base ten blocks to show how trading works and what the process looks like in reality. Several of the children know about the “cross out the ___ and make it a ___. Then put a one there to make it ___”, but don’t truly understand the amounts the actions represent. We are hoping that seeing how the amounts are manipulated, the class will be able to envision they whole process more easily. We’ve been adding zeros into the mix, and they always make subtraction tricky.

Looking Toward Spring

Our next unit of study in mathematics will be about fractions. If you’re a family that cooks and bakes together, help your child see the relationship between halves, thirds, fourths and eighths. Or if you’re a family that builds and measures, please share that process of making precise cuts. Fractions make so much sense in this way. When we begin to talk about them in the classroom and put them on paper they become confusing – larger numbers represent smaller pieces. When children have a concrete experience to anchor their understanding to, they are less likely to

We’re beginning to explore seasons and learning how and why they occur. This will lead into our new science unit about heredity and traits. We’ll be learning about inheritance and how traits are passed on through genetic code. This is a new science unit for us and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the class. We’ll be exploring the work of Gregor Mendel and his discoveries through his work with peas as we plant and begin our seedlings for the Square Foot Garden Project in the greenhouse. It is exciting to be planning for spring things.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Thanks so much to Alison Duffy for organizing our game club. We’ve completed our first 6-week session. We’ll begin a second round after vacation. Be on the lookout for that permission slip when we return from vacation. We’ll be holding it on Tuesday. We are hoping that by choosing a different day other children might be able to join. We hope this day will work for you.
  • We’ve completed The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. Ask your child which wonder they were most amazed by. Eben found out that when you take time to notice and collect stories from the ordinary people around you, they can become extraordinary. Everyday things don’t seem as boring as they once did.
  • We continue to draft and plan our original fables. We are looking forward to putting them all together into a class book and sending a copy home with everyone.
  • We didn’t fit in all of the upper case capitals this week, but we’ll certainly be finished learning all our cursive letters the week we return from vacation. It’s fun to see the fancy writing going on.
  • We’ve set the date for the Parade of the States. It will be Thursday, May 25. It will start at 4:45. Please save the date. We’ll send home all the details as the event approaches.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Jayce had 1,250 Pringles.  He ate 524.  He gave Liam 461.  How many Pringles did he have left?

Mackenzie and Logan were working on their “Princess Plan” surprise.  They started to get ready at 8:45.  They were finished with their costumes, hair and make-up at 10:23.  How much time did it take them to get ready for the awesome surprise?

There are 3,803 pieces in the Lego Death Star model kit.  Gavin had put 1,935 pieces together before February vacation.  Gavin was excited to finish it over vacation.  How many pieces did Gavin have left to finish the model?

Our Week – February 17

While it’s been another interrupted week, we have done many things in 3E. We wished Keegan all the best with his move to South Carolina. Friday was his last day in 3E and thankfully we were all together. We were also able to celebrate the friendships that fill our classroom each day on February 14th. Thank you to all the families for making that celebration so fun! The thought and time you gave to help each of the children create and complete their “cards” was much appreciated. I wish you could have seen and heard the chuckles and gasps, along with the thank yous and smiles as the kids passed them out. Thank you.

In and around all these special events, we keep doing our best to accomplish all that we can. We’ve continued to explore fables, the idea of global travel, and how to use the standard algorithm when subtracting. We’ve read a few more books about refugees and are attempting to understand what it means to be living in places of conflict. Each day we gain greater appreciation for the bounty and freedoms we are granted.

Global Geography – an Exploration of our World

A tremendously HUGE thank you to all the families and friends and kind strangers who read our blogs and left comments. Thank you to those who reached out and made further connections for us. We appreciate your time and effort. Its’ been exciting to check the blogs each day. For the last couple of weeks there has been something new for us to read and learn from, almost every day. Many of the students have used the information from your comments to select a person, place, activity or custom as a “Wonder” of their country.

The snow days and delays may keep us from showing in writing all that we have discovered about the world, but when you come to 17 Kids + 15 Countries in 1 Room = WOW! and talk to our experts you’re sure to learn a lot about our world. We’ve been working on both the writing that will inform you of the wonders in our countries and the displays that will be part of our museum. We can’t wait to share what we’ve discovered with you.

As a reminder…   17 Kids+15Countries in 1 Room=WOW! will be open on Tuesday, February 21 from 2:00 – 2:30 and from 5:45 – 6:30. We hope to see you there. We are looking forward to sharing what we’ve learned about our countries.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Thank you for helping your children explore ideas about fables that will help our class. This is certainly above and beyond – but I am concerned that if we go past the vacation, the children will have lost their connection with fables and their point in our lives. Thank you for helping them think of ideas and lessons.
  • We’ve continued reading about Eben in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. We’re wondering what is going to happen because it’s Day 5 and Eben only has 4 wonders and a funny (to us) outhouse story.
  • We’re giving some Go Noodle videos a try – some movement breaks to see if they can get rid of the “sillies” and get us back on track, and others are mindful meditations and stretches. We’ll see how they go. If they help, we’ll keep going. If they become yet another thing for the disrupters to disrupt, we’ll stop.
  • We’re a little over halfway through the alphabet of upper-case cursive letters. Our hope is to have them completed before vacation. Then we’ll begin using them for short pieces of writing practice.
  • Yesterday we were told that term 2 report cards would be pushed back because of snow days. They will be coming home a week later on March 24.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Mackenzie was wearing her Fitbit.  She counted 10,214 steps every day for 5 days.  How many steps did she count altogether in those five days?  Over the weekend she her count was 4,587 steps less than her 5-day total.  How many steps did she count on the weekend?

Max and Rachael were building Lego models of things they hoped to see if they had a chance to visit France.  They used 3,472 Legos to make the Eiffel Tower.  They used 6,519 Legos to make the Louvre.  And they used 8,207 Legos to make Notre Dame.  How many Legos did Rachael and Max use altogether to make their models of important landmarks they hoped to one day see in France?

While Samantha was learning about Thailand she discovered the Emerald Buddha.  It has an amazing history and tradition.  She decided to build a map out of the area with Legos.  She used 2,385 white Legos, 4,287 tan bricks, 3,056 red Legos, 1,053 gold Legos and 864 green Legos in her model.  How many Lego bricks did Samantha use altogether in her model?  

When she started, Samantha had 17,500 Legos.  How many did she have left when she had completed her map?

Our Week – February 10

This is a short note. It’s been a short, odd week – two and 1/3 days out because of snow. The weather really hampered the flow of our learning. We are in much the same place as we were last week, and yet, we’ve been flooded with information about the countries we are researching.

THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who’s found time to answer the children’s questions about their countries. Thank you for reaching out to friends and family to spread the news of our information search. It has been exciting and very gratifying to learn so much from everyone. Last week when the class began working on their posts, they struggled with what questions to ask. They couldn’t imagine getting answers. This week, however, as they read through their comments learning about favorite foods, holiday traditions, animals, beautiful landmarks and so much more, the class understood how questions reach out. On top of that, they realized questions lead to more questions. They are very excited by what they are discovering about our world.

We’ve been reading books about various crises in the world and talking about what it might be like to have to leave your home because it wasn’t safe. We’ve read about picture books inspired by events in Sarajevo, others in Sudan and still others in Pakistan and Syria. When we wondered what it might be like to live an a place that felt unsafe and bad, the general agreement followed what Tera said, “I work to make where I lived a good place.” We hope that as we learn more about our world, we will be able to make it a kinder, more understanding place. We hope that by being more aware we will find ways to make the world better




Bits and Pieces –

We named our geography museum: 17 kids +15 countries in 1 room = Wow! Save the date, Tuesday, February 21 from 2:00 to 2:40 and from 5:45 – 6:30.
Subtraction is our challenge. We are working with regrouping and finding it to be a challenge.
While we’ve been at school, we’ve learned more of the cursive capitals. We’ve learned half of the alphabet now.
We’ve been exploring equivalent fractions by looking at the patterns we can find on our Number Corner calendars.
We’ve begun to plan and draft our original fables. It will be fun to discover what lessons the class chooses as most important to teach.

In The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, Eben has found his first three wonders and is about to discover a fourth. It the fifth day with only two days left to find the rest. It seems as though searching for Wonders is a little like asking questions. Once you start looking and wondering, you notice things and wonder even more about things. It can be exciting.

We did have fun in the snow on Wednesday as you can see!

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

The class was making models of  homes and famous building from the countries they were exploring.

Julie used 325 tan Legos, 1,438 white Legos and 537 brown legos to make her model of a house from Egypt.

Danick used 459 brown Legos, 257 black Legos and 1,208 white Legos to make a model of a house from Sweden.

Who used more Legos?  Julie or Danick?  How many more were used?

Liam made a model of the Taj Mahal.  He used 568 gray Legos for each of the 4 minarets.  He used 7917 white Legos to build the main building.  How many Legos did Liam use altogether?

Max made a model of the Arc de Triomphe.  He used 1,543 white Legos, 437 gray Legos and 286 tan Legos in his model.  How many Legos did he use altogether?   He worked on the model from 10:30 to 1:30 on Tuesday and from 6:45 to 7:30 on Wednesday.  How many minutes did it take Max to complete his model?

Our Week – February 3

We’ve been researching and writing, reading and thinking about diversity in our world. We’ve been learning how to use the standard algorithm with addition and subtraction of large numbers. And we’ve also begun to learn capital letters in cursive.

Global Geography – Part 1

We decided to hold our Global Geography Museum on Tuesday, February 21. It will be open in the afternoon for a practice run through from 2:00 to 2:40 and then again in the evening from 5:45 to 6:30. We know that families and children are super busy, but we hope one of these times will work for your family. Ideally we would love to have all the children attend the evening presentation. One of the goals of our museum projects is of having an opportunity to formally present and share learning to an outside audience. That said, we totally understand if your child is unable to attend. There were tears in the classroom as we tried to choose a date. Many of the children feel they won’t be able come.   We heard things like, “Oh, I’m not going to be able to do that – I can’t do any nights” or “That’s impossible for me” as we were choosing. I hope we can make things work for as many of the class as possible – I am gladly available for rides, pick-ups and/or drop-offs. We hope by letting you know now, families will be able to make a plan somehow to see their work and hear about all we are learning about our world.

Global Geography – Part 2

Receiving Blog Comments From Across the Globe

As the children travel further into their research – while searching for a famous person or a famous landmark, for example – they are encountering many different images and reading about many different events throughout history. It is becoming apparent that not everything in the world is happy and peaceful. They are wondering and that is exciting. We’ve had discussions about conflict and reasons for war. We’ve wondered why they happen and how they stop. We’ve wondered about what we can do. Their most common response has been to make changes so everyone feels they have what they need.

One thing we discovered through our exploration is that though we’re all different, we share more in common with each other. We are hoping to make the world a happier place by learning about each other.

One step we’ve taken to learn more about each other, was to ask questions on our blogs. The children are hoping to receive comments from people who have traveled to the countries they are researching or who actually live in that country. You can be of help with that by reaching out to families and friends. Your connections are GREATLY appreciated. It will be so exciting for the children to find comments from their countries on their blogs.

If you have friends who could comment, please direct them to 3enews.edublogs.org, have them select the student blog they have a connection to and comment.

Here is a list of the kids and their countries –

Julie – Egypt                           Tera – Japan                           Lucy – China

Rachael – France                   Sully – Brazil                           Gavin – Canada

Katie – Australia                    Keegan – Canada                   Liam – India

Jaida – Russia                        Zack – Zimbabwe                   Jayce- Mexico

Max – France                          Samantha – Thailand           Danick – Sweden

Mackenzie – South Korea                 Gabby – Greece

Global Geography – Part 3

Organizing the Research and Note -Taking

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with your child about his or her country. Your support is filling the classroom. We’ve heard about the tours you’ve taken together on Google Map and the videos you’ve watched to learn more about people and places. We’ve even heard of some of the restaurant choices you’ve made to try a county’s cuisine. All those opportunities add so much to the more traditional experiences at school. Thank you.

Most of the children are still into the research phase of the project. We have sheets for the seven different wonders and we’ve created information webs to categorize what we’ve discovered and what we’ve yet to learn. We are close to the planning stages and kids are getting excited about the building and making stages.

Using the Standard Algorithm

We’ve been reviewing place value and learning to read numbers through the millions. We’ve been solving many different addition problems. We’ve started with problems that feel easy, gone on to problems that are quite challenging, backed up to a middle ground and then pulled all of the experiences together. This lets the children recognize they DO know what to do, and it helps them see the pattern among numbers, amount and operations that will guide their understanding.

Many of the children will be bringing home papers that are only partially completed. That is fine. It was a choice. I asked them to work with the new strategy for 10 minutes. Then I offered the choice – to finish the worksheet, or to solve one of the problems of the day. In those problems the children have been working with billions and below. It is impressive to see how their comfort with large amounts has grown over the last month or so. I am impressed by their willingness to work through challenges. It’s fun to see.

Bits and Pieces –

  • THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! 3rd grade met and surpassed its goal of 100 tubes of toothpaste. The food collection outside the library is a truly moving site.
  • We’ve read several more fables this week and are getting ready to write our own. I am looking forward to learning what lessons they each have to share.
  • Eben from Sassafras Springs, the main character has collected two wonders so far in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. His goal is to collect seven wonders in seven days. Day 3 with a disappointment, but we’ll see how it goes.
  • Our Valentine’s Day breakfast will be on February 14 – sharing valentines is how we will begin our day. We’ll have this time eating in place of snack.
  • At Harvest Fest Julie won the chance to be the art teacher. Here she is in her new role. Perfect!

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Try solving this with the 1-step standard algorithm.  We are working to solve problems as efficiently as we can, while at the same time being accurate.

Have fun and learn some fun facts about the countries we are researching along the way.


Tera discovered there are 126,372,364 people living in Japan.  Samantha found out there were 68,377,173 people living in Thailand.  How many people did they find when they added the populations together?

Katie learned that the Sydney Opera House was built in three sections.  It was started in 1959 and was finished in 1973.  How many years did it take for the Sydney Opera House to be built?  How many years ago was it finished?

Lucy found out the the Great Wall of China is 13,171 miles long.  The United States is 2,802 miles across from Florida to Washington state.  How much longer is the Great Wall of China than the United States?