Our Week – March 31

This week’s post is illustrated with photographs taken by Samantha, our third¬†class photographer.




Another week has flown past. It has been full of planting and replanting, observing and reviewing expectations. How do scientists keep records, charts and graphs? It has been full of state discoveries too. We’ve been identifying state heroes and important state structures – manmade wonders. Perhaps the most exciting part of our week is yet to come as I write this. The 3rd grade school-wide assembly celebrating our country is this morning.

Celebrating our Country

We’ve been practicing and preparing for our assembly for quite a while now. Mrs. Oliver has been a great help to us. We’ve been learning The 50 States that Rhyme for over a month and many of us have mastered the whole song. We’ve reviewed and practiced America the Beautiful too. Both of those songs are part of our assembly. This week we practiced where we’d stand and what we’d say. We’ve been through the assembly ourselves and now it’s time to present.

Students from 3CL will introduce our celebration and a slide show of past students’ floats. We’ve been holding a Parade of the States for quite a while. This year will be our 7th annual parade. After the slide show, our very own Katie and Gavin will introduce our first song. We’ll sing The 50 States that Rhyme through once and invite the older students to join us for the second time through. We hope it sounds amazing. Once the song is finished, Sully and Lucy will begin our Rally of the U.S.A. Both classes prepared region maps, which when put together will be our whole country. Sully will be asking 4th through 8th graders to stand when the region their float represented is presented. Pre-K through Grade 2 will have flags to wave, while they cheer this process along. At the end of the map presentation, members of 3CL will ask everyone to stand and join us in singing America the Beautiful. And then we’re done. We hope it’s a fun celebration. We’ll post pictures as soon as we have them.

U.S. Geography

The class has begun researching and exploring the “Wonders” of their states. It is interesting to note how this project has changed over the years. Search engines put so much information in kids’ hands, but they are not the best place to begin. The tricky part is helping them recognize that starting with a search such as, “what are manmade wonders in _____” will give them information about many, many things. Some though cool, will have little researchable (if that’s a word) information. Nor will they actually represent the state. They’re just cool!

As I listen to them explore and read and reflect, the children are coming to these conclusions on their own. Many are recognizing that the best place to begin their search is with their books. Images and topics that are in all of them are good places to start. Things mentioned in the many books we have summarizing our country, are also places to begin. Once “wonders” have been identified that way, the search for information is more likely to be fruitful.

I am also hearing children be more mindful of their time. They are more focused and less likely to spend a whole class period searching through pictures. We’ve reviewed writing expectations. We’ve reminded ourselves about leads and conclusions, using strong words and crafting interesting sentences. Our writers’ workshop is becoming a more focused and productive place.

Planting – Replanting – Observation

We first planted our seeds on March 7, 8 and 9. Some of the seeds sprouted and are thriving, while other did not. Throughout this time the children have been learning how to make observations that actually document change over time. It is just now making sense to them that “getting bigger” doesn’t offer much information when written day after day.

At this point in the observation process, the children are more aware of the need to be more specific. They need to measure. They need to record one thing over time, rather than changing day to do. Some children are really excited to have a record they can come back to. Other children are happy to see, and care little for the record. The expectation of this process is that students know what a complete sentence is when making an observation. And that one series of observations done in a week capture enough information and data that the students can make claims and have to date to support their statements.

We have taken our first broccoli seedling out to the greenhouse and planted them there. Not everyone had seedling to plant this first time. Their seeds did not sprout. We replanted on Wednesday and already have seedlings showing in our second round. Our goal is that every student will have a seedling out in the greenhouse by April 14. While out in the greenhouse we’ve been weeding and sweeping and preparing the beds for the other classes as well. In addition to our plants, there are lettuces, peppers and tomatoes growing. Even if it’s snowing, the greenhouse reminds us the spring will show up for sure.

Bits and Pieces

  • We are now in our third part of Wonder. We’re learning of events from Summer’s perspective. She’s someone who befriended August on the first day of school.
  • We’ve been exploring equivalence in math. We’ve been challenged to think of the = sign as a balance. We’ve been exploring this idea with all four operations and that has been challenging. Challenging in a good way though because we have to really stop and think about each math sentence.
  • Thanks to Mrs. Duffy for Game Club! It is great fun. Thank you too for the delicious snacks each week.
  • We’re creating state cartoons in technology. Soon we’ll be animating them and posting on our blogs.
  • We got our recorders this week in Music. ¬†It is exciting to use what we’ve been learning about reading and writing music to play an instrument now.

Thanks for all you do to support and extend what’s happening in our classroom.