It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Liam built with Legos.  He made a car with 1,553, a boat with 2,409 Legos and a house with 1,842.  How many Legos did he use altogether?  3/4 of the bricks he used had 6 pegs.  The rest were bigger.  How many of Liam’s Lego bricks were bigger than 6 pegs?

Lucy had 12 cookies to share among herself and her five friends.  How did Lucy share her cookies fairly.  How much was each person’s fair share?

Julie started writing her blog post at 9:02.  She stopped for snack at 9:45.  She was able to go back to it at 1:45 and she worked until 2:12.  She was ready to publish it then.  How many minutes did Julie work on her blog post altogether? 

Our Week – May 26

This week’s post is illustrated with pictures taken by Tera, our class photographer.            This week we completed the last three sections of the SBAC state test. This week’s test focus was math. It seemed to take less time, but was still a challenge to complete. There are a few children who need some more time to complete one of the testing sections. We hope to get those done next Tuesday and Wednesday.

In and around the testing, we read and wrote, solved some math problems and continued share as many acts of kindness as we could.

Celebrate with The Parade of the States

            Thank you so much for all you did to make the Parade of the States a real celebration. The floats looked wonderful. The children were all super excited to share. I hope you had the chance to speak with some of the children after the parade to ask them about their Wonders. They have learned a great deal about them and their states.

We apologize that the writing wasn’t on display last night. We didn’t factor in the testing time drag when we made the change from display board or book, to digital poster. Their writing is complete and now needs to be reformatted onto the Glogster. The children will share this, their finished persuasive piece of writing, along with their completed fable at their student led conference. Please look for a sign-up schedule on Tuesday.

Student-Led Conferences

            The year began with a goal setting conference in October where the children shared the “best” reading, writing and math work. They shared reflections about their work. This is a challenge for 8 and 9-year olds. The learning process is difficult to put into word and yet, thinking about thinking is one of the best ways to deepen learning. That’s why we do it.

The children have begun the process of looking back at little at a time. They’ve looked at their fall goals to see if they’ve been met or not. They are not gathering evidence of their growth and considering all they have learned about and how they have grown. At their June conference they will be presenting end-of-the-year work samples and sharing their thinking about how they have grown and changed throughout their 3rd grade year.

Bits and Pieces:

  • We are continuing to enjoy Maxi’s Secret. It’s fun to read a book so closely connected to Wonder – our favorite book of the year. If you do family read-aloud, The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff would be a great one to follow those two with.
  • We’ve begun our last set of math fact checks along with the math assessment to pass on to fourth grade.
  • The children have continued blogging. Many have posted acrostic poems featuring their classmates. They are special. A few are publishing stories.

We are looking forward to a “normal” week to start our last month of 3rd grade.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Gabby went for a walk.  She was looking for signs of spring.  She saw 35 white violets and 46 purple violets.  Each violet had two leaves and five flower petals.   How many leaves were there altogether?  And how many flower petals were there altogether?

Mackenzie had 7 cookies to share with her sisters.  How much did they each get in their fair share?

Danick built a hockey rink out of Legos.  He used 1,428 white bricks, 359 black bricks, 164 red bricks and 82 blue bricks.  How many Legos did Danick use in all when he made his hockey rink?

When Samantha started her craft project she had 5,000 beads.  When she finished she had 327 beads left.  How many beads did she use in her project?

Our Week – May 19

This week’s post was illustrated by Gavin, our class photographer.

Reminder – the Parade of the States is this upcoming Thursday, May 25. Students should arrive at 4:45 and meet at the stage. The evening will begin with the recorder concert promptly at 5:00 followed by the parade into the gymnasium. We imagine the event will be complete by 6:30 at the latest.

Testing – Week 1

Testing has been a huge part of our week. Some days we read in the classroom, and other days we didn’t. Some days we had a long writing block in the classroom, and other times we wrote little at all.   Some days we continued learning about fractions and problem solving, while other days we didn’t. This makes it challenging to identify the two or three things we explored in depth in our classroom to report to you in our memo. I do know your children put a lot of effort into the testing. Please give your third grader a huge hug to celebrate the fact that they successfully navigated their way through the first week of testing. As an entire grade they were focused, respectful of each other and hard working.

This is the third year we have taken the SBAC test, and each year I am reminded of the enormity of the task. The written directions are long and convoluted. The directions alone fill more than a full computer screen, and that is before the children get to the questions. They are intimidating to look at. I am proud of them. They read and answered questions. They read and proofread, wrote and revised short answer questions. They also wrote longer information pieces, narrative and opinions. They knew about leads and worked to create paragraphs and conclusions. It is challenging to write about things you’re learning about for the first time, while navigating many sources, references and passages all at the same time. They did their best.

Many of the children like the test. They like the challenge and the focus. Perhaps the most important thing they’ve learned from this testing experience, is that they can navigate online assessments, and are able to respond to many different types of assignments and questions.

Next week we will tackle the math tests. They too will be challenging, but in a different way. I think our class will feel more comfortable with them. Thank you for encouraging your child each day and helping them approach the test with a positive attitude; knowing that their best effort is all we ask for.

Bits and Pieces from our week:

  • We began our eighth chapter read-aloud, Maxi’s Secret. Julie recommended it and we’re excited by it so far. We’re on the 12th chapter and can already see connections between it and Wonder. Jayce speculated that if Auggie and Timiny had been in the same school, they most definitely would have been friends. The class agreed!
  • The children are continuing to complete their State Wonder research and writing.
  • Many of them had a chance to revise and complete their fables so that we should be able to get that illustrated and to the printer next week (Yay!)
  • It is the 3rd week of The Global Kindness Project (GKP). The theme of the week was exploring empathy and uncovering why it might be hard to empathize with others. We read Ada’s Violin on Monday and watched a video about The Landfill Harmonic (it is linked here). Living on a landfill seems unbelievable to us and yet, there is happiness and joy their. We were mindful of how music brought hope and opportunity to that community. This week we also learned about the United Nations and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We read I Like, I Don’t Like. It’s a deceptively simple book, but one that sparked a great deal of conversation. The “teaser” on the back says, “Every child has the right to play – but in some parts of the world, children spend more time working than playing. This thought-provoking book captures how different the world can look from the eyes of those less privileged.” I urge you to find a copy and talk about it at home.
  • We’re learning that sharing kindness is an easy thing to do, but it feels nice. As Lucy describes it, “It is a warm feeling in your heart.” First we hid bookmarks in the library, next we created Mother’s Day cards and now we’ve got rocks. For our third kind action as a class, we are working on our “Kindness Rocks!” project. Everyone has put the first coat of white paint on the rocks. Friday we’ll add color and decide on our messages. Next week, we’ll write the messages with Sharpie and then finally cover them with Mod-Podge so they’ll have a shiny finish.
  • Individually, a group of students has been creating acrostic poems for their classmates. It seems to me that those are kind messages of caring for each other. They warm my heart to read – and the smile on classmates’ faces when they read them and realize how they are known and cared for is special.
  • Our broccoli is thriving. Some of the larger plants are showing the first little signs of flowering. On top of that, each time we go into the greenhouse we notice more and different things. Last week it was the petunias. This week it is the tomatoes, peppers and sunflowers.

As always, thank you for all you do to support and promote learning in 3E. Happy Float Building!


It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

These are problems from October 3 this year.  When you first read them, you could solve one in 30 minutes.  How long does it take you to solve them now?

Write down what time it is now.  Once you’ve written that, begin solving.

Julie had 24 crackers.

She put them in four bags. Each bag had the same amount.

How many crackers did Julie put in each bag?

Tera made three necklaces.

She used 4 different colored beads on each of them.

She put five beads of each color on her necklace in a pattern. It was yellow, blue, green, and gold.

How many beads did Tera use to make her necklaces altogether?

Jayce had 200 Legos. He sorted them into four bins.

Each bin had the same amount.

How many Legos did Jayce put in each bin?

Max had three mini-bags of pretzels for snack.

There were five pretzels in each bag.

How many pretzels did Max have altogether?

If Max ate same amount each day for a week, how many pretzels would he have eaten then?

Write the time down when you’ve completed the problem(s).  Do you notice how you have changed as a mathematician?  I hope so.  From what I see everyday in our classroom,I know you have grown a lot.  I am proud of you and your effort to learn new things!

Our Week – May 12

This week’s post was illustrated by Danick, our class photographer. Happy Birthday!

I’ve been doing this for long enough!  I should remember. I know that after April vacation the remaining weeks of school are a sprint!   But somehow, I always seem to forget pace. The race is on… we can do it.

Thursday was a restful treat.  We were able walk in the wood and visit the vernal pools along the nature trail. We learned some Fun Frog Facts with Mr. Caron and then stayed quiet enough to see four frogs, three red efts and LOTS of tadpoles.  We had fun playing Flash Flood too.

Global Kindness Project – Week 2

This week’s theme of the Global Kindness Project was putting words to actions. And we did that by hiding bookmarks in the library. We left messages like: be happy, be yourself, smile, you’re wonderful, kindness rocks and more. We hope to make others smile, and that they will pass those smiles on even further. As a fun offshoot to that project (the bookmarks are beautiful – we rather liked them), we made another set to hide in our classroom library for each other. We are looking forward to finding our own special bookmarks too.

We began collecting stones that we’ll paint and leave around the school for others for our next action. We are thinking up ideas of images that will make others smile. We are having fun thinking of ways to inspire others and helping them feel happy.

State Wonder Work

There’s lots of talk about floats in the classroom – some children have begun, some are beginning and others are unsure about the status of their work. If I can be of any help, please let me know. In the classroom, most of the children have completed their research and their writing. We are now moving into the last phase of this work where we are putting all the pieces together to publish them in a digital poster. We are collecting the facts and putting a spin on them in the hope that viewers and readers will be convinced to visit the Wonders of each state.

Fractions – Looking Closer

We are continuing to grow our understanding of fractions. This week we spent some time adding fractions with like denominators. Applied what we are learning to recipes of foods that represent foods special to our states. We worked to double a recipe to see how that changed how the fractions were recorded. And we worked to cut the same recipe in half. This was a fun way to explore fractions and think about the information the different parts of the fraction give us. If you are using a recipe while you cook at home this would be a great opportunity to explore fractions together.   Next week we will be exploring fractions with linear measurement. We’ll be exploring fractions as we draw.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Zack taught us a lot about being a goalie. He shared his equipment and showed how to make saves. He shared with our class and with 3CL. He did an amazing job.
  • We finished Wonder today. Wow! I am looking forward to discovering how we celebrate and share the message of this book with others.
  • Our broccoli is thriving!
  • Smarter Balance Testing begins next week. Our first session is Monday. While this shouldn’t be any different than any other day, it is. It requires a tremendous amount of self-control and intense focus. It is exhausting.

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Minnesota became a state in 1858.  In 1992 The Mall of America was opened.

How old is the state of Minnesota?  How old is the Mall of America?  How old was Minnesota when the Mall of America opened?

South Dakota became a state in 1889.  Mount Rushmore was finished in 1941.  How old is SouthDakota?  How old is Mount Rushmore?  How how old was South Dakota when Mount Rushmore was finished?


Jaida was making Sugar Cookies from New Hampshire.  She needed to double the batch.  What amounts would she need?


1  and 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 and  1/2 cup flour

1 cup oats

1 cup M&M

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

For an extra challenge, halve the recipe.  What amounts would we need for that?

Our Week – May 5

This week’s post was illustrated by Sully, our class photographer.

We’ve had a fast week. We’re trying a re-arranged schedule where we were able to start Math Rounds. The children also began planning how they would use their literacy time: reading, writing/blogging, researching or other (completing assignments that have a shelf-life.) That’s a change from everyone doing the same thing at the same time. We met Earle the service dog, spent time exploring the Smarter Balance Test tools and format for reading and writing, and joined in on the start of the Global Kindness Project.

A New Schedule to Encourage Greater Self-Direction

This week we’re trying a new schedule, designed to help our class plan and use time more wisely. I can see that the kids like it. They appreciate having choice and planning how they will use their time. What I am uncertain about is whether they will make the best choices. When you are 8 and 9 it is difficult to judge time. We all know the state research needs to be done by the end of next week. That seems a long way off to them and I know it will come in the blink of an eye. I’ll keep reminding here. You may want to check in with your child to see how he or she is feeling about their choices and how they are balancing their literacy times in the classroom. For the most part they have been focused and working purposefully.

Also part of the new schedule is having all of us together for Math Rounds. There are four activities. Students more through three a day – two activities are to learn more about fractions, one is for practicing basic facts and the final activity is problem solving. There are 6 problems for the children to choose from – their goal is to solve as many challenging problems as they can in the allotted time. That is two or three for children who are focused.

Glogster – Digital Poster for State Wonders

This year we are using Glogster, a digital tool for presenting information, as a way for students to present their research and writing. We thought different format would capture their attention and challenge their thinking in different ways. The students will use poster template and then upload their writing, selected images, and audio or video clips in a way that will showcase their state. The main goal of these posters will be to persuade others to visit the Wonders of their state. They’ll be shared as part of the Parade of the States celebration on Thursday, May 25. This was not a technology tool that was listed on the permission that you signed at the beginning of the year, though it is in keeping with the school’s safe use policy. If you have any questions about this project, please let me know. It’s exciting to try something new and to offer students another way to present their learning beyond what has been typical.

Global Kindness Project

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” Dr. Wayne Dyer – One of Mr. Brown’s Precepts from Wonder

This is a four-week project aimed at connecting students around the world through the theme of kindness. The goal of the project is to create an opportunity for classes to reflect on kindness, gratitude, and empathy and to find a way to take action.

This week our discussions were centered around defining what kindness is, looking for signs of when others might need an “extra dose” of kindness and brainstorming ideas of how we might share a little kindness around our school. Our first action will be to make and hide bookmarks in the library for others to find and keep.

Smarter Balance Testing Practice

This week the children had a chance to see what the Smarter Balance tests look like and to learn about some of the tools that are there for the children to use. They know they look long. They know they have to read them carefully and follow all of the directions. They know they need to take their time and do their best. Many of the children thought they were a fun change.

I think the greatest challenge for our class this year is going to be sticking with it and putting forth a best effort for the whole time. Some in our class really struggle to meet a challenging task with positive attitude. They give up before they begin. You can see it in their body language and you can hear it in their comments. The tests are long. They are hard. They have lots of directions. In the classroom, kids often skip over direction because they know a teacher will tell them. I do, when I see someone doing something incorrectly because they missed the direction, I point it out. And hopefully it’s early on, so it is easy to fix. That isn’t the case with testing. If they skip the direction, we can’t correct them.

Next week we’ll explore the math portion of the test so the class feels prepared for both types of assessment and then we’ll begin on May 15. Hopefully everyone will be well rested and ready to rock!  The reading and writing tests are on Monday, May 15, and Wednesday and Thursday, May 17 and 18. The math tests are May 22 – 24, Monday through Wednesday. Children who need more time will be able to have it and make-ups will be fit in whenever and however we can. Please let me know if you have any questions.

It Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

California became a state in 1850.  How old is California?  The state is the home to the oldest tree on earth.  General Sherman has been living for 3,500 years.  That’s older than we’ve been counting years.  How much older is it?


Colorado became a state in 1876.  How long has Colorado had its statehood. The largest “nugget” of silver was found in Aspen, CO in 1894.  How long ago was silver nugget found?

The silver nugget weighs 1,840 pounds.  The average 3rd grader weighs about 60 pounds.  How many 3rd graders would it take to eqaul the weight of the silver nugget from Colorado?

Washington became a state in 1889.  The Lunar Rover that was driven on the moon in 1969 was build in Seattle, WA.  How long has Washington been a state?  How long ago was the Lunar Rover driven on the moon?