Our Week – November 9

Our FIELD TRIP has been CHANGED from Thursday, November 16 to Monday, November 20. Everything else on the permission slip remains the same.

As my meetings ended after school on Wednesday I realized, with a shock, that it was the end of our week. Our days are full and productive. The woodland habitat we created as a class on at the end of last week is thriving. We followed Derek’s suggestion to create a desert habitat on Tuesday and that seems to be thriving as well. We look forward to making observations of them throughout the school year. This week our classroom time has been full of life science, informational writing, reading of all types and math with angels, symmetry, rounding and problem solving.

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences – our SEL focus

One of the things development psychologists know is that providing opportunities for children to reflect and consider their choices is one of the best ways we can promote independence and self-directed learning. Developmental research shows that third graders are beginning to grasp the power of reflection. Some children are able to consider “what-if” as they choose and set learning goals that extend beyond the information presented in direct instruction. An example of this is: “I am growing as a reader when I learn new words and can figure their meaning out from the story and what the characters do.” Other children are still more concrete in their thinking. They see learning as a “bigger and faster, so better” activity. For example: “I am growing as a reader when I read fatter books.” It is interesting as a classroom teacher to see they whole spectrum. This is a skill that improves with practice, so it is exciting to provide children opportunity to think about how their choices can lead them to success.

This week we explored Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence. We used different survey questions to think about how our interests and activities mirror the ways we are smart.

We also talked about how intelligence grows. We know we can change and grow in any way we choose. My example is that I am always embarrassed that I cannot dribble a ball and move at the same time. The truth is, I’ve never had the opportunity to learn and I’ve never taken the time to practice.   Clearly if that skill truly mattered to me, I’d practice until I could do it. That is the case for them too. They can do anything they choose to do!

We’ll be sharing that information with you at student led goal-setting conferences at the end of the month.  Look for the conference sign-up on Monday.

Informational Reading and Writing

We’re well into the research process and the children are writing their informational pieces about their animals. This writing will share what the children have learned about their animals. Some of the children are writing as if they are a zookeeper and are sharing what they imagine would be happening in their habitat. Other children have taken a broader view and are writing a piece that is more in keeping with some of the nonfiction they have been reading themselves. Many are beginning to plan their habitat displays.

Looking for Volunteers – If you don’t mind messy projects, I’d love some help while we paint the habitat backgrounds. We’ll be painting the tables and printing paper with both sky and ground colors. We’ll need at least 15 of each. As you can imagine it’s fun, but messy. We’ll be doing this Tuesday afternoon from 1:30 until the end of the day. If you’re able to join us, please let me know. Thank you.

We’ve been exploring how the energy plants and animals need for survival are passed on through food chains. We’ve learned that all food chains begin with the sun and green plants. Some chains have only two links while others have three or four. We’ve also learned that all chains end with decomposers and while they’re a little creepy, we are glad they are here to clean up our earth.

Bits and Pieces –

  • This week we’ve begun to explore the rules of rounding to the nearest 10. We are learning this so we can make quick estimates to judge the accuracy of our problem solving. The children have had fun with these activities.
  • We completed Gooseberry Park this week. It has been interesting to compare this with The One and Only Ivan. Both feature animals. Both lead us to believe we can understand the thoughts and feeling of animals, but they are tremendously different and we think were written for totally different purposes
  • We had fun reading books autographed for our class, It’s Great to Be a Dad by Gina Perry (Miles’ mom), Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and the latest addition to the Ball Park mysteries series by David Adler. Thank you to Miles’ mom sharing the event information
  • The Food Day Celebration will be held in the cafeteria on November 15.
  • Due to plumbing issues, our field trip to the New Hampshire Farm Museum has been changed from Thursday, November 16 to Monday, November 20. Please make sure to mark that on your calendars. All children will need snacks and lunch that day that will travel safely and easily. Thank you.
  • “3E’s Animal Wonderland – come see our zoo” is the name and catch phrase the children chose as a class. It was quite a process of voting and negotiating. I think everyone is feeling pretty good about the name. The zoo will be open on November 28 in the afternoon from 2:15 to 2:45 and again in the evening from 5:30 to 6:30. Please do your best to arrange things so the children can be at the evening zoo. Part of this learning process is being able to act as a zookeeper and explain all about the animal to an audience. Thank you.
  • Report Cards will be coming to you via Web2School on November 30. We will meet for parent teacher conferences the following week.