Our Week – March 22

Spring is here! Yay!  The snow has melted off the field and recess is full of running sliding and mud.  (Sorry, but they did have fun J).  The sun feels wonderful and we are looking forward to the final third of this third grade year.  This week we’ve spent time talking about the difference between having the ability to do something and actually doing it.  We talked about the importance of thoughtfully approaching each task and reflecting on how our choices can help us learn … or not. Keeping our reading logs will help us uncover patterns that can help us grow as readers.  Crafting sentences are thoughtfully can help us communicate more effectively with our readers.

Responses to Reading

This week we began a new round of book clubs.  The students are working in groups of two, three and four to read, write about and discuss what’s happening in their books.  The groups are reading: Please Write In This Book, The Case of the School Ghost, The Mystery of the Stolen StatueHachiko Waits and The Gadget War.  Each group is organizing their own reading times, amount and are selecting the type of response they would like to do with each reading.  I’m pleased to share that most of the children are taking the responsibility to meet the deadlines and to be prepared to meet and share.  They are using the following response strategies: Sketch to Stretch, Essence Summary, or A Line a Page.   Everyone in the class seems to be having fun.  They enjoy sharing their ideas and realize that they can do that more effectively when they take time to reflect on their reading.

Learning About Paragraphing with Mary Poppins

We are two thirds of the way through reading Mary Poppins.  She is quite different in the book, than she was in the play or the movie.  To learn about paragraphing to we brainstormed a list of statements we could make about Mary Poppins based on what we’d read so far. Once we had collected ten statements, we decided that the most important thing about her is that she is magical.

The next day we used that fact as our topic sentence.  We wrote, “Mary Poppins makes amazing things happen, almost as if she is magical. “ Our next step was to fill out a t-chart of subtopics and supporting details.  Our subtopics were:  she is sometimes stubborn, she is practically perfect and she does surprising and unpredictable things.  We added supporting details from the text as evidence and in no time we had a three -paragraph piece about Mary Poppins.

This is the same strategy we will use when we write about the Wonders we’ve found in our countries. We’ll practice this strategy a few more times as a class and individually before we write about our country research so everyone feels as if they know what a paragraph is and how to create them.

Exploring Force in Science

A force is a push or a pull. That idea was easy to understand when we watched a tug-of-war.  We understood the different forces that made our Hopper Popper jump HIGH last week. We discovered we could change the strength of the force by adding more rubber bands or by using thicker rubber bands or by changing the size and weight of the popper.

This week we expanded our understanding of force by looking at bridges.  How do the lines of force help engineers design bridges? How do they balance pushes and pulls so the bridges we build can hold weight?  How do they design bridges so they are safe to use? We learned some about pedestal, arch and truss bridges.  Once we knew about bridges, we took on an engineering challenge to design a bridge using just two pieces of regular copy paper.  The extra competition was to see which bridge could hold the most pennies (or coins when we had no more pennies to use).

The fun part of this challenge was that we hoped we’d fail, because each failure helped us to discover a solution.  We discovered that sheets of paper could become very strong when we change their shape by crumpling, folding or coiling.  We had fun building and discovering how force impacts a structure. Whether a bridge held 80 pennies of 280 pennies each team learned how to change a design at the point of failure. We discovered that paper is strong with the right design.  Ask your child what he or she did to strengthen the paper so the bridge would stand.












Bits and Pieces –

  • Mr. Guidi challenged us to think outside the box with a puzzle challenge.  We had to create seven different rectangle puzzles without talking. Surprisingly, we realized that because we didn’t talk our process was more efficient.
  • We are all nearly ready to record our weather forecasts.
  • We’re creating the bodies for our apple head dolls in art. We continued making the bodies this week.