Becoming stronger writers
The 3rd grade classroom was transformed into a setting fit for a Fairy Tale writing celebration! The 3rd grade writers have produced pages of writing, tackled multiple revisions, learned from a variety of mentor texts, and perhaps most importantly, studied how to tell and write a good story! This writing unit stemmed from the oral tradition of fairy tales, providing children with the opportunity to read their published fairy tales to others. Not only have these third graders transformed into excellent fairy tale writers, they have become stronger writers in general. The things they have learned about writing strong fairy tales are things they will carry with them as they write other stories throughout the rest of their lives.
Art with Mrs. Santucci
It’s all about African Masks in art class these days. We started out by talking about the use of masks in cultures around the world and specifically Africa. Then we set about designing our own style of African mask on paper. Once the students had a design, their job was to create this into a 3D piece of art using paper and cardboard,. Once they created a form, paper mache paste was adhered to solidify it. The students are currently in the middle of this project and are excited to move onto the paint and pattern stage as paper mache paste can be quite messy. The most fun part of this project is watching the student’s creative minds at work to come up with unique pieces that still fit within the parameters of the lesson.
The third graders have been immersed in learning all about local government! Students researched and reported on the various services the local government provides, and engaged in a design thinking challenge to help solve the city of Bend’s parking problems. We had a local law enforcement visitor, Officer Krauger, speak to the class on Wednesday, and on Friday, we visited Bend City Hall. My hope is that each child will understand the important role our government plays in keeping the community safe and productive, as well as the role each citizen plays in making our community a better place.
Third graders are experts! The students celebrated the culmination of their informational writing unit by having an “Expert Fair.” Each student selected a topic on which they knew a lot about, and moved through the writing process to publish their own informational piece of writing. Students learned many different ways to elaborate on their topic, not only learning to include facts, definitions, and other important details, as called for by the third-grade standards, but also reaching for the kinds of elaboration called for by fourth grade-standards. Students also learned various ways to connect paragraphs and chapters across their books, as well as ways to connect words and phrases. Throughout the writing process, third graders learned the importance of being aware of one’s audience, and practiced writing their informational texts in ways that are interesting for the reader! Come by the third grade classroom to check out our expert pieces!
This week, the third graders presented their Hobby Passion Projects. I asked the children to teach themselves a new hobby. The hobby could be anything, as long as it was something they had never done before. These kids persevered through failure, and journaled the process they went through, reflecting on how they were feeling, what was working, and what they were going to try next. All the students presented their hobby in front of the class and demonstrated what they learned. There were magicians, jugglers, chefs, and more. There were some raised eyebrows from teachers across the hall as Joseph did a skateboard trick down the hallway! Oh what fun was had! The 3rd graders journaled, they practiced, they had choice, they learned, they learned about learning, and they walked away from it slightly better than they were coming into it. In a few weeks and months I’m going to follow-up and ask who is still doing their hobbies. I think, I hope, many will say they are. Let your kids surprise you!
It is raining knowledge in 3rd grade! We have been learning all about weather across different times and areas. We began by understanding the processes of the water cycle, then studied weather and climate. The third graders have also explored the types of tools used to measure weather. Of course, their fascination with severe weather will lead us to our next design challenge: to design a solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard. This week, we were fortunate to have Bob Shaw, our local meteorologist, come visit and tell us all about high pressure and low pressure systems. With that said, the forecast calls for a lot of engagement, excitement and learning in third grade!
Music with Mrs. Miller
Our Holiday Sing-A-Long is right around the corner! We are so excited to show our parents all the hard work we’ve done in preparing for this fun evening. Please have your student to their classroom at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 21st in festive Christmas attire (dressy is not required). Our show will begin promptly at 6:00pm and following the conclusion, we invite you to join us to walking or driving to our neighbors at TouchMark and blessing them with a few Christmas carols. We will sing 3 songs as a school community at the end of our show – and you’ll have the lyrics on your programs to take with you to TouchMark. The residents are very much looking forward to seeing us and we are excited to have this Community Partnership in giving to others. Thanks for all your support!
How rewarding it is to see kids fully engaged in the design cycle! The fruits of our labor became a reality last week, as the 3rd graders completed their fold-out table for our reading room. We took time to reflect on the entire process, from need-finding with 2nd graders, to prototyping, and finally, building. The third graders utilized many real-life math applications throughout the process, from creating and designing (using Google SketchUp, measuring, etc.) to engaging in hands-on building (using drills, saws and nail guns). As a teacher, it was an absolute joy to watch students completely engaged in high-level learning. Bravo, 3rd graders!
Our 3rd grade writers were able to feel how their work affected others; by sharing compliments and celebrating each other’s work during our small moment narrative writing celebration. Most children were thrilled, as we all are, to feel that they had made something, an artifact that can stay in the world forever. Writing celebrations help our young students regard themselves as authors in a working, thriving community of other authors. In Ralph Peterson’s book. Life in a Crowded Place (1992), he explains that celebrations contribute to our sense of belonging by helping us learn to focus on others and their achievements rather than just our own. The 3rd grade writing created during our Small Moment narrative celebration is our announcement to the world: “Look! Here we are all authors.” Enjoy these pictures of our celebration, sharing our writing with our 2nd grade friends.
We have created a strong community of learners in 3rd grade. We have formed reading and writing partnerships during our workshops. Your child’s reading and writing partners will be by their side, supporting them as they work toward their self-selected goals. If you peek into the class, you may see your child sharing their thinking about their book with their partner, or sitting side by side, sharing their writing and their plans for future writing. Learning is a social act and our peers help to lift the level of our thinking, and support us in accomplishing our goals. As readers this week, we focused on Author’s Purpose by noticing the details authors include in their stories. In reading partnerships, third graders considered and shared their thinking by asking, “Why did the author make this happen?” or “Why did the author write this part this way?” Asking and considering these types of questions allows the reader to understand the story more deeply. As we say in third grade, reading is thinking, and there is a lot of thinking going on!
Art with Mrs. Santucci
Putting color theory into practice can be a challenge, but the 3rd graders tackled the challenge with engaging results. Choosing complementary colors, and a basic shape, the students learned how to change the value of a color and had a ball mixing paint to fill in their shape. Moving from color to line, the next challenge presented was to create a collage landscape using a different line pattern for each section-foreground, middle ground, and background. This project involved detailed application of design, an overlay of paint, careful glueing and an eye for composition. They have just finished, and the result shows the time and work they put in. Next on the journey of creative exploration in art class….clay and 3D design!