Thursday, March 21, 2019

Raney's Rock Stars: Week 26

This week may have been short, but it was certainly packed with many sweet moments! Every Friday before we leave, students write reflections on their time in the woods. Some weeks the reflections have a focus, some weeks they do not. During writing time on Monday, students had a chance to look around at some of the beautiful photographs taken by their peers. Based on the photographs, students had to describe what they saw in them. We generated lengthy lists and built on our elaboration board. On Tuesday, students used their creative ideas from Monday to look back on last week's reflections and enhance their own writing. I was impressed with everyone's willingness to dig deeper and add more to their own work.

On Wednesday we ventured into the woods. With frost still on the trees, students explored, collaborated, problem-solved and entered a world of imagination. Several students worked together to build a dam near our swamp bridge. Others found "huge mushrooms" (also known as tinder fungus or tinder conk) high up in a tree and worked together to remove it from the tree. As they worked together to get the conk, many others were deeply involved in a game they have created on their own. Many of you may have heard of the "Jade" game by now at home. I am impressed by not only the intricacy of the game but also their ability to include any new member who wants to join in.

We ended our week with a little buddy-reading to Mrs. Burriss' 1st graders. It was a really proud moment for me. They all showed such CSR behavior towards these students and how much we have grown over the year.

As many third graders would say, it has been a "beautifully, magically, blissful week" in third grade! :-)

Questions to spark conversation:
-What goals have you had recently?
-When do you find it most difficult to be successful with your goal?
-What strategies have helped you most this year?
-Looking back on third grade, what are you most proud of and why?
-Thinking about the end of third grade, what do you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

Anna Schneller is interning at DBS for a few weeks as a part of her high school eye-study. We were fortunate to have her with us this week! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Raney's Rock Stars: Week 25

This week we continued to build upon our understanding of multiplication and division. Students worked with various array models to show their thinking. In science, we finished up our Animals Through Time unit. During writing, we discussed what makes a strong piece of writing. Several students shared their writing with the class. We highlighted what made the pieces strong and provide constructive criticism on what could make the piece even better. In Class Council, we have continued to talk about what is an invisible difference, what are the challenges of these differences and what are the strengths of these differences.

The highlight of our week happened on Wednesday morning! Mr. Fraser (a former 3R parent) and Mr. Yates helped us tap 12 maple trees along out back. Students worked together to hand-drill the holes, tap the trees, hang the buckets and cover them with lids. We hope to collect enough sap again this year to boil our very own maple syrup! Yum!

Questions to spark conversation:
-How many trees did Mr. Yates used to tap?
-How do you know if it's a maple tree?
-What invisible difference do you have and what are the strengths of this difference?
-How can you use multiplication to help you solve a division problem?
-Can you explain your Seesaw post to me?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Raney's Rock Stars: Week 24

This week was our first full week back to school after returning from February Vacation. It felt really nice getting back into our normal routine.

This week marked the beginning of a new math unit, multiplication and division. Using the area (array) model, students broke apart various equations and used what they already knew to help them solve the unknown. We began looking at division and its relationship to multiplication.

In writing, we continued working on our forest reflections as well as finishing up any loose ends to our SBAC practice writing samples. The forest reflections have really ignited students willingness to write more in-depth pieces. I hope you've had a chance to check out our forest classroom website, where you can see a sample of student writing.

In science, we continued learning more about animal adaptations and how things change over time. This week we learned about mosquitoes and how they are considered the world's most dangerous animal; be sure to ask your child why.

Our week ended with a wonderful circus show, performed by many DBS students, including eight 3rd graders. They showed a lot of grit and perseverance throughout the show. We are very proud of their accomplishments.

Lastly, be on the look-out for your Parent-Teacher Conference sign up sheet. It is in students' blue folders today.

Questions to spark conversations:
-What is a Doubles Fact? Can you give me an example of one? 6x4
-What did you notice while in the forest today? What beautiful things did you see?
-How long does it take a mosquito to go from egg to adult?
-Why is warm weather and water important to mosquitoes?
-What was your favorite circus performance and why?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Week 22: Raney's Rock Stars

This week we celebrated 10,000 tokens earned! These kiddos have worked hard and grown so much over the past six months, and this week all of that hard work paid off. Last week, students voted to have a "pajama with stuffies and blankets, build-a-fort and play games" celebration. The classroom was transformed into a mega-fort, and all 22 of us ventured inside to snuggle up and read the last 70 pages of The Wild Robot Escapes. It was wonderful. After that, we played a round of musical chairs and donut hunt. Thanks to our wonderful families, we had plenty of treats to enjoy together.

Originally we had planned to play "bob-for-apples", but our bucket was leaky. So that activity was postponed until Friday. Lucky for us, we have a natural pool within our forest classroom. With the morning rain, as well as an afternoon of beautiful sunshine, it made for the perfect weather for students to bob in the brook to retrieve an apple (or two).

This week students also worked diligently on an SBAC sample writing piece. We focused on the various parts of an informational piece and how to make each part strong. Over the next few months, we will be circling back to activities like this one to prepare students for a statewide assessment given in May. Students were also given a pre-assessment for our next math unit, expanded multiplication and division.

Questions to spark conversation:
What was your favorite scene from The Wild Robot Escapes and why?
What is an invisible difference?
What circus activities did you learn in PE this week?
What areas did you explore in the forest on Friday?
What is a unit fraction?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Raney's Rock Stars: Week 18, 19, 20

I have no idea where January went! My apologies for not posting on our blog more frequently. This month seems to be just flying by. This month we have been working on many things.

In math, we have begun to take a closer look at fractions. Students have been working with unit fractions, a fraction such as 1/2, 1/3, 1/4. These are fractions with 1 as the numerator. From here, students have been adding fractions together, such as 1/3 + 1/3 = 2/3. We have also been working on measuring with various units, such as mass, liquid volume and the length of objects. Students have been comparing milliliters to liters, cups to quarts to gallons, grams to kilograms and centimeters to meters to kilometers.

In reading, students have continued to work in various WIN groups. During these guided reading groups, students have been reading a variety of text at their reading level and focusing on things such as author's intent/craft, inferencing, predicting and using context clues to solve unknown words.

In writing, students finished an informational piece. Each student chose a different topic they felt they were an expert on. Students worked to create a table of content to organize their writing. Students then wrote about each subtopic.

This week students also began working with Growing Change students from Dartmouth College. Their focus was on energy: various sources of energy, how energy works, and why energy is important. They will continue to work with us for the next four Wednesdays.

Finally, we have been having a wonderful time exploring our outdoor classroom on Fridays. The vast changes happening all around us have created opportunities for new growth, and exploration. We have begun journaling our experiences as a closure to our outdoor time. Students have shown a great deal of growth in their writing abilities since the beginning of the year.

Once again, I apologize for the delay in my blog post. I hope 2019 has been off to a good start for you as well. My goal is to get back into the swing of things and post weekly.