Hello! In this space I'll be sharing what some of us are up to while we're at home. I can't wait to share what you and I have been doing!
Thank goodness for this beautiful weather we've been having! We've been spending as much time in our backyard as we can! We had a large cedar tree die off last summer and have been talking about cutting it down to build a platform/fort. With all of our spring break plans cancelled, what better opportunity than now! Gio's been helping haul wood & clean up. Today we found the culprit that killed the tree.. he's kept one of the beetles to observe. PE & science all wrapped up together!
A couple other activities that Gio is finding to keep busy is cleaning out our planter boxes and planting some spring seeds & we hope to be enjoying some sugar snap peas in about 6 weeks. He's also enjoying the strategy of the game of "Life" and is (so for) reigning champion! Thanks for reaching out, I'll go to the blog with him to check out what his friends are up to!
Working outside enjoying the fun shine!!
Aiden wants to tell everyone he had a good birthday and he got a new fishing pole and tackle box plus the things in the pictures
Samuel hasn't had the best start, his great granny who he was extremely close to passed away. But to take his mind off of it he has been helping take care of his animals, and playing outside with his brother, and he's been doing lots of art and crafts.
Marcos is enjoying the sunny days, but he says he wants to go back to school.
Austin had been enjoying “homeschooling” with his cousins. Daily walks seeing all sorts of things! And he got to take his 1st flight!
Getting our painting on!
Marshall and Zane have been playing outside, riding their bikes and enjoying their extra time at home (although I fully expect them to start complaining about seeing their classmates any day now).
This week we went on walks in our neighborhood almost every day. One day we even went on a walk to the local cemetery. It was a good 4 mile walk round trip.
This morning we participated in Al’s Garden Center’s kids club (via YouTube) and planted strawberries. The boys are excited to see them grow and we hope we can keep them alive and healthy.
Today we finished our day with a backyard fire and s’mores. We may not be able to go camping, but we enjoyed the fire anyway. We feel so blessed to live somewhere we can do this.
We are trying to keep busy and enjoy the sunshine while we have it. We are so thankful we have so much space to get outside and enjoy our country life.
Since school has begun, I have noticed a surge in use of the bathroom. In order to keep my sanity, I needed to come up with a new system. Before, I just let the next student go to the bathroom, one boy and one girl at a time, but couldn't track who was going when and how frequently.
But, that has all changed! I am happy to say, that I have a new system in place and it's quite amazing to see my results.
I found the idea to use an old iPhone for students to sign out with using Google Forms. The neat thing is, the form time stamps when they are leaving, and how often they go. Now I can quickly tell how long a student has been gone.
I should also add, the iPhone is locked into this screen. Students aren't able to change from this screen or go into any other apps.
So now, if a student wants to use the restroom, they sign their name on the whiteboard, this way I don't have to keep track of the order. When it's their turn to go, they just sign out with their initials on the iPhone and go. Unless I am in the middle of a lesson, I will tell them no.
This graph shows which subject students to go the restroom in. Reading, first thing in the morning, seems to be the most busy time to go to the bathroom!
I'll be completely honest, I have never had a class go to the bathroom SO much in a day. I do have a few friends that I am keeping an eye on as their name is very frequent on my form.
I find it almost comical the amount we have used the restroom in 4 days (how long we've been using the system). So far it has been working!
But I do ask, if you could please have a conversation with your child about using the restroom only when they really need to, not just to get out of class! I wouldn't want to tell a student no when they really did need to you the restroom!
This week we had the awesome opportunity to be the first to get our hands on some new technology in the classroom! I'll be the first to admit that I'm a huge sucker for technology, and any time I get the opportunity for something new I'll jump on it!
This week we got to try out the school's new set of Google Chromebooks. The Chromebooks were purchased a few weeks ago and are finally up and running. The laptops should make online testing a breeze!
Our first day was a bit rough, we were the guinea pigs. We got the opportunity to see what worked and what didn't. Naturally about half didn't work at first, something with the chargers not charging. But on Friday, when we used them again and they were all working! Woo!
We will be seeing a lot of the Chromebooks, with AzMerit right around the corner, any chance to get to used to how they work. Last year, my class took AzMerit on the Ipads, which went great! But I am interested to see how it will go on the laptops. Also, for benchmark 2, we will also try out taking the benchmark on the Chromebooks. Eek! It's coming up so fast but these technology advanced kiddos will do great!
A few weeks ago, I had an amazing opportunity to go to a Google Summit and learn about using Google Classroom. It's pretty amazing what Google is coming up with and how to incorporate it into teaching.
On Friday, we tried out using Google Classroom for the first time. We took our spelling test online and well as a reading formative. This is HUGE practice for online testing. Simply scrolling through a passage and typing in a text box comes with its own learning curve.
It is my hope to use the Chromebooks for many more formatives and activities in the future. But, we only have one set of Chromebooks or the whole school. I would love a class set for myself, but that isn't a reality unfortunately! Unless someone wants to buy me a whole set *wink wink* Just kidding!
If you thought that I was in charge of this classroom then you are mistaken. In our classroom we have a special friend named Escape. Escape is our class pet, and she is easily the most entertaining the the room. At the end of this post is a fun video of what Escape does when I let her run free in the room without students!
My first year of teaching my class was given the challenge of earning their class pet. For positive behavior they worked to fill a jar and each time they filled the jar they earned another piece to the puzzle that was Escape. First they earned the cage, then the food, supplies, and finally the actual guinea pig!
Escape has proved to be a valuable asset to the class. Not only is she cute, but she also helps to teach students responsibility. I honestly don't have to worry about much with her, I just make sure she has the food. Each week two different students are pet helpers, and they take care of the rest. students do everything, from cleaning the cage to feeding her daily. She also gets to go home with students on long weekends and breaks, another opportunity to show responsibility!
If you are ever interested in sending veggies or supplies, I certainly wouldn't be opposed!
Ever wondered what a guinea pig did when left on their own?
Although I am from Oregon, and rain is something that happens every single day, monsoon rain is a whole new story! Yesterday, about 25 minutes before dismissal that rain really started to come down. In the blink of an eye we went from dry to a torrential downpour. Of course, instantly I had about 10 hands shoot up saying they needed to "go to the bathroom" I told them, only if it was an absolute emergency then they could go. There was no way for them to stay dry in the rain and the hail.
I have been wanting to take a video of the wash behind our classroom filling up for quite some time. Yesterday, I finally remembered to do it! I set up my phone in the windowsill and let it record a time lapse. The video combined about 25-30 minutes of rain into a 31 second video! Way too cool not share!
Enjoy a short video of what it's like behind the classroom when it rains!
My apologies for not posting last week. Some times it is hard to know what to post about! We have been working very diligently on context clues and word problems, neither of which are all that exciting!
Did your child come home asking for a yo-yo and then not tell you what the yo-yo meant?! Very likely this happened!
On Thursday, we had an amazing assembly put on by The Ned Show. It was honestly one of the best and most motivating assemblies I have ever been to! Our awesome presenter was so engaging and truly taught the students a very powerful message. He told the story about Ned and used a yo-yo to do many fun tricks!
Throughout the assembly students learned that each letter of Ned stood for something different.
N-never give up
D-do your best
What a simple saying, but with a HUGE impact. The Ned Show promotes positive behaviors and doing your very very best every single day!
Click on the image to watch a 2 minute video about Ned!
Now where do the yo-yos come in? The yo-yos are for sale in front of the school this week Monday-Thursday! The money raised from the yo-yo sales will go towards another performance at another school! How neat is that!
If you are interested in finding out more about Ned, I encourage you to watch the video from the picture, and then explore around the site!
I will definitely be purchasing my yo-yo tomorrow!
This week in science we are learning about what makes something living and what makes something nonliving. We have had a great time discussing the differences between the two!
As a class we decided that living things grow, eat, move on their own, need sunlight, and air. The class was very quick to catch on to the idea! At one point there was an eraser flying through the air (I threw it), and the class had to convince me that it wasn't living. My argument was that it was moving, it went from here all the way over to there! But, they were not fooled by my games. They knew that I had made it move and it could not move on its own. Therefore the eraser is nonliving! Very smart class! :)
Today, the class got to do some real life comparisons of a living worm and a nonliving worm (gummy worm)! Today, students got to watch and touch a living worm. Now with science nothing is gross! NOTHING! It is cool or interesting. So today, we had a very interesting time with the worms. Some worms were a bit more active than others. I did my best to get around to take pictures and videos of each group. Below are the videos and pictures!
As you can tell, things can get a little wild in the background while I'm recording videos. But, it's all in good fun. Before we ate our worms, gummies of course, we washed our hands and put away the living worms.
I'd say it was a very educational and delicious day in science!
In third grade it's pretty easy to say, multiplication is one of our biggest standards. So much of what we do envolves multiplication. This week we broke down how to solve multiplication problems in a variety of ways. The purpose in teaching a variety of ways, is so that students will have a bag of tools to help them solve problems. Some strategies make more sense to some while not to others. That's why it's so neat to get to teach 4 different strategies!
A bright yellow paper just like this should have come home today with students! Unfortunately, advanced math didn't get to make this organizer with us today.
The first strategy we learned was repeated addition. When looking at the factors you will know what to add and how many times to add it.
5+5+5+5 adding 5 four times
4+4+4+4+4 I am adding 4 five times
Either way you will get the same product!
Arrays are like a grid set up in rows in columns. Just like repeated addition I need to look at my factors to find out how any rows and how many columns I will need.
5x4= five rows with four columns
For number lines, it's really about making jumps and skip counting. We will use number lines a lot throughout the year, and this is a great way to get us started using them.
And lastly is equal groups. Just like all the other strategies, you look at the factors to determine what you will need. With groups you will need a certain number of groups, as well as the amount that goes into each group.
5x4= five groups with four in each group.
Then students just need to count the number of marks total in each groups.
For tomorrow, we have a formative on the different strategies and students will be required to find the product using different strategies. Aside from the formative, students get to use which ever formative works best for them! But as far as multiplication goes, it's easiest just to get your facts down!
The first week of school totally flew by! I may or may not have slept for about 11 hours on Friday! Whew was I tired! My plan for the weekend was to get up early on Sunday and put up this post, but I had quite a surprise on Saturday night! Some news I'm just too excited not to not share! Late Saturday night, I was home alone and had a knock on the door, my trusty guard dog Oliver was barking like crazy! I nervously went to check the peep hole, with my phone in hand ready to call 911. Who do I see on the other side of the door? My boyfriend who has been deployed since the first of January! I was absolutely shocked to see him! He wasn't supposed to be home for another few weeks! So needless to say, my plans changed but in the best way! Clearly our dogs Oliver and Loki were very excited as well!
Homework Packet 101
Anyways, now down to business. On Friday our first homework assignment went home. One tool that all of third grade uses is the cover sheet. There is a TON of helpful information about student progress, Accelerated Reader check-in, spelling, and upcoming events. Also, on Friday we finally got binders in after school! YAY! Each student will have a binder on Monday!
The first box on the page is a box for upcoming events. I will do my absolute best to put all school upcoming events coming in the next few weeks. I also have a calendar tab on this site that I have already put in dates and times for events that I am aware of for the WHOLE year! If times change, I will go in and fix them as well as add in more events along the way! Click here to see that calendar.
In this section, there will be information about what the student's AR goal is and how many points they need to earn in order to reach his or her goal. You can also find out what your child's accuracy is, they must have at least 85% accuracy to meet their AR goal. If accuracy is not at 85% but they have met their points, they still have not met their goal until they get their accuracy up. And lastly, you can also see information about the amount of points earned or the percent of goal met. I will be using percent of goal met instead of listing points. Under the class tab of the site you can find a link to Home Connect, where you can log in and check students' progress on their monthly goal.
For this weeks homework, I had students write in what their reading level is as well. That way you and students know what level of books students can self select and take tests on.
Typically on Friday's we will have a reading and math formative. Although, some weeks we have just one or the other. In this section you can see what the math formative was on as well as the score your child received on the formative out of five questions. Formatives are always five points. If you see that your child received a 3 or below on their math formative they will be going to reteach for the week and then have the opportunity to retake the test at the end of the next week.
A list of the spelling words is also found on the cover page. In the binders, there will be a bright orange spelling menu for students to choose at least 2 activities to do for their homework. Spelling words can also be found on spellingcity.com (link included) and just search for Kelsey Smith to find my list. There is also a link in the homework tab under spelling on this site.
On the back of the cover page is the student reading log. Students are expected to read at least 90 minutes at home each week. Students need to fill out the date, book title, minutes read, pages read. Lastly, there needs to be a parent signature as well, showing me that you can verify that they were reading. The parent signature is important because then I can tell you saw it and students didn't just fill it in before class on Friday.
If you have any questions about homework and homework expectations, please don't hesitate to ask! I am more than happy to help. Thank you, have a great week!
The beginning of the year is one of the most interesting times, because I get to get to know each student. But, I also get the opportunity to teach some lessons on social behaviors. I really enjoy getting students to think in a way that they hadn't realized before. Today, we did one of the most, in my opinion, powerful activities..
Without telling students what we were doing, I set out four bowls. Three had toothpaste, one with lotion. Then I asked for 4 people who thought they were SUPER strong. After assigning a few students, I then told them they have 1 minute to squeeze out as much toothpaste or lotion as possible. Try and get every last bit out of the tube.
With great excitement, those students quickly got every last bit out! I got a lot of, "Oh that was so easy!" or "I am so strong!"
Next I have them a spoon and a knife. The looks of puzzlement on their faces was priceless! But, when I asked them to put the lotion or toothpaste back into the tube, they just laughed. I gave them 3 minutes to get it all back into the tube. Some worked on their own, while their classmates watched. Others, started working as a group to help one another. "This is impossible!" "we have to work together" "I can't do it!"
At the end of the 3 minutes, I asked them if they got it all back in the tube, naturally they all said NO! But, were able to get some back into the tube. I then told the class, I want you to think of the toothpaste as the words that you say to one another. It's really easy for the words to come out, but can you take them back once you've said them? You can always say you're sorry, but, does that take back what you said? No, it doesn't. Always think before you speak. How is what you said, going to make someone else feel? How would you feel if someone said something to you that you didn't like?
After we talked for a little bit, we did a writing assignment about thinking before you speak. And of course, since writing is SO big in 3rd grade, we indented and restated our question of course! It was pretty neat to see students so into the writing piece, they really had a connection with what they were writing about.
All in all, I hope that my lesson today will stick with each student as we go through this year. Put simply, think before you speak.