Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Bucket List

My pinterest addiction is in full-swing as the last 3 weeks of school are now upon me. Over the weekend it hit me: There are only 16 school days left....scratch that...15 days now. Oh. My. Goodness. I still have SO MUCH TO DO! I switched out my bulletin board for a more Summer-y feel. I had decorative Chinese take-out boxes that I put to good use, hung some colored yarn up, and pinned keychains to the bulletin board. Students are to draw or bring small items that represent what they will be doing (or hope to do) this summer. They will go in each student's bucket. What they don't know is that I already started them off with a small gift: colored sidewalk chalk:)

While I was walking through the aisles of Michael's, I spotted keychains. This (of course) immediately made me think of a nice end-of-year gift for my students. I picked out tie-dye paper at Michael's and wrote each child's name on it. My husband put them together for me:) When my kiddos saw these this morning, they LOVED it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Posting Objectives

Here is my newest creation! Obviously, posting objectives is something we should all do, but I hadn't found a way to do it that I liked. I realize it is a little late in the year to finally post my objectives, but hey, better late than never, right?! At least I'll be ready for next year. :) I used my handy Cricut machine to create the letters and posted them on cardstock. There is also another layer of cardstock that each section is glued to in order to make it more sturdy. I love color, so this way works perfect for me! An added bonus is that it doesn't take up tons of space!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whoa! We're digging these WORMS!!!

I must admit, I do not like holding worms...I like seeing them in my garden because they are so good for the soil, but picking up a worm isn't exactly my cup of tea. However, my discomfort around worms doesn't mean that my students shouldn't get the opportunity to investigate them! My students learned all about worms yesterday. Before introducing our new "friends," each 3rd grade class read the story Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. My kiddos LOVED this book! There were lots of smiles and laughs throughout the comical story. I also laid out some ground rules, giving each of my students some gummy worms to practice handling a worm safely- no dangling worms allowed! We discussed how to properly hold them so that we do not tire our worms out. Because worms do not have eyes, they have to rely on their sense of touch to move around. Their muscle-filled bodies are hard at work!

Students selected their worm and begin investigating it. They had to "get to know" their worm by naming it and measuring it. Stations were set up to further our worm-filled fun!

 1.) Worm Races! Students raced their worm against another worm. This was a favorite!
2.) Dark paper versus light paper. Most students thought that worms would prefer dark paper, but after disussing how the sun can cause dark colors to become more hot, we agreed that worms would much rather be on a lighter-colored surface.

 3.) Wet paper towel versus dry paper towel. Which one does the worm prefer?
After we were all done with our friends, we put them safely back in their containers. I dug a few holes in my garden and placed them in their new homes :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Water Whistle Fun!

During one of our science rotations today, students got to make their own Water Whistles! Before telling them what materials we would be using, we brainstormed what we thought a water whistle might be made out of. These answers proved to be quite interesting! ("If you put your recess whistle in water and blow, that's probably what a water whistle is..." or "Stick your face into some water and whistle.")

Then we watched this Steve Spangler video via Youtube-click here to view it. It lays out the whole experiment and is super quick (57 seconds). Students cut a straw partially, bend it, and place it in a cup of water. I had a few students whose whistles sounded exactly like a real person's! They loved this, especially the fact that they could try it at home as well!

Whew! What a Wednesday!

Have you ever heard of an oogly?! That's right, I said oogly! Not only is this fun to say, but students and teachers alike are loving this project! The one and only "Oogly Lady" that visited our school today...boy, were we in for treat! Each third grader got to create his or her very own oogly,which is a clay creation that features a large-headed creature who sits on his/her legs. She provided tools for my students to make hair. Not surprisingly, this was a huge hit for each student! We took individual pictures of students holding their completed ooglys, but I am going to wait until we get them back (she takes them to her studio and fires them in the kiln) to take a class photo.

PLEASE take a look at her website! She is amazing! The Oogly Lady even does birthday parties and summer classes! Learn about Myrna, the artist and creator of oogly, here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Equivalent Fraction Findings

 To further explore equivalent fractions, my class had a deep discussion about possible combinations of fractions equal to one another. With each fraction strip that was displayed on the whiteboard, we talked about whole numbers (2/2 is one whole) and how the denominator changes with each added strip. One student observed that the denominator was being multiplied by 2 (that was before I placed 1/3 & 1/6 underneath the others). We were able discover lots of different combinations for equivalent fractions for 1/2, 1/4, one whole, etc...

Later, my students worked with their own set of fraction strips and set out to prove their own equivalent fractions. They categorized them by color and fraction. Then I asked them to set their 1/4 fraction piece aside and find as many possible equivalent fractions as possible. After that, they continued finding more equal fractions, which were shared at the end of class.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Science Sounds

What's that sound?! Today, my students began our science investigation for sound.  There were 12 eggs, each filled with a different item. Everyone made a prediction as to what they thought was in each egg. After each student had roamed around the room checking the eggs, we discovered what was inside together. Our biggest surprise was the egg with the thread in it. "There's nothing in this egg!" voiced more than one third grader.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tag...You're It!

I was tagged by Heather over at Beg, Borrow, and Teach! I love games!

Here Are The rules:
* Post these rules
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)

1. What tricks/techniques do you have to keep the things you bring home from school to a minimum?
Well, I don't quite know if I have this one figured out yet...I usually work on a school weekend project at home once a month. My husband is really good about being willing to help out, so that makes my life much easier! As for the weeknights...I just try to get to school early & stay after working in my classroom for a while. Once I'm home, I try to relax:)

2. How do you "fake" happiness on the worst of days?
I really don't have to "fake" happiness...or at least haven't had to yet! I love what I do, and I enjoy going to work each day. My kiddos always make me smile, so if I can do my part and be positive...the rest just falls into place:)

3. Quick! You wake up with 10 minutes left to get out the door. What is your go-to piece of clothing that makes you look put-together?
YIKES! First of all....I would feel sooo out of sync...That would probably be the way to put me in a not-so-good mood! I like waking up early and taking my time so that I am not rushed, BUT if I truly had 10 minutes, I would grab one of my scarves or fabric headbands (light and colorful for spring or a little warmer for winter). They seem to help complete an outfit in the blink of an eye!

4. Flats or heels?
It depends on the weather, but I do love heels :) Flats are of course, much more practical, but there is just something about wearing heels that makes you feel good!

5. How do you make peace with a difficult parent?
Seeing as this is my first year of teaching in the classroom, I must say that I have been very blessed with having lots of wonderful parents. If I did have a difficult parent, I would make sure that I scheduled a time to meet after school to discuss concerns. Hopefully after we have both respectfully addressed areas of concern, then peace will have been achieved!

6. What's your most expensive guilty pleasure?
Oh goodness...I'd probably have to say purses. I try to steer clear of the big, bulky ones because inevitably I will fill it up with non-essentials!
7. Pretend you have an entire weekend to yourself. How do you spend it?

  Because my husband and I usually have something going on each weekend, an entire weekend alone would be AMAZING! Here's my Saturday: First of all, I would want to sleep in, then continue to be lazy as I snuggle up reading a book. After that, I would go get a massage, followed by a spa pedicure, and finally a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory! The remaining part of my evening would be spent watching chick flicks! On Sunday, I'd take it outdoors: go to the lake (kayaking, tubing, swimming). I would want to spend parts of my ideal weekend with my best friend, so some of these items would be spent with my hubby!

8. Favorite t.v. show?
Do I have to pick just one? That's too difficult! 30 Rock, The Office, Rules of Engagement, Desperate Housewives, and  The Big Bang Theory.
9. What was the last book or movie that made you laugh and cry at the same time?
Well, yesterday I happened to run across Bride Wars, which surprisingly made me do both (even though I had seen it once before). Love that movie! Usually chick flicks do that for me...or Nicholas Sparks' books!
10. What is one skill you possess that would surprise most people if they knew?

I would be comfortable planning someone else's party/function: wedding event, baby shower, family get-together. I have done this a few times before, and I really enjoy it! My family members are probably the only ones who knew that.

Here are the 10 blogs I have tagged! Be sure to check them out!
Melissa at Dilly Dabbles
5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules
Krista at Stellar Students
Dana at 3rd Grade Grid Iron
4th Grade Wonders
Clutter Free Classroom
Nik at 24/7 Teacher
Amber at Adventures of a 3rd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Durbin at 3rd Grade's A Hoot
Patti at A Series of 3rd Grade Events 

Here are my questions for you!

1.) What is your quick fix to homework assignments not being turned in on time? I feel like I am always making extra copies!

2.) How do you escape the ever-present problem of not having enough pencils sharpened?

3.) Why did you decide to enter the field of education?

4.) What is the most hilarious thing that you have overheard a student say?

5.) How do you keep your students "in line" and engaged when Spring Fever is running wild?!

6.) What does a typical lunch look like for you during the work week?

7.) Name a hobby that you have!

8.) If you were to pick another career besides teaching, what would it be?

9.) What do you do during your summer vacation?

10.) What is a piece of advice you would offer a first-year teacher?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fractions, Fractions, Everywhere!

My students created a "Mr. Fraction Man," which consisted of them following step-by-step directions so we could do everything together. We started off by discussing how many parts were in the body of Mr. Fraction (8 parts). This would be the denominator for a fraction representing his body. Then my students chose a color and completed the first direction ("Color in 5/8 of his body.") They could color in the fraction however they wanted, but five of the eight sections had to be colored. The fractions varied for different body parts, but we continued with this process for the upper arms/legs, lower arms/legs, and fingers/toes. They were able to color his head however they wanted. After carefully cutting along the bold black lines, my students glued Mr. Fraction together and completed the second half of the direction sheet independently  ("What is the fraction for the unshaded part of his body?" etc..) This activity took a little longer than I had planned, but it was worth it! :)

To start this lesson, my students each got 6 same-colored unifix cubes. They connected them and we discussed the fractions for these cubes, such as "6/6 of the cubes are black. 0/6 cubes are red.") After taking one black cube off and replacing it with a red cube, we stated our new fraction: "5/6 cubes are black. 1/6 cubes are red." This continued until all of our original colors had been replaced, one-by-one. Later, we drew the unifix cubes onto a sheet of paper and wrote the fractions out, as shown in the picture.

Fraction Kites

This week, we have been learning about FRACTIONS! My students are really getting into it, and all of our third graders have had many activities that help reinforce our new knowledge! We made Fraction Kites first, which incorporated fractions, multiplication, and measurement. My students received a white square-shaped piece of paper. They were given rulers and had to measure one inch increments before drawing a straight line vertically. After completing as many columns as they could, they turned their papers and created another set of rows. This transformed our regular white papers into boxes! My students were able to state their multiplication fact as well (7 rows x 7 columns= 49..."I should have 49 boxes total..."). Then they selected some crayons and colored in the boxes to their liking. Next, they drew a cloud and stated the fractions, making sure that the denominator was the same for each! (e.g. Red 14/49; Green 11/49, etc...)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Get Moving!

As we continue to explore Newton's Laws of Motion, my students got the treat of visiting five motion stations today. Station 1: flicking a quarter against another quarter and recording how far it moved; Station 2: using a hand towel and creating vibrations to get a ball to move on it without lifting the towel completing off the ground in addition to placing the ball on a yardstick and gently pushing the ball to see how far it travels on the yardstick; Station 3: comparing several objects when gravity is pushing on them (paper & pen dropping from same height, pencil & penny, etc...recording paper is shown below); Station 4: using marbles and plastic pieces with suction cups on white board to create a pathway for marble to drop (see picture); Station 5: exploring toy cars with strip that causes them to move.

Everyone had a great day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Eggstravaganza! You gotta see it to believe it!

Today was quite the egg-citing day! We did two hands-on activities, and we all had so much fun! One activity was called How Strong is It? As you can see from the pictures, we were testing the strength of raw eggs using our reading textbooks (which my students thought was pretty cool)! In order to set up all of the fun, I laid out all of the materials on the blue table and asked my students what they thought we were going to do with these items. Many thought we were going to set the eggs on top of the books, but we were in for a much bigger treat.

As soon as the big secret was revealed, we wrote down the scientific process steps to help organize our experiment. We devised our hypothesis, listed all of the material needed, and put the steps to be followed in sequential order. Then it was time for the excitement!

I had several student volunteers help make clay molds, set the eggs on the clay, and finally gently placed the textbooks on top of the eggs. When some of the eggs started to wobble a bit, there was quite a stir in our classroom! We successfully placed 4 textbooks on top of the eggs before one egg slid out and rolled onto the floor-what a mess! The force of the books caused the other egg to break upon impact. I didn't get a picture of that-too bad!

Finally, we recorded our observations and placed our data in a table. We discussed our conclusions amidst laughter and smiles:)

The second activity we completed was testing the weight of a raw egg. All students made predictions as to the number of objects it would take to equally balance the scale. We used unifix cubes, scissors, plastic links, and crayons. After all predictions had been made, one student placed the egg on one side of the balance. One by one, randomly selected students put an object into the opposite side. Another student kept track of tally marks on the whiteboard. Here's what some looked like!

The weighing of the scissors posed some interesting questions: Are all scissor weights the same? What about your scissors, Mrs. Watkins? They are bigger than ours and probably heavier too. You also have metal scissors-will that have the same results? This was a fun discussion, so of course we tested each one! It took two student scissors to balance the weight of an egg; one of my scissors to balance the weight; and the metal scissors were way too heavy! What a memorable day!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let the Egg Rolling Begin!

We've combined eggs, math, and science! Today, my class was split into 3 groups. A color strip was placed on the carpet, while students were given specific items. Students were not told which egg was boiled and which egg was raw. We rolled three different objects: a ball, a boiled egg, and a raw egg. Whatever color section the object rolled onto, we placed a tally mark on the board next the appropriate color. It was very important to discuss how to keep both hands on the object before releasing it. This helps to control the items and not let the egg-rolling get out of control :)Afterwards, we graphed the results. The graph shown is one rolled with the boiled egg.
We compared and contrasted the results and then made predictions as to which egg was the boiled one and which one was raw. That was an interesting discussion! As an added bonus: spin the eggs, one at a time, on the side on a smooth hard surface, stop them fast and let them go
immediately. The boiled egg will spin easily to begin with but will not spin any more after stopped suddenly and released. However, the raw egg will spin again after quick stopping and releasing it because the liquid inside the raw egg is still in motion due to inertia. Please wash your hands when handing raw eggs. This technique can be used to find out if the egg is raw or boiled.

Creating Cause and Effect

To work on cause and effect, my students got to get up and moving! We broke into two teams (Red & Blue) and got into a line, facing the whiteboard. Each student had the opportunity to write one word to expand the sentence. Here is an example from each team: "Jill had a baby, so she bought diapers. Kayla fell down a slide, sho she get woodchips on her knee."

This activity is quick and easy-they love it & were begging to do more!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We're Having an Egg-cellent Week!

Yesterday, my students began an eggsperiment (I just couldn't resist!) using three boiled eggs. One egg was placed in vinegar, one in water, and one in a cup full of Coca-Cola. An eggshell has similiar characteristics to our teeth, and on Friday we are going to see the results that prolonged exposure to each of these substances can have on our eggs. My students have noticed that so far, the vinegar has caused the egg to expand, water has had no overall effect, and the Coca-Cola is beginning to change the color of the shell. More results to come!

To continue our exploration of eggs, we brainstormed a list of animals that hatch from eggs. It was quite extensive (geckos, chickens, platypus, snakes, tadpoles, crocodiles, butterflies, etc..). Then each student was given a regular piece of white copy paper. We folded it in half ("hamburger style") and then folded one side of the paper down. After that, each third grader drew an oval to represent an egg, followed by lines to show  the cracking of an egg. When you open the paper up completely, it will look like the egg has cracked!

Students may draw an animal "inside" the egg so that others may see what has "hatched!" Mine was a snake.