Friday, May 18, 2012

Price Chopper Party for Pages!

This year my students worked toward a goal of reading 30,000 pages. Thanks to Price Chopper's reading incentive program, Party for Pages, we had a tremendously fun time yesterday! My students were amazed at how much we were awarded for reaching our goal: ice cream bars, fruit snacks, bottled water, Danimals Smoothies, paper towels, and a movie! What could be better than that?! When my students popped their #3 balloon for our countdown to summer, it read: Wow! Only three days until summer! You will get enjoy ICE CREAM in the morning!!! As you can imagine, my students went wild!! They were so excited! It was a great party! We finished up our day by packing up our room and cleaning out our desks. That left me more exhausted than I thought I would be! Phew!

Our number four balloon encouraged us to write a letter to a future third grader. We did an example together and discussed how we should welcome each student in the opening sentence. My students are sealing them in a decorated envelope so when my new students arrive in August, they will be greeted with a nice surprise. My class enjoyed giving advice and friendly suggestions in their letters. It was a perfect way to transition to "Move-Up Day," where all classes visit a teacher/classroom in the next grade level and learn a little bit about what to expect.

The number five balloon's message was to enjoy lunch together, while we watched a short video. My students LOVE eating lunch together! That makes me really happy ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer Fun (and our Countdown, of Course!)

My students were dreaming of summer as they created their very own set of sunglasses complete with a picture of summer on each lens. It was fun to see what my kiddos put together after I laid out various colors of construction paper. We had sunglasses of all sorts of shapes and sizes when it was all said and done, but they really enjoyed this! For early finishers, I had my students create block letters for "Visions of Summer," color them (you can't see it here, but there are scenes of summer on the letters as well!), and cut them out.

Countdown Catch-Up:
7 Days Until Summer brought us two very special mystery readers (my mom and dad), who read a story to my class.

Today was the 6th day on our countdown :) My students had field day during the afternoon, but at the very beginning of the day we popped our balloon and read it aloud: Not only is is Field Day, but you also get to pick your seat for the day! You have three minutes to get situated! It was interesting to see the arrangement that they came up with: two extremely long rows of desks, facing each other, along with two other small groups of three students' desks. They loved it and it was a nice way for them to pick their seat, which worked out well for me since they really only sat their for three and a half hours anyway;)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Science Experiment, a Planet Study, and a Real-Estate Area Game!

We had such a busy day, so I have LOTS to share! First of all, our science experiment today was called "Liquid Layers." I used a tall vase, pink shampoo, vegetable oil, water, and syrup. I started the experiment by pouring in the shampoo (when my kiddos weren't watching!) and asked them to share what they thought was in the vase. We had many educated guesses, especially after we got to smell it (soap, body wash, etc..). Nobody guessed shampoo, but after I revealed the substance, there were several "OH YEAHS!" around the room.

Then I had a student volunteer pour water into the vase. I shook it up and students LOVED seeing the mixture but were surprised when the liquids split into two layers. Next up for our vase: vegetable oil. This was by far the biggest surprise for my students. The mixture turned white and bubbly, despite the regular yellow color that vegetable oil is by itself. Finally, we poured in syrup. My students thought it was so cool that the syrup sunk its way to the bottom of the vase. This brought on a big discussion about density and which liquid was more/less dense than others. To end the experiment, we dropped a couple of items into the vase to see what layer it would land in. This is definitely one of my favorite science experiments of the year!

Our reading story this week is a nonfiction story about the planets. I've never been that interested in space, but I have to say that the conversations my students and I have had about space and planets have changed things quite a bit for me! I'm not saying I would ever want to go to space, but we have had a great time studying the planets. My students had the choice to create a poster, brochure, or booklet about a given planet. They were to include a drawing, interesting facts, and why someone would want to visit their planet (given the chance). Some of my students even wrote "If you want to learn more, call 555-5555!"

Real Estate Area: In addition to everything else going on this week, we are continuing to learn about the area of an object. My students were given coordinate grid paper, dry-erase markers, and dice. They rolled the die twice to create a multiplication problem. After finding the product, they had to create a shape on their "board" and write the area inside the shape. The object of the game was to take up as much real estate as possible instead of all spread out. One of my students almost completely filled her page! This was a great way to reinforce  multiplication facts and our focus skill for the week!

Countdown Chaos!

Time to catch up on our countdown for the week! For our 9th day till Summer, my students enjoyed a few minutes of extra recess! They thoroughly enjoyed this, especially since we were out on the playground by ourselves! Yesterday marked Day Number 8. Here's what the note said:
We're whipping out the shaving cream today! Get ready to get a little messy while we write our spelling and vocabulary words! After we went through our words, my students had a few minutes to play with the shaving cream on their desks (tic-tac-toe, draw, etc...). Fun times!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching up with our Countdown and MORE!!

It's time to catch up a bit with our countdown to summer! To celebrate 12 days away from summer, we took out a marker and signed a page of eachother's memory books. It had a picture of our entire class, so this was something that the students really enjoyed doing! Today marked 11 days on our countdown, and we busted out our dry-erase markers for a good reason:) To begin this activity, each student had to write one thing that they like about themselves. Then students visited eachother's desks and wrote down one nice thing that they like about that particular student. After we were done, students returned to their own desks and read what had been written about them. Finally, each student got a chance to share one thing and guess who had written it. This was a nice activity that made the class feel good and spread even more smiles around:)

Last week our class learned about how to find the perimeter of an object. This week we are focusing on finding the area of a given object. After defining "area" in our own words, I directed students to draw an object first  with an area of 10 squares, then 12 squares, and finally 17 squares. It was interesting to see the different shapes that they came up with. As a challenge at the end of the lesson, students had to find the area AND perimeter of their objects. It was a very busy day, but we are still learning lots and enjoying our time together!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Countdown to Summer: Day 13

We popped our number 13 day balloon today as we continue our Countdown to Summer! The message read: Today you receive a tasty snack! Lucky you! My students cheered loudly as I passed out mini Oreos. They are liking this whole balloon-popping idea!

Also-I tried out a new idea (well, new to me that is!) posted by 5th Grade Rocks 5th Grade Rolls. I tested out the Magic Piece of Trash method this week with my 3rd graders. WOW! Let me tell you: this WORKS!!! It was amazing! All I had to do was utter these wonderful words: There is a Magic Piece of Trash on the ground. Who will find it? In the blink of an eye, students were trash collectors, asking, "Is this it, Mrs. Watkins? Is this the Magic Piece of Trash?" My floor went from less-than-impressive to being unable to find a shred of paper on the ground. That makes me one happy teacher!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 14 on our Countdown to Summer and a Science Experiment!

There are now only 14 days until summer break begins for students and staff! My students popped another balloon to reveal the day's activity. The note said Color Day. I explained that we could either choose to wear our favorite colors OR try to wear a class color. My students chose to wear a class color, and the verdict was to wear green! Because we needed to know this in advance so we could all wear the same color, we popped this balloon yesterday afternoon. Most of my kiddos remembered their green and were all smiles! To liven the day up a bit, we took a 5-minute dance party break! I switched the lights on and off while the music played while my kiddos danced their little hearts out! We'll have to see what tomorrow's balloon has in store for us ;)

 This afternoon we conducted a science experiment involving an egg, marbles, water, and two cups. Each cup was filled with two and a half inches of water. The picture above helps to show what we did. We discussed the mass of both objects and how the level of the water increases once an egg was placed in one of the cups. Then we predicted how many marbles it would take to equal the mass of an egg. I had groups of 3 each conduct the experiment, and we kept tally marks on the board to count the marbles as we gently placed them in the cup. Some groups had to stop before others because their water levels were equal. This then prodded more conversation about how the mass of eggs/marbles can vary slightly. Most groups averaged 31 marbles! That was much higher than my students had predicted!

Check out this Energy Truck!

My students had a unique experience this week. Carter Energy graciously brought their Energy Truck, activities, and crew to our school. We toured the trailer and learned about energy (non-renewable and renewable). All students listened to a presentation on energy and investigated how we can conserve energy for non-renewable sources. They took a quiz on a computer that was set up with a partner and became "Energy Experts!"

Afterward, every student had the opportunity to race someone else using remote-controlled cars! There were big-time smiles and laughs all around!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

15 Days to Summer!

The countdown is ON! Today marks 15 School Days until our summer vacation arrives. In honor of this, 15 balloons are now hanging from the ceiling of my classroom. Each ballon has a paper inside it stating something fun that we will be doing that day. My students were so excited when they walked into the room even though they weren't sure what the ballons were for yet. I have one student pop the balloon with a paperclip while another student gets to read the note to the class. That way every student will get a chance to participate.
Here is our balloon for today! The note said: Vote on an activity to do as a class. We made a list on the board, with ideas ranging from extra free-writing time to making cards for soldiers in Afghanistan to extra recess. Surprisingly, my kiddos voted to enjoy lunch together outside! We had a great time, and I even gave them a 2-minute jumpstart to recess before the rest of the 3rd graders arrived:)

All balloons are numbered so we can easily find the balloon for each day!
Note: Be sure to check the calendar to see what is going on for your school so that one of your activities doesn't interfere!