Sunday, January 27, 2013

We are BUSY in science!  The next few weeks will involve many fun and interesting experiments, lessons, and opportunity to learn a lot of new concepts.  I LOVE teaching these units.  I've had the pleasure of teaching the third grade units for a number of years and think they are really well done.  I am also enjoying the 4th grade curriculum and learning soOoooOOO much myself!  In our science adventures, we meet as a whole group, work with partners, work in small groups and independently.  Our science notebooks are an important aspect to our learning and offers a place to write about the experiments we are doing.  We have TWO science journals - one that correlates with each unit, and a larger composition book that will be packed full of things from EVERYTHING we do in science.  Here are some pictures of Group A learning about organic and inorganic material.  They have planted seeds in potting soil (organic) and perlite (inorganic) and are watching closely to see what will happen.  They've made predictions, written about what they've done and will continue to monitor and journal what they see happening.  We've also used mycelium plugs and plain wooden plugs and placed them both in petri dishes with coffee grounds.  They will monitor the petri dishes and observe what happens to each plug.  We will continue our mold studies as the next two weeks unfold.  In group B, we are learning about how birds use their beaks to eat and why the shape of their beaks is important.  The Bird Beak Lesson is a lot of fun...using beak models (tongs, sieve, eye dropper, long nail, clothes pin, and cootie catchers) to eat what each bird eats (marshmallows on a stick - mouse meat, small container with herbs floating on top - duck weed, bowl of rice with gummy worms underneath - earth worms, a tall vase full of water - flower nectar, Cherrios - flying insects (they toss them), and paper plates stapled together with marshmallows or raisins inside - grubs in a tree).  We will dissect OWL PELLETS this week.  Warning!  This is one of the BEST science lessons of, well, all time.  They LOVE this lesson.  They will find actual bones, skulls and fur in the pellets.  They will also want to bring them home.  These pellets are purchased from a company that cleans them, and are safe for them to handle.  Watching their faces when they discover bones and skulls is priceless.  Oh the fun we have!  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We are back into the swing of our schedule and both groups are back to doing science.  Group A is finishing up the Nature's Recyclers unit and Group B has begun the Habitats unit.  
Group A
So much to do!  So much to discover!  From Decomposers to Soil...students will examine a variety of inorganic and organic planting materials.  We discussed the connections between the work of nature's recyclers, soil, and plant development.  On Friday, we planted a variety of seeds in potting soil and another group of seeds in some perlite.  Over the next few weeks we will observe our baggies (taped to our windows) and graph, illustrate and write about our observations.  

Group B
The Habitat unit is great!  We talked about a variety of habitats and read a story about an oak tree - and its role as a habitat in nature.  We then created our own oak trees in our science journals - illustrating the animals who might live in, around or under the oak tree.  They created beautiful trees and worked hard to show what they learned.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What a fun journaling tool.  Smash notebooks are taking over our classroom - and it's fantastic.  The journals are fun, fancy and inexpensive.  There are also fun accessories to go along with the journals - providing more and more to write about.  Writing in a journal is an amazing skill and it can bring out the very best in what we write.  It's a place to write about ANYTHING and choose to share it - or keep it to yourself.  Journals provide places to keep things too.  Favorite postcards, tickets, coins, playing cards (from that cool poker game with your Grandpa!), stamps, lists, ideas, doodles, and ooOoOoOoH so much more.  You can stamp it, stick it, and write in it.  As a writing teacher, I'm thrilled to find something that has given reluctant writers a reason to perk up their ears and show interest.  That's a wonderful thing.  
Writing is serious business.  Sometimes.  =)

One of the best parts of journaling...they all have such different and amazing ideas, interests and thoughts.  How cool is that!?  

Deep in thought and concentrating completely.  A dreamy thing to see.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013
Whew!  After spending a lot of time in room 306 today, I decided 2013 will be a time to ORGANIZE!  We are going to be working on not only keeping ourselves organized, but our classroom as well.  We already have things in place to keep us organized, but need to spend some time honing our skills and making things work…for ALL OF US!  I need help too! 
Purple Folders:  These folders should come home every day.  They will have math home links, mail, and any important papers you need to see.  This can be used for notes for me, lunch money, and any documents that need to be turned in at school.
Planners:  Students should write the daily homework in addition to ANY information that is important enough for them to know and remember.
Desks:  We will clearly label folders – and spend time practicing putting things IN folders over the next few weeks.  Desk cleaning will happen weekly – we’ll do our best, but it’s hard to squeak into our busy days. 

What can YOU do?  Check their backpacks, folders and planners EVERY DAY!  Remind them to check their mailboxes and desks too.  I am in the process of making a checklist for kids who would like an extra reminder.  This will slide into their purple folders – reminding them to check things at the beginning and end of the day. 

Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions.  Thank you!  Happy 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!
May 2013 bring you happiness, joy and a TON of fun in third and fourth grade!  =)