December 8, 2012

The Buzz in 301...

We have been SOOOOOOOO busy in third grade! It feels like we never have a moment of rest. And, honestly, I've been struggling to keep my head above water day to day... so, preparing pictures for the blog has been waaaaaaaay down on the priority list. As it should be. But, I did manage to take some pictures Friday and I thought I'd do a little random update to catch you up on the buzz in room 301.
1. One thing we've been working on is asking/answering questions. So, I brought some posters I made about 4 years ago. I used these so much in first grade and I think they're a fun and interactive way to get kids excited to ask questions. I decided to hot glue them to the wall so we can incorporate them into more of our lessons.
Another way we praccticed answering and asking questions is in the next pictures. Basically, I took books about animals and laid them on butcher paper around the room. The kids walked around and wrote questions about the animal or gave statements that they knew were true. Then, when we were done, I had each team go back to a certain book. The teams had to use the books to look up the answers to the questions on their papers. Or, if they saw a statement on their paper, they had to find out what the question would be. They used a graphic organizer that I completely forgot to take a picture of. It was a great activity because it was fun and interactive for them!
(I think that blue one on the bottom says "Moths antennaes are poofy." HA!)
2. I wanted to share our Word Wall because this year, my kids are actually using it! I think the reason is because we add pictures to the words. It's really helping the kiddos to be able to look up there and see a picture to remind them what the word means. I'm sure your kids do this, too. I know it's nothing original. But, if there's ONE person out there who doesn't do this, it's worth it to share! I also think it helps that my kids adore vocabulary and they are dang good at remembering the words we've learned and pointing them out to  me all the time.
3. This past week we've been working on data and graphs. We have pretty much spent all our time looking at graphs, making graphs, doing graph probes on DEA - you name it, we did it. I'm honestly a little sad because my little friends struggled with this on the test - even after all that practice. They did it wonderfully all week... I don't know what happened. I think maybe we practiced it in multiple choice too much and all the open ended questions through them off. But, what's the right answer? Because, you want them to know how to do it for the standardized tests!
Third grade is hard, folks.
 It's no joke.
I thought I had struck a good balance... until about 6 of them answered "What's the difference in blue cars sold and red cars sold?" with "The cars are different colors."
Um, no.
4. We've also been working on incorporating quotation marks in our writing. We made this anchor chart one morning before a field trip and it really helped my kiddos elminate all the "saids" from their writing. And, they're getting better at using quotation marks. Plus, it was a great fluency activity because I had the kids read it aloud with me every morning that week and they would say each quote in the voice described.
5. We've worked a ton on cause/effect, too. Like, for three weeks.  I took NO pictures... but, this was one of my favorite activities we did. My kids used Pebblego.come to research a storm. Then they had to fill in the following graphic organizer. I felt like this activity was great because they were conducting a resreach project AND practicing a reading standard. It makes me so happy to incorporate science and social studies into our reading block!
6. We also spent a ton of time on plants. We have plant science kits and the kids really enjoyed planting seeds, observing and graphing their growth, pollenating the seeds, observing dry beans and soaked beans and making a plant lapbook.
I found this great website that had lots of plant information on it. So, we used it to research plant structure, kinds of plants, part of plants, fertilization and what plants need to grow. The kids had a BLAST working on this. They just used index cards to take notes as we learned new information. They would literally CHEER when I passed them out each day - that's how excited about plants they were, ha!
This was the same week that we did the asking/answering questions standard so I had the kids get with a partner and use their lapbooks to ask questions for the test. Then, I made a test (using some of the questions they came up with - come on, I had to make it a little difficult!) and let them use their notes they had taken to answer the questions on the test. But, they only had about 20 minutes. I like how the question standard and the plant growth standard tied in with each other... I'm telling ya, there's no better feeling :)
That's all I've got tonight.
Have a great weekend!