Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall Break!



Greetings!

Here's a brief note. Your child's My Fall Break Book (MFBB) should be on the way home or at home or perhaps already in use. Please encourage your child to respond to the prompts over the next week. 

I have even offered a rare prize (beyond learning) for the top three MFBB examples. The reward will be a much coveted helicopter/propeller stick.

The Something Beautiful stories were published in our window. You will see them at our parent teacher conference (PTC) after the break. The AISB office should have sent you information about PTC scheduling. I'm flexible so feel free to suggest a time outside of Nov 4. 

Something Beautiful Essays
Following our class journalism theme, kids had a few chances to practice interviewing other students. 

HS Interviews
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Science Questions
Social Studies Questions

I'm really looking forward to the next quarter. For now, enjoy our school break!



Mr. Johnson

Friday, October 14, 2016

Something Beautiful

Greetings!

Fall break is looming with a few kids leaving early for family fun. In the spirit of fun, we have an exciting activity called My Fall Break Book (MFBB). The book is a guided journal with 10 items to record over several days. I have attached a full description here. The kids understand how the book works.

Instructions attached to each book.

We'll have one more week to practice making an entry or two. But the thing the kids may not realize is that the questions and tasks are designed to exercise opinion and fact writing, plus they will be recording lots of measurements.

Container volume comparison.

Measurements will be our next math unit. With your encouragement, MFBB will be an educationally fun activity with each unique entry.

This week we finished our bird unit with a migration obstacle course. In a very hot imaginary place, the kids would make super athletic birds!

Springing from cardboard ponds. 
Flying over power lines.
"Move!" That's all he said. 
Running hard after a tumble.
Airborne
Graceful

The kids have written really touching essays called Something Beautiful. They also shared feedback during an essay gallery walk.

Something Beautiful

We peeked at the next math unit: Measurements. In Lesson One the kids timed an assortment of tasks like snapping fingers, jumping jacks and writing equations. They loved it! I hope the enthusiasm lasts.

Naming past teachers.
Fastest to name 10 animals.
Write 7 X 8 = 56 fifteen times.
Skip count out loud by fours from 24 to 0.  


We used stories from Cricket magazines to explore a dazzling variety of ideas. Cricket is an excellent magazine for kids that offers fiction and non-fiction, art, poetry, puzzles, how-to articles and cool surprises.

Cricket mags and book reports.

The subscription costs are super reasonable. There is even a digital version. Have a look here. Also look at Spider once you are on the site. Spider is intended for younger readers, but 3rd graders would enjoy its offerings too.

All in all we had a full week ahead of a well-deserved break coming soon. Enjoy your weekend.

As always, stay safe.
Mr. Johnson

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Music, Math and Monsters

Greetings!

Each week, the kids spend two hours studying music. I was impressed yesterday by the discipline and talent they showed on the marimba.

Budding vibists
Mellow mallets
In math, we have been preparing for a final exam. The test will cover multiplication and division using units of 2-5, and 10. I am confident that the students will demonstrate growth in these areas. Interestingly, the challenge for everyone is to carefully read and explain the problems. 

This logical literary aspect of math will not change, so it is all the more reason to see that your child spends around 30-minutes reading for pleasure most evenings. Exercise comprehension by sincerely asking questions using who, what, why, when, how, which, where and so on to discuss the reading. Strong and mindful readers do better in math. 

Of course, play is important too. Here is a web-based math practice site (Math Playground) that we've explored in class. The kids loved it! I hope yours can explore more math games at home. If so, please encourage selections that require calculations. Ask to have the math explained. For example, in multiplication: What is the product (i.e. answer)? Where are the factors (i.e. items being multiplied)? In division: What is the quotient (i.e. result)? What does the quotient represent (i.e. items being grouped)? What is the size of the group (i.e. "Three," as in 18 apples in six baskets)? As the pictures show, the kids know the site, so please talk about it. 

Math Playground
Math Playground
Math Playground
Math Playground
Math Playground

Music, math and, for no particular reason, monsters in our reading was how the week shaped up. 

Weekly Reading
As always, stay safe and enjoy your weekend!

Mr. Johnson