How much do you know about the past presidents of the United States? Our third graders have spent several weeks researching, discussing and writing about a former U.S. president of their choosing. Students discovered many interesting details about where these presidents grew up, their interests and hobbies, struggles they faced and achievements accomplished. In the process, students gained an insight to some major events in American history including the the Declaration of Independence, Sherman Antitrust Act, the Civil War and the famous JFK quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” On presentation day, our third graders were proud to read their reports to the second grade class.
What do you do on a cold January day? Grab a pair of binoculars and head outdoors! As an extension to our classroom, third graders took the short ride to the Audubon Center in Fairfield to identify and investigate birds that winter in Connecticut. Before heading out, we learned how to identify birds by field markings and were instructed on how to use a field guide and binoculars. Students discovered adaptations and behaviors that allow these birds to survive the very cold Connecticut winters. While outdoors on the extensive hiking trails, students quietly listened to the wind blow through the trees and waited to identify bird calls and sightings. Soon we spotted a red tailed hawk, black capped chickadee, and a bright red northern cardinal, to name a few. Once back inside, students were excited to interact with an owl and a hawk who live at the Audubon due to injuries from human interaction. Students discovered how human development can cause harm to these creatures. It was a great winter day outdoors at the Audubon.
I still can’t believe how excited grade 3 through grade 6 students are about making dumplings for the Chinese New Year assembly day lunch. One of the third grade students even told me,” I am so happy we can make dumplings. I don’t want to just sit there eating. Making dumplings is more fun!”
Here you go! From all of the photos, I am sure you feel what students have felt. Or maybe more, if you would like to talk to them and let them describe what they have just experienced. Learning by doing. It all works here!
Third and fourth graders recently traveled to the Maritime Aquarium for a day of fun and learning. We began our visit with a classroom activity taught by the wonderful educators at the aquarium. Students examined and dissected a squid to investigate adaptations that allow this mollusk to survive in the wild. Students identified the arms (with suckers), tentacles, beak, ink sack and siphon. We watched videos and examined fins and arms to learn how this creature moves as well. Afterward, students toured the aquarium to discover many forms of aquatic life and much more, including an exhibit on dragons. Students touched sharks, jellyfish and stingrays in the touch tanks and watched the seals being fed. We were even lucky enough to witness a seal named, Orange predict (accurately) that the Patriots would win the Super Bowl. It is always a fantastic day when we visit the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk!
Our third graders are busy learning both the concept of multiplication as well as basic facts. Students can more readily develop an understanding of multiplication concepts if they see visual representations of the computation process. Therefore, we recently took to our makerspace to allow our students the opportunity to create multiplication arrays as a visual, concrete representation of multiplication. An array is formed by arranging a set of objects into rows and columns. Each column must contain the same number of objects as the other columns, and each row must have the same number as the other rows. That being said, and as our students demonstrated, an array can be created from most any object. Afterwards, students identified arrays all around us…egg cartons, window panes, classroom cubbies, brick wall, floor/ceiling tiles and much more to identify multiplication in our daily environment.
Can you see me? Using our classroom Smartboard, third graders has fun trying to find many wild animals as they camouflaged into their environment. Students took turns going up to the board and using the Smartboard pen to outline the animal once they spotted it. Next we put our students to the test. Third graders chose various colors of pipe cleaners to create an animal that could camouflage into our classroom. Students were divided into two teams and asked to hide their pipe cleaner animal in the classroom. Then the other team came into the room to search. This task was harder than most thought it would be, demonstrating the effectiveness of camouflage.