Saturday, May 7, 2011

Character Traits

One of my favorite times of the day is shared reading or read aloud time. We are reading books related to our study of American Principles and Rights. I connected it to Diversity too as we look at all the immigrants who came to this country in search of freedom and liberty. I read these two books: Henry's Freedom Box and When Jessie Came Across the Sea and my students were touched by both. Afterwards we took a look at these two characters and charted their character traits with the proof from the book. I had them glue a chart of characteristics in their reading logs. We are going over the meanings of them a few at a time each day. A great follow up would be to compare/contrast these characters with a Double Bubble or Venn Diagram.

Measurement Part Two

Another day, another unit of measurement! We are on to measuring mass with ounces and pounds. For this activity I set up SCOOT stations. I placed a balance scale, set of weights and a food item to weigh. They went to four of the stations and took measurements. These are called SCOOT stations because I give them about 5-7 minutes to take the weight and then I call out SCOOT and they slide to the next one. After getting four measurements they headed back to seats to create a bar graph of the results.

We concluded the lesson by working with this smart board lesson. I have found so many excellent smartboard lessons on smartboard exchange. It is rare that I have to create my own anymore. Why reinvent the wheel when they are right there for the taking! Thanks to all the talented teachers who have submitted them. Wow!

Testing Time!

Yikes! Can it really be that time of year already!! We begin testing in one more week. So much to still review in so little time! Part of the testing routine is to take down all learning materials from the walls so students can't use it during the test. As I'm taking things down this year I will post it to the blog so I can remember for next fall. I loved my room and set up this year. Here are my postings of rights/responsibilities. It is one of the first things we cover on day 1. It goes so nicely with our first social studies unit on government. We have four basic classroom rights: I have the right to learn, I have the right to hear and be heard, I have the right to be safe and I have the right to be myself. All our rules really do fall under one of those rights.


I wish I could spend even more time on measurement. I find it to be a skill that students need lots of practice with. We introduce measuring length, weight, capacity, temperature both in metric and standard units. That's a lot for students to process and remember! Our pacing guide does not allow a lot of wiggle time so I'm always crunched for time. I did reserve some time for students to put their hands on the tools and units. I'm a firm believer that this type of hands on learning takes longer but in the long run will stick in their memories longer too! Maybe fewer review sessions??

Here we are doing an activity that I call, "Make and Measure". Students are given playdoh and instructions on what to make and then they need to mark their creations and measure them using inch or centimeter units. We always graph the data afterwards in some way. Here are some pics of kids hard at word and engaged! If they do a good job listening and working they got 5 minutes free time with the playdo afterwards. Boy, did they want to play!! Best listening all day!

Famous Americans

We have finished our unit on Famous Americans. We created a time line depicting the the Americans we studied and their MIP (Most Important Point). Studying the genre of the Biography during this social studies unit helped me to cover what I needed in both subject areas. Otherwise, how in the world would we get it all done! We worked on differentiating between interesting and important details. After finding out that Lincoln was assassinated my third graders' first question when learning about someone new was, "How did he die?" After getting past that information, we tried to discover what he/she was really remembered for.

We also reviewed national symbols and my students did research on one. We learned about the idea that in this country all citizens are allowed rights and freedoms. The writings we did were entitled: "Let Freedom Ring". Students started the writing with the line: In this country I am free to be whatever I want to be. Then they wrote what their dream was for themselves. Interesting to hear some of their ideas! I got this cute bell template idea from another blog. I'm a blog addict and look at soooo many that I forget which one it comes from! Does anyone else recognize it?