November 29

Provinces & Territories of Canada

As part of our Social Studies unit, we are beginning with a solid look at the provinces and territories of our own country, Canada. We live in Ontario but there are many other provinces and territories besides Ontario.

Students are also learning the names of all our Great Lakes using the acronym H.O.M.E.S. 

H=Lake Huron

O=Lake Ontario

M= Lake Michigan

E= Lake Erie

S= Lake Superior

What is a province or territory you would like to visit and why?

November 14

Shoebox Habitats

Our culminating project for Science has concluded and the students are definitely proud of their efforts. Many hours of research and planning were involved in creating the final projects–a shoebox diorama of a specific habitat and animal. The amount of detail and thought put into the design of these dioramas is amazing! I am so impressed! I think you will be, too.

As you will see, students selected quite a variety of animals and their habitats which made for an interesting assortment of projects. Students became ‘experts’ in their chosen habitat and were keen to share their learning with others.

Take a look at the Gr.3’s hard work:

What do you think of our projects?

If you could create a shoebox diorama, which habitat would you recreate?

November 2

Quiz Quiz Trade

To prepare for our Habitats science test, students engaged in an activity called Quiz, Quiz, Trade. This is a great way to review and gets students up and out of their seats, interacting with each other.

It begins with each student holding a card with a question on it. Students start walking around with their hand up. The first person they come across they high 5 and the taller person reads their question first (answers are on the back). They can coach their peer if needed and also praise. Next, the 2nd partner reads their question and afterwards, they trade.

Finally, they begin to walk around in the same manner and continue to ask questions of each other. If needed, they are allowed to use their notebooks to assist them. Check us out in action:

 

October 22

Gobble Gobble!

Last Thursday, Mrs. Sullivan’s students learned about turkeys! Mrs. Sullivan’s husband, Turkey Jay, is considered an expert in turkeys. The students asked questions and Turkey Jay answered. Unfortunately, he was unable to join us in class or by video (he’s camera shy). But, Mrs. Sullivan got the answers and presented the information to the class.

We not only learned about turkey habitats but also a lot more! Students got to see real turkey spurs which the part of their body they use to protect themselves. It is only the males that have the spurs. They also got to see a real turkey beard! Check out the turkey beard on the picture above. Can you see it on the turkey’s chest? Typically only male birds have beards, but did you know that sometimes a female can grow a beard too? (About 10-20%).

A male turkey’s head can change colour (red, blue, white) to reflect its mood. The red flap of skin only exists over a male’s beak and is called a snood. As well only males fan their tail feathers to try to attract a female. They also puff out their other feathers to make themselves look bigger!

Did you know that there are an estimated 70 000 turkeys in Ontario? They were hunted to extinction about 100 years ago but were reintroduced to Ontario in the early 1980s. Check out the full article here to learn more.

Here are many of the questions the students wanted answers to from Turkey Jay:

  • Where do they live?
  • What do they eat?
  • Do they fly? swim?
  • What do they do all day?
  • Where do they sleep?
  • Are they like chickens?
  • Where do they keep their nests?
  • How can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl?
  • What is the red flap on a turkey’s face?
  • Why do turkeys fan their tail feathers?

Ask your child what else they learned about turkeys.

What other questions do you have for Turkey Jay?

Do you like to eat turkey at certain times of the year?

October 2

Producers, Consumers, Decomposers..oh my!

What’s a food chain? How does energy flow from one thing to the next?

A food chain shows us how each living thing gets its food.

A fun game we played together in class today showed us how a food chain works and gave us a chance to make our own food chain. Give it a try! Click on the picture to try it for yourself. (Make sure Adobe Flash is up to date).

Here is some vocabulary we’ve been exploring:

  • producers (make their own food, such as plants)
  • consumers (cannot make their own food, such as animals)
  • decomposers (break down food and eat dead plants and animals, such as bacteria, fungi)
  • herbivores (plant eaters)
  • carnivores (meat eaters)
  • omnivores (both plant and meat eaters)

What type of eater are you?

 

Here are a few short videos about food chains and food webs.

 

October 1

Apple of My Eye

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things to do in the Fall is to go apple picking. My favourite place to go is Twin Pines Apple Orchards. I love how large their orchard is, the fact that they do tractor rides for free, their staff are lovely, and most of all, they sell yummy apple cider donuts!

Today was no different. Off I went to Thedford with my husband. It was such a beautiful day for a drive and to spend a few hours at the orchard. We’ve been to Twin Pines many times and today I thought I’d share with you a video I made with Farmer Mike. I asked him if he’d mind sharing a very important tip with my 3rd graders about how to pick an apple so that next year another apple gets to grow in the same spot.

Lucky for us, Farmer Mike obliged and here is our video about how to pick an apple:

In the picture here, do you see a very tall stand? What do you think it is for?

Well, mice like to hang out at orchards and can sometimes chew on the bark of new trees and this can kill the tree. They installed a tall stand where hawks can perch and prey upon the mice!

This is a good example of the food chain in action and how humans can take advantage of a more natural approach to solving the rodent problem!

 

What’s your favourite Fall activity?

 

September 20

We Are Scientists

As we learn about habitats in our first science unit, what better way to learn than to get outside and explore habitats for ourselves.

Clipboards and pencil in hand, our class set out to investigate what creatures are living in our school’s backyard, what plants are growing? What can we hear, smell, feel?

We drew pictures, diagrams and jotted notes.  We will debrief tomorrow and reflect on what sorts of habitats we discovered.

Check out our pictures below!

June 7

Building, Writing, Rolling

What are we up to you ask? The learning never ends in Room 124. We are building catapults, writing poetry, and rolling dice while we learn about probability.

Below you can see that students are working in partners or trios to design and build a catapult that must launch a marshmallow over a ‘wall’. They’ve put their thinking caps on and are busy gluing, sticking, and testing their designs. Good luck! (Thanks to Mrs. Bernardo for the pictures).

I’ve been blown away by the level of creative thinking by many students in our poetry unit so far. The vocabulary and ‘thinking outside the box’ is outstanding. We will be sure to share with you several of our poems. The students LOVE to share their poems with the class and are eager to keep writing…even into lunch hour! Woah. You can see us below writing a poem in a small group based on a regular, every day object that Mrs. Sullivan gave to us. Some of the objects included scissors, an orange cone, and a clipboard.

We were off to the races today playing a Horse Race game involving rolling a pair of dice and moving our ‘horse’ one space if the dice showed our horse’s number. If we were horse #5, then whenever someone threw a 5, we were allowed to move forward one space. Whomever crossed the finish line first was the winner. Some of us thought our horses were ‘cursed’ or that it was unlucky for some strange reason. Tomorrow we will discuss why certain horses were winning more than others. I have a feeling math has something to do with it!

April 25

Earth Day

Earth Day was last Saturday April 22 and even though we weren’t at school that day, I hope you all were enjoying the outdoors and even thinking about the Earth and how precious this planet really is.

What are some of the ways you are helping to take care of the Earth?

I know for myself, I make every effort to bring reusable bags when shopping. I also avoid using the thin plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. When I pack my lunch for work, I use Tupperware instead of lots of plastic baggies. Some people like to plant trees as a way of giving back to Mother Nature. There are so many things we can do to help keep the Earth healthy.

I watched a film called A Plastic Ocean (on Netflix) which really was eye-opening revealing just how devastating the plastic pieces in the ocean really are. As a certified SCUBA diver, I can say first hand that the amount of plastic (and other trash) in the oceans is beyond disturbing.

Here are some astounding facts about plastic:

  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.

 

What does Earth Day mean to you?

 

 

 

 

 

April 12

Whodunnit?

A crime had been committed in room 124 and students were on the case to solve it! It was after lunch when students were ready to go back to class. Mrs. Sullivan stopped them at the class door informing them that a terrible crime had occurred at lunch while they were gone. All of our pillows went missing!  Nooooo!

The crime scene was cordoned off with caution tape and several clues were left behind at the scene. There was a large empty Tim Horton’s coffee cup, a basketball, and a muddy shoe print. With clipboards in hand, the students turned detectives were on the case. Careful inspection of the clues, recording our thoughts, and thinking of possible suspects were all on our minds.

After, we gathered on the carpet and began to collate our thoughts. We started with the facts: what did we see as the clues? Next, we talked about what we thought about what we saw, then we talked about thinking of possible suspects and their motives.

 

The students were incredibly thoughtful in their observations, even noting the little “c” on the coffee cup lid which we discussed could mean “cream”, “hot chocolate”, “cappuccino” or “coffee”.  They thought about which staff members coach or play basketball and who wears running shoes at school. Some students claimed they even saw Mr. T playing basketball at recess while on yard duty. Hmmmm.

Students discussed with those around them and firmed up their top suspects. They narrowed the list to 2 staff members: it could have been Mr. Annesley or Mr. T.   Students gave their motives citing that Mr. Annesley was a suspect because he’s known to be a prankster and would take our pillows because he does that kind of thing, being our next door neighbor. Mr. T was a suspect because he has bean bag chairs and may have wanted pillows to compliment his other comfortable chairs.

Mr. T came into our class to be interviewed by the detectives who bombarded him with questions. What size are your feet? Show us the bottom of your shoes. Are they muddy? What do you put in your coffee? Were you, in fact, outside at recess playing basketball? Do you drink Tim Horton’s coffee?

In the end, as suspected, Mr. T admitted the truth…he had our pillows in his room. What a sneaky guy! 

Were you correct in who you suspected? 

Welcome to the genre of MYSTERY which is our next reading unit. 🙂