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. 🙂

April 12

What is Feudalism?

In our class, we’ve started our new Social Studies unit on Medieval Times. We began yesterday with picking roles out of a hat. These would form our new groupings in our class seating arrangement, too. They would also ‘play’ in our classroom over the course of the unit. For instance, the Queen would be the first to line up and the peasants would line up last.

The roles to be picked were Queen, Knight, Lady or Lord, Peasant (Serf). This simulates the Feudal System in the Medieval time period. To demonstrate the inequality of the system, we used Smarties. The Smarties represented the harvest that the peasants would have reaped for the season.  Each person started with 10 Smarties. The peasants have to pay for their protection and land by giving 6 of their smarties away to a Knight. The Knights would give some of their Smarties to the Lords or Ladies, and finally, the Lords or Ladies would have to give some Smarties to the King or Queen. By the end, the Queen had the most amount of Smarties and the Peasants had the least. 

Not everyone was too impressed that the Queen had more than they did, but that’s how it was in Medieval Times.

This is a good video that demonstrates the system and is easy to understand:

Grade 3/4s:  What do you think of your ‘role’ in the Feudal System? If you could change your role, what would it be and why?

April 11

Mad Science is….well, MAD!

Today grades 1-6 assembled in the gym and watched intently as a woman dressed in a white labcoat entertained us and had us gasping, oohing and ahhing at the experiments. Dry Ice is always a hit with kids and did not disappoint today!

Mad Science is a 6 week program being offered to our students and aims to increase students’ interest in science and is an enrichment opportunity with a hands-on approach. The program costs $75.00 and permission forms went home today.

 

April 4

Working Hard

Our projects are finally finished and we have embarked on our presentations today. Our class has worked hard to gather research and assemble their projects about a famous rock formation from anywhere in the world.

Some of the topics they researched include:

  • Egypt’s White rocks
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Fairy Chimneys
  • Camelback Mountain

Perhaps one day the students can visit these famous rock formations for themselves and witness the wild and beautiful ways that Mother Nature creates her masterpieces.

To help decorate the gym for the Heritage Fair on Wednesday April 5, we created a piece of artwork that is reflective of our Canadian culture using the Canadian flag! We used tissue paper, a template, and white glue to create our flags. Perhaps you can hang them on July 1 for Canada’s 150th birthday!  The students worked diligently and helped one another to complete their artwork in time to hang in our gym. They look great!

 

December 12

Let it Snow!

What a beautifully white, snowy sight this morning as we were greeted with a heavy snowfall over night. There wasn’t a shortage of things to do at recess as the snow was the type that allowed you to easily build anything your heart desired!

Buses were cancelled and we missed some of our friends who couldn’t make it in to school today.

Have a look at some of our learning over the past few weeks.

Below, students are working together to sort polygons into various categories. We learned that sometimes, shapes can belong to several categories. For instance, a square is also a parallelogram and a quadrilateral.

Playing with Tangrams is a fun way to learn about geometry. Here, students were asked to put together all 7 Tangram pieces to make a square. We haven’t solved it…yet! We’ll try again tomorrow.

Our first Christmas craft was one inspired by a similar one made by my sister in 1987. Ha! I brought it in to show the students and then we made our own. Students were given a template and they chose a colour of paper (white, green, or red). It was decorated and sparkles were added. Mrs. Sullivan glued on a picture of us on the back and dated it “Christmas 2016”. They will hang beautifully on our Christmas tree in our school foyer until the last day of school. We will take them home and hopefully enjoy it for years to come.

In Social Studies, we’ve been learning about Ontario and the types of jobs one might find in the 3 regions of Ontario (Hudson Bay Lowlands, Great Lakes, Canadian Shield). Students were asked to sort the jobs into one of the 3 regions and explain why they placed that particular job there.