After eight days of testing, the students enjoyed the beautiful fall day at recess. To celebrate all their bubbling, they spent some time blowing bubbles into the breeze. Then, we came back to the room to check on our gummy bear fossils. On Monday, we put some “dead” gummy bears on the ocean floor (aka a piece of white bread). Then, layers of sediment covered the gummy bears (aka two pieces of wheat bread). We covered them all with several heavy textbooks to stand in for time and pressure and then left them on the shelf for four days. Today, the students peeled back the layers of sediment to expose their fossils. The gummy bears left an imprint in the “sedimentary rock” that was formed. The students noticed that the bread turned hard and crumbly when it was soft and flexible on Monday. I think it was a great way to introduce them to how fossils form!!!!
If your child would like to play on the KCSMA Volleyball team, please check out the files below.
As you know, we are learning about the branches of the federal government. The students are learning that the executive branch enforces the laws, the legislative branch passes the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws.
But, as you can imagine, these are very abstract concepts for third graders!!! So, today we put the legislative process into action on a classroom scale. I turned each of our rows into a district, and I appointed (not the way the government works, but we didn’t have time for elections today) a representative for each district. I assigned citizens to call their representative to say that they wanted to come up with a reward to purchase with our classroom economy money as well as a price for that reward. The four representatives talked to the people of their district and then traveled to the corner of the room (aka Washington, DC) to meet in committee. I allowed the representatives in the committee to come out with three options for their bill: a homework pass, a treat, or a stuffed animal day. The representatives returned to their district to talk to their constituents. Then, they came back and voted. The representatives chose a stuffed animal day. Then, they brought it to me (I played the role of President), and I signed the bill into law. It was interesting to see the students who were very disappointed because they wanted one of the other options. I explained that that’s how legislation works. Many times we have to live under laws we don’t agree with 100%.
Then, we revisited the exact same process to decide how much they have to pay for their reward. The representatives went back to their districts, then met in committee and voted. They brought me a $5 price to sign into law, but instead I wrote the word VETO across it. I explained that $5 was too low. I told them to go back to committee. Then finally brought me a price of $20. I vetoed it again, knowing that they had enough votes to override my veto, which they did very enthusiastically! So, tomorrow when the students are receiving their bonuses and paying their fines, they can also choose to purchase a privilege for next week. On Wednesday, October 2, the students who pay me $20 (in classroom economy money) can bring a stuffed animal (or doll) to school.
After we completed the simulation, I turned our computer projector to CSPAN. I told the students that the reason for a representative democracy is so that we can go about our daily lives (school, work, cutting the grass, shopping) while our representatives work to make laws on our behalf. They were so surprised to see that while we were at school, our representatives in Congress were at that very second discussing laws in Washington, DC. I muted it and left it on for a while in the background.
I really think this activity helped this abstract process make more sense. We will make other classroom decisions this way!
The students did a great job these past three days on the CoGat test. The Iowa test next week has longer test sections and will take up a larger portion of our morning. As a result, we won't have our regular homework schedule. Please use the extra time to complete the Book Project, which is due on September 30th.
Monday is our first Brainstorm Day of the year! Many of the teachers have purchased the materials for their activities with their own money. If you'd like to help offset the expense, please send in a $2 donation to the school. The donation will be used to reimburse teachers for the materials used during the fun activities.
The week following testing will be a three day week followed by another three day week. We will use one spelling list for the two, short weeks, so our next spelling test won't be until October 11th. I hope you have some fun or relaxing plans for the break.
Alice in Wonderland Jr.
My 8th grader is in a play at the Grand Theatre in Cartersville, GA Halloween weekend (Nov 1 & Nov 2). I'll be at the Friday and Saturday night performances. Perhaps your family would enjoy a night a the theater!
Today you will receive a short progress report. Because the first few weeks of school we focus more on teaching procedures and reminding students proper work habits, we haven’t had a plethora of opportunities to assess so that we have evidence that your child has met (or mastered) many standards. In some cases, your child may meet the standards when we assess in a couple of weeks, but with the time constraints, that hasn’t been determined yet. We will have a more accurate picture of your child’s progress when we meet for conferences in four weeks.
Special Weekend Homework
Today we read a book in class called Everybody Needs a Rock. The book gives 10 rules to finding a rock to be a kid’s special friend. The book encourages them to connect with nature as they choose their rock. It says to be quiet, contemplative, and relaxed. They should choose a rock that is just right (not too big, not too small). The best rocks, the book says, fit in your hand and pocket. They should choose a rock that they believe is best form them (which may not be best in someone else’s opinion). With the nice weather this weekend, I hope it will be okay for the students to go rock hunting. I told them explicitly that choosing a rock alone does not mean “unsupervised.” I explained that parents, siblings, friends can be with them as they rock hunt, but they are to give themselves a little space to think about their choice. Please send the rock in on Monday. It shouldn’t be decorated. Some classes are going to decorate their rocks with googly eyes, but I want my students to experience the natural side of rock collecting first. My plan is for them to keep their rock for at least a week or two. We will use their “rock friendship” for writing over the next few weeks.
Please check the Peek of the Week on my website for upcoming dates in our class and for the school.
We start testing on Wednesday of next week. The CoGat will be Wednesday-Friday. We will still have spelling words, homework and a test. The week of 9/23 we do our Iowa testing. It will be for a longer portion of the morning and for the entire week. We won’t have any homework that week (except reading and working on the book project due 9/30).
Parent Volunteers for Fluency Practice
I had enough parents respond to start doing the fluency practice on Monday mornings. I will start it the week of 9/30 (after testing). I will let you know when I have the sign up genius ready to go. Thank you so much for your commitment to excellence for your children!!!
Please make sure to sign the reading log (even if you sign them all on Thursday night). The students only receive credit for complete reading logs (absences are okay).
Please mark in your child's binder or shoot me an email if they do any extra homework (math games on thinkcentral or from my website) during the week. I pay they an extra $5 per week for going over and beyond my requirements.
Remember that each Friday in September there is a bake sale benefiting Childhood Hunger. Students can purchase treats before school and during lunch for $1. Third grade will be responsible for baked good donations next Friday 9/20. Please make sure they are nut free.
Reading Log—I’ve asked the students to please capitalize the Titles of the books they read as they record them on the reading log. I’ve also reminded them to write at least two sentences about what they read.
Book Project—Each month, all the third graders will do a Book Project (similar to an old-fashioned book report) on a book they read in their free time. I assigned September’s book project on Monday. It will be due on Monday, September 30th. For this month, the students need to read a fiction chapter book of their choosing (but not one they have already read before). We went to the media center yesterday, so some of the students already have a book they can use. The book can be from our library, the county library or from home. While they are reading the book, the students can use it to fill out their reading log. Please check your child’s binder to see the rubric I will be using to grade their presentation and the choices for the project. The only catch is that we will be doing a project on a book each month and they can only do the same project for one book. (For example, if your child chooses to do a comic strip for this month’s book, he or she should not do another comic in the future.)
Spelling—Remember to have your children review this week’s list as well as previous lists.
Math Practice and Games—When you go to our online textbook link and log into ThinkCentral, your child has extra practice assignments for Estimating Sums and Estimating Differences. There is also a cool Carmen San Diego game they can play online. Remember that students can earn a bonus of $5 per week for doing extra website practice at home!!!
Service Activity—2nd grade is sponsoring our monthly KCSMA service project. They are asking for donations of baked goods from specific grade levels for each Friday in September. Those baked goods (no nuts allowed) will be sold on Friday mornings and Fridays at lunch. I’m waiting to hear back on pricing and the Friday that third grade is supposed to donate baked goods. The proceeds will go to an organization striving to end childhood hunger.
The Scholastic Books arrived today. Thank you so much for your support! We got 10 free books for our classroom library!!!
The PTO announced today that the first class to have 100% of the class purchase tickets to the Fall Festival on Sept 28 will get their ticket prices refunded. Do you think we could do it?
Please check your child's binder on Monday. A letter is coming home about the upcoming standardized testing.
I enjoyed seeing so many of you at the Parent Info Night last night!
For those of you who weren't able to attend, I shared information about Spelling City. In addition to the weekly spelling menu, your child can choose to play games on the website to practice the current (and previous) spelling list. To access the third grade list, go to www.spellingcity.com and search our school, my name or my username (mgilbertkcsma). If your child plays a game on spelling city, just have them write a note in their spelling notebook (such as 9/4: Did two word searches on Spelling City). I also put a link to Spelling City on the Spelling List Page of my Website.
Also, please check my Wish List and Needed Items Page. I've updated the list to include some additional games. So far, we've been lucky with the weather, but I'd like to have more for indoor recess as the weather cools and/or gets rainy this fall.
Please go to this website and vote for our school so that Target will donate money to help us out! https://givewith.target.com/
Finally, I showed the class the Shoparoo app on my phone. They are excited and willing to take photos of your grocery, Walmart, Target and/or CVS/Walgreens receipts to raise money for the school. (They can do it while you're driving home from the store.)