Sunday, October 30, 2011

When You Wish Upon A Star

My third graders have been learning all about the Sun, Moon, and Earth this 9 weeks. I absolutely LOVE this science unit and always look forward to teaching it each year. This year I added some new activities that my students loved! We began
our unit with a trip to the Catawba Science Center with a viewing of a sweet planetarium show all about the sun, moon, and Earth. ( what a perfect tie in, right!) Then while still in the planetarium, they were each given a moon ball (Styrofoam ball on a wooden dowel). The lights were turned down low and a lamp was turned on in the middle of the room symbolizing the sun. My students were able to turn their bodies and see each phase of the moon. I was awesome to
see their wheels begin to turn as they were able to identify the different phases.
Nothing is better than connecting food into our learning. I love creating edible lessons. To continue our unit on the phases of the moon, we created each of the phases using Oreos. My kids loved making these and loved eating them even more! We also created flip charts of each phase. They might be in 3rd grade, but they still enjoy coloring, gluing and cutting to make crafts.
Yet another edible science activity was making constellation models using mini-marshmallows. They loved creating these and were very precise about putting them together. We wrapped up this unit by making constellation tubes using Pringles cans. Overall, it was a great unit and more importantly my students learned way more then if we had just read from a text book!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where do we live???? I know...Gastonia!!!!!

The past month my students have been exploring our continent, our country, our state, our county and our city. Usually when my third graders study this, they can't ever remember the difference in a country and a city. When I ask them what state we live in they say "Gastonia!" and I sigh in disbelief that they haven't learned the difference between city and state all year. This year I decided to take a different approach to see if it would make a difference.
We spent a week really studying our country and breaking down North America and made sure that my students really understood our country. We then spent the next weeks learning about our state, county and finally our city. I wanted to end the unit with a project for students to complete at home. I came up with a neighborhood map project. I asked each student to create a map of their neighborhood to share with the class. I was so suprised with what was brought in! Some of my students created 3-D maps that took up an entire poster board, while others made smaller, drawn, flat maps that were just as impressive.
This group has continued to impress me and I can't wait to see what they will bring in for our next project!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

1 Month Down, 9 More to Go!

I can't believe that we have already been in school for 1 month! Where has the time gone? My class this year just might be one of the best I have had in my 8 year teaching career. They seem to be bright and eager to learn as well as mostly well behaved. This year I have decided to tackle the subject of Social Studies and attempt to make it more interesting to my students. Each year we get out the textbook, read, answers questions and at the end of the unit take a test. BORING!!!! As a student I loved learning about Social Studies and now as an adult, I love to go see historical sites and learn about history. I want to make it come alive for my students and see their faces light up with excitement about what they are learning.

The first unit we started with was geography talking about continents, our country, our state, our county, and our town. We studied all about the seven continents using interactive lessons and projects instead of cracking open our book. Our third grade team planned a 7 continent tour that took one whole afternoon in our multipurpose room. The students had a passport and loaded a "plane" to visit the continents. Our principal was our flight attendant and we videoed her telling the students where we would travel next, what the temp would be there, and what time it was there. We showed a quick in-flight video of each continent as we "flew" there. Upon arrival, each student created a craft that was associated with each continent.

My students loved the unit and it was much more successful at having them remember that we live in the state of North Carolina, rather than the saying our state is USA!

Using Heiroglyphics to write our names

Our next unit is mapping! Look for more to come on this :)


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