Paper Airplanes and Onomatopoeia

Drag, thrust, lift, and gravity are all part of our experiments when creating and flying paper airplanes. We will make two different designs, the same folds on paper that is held either horizontally or vertically. Today we formed teams (what is YOUR team’s name?) and tomorrow we will create the planes we will fly on Friday, our official Science-O-Rama day. We’ll fly and measure the distance in meters tomorrow. Our mission is to get our planes to fly the farthest distance. Is it the crisp folds of the plane, the center of gravity of the plane and where it is held when launched, or something else to be determined that makes the planes go the farthest? Stay tuned…

One of the easiest things to understand but hardest to spell is……..onomatopoeia! Yes, the word that means what is sounds like, such as “buzz” or “sizzle.” Can you add any words here?


Did you just run in the hallway?

Yes sir, we did! This was our school’s first post-test taking run through the hallways by the third grade and they LOVED it (me included)! All of the third graders ran, beginning on the second floor and then down the stairs (c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y) to the first floor and back up and then down again, ending in the cafeteria. Everyone was excited at this surprise run, and all did well. Hooray for running in the hallways!

What do you know about “honor”? Who do you honor? We’ll explore what “honor” is this week, especially in light of the Memorial Day holiday and our school program scheduled for Wednesday. I look forward to hearing the chorus perform and our special guests. Will you be singing with the chorus?

It was a very rainy week, so we were happy to see the sun shine Friday afternoon. We did get outside a few times, but otherwise our indoor recess was filled with Stratego, Twister, Apples to Apples, and other activities. Hopefully this next week is a bit sunnier so we can plant our seedlings.

Do you hear voices?

Hello friends! We have talked about voice when we listen to and read books. We’ve explored authors’ words, or their “voice” in stories. In today’s writing lesson, we again looked at “voice” – what it is and how we use it in our writing. “Voice” in your writing should sound like YOU speaking. Think about what you want to say before you begin writing, make a list, web, or some notes, and then get your pencil moving. Be you as you write!
As we shared our writing, somebody brought up their bus driver. This led into a new conversation and then a new writing piece about what we would like our bus ride to be like. Well, we had ideas ranging from snacks, friends, and video games to an exit slide (my idea!). Throughout each of these lists or paragraphs, each person’s “voice” was heard. Bravo!

MathMCAS = no sweat

May 16, 2011
It’s MCAS week…again! You are all well prepared and know how to tackle these math questions, especially those open responses. Let’s repeat, “Two ways – words, pictures, numbers…words, pictures, numbers.”

We will continue with our ocean research and reading. I want you to read to answer your question, but also to determine the text structure of what you are reading. This will help you understand more deeply what you are reading. After our research and reading, we will gather our information to create an ABC book.

Also this week we will explore the talented books of author-illustrator David Wiesner. His fantastical books are very intriguing and I’m sure you will enjoy his humor and suspense.


January has brought us the wonderful, engaging stories of folklore. Students are finding commonalities in these retold stories such as the use of the numbers 3, 7, and 12, animal characters, repetition of actions, and lessons learned. We’ve looked at American folklore and stories from Russia, Canada, Africa, and India. Having a trickster character who gets tricked by an unsuspecting or trustworthy character (or so we thought!) has been an interesting element of this genre. Students now expect this and are a little more in tune with understanding these tales. We will continue reading various folk tales, including porquoi tales.

Comparing objects or ideas and finding their relationship provided some deep thinking this week. Students looked closely at analogies to identify their relationship. This sparked much conversation! We’ll continue exploring analogies and create some of our own.

Students have various knowledge of multiplication. Some know their basic facts pretty well while others draw groups or need to write multiples. A circles and stars activity challenged everyone with their facts! Using dice (6-sided or a 12-sided dodecahedron) students rolled a die to determine the amount of circles and then rolled the second die to find the number of stars to draw within the circles. Then they created number models. After 7 rounds, they totaled their stars to see who had the largest number. Another activity was to be “candy box designers” who had to create different size boxes to fit 12 and 24 chocolates. Using arrays, students created “boxes” to fit delicious imaginary chocolates. Not only did this help us with our math facts, it made us hungry for chocolate!

Using U.S. geographical places or symbols as names, our new groups now carry the monikers of Jamestown, the Liberty Bell, the Mammoth Caves, and Narragansett Bay.

Creating a class book

Not only does the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts provide water to 2,000,000 residents, it also provided my students with much motivation!  Beginning with Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen, this shared reading immersed students with learning about the drowning of 4 towns and the changes not only to the landscape but the lives of those affected. Using this knowledge, students then recorded questions they still had and used these as their research base.  The Friends of Quabbin website provided a lot of valuable information, as did a few nonfiction books. With their question answered, students wrote a draft that will become a page for our class book. And since they have learned about text structure and text features, these will need to be considered, too.  I’m sure the children will enjoy this additional task.  This week we will revise, edit, and peer conference, and then publish our page.

Our audience will be the superintendent (we hope, as he will be our community reader later this month) and the third grade classes to come. Onward we go towards publishing another class book.


Case Closed!

Detective reports were submitted Friday, with most “Special Agents” completing their cases. One group continues with their role as Special Agent until the book is finished.  We discussed how an author uses a “red herring” to distract the reader – but most were not fooled!  Way to go Special Agents!

We began our “Train Tour” of Massachusetts, well the assembly of our booklets. We will be learning about the different areas of Massachusetts and what we would see if we were to visit that region and/or city. We begin in Cape Cod and travel through the state, ending in the western part and one of Massachusetts’ most beautiful regions, the Berkshires.

We counted change and did some mock shopping this week. Phew, I think many learned to be conscientious shoppers and clerks!  Using money is something we’ll revisit throughout the year; it’s an important concept and one that needs revisiting. This week we move into time. Hmm…money and time…two critical concepts that will be used throughout one’s life.

Mystery Week

Special agents have their assignments and case numbers.  With the first few chapters underway and case files in hand, we are ready to follow the clues and hopefully not be tricked by a red herring!  We are reading a variety of mystery genres (Cam Jansen is so popular we had to choose alternate books!) from Jigsaw Jones to the Boxcar Children. Using our “Top Secret” case files, our notes will be kept and detectives will work together to find out “whodunit!”

Money – do you receive an allowance?  Should you receive an allowance?  What is the value of the chores you do at home?  Can you learn about money by getting an allowance?  We will explore money, its value, and counting change this week. So many of you do not use money for a variety of reasons – lunch is brought from home, paid in advance with a check, and your parents use debit or credit cards when making purchases. All of these things give you less use of money. It is important to understand the value of money and to be able to count it. I’ll look for a suitable song to get you motivated to learn about the almighty dollar!

Flat Stanley Debuts!

The “Flat Stanleys” are in the works!  While there are some Stanleys, it seems most of you have decided upon your own name or someone you know.  “Stanley” will get the privilege of being  your shadow next week – whether it is soccer practice, doing chores, or helping with homework. The entries are always interesting to read and I think you will like having a new “friend.”

Writer’s Notebooks are in and Writing Folders assembled!  That means we are ready to begin our Writing Journey!  🙂  Our first official writing piece will be a personal narrative. We will begin this tomorrow and continue through next week. We will look at good writing and some “okay” writing – both will help you as you become a better writer.

Our poem we read was “If I Were In Charge of the World” by Judith Viorst. We will continue to explore this author and her books and poetry. We will also use this poem as inspiration to write our own “If I Were In Charge of” poems. It’s great to imagine, isn’t it?

Meet the teacher

Despite the heat, it was wonderful to meet my new students and their families at Open Door Day this afternoon!  There were some happy faces, some anxious, and a few nervous ones. One boy even cheered that school was starting!  Yay – that’s enthusiasm!

I am really looking forward to our first few days of getting to know one another. We will begin with a Scavenger Hunt and some good poetry tomorrow.  There are many routines and procedures to learn as well, but I feel this group is ready!  After our brief two days this week, there will be no school Friday. We will be on alert for Hurricane Earl and its wind and rain.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries


Trying to live more thoughtfully and write more freely

Teaching from an Empty Nest

Thoughts on teaching, teacher self-care and empty nesting.

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

Angelina's Garden

The journey of mothering, teaching, and living through an Orthodox Christian lens

A Time To Write

Thoughts that may take you on a journey...


you can only lead as far as you grow