Skyscrapers Galore!

I found some really cool videos about skyscrapers today that I thought I would share with you. The first video shows a skyscraper being built in two days. It’s amazing. The next video shows the history of buildings and skyscrapers from ancient times to now. Finally, the last videos show the construction of a skyscraper in Spain. Some neat stuff! See if you can see any of the ideas we have talked about in our unit. Think about how these buildings have been made to be safe and stable.

Venice, the City of Pillars!

Today was an amazing day for the Hancock Building Inc. company. After doing the experiment about cylindrical pillars, we saw how they are used in the real world.

Venice is a city entirely built on cylindrical pillars which were driven into the mud. Some are from the year 7 A.D when the city was initially created on a series of low shallow islands in a lagoon of the coast of Italy. These pillars were gradually built on and added to to create the city that is now Venice! Isn’t that amazing! An entire city built on pillars of wood! Today the city is slowly sinking as the pillars sink into the mud and the tides carry silt and the sea floor away. But the pillars themselves are still strong and have survived because of the strength of the shape of the pillars. In the pictures below you can see some examples of the wood pillars with the brink built on top of it.


It is an amazing and beautiful city. Here is another image of the city showing the whole thing from ground up.


Here are a couple of videos that we watched showing Venice and how it works.



Venice Backstage. How does Venice work? from Insula spa on Vimeo.

It really fit nicely into our look at the strength of cylindrical pillars and how they are used in real life!

The Continuing Adventures of the Hancock Building Inc. Company

In our endless question for building perfection, the class continued our study of our Big Question:

How do we construct a building that is safe and sturdy?

We were studying what shape of pillar would hold the most mass. Our choices were the cylindrical pillar, the triangular pillar and the rectangular pillar. Having done our hypothesis and made sure that the experiment was a fair test, we stacked dictionaries on top of the pillars until they collapsed. You can see the results below!

AS you heard in the video, the cylindrical pillar will hold the most weight because it has no corners. The weight of the books is distributed evenly throughout the pillar allowing it to hold more weight than the other shapes.

Great fun. Tomorrow we will investigate how this relates to real life and see how one of the great cities in the world, Venice, uses cylindrical pillars to hold up an entire city!

Mea Culpa

It’s been a busy week and thus the blog posts have been few and far between. My apologies and I will try to be more regular with my posts.

First of all, there is no spelling list or memory verse for this week due to the shortened week. We will continue with the spelling and memory verse next week as per usual. After this next spelling list, we will be going back to review past spelling words and start doing more work with them in sentence form.

speech1You may have noticed that your child brought home a poem in their planner (or pocket as the case may be). It is that time of year again and we are preparing for the Speech Meet which is held annually in Abbotsford. This is a big event for us and we always do very well. However, this year is a little different for us as we have a winter break between now and the day of the Speech Meet, which will be held on March 5. As we want to get our entries in before we leave, we will be choosing the students who will be going on February 10th. Participation is optional and if your child did not bring home a poem or memory verse that may mean they did not want to do it. Please ask your child if they selected a verse or poem to practice. Poems or memory verses must be memorized. We are also working on adding expression and proper standing postures to the recitations with students standing nice and straight with no hands in their pockets and their eyes on the audience. Adding expression is always hard for students but we are looking for students who can recite with confidence using a proper volume and with excitement in their voices. On February 10th, we will hear all the students from our class who chose to do a recitation and I will pick students from there. We are allowed to send 1 poem reader and 1 memory verse reader from the Grade 2 and 1 poem reader and 1 memory verse reader from the Grade 3’s in my class. If you have any questions or you need another copy of the poem please let me know!

Science has been a frantic, “let’s finish it up” time with students trying to get all their projects and papers done and in order before the deadline. Looking at the budgets from each class, all students were able to complete their projects on time and within budget. Luckily the storekeeper was very kind and gave some great deals towards the end of the projects. Projects will be going home tomorrow, but you can see them right now by watching the video below!

Our next science unit will be on States of Matter where students will be taking a close look at the properties of air, water, and gas.

In Language Arts, we have been continuing with our Daily 3 reading program. It has really been great to be able to work with small groups of students at the same time. As I work with the students in these small groups listening to them reading and working on certain aspects of their reading and comprehension skills, the other students are focused on sharing reading with a partner, reading on their own or reading along with a Cd. It has been a great program. For our writing, we have moved into organization of stories with a focus at this point on story beginnings. We have talked about how a story beginning needs to draw in readers and make them want to keep reading. One of the students today said that it is like writing the first part of a story and putting a “to be continued” at the end of it. It makes the reader interested in how the story is going to resolve itself. We took some common events from throughout the year, and drew a picture of ourselves doing that ordinary, everyday activity. However, the students added something interesting into the pictures to make it more exciting. Now, they are working on taking the picture and crafting it into a story beginning. At the same time, we have also talked about how we need to make our first sentence interesting as well, which is always a hard thing for students to do. We talked about how they can use beginnings like “One day . . . “, “It was a warm and bright . . . “, use conversations to start a story or use a book to find a beginning that you can adapt and use in your own story. We have already been getting some very interesting story beginnings. From there, we will work on the middles of stories and endings. I also told the students that I had a crazy idea for putting all those story beginning, middles and endings together into one story but I would tell them later. I will give you a clue though:

20081230-The Great Paper Caper

Speaking of Oliver Jeffers, if you haven’t read any of his children’s books, I highly recommend them. They are lots of fun and the illustrations are beautiful! They have also made one of his books into an animated video, which you can see a preview of right here:

I have placed some new links on the side. You should see a link to the Reading A-Z site where students can read books online and have them read to them as well! I have also put a link to a neat site where students can make regular maps and treasure maps to play with and print out. The last link is to a neat free program where students can make cool mindmaps of anything they want. It is free but annoying pop ups to buy to program come up every once and awhile.

Are You Ready For December? The Mrhclassblog Is!!!

3563912840_23a0fdeccdAhh! Flakes falling gently. Snow crunching underfoot! Snowmen being made by little Grade 3 children. Snowballs flying through the air! I love the winter season!

Wait a minute . . .

Oh. Right. I forgot.

I live in B.C now. Rain, rain, more rain and . . . . wait for it . . . that’s right! More rain! I miss the snow. Lucky for you and me. I brought some now from Alberta to the blog. I hope you enjoy it. We had a good start to the week. In science, students are quickly finishing up the first part of the science unit on building. Last week, we learned that stable objects are objects that do not tip over easily and stand up on their own. We did an experiment with a variety of  containers and had a little tournament to see which one would stand the longest as the table they were standing on was tilted slowly up. From that experiment, we learned that the taller and object is, the wider the base had to be and the more weight there had to be on the bottom.

Here is a video of some kids trying to build a tall structure. Do you notice anything about their structure that matches what we learned last week and today?

Do you notice anything about these buildings? (I didn’t write it so the spelling mistakes are not mine!!)

Using that knowledge, students have now been assigned the task of designing a sippy cup for Siena that will be stable and not tip over easily. The results should be very interesting!

Our Daily 3 is now on the way to running smoothly. The Listening Centre area had a few more kinks in it than I expected. But it is working better now. Thank you to all the parents who donated machines to the class. They are working beautifully. My goal and objective now is to start working in small groups with students focusing on books and reading strategies specifically geared to their age and reading level. We will be doing novel studies and comprehension activities as a small group of no more than 4 students. It should be very good. I will also be working with individual students to hear how their reading is doing and  provide individual attention on an on-going basis.

Here is our spelling for this week:
Spelling N 3

SpellingN3As always, here is the spelling city link. Remember that if you bring me your completed test, you can receive an extra mark on your spelling test on Friday!!! The more you practice your words using games and other activities, the stronger your neurons and axons get!!!

Our Memory Verse continues on the Christmas-y theme here at Mrhclassblog! It is from Luke 2:10:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Finally, I thought this would be good to add to our collection of videos. This is from a cd of Science music we were listening to last week. It is by a group called “They Might Be Giants”. Anyone from my generation might remember them. Anyway, they have been getting into children’s music lately and this CD has a great collection of songs. The added DVD has the songs as videos and I found some of them on youtube. Enjoy!

The Start of A New Company

Announcing a new company:

“I have a little story for you,” I told the class at the beginning of today’s science class.

We are starting a new unit in Science today. It is all about Testing Materials and Designs with Buildings. However, we had to start with a little cautionary tale about the three little pigs who did not make very good building decisions. The Wolf, unfortunately named Frederick the III though he tried very hard to get all his friends to call him Frank), showed the pigs their mistake but was not in the end, able to catch the pigs because of a series of unfortunate mishaps leaving him wet, cold, embarrassed and humiliated. Hans, Frans and Herman were very fortunate. I had hoped to record the story. However, the recording did not work and, so I am not able to bring the story of the three little pigs.

However, I am very pleased to announce the creation of a new company. The students and I have merged to form “The Kids Who Rock At Building Company”. We are going to be working on projects throughout the term determining what makes a building safe, stable, strong and tall. At the end of the unit the students will be working to design and build their own creation using what we have learned.

Back from Science World

It was a great day today. Everything went as planned and the students all had a wonderful time. We had a great set of parent helpers, as well. It could not have gone as smoothly without their help!

We got to Science World at 10:30, got through the registration and had lots of time to wander around discovering. There were a lot of neat exhibits there and many of them were very interactive. The students all had a great time trying out the virtual skier! They also got to see a presentation on fire which was really cool. Students learned that the three things a fire needs to burn are fuel, air and heat. They also learned that different things burn with different colours depending on the type of material. The groups then went up and did a workshop on structures. During that session, students reviewed different types of structures, that the triangle is the strongest shape in the world and that not only are buildings structures but trees and people are structures as well.  Anything that can stand without falling, is made up of little things and can support something else is a structure. Students then got to build a some structure with big triangles. Students had a challenge organize the building and a lot of fun playing in their structure when they were done!

Students then had lots of time to wander around and look at the various exhibits. If you have not had a chance to go, I would highly recommend taking your child and letting them have a little longer to really get into the exhibits and the science that goes with them.

Tomorrow is a half day at school. At 11:15 we are having an Easter assembly which you are invited to come to if you would like. After the assembly students will be given their report cards and dismissed.

Have a great Easter and Spring Break and we will see all of you when school starts again at the end of March!

Science Projects

Though our building project has been done for awhile, I thought I would share with you, the parent, the projects your children worked so hard on. I took some pictures and created a nice animoto of their buildings.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="530" height="430" wmode="transparent" /]

We also had a very special visitor yesterday.


It was very exciting and the children enjoyed visiting with Geronimo and getting his autograph. I even got one of my books autographed for our class library.

Yesterday was our busy day moving around. The students sound like they are doing lots of interesting things in the music room. Mrs. Caswell has made Monday “Pioneer Day”! She is asking that the students bring some pioneery things to wear on top of their uniforms. They are going to be singing hymns, having a spelling bee and other neat events.

Students are also going to Vancouver for a special Vancouver Symphony event. Students have received permission forms. However, if you have lost yours, you can get one by clicking on the widget on the side. Just click the top document which says GR3 Concert permission. It will give you some options after clicking.

The Smartboard has been great. We have used it for a few things already. It will take awhile before we truly become comfortable with it and are able to use it to its full potential.

We have also been doing a lot of work on friendships and bullying. Our class meetings have been focused on that recently and we had a special class meeting last week dealing with friendships. This is an important topic and one that should not be taken lightly. Please continue discussing with your child what it means to be a friend, how Jesus wants us to be friends, and things your child can do if they are having a problem with friends.

The class of 3B hopes you have a wonderful weekend!