Cool Graphics and a Fun Video For You

So… In my recent travels around the internet these last few days I came across a couple of fun things to share with you to get you back into the whole school thing gently.

First of all, I found these cool graphics from a site called, “Information is Beautiful”. The site basically takes information and statistics and puts them into neat graphics to make them more interesting and useful for readers. The ones today showed some interesting ways to see our world in a different context. Many times globes, maps and other mapping devices don’t give us a very accurate view of our world. We look at the map and think that our country is the same size as a place like, say, Greenland or that we are not much smaller than Africa. However, you can see with the pictures below that that is not quite the case. Take a look!

true_size_of_africa

usav_europe

morsels_antarctica

Here is a fun Star Wars video I found made entirely out of paper! Cool! It actually goes very well with the Christmas Art students are working on right now!

No Skating Tomorrow but Social is Fun Too!

Well, unfortunately, I guess skating is canceled for tomorrow. Our main form of transportation has broken down and we have no other form of transportation. We are trying to reschedule and will let you know if and when that will happen. Therefore, students will need to wear their uniforms tomorrow.

We have started learning about the continents and oceans in Social Studies.  I (Mrs. Goosen) showed the students a youtube clip this afternoon and they asked me to post it…so here it is!  Enjoy!

Finding a Solution By Dissolving

It has been a fast couple of weeks in Mr. H’s class. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t wonder incredulously where the time has gone. We have been having so much fun and there are so many events crowding the days in May that we may have to do May all over just so we can get everything in! Show of hands . . .?

Anyway, the students have been working very hard on all sorts of projects. In Social, students have been discussing and learning about jobs in the community. You can see a list of the jobs we brainstormed below:

Students are now working on reports on a type of job they are interested in. We used a couple of great kid friendly sites to learn more about specific careers and students are using the information to help them create their reports. We will also be doing Animotos of the jobs they have chosen to present to the class!

Science has been fascinating with lots of experiments happening as we continue with our unit on Properties of Matter. Students have been creating different kinds of solutions and testing to see what kinds of solids will dissolve in water. We have a couple of very interesting experiments happening. One of the experiments looks like it might take longer than I expected as the water does not seem to be evaporating as quickly as I would have like. As a demonstration, to created a solution of water and salt in a bowl, placed a sour cream container on top and wrapped the whole thing with saran-a-wrap. We had been talking about how important it was to take care of our water as part of Earth Day and how places like Saudi Arabia were having trouble with their water supply. It was a great topic because we had just had some visitors to our blog from Saudi Arabia that very morning. I told the students that Saudi Arabia was starting to look at changing salt water from the ocean to regular water for drinking and irrigation. That afternoon, when I did the demonstration, students were able to hypothesize that the salt water would evaporate into the container leaving the salt behind in the bowl. We then connected this to what Saudi Arabia might have to do to get more water! It was a great conversation! We are also creating crystals from sugar water. So two experiments on the go!

register-nowWe will also be starting another long term project next week. Once again, our class has been sent seeds from the tomatosphere project which is run with the Canadian Space Agency. Classes are sent to packages of seeds; one package which are regular seeds and another package containing seeds that have been in space! We will be testing the seeds to see if being in space will make a difference to how the seeds grow. Problem is . . . we don’t know which are which! When the project is done and our results have been submitted, we will find out which seeds were the space seeds! Here is a video about the project:

Needed: In your child’s planners, students wrote down some very strange things. I asked the students to look around at home, with the help of their parents, to see if any of these items could be found at home and brought in to school to use for a Science experiment. I don’t expect families to purchase these things. I just want to check to see if there was any that could be lying around just waitin’ and askin’ to be used for the good of Science! If you have these items but expect to use them again, please don’t send them in as they may not come back in the best of shape! I am also wondering if anyone knows of a place in town that does helium balloons. Hmmmm!

For the next couple of weeks, we will not be having spelling tests as I would like to give students time to practice for the Spelling Bee. On May 17th, selected students will be participating in our school’s Spelling Bee. On the prior Friday, we will have our own Spelling Bee in the class to select students to go to the Spelling Bee. We will be selecting 4 students per grade to go. You should have seen a list of words and and letter in your child’s planner to explain the procedures. The words for the spelling bee will be selected from the words on the pages sent home.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff! I should do this more often!!! 🙂

Finally, yesterday was a very special day especially for Jacob. It was May the 4th; the unofficial Star Wars holiday! (Get it? May the fourth?) Anyway, I found a funny video to help us celebrate even though we are a little late!

For Mr. Morris

In social, the students have been doing quite a bit of work on mapping and using cardinal directions to find their way around a variety of areas. We are getting ready for a big project potentially involving a couple of high school classes but I am not telling the students about the project until we get to it. All I will say is that it involves treasure!

As I was looking around for resources, I came across this video. Now, I am a huge fan of the West Wing and have probably watched the series 7 times or more. It was and still is my favorite tv series and I was very sad to see it go. I also happen to know that Mr. Morris, the father of one of our students, also is “hooked” on the series. So, I thought that this would be the perfect video. Not only is it from the “West Wing” but it also is about maps and, specifically, our preconceived notion of what our world looks like as shown by the atlases we use.

First Week Back

Well, even though it was a short week, many things have been happening here in grade 3. Along with the news about being a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards, I have been looking out for new ideas and sites to add to our array of technology use in the class. Though I love technology, the massive number of applications and internet sites now available can be overwhelming at times. It can be very hard to choose the best sites to use that will have a longer lastin g educational impact on students. One of the hard things is also the fact that the students have not been able to get into the computer lab. That, however, will change this term with some time being given to the class to get into the computer lab.

We are also looking to incorporate some technology in terms of our social unit and our spelling. Later on, at the end of our mapping unit students will be learning all about longitude and latitude using a gps device to create “geocaches”. I think this will be a lot of fun for the students as well as something new for them. I have also found a great site to help inspire some interest in working on spelling words through the week. I won’t give it away now but I think the students will find it a lot of fun.

Today I introduced the students to a new site in Art. The site is called bomomo.com, It’s an art site where students can guide brushes of differing sizes and styles to create abstract art. Students can then save their art work to show others later. The site is alot of fun though the saving part might be a little difficult to do. Parents, you may have to help them to save the files if the students are wanting to print them out.

The voting blitz is still on for the 2008 Weblogs Awards. You can vote every 24 hours by going to:

http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-education-blog/

and voting. One of the students said that he didn’t see anything when he clicked on the link. In that case, you may have to click on the link below to update your “flash”. On the next site, click on the yellow button with the words “Agree and Install” on it to download and install the new flash program. After that, you shouldn’t have any problems.

http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/?promoid=DXLUJ

As tomorrow is Friday, we will be having our class meeting. If you are not aware, our class meetings happen every Friday that there is school. I use class meetings to talk about the good things that classmates do to encourage character development and positive citizenship. We also discuss, anonymously, any issues that the students may be having in the class. The goal is to give students skills and ideas on how to solve problems involving relationships and building lasting, caring friendships. My goal is to help students to move away from always having to have an adult solve their problems and rather, give students strategies and skills to know how to navigate the difficult area of dealing with problems on their own. As I tell the students, I am not always going to be with them and they need some ways to solve problems on their own. We will have lots to talk about as we deal with some normal issues from this week and focus on ways to remind each other that vacation is over and we need to get back to the business of learning.

Speaking of the business of learning, students have a test next week on the 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 10 times tables. Practicing those times tables with flash cards would be very helpful in preparing students for the test on Tuesday. You can also use the ideas and worksheets on Math Fact Cafe and Multiplication.com to help them prepare.

A Busy Week

It’s been a busy week here in Grade 3. Plans are underway for our concert on the last day of school. Students received their report cards today and Parent/Teacher interviews are on Monday. These are just a few of the things that we have been doing or are gearing up to as we count down the days to Christmas and Christmas vacation.

In terms of school work, for Language Arts, we have been working hard on our paragraphs. We have started using the word “because” as a way to connect and elaborate on ideas. Each paragraph must have at least 3 “because” words in it.

For Social Studies, we have finished our look at communities and have been working on mapping for awhile. Today, we introduced the idea of a bird’s eye view. I even allowed the students to stand on their desks to illustrate the idea. I told the students that this would be their one and only chance to stand on their desks. The students were enthused and had fun. We then took a tour around Google Earth to look at the various levels of Bird’s Eye views we could explore within the program noting the amount of detail we saw as we moved further and further out towards space. We then talked about map legends.

In science, we are starting our major project in the building unit. Students have been given a choice of three projects: A bridge, two car garage or a tower. Students have also been given a budget which they must stay under as they purchase their materials. It should be a great project and I am working on putting our budget sheets onto the blog so you and the students can keep track of their expenses as well as progress on each of the projects from home. I will update you on how that will work as we get into the project. I have told the students that I will not just let them build any old thing. An engineer must have a plan and keep track of their expenses (though we won’t use the Olympic buildings as an example, eh?). It should be a lot of fun and the students have been looking forward to this for a long time.

Well, it’s been a long night and I am just about to go to bed but I just thought I would make a mention of our toy drive again. Please keep bringing in those toys! Also, cans!!! More Cans!! Yeah!! Also, I have had some wonderful moms volunteer for the craft days next week (Tues, Weds Thurs). If any other moms are interested and want to spend some fun times with the students making crafts, please let me know. The more the merrier!!!

Speaking of the concert, I though I would give you a sneak preview of one of our concert pieces. The students here are doing an amazing job and I think you will love seeing this piece performed at the concert!

Antipodr, Spelling Words and a Memory Verse, Oh My!

Monday was a great day. We started our spelling for the week and also worked on the 10 times tables. The students are pretty comfortable with the 10 times tables and we have worked through it fairly quickly. We worked on connecting the ten times tables to real life using dimes and relating that to how many pennies would make up each amount of dimes. The nice thing about the Math U See program is how it connects these ideas to the world around them.

In Science yesterday, we finished up discussing an experiment from last week looking at different types of beams and which would support the most weight over a fictional river. We had some great discussions and are now ready for the next experiment.

Here are the spelling words for this week:

Students were asked to bring a old shirt for Thursday for an activity that we will be doing after the first recess. It will not involve painting but I did not want them to get their uniforms dirty (or any more dirty than they get at recess!!!).

The memory verse for this week is from Matthew 5:16. Students will be reciting this verse on Monday.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Thanks to all the parents who willingly attempted to answer that mind boggling answer to where we would end up if we dug straight through the core of the earth to the other side. Here are the answers to both questions including where we would have to be in order to end up in China.

Student Homework and the Friday List

Hello!

Your children probably came home with some strange homework. Their homework was to get you, the parents, to figure out something. You have probably heard the phrase, “dig a hole to China”. However, I asked the students on Thursday whether that would actually happen. If you dug hole straight down through the core of the Earth from where you are in Chilliwack, would you end up in China?

Using a map of the world, the children all guessed where they thought they would end up. There were some close answers. Next, we used the site Antipodr.com, typed in our address and found out that, actually, we would not end up in China but would indeed probably need to take our snorkel gear and rubber ducky with us if we were going to actually dig this hole as we would indubitably find ourselves in a very watery situation.

But where is that place, you ask? Ahh, that is the question and your homework!!! Take a guess and check the site out. Please let us know where you thought you would end up by getting your child to bring your guess in on Monday. Also, if you can let us know how you tried to determine where you would end up!!

But that’s not all!!! There is a second part to this!!! Where would you have to be in order to actually dig a hole to China?

Some of the answers I was given by the children were interesting. Some of them said that you can’t dig a hole to China. So the answer was “nowhere, you can’t dig a hole to China!” I said, “But that wasn’t the question”. Of course, the children are right in that we can’t actually dig a whole to China. What made me think, though, was how tough it was to think outside the box; to imagine things outside the realms of possibility. How many times do we inhibit the imagination of our students and children and force them (inadvertently or on purpose) to always think practically or realistically instead of encouraging them to imagine other worlds, places and dreams? Do we empower them consistently to dream big dreams; to reach for the stars; to say to people who say we can’t do things, “Why are you limiting yourself?”

For my Friday list this week, here is a video you may have seen before but I thought might go with this topic. If you remember last Friday, I said that every Friday I would list things that I love or would like to do or things that have made me and the class happy. Here is today’s:

Blog for Poverty Day

In the blogosphere (that area where bloggers congregate and write posts like our class does), it is blog for poverty day. On this day, bloggers write and inform others about poverty to help bring the issue front and center and make people aware.

Our class is involved in this and is trying to bring an awareness of this problem to you, our faithful parents and readers of this blog.

Today the students were introduced to a new website. The sight is called Freerice. On this sight, students must match the word given to the correct definition. Every word they correctly match equals 10 grains of rice which the website company will donate to various countries or areas around the world working with the UN World Food Program (WFP). The site is free and students do not have to pay for anything. The website makes its money through the ads on the site.

So far today, our class raised 640 grains of rice to donate! We will be doing more about poverty and the rights of people who do not have much throughout the next while as we discuss rights and responsibilities.

Here are some ideas for things you can do at home with your children:

  1. Eat meatless meals 2x a week. Donate that grocery money to a local food bank. 
  2. Be homeless for a day/night.
  3. Stop putting off adopting a child through an organization like Compassion International (or adopt another one). 
  4. Get a group together to go door-to-door collecting canned foods for your local soup kitchen/shelter. 
  5. Take a homeless person to dinner and actually sit/talk with him.
  6. Stop buying things just for yourself and donate it to homeless people and hungry people. 
  7. Make flyers to stick in the local library.
  8. If you have a musical instrument you no longer use, donate to the still-struggling musicians and students in New Orleans, who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. A few great organizations that will accepts musical instruments are Tipitina’s Foundation (www.tipitinasfoundation.org) and The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund (www.nomrf.org/donations.html) (or your local music store).
  9. Stop drinking Coke and bottled water for a day and save on plastic. Will save a lot of plastic if each of us does it for only one day.
  10. Share your skill or knowledge, so they can improve their knowledge to increase their life/prosperity.
  11. Visit an orphanage.
  12. Give comfort to the poor.
  13. Donate.
  14. Check your closet and make sure that anything you have not used last winter is taken to a charitable organization. Ask your friends and neighbors and volunteer to pick up the clothes, launder them and deliver them to those organizations. They will do no good in your closet and a world of good to someone in need.
  15. On one day only eat food that you have asked someone for directly or for the money you need to buy it. Pay attention to the feelings.
  16. Have a “sponsor me” day. Donate money to a poverty relief cause for everyone who leaves a comment on your blog that day.
  17. Organize a Hunger 101 Program for a local youth group. Our Girl Scout community learned about what they could do to help the working poor in our community. http://spedr.com/da5f This inspired them to organize several Take Action events: http://spedr.com/krfw
  18. Skip a weekly trip to the grocery store and donate the money saved to a food bank. I do this once a year for my family of 5. For that week we only eat what is left in the pantry or fridge. By the end of the week, pickings are slim and we get a sense of what it feels like to not have the luxury of tasty, well balanced meals every night.
  19. Have dinner on the floor and make it a very small meal (like chicken broth, watered down milk, and maybe a small piece of bread?) Talk about the blessings you have and that the meal represents those who don’t get to eat “big” on a daily basis.
  20. Volunteer at a soup kitchen!
  21. Play freerice.com!
  22. If you have take out coffee, skip it for an entire week, donate the savings!
  23. Give 5 bucks to a homeless person who looks hungry! (I like to give gift certificates or actual food instead so I know the money is going for actual food and not other things!)
  24. Talk with your children about poverty and who it affects.
  25. Save your old stuff and sold it for charity
  26. Support charity organizations in your country. Reducing poverty may start in your nearest region.
  27. Do something to touch 3 people or to reach out to 3 people and get them to pay it forward.
  28. Give a gallon of water to each of 3 people who need it
  29. Give a $10 gift certificate to each of 3 homeless, single mothers so that she and her children can have one hot meal
  30. Ask 3 entrepreneurs to each make a donation to 3 people or causes?
  31. Avoiding overconsumption.
  32. Contributing to relief funds which can assist this cause.
  33. Host a 1 day famine and collect donations.
  34. Plan a pot luck/BBQ or a get together inviting close friends and neighbours, to bring awareness and also to raise funds for a shelter home. Funds can be used to purchase the necessary groceries for the home.
  35. Pray for the comfort and safety of the world’s poor. Pray for the strength, wisdom and courage to help each of them find prosperity.
  36. Don’t just talk to your kids about poverty – get them involved by having them go through their toys and clothes to find concrete things to pass along. The next time they want you to buy something for them – talk about what that money could buy for someone who had no food… then follow through and donate the money you didn’t spend.
  37. Donate your time and expertise to teach a class to those trying to find a new way to earn a living.
  38. To add to the previous suggestions, rather than just donate money to homeless people, why not use the money you would use on yourself for a coffee to buy one for someone else. If you get coupons for free beverages or meals, keep them with you and give them to someone in need.
  39. As you find organizations to which you like to donate food, clothing, etc., spend some time volunteering for that organization. Contribute to the organizations you are already supporting in other ways.
  40. Educate others. If you are a teacher, talk to your students about poverty. Get their opinions. Inspire them. If you work in other areas, strike up a conversation with your colleagues in the lunchroom or lounge. Get educated so you can answer questions and provide information that might spur others into action.
  41. Visit The Hunger Site every day and click the link to feed the hungry. It’s fast and it’s free and there’s absolutely NO excuse not to do it every day you’re online!
  42. Be compassionate.
  43. Invite friends to watch documentaries how poverty destroyed ones life,family and their future.
  44. Do not waste water on that day.
  45. Make a list of five items you haven’t used for long and have no plans to use them in future either. And distribute them among local poor with all humility.
  46. Compose a poem on the theme ‘Making Poverty A History’ and get it published in a local magazine or paper. Also, ask your child to recite the poem in her school.
  47. Talk to your five relatives about the poverty issue and invite them to come up with their suggestions to eradicate poverty.
  48. Organize a drawing competition for kids on the poverty theme and exhibit their works in a local school or community centre.
  49. Save electricity on that day and contribute the equivalent savings to a local charity.
  50. Contribute your one day salary to a child rehabilitation centre.
  51. Get a few friends, gather all your unused items, sell it and buy something a meal for the poor in your neighborhood.
  52. Travel to a poor country or area. Look for ways to make a difference on the ground there.
  53. On your next off day from work, go to a homeless shelter and help serve food to those who are there, talk with them, listen to their stories, you will find that they were at one time, a lot like yourself.
  54. Let’s learn to love and respect one another, and to give to those who have less.
  55. Pictures. It’s one thing to say that the milk my son spilled at lunch this afternoon was more than some kids get. But some people don’t see how real that is unless they’re looking at a picture.
  56. Talk about poverty.
  57. Instead of video games and other toys, give your neighbors and friends gift certificates for classical music lessons. For every $1 spent on music education, by my calculations, you get a $4.57 return on your investment from age 4-22 and that investment can never be taken away from you. Throughout one’s lifetime it pays much, much more. Take the money you save and give it in music lessons to the next person.
  58. Go to your school board meetings and demand better music education. The arts are part of the core curriculum of “No Child Left Behind” and as I’ve been telling people for a few months now, the less we have to pay for health care and crime, the more we have to spend on food and shelter and doing good for our neighbors.
  59. The more intelligent we are and the more productive we are, the more fruitfully we can spend our time, and the more we can produce to give away.
  60. The reason why poverty still exist in Indonesia is because people is giving cash money to the poor at the streets and those money usually being used for things that usually destructive/not good (buying drugs, etc.) In order to stop poverty, the government already got their program to fight it but it didn’t go successfully for people still think that they are better off at the streets and there’s this what-so-called ‘mafia’ that organize these poor people at the streets.
  61. In order to fight this, the people started to give food/meal/clothes to the poor instead of cash money so it would stop the process.
  62. I think in order to stop poverty is to give what the people really need, not just giving it away for the sake of ‘being kind’ ;)
  63. Fund educational programs for women.
  64. Educate people about the plight of women around the world.
  65. Do a campaign of creative advertisements for public awareness and a call to action. Do a poster, do an ambient campaign, write a radio or TV spot.
  66. Educate yourself.

Some of you may or may not have received your Interim report cards today. If you did not receive one, my apologies as I forgot to hand them out at the end of the day. Some of the students got them as I was able to catch them before they left. If you did not receive one, you will get them tomorrow. Again, my apologies.