Welcome! Please visit regularly to keep up with classroom news!

Welcome! Please visit regularly to keep up with classroom news!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gingerbread Houses!

On Monday, December 19, we had a great time creating gingerbread houses!  Thanks to Paula Angstead, Elisa Kretz, Summer Lisk, and Lori Schaefer-Weaton for helping.  It still smells like frosting in here!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!  For those who are traveling,  I wish for good weather and a safe trip.  Enjoy the holidays with your children, family and friends!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Exploring Science Through Fun and Games!

Over the past few days we have learned a lot of new concepts in science.  To help in our exploration of this new information, we've had a lot of fun with an experiment and a game.

We explored the effects of wind and water erosion on sand, soil, and rocks.  The students discovered that sand was the most impacted by wind and water erosion.  Ask your child to explain our experiment.

We went on an "Incredible Journey" to discover how a water molecule moves on Earth.  The students began at a station such as "lake", then rolled a dice to see where the water molecule would travel to next.  Some found that they were trapped in the same place for a long time, just like water in real life.  Ask your child about this fun game.

We've been exploring, playing, and moving to make science more accessible, interesting, and fun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Congratulations Skylar!

At an assembly held on December 5, Skylar Halley received a character award for Habit 3 "Put First Things First" from the 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  Skylar's certificate read,

Skylar Halley is a great example of Habit 3 “Put First Things First”.  He is focused during class, puts forth his best effort on all assignments, and participates in class discussions.  I can count on Skylar to have his homework completed and returned in a timely manner.  He works well with his peers helping them stay on task during partner and group work.  Skylar understands the value of “work first, then play”.

Congratulations Skylar!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Practice makes perfect!  It's an old cliche, but when it comes to memorization of multiplication facts - it's true!  A couple weeks ago, students brought home fact triangles.  I hope you are still using those on a regular basis.  A little practice every day aids in memory.  You wouldn't let your child show up for the recital or ball game without attending the practices.  The same holds true for math class.  If you want to get better at math, you have to put in the time practicing.  Encourage your child to work on memorizing the basic facts of multiplication.  Practice makes perfect!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

American Education Week

In honor of American Education Week, I'd like to thank parents for all you do help your child succeed in his/her educational endeavors.  By ensuring your child is reading, completing spelling homework, and practicing math facts, you are adding invaluable assistance to your child and me!  It’s vitally important that your child knows that you value their education.  Knowing that you have high expectations for their future success will encourage your child to work to the best of their ability.  So during this week set aside to honor those who educate children, I want to extend a big THANK YOU to parents.  You are your child’s first and best teacher!  Keep up the good work!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Congratulations Abby!

Congratulations to Abby Schaefer on receiving the award for the 7 Habits trait "Begin with the End in Mind" at this week's awards assembly.  

Abby's certificate reads:

Abby Schaefer is a good example of the second trait “Begin with the End in Mind”.  She works hard on all assignments and knows that hard work will help her gain knowledge. I can count on Abby to complete all her homework and return it in a timely manner.  She works well with a partner or in a group to complete an assigned task.  Abby is a positive leader in our classroom!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Field Trip Slide Show

Enjoy the Photo Peach slide show of pictures from our trip to Jefferson County Park on Monday, November 7, 2011.

Jefferson County Park November 7, 2011 on PhotoPeach

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jefferson County Park Field Trip

On Monday, November 7 we will be taking a field trip to Jefferson County Park. We will be spending all day at the park. Please make sure your child is dressed for the weather. We will be outside most of the day. Good walking shoes/boots and layers of clothing would be a good idea. Therese has some great activities planned for us to explore animal habitats and adaptations. These are things we have been studying in Science so it will be fun to do some hands-on learning!

Your child needs to bring lunch and something to drink! I would prefer that you not send soda pop with your child.

It should be a great day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Math Exploration

This week we had a lot of fun exploring two math concepts. On Wednesday, we took our math lesson into the hallway. Students worked in groups using various tools to find the perimeter of shapes taped on the hallway floor. Ask your child how to figure perimeter. (Measure all sides then add the lengths.) Here are some photos of our perimeter exploration.

On Thursday, we used pattern blocks for a probability experiment. The students predicted which shape they thought was most likely to land on an edge when rolled like dice; a square, triangle, or rhombus. They conducted the experiment to check their predictions. We discovered that the double triangle is most likely to land on an edge. We had a lot of fun with this probability experiment. Enjoy some photos!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pastries for Parents

It was wonderful to see so many families attend Pastries for Parents this morning! It was a nice time to visit with friends and enjoy some donuts. Here are some pictures of our classmates and their family members.

Friday, October 7, 2011

At Home Reading

We are a week in to our fall at home reading program, and so far have had great participation from the students. Most of them earned the free recess for the first week's reward. Slips returned on Monday will earn the students some delicious and nutritious snack mix. Remember, as the letter sent home stated, students must return at least 3 out of the 4 reading slips to get to attend the trip to Jefferson County Park on October 24. Reading more is the best way to become a better reader. Please encourage your child to read at least 20 minutes every day. It's a great way to spend some time together. Read with your child, or just read your own book while they read their own book. It's wonderful for them to see you enjoying a good book. The goal is to teach them the joy of getting lost in a story and to become life long readers!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Go Trojans!

Look at the school pride displayed by 3rd grade students! Go Trojans!

Playground Multiplication

Wednesday, September 28 was such a beautiful day we decided to take math outside! Working cooperatively with students from Miss Smith's 3rd grade classroom, we completed a "Playground Multiplication" activity. Students had to determine the number of bases on the kickball fields and the number of chains on the swing sets by creating and solving multiplication number models. It was a fun way to get them moving and learning at the same time!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Be Proactive!

Congratulations to Kevin Kretz! He was selected as the Be Proactive award recipient in our classroom. A proactive student takes charge of his/her own actions and attitude. He/she chooses to work hard, be kind to others, and has a positive attitude about school. Kevin is a great example of being proactive!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shopping Trip

Today in Math we went on a shopping trip. Students worked with a partner. One was the customer, and the other was the shopkeeper. The customer chose items from a store ad to “purchase”. They had to estimate the number of dollar bills needed to purchase all of the items and pay the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper then calculated the exact amount of the items and made change for the customer. Each student got to play each role.

Please work on this skill with your child. When you are at the store, encourage them to estimate the cost of your purchase. Talk to them about how much change the cashier should give you. You can also “play store” at home and have your child count back change for you. This is a rather difficult concept for 3rd graders, so the more practice the better!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Coniferous or Deciduous?

Today we took our science lesson outside! After reading about the difference between coniferous and deciduous plants, we went outside to find examples of each. The students were fantastic nature detectives and scoured the playground for the right kinds of plants. Upon obtaining their specimen, they returned in doors to define each type of plant and glued the sample to the definition. The papers came home in your child’s backpack today. I hope it led to a good discussion in your home about these two types of plants.

Here’s your challenge: Together with your child, try to find examples of a coniferous and deciduous plant in or near your yard. Have your child bring them to school to earn a bonus coupon. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Parts of a Plant

On Tuesday, September 6 we explored the parts of a plant. The students "dissected" soybean plants. We described and illustrated the stem, roots, leaves, and seeds. The students were surprised by how fuzzy the stems were and how many seeds were on each plant. This was a great way to reinforce information we had read about in our Science textbook. A big thank you goes out to Mr. Hoskins for donating the soybean plants to our class!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome to 3rd Grade!

We made it through the first three days! It was quite hot in our classroom, but the students showed up with excited smiles and positive attitudes each day.

It was wonderful to meet so many parents at the open house. I know the students feel more at ease after coming in to the classroom before school begins. It helps with the first day jitters.

I plan to do weekly blog updates to keep families informed about what’s going on in our classroom. I’ll preview upcoming events and highlight recent successes. Hopefully this tool will be a useful way for me to connect with families as well as community members.

We’re off to a running start, and I’m looking forward to a great year!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Multiplication Sundae Party

***This letter was sent home with your student***

We have been working very hard on learning the basic facts of multiplication. As a way to reward the students’ hard work we will be having an ice cream sundae party. The students earn parts of the sundae for completing a test of the basic facts with 100% accuracy. For each test that the student passes they get a different part of the sundae. For example: pass the test over the 2’s and earn the bowl, pass the 3’s and earn a banana, pass the 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s and earn scoops of ice cream, etc.
I am asking for your help with the ingredients needed to make the “multiplication sundaes”. If you would be willing to help, please check one item from the list below, sign at the bottom, and send this note back to me by May 27. All ingredients need to be at school for our sundaes on May 31.

_ ½ gallon of vanilla ice cream

½ gallon of chocolate ice cream

½ gallon of strawberry ice cream

bananas (need total of 8 - please indicate number)

chocolate sauce

caramel sauce

whipped cream in a can


plastic bowls

plastic spoons

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jefferson County Park Rocks!

On Wednesday, March 30 we had a great day at Jefferson County Park. Therese showed the kids some examples of different types of fossils. Then we headed to the playground area to search for fossils. The students did a great job of sifting through the river rock looking for patterns that would signify a fossil.

After lunch in the nature center, we spent the rest of the afternoon studying rocks. We looked at examples of the different kinds of rocks we had studied in Science class - sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. The students' favorite part of the day was stomping through the mud and water in the creek bed looking for rocks. Everyone came home tired and muddy! It was a great day!

Enjoy the pictures below.

Free Every Day Math Apps!

Games are an integral part of the Everyday Mathematics program that we implemented this year. Our students have opportunities to learn from these games as part of whole group instruction, as well as practice opportunities as partners and individuals.

McGraw-Hill does have a lot of these games available as "Apps" for iPhone and iPads. There is a cost for each of them, but as a special promotion during the NCTM National Convention next week in Indianapolis, they are offering a selection of these Apps for FREE at the iTunes Store!! These Apps will be free from April 13 - 16, 2011 (the time of the national convention) so mark your calendars!

Here’s a listing of the EM Game Apps that will be available for FREE:

- Addition Top-It™

- Subtraction Top-It™

- Beat the Computer™

- Name that Number™

- Equivalent Fractions™

- Tric-Trac™

- Monster Squeeze™

- Baseball Multiplication 1–6™ Facts

- Baseball Multiplication 1–12™ Facts
- Divisibility Dash™

I just wanted to pass along this information that I found out about to all of you! Happy Apping! :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

March P.E. News from Mr. Dunlap

We have a major activity taking place during the month of March. The
third and fourth grades will be participating in the annual Jump Rope
for Heart event. This is a fundraiser for the American Heart
Association. I will be giving the kids a lot more information about
the fundraiser during the first week of March. They will bring home a
fundraiser packet and have a few weeks to raise money. It is not
required that all kids raise money, but strongly encouraged as all the
money goes against the fight against heart disease and stroke. We will
jump rope during the last two P.E. classes before spring break. This
is a fun activity that goes to a great cause and the kids can earn
some prizes along the way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arrr Matey! Get to Reading!

Over the next four weeks students will be earning prizes for turning in the regular weekly reading logs. This new reading incentive program has a pirate theme. Last week we had an entertaining assembly with a skit and some great pirate songs to introduce the program. A letter was sent home with each student explaining the rewards. In order to earn the prizes, students must have read AT LEAST 100 minutes for that week. Prizes are as follows:

week 1- ring pop, bookmark
week 2- root beer floats
week 3- sword pen, pirate tattoos
week 4- free recess
Grand Prize for returning 3 out of 4 reading logs- "Peter Pan" movie in the gym and a school wide pajama party

As with any other reward system, students must of course earn the prizes. I hope that this will help get the kids reading through the last of our winter blahs. Thanks for your help from home! Get those kids reading or you'll walk the plank!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New P.E. Blog

Mr. Dunlap has created a P.E. blog to help keep you informed of what's going on in P.E. class. Please check it out!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Iowa Test of Basic Skills

We will be taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for six days beginning Thursday, February 10 and ending Thursday, February 17. Testing is scheduled for the first hour of each day. This letter is to inform you of some important information and tips for testing. We have talked about the following things at school, but please read and discuss this with your child.

We would appreciate nutritious snacks for our class to have during testing. Examples: graham crackers, granola bars, cereal bars. There are 22 students in our class.

Changes from 2nd grade:
-All of the tests are timed. When time is up, you must stop, finished or not.
-Every test is read independently. The teacher cannot give help on any words other than the directions.
-The answers are marked on a separate sheet. You don’t mark in the test booklet.

Tips for testing:
-Read every answer before marking a choice.
-If you don’t know an answer, take a guess.
-Work at a comfortable pace.
-When you finish, go back over all of your answers on that test.

Tips for parents:
-Make sure your child is well rested.
-Have your child eat a good breakfast.
-Send a bottle of water to have during testing.
-Encourage your child to do his/her best and not get too stressed about the testing.

Thank you for the help from home. Results will be sent home in a couple months.

Monday, January 31, 2011

February P.E. News from Mr. Dunlap

During the month of February the third grades will be doing a variety of indoor activities during their PE time. Some of these activities include; volleyball, the climbing wall, scooters, and playing with the parachute.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Learning and Fun at the Park!

Our trip to Jefferson County Park on Monday, January 24 was fantastic!  The weather cooperated, and the kids had a great day.  In the scent tracking activity the students had to follow a scent trail left by "prey".  It was quite funny to watch the "predators" down on their hands and knees sniffing the scent trail.

The students' favorite part of the day was building shelters that could keep them warm if they were lost in the woods in the winter.  They did a great job of collecting and stacking materials.  I've uploaded the pictures of the shelters.

A big thank you to Therese for another educational and entertaining day at the park!