Mr. Johnson's Grade 3 Classroom Blog

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  • 2-Scoop Ice Cream Cones-Math
    This week, students were introduced to this number sense task that can be solved in different ways.

    First, students were asked: 
    How many unique 2-scoop ice cream cones could be made with only 1 flavour of ice cream? 
    The answer is 1 (for example, chocolate for the bottom scoop and chocolate for the top scoop).

    Next students were asked: 
    How many unique 2-scoop ice cream cones could be made if there were 3 flavours of ice cream available at the store? 
    The answer is 3. 
    -chocolate, chocolate
    -vanilla, vanilla
    -vanilla and chocolate (which is the same as chocolate and vanilla since order of the scoops does not matter).

    Next students were given the below task:

    When students were done, we displayed their work on our math Bansho wall to discuss student's math strategies.

    Some groups used a guess and check strategy. They tried different ways to make 2-scoop ice cream cones without repeating cones.

    Other groups used an idea of an organized list. Starting with one flavour, they added other flavours to make 2-scoop ice cream cones until there were no more cones to make with that flavour.

    This group used an organized list. They also made sure not to repeat 2-scoop ice cream cones. They started with peach ice cream in the first column. In the next column they used blueberry ice cream (note they did not repeat the peach-blueberry combination). They also noticed that the number of cones decreased by 1.

    This group assigned a number to each of the ice cream flavours and proceeded to make the 2-scoop ice cream cones by combining the numbers in a list.

    Finally we worked through a solution together. We simplified the problem by assigning numbers to the flavour (like the group above). Students noticed patterns very quickly. We found out:
    5 flavours of ice cream produces 15 unique 2-scoop ice cream cones: 5+4+3+2+1
    10 flavours of ice cream produces 55 unique cones: 10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1
    We also applied this solution to Baskin Robbins and found out that with 31 flavours of ice cream, we predict there would be 465 unique 2-scoop ice cream cones.

    In this task we realized that there are different ways to solve a problem, but that some strategies will get you there quicker than others. 

    Posted by Patrick Johnson
  • I Can't Get Enough of this Pokemon Go!
    Today we were having fun reading this poem in class. Poetry is a great way to teach new vocabulary to students.

    Posted by Patrick Johnson
  • Wemberley Worried
    Today we read the story Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes. The story is about a little girl who worries about everything.

    Our big thinking question for this story:

    Afterwards, students answered this question using chart paper and presented their answers in front of the class.

    Sample answers to the Big Thinking Questions:

    What was Wemberley worried about?
    -Wemberley was worried about everything. First she was worried about the tree falling on her. Then she was worried about the crack in the wall and it would get bigger and something would come out. Next she worried about the noise the radiators make and she thought there was a snake in it. She was also worried about the playground. Wemberley was worried about school.

    What was the most important lesson the author was trying to teach us?
    -The author was trying to tell us that you would not be worried about everything because you would never try anything.
    -We are thinking the author is teaching us a lesson to never be worried. Sometimes I am worried but everything turns out to be perfect.
    Posted Sep 26, 2016, 12:56 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Math Games!
    As part of our balanced math program, students have been playing math games!

    Race for a flat
    Materials: 100s mat and base ten blocks
    How to play: Students roll 2 dice. They place the amount of blocks on their mat according to the sum on their dice. As soon as they reach 10 cubes, they can exchange the cubes for a stick (group of ten). When students have ten sticks (groups of tens) they can exchange it for a flat (a group of 100). First person to exchange for a flat wins!

    Dueling Digits

    Cards in the range from A(1) to 9. 
    100s mat
    How to play: 
    In partners, students take turns picking a card from the deck. When they pick a card, they need to decide to where to place the card on their 100s mat. For example, if they pick a 6 and place it in the 100s column then it is worth 600. Each partner continues to pick cards until they have a 3 digit number. The person with the highest number wins!

    Posted Sep 22, 2016, 4:56 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Once Upon an Ordinary School Day
    This week we read and listened to the book: Once Upon an Ordinary School Day by Colin McNaughton.

    The book is about a boy who goes through the ordinary routines of his day until he meets his new teacher. In the teacher's first lesson, he tells the students to listen to the music and let the music fill their minds with pictures. They all think he is crazy until they find their imaginations are swept away by the music. They end up writing wonderful stories about those images and all the stories were very different.

    Our big thinking question was: When the music played, what pictures filled your mind? Although we (and the class) listened to the same piece of music, all of the pictures in our minds were different. Why was this the case?

    This led to a discussion that the music interacted with each of our own life stories and produced different images according to our memories, feelings and connections. We discussed that when we read, it interacts with our own life stories sparking images, feelings, memories and connections. This helps (and frankly is crucial) in understanding what we read.
    Posted Sep 22, 2016, 4:44 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • The Power to Connect
    This week I introduced our first reading power. Reading Power is a terrific resource that teaches various reading strategies to help students understand (or comprehend) what they read.

    The reading power I introduced was called the power to connect. Making connections while we read is something we do naturally as we get older. To explain the power to connect I read them the below passage to help explain why making connections while we read is actually quite remarkable. Over the next few weeks we will be working on making meaningful connections to texts we read in class.

    We practised making connections using the picture book Courage, By Bernard Waber.

    Posted Sep 22, 2016, 8:10 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • Pastel Scenery

    Posted Sep 19, 2016, 4:38 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • QR Codes-Mystery Numbers
    Today students participated in a QR code iPad activity about place value and mystery numbers!

    First students scanned a QR code (there were 5 QR codes posted around the classroom and in the hallway). 

    Next students read the clues from scanning the QR code and discussed the answer with their partner.

    Then students recorded their answers. When they found all of the mystery numbers, they placed the numbers in order from least to greatest and compared their answers to an answer sheet.

    Finished work activity: When students were done, they picked an activity from the QR code wall. Each QR code launched a different web app (such as a geoboard) or website (, national geographic kids, Wonderopolis etc.).

    Posted Sep 15, 2016, 4:34 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Bug Houses!
    Students made bug houses out of base ten blocks!

    The Task: Students could choose up to 16 base ten blocks to construct a bug house but only 3 could be flats (groups of 100). This amount was doubled if the student chose to work with a partner. Afterwards, students counted the value of the blocks. The value became the address of the bug house. Finally students disassembled their bug houses onto a 100s mat to recount the value of the blocks.

    Posted Sep 15, 2016, 4:20 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Hey, Little Ant
    Today in class we read the book Hey, Little Ant. In the story the kid and the ant have a debate on whether the kid should squish the ant or not. Both present arguments but the end of the book leaves the reader to decide the ending. Students discussed our big thinking question (see below) and presented their answers on chart paper. Afterwards, students created an animation of how they thought the book should have ended using an iPad app called Puppet Pals. What great performances!!

    The Story:

    Posted Sep 14, 2016, 2:38 PM by Patrick Johnson
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