Mr. Johnson's Grade 3 Classroom Blog

Recent announcements

  • Once Upon an Ordinary School Day
    Yesterday 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 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.

    Posted by Patrick Johnson
  • Comparing Fiction and Non-Fiction Text Features
    Today students compared the text features of fiction and non-fiction books.

    Together, we compared two big books: one was fiction and one was non-fiction. We compared the covers, then each page and filled in a Venn diagram indicating the similarities and differences of the text features. 

    We also watched this video about non-fiction text features:

    Afterwards, students were grouped into partners where they compared a fiction and non-fiction book.

    Finally, students were able to explore a collection on Epic Books called Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction and we discussed which books they thought were fiction and what books they thought were non-fiction.

    Posted Sep 17, 2018, 5:32 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Lego Stop Motion- Building from Lego Design Cards

    Posted Sep 17, 2018, 5:19 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • First 20 Days of Math Day 7: Measuring!
    Today students worked in teams to measure objects using a variety of units.

    First we watched a video to inspire Teamwork:

    Next we introduced the learning goals:

    We are learning to work together and share ideas to solve problems.

    • I contribute to my group

    • I listen to my partner

    • I talk to my partner and make a plan

    Then students completed 3 tasks with a partner. The first task, students measured their foot with snap cubes then used that cube train to measure 3 longer objects in the classroom.

    In the second task, students estimated and then measured their arm with a non-standard unit (for example pencils, markers, toy cars etc).

    Finally, students were challenged to measure their bodies from head to toe using cubes. We discussed the advantages of connecting the cubes into groups of ten using different colours (for example, the first groups of 10 cubes would be yellow, second group of 10 cubes would be green etc).

    The last activity was to measure me!!!!

    Posted Sep 13, 2018, 11:38 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • First 20 Days of Math. Day 6: Snap Cube Challenge!
    As part of our First 20 days of Math, students participated in the Snap Cube Challenge! This challenge develops students' spatial sense and promotes problem solving and teamwork..

    Learning Goals:
    • I can contribute to my group
    • I can listen to my partner
    • I can talk to my partner and make a plan
    • I can use technology responsibly

    First students were shown 2 cubes and asked how many different shapes could be made? They discover that 1 shape could be made with 2 cubes.
    Next students were asked how many shapes can be made with 3 cubes? Student used cubes to discover that only 2 different shapes could be made (congruent shapes count as 1 shape).

    Finally students were ask to work with a partner and figure out how many shapes could be made with 4 snap cubes (all connected). To record their math thinking, students collaborated on 1 Google Slide document. Each group (pair) were assigned 1 slide to work on. When they had a solution, students used the Chromebook's camera to take a picture of it and insert it into their slide. If a group was done, they were challenged to find solutions for making shapes out of 5 snap cubes and insert pictures at the end of the slideshow.

    What amazing math thinking!!

    Posted Sep 12, 2018, 1:35 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Rube Goldberg Machine
    Today students participated in a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) activity.

    First students were shown video for inspiration. Their inspiration came from a video demonstrating an elaborate Rube Goldberg Machine.

    Students worked in partners. Each group had access to a large variety of materials in the classroom (different types of tracks, blocks, dominoes, toy cars, golf balls, tape, Lincoln Logs, CD jewel cases, cardboard ramps and more). Students collaborated with their partner in planning and building their machine. They also needed to use their resources responsibly and share resources with the rest of the class. We also discussed learning skill goals for this task (Responsibility, Self-regulation, Collaboration).

    The amazing results:

    Posted Sep 11, 2018, 5:11 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Rocketing into a New School Year!

    Posted Sep 10, 2018, 5:21 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • LEGO Stop Motion
    Last week students completed a stop motion STEAM challenge. STEAM challenges are great for promoting Learning Skills: responsibility, initiative, cooperation, organization, independent work habits and self regulation. 

    Students collaborated in creating short Lego stop motion videos. They used the Stop Motion app on the iPad and learned about stop motion techniques (such as frame rate).

    The challenge:

    Mellow: Create a stop motion animation film using Lego. Try to make your animation fairly smooth by using an appropriate framerate. .

    Tangy: Step it up and make your film a thing of beauty by including a variety of Lego pieces, colours and movement

    Extra Spicy: To make things needlessly complicated, add titles to your Lego movie using a whiteboard and marker and have your movie tell a story.

    Posted Sep 10, 2018, 5:19 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Counting Fingers
    The pictures below were scattered around the classroom today. Students were challenged to find out how many fingers (including thumbs) were in each picture. Students were encouraged to compare totals and discuss strategies on how they counted the fingers.
    Some counting strategies students used:
    • count by 5s
    • count by 10s
    • count half then double
    • count the number of hands then multiply by 5
    • count all of the fingers then add the number of thumbs afterwards


    Posted Sep 6, 2018, 12:03 PM by Patrick Johnson
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