Subhadra has been working at The Cooper School since 2009. She is originally from Florida and received her Bachelors degree in Early Education and Special Education followed by her Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida. Subhadra has taught Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades at TCS.
This week, Third Graders were delighted to welcome a special guest writing teacher! Cinelle Barnes is a published author whose daughter is in our Kindergarten class. She joined us on both Thursday and Friday to explore different aspects of accessing our memories to write memoir stories. The first day, she brought a variety of candles to smell and to think about what memories are associated with certain scents. A popular scent that students wrote about was the pine smell and the many connections to the holiday season. The next day, they used maps to consider their place in the story. It was great to hear tips and tricks from a published author!
This week the students were introduced to the many uses and fun ways of using jump ropes. After talking about how to be safe and care for them during Whole School Morning Meeting on Monday, students spent the week having so much fun with them! Third Graders loved having Movement withKindergarten so that they could share how to properly jump rope. Third Graders worked with their Kindergarten buddy to show them how to use a single jump rope as well as how to jump with the big rope. We also enjoyed some creative ways of using jump ropes in imaginative play!
How many drops of water can one penny hold? This was the question that Third Graders set out to answer and, boy, were we surprised by the results! Using eye droppers, students slowly added one drop at a time and were able to add more than 20 drops of water onto one tiny penny! The next question was… how?? Students discussed the property of surface tension and how it holds the water in a dome shape until it gets too heavy and collapses. Ask your student how many drops they got on their penny.
When one study ends, another begins! This week we moved on from the study of the physics of sound to the exploration of water. Water is a part of everyday life but is not often observed for its many properties. Students began this week by observing water, specifically looking at the absorption of water in some materials or how water beads up on others. Spilling water happens, but now we can notice the way the water interacts with the surface it is spilled on.
This week we began reading a totally different genre… nonfiction! Students were excited to start reading all about bugs! This unit focuses on the central idea of how bugs are essential to the survival of life on earth. During this unit, students focus on nonfiction reading skills of identifying the main idea, using evidence to support answers, identify word meanings using context, and much more. These nonfiction-reading skills can then be applied to a variety of subject areas. The topic of bugs builds on the insect study in First Grade and Third Graders get to collaborate with the First Graders as “bug experts.”
Third Graders were excited to begin the routine of Scholastic News each week. This means that they receive a 2-page magazine with news and information geared specifically to Third Graders. Each magazine also includes a graph with questions that help students to practice applying data analysis and graph reading skills in real world applications. This is followed by a brief comprehension review of the articles they read. Look for your student’s Scholastic that will be sent home each Thursday. It often has extensions that can be explored at home including videos and quizzes online.
This week was the end of our Sound Unit. Third Graders greatly enjoyed learning all about sound, vibration, frequency, pitch, volume, and all the ways to change sounds. Through hands-on investigation, students learned that sound needs matter to travel through; either gas, liquid, or solid. They were surprised when they found that sound traveled faster through solids than it did through liquids or gas.
To celebrate the end of our reading unit, Third Graders chose their favorite Julian story to share with a Kindergarten buddy. Students got to share their stories and their reading skills with a friend while outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. After reading, buddies got to play and eat lunch together. Cross grade play and work is a great way to build a sense of community here at The Cooper School.
Third Graders love Rocket Math! Rocket Math is a program that helps students gain automaticity with their basic math facts. The expectation is that students know their addition and subtraction facts as fast as they can read a number. Third Graders start in subtraction and then move to multiplication. Rocket Math is an everyday practice that involves two minutes of oral practice with a partner, two minutes checking a partner’s oral practice and a one minute timed test. They begin at the letter A and move through all the basic facts until they master it and complete letter Z. Ask your child what letter they are on today!
Third Graders were thrilled to have a visit from High Tech, High Touch.
Miss Jennifer came to do hands-on experiments to explore how sound waves work. Students investigated how vibrations travel through gas, solids, and liquids. Using the whole classroom as a test source, students used tuning forks to explore how sound travels through all types of solids.
The most interesting discovery is how it travels through our own body! We ended by discussing how the ear works as our sound receiver.
Third Graders were excited to do drama this week! Each year we have actors from Charleston Stage come to our school to work on presentation and dramatic skills. During these classes, students use their bodies, voice, and imagination to create different scenes. A favorite warm-up game is, “Baby Shark”. Third Grade actors and actresses really enjoy learning and playing engaging theater games. This year, students got to have their performance videoed so they could later watch themselves! By practicing these theatrical skills, students are able to gain confidence when performing in front of an audience of friends and family.
This week Third Graders took their Unit 1 math assessment. Before they began, we discussed how assessments are used as a tool for both the student and the teacher to know what areas students know and where they need help. Third Graders did a great job staying focused, accessing the needed math tools, and completing the test. Afterwards, students were able to review their test, make corrections, and take it home. These test-taking skills will continue to serve them throughout the year.
Reading is most fun when it is shared! Third Graders enjoyed being able to share their reading with reading partners this week. reading partners are a great way to think about and discuss books even further than we would when reading alone. Students are able to share observations, extend their thinking, and enjoy the funny parts of the story with a friend. This week, reading partners enjoyed sharing this time in our peaceful backyard classroom.
Through our study of sound, students have learned that sound is caused by vibrations. Every sound has a sound source, where the vibrations originate. To hear or feel these vibrations, we have sound receivers. Humans use their ears as sound receivers to detect the vibrations and translate them into words or other sounds. Humans use their vocal cords to create vibrations and make words. After learning and discussing our sound source and sound receivers, Third Graders played a game of telephone to put these tools into action. We also learned about different animals’ sound sources and sound receivers. Insects, snakes, and fish were the most different and interesting ones! Ask your child how a fish detects vibrations.
Third Graders were thrilled to get their iPads this week! At The Cooper School, students receive their own personal iPad in Third Grade that they will keep through Fifth Grade. When they graduate, they get to take the iPad with them. At The Cooper School, iPads are used for research and presentation during our project-based learning units. Each child/family is asked to sign an iPad contract stating that these iPads will be used for educational purposes and not for games. Please make sure that your child has returned this contract to school!
This week students began to learn the many ways that a writing partner can be a useful tool during the writing process. Students are working on writing personal narrative stories and have been learning how to “show, not tell” the story. This includes adding details, descriptions, dialogue and more. Through sharing with their partner, they are learning how to respond with positive feedback and constructive insight. Students helped each other locate areas in their stories that needed more detail or sections that were not quite clear. This process of giving and receiving feedback will become a regular part of our Writing Workshop throughout the year.
Our first math unit has been a refresher of the many skills that were taught in Second Grade. This week has been a review of calculator skills and how it can be a useful tool, but is not one to be relied upon. Students were asked to use their calculators to compute basic facts, skip count, and solve “change to” puzzles. One of our favorite uses of the calculator was to play “Beat the Calculator”. This game is not only fun and requires the use of calculator skills, but it also helps students realize that our brain can be faster than the calculator!
A large part of The Cooper School culture is helping guide children in the ways of being kind and helpful friends. One way we do this is by providing students language for how to give and receive compliments. These Third Graders have had several years of TCS practice and act as models for new students. So much so, that they request and get excited about Appreciation Circles. During this time, students draw a name of a student in their class that they will then give a compliment or appreciation to during our Close of Day Circle. Each student leaves school that day having both given and received an appreciation from a friend in their classroom. This is a time that warms my heart seeing such love and kindness coming from each and every one of the students in our class.
This week we launched into our first reading study. Third Graders were delighted to get to know the character Julian and all his friends from “Stories Julian Tells”. These tales are about a young boy and the adventures he gets into with his little brother and friends. Readers have enjoyed diving deeper into this world and looking at the use of nonliteral language. Students are learning how to take notes as they read and have literature discussions with the group.
This week also saw the launching of a new writing unit. This unit focuses on becoming strong personal narrative writers. One of the hardest parts about writing can be coming up with a story idea. When told to write about personal experiences, students are faced with so many choices that it is hard to choose! We talked about brainstorming a list of ideas to choose from. We also learned to narrow our brainstorm to thinking about one person, place, or pet that is important to us and brainstorming stories about them. With this focus in mind, students became furious writers with lots of stories to tell!
Third Grade spellers are mastering word patterns by cutting out their sort and sorting them by their specific spelling rule every day. This continued practice helps students to not just learn the spelling word for the test on Friday but learning the spelling rule to apply to their everyday writing. There are multiple spelling groups in this class that allow each student to receive the spelling rules they need. Practicing at home also helps students to make these words a part of their everyday spelling.
Third Graders have loved tuning in to their sense of hearing. This unit of study focuses on sound. Our classroom has gotten loud and exciting as we explore different ways of creating sound and feeling the vibrations that make sound waves.
Students used their keen sense of hearing to listen to the different sounds that objects make when they are dropped. They used these sounds to make a secret drop code and spell out different words. Tuning forks have been a great way to explore the vibrations that sound creates and how we can actually feel sound.
Hopes and Dreams
Each year we begin by deciding what our Hopes and Dreams are for the whole school year. Students reflect back on what went well in previous years and where they would like to see growth within themselves this year. Some students have chosen to focus on skills that can help them across subject areas and outside of school. Organization, friendship, not comparing oneself to others, and giving back to the community are just a few of the Hopes and Dreams that Third Graders came up with this year. Ask your child what their hope and dream is for the year.
The Hopes and Dreams project leads into developing our class rules. Students brainstorm what they can do to help themselves and their friends to make these dreams a reality. They quickly come to realize that the many different goals require many of the same things. Together, the Third Graders made a list of four rules that they can all abide by in the classroom to help make this year a success for everyone.
This week was all about getting to know the classroom, routines, and friends! In order to have a smooth year, we slow things down in the beginning to really understand the routines and expectations of the new classroom, grade level, and teacher. This includes how to navigate through the school, where things are and how to get them, and acceptable volume levels. Once everyone understands the expectations we are able to move through our day happily and do more fun things. Third Graders made the transition into their new classroom with joy and confidence, ready to start a great year!
Third Grade animal lovers enjoyed learning about their new class pet, Jerry, the gerbil! Students read books, articles, and watched a movie to learn more about gerbils and their care. Taking care of Jerry is a class job, with each student taking a turn being in charge of feeding him, changing his water, and cleaning his cage. Petting Jerry and watching him run around in his ball was definitely a highlight of the week. Ask your student what the difference is between gerbils and hamsters!
This week, third graders got to pair up with different grade buddies for several different activities. We joined Second and Fifth Grade for lunch buddies and a backyard scavenger hunt. We joined Fourth and Fifth Grade for snack and Movement buddies. This buddy time is a great way to make new friends or get reacquainted with old ones. Students love this time when they get to branch out and play with students from other grades and leads them to feel more comfortable playing with these other students later on. Lunch Buddies is something we will return to throughout the year.
Third Grade mathematicians explored another new algorithm for multiplying two digit numbers this week! Students were introduced to the lattice method of multiplication. This method of multiplication is fun and has historical interest, as it was used hundreds of years ago! The lattice method is easy to use, which makes it a good algorithm, and provides Third Grade mathematicians with additional practice with multiplication facts. Ask your scholar about the lattice method!
Third Grade state experts spent this week putting all of their state knowledge and research into action as they built their 3-D state maps! Scholars got to work molding clay into the shape of their chosen state then added landforms and landmarks. These busy Third Graders organized their research into an informational book about their state and are ready to share all of their knowledge next week during our State Museum! It has been an exciting week in Third Grade!
Students spent this week reading their third Roald Dahl novel, “The Twits”, during Reading Workshop! Students practiced asking questions and recording them as they read. They know that good readers ask questions as they read in order to think about what is happening in the story. Good readers also make mental movies as they read in order to visualize what is happening in the story. Third Grade scholars chose a passage that they were able to visualize and illustrated what pictures were in their mind as they read. Ask your Third Grader which Roald Dahl novel was their favorite!