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 has been a fantastic final week of Third Grade! Students continued to work hard, learn lots, and have fun until the very last minute. Students presented their State Study presentation on their second state this week. Students had to choose a different presentation type than they did the first time and present their state from the west. Once again, we had iMovies, trifold boards, and 3D models to teach the class about each state. We also enjoyed a couple more songs that were revised to give information about the state. This was a super fun project to end the year!
We started the year by measuring ourselves and saving a ribbon that was cut to that length in an envelope. For months, they’ve been waiting for us. This week, we finally pulled them out. Students once again worked together to measure how tall each person is now. They then cut a string to that length and then got to measure it against their original string. Third Graders were excited to see how much they’ve grown this year! We used this information to collect some data about how much Third Graders grew this year. Not to miss a teachable moment, we found the important data points, including maximum, minimum, range, median, and mode. We even talked about a how to find the average. We discovered that Third Graders grew an average of 2 and a half inches this year!
The Cooper School tradition of having the newly graduated Fifth Graders host the Field Day activities is beloved by all. Third Graders had a blast taking part in each of the unique and creative games the Fifth Graders put on for the students. This year’s theme was the continents and each activity was designed around one continent. Students were even delighted to have delicious Pelican Snoballs, too!
This week, Third Grade students became teachers! After a week of researching a state in either the northeast or southeast, each student taught the rest of the class about their chosen state. Students chose a variety of ways to present their information, including 3D maps, PowerPoints, trifold boards, and iMovies. Each student was able to present their information clearly to the rest of the class, sharing the important information about their state. Third Graders were impressed by a fact filled song about Vermont sung to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger”! Many students also brought in an important food from their state to share with the class! After the presentations, we got to enjoy several different kinds of pie, delicious cheesecake, some bbq, homemade clam chowder, tamales, cornbread, and pepperoni rolls. Students loved sharing the importance of their food and it’s deliciousness!
With one state completed, Third Graders have turned their focus west. Students have now selected a second state to research from the midwest, southwest, or west side of our country. Using the same process, students will independently research their second state and choose a different method of presentation to share with the class next week. It seems likely that there will be more songs inspired by the hit of “The State of Vermont” and definitely more delicious food to share. This project is a fun way to end the year while still learning and growing.
Along with their independent research, Third Graders are exploring the United States in other ways during centers. Through puzzles and games, books and iPad research, students have been getting to know the country they live in. Each day, Third Graders completed a map of the US, identifying where each state is using the correct abbreviation. They are also loving singing the song “Fifty Nifty United States”. This catchy song gets stuck in the head for a long time. It also helps students remember all of the states… for years to come!
I Heart Hungry Kids
The tradition of publishing Pass It On is all the more special because the proceeds go to a charity of the student’s choosing. Every year, the students are presented with a few different charities and they get to vote on which one they feel should receive the honor of being selected. This year, students selected I Heart Hungry Kids. Started by a young boy wanting to help other kids, this charity works to bring food to underprivileged children in the Charleston area. After the success of our Pass It On presentation and the sales of the book, students were able to present the proceeds to the charity this week. The young boy who started the project and his father joined us for Morning Meeting on Monday and The Cooper School was proud to give them more than $500 from the sale of our book.
This week, Third Graders have participated in taking the standardized ERB test. The Cooper School believes that test taking is a skill, and like all other skills, it must be taught and practiced. As students move on from TCS, it is a reality that they will be encountering standardized testing. Therefore, we want to prepare our students and teach them how to be successful. Earlier this year, students completed a reading unit that was focused on reading comprehension, reading for information and multiple choice questions. This week, Third Graders got to know the feeling of these types of tests, from completing bubbled in pages, to the stress of timed sessions, to the importance of silence. And they had fun doing it! Studies show that the best test takers are relaxed and we hope to instill that quality in our students.
Third Graders have finished their final writing unit of this year, fairy tale adaptations. During this study, each student has gotten to write two adaptations of beloved fairy tales and one unique fairy tale of their own. Now, students are beginning the process of publishing these stories in a unique way… as comics! This week, students have been working on transferring their writing into pictures. Next week, they will use an app on their iPads to turn those pictures into comics!
Third Graders were excited to choose a state this week to research. Students wrote a few sentences about their top three choices of states to study in the Northeast and Southeast regions. They had to explain why they wanted to study that specific state. Their reasons ranged from having family in that state, to being born in that state and wanting to know more about it. Students will spend the next week researching their state and putting together a two minute presentation to teach the rest of the class. Then we will pick another state from the other regions!
There is reading and then there is reading. Third Graders have been focusing on reading with agency and intent. In order to do this, students have to be able to select a just right book so that they are not required to focus on the reading of the words and understanding the story. This can free up their thinking to “read between the lines” and focus on making connections, creating a clear image in their minds, and making predictions. Third Grades have loved this unit, which allows plenty of time for silent sustained reading and partner sharing of the stories they are reading.
This week has been Teacher Appreciation Week and, WOW, have I felt appreciated. Students have shown their appreciation through flowers, cards, gifts, and comments. One student suggested we do this one day every month. That statement alone makes me feel truly appreciated throughout the year. Thank you to all the parents that have volunteered their time, donated food, and coordinated events. All the TCS staff appreciates all of you!
Pass It On
The Cooper School tradition of publishing and sharing student poetry celebrated its tenth year! Third Graders were excited, and a little nervous, to share their poems to a crowd of family, friends, and more. We have been practicing our poems, learning the importance of annunciation and the strength of pauses. It was a moment of pride to watch all students, from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade, get up on stage and present their work to such a large audience. Well done Cooper Kids!
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Another tradition of Cooper School is Grandparents and Special Friends Day! During this half day, we open our doors and classroom to share with these important people all the things we do here at The Cooper School. Students begin by sharing their beautiful voices in a choir performance. Grandparents then join us in the classroom for students to share some of the work we have been doing. Third Graders were proud to show off their multiplication skills in a game of Multiplication Bingo. They also interviewed their visitors to find out what they enjoyed when they were in Third Grade. We also practiced naming and locating states as part of our state study by sharing all the states we have visited.
Third Graders embarked on their annual climbing trips this spring! Each year, Second and Third Graders get to go to the James Island County Park to tackle the 50 foot climbing wall. Third Graders have the experiences from last year to build on their climbing skills. These trips are about more than just climbing and having fun. Students spent time in the classroom, thinking about their level of confidence and setting personal goals. They each selected an accountability partner that they felt would help them to achieve their goals. Students talked about how motivation to accomplish something helps to increase their confidence to keep trying when things get hard. They applied this idea to their climbing and most students were able to complete their goals and set higher goals to reach for.
Our class was sad to say goodbye to our assistant, Mrs. Marsha, who has taken the rest of the year off. We agreed it was not goodbye forever, just a see you later. Students shared an appreciation circle with Marsha, expressing all the ways she has helped them individually and how she has helped the whole class. Marsha was sad to leave and shared some treats and sweet notes with the students. These observant Third Graders were able to remark on all the ways that Mrs. Marsha helped our class and she will be missed.
Unfortunately, our science friends, the crayfish, did not survive the whole two weeks. Luckily, we were able to observe them and record our observations to complete our study. The biggest focus of our observations was on animal adaptations, both structural and behavioral. Through investigations of the crayfish structures and analysis of their functions, students have been able to explain the adaptations that crayfish have that help them survive in their environment. Our class favorite of the crayfish behaviors was what we called “defense mode” when the crayfish would make themselves look bigger and raise their pincers as if ready for attack.
And they all lived happily ever after…
Fairy Tale reading has come to a bittersweet end. Students loved this study and were sad to see it end. Through classic tales and a variety of observations, students have gotten to know the many key elements of fairy tales. We ended with a look at archetype characters, analyzing their traits across different tales. The evil stepmother and people who help were a couple of the class favorite archetypes. Third Graders did a great job analyzing fairy tales. We look forward to applying that knowledge as we continue to write our own fairy tale adaptations.
This unit has been all about fractions! A wonderful way for students to gain experience with math concepts is through games. Students have enjoyed playing a variety of math games that have helped them work on the concepts of comparing fractions, equivalent fractions, and building wholes. A class favorite has been the pizza fraction game! It’s a race to see who can use the fractions of pizzas to build the first whole pizza. Can you find ways to make fractions fun?
We have had some new friends join us this week for science… crayfish! Third Graders have been thrilled to observe and care for these crustaceans as part of our Structures of Life unit. The focus of observation this week has been on what structures make up these unusual creatures’ bodies. Students have noticed a variety of important features and have even learned how to tell apart males and females based on the number of swimmeretts on their tails. Our next focus will be to investigate the functions of these structures.
Once upon a time in Gerbil Land… is the beginning of just one of the many adaptations that Third Graders finished this week. Students worked hard to write a new version of either Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Billy Goats Gruff. After finishing, students were excited to share with their class in a mini publishing party. Now, students have selected a new fairy tale to work on, such as Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or Jack and the Beanstalk. Ask your student what fairy tale they have chosen to adapt this time!
This trimester, we are focused on confidence. Third Graders began by thinking about areas or activities that they feel confident in. With these in mind, we brainstormed where we think confidence comes from. Students had a variety of ideas, including prior experiences, motivation or encouragement from others, and a positive attitude. They were able to discuss how practicing leads to success and how success makes you feel confident. The conversation then shifted to how it feels when you are confident and how that feeling can motivate you to do even more!
Students were excited to launch into our Fairy Tale Unit! This week, students have been reading and enjoying a wide variety of classic fairy tales. They have been studying the elements of fairy tales, including the characters, setting, magical elements, and the presence of things that come in threes. Students have learned about the oral tradition of fairy tales and the famous authors who wrote them down, including the Brothers Grimm. Students have especially enjoyed reading the many variations of fairy tales, and analyzing the changes that authors make. Fairy Tales are best enjoyed as a shared experience, so we have brought in some other teachers to share tales they enjoy. Share your beloved fairy tale with your student!
Using their knowledge of classic fairy tales, and their investigations into variations that authors have written, Third Graders have begun to write their own fairy tale adaptations! For the first part of this unit, students have been closely analyzing the many ways that fairy tales can be changed while keeping the base story intact. Through changing the character, setting, details, event, or motivation of the story, they can create a domino effect that changes the story in unexpected ways. To start with, students have chosen to write a variation of Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
We began a new unit in math this week, all about fractions! Students have been working to understand basic fractions as they apply to breaking one whole object into pieces or one whole group into smaller groups. They have begun to understand the importance of knowing what the whole is before being able to find the fractions. Through activities, games, and hands-on manipulation, Third Graders have continued to increase their understanding of fractions.
Poetry Reading and Writing
This week we enjoyed the sequel to Love that Dog, called Hate that Cat! The cat lovers in the class were ok because the main character, Jack, only hated “that” cat, not all cats. Students enjoyed reading another collection of narrative poems that gave insight into Jack’s life while examining the many poetry tools he learns about and uses. This book had us working with alliteration and onomatopoeia as well as similes and metaphors. The outdoor classroom was the best place for putting these writing tools into action. Third Graders have loved studying poetry, and have shown what tremendous poets they are!
Each unit of Math has an Explorations Lesson, in which students apply concepts they have learned to hands on activities that reinforce and extend their learning. This week, we tried something a little different in Third Grade where students got to respond to the Exploration on large paper at their tables. As the students rotated through the three tables for the different explorations, they were able to see what previous students had written. This included further challenges with the straws and twist ties, showing how they solved problems using pattern blocks, as well as creating their own word problems for their friends to solve. This interactive extension of Explorations was a hit and a great way to increase student writing about math.
After discovering that seeds will germinate with just water, students got to set up an experiment this week to see if the small sprouts will continue to grow with just water. Using a hydroponic set up, we transplanted our seed observations to a large basin of water with some powdered nutrients to see if they will continue to grow. This observation will require patience and observation. Once this was set up, students turned their attention back to seed disbursement. Using a few select materials and what was available in the classroom, students were given a challenge to make a seed better able to disperse away from the parent plant. From making it float to making it glide, students got creative as they tinkered ways to enhance their seeds. Then we got to try it out in the backyard! Some modifications were required, which proved how amazing nature is to do this on its own!
Friday, March 30th Spring Break begins, No School
Monday, April 9th School Resumes
This week, Third Graders have fallen in love with the narrative poetry book, Love that Dog by Sharon Creech. This book is about a boy who doesn’t like poetry but has to keep a poetry journal. Following Jack, the narrator, through a year in poetry, we get to watch him discover the joy of poetry and the power of words. Third Graders have enjoyed reading and discovering along with Jack, as well as finding inspiration for their own writing in his words.
Third Grade poets have been writing up a storm of poetry! From poetry inspired by our class book to the reading of other poetry books, students have taken their knowledge and observations of poetry and transferred it to their own writing. This week they have enjoyed using objects in our poetry museum to spark a poem or picture cards to try to bring an image to life through poetry. The hum of poetry is alive in the classroom!
As we continue to observe our sprouting seeds, students continue to be amazed at the growth and change of our seeds using just water. The sunflower seeds have begun to sprout and surprised us all when they burst through the hard shell. These observations have led to a clearer understanding of how plants reproduce. An important part of plant reproduction is for the seeds to move away from the parent plant. Students learned about the three ways that seeds are dispersed away from the parent plant: by wind, water, or animals. We then went on a seed hunt in our backyards and for homework to find seeds in nature. Students then worked to classify the types of seeds that they found.