Junior Matisses

We have had a great couple of weeks so far since coming back from Winter Break. Everybody has been eager to help out in the class with our daily classroom jobs. Take a look here at our dedicated chair stackers and board erasers.

We have been doing some cool activities to help us grasp the concept of division, including my personal favorite, Herding Buffalo. In this game, the students pretend to be certain animals, and when the teacher calls out "Okay buffaloes, get into groups of 4," the students are able to see how many times 18 students can be divided into 4 groups, and whether there are any remainders. 
We are continuing to use our creative skills to study the techniques of famous painters. Take a look at some of these fantastic and colorful versions of Matisse's "Fish Bowl." Many of our students are lucky enough to be participating in Ski Club every Wednesday. But those who aren't skiing are not missing out, because we are going to the ice-skating rink e…

Stellar Art Projects

We have had a very eventful couple of weeks leading up to our Christmas break. Academically, the students have been honing their multiplication skills with timed multiplication practice and games like Roll-the-Dice and Beat-the-Calculator. Many of the TISA 3rd graders are already able to multiply using two digits (which is very advanced!) thanks to their natural intelligence and hard work. In science, we have been studying the solar system, and especially the moon. The students learned how the cycles of the moon progress, cutting out small cards and pasting them in their notebooks to show all the different moon phases.

We have also been incorporating our science learning into some beautiful artwork, with well researched pastel coloring projects that demonstrate the various planets, their colors due to their atmospheric conditions, and their relative sizes compared to Earth. The finishing touch for these works was to sprinkle a little bit of white paint on them, in order to create that…

Painting and science projects in November

The third grade got a lot done in the weeks leading up to our Thanksgiving break. We are in good shape to meet our mid-year learning goals before we leave school in December. Thanks to all the parents who came in for the parent-teacher conferences. Your feedback is very important in continuing to make our classroom a happy, fun, enriching learning place.

Here are some of the students working on their Lollipop Flower paintings. We took our time on this project, carefully tracing our drawings before applying watercolor, and the results came out spectacular!

We were lucky in the week before the break to get to go on a field trip to the Taos Public Library. The students learned about how books are sorted in the library, which helped them find the books they were interested in. We got to check out books, and had a fun group story time.
We were also lucky to get a lesson in Native American culture from one of our parents. The third grade joined with Ms. Jutka's first grade to watch vide…

Looking back on our progress as the first trimester comes to a close

As we prepare for parent-teacher conferences over the next couple weeks, we can see that many of us have made significant progress since the beginning of the year, especially in reading, writing and math. Over the last week, we have been getting deeper into multiplication, with many of the the 3rd graders already having memorized almost all of their 0-9 multiplication tables. We have also been expanding our grammar and spelling skills, with a focus on different types of words, like nouns, verbs and adjectives. Our writing has been improving also, with many of us using up to 15 minutes of our daily writing time to write as much as a whole page and a half of story space! In science, we have been focused on seeds over the last week, with our experiment in growing wheat seeds without soil showing some budding results.

In other developments over the last few weeks, we have been meeting with our 6th grade reading buddies every Wednesday. The students are enjoying reading to, and being read …

Plants, Animals, and a Harp Concert

Last week was full of fun stuff. We started learning animal names in Spanish. And the students now are able to listen to and understand a whole book about animals and colors in another language! We also were very fortunate to have a visit from a harp player, who played a beautiful recital for us on Thursday.

In Literacy, we had several different books being read, including My Friend Rabbit, the Princess and the Pea, and the Clubhouse Mysteries. Our Literacy Circles are moving along smoothly, with everyone being actively engaged in improving their reading skills with books that are challenging for them.

The students also did some excellent writing this week. In anticipation of our Lantern Walk on Thursday, October 25th, we talked about what it means to "bring our light" into the world, and the students wrote stories about people in need receiving help from kind individuals.

In Math, we solidified our addition and subtraction skills, with the whole class helping one another to…

Field trip to Columbine-Hondo and more coming up

The highlight of this past week was without a doubt our field trip  to the Columbine-Hondo trail with the outdoor organization Rivers and Birds. Thanks to all the parents, grandparents, and friends who joined us that day. We visited a spectacular place, and everyone had a great time. We also learned some important things about how to enjoy and take care of the natural environment.
We hiked up about a mile along a beautiful stream until we got to a wide-open, sunny meadow. Here we had lunch and split into groups so that people could explore a cave, which was really dark and deep, and required headlamps to see inside. Other groups went down to a waterfall, where several people got their feet wet balancing on a log across the stream!
In the classroom, some exciting stuff has been going on as well. In Social Studies last week, the students completed brochures for Mexico based on a reading we all did together. The brochures included some nice artwork along with a few very interesting facts…

Mixing art and science

Last week we mixed art and science for our science unit on sea animals. The students got the chance to explore certain aspects, such as the characteristics, habitat, and diet of certain sea creatures, and teach each other about what they learned. Several groups also made some beautiful posters showing a lot of important information about their animals. At the end of the week, we used what we had learned to make a large-scale under-the-sea art piece, which was submitted to the Taos Fall Arts Festival.

Our daily Spanish classes continue to go well. We have a number of fun songs that everyone enjoys singing, which remind us about important Spanish words for numbers, colors and good morning greetings! Next week, we will continue learning numbers higher than 10, and practicing our basic math skills using only Spanish. We will also start to learn how to speak in complete sentences, ascribing attributes like color to certain basic objects. 
In other 3rd grade class news, our reading groups a…