Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Tumble Books explored

This blog post has been co-created by 
Ms. Marra's grade 3 students.

We discovered a new website that we wanted to share with everyone. Explore tumble books library so that you can read online! This is a free website from the Toronto Public Library and you do not need to spend any money!

Now you can read online or have it read to you whenever you want. You can also search many books that you already know of. 

Follow these steps to view the books online:

1. Go to this link:

2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Tumble Book Library" -- online access.

3. Now you can enjoy a variety of books. Choose the type of book you are interested in and then find a title that you want to read.

We read over our post, checked for spelling errors, adding in a few words... and now, THUMBS UP! Ready to post.

Thanks for reading our blog post... now go read a book on Tumble books! :)

Stay tuned for another blog post from Ms. Meehan's class... coming soon!!! (dun, dun, dun...)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Jolly Postman Christmas Stories Part 1: Research

Jolly Postman Christmas Stories...

Today we began Part 1 of our Jolly Postman Christmas stories.

We began researching a country of our choice to develop the ideas for our stories. Our fun Christmas stories will take place in our selected country and will shed light on some of the Christmas traditions that this country has.

We know that Canada has many Christmas traditions... but we want our Jolly Postman(or woman) to go on an adventure to a country that also celebrates Christmas.

Some of the discoveries we are making about our countries are as follows:
- Which countries celebrate Christmas
- What the Christmas traditions are in our country
- Popular recipes for Christmas in our country
- Common phrases in our country (hello, goodbye, Merry Christmas, etc.)
- The currency in our country
- The three largest cities in our country
- Traditional clothing

All of this information is going to help us develop a thoughtful setting (or settings) for our story, characters, a plot, conflict, and theme.

Take a look at our classes exploring information about Christmas celebrations in our global community....

Collaborating to help each other through our research.

Reading information and recording the important ideas that we find for our stories.

Exploring the beautiful cultures of Christmas from around the world.

Pictures are always worth 1000 words! 

Reading and sharing information together.

Traditional clothing

Discovering together...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Can candy wrappers become art?

We love turning objects that would be destined to end up in the land fill into art!  After Halloween we definitely had access to a ton of candy wrappers and decided to make art with them. A Ziploc bag had been sent home with students a few days before Halloween to begin collecting their wrappers. We began by using Google to look for some examples of art that were created from candy wrappers.  We found pictures of everyday objects including fruit and furniture and even found pictures of famous people.

Next we began to think about our own art.  Students were told that they could create a scene, an object, an animal or anything else that they wanted using the candy wrappers that they had brought in. Some students even cooperated with others around them and offered them wrappers that they didn't need.  After they found their candy wrappers they used their sketch books and created a rough copy.  After the rough copies were complete the students created their master pieces!  Take a look! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Elements of a Short Story -- the exploration begins!

We begin our exploration of the elements of a short story!

To spark student interest and help them remember the elements of a story, we decided to play the following rap in the class.

After watching the video, we began to record all of the information that we gathered from the video; 

Students worked together to figure out what the different elements were.

Students enjoyed the video so much that we now have discovered two grade 3 rapping classes! So much fun!
Rapping to the beat!

Let the story writing begin...

These are the lyrics for the SHORT STORY ELEMENTS song. I challenge you to sing along!

Setting, that's like where it's going down,
Could be the train compartment, a castle or a town,
Could be the Arctic winter - like To Build a Fire,
The temperature's dropping, excitement is getting higher,
Setting sets the scene so the scene seems set,
Could be the Italian restaurant where we met,
Setting gives us the where and the when,
Could be modern day, the future, or way back when.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2) 

Plot is the action, the quest for satisfaction,
What's going down, what's going to happen.
Four men at sea in an open boat,
Rowing and hoping that they can stay afloat. The plot: 
They have to make it to the beach,
But the waves are big, and the shore seems out of reach,
Plot is a series of events... like Lemoney Snicket,
It could be crazy, wild or straight wicked.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2) 

Knock knock, who's there? Oh, it's the characters,
The people in the story who carry out the action.
Characters can be pretty, tiny or clean,
Characters can be silly, whiney or mean,
Juliet is a character, and so is Romeo,
Pokemon has characters and so does Yu-gi-oh,
Characters could be dogs, lions, or hippos,
JK Rowling chose Harry Potter. "Why?" Who knows!

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

Uh-uh! Put your snack back in your backpack we're not finished!
Something gone wrong! That's the conflict kids,
struggle in the plot, now who's on top,
Could be a fight for money, like some robbers and cops,
Could be an internal conflict - a struggle inside,
Like I don't want to tell the truth but I don't ever want to lie,
Flick something in your eye, now you're conflicted,
What created drama? The conflict did.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

The theme of the story is the main idea,
The central belief or the topic that's in there,
It's usually something abstract like sacrifice, 

Isolation or resurrection: we're back to life,
Like don't lie, don't practice libel,
The theme of To Build a Fire is survival,
Survival on your own like Fievel Moskowitz,
Flocabulary's something that you HAVE TO GET...

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2) 

Thank you (to the following website) for your fun and exciting way to learn about the elements of a short story. Our classes loved hearing the song! 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Writing a letter to your Canadian Forces for Remembrance Day

Today, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra's classes explored the website  We discussed many of the different text features on the website.  We saw subheadings, titles, links and even discussed twitter and hashtags (#). #welovetextfeatures

We also came across a link that took us to a page where we were able to write a letter to thank our Canadian Force members for all that they do to make our world a better place.  Collaboratively, our classes wrote the following message:

Dear Canadian Forces Members,

We are a grade 3 class in Toronto.  We are writing to you because we want you to know that we appreciate all of the good work that you do to protect our country and help people in other countries as well.

Thank you for being brave and standing up for our country.  We want you to know that you are appreciated and always remembered. 

the grade 3 classes

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Alphabet School

Ms. Marra and Ms. Meehan were inspired by the book on Alphabet Photography (also known as Alphabet city) for the following activity.

Our classes joined together to explore the book Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson.

We looked at the idea of art from a new set of lenses. We discovered that art can be everyday objects, if we look at them differently (or through a different set of eyes!). It was interesting to see that things in a city could be looked at as Alphabet Art. 

After exploring the ideas in the book, we were inspired to go around our school at look for the Alphabet art in our school. 

The "Alphabet School" search began...

What letter do you see? I see an "O" and an "L"

It was fascinating to see all of the art in our school that we never noticed before. The students found over 20 letters by exploring the school and recorded all of their findings in their art sketch books.

What a fun exploration day! 

Writing Instructions

This month for writing we have been focusing on writing instructions (or procedural writing).

First we explored all of the different types of instructions that we see around us in our day-to-day lives. We discovered that instructions are in...
- Lego instructions
- Recipes
- Game instructions
- Novels that we are reading 
- Magazines

After exploring the elements that make up clear instructions, we began to write our own instructions for our classmates.

Each student began draft one of their instructions. After developing clear instructions and checking over the success criteria to see if they met the expectations, they presented their instructions to their classmates. 

Their classmates became the teachers and gave their presenter feedback after following their instructions.

The feedback highlighted some things that the students liked about the instructions as well as things that the student can continue to work on. We know that writing is a process... so peer feedback is a great way to help everyone improve.