Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Greek play

play2Our last big project this year was learning about ancient Greece, a subject close to my heart. I was able to go to Greece and visit the ancient ruins when I was younger. This trip interested me in learning more about the ancient culture. Then a few years ago, I had a chance to teach a whole unit on ancient Greece. I brought this knowledge to JCDSRI for a fun project on this fascinating culture.

We started by reading many Greek myths and nonfiction books about ancient Greece. The students were so interested in the topic and were eager to find out more! Then we turned our knowledge into two amazing projects. First, we performed two popular myths as a play, along with costumes and props. The third graders made them entirely themselves, after conducting extensive research to make sure they were accurate! Then we wroteplay1 our own myths inspired by the ancient Greek myths. We explained everything from guinea pigs to dogs and cats to forests.

The day of our performance came quickly. The third graders were buzzing with excitement, so eager to share their hard work with the world! They gave a beautiful show. All their parts were memorized, even though they each had more than one part. Our Narcissunarcissuss was silly and full of himself, and our Echo was a super talkative nymph. The gods were strong and demanding, and Pandora realized she made a big mistake in opening the box. Everyone complimented them on their expression and acting ability. It was the perfect way to end our year.


Making Fractions Fun!

Many students have anxiety around fractions. We use so many whole numbers in math that the idea of splitting them up can be scary. But the third graders have rocked our first look at fractions!

We started with a project called Fair Share. We started off with sharing one brownie with a group of friends. We used paper 6e716943-d2aa-42a8-9d17-0330c6653cd0brownies to actually cut up the brownie in many different ways. We realized that if we share with 2 people, we split our brownies in half. We also realized that we can cut something in half different ways, but still have equal parts. We kept going by sharing that one brownie with 3, 4, 6, and 8 friends.


Then we kicked it up a notch by sharing multiple brownies. We first tried to share seven brownies with four friends. Many groups found multiple ways to share them, some with proper fractions and some with impro2f160d0f-0b76-47fe-8406-f7765b62cff0per. This investigation opened up many discussions about math, and everyone shares their own ways of dividing and making fractions.

Last, to celebrate, we had to make REAL brownies, of course! We enjoyed making them, measuring, pouring, mixing, and finally splitting them up to share with our real friends, too.


Rhode Island: Warmer and Cooler?

Third grade has learned so much about our own state of Rhode Island this year! From geography, to government, to people, to the Jewish history of our state, we have really become experts! We are now putting that kno59d0f2c2-3a53-4b5a-bcd0-dbdb5e6a1187wledge to good use by creating travel brochures about Rhode Island. As a bonus, we have a real audience to whom to present these; they will be used as centerpieces at a conference at Brown University. This motivated the students even more to create the most interesting and accurate brochures. As a challenge, they designed their own Rhode Island logos for the front covers of the travel brochures, to replace the controversial “Warmer and Cooler” design.


We brainstormed all we learned abo5af46ee8-f6c9-4ddd-b479-e276d10204e2ut Rhode Island and researched even more to find out new things we were interested in. Then we went to work actually creating our brochures. I loved how unique each one was, from concentrating on the Rhode Island Red hen to the Pawsox, Del’s Lemonade, and coffee milk, each student included his or her own personality and joys of this state in his or her brochures! We had “experts”, the fifth graders, come in to critique our work, since they have 6f1b60c8-269c-4cc8-b41d-edb7bd83d326already learned about Rhode Island.


Now our brochures are ready for the public. The students are very excited to be able to have them on display at Brown, but are sad to give them up. I don’t blame them after all the hard work they put into this project!



STEAM Week in 3rd Grade

For third grade, STEAM week was an exciting time! We had many exciting workshops, from superhero animals to math magic. But STEAM reached into our every day math, reading, and writing in the class. Inspired by our favorite read aloud, Poppy by Avi, our class had an interest in owls. One of the main characters, Mr. Ocax, was a great horned owl and the things he was able to do were fascinating. So we embarked on a research project to learn more about these fascinating animals.

We started by learning about the different adaptations owls have, such as being able to turn their heads almost completely arphoto 1ound. Small groups researched a specific owl to find out more about the amazing adaptations they have. We discovered they are perfect hunters, and made posters to demonstrate our knowledge. We will be collaborating with the second grade to teach them about our findings.

Next we wrote poetry about owls. We used facts we found and studied other poems to get an idea for our own poems. We made these extra special by placing them on paper bag owls we made. We then uphoto 4 (1)sed our paper bag owl puppets to teach Pre-K all about owls. This turned into drawing owls, making owl perches out of blocks, and showing the Pre-K how owls hunt using the stuffed animals in the room!

Lastly, and in my opinion the most fun, we dissected owl pellets. Even though it seemed gross to many, everyone dug in, and found skulls, leg bones, and teeth! We reconstructed skeletons of their unfortunate victims to display.

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Rhode Island History Come Alive!

The third graders have been busy learning about the founding of our state, Rhode Island. After reading and writing about it, we took the bus to see the places we read about. Our first stop was the State House in Providence where we saw th6ca4e1bc-b645-44aa-b3d7-61683f8743a2e actual charter they used to establish the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Along with the charter, we saw some artifacts from Roger Williams’ time, including a book he wrote himself.

Next stop was the Roger Williams Memorial Park down the street to see the well Roger Williams used to found Providence. After m0733e33b-ce5d-4021-baf2-e32002e7a660arveling at how small it seemed, we went to the visitor center where we were able to see another book Roger Williams wrote. This book was about Native American languages. We also saw paintings depicting Native Americans and Providence in 1636. Everyone agreed it was an interesting and exciting field trip. We are eagerly awaiting a representative from the National Park Service to come visit our class and teach us more about Roger Williams.


Field Trips With a Purpose

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The third grade class went on two field trips this month. The purpose was for them to learn more about the Narragansett Bay and the ocean life in the Bay. We will be turning our learning into a class nonfiction book along with producing projects of the students’ choosing.
The first trip was to the Biomes Center. There they were able to participate in a scavenger hunt, touch some sharks and skates, and pick an animal they would like to research further. All the students had a great time and were able to speak with volunteers who helped us learn more. One student learned that flounder start off in life more like regular fish and flatten out when they get older! Also, they have a special adaptation to change colors to match the sand on the ocean floor. Three of the boys in our class won shark tooth necklaces by completing the scavenger hunt.
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The second trip was to the URI Bay Campus. We first heard about the life cycles within our Bay and the importance of eel bed grasses to our Bay’s ecosystem. Then we went to the student aquarium where students showed us some of the experiments they are conducting. We saw baby lobsters, tanks full of skates (which they were feeding), a very energetic dogfish shark, and a rare blue lobster.

Lizards, and Snakes, and Turtles, Oh My!

This past Friday, we had a special visit from Bwana Iguana, thanks to the generosity of Alan Shawn Feinstein.  It was an exciting and educational experience for our class.  We had a lot of fun seeing, holding, and petting many different reptiles.  The class favorite was the blue tongue skink who could dance when we sang, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  Of course, a few students were selected to show the lizard how to dance properly.  We also learned a lot.  I myself never knew the king snake was called that because he eats other snakes, such as rattlesnakes.  Another new fact we learned was that the box turtle is one of the only turtles to completely close itself into its shell, like a box.  Hence the name, box turtle! Thank you, Alan Shawn Feinstein, for a wonderful hands-on learning experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Special Guest: Yoga Instructor

A couple of weeks ago, the third and second grade had the privilege of having a yoga instructor, Nikolai Blinow, come teach them some breathing techniques and partner yoga poses. She is the creator of OMpowerment yoga, which is dedicated to empower students mentally, physically, and emotionally.

First, we started with “bear breaths” or big, deep breaths to calm us down. After the class, many of the third graders remarked that this exercise helped them to calm their overactive bodies. Another said that she felt just like she was a bear preparing to hibernate!

Then the third grade partnered with second graders to do some challenging partner poses, like tree pose and child’s pose. The third graders were excellent big buddies and helped the younger students hold these poses with one leg or even with both feet in the air! After our yoga session, third graders drew body maps to illustrate how the yoga made us feel. Most wrote about how it made them happy, energized, peaceful or tired. They used symbols and/or colors to represent these feelings. Now we do yoga poses in the classroom when we need a wiggle break, to focus, or to calm down. We look forward to showing our yoga moves to our PreK buddies soon!

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies!

As a mother and a teacher, I have always tried to get my students and my own son to eat healthful foods. At my own house this summer, I realized my son would eat anything I grew in my garden!  The same thing happened this year at school. Second, third, and fourth graders have been busy harvesting many different vegetables from our school garden. Each grade then made something yummy to eat from the garden. Second grade enjoyed getting their hands dirty, then making and eating kale chips. Fourth grade harvested peppers, wax beans, tomatoes, and kale to make a salad bar. Third grade had the privilege of working on many different garden beds one whole Friday afternoon, helping the youngest students’ gardens which needed a lot of weeding.  Then they were able to enjoy kale chips and kale smoothies! All the grades enjoyed cooking and eating their vegetables. Most remarked how fresh vegetables from the garden were tastier than from a grocery store, and more fun!

First Week of Gardening

Yes, it is one of the hottest days of the year. Yes, air conditioning is our best friend. But the students are begging to do gardening. Today was our first day in the garden. Due to the weather, we only were able to go out for 10 minutes at the most. Those ten minutes were amazing, though! The students in second and fourth grades went right to work in the early morning, weeding and watering. We identified edible plants, found baby peppers growing, noticed some spiders, and ate some new vegetables. The wax beans were a hit! The fourth graders were eager and excited to try the new vegetable. Everyone who tried it enjoyed it and wanted to eat more. The fourth graders brainstormed ideas for the garden this year, like utilizing every space in the garden for more plants. It has inspired me to research hanging gardens for the fence. Lastly, first grade learned about gardens from a picture book featuring the famous Winnie the Pooh and his friend Rabbit. They learned that gardening takes patience and hard work. Gardening is obviously a special activity that the students love, and I am proud and excited to lead them in their gardening adventures this year.