“The Nature of Life is to Grow” (5)-3rd Grade at Prairie View

Today’s look at how GCS students grow and change put us in 3rd grade at Prairie View, in Mr. Luke Penner’s and Mrs. Corrie Timmons’ classes.

When we arrived at Mr. Penner’s classroom, the students were working on their morning work, doing some language review and spelling. We also couldn’t help but notice the Rules listed in the room.

Rules for students: Be responsible, tell the truth, and share.

Rules for the teachers: Be nice, be funny, and listen. (The truth, Mr. Penner IS funny.)

Also listed on white board were the students’ Learning Targets, Writing: I can follow the rules for Plan, 1st Draft, and Publish; Reading: I can use my character words in a discussion; and Math: I can multiply using groups.

Next, Mr. Penner asked the students if they remembered what they had talked about the day before; “what kind of words?” The students remembered that they had discussed verbs. When asked what kind of words were considered verbs, the students said, “action!” Then Mr. Penner had the class spread out and do the motions that they had practiced with their lesson yesterday to help them remember. They said “A verb is an action”, and then karate punched and kicked while saying “Hi-ya!”. (Our guess is that these students will never forget verbs!)

To further instill that verbs are action words, the students came up with “verbs from the playground” (yell, bounce a ball, make music play, jog, ride the scooters and run) and then played a quick game of charades to illustrate the action/verb.

The students then sat down to work on identifying verbs in sentences. The sentences had four answers/choices for the verb. For example. In the sentence “Phillip reads a few pages every day.” The answer choices were Phillip, reads, pages, and every. The students practiced by first reading the sentence, and then looking at the sentence and the answer choices one by one. If they knew that a possible answer was definitely not the answer, then they put an X by the word. Mr. Penner also encouraged students to take their time, think about it, use context clues, and think about what word shows action. Once the students had done a couple of the sentences together as a class, Mr. Penner asked them to finish the rest of the sentences with a partner.

We have observed that in most GCS classrooms, the teachers have some way of getting the attention of their whole classroom without lifting their voices. In Mr. Penner’s room (at least for today) his words were “Classidy, Classidy”, at which point the students quieted and then answered with “Yessidy, Yessidy”. Apparently Mr. Penner’s students are used to his silly words, because the class discussion went on like nothing unusual had occurred.

For the next activity, the students worked on their writing projects. Some students were still in the planning phase, some were working on their 1st draft, and another group was already working on publishing and illustrating their work.

Then we went across the hall to Mrs. Timmons’ classroom. Her students were working on writing as well. Mrs. Timmons talked to the students about writing on the “story mountain”; making the most important or exciting part at the top, or the end. She added that writers stretch out the most important part by adding more details to the story, and said that “details make it more interesting for the reader”. The students were using the “mountain” model to plan their stories, and then they were encouraged to write their story once their plan was completed.

Mrs. Timmons’ “attention-getting sound” for her class was a doorbell. When the doorbell rang, Mrs. Timmons stated that it was time to move on from the current writing activity, to another reading and writing activity. However, she stated that “we are going to do a Go Noodle video first. We need to move our bodies and give our brains a quick break”. The video was “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, and the students let loose and danced and followed the motions on the screen, and let out some energy.

Following their “brain break”, the students looked at some video interviews they had done for a project that examined these two questions: What does it mean to be a responsible citizen? What impact do they have on a community? Each student group picked an adult in the school building that they thought was a responsible citizen and interviewed them. Among the school employees they chose were the principal, the school secretary, the head custodian, the nurse, a teacher, the counselor, and the music teacher.

Today, the students were looking at video interviews from other groups, and leaving a sticky note with feedback for the other team. Mrs. Timmons said that the feedback will help the other team know what they did well and what still needs work.

They also had a list of character traits, and were using that list to describe the video subject’s character, how their character makes an impact on the school community, and then they were also supposed to explain why.

Lastly, on a wall Mrs. Timmons’ classroom, there is a poster with Mrs. Timmons’ Promise…

Mrs. Timmons’ Promise

I promise to greet you warmly each morning, no matter what happened yesterday.

I will listen to your ideas and work to challenge you so that learning is interesting.

I promise to celebrate your hard work and accomplishments.

I promise to support and encourage you when things are difficult.

I will never give up on you.

I am here to help you succeed.

A student who had evidently been at an appointment (or something) came into the classroom late. Mrs. Timmons greeted the student with a side hug and said “I missed you.” The student smiled at his teacher and said “I know.” (Timmons’ Promise, kept!)

Thank you Mr. Penner, Mrs. Timmons, and Prairie View 3rd graders! You are already learning so many new words and concepts, and your willingness to participate and take risks is very impressive.

The 3rd grade students seemed a little different than the students in the younger classrooms of Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade. The students are a little older and the curriculum is a little more advanced. But whatever the differences may be, there is no doubt that these 3rd grade students are well on their educational way!