August 30

The Aliens are departing, but cartoonists are moving in.

Last term, one of our favourite art activities was to create an alien from our name. As we were putting our Book Week Fire Paintings and book reviews on display, Ellen took down our previous art work.

We had been investigating symmetry in maths and of course as we were also learning about space last term in science, it made sense back then to create some aliens. To make them, Ellen wrote our names in pencil using old fashioned loopy writing, we traced them on a folded piece of cartridge paper. Then we had fun turning them into strange creatures. We gave them an appropriate name and chose a coloured background to make them stand out.

What do you think?

It will be sad to see them go as they looked great guarding the walls of our corridor.


Did you try to make an alien out of your family member’s names?

Can you remember how to make them?

Budding Cartoonists are stretching their skills

For the last few Friday art lessons we have been learning the skills of cartooning, paying particular attention to drawing faces. We have learnt that there is a lot of maths involved in art, there are a lot of fractions to remember indeed. We need to divide our oval shape into quarters and then find the half way points to get positions for facial features. It has been fun. We have a special drawing pad that we can use to develop our drawing skills. Now that we are almost confident in faces we are experimenting with expressions. Stay tuned for some of our work right now we are busy learning…..

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We have been careful not to press too hard and to tickle the page with our pencil. While we draw Ellen plays some classical music. At the moment we are listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart an Austrian composer who was born in 1756. The music is creative and inspiring.  He composed his first symphony at the age of eight. We were impressed when we heard that.170px-Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart_1

This painting of Mozart was painted posthumously (after his death) by Barbara Krafft  1819

Mozart is a talented artist indeed and perhaps some of his genius may find its way to us even after all those years!

August 25

Book Week

small BW promo logoWe have been enjoying the Book Week activities arranged for us through the library. Toady we had a delightful art activity with Ms Sweeney where we completed reading the Book Fire by Jackie French and admiring the fabulous illustrations by Bruce Whatley.

He captured the essence of Jackie’s text beautifully, so we had a go at water colour art work too. We carefully used fire colours to do a wash back ground and while our pages were drying Ms. Sweeney read the book to us. How ferocious was the fire monster that destroyed the area.

To show our version of the blackened debris left after a devastating fire, we put a blob of watery black paint and used a straw to blow streaks of spidery blackness to show burnt clawed trees. As we listened to Ms Sweeney read the text, many of us were using our self to text skills, remembering experiences we have shared in creating images in our heads.

Some of us felt a little dizzy using all our breath to blow the paint around. What fun. We can’t wait to see our finished paintings. Our paintings were left to dry.


We decided to mount them on coloured card. We chose “fire”colours to help our paintings stand out. What do you think?DSC08409 DSC08410 DSC08411 DSC08412 DSC08413


The short listed books

We hadn’t quite read all the short listed picture books, but from the ones we did get a chance to read, we had a go at voting for our favourite ones during our library borrowing.

We have read the following so far…

So far lots of stickers went on Pig the Pug. I wonder how that will go.

Stay tuned for dress up day Wednesday, 26th August

How exciting it was to come in and find new characters have moved into our room.

The Cat in the Hat has found his friend Wobbles the Clown

The Cat in the Hat has found his friend Wobbles the Clown

Who is your character?

Who is your character?

It was exciting walking down to our special Book Week assembly. Everyone looked fantastic.

It was exciting walking down to our special Book Week assembly. Everyone looked fantastic.

How cool did we look.

How cool did we look.

We are the Knights of Literacy. Defenders of the written word, protector of Queen Sweeney - Keeper of the  holy keys to learning.

We are the Knights of Literacy. Defenders of the written word, protector of Queen Sweeney – Keeper of the holy keys to learning.


Bindi, Wobbles the Clown, Pippi Longstockings and Jessie


Jinga, Ricardo, Grover and Captain America

Jinga, Ricardo, Grover and Captain America

Tom, Steve, Enderman

Tom, Steve, Enderman

Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood.

Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood.

Scourge, Hello Kitty, Bat Girl

Scourge, Hello Kitty, Bat Girl

Skeleton, Specky Mcgee and Ronaldo

Skeleton, Specky Mcgee and Ronaldo

Thing one, The Cat in the Hat and Thing two.

Thing one, The Cat in the Hat and Thing two.

Oh what fun we hat parading around in our costumes. Book week is awesome.


Although Book Week is celebrated this week we reckon  it’s book week every week. Where would we be without books?

August 23

Melting Moments

Our science topic for investigation this term as been a chemistry focus, where we have been looking at what happens to matter when temperatures change.


Melting ice-cream courtesy of www.GIBAY.Com

Matter, we have learnt is either solid, liquid or a gas. As we have noticed these states can change depending on temperature and they can swap between the states changing from solid to liquid then back to a solid. Matter does behave strangely at times.


We began our investigation with a homework study task by observing matter around the home that melted. We had a wide range of items which for the most part were observed in the kitchen – butter, honey, margarine, coconut oil, melting on toast/pancakes or in pans. Marshmallows, chocolate and ice melting in hot/cold drinks. Ice-cream melting at room temperature. Plastic in fires etc. The students used their science skills in recording their observations some used line drawings and others included a photo. All recorded that heat was responsible in some way for changing the material.

That got us ready for the first activity – Heating Things Up Unfortunately I didn’t visually record this work, but we did have a rather interesting scientific discussion based on our experiences and used the predict reason observe explain method. A summary of our predictions is below.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 5.09.12 pmWorking in teams the students chose a random list of three objects and sealed them in plastic bags. They labelled them appropriately and placed the samples in front of a heat source (my portable blow heater), we observed them for sometime with no change in state occurring. Working on our efficiency skills we began to realise we could probably use our time to read the next exciting chapter in the class novel, well it was at an exciting cliff hanger! So we left our samples to their fate.

When we returned, we noticed a lot of our predictions were spot on. Using a recording sheet we revised the essentials of line drawings and used this skill to record and describe the changes observed.

We then placed the same samples in the refrigerator for Cool Customers and repeated the process. The next step was to place the samples in the freezer, but by that stage we had set up a story board with our previous recordings.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 5.10.23 pmAs students were creating their story boards they were discussing their predictions on what they would find when adding even more cold, explaining their reasons using descriptive language from our word wall e.g. colder than, stickier than etc.

DSC08341Even Rocky gets into the act of scientific discussion.
DSC08342Great eye contact to the speakers learning team two.

DSC08345“Ooh it feels cold and hard. It’s like ice but it’s squishy.”DSC08346

Once we rechecked our frozen samples we used the findings from our discussions and observations to complete our story boards. What do you think?

What part of theses investigations so far did you find most interesting and fun to do?

What questions about this topic do you have? These question starters may help you come up with some.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 6.03.36 pmWe are enjoying continuing to explore the changes in states of matter due to changes in temperature. We began our next activity with a role play where we took on the matter and decided the state we’d be in depending on the temperature. We divided the room into a liquid zone and a solid zone. As each temperature was selected the different matters needed to place themselves in the correct zone. Then we recorded our observations.

Science Literacy

Part of science is recording our observations in a way that is easy to read and provides information quickly. Our literacy skills came in handy with this task. We decided to use a table which needed a Title, columns with headings and data collated under under each heading.


We began using full words for each section but then the class realised that by having a code S for Solid L for Liquid it made the table much easier to read and faster to record.

Once completed we were able to read the information and make some powerful claims based on data we collected.

Now the tricky part we had to write our own definition of solid, liquid and gas.

How would you explain these states to someone unfamiliar with the idea? 

Our last investigation was rather interesting. We wanted to see if chocolate would melt faster if it was in smaller pieces. We predicted that it probably would as our knowledge of heating things up and checking out how solids change state is pretty good by now and it made logical sense when we compared it to our experiences.

In our teams we collected the equipment and set about to break two chocolate buttons into smaller pieces, while we left two buttons whole. We kept all variables the same except the size of the chocolate. We recording the steps of our investigation as we completed each part.

Once all teams were ready, we placed the bags in front of a heat source and kept a stop watch going to find the time the contents of each bag would change state from a solid to a liquid. The smell of melting chocolate was making some people hungry.

We discovered that indeed the smaller pieces did melt a lot faster than the large piece of chocolate, but it depended on where the bags were placed. We also found out that some bags are not suitable for being close to heat as they burst and shrivelled up. We wouldn’t recommend using cheap thin bags!

Our claim is that the smaller the piece of chocolate the faster heat can travel through the object and it will lose its shape and change from a solid to a liquid. The evidence for this is that the results from this experiment clearly show that when chocolate is broken up the time it takes is faster than if it remained a larger piece.

What has been the most interesting part of this unit of study?

Are you interested in other freezing and melting experiments?

August 19

Measurement is Big!

In Maths this term as part of Measurement and Geometry, we have been building our skills and knowledge around the idea of measurement. This isn’t as simple as using rulers to find out how tall your drink bottle is. They need to know how to use the tools or equipment to measure. They certainly need to know the language of measurement and that is broken up into many sections

  • the language of estimation
  • the language of what can be measured-objects, spaces, events
  • the language of attributes Linear -length, height, width, depth, diameter Mass, Capacity, Time, Temperature, Angle, Perimeter
  • the language of measuring tools standard and non
  • the language of units hefting– lighter/heavier, gm, kg, linear -mm,cm,m,km



Before our investigation I wanted to know what knowledge the students are already familiar with. I gave them each a small cardboard prism/ box and asked them to record anything they knew or could do with that container to do with measurement.


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They had a surprising amount of information and it was clear we needed to clarify our ideas and misconceptions. We brainstormed what we thought measurement was.

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There was a lot of data which then needed to be sorted. In their teams they set about to find away to organise similar attributes or concepts under headings and sub headings.

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Their posters showed a lot of strong connections on which to build.

We began our investigation with looking at Linear Measurement, that’s bigger than it seems, particularly reading all the measuring devices with accuracy. One of our first activities was comparing lengths of body parts using tape measures. That was fun especially when our estimations were spot on.


Measuring larger distances meant becoming familiar with trundle wheels. Here we threw a bean bag as far as we could, predicted the distance and then measured to see how our estimates went. With our team buddies to keep check we were striving for accuracy.trw trw1

We reckon we are almost experts at Linear measurement with all the practice we’ve had. We have also worked out how to find perimeter too. That we now know the distance around the boundary of a shape. There was some interesting connections with number as they realised there was no need to add four distances if the shape was a standard quadrilateral, for them doubling worked quicker. Now, will that always work? Think about it.

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We have realised there is still a lot for us to do and learn. So we are setting measurement goals. We want to explore capacity next week and we still need to check out our skills in reading, writing and making time in both analogue and digital clocks.I wonder if Dr Who has to work that hard to become a time lord?



We had a look at angles on Friday and learnt that angles are the rotation of a line that is joined at a vertex or spot. It’s important that we remember how to tell the difference between the different types.



It was fun using semi protractors to measure the distance these lines have moved. We need to remember to place the 0° on the first line and get the cross hairs exactly on the vertex. Not as easy as it looks. Then we need to be able to read the divisions on the protractor. What a challenge! We need to strive for accuracy in this task.

Measurement is big, there is lots to think about.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

We have continued to learn skills in measurement by investigating the mass of objects.

Mass  The amount of matter contained in an object.

Units of mass;

gram   g

kilogram   kg

tonne   t

1000g = 1 kg

1000 kg = 1 t

We found out that the word weight is often used incorrectly to describe mass, so we made it our priority to use the correct language.

We enjoyed experimenting with different types of scales to find the mass of similar objects an compared the readings. We noticed that the same object may give a different amount. Why was that? As we continued to estimate different the masses of objects, our estimations became  more accurate. We found that hefting objects, lifting it in our hands to judge the mass, was a good way to estimate the mass rather than just looking at it.

Sadly, Ellen forgot to capture images of our mass investigations ( she’s new to Blogging and keeps forgetting!)


But we did manage to repeat the original task that we started with . I gave all the students the same box and asked them to use all their new measuring skills to describe what they could record for that box.

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I thought these work samples showed a lot of new learning for measurement and included clear mathematical thinking, planning and the language of measurement. The samples may be hard to read but trust me, you guys worked very mathematically Bravo.


So how do you feel about your time skills, will you be a Time Lord?



We spent most of last week learning all the different ways to read and make the time in both digital and analog. Now sometimes reading time can be confusing but in time and with lots of practice it makes sense. This may help.

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Time is running out for learning time, we’ll have to learn time on the run because we need to move on.


Have you been noticing how many times you actually have to estimate and measure throughout the day?

We thought measurement was big who would have thought it was this big.

Now the Show is coming up is there any Maths there?

August 11

Recalling Number Facts


A major area of maths for year three is number. There is so much in number that students need to be able to show me they understand and can apply the concepts in different situations. I have been showing the class the expectations that need to be covered, as it allows them to see what they need to be able to do.

One part of number is to be able to recall number facts. We are starting with recalling subtraction and addition to ten. So this term we are having an audit and children are able to come to me when they believe they can recall them.

What does being able to recall mean? It means being able to answer something you already know but it feels very fast.


What are subtraction and addition facts? The facts for 3 are

3+0= 3        3-0=3

0+3=3         3-3=0

1+2=3          3-2=1

2+1=3          3-1=2


Students need to know these facts for numbers 1 through 10. At the moment all the students have a table that they can record when they show me evidence which they can update in their Maths Journals..


So how will you know you have learnt each set of facts and want to show me evidence?


To your brain it will feel like

  • It’s fast
  • No-one can trick you
  • You can do them anywhere anytime

Learning number facts one through ten has a flow on effect for knowing larger number facts, so it’s important that they get these to be automatic. Of course we then need to know multiplication and division which we’ll move on to later. Keep practicing anytime you can .


What do you do to learn your facts?

Which strategy do you prefer to use to learn them and to show me?