Oct 05

Work Together Wednesday, Episode 3

It’s hard to believe that we’re already into October!  Speaking of October, did you know that it’s Socktober?  More than 600,000 American’s are homeless on a daily basis, including children.  Socktober is a community service project geared toward helping homeless shelters in the area by gathering new socks, blankets, and even canned food for the homeless. We’re hoping to get others in the Crestview community involved as well.  So spread the word, and send in some new socks! You can check out Kid President’s plea to those of us on the internet here:

During our place value study, we have been reading some great books about numbers.  In my search for good books on the topic, I stumbled upon (with Mrs. Cross’ help), Millions, Billions, and Trillions, Understanding Big Numbers by David Adler.  This was a fascinating books, full of facts about numbers.It uses real life examples to explain just how big a million, billion, and trillion are.  It even goes so far as to try and help children understand how big the estimated population of the world is at 7 BILLION PEOPLE!  The book also sparked conversation about Kid President telling us that there were 600,000 homeless people, and just how many people that is!


Our Work Together Wednesday Challenge this week was called “Mission in Jars,” (pardon my lack of creativity on the challenge).  This week students were given some typical pantry items such as potatoes, pasta, and rice, and had to get all of the items into a small container, get the lid on, and pass the shake test.  All of this in 3 minutes!

missioninjarsblog1 missioninjars2

Before the groups could start on their mission, they had to fill out a planning sheet individually, and then get with their groups, share their ideas, and then decide what to do.  Part of the whole challenge is to work on communicating and collaborating with peers, and trying to find the best solution for the problem.  And…that your solution isn’t always the best one!  One group was successful in that first three minute challenge–and they didn’t even do it how “it was supposed” to be done.  Unfortunately potatoes aren’t standard in size, so I couldn’t test them all out!


After their three minutes were up, there were of course lots of “Aw Mans” and “We were so close!”  That’s when I presented them with some more information.

missioninjars3Inspired by Habit #3 in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Children, Put First Things First, I wanted kids to think about their “big rocks,” or in this case…their potatoes.  I, again, gave them a second planning sheet.  And, as third graders do…they didn’t necessarily take the lesson I was hoping they’d find to their clipboards.  Rather, they took the things that “didn’t work,” from their previous try in order to develop a new plan.  So, still a Win Win in my book. As a teacher, it helped me reflect on how I might introduce this lesson in the future, and how I might present the information for the second trial.

This time, all of the groups were successful in the challenge, and were jumping up saying “Come Shake US!”  I’m sure that would’ve sounded a little odd to an outside observer!  Part of the challenge was that the lid to the container had to be screwed on tightly, and that it survived a good shake!  I failed to get pictures of all of the groups with their tightly sealed containers, but they finished the challenge all smiles!



During the student reflection, I noticed that many of them hadn’t fully understood the whole “Put First Things First” component of the lesson.  Because of this, we took time during our Thursday meeting to revisit the book, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey, in particular the story about Pokey the Porcupine who’s faced with a dilemma.  He has a spelling test on Friday, but also wants to play with his friends.  Pokey continues to put off studying for his test, and then all of a sudden it’s Friday, and time for the test.  I wonder how things turned out for Pokey?  This is a great conversation to have for kids as they put off doing chores, homework, etc.  And also, a very valuable talk we can have with ourselves when we procrastinate.  After we discussed the story, and our own “big rocks,” the kids were able to tell me what they would’ve/should’ve put in the jar first.  And yes, even if siblings drive us crazy, we all agreed that we’d still take them with us!

Thank you all so much for your kind comments and support of these challenges.  Who knew that an idea that came to me on the evening of the first day of school would turn into such a wonderful thing!  Stay tuned for updates on our next challenge, as well as what we are doing in class!



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