Thursday, November 12, 2015

Diary of a Beta Fish

Our class has been asked to foster a fish!  Meet Ms. Bluey.

Ms. Bluey usually resides in Mrs. Levy's classroom.  While Mrs. Levy is out, we have offered to house Ms. Bluey, to feed her and to take care of her.  While doing this, we decided to have a little fun and create a blog for Ms. Bluey to keep track of her adventures while with us.  Click on the link below to check it out and to see what Ms. Bluey wrote about our Halloween activities.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

VT State Parks Education Program

Our class, along with Mrs. Dobart's and Mrs. Fagan's classes, have been participating in a new educational outreach program through the Vermont State Parks.  Every Wednesday, we have Cat, a park interpreter from Lake St. Catherine, visit each of the three classrooms to teach us more about science.  Our class has been focusing on the earth and how it has changed over the years.  During the first week, students explored the major fault lines and how this has led to our 7 continents.  Students also learned that these fault lines have resulted in many mountains.  During week 2, students spent time learning how erosion and weather affect and change the land around us as well. The students even tried weathering rocks themselves with sandpaper.  Last week, we learned about the three different types or rocks - sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic - and how each type is formed.  Today, during her last visit with us, Cat taught us about fossils.  She taught us how fossils are made and why they are important.  Fossils give us clues about our past.  After learning about fossils, the students got to use clay and shells to make their own fossils.  This was a fun way to end our program with Cat.  We learned so much and had a great time doing so.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vermont Author Visits 3rd Grade

Our class has been reading a new middle grade book, Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile, written by Marcia Wells.  This book is about a 6th grade boy, Eddie Red, who has a photographic memory.  After witnessing a fight in an alley, Eddie finds himself working on an art robbery case with the NYC police department.  The book is funny and has a great mystery to solve.
We have greatly enjoyed this book.  Ask any 3rd grader from our class and they will probably tell you that their favorite part of the story was how the science teacher, Mr. Patterson, got the nickname Mr. Pee.  It involves Eddie’s best friend, Jonah, a red sweater, an apple, and a puddle of pee.  This book will have you laughing throughout the entire thing and on the edge of your seat while Eddie gets himself into trouble trying to solve the case.  
It turns out that Ms. Wells lives in Vermont.  We used our connections, wrote her letters pleading with her to come visit, and convinced her that Mrs. Smith’s 3rd grade was where she wanted to be!  We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Wells to discuss her book.  

How long was the process for writing Eddie Red? (Alanah)

A lot of people think that it is really long to write.  Ms. Wells said that it took a couple of years to write the first book.  But it did not take as long for the other books.  It took only about 6 months for books 2 and 3.  It took 5 years to find a publisher and 2 years to publish once she had a contract.  She also had a lot of help from her friends.   

When did you start writing? (Alanah)

Ms. Wells said that she started when she was older, about 7 years ago.  When she was our age, like 9 and 10, she wrote a book named Sally and the Mermaid.

Are you writing any new books?  Can you tell us anything about them? (Shelby)

Marcia Wells told us that she just wrote an adventure about 2 VT boys and Abenaki Indians.
She also wrote a mystery about a missing bully.

How did you come up with the character, Eddie Red and Detective Bovano? (Brennen)

Ms. Wells said she doesn’t really remember. She said they just sort of showed up.
Detective Bovano’s original name was Benson but someone told her it was already someone's name in a TV show. She tried to think of a really good Italian name and it was Bovano.

Who or what inspired you to write and how did you become writer? (Grace)

Ms.Wells told us she taught 7th grade boys. Her class inspired her to write. Also the books of Harry Potter written by J.K Rowling inspired her to write because of all the mystery and excitement in her books. She said she hadn’t read kids books for a long time and now all she reads are kids books.

What advice can you give us as young writers? (Brookelyn)

Ms. Wells said there 6 things you can do to become a better writer. They are write, write, write, read, read, read. That’s all you need for success. Authors read to get inspired, then write ideas down. She also gave more advice. It was don’t give up. I bet you didn’t know Ms.Wells has written 7 books but only 3 have been published.     

How did you come up with the idea for the book Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile? (Nathan)

We asked Ms. Wells the question on the top. She said the she came up with the idea because she taught 7th grade boys reading and Spanish. They read mystery books so she started to make books. Then she came up with the idea of mystery.

How is the illustrator for your books chosen? (Nathan)

People think that she got to pick her illustrator but that isn’t true at all. The publishing team does.The art director works with the author and illustrator to make the pictures for the book, then puts them in.

You have written 2 books so far. Which one is your favorite and why? (Aidan)

We asked Ms. Wells the question above and this is what she said. She likes them all equally. But if she had to pick one it would be the first book because you get to know Eddie and the idea was more magical.

Who is your favorite character? (Jared)

Eddie and Jonah are both Ms. Wells’ favorite characters.  Ms. Wells mentioned that she wrote so much about Jonah that she had to erase about half because the story is not called Jonah Red, it is called Eddie Red.

Where did you get the idea for Eddie Red to have a photographic memory? (Bryan)

Ms.Wells wanted Eddie to have a realistic human super power. She also made Eddie an artist because she isn’t artistic.

In addition to answering all of our questions, Ms. Wells explained to us how the illustrations in her book came to be.  Originally, Eddie Red was not going to have illustrations but after reading it, the publisher said it needed pictures.  Of course this made sense because Eddie is an artist.  The artist, Marcos Calo, is from Spain and his work is something that many people have seen.  Mr. Calo worked on the animation for “Despicable Me”.
Ms. Wells described the process the book went through to get the illustrations just right.  The creative team first described the book to Marcos Calo and he then got to work.  He submitted several different covers.  The creative team then picked a cover that would grab the reader's’ attention.  It turns out that Ms. Wells’ favorite cover was not the one picked by the creative team.  Ms. Wells mentioned that when you publish a book, it isn’t just yours anymore.  It becomes a team thing.  After the cover was chosen, the art director was responsible for adding the titles.  In the case of Eddie Red, the art director made the lettering look 3-D, added the police tape, and decided where to put the author’s name.
In telling us about the illustration process, Ms. Wells mentioned that because Marcos Calo is from Spain there was a bit of a cultural influence on his illustrations.  Mr. Calo does speak English but some of the meaning of the story would get lost in translation.  Every time Mr. Calo would submit a drawing of Eddie, he would have a satchel instead of a backpack.  Ms. Wells had to continually point this out so that the drawing could be changed to a backpack.  
We would highly recommend Eddie Red Undercover Mystery on Museum Mile.  It is an ├╝ber-cool book!!

For more information on Marcia Wells, go to
For more information on Marcos Calo, go to

Sunday, May 10, 2015


The 3rd and 4th grades spent Wednesday in Montpelier, our state’s capital.  While in Montpelier, the students were able to visit both the State House and the Vermont History Museum, learning more about our state’s history and how our government works. Students were given a tour of the State House building and learned a lot about what goes on there.    
To prepare for our field trip, the 4th graders created a law they wanted to see pass.  Our tour guide took this proposal and showed us the process it goes through to become a law.  Students were able to see the Senate chambers as well as the chambers of the House of Representatives.  In addition, students visited the Cedar Creek Room where they were able look at a large painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek, a battle fought in Virginia during the Civil War.  While at the State House, students had the opportunity to meet some of their representatives and some lucky students even got to meet Governor Shumlin. 
Students also took a tour of the Vermont History Museum.  Students were able to sit inside an Abenaki wigwam and learn about the Abenaki way of life.  The 3rd graders spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year learning about the Abenakis in Proctor and were excited to actually be able to experience this.  In addition, students learned about what life was like in Vermont during the time of the Green Mountain Boys, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War.  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SBAC's and Field Trip

We are a week into SBAC testing and things are going very well so far.  The students have come to school with a positive attitude each day and have been working their hardest.  I have been so impressed by their perseverance on this assessment, as it is challenging.  I am so proud of each and every one of them!  We will be continuing the assessment on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week.  I appreciate your ongoing help with students coming to school on time and ready to go.  We would not survive this without your help.
To help with all the testing, our class has tried to have a little fun to brighten the day.  The weather has been warm and sunny this week so we have been getting out to recess 10 minutes early.  It has been nice to have this time as a whole class.  In addition, we began watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  The kids have loved this time of the day.  It has been amazing to see them pick out the differences between the movie and the book.
Our field trip is almost upon us and the students are getting excited.  Below are a few reminders:

  • Please do not bring electronics on the field trip.

  • Please make sure that students are dressed appropriately to include comfortable walking shoes (no flip flops please) and a coat or sweatshirt in case it is cold.

  • Students will need a bag lunch (no glass bottles).  If your child will need a bag lunch from the cafeteria that day, please let me know no later than Monday.

  • We will be boarding the bus at 8:00.  Because of this, we are asking that students NOT participate in Walking Wednesday since students will not get to the school until 8:05.  

  • Students may come into the classroom after 7:45 when they get to school or when they are finished with breakfast.  

  • We will be talking about field trip expectations in class, but I could use your help reinforcing it at home as well.  Discuss with your child that the Vermont State House is a very important place of business.  It is important that we are respectful so as not to disturb those working.  We want to leave them with the positive impression of our 3rd grade class that I have come to know!


Enjoy the rest of the week and the nice weekend ahead!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jane Goodall

This winter, our 3rd grade class learned about Jane Goodall and Malala Yousafzai with the purpose of writing an opinion essay on who we thought should be Time for Kids’ person of the year.  We read articles, as well as did research on the internet to learn more about these 2 amazing people.
We learned that Malala Yousafzai was a teenage girl who was shot by the Taliban  for going to school.  Despite this, Malala continued to go to school and even spoke out for girls’s rights to education.  She is the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Jane Goodall is a world famous primatologist.  She began working with chimps in Africa when she was in her 20’s and continued to do so for more than 20 years.  She currently travels the world teaching people how to protect the environment and the chimpanzees.
Our class had the opportunity to join in a webinar hosted by Time for Kids with Jane Goodall.  We were able to watch Dr. Goodall live as she spoke about her career working with chimps and answering questions submitted by students all over the world.  The students were captivated by what Dr. Goodall had to say.  Dr. Goodall’s advice for young people is “If you really want something you are going to have to very work hard, take advantage of opportunity and never give up!”