At the end of last year, I volunteered to have the Alphasmart Danas in my classroom. These were purchased for Middle School use some years ago, but with the one-to-one laptop initiative, they became available for lower school use. These are fantastic tools. Because we have only 24 laptops available for all six third grade classes, these Danas act as a good stop-gap measure.

We started using them with the realistic fiction story scenes. When students were finished writing one or more scenes, they then got out their Danas, and word processed their writing. Once that was done, at intermittent intervals, that work was sent to their own personal files, then they could work on the laptops for publishing when I had them scheduled for our classroom.  Coming into third grade, our students had a basic idea of how to use technology. I am amazed at the progress they have made in figuring out how to manipulate the tools to make their writing and publishing complete.

Enjoy the following photos:

Emerald taking her Dana out of the cart

Rachel and Darren at work on the laptops

"Sending" work from the Dana to laptops...lots of cords involved! Students are independently doing this on their own now.


Writing, writing, writing!

We are following the Lucy Caulkins models of writing, and while they are time consuming, they are good for getting students to write in depth about the genre. Our first genre was a personal narrative; writing a little seed story instead of a big watermelon topic. And our second genre, which is finally nearly finished, was realistic fiction stories. Once the final three stories are revised, and edited, they will all be ready for publishing on a class web page. We’ll be going to the computer lab the Thursday and Friday following Christmas vacation to do the publishing. I’m sure you will all enjoy the stories.

Here are students in various stages of the writing process.

MinJi is thinking about what to write next, while In-Kyung, Emerald, and Sarah are adding to their scenes in their story booklets

Here Rachel is modeling how to add more detail to scenes

Cheyenne, Andrew, Emerald, Ethan, and Calvin are using the Alphasmart Danas to type in their scenes from their story booklets

Science Vocabulary

There are most definitely some new terms to learn in our science units. For the two units we’ve done so far, I’ve had the students make posters of the new vocabulary words. Included on the posters are the definitions, as well as drawings that help the students remember the words. We do have some very creative and artistic students in our room, and the posters always turn out well. Not only are they visually appealing, but they serve as a reminder for the science units.

Edward and Cheyenne working together

Ethan is quite the artist!

Dragon Readers

As part of the Community social studies unit, we needed a class name and flag. After careful consideration and voting, the class chose “Dragon Readers” for their name. It’s fitting, as they are a class that loves to read. Here are a few photos of groups of students working on posters that describe what a “Dragon Reader” is.

Andrew, Rachel, and Sarah

Emerald, Tomoki, Coco, Nathan T., and JJ


The four values of the entire school are: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Kindness. You would be proud of some of our students for fulfilling the value of honesty not long ago. While we were out in the bus parking lot walking Caramel, one of the students found a coin. On the way back to the classroom, we stopped by Mr. Whalen’s office and gave it to him to take care of. Even though it was just 10$NT, our students didn’t even think about not turning it in. It’s nice to see our students doing the right thing.

Here are the students talking to Mr. Whalen

Coco is telling Mr. Whalen where she found the money and why she thought it was important to bring it to him

Sentence Scramble

To help students learn and remember parts of speech, we have played a game called Sentence Scramble. Students use the word strips they are given to generate sentences that make sense.

Cheyenne, Andrew, Ethan, Andrew, and Emerald working together to make as many complete sentences as they can

Ms. Quince, the ESL teacher, working with one of the table groups

Read a Good Book Lately?

We have! Here are some photos capturing a bit of the reading going on in room 3A01.


Lucas and Nathan W.

A bit of science reading together