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Our new learning

Janet Chapman, Grade 3 teacher at Prairie Waters Elementary School, Calgary, Canada

Janet Chapman, Grade 3 teacher at Prairie Waters Elementary School, Calgary, Canada

This is a special blog post written by Grade 3 students from Prairie Waters Elementary School, Canada. Share this with your students and invite them to respond to the questions posted by young writers.

“At the beginning of our unit, we learned about what the words in our central idea meant. Our central idea is: Order and structure create functional communities and organizations. We used an iPad app, a dictionary and a thesaurus to figure out what the words meant. We worked in groups. Then we apply our own words on the central idea to show what they mean. We learned that functional means that something is working properly. Communities are groups of people that live in the same place. Create means that you make something.

Does your community work properly? What helps it to work properly?


Liana, Sajan, Tehya, Zanab

In mathematics, we have been learning about place value. There are flats worth a hundred; rods that are worth ten; and, units worth one. We use flats, rods and units to represent numbers. To show the 234, you would put out 2 flats, 3 rods and 4 units. To count bigger numbers, you can use bigger groups, for example, if you needed to count a bunch of paper clips, you would group them in tens or twenties and then count the groups.  This is related to our central idea, because we are talking about how things are organized and we know that our numbers are organized too!

Do you ever use place value to help you organize numbers?


Ella, Fateha, Laine, Liam

We think we have a good quality of life in our classroom. We had to make a list of things that we think we need and things we want. After that, we had to cut out pictures of wants and needs and we had to sort them. On the back of our sheet, we had to write two sentences about two things we need and explain why we need those things. Then we wrote two sentences about two things we want and why, for example, “I need food because I need it to survive”. Then we made a web about the things that we think are important for a good quality of life. A lot of them were needs! If someone does not have a good quality of life, they need their community and organizations to help them.

Do people around the world all have a good quality of life?


Megan, Prisha, Tashfeen

This week our teacher told us we were going to a new planet. We had twenty items (which were needs, wants and rights) that we could bring with us, but the spaceship was not big enough so we had to eliminate 6 items. After that, we found out that the spaceship was even smaller than they thought so we had to eliminate 6 more items and we could only bring 8 with us. We decided that we needed to bring the needs and rights with us.  Some of the items we thought were most important were clean air, clean water, protection from abuse and neglect and shelter. This is related to our central idea because communities and organizations help to meet our needs.

What would you bring to a new planet?


Kamis, Noah, Teg, Tehreem

We have been learning about quality of life in our own country. Now we are also going to find out about other people’s quality of life. We started by looking at a map of the world to find out where the people in our textbook live. We learned about the continents in the world and then placed pins on the map to show where Maria, Ravi, Irena and Ahmed (in our textbook) are from. It relates to our central idea, because we are learning about communities and these people are from all over the world. We can look at how they are similar or different to us.

If you live in a different country, can you tell us what your quality of life is like?


Cody, Logan, Taya

We have the perfect classroom and this week we got design a perfect classroom ourselves. Here are some of our ideas. The carpet is in the middle because we can get to the carpet from tables and desks quickly and we can see the smartboard easily. A perfect classroom is where there are places to learn and a perfect teacher! A perfect classroom has nice students too! In our central idea it says that having order helps things to work properly and so we need an organized classroom and not a messy one so it works properly and we can find things easily.

How is your classroom organized?


Aleeza, Declan, Django, Xong

The original article can be found in Janet’s blog here.

Janet has been teaching at Prairie Waters for 8 years and has recently begun using her class blog and Twitter to connect with other classes around the world. She uses these technologies to conduct inquiries with her classes and learn along-side her students. She blogs at


One Response to Our new learning

  1. Ashifa 1 June 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Thank you for sharing this post. It’s so amazing to see how you have recorded students’ learning! I would love to learn more about how you set up your class blog. I have one but would like it to function more like yours!

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