''How do you get a person's attention in your introduction?'' asked Lincoln Elementary School third-grade teacher Cindy Bolling. ''You can use a grabber sentence that showcases something you learned about your animal. Sentence A is your grabber sentence. Because we already completed an outline of our report, the introductory paragraph should be easy, as you know the topics in your paper, Now, you need to tell the reader what they will be learning.''
Mrs. Bolling explained that the next sentence in the introduction is the main idea of the entire report. The last sentence tells the reader three things about their animal including: how they look, how they survive and an interesting fact.
''It's that simple to write an introduction. You completed an outline and in the introductory paragraph you briefly tell the reader what will be included in your report.''
Lincoln Elementary School third-graders Karley Kennedy and Lilly Melquist drop water on different materials — clay, construction paper, paper towels and foil — to better understand the vocabulary word, absorption, during a science experiment in Julie Strong’s class to coincide with a buoyancy unit.
Mrs. Bolling ended a daily English Language Arts block during a typical day in her classroom. Mrs. Bolling's students have English Language Arts everyday from 8:45 to 11 a.m.
''I love spelling,'' said Lincoln third-grader Karley Kennedy. ''It's my favorite thing to do. I think it's fun and it helps me in all my subjects. I hope to become an artist.''
''OK everyone, deep breath. Let's get oxygen to the brain so we can now go from the English Language Arts part of our brain to the math. We are starting a brand new math unit called fractions. What do you know about fractions? How does a fraction look? We all know math people don't use words. They use symbols, correct?''
Mrs. Bolling wrote on the board to show students that fractions have two numbers, one on top and one on the bottom.
''But a fraction can also look like this,'' said Mrs. Bolling as she puts 4 on the board.
''Wow, what's that?''
''You can even have a fraction that looks like this,'' as she wrote 1/578.
Ohhs and ahhs came from the class.
''Awesome, how does that work?''
''Welcome to the third grade! You'll soon know all about how fractions work!''
Mrs. Bolling, using the district's Math Expressions curriculum, began her fractions lesson. Students used individual white boards to visually understand the concept of fractions by creating ''pizzas'' and dividing them up into pieces. Mrs. Bolling's students receive math instruction every day from 11 a.m. to noon.
''We are doing a lot harder math than in second grade,'' said Lincoln third-grader Isabella Palermo. ''We are learning about area and geometric solids. We have to learn a lot of new things but Mrs. Bolling challenges us to do more. We are proud of ourselves when we get good grades. I want to be a doctor because I like helping people. I need good grades in school so I can go to college.''
Next in a Lincoln third-grader's day is a popular pastime called lunch. The students arrive in the cafeteria and chat with their friends for a well-needed break from noon to 12:30 p.m.
After lunch, students break up based on skill levels. Each third-grade teacher provides a group to support reading intervention skills from 12:30 to 1:05 p.m.
From 1:15 to 1:45 p.m., students rotate through Science, Social Studies, Math Enrichment or Health two times a week. Each third-grade teacher - Mrs. Bolling, Julie Strong, Rhonda Ricker and Linda Rhinehart - teaches a subject as students move to different classrooms. A recent health unit focused on discovering the different body systems including skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive and nervous. As a culminating activity, students cut out of paper, and colored, the different systems to place in a paper ''body.''
''What do you remember most about the body systems?'' asked Mrs. Bolling.
''Your heart pumps blood through the entire body,'' said one student.
''That's correct. Remember, it is important to keep all your body systems healthy. We will learn more about exercise and proper nutrition in future health classes.''
''I liked learning about the body because I want to be a veterinarian and I'll need to know about body systems for animals too,'' said third-grader Cooper Pannes. ''English is actually my favorite subject because I like spelling and writing.''
The final part of a Lincoln third-grader's day is called ''specials.'' Students rotate every four days to Library, Art, Music and Physical Education. In art class, Lincoln third-graders are working with an exciting method of art education. Students were presented with a ''big idea'' like ''My Identity'' or ''My Favorite Place'' and shown samples of the many different ways artists choose to address these themes. Students independently choice how they wanted to create a personal artwork using drawing, painting, collage or three-dimensional centers. The projects helped students work independently through the creative process brainstorming ideas, creating a work plan and reflecting on their completed projects.
''I enjoy watching my students develop thinking and questioning skills. In the third grade you see students starting to put it all together and go to a higher level of thinking,'' said Mrs. Bolling, who has taught for over 25 years. ''One of my main focuses besides teaching the curriculum is to encourage the students to think independently. I want them to take the skills they learn in math and English and apply them to other situations through problem-solving. The difficult part is finding time to satisfy their intense curiosity about all subjects. They are hungry to learn new skills and it can be challenging to keep up with the core curriculum and standards but also stimulate students' own interests and personalities. But, I love teaching third grade.''