Start of Our Cricket Project

This week, we continued reading  The Cricket in Times Square.  As the children got really into it, they discovered that the nature program at Triple R needs crickets, and we are going to help by raising our own crickets.

The room began buzzing with excitement and questions.  Before everyone shared their thoughts, they had to pause and write down all the questions that were in their minds.  They then shared with their group, and finally as a whole class.  I wrote all of the questions down for everyone to see.  The very first one was “Why do they need crickets?”

A few days later, we organized the questions into three groups (needs of the cricket, what we would need, and information about crickets).  The children then decided which group they would enjoy researching, and each wrote the questions down into their cricket notebooks.

Then on Friday, we had a special guest!  One of the children’s mom came in and shared her insect collection.  She shared information about crickets like their ears are on their front legs or that they have two sets of eyes.  She told us how we can tell the difference between a female and a male cricket, and the male crickets are the only ones that chirp.  The children loved it, and they had so many questions about all they had learned.  Just wait until next week, when they start doing their own research about crickets.




This week, a crazy scientist came to class.

She had a thick accent, wore safety goggles, and told the children they would be dissecting something.  The children told me that she looked a lot like me, but she claimed to be better looking…hmmm.

Naturally, as true scientists, they too had to wear safety goggles and follow correct lab safety.

What were they dissecting?


Yes, you read that correctly.  Flowers.

Though at first the students were disappointed that they wouldn’t be dissecting things like frogs, cats, pigs, or even humans (as they all gave their suggestions), they enjoyed their dissection and learned about how a flower creates seeds.

Today, we dissected fruits to find the parts of the flower that we could still discover.  Ultimately we decided things like pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers etc.  were actually fruits because they had seeds.  All fruits at one point were a flower that developed into a place for seeds.

Side note:

This week, we looked at Paul’s missionary journeys.  The children broke up into 3 groups and used the book of Acts to map out his journeys.  We used the primary source, the Bible, to be historians.  Based on the secondary sources that we created, we determined that faith starts around the known world in history as Paul preached the Gospel to as far west as Rome.


And finally, in regards to flowers becoming fruit, there was quite a bit of fruit-bearing throughout our Fruit Stand this week with the choices that we made to be faithful.  In fact, this week, the Faithfulness Fruit Stand gets to take care of Little Pot and Oil Jar and Oil Lamp (awarded to two students in our class for working well together–who have to unite for a common purpose)!


Group Work

Project-based learning at times allows for individual critical-thinking while at the same time allowing the individual to share those ideas in a group setting.  With that in mind, this week, we started laying the foundation for group work that we will be doing throughout the year.  We discussed what working in a small group looks like and what the various roles of working in a small group are.

One of the important parts of group work is being able to communicate.  This week, we focused on how to react to someone who is bugging us.  On the other hand, we also talked about how to apologize to others.  This poster went up in the front of our classroom as a visual reminder each and every day.


Throughout the week, we practiced working with small groups in social studies, math…

We used everyday food items to create a base ten model.  Smarties= ones.  Pretzels=tens. Graham crackers= hundreds.  Graham crackers cube= thousand.  We were even able to visualize ten thousand. 

…and the most exciting one, in science.  The children had to create an experiment to solve the one question that I asked them: “Which balloon will inflate by itself to be the largest with only the items provided (baking soda, vinegar, water, bottles, measuring spoons, measuring cup, and balloons)?”  They first had to discuss within their table and to create a possible game plan.  Then we brought our ideas together as a class.


Ultimately, we decided we were going to test the amount of baking soda.  Each group put 4 oz of vinegar in a water bottle.  Then one group put 1 teaspoon of baking soda into their balloon.  One group put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in their balloon.  And the final group put 2 tablespoons in their balloon.

And when we were ready, each table dumped their baking soda into the bottle.  Each balloon inflated on its own.  And the excitement in the room was palpable.  Our results did not quite match what we expected, but we were able to talk about the importance of repeating science.  This experiment led us to discussing key vocabulary for scientific investigations.  Overall, we have had a strong beginning in the short time we have been together.


Start of Another Great Year

“Oh you’re a teacher?”  someone asked me on Wednesday. “When do you start?”

I quickly replied, “Oh, we’ve already started!”

“When did you start?”

I stared at her and thought really hard,  “Um…Yesterday…Yesterday?…Yesterday!”  It was that moment that I realized everything that we have done this week.  We have done so much!  It certainly feels more than just four days together.  We have stepped into the shoes of fourth graders.

This week was all about introducing fourth grade and building a fourth grade community.  This happened through various activities.

  • Here, at Central Christian Academy, we strive to grow the fruit of the Spirit.  One of our first activities was to discuss as a class the difference between a fruitful and a non-fruitful choice.  The children came up with some excellent examples.


  • We shared a special object with each other to get to know each other and to add ideas into our writing journal for future writing stories.
  • Science was introduced through a set of problem solving skills, communication, teamwork, and observations as the children saved Freddy, a poor little worm who had capsized in the ocean and was not wearing a life preserver.
  •   Through playing of games, the children practiced some math review skills.
  • After reading together Officer Buckle and Gloria, we had a discussion about what we wanted fourth grade to look like and what we each had to do.  IMG_8116IMG_8117IMG_8118IMG_8119IMG_8120IMG_8121IMG_8122
  • And today, we combined art and writing as we created a heart map with everything that is important to us.  We will use this throughout the year to generate ideas about what to write.

As we have covered so much and have learned about each other so much, it’s hard to believe that it has only been 4 days.  And today was the fourth day of fourth grade, so we had to celebrate all the children’s hard work with a picture.