We’re Moving!

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Third Grade Thinkers has Moved!

That’s right, we have a different address. Please visit our new blog, Mrs. Essenburg’s Classroom Blog, here. It is still a work in progress, and much will be added to it over the rest of the summer (and much more during the school year), but stop by and say hello in any of the comment sections.

Also, please feel free to check out what last year’s class worked on here on our blog. They did some great things!

See everyone soon!

Mrs. Essenburg

Summer Reading Check In

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We are two weeks into summer and between relaxing at home, working around the house, and spending time with my family I’ve also found a lot of time to read! I am very excited to share some of the great books I’ve read with my 3rd and 4th graders.

One book is called One for the Murphy’s by Linda Mullaly Hunt. I recommend this book for my fourth graders. If you like the TV show The Foster’s on ABC Family, you might like this book. It is about a girl named Carley Connors who becomes a foster child when her mother is injured and has to stay in the hospital. She goes to live with the Murphy family, who have three young sons. She doesn’t want to like the family at first, because she is scared they won’t like her, so she pushes them away. However, before she knows it, she’s helping the oldest boy, Daniel, with his basketball moves and making a friend at school. Over time, she comes to realize that they love her just the way she is.


Another book is called The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. I recommend this book for my new third graders, but I’m sure my fourth graders would like it too. Billy Miller has his share of problems. He’s worried that he upset his teacher, his little sister drives him crazy, and he really wants to stay awake all night but it’s harder than it looks. Good thing he has his best friend Ned and his Mom and Dad to get him through. Read abut Billy’s year and laugh along with him.


Check back as I will be reading great books all summer and posting some of my favorites! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Don’t forget to read and blog and visit Front Row to keep up with math!

Great Summer Books to Read!

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It’s the first day of summer vacation and we already have a book recommendation! Morgan stopped by to share the book she is reading, Ivy and Bean. I know many of my third graders from last year have read the Ivy and Bean books, but if you haven’t, you should give them a try! If you like funny books, you will like Ivy and Bean.

ivy and bean

More book recommendations! This one is from Claire. She is reading the book The Truth About Boys. She talks about it in a comment below.

truth about boys

Here is a book recommendation from Mrs. Essenburg. I just read Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman. It is about a father who goes to the store to get milk so his kids can have it on their cereal. He takes a very long time to get home and when he gets home he tells his children the reason he was late. It’s an amazing story about how he was kidnapped by aliens and then ended up on a pirate ship before he was rescued by a stegosaurus in a hot air balloon. The story gets sillier and sillier, but fortunately the milk saves the day in the end! You can get it at the Georgetown Township library.

fortunately the milk

I would love some more book recommendations! Let us know what you are reading in the comments below.

New Beginnings and Summer Reading!

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I usually don’t think of the school year as ending, I like to think of the new things that are beginning.

Summer, that wonderful season of family time, is beginning. My students are beginning the next step of becoming fourth graders, and a new relationship is beginning for me with my new third graders. Now is a good time, however, to take a moment to look back and remember. Here is a video to remind all of us of some of what we did in one short school year.

So the class of 2023 is taking the step up to becoming 4th graders!

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And my new group of third graders are ready to become a team.

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My final message of the 2013-2014 school year to both classes is this: Please stop by and comment on the blog. Let me know what you are doing. Let me know what you are reading. New 4th graders, keep on blogging! New 3rd graders, this is your blog now too!

I will start things off by sharing what I am reading. I read a lot of books over the summer. I read books that will help me be a better teacher. I read books with some of my friends in my adult book club. Finally, I read lots of children’s books! The first children’s book I am going to read is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. He is one of my favorite authors.

What book are you reading right now? Please tell me about it in the comment section below.


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We learned a technology tool this week called Thinglink. It is a tool that lets you choose an image and then add details about the image by tagging the image with icons. Just roll your mouse over the image and see what comes up! We chose things we cared deeply about and made thinglinks about those items. It was a lot of fun!

Kali loves learning about the Titanic. This is her thinglink

Claire loves to play softball. Here is her thinglink.

Owen loves to play soccer and he has a favorite team–Manchester United. He is also very excited about the World Cup. Here is his thinglink.

Trystan also loves to play soccer. Here is his thinglink:

Morgan loves cats! Here is her thinglink:

Seth loves cars. Here is his thinglink:

Alana loves dogs. Here is her thinglink:

Abby is also a cat lover. Here is her thinglink:
It was a great new tool and we learned how to use it quickly. Good job third graders!

If you would make a Thinglink, what would you make one about?

Our Coding Adventure

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It was not long ago that most people never would have thought that eight and nine-year-olds could understand the basics of computer programming. However, those days are long gone and schools all over the world are teaching students the principles behind writing software. We did as well this past week, and we had a wonderful time!

We used two programs. The first program we used is called Scratch. Scratch lets students choose characters and a background, and then gives them the tools they need to get the characters moving.


We had a lot of fun experimenting with Scratch and creating animations. Jacob’s is already on the main page of our blog.

Here is one that Abby made. Click on the green flag to get started.

We also went to another site called Code.org. At Code.org the students are given puzzles to solve, and as they solve the puzzles they have to use logical thinking and the basic steps of computer programming.


We had a lot of fun collaborating as we solved the puzzles!



When we finished all the puzzles at code.org we got a certificate that looks like this:


Something that a short time ago we might have thought was too difficult turned out to be fun and exciting! Who knows, there may well be some future computer programmers in our group.

Do you know anything about coding that you can share with us?

Have you ever tried something and found out that it wasn’t as difficult as you thought it was?

Finally, third graders, what is your opinion of coding? Remember to back your opinion up with evidence or a detail that supports it!

We are Learning Simple Coding

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Today we used the program Scratch as an introduction to basic coding. We experimented for the first hour in math just learning what we could create. We will be working on writing code all this week. Here is one example of what Jacob came up with after just a few minutes. Check back to see what we make as the week goes on!

Click on the flag, then hit the space bar and see what happens.

Math About Me

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By the end of third grade we are familiar with all four operations in math: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Now that we have learned them all, we can put them together.

Here’s an activity we did where we had to really think about all four operations.

First, we sat down and brainstormed some important numbers that tell about us. Our age, the number of students in our class, our house number, the number of people in our family, etc. After we figured out a bunch of important numbers, then came time for thinking. They had to start with those important numbers, and come up with equations that had that number as the answer. Then they created a poster to share their equations.

We worked hard on our posters.



We collaborated to help each other as we worked.



For example, here is some math about Mrs. Essenburg. How many sons do I have? (32 – 17) ÷ 5. Can you figure it out?

Here are some of the posters we made!





Can you give us some math about you? Please give it in the form of an equation and we will figure it out.

History of Our Town

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The third graders have been studying the history of our part of Western Michigan. Last Friday we had the opportunity to spend some time in the community learning about the people who came before us and what their life was like. We had a great day!

We started out visiting the cemetery of one of our local families. We recognized a lot of names from our studies in class! We made gravestone rubbings to remember them.

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After that we visited the Tiffany House, a local museum that shows us what it was like to live around the year 1900.

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Our wonderful tour guides explained what life was like in 1900. It was very different from the world we know.

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The kitchens were different. Most people didn’t have running water. They had wood burning stoves so to keep the stove hot enough to cook, they had to keep adding wood to the fire!

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They didn’t have tv, video games, or computers in 1900. They had to find other ways to entertain themselves. Here’s one form of entertainment, Thomas Edison’s Talking Machine. After listening, everyone agreed that we like what we have now!

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We also looked at some more recent musical history. Most of us didn’t know what that large black circle our tour guide held up was. Then Jacob guessed it was a record for a record player. We had to turn the crank by hand to get it to play.

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Our area has certainly changed over the years! Mr. Williams showed us the difference as we looked at pictures from the 1800’s, the 1960’s, and the 200o’s.

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There was so much to see and do there so we can only show you a little on the blog. After we finished our visit we went on a walking tour of where old downtown used to be, then headed to the park for lunch and some time to play. Then we went back to school. All in all a great day!

Here are some more pictures from the day!

Third Graders, comment below. What was your favorite part of spending time in the community learning about the history of our town? Remember to leave a QUALITY comment. Parents, if you grew up somewhere away from West Michigan, can you tell us about your hometown? Guests, can you share with us something about the history of your part of the world? We would love to hear it!