Third Grade has had an amazing quarter! It all began with a comment on Conference Day that parents would enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with the class. We created an online signup dedicated solely to this, in essence a partnership between teachers and parents to work together to build a learning community for our students. Friends and family volunteer for various presentations and visit the classroom when their area of expertise is taught. We call these visits Master Chats.

Patrick Banks, Haleigh’s father and a marine biologist, brought the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the classroom. Students learned about Louisiana marshlands and that Louisiana is the number one producer of shrimp, oysters, and boiled crab. What they found most fascinating was learning to count the rings that circle the ear bones of a fish, just like counting the rings on a tree, to determine its age. They also learned about the dangers of the marshes sinking and endangered animals native to Louisiana.

Caroline Graham, Conor’s mom, brought the Supreme Court of the United States to the classroom, immediately engaging all of Third Grade in a court battle involving the definition of court shoes that traveled from District Court to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, with a side trip to the Second Circuit, and finally all the way to SCOTUS. The children participated as  jurors, defendant, plaintiff, clerks, judges, and justices. Students loved hearing about Mrs. Graham’s experience at the Supreme Court and a special highlight, her visit to the basketball court on the top floor of the building, aptly named The Highest Court in the Land. The day ended in a 5 to 4 vote from the Third Grade justices. 

Andrés Harris, Mariela’s father, taught the students the basics of recycling on National Recycling Day. Students learned what materials can be recycled, the four major categories of recyclables and the importance recycling plays to preserve natural resources. The class was treated to a Virtual Field Trip to a Recycling Center where they watched material being sorted and packed. Students then sorted the class recycling bin to demonstrate what they learned. The class learned the importance of everyone working together to protect our planet.

The Master Chats our parents have shared with us have been invaluable as they bring first-hand experiences to students who are engaged and challenged. Upcoming visits include Daniel Simonson to talk about Veterans’ Day and Tara Madison to share her experience with the judicial branch. These chats have strengthened and enriched our learning community.

- Kathlee Shahla and Jennifer Lim, Third Grade Teachers