Third Grade News

December 21, 2016

Dear families,

Third graders are getting increasingly excited for the end of the week to arrive! Snow play outside is a highlight of their days.

We started this week with a new math unit called Collections and Travel Stories, focused on addition and subtraction to 1,000.  A family math letter will go home on Friday with more information on the new unit and related activities to try at home. 

Tomorrow, Sally Galman will visit the class, as another in a line of parents sharing  about their work. Sally will be sharing about work researching and teaching about gender issues. This will connect with our Second Step/ Social Skills work, understanding different perspectives. In this case, broadening students' perspectives on what it means to identify as a boy, as a girl, or as transgender.

This Friday will be Pajama Day in third grade. Your child is invited to ride out the half day in their P.J.s and treats are welcome. (We already do have a few volunteers for treats.)

On a final note, there is is letter coming home today to inform you that a student in your child's class has been determined to have head lice. Please be on the look-out! We will not be including stuffed animals in our Friday pajama day for this reason. Please remind your child that stuffed animals should stay at home.

I hope you all enjoy the holidays
        (hopefully without unwelcome guests on our heads),
April







December 2, 2016

Dear Families,

This week third grade benefited from two parent presentations. On Thursday, Jaime and Chris brought Native American artifacts, particularly arrowheads, into class for the kids to learn more about. They walked the class through the way in which people long ago might leave traces of their life behind in a way that could be later recovered. With drawings and discussion the class was able to understand how arrowheads, tools, or tent pole holes from a camping site, might be preserved under layers of soil. I learned that there are over a hundred archeological sites with Native American artifacts just in the Pioneer Valley. 

Today, Christine came to class in traditional Cherokee dress and shared some of her family history (Native, African, and European) as well as her knowledge about traditional Native American beliefs. The class was enthralled by Christine's presentation about medicine pouches, cards, and her stories. In the end we were treated to pumpkin bread.

Both visits were highly engaging and informative for the class. 
Thank-you, from all of us! 

Please contact me if you are interested in scheduling a read-aloud or presentation in class. 

Enjoy your week-end,
April




Nov. 22, 2016

Dear Families,

Thank-you for the donations sent in this week for the Food Drive. Third graders were excited to see our box refilled each day. 

For the next few weeks during our morning meeting, to give status to the qualities of character that we are seeking to teach, I am presenting one student each day with a certificate acknowledging their contributions in areas like kindness, helpfulness, and generosity. The class has been enthusiastic about clapping for recipients and seems to be rallying behind the qualities we are holding up.

Today third graders started a collaborative bulletin board focused on kindness, based on the book Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. In the story, a child realizes the impact of cruelty on a new student to her school. The main character reflects:

"That afternoon, I walked home alone.

When I reached the pond, my throat filled with 

all the things I wished I would have said to Maya

Each kindness I had never shown.

I threw small stones into it, over and over.

Watching the way the water rippled out and away

Out and away.

Like each kindness- done and not done.

Like every girl somewhere-

holding a small gift out to someone

and that someone turning away from it."

We read this book at the beginning of the year and revisited it today to turn our attention to kindnesses. Students are invited to draw ripples on the white board to share an act of kindness witnessed. The white board is right near our meeting area and will serve as a reminder to keep kindness in the front of our thoughts.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Warmly,

April






October 20, 2016

Dear Families,

Parent conferences begin next week and I am looking forward to meeting with you to talk about your child. The schedule for conferences is posted on our class webpage under Schedules, Plans, and More. 

Typically at conferenes, I like to share student work in the different academic areas as demonstrated in journals, activities, and assessments. It is a good time for us to get up to speed on social and emotional development through our various lenses, both home and school.

Vocabulary Costume Day is next Friday, October 28th. Jessica sent out an attachment to the Roadtown News with more details. Third graders brainstormed ideas last week and we will narrow down their word/ costume choices next week. On Friday the 28th, your child will need to bring their costumes to school and will be wearing the costume in the afternoon with their word necklaces. 

The last two days have been exciting in class because our monarch butterflies have emerged from their chrysalises. Today, our second butterfly emerged during Writing Workshop and we were able to watch it pump up its wings while we co-wrote a "small moment" story about the event. There was interest in sharing the story at assembly so I will keep you posted on the date.

Enjoy this fabulous fall week-end!

April




October 6, 2016

Dear Families,

I have updated the third grade webpage with links to the parent conference schedule and homework assignments.

This week is our first week of math homework. To keep things simple, I like to assign one kind of homework each month, like reading for September, math for October, etc.That being said, many kids and families love to read at night, and if your child is also able to keep up their reading lives, along with their math homework, great! 

Typically, some students love math homework and  some struggle with it. If math homework is a struggle, encourage your child to focus on one or two problems and show their thinking more completely on a separate sheet of paper. This will help me see their learning edge. If a homework sheet is forgotten at school, your child might make up a story problem and solve it or practice their multiplication combinations.
My homework policy is "try your best." For example, if it is 6 PM and you have 30 minutes to do your math homework, great. If you also have time to read, great. BUT, sleep is the most important thing of all and getting to bed on time. Parents are in charge at home of making decisions around this. Homework is NOT the greatest excuse ever of staying up past your bedtime! As the saying goes, tomorrow is another day.

Have a great long week-end!

April





September 30, 2016

Dear families,

Today was an exciting week in third grade for observing monarch caterpillars. We have been amazed at the way the caterpillars have doubled in size each week as they munch through their milkweed leavers. Returning to the overarching concept that "changes that animals and plants go through during their life form a pattern," again today, third graders discussed patterns (eating and growing) and wrote more about their understanding of the patterns found in life cycles of monarch butterflies and people.
In math, third graders are practicing skip-counting as a strategy for solving multiplication problems, such as 6 x 3 = 18   6, 12, 18. Some students are also exploring strategies related to the doubling of a factor, doubling the product. For example, if 3 x 7 = 21, then 6 x 7 = 42. Students are asked to use number lines, pictures, or hundreds charts to represent their reasoning in these kinds of related problems. This level of work involves algebraic reasoning, or explaining/ representing what kind of actions will always work within an operation and why it works.
In Reading Workshop, we are reading aloud a story called Stone Fox, about a boy named Willy who is trying to help save his grandfather's farm. In the read-aloud discussion, assigned books, and independent reading, students are expanding their ability to envision, retell, and make higher level predictions about a character's actions.
It has been a busy and productive week!
Hope you all have a restful week-end!
April



September 17, 2016

Dear families,

This week third graders continue to learn about the life cycle of monarch butterflies and human impact on monarch populations. Today we celebrated the arrival of 16 little (4mm 2nd Instar) monarch caterpillars from Monarch Watch. 
Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas. Hopefully our little caterpillars will munch happily away over the weekend on their milkweed plants.

Our exploration of multiplication in mathematics continues to deepen. Students are coming in with a range of background knowledge. Those with more experience with multiplication are explaining strategies to those with less. This class has very good partnership skills.

In Morning Meeting with have been focusing on positive self-talk, like "don't give up" and "nothing is impossible." We watched a video on growth mindset this morning called "You Can Learn Anything." There are some big ideas here and it is worth watching this again with your child if you have a chance:


Enjoy your week-end and hope to see you next Wednesday at Open House!

April






September 9, 2016

Hello families,

This has been a settled and create week in third gradeThird graders have composed their hopes and dreams for the year and reflected on their reading lives. We have launched into our mathematics unit on multiplication with great enthusiasm.
The fire drill on Thursday raised some anxiety and we talked about feelings about fire drills before and after the alarms. Many children noticed that they felt levels 3-5 about fire drills BEFORE the drill and 0-1 about fire drills AFTER the drill. 
This week some children have been working hard at understanding perspectives and resolving conflicts among friendship groups. Third grade is typically the year in which children benefit from a focus on perspective-taking. Through discussion 1:1,  in small groups, and in class discussion we work on an understanding that two different perspectives can be equally valid. In our Second Step anti-bullying curriculum we will work on skills for learning including emotional management and problem-solving.

Your child is coming home with their  home/school folder today. A math letter and a notice about the school Potluck went home yesterday. A corrected math page goes home today.
Please empty your child's home/school folder out on Fridays and send it back on Mondays  Thank you.

Have a wonderful weekend!

April