It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!
As much as I love summer, there is something so incredibly wonderful about the holiday season. Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, think about what we are thankful for and how lucky we are to be surrounded by loving family, friends and coworkers. Last week there was so much gratitude in room 9.
The week of Thanksgiving, we had many fun activities!
Did your child come home in surgery gear on Wednesday? That is because our classroom was transformed into an Operating Room! The current Reader's Workshop unit that we just began is Close Reading of Informational Text. What better way to revisit text features than Text Feature Surgery?!?!
A special thank you to Mr. Stepka for donating enough supplies for both third grade classes to participate. Also, thank you to Ella Koconis's mother, LeeAnne, for assisting with surgery! We may have lost a few patients without you!
Students entered the classroom after recess, and were surprised with the transformation...they had no idea this was happening! They scrubbed in with sanitizer, suited up into their medical gear and reviewed their patients' medical charts. In order to save each patient, they needed to figure out which text feature they needed to be prescribed, find at least two examples in a magazine and paste it on their charts.
During surgery, emergencies came up, like they do in any O.R. The heart rate monitor signaled that a patient needed help...now! In order to save their patient from the medical emergency, they needed to solve a timed math word problem. I think the pressure of this was their favorite part--not knowing when an emergency would arise. It was SUCH a fun lesson and I hope it is one they always think of when they reminisce about third grade.
It was a beautiful day to save lives.
Have you ever wondered what math looks like in our classroom? We are SO fortunate to have flexible working areas for students.
There are many large whiteboard areas available for students to work together to problem solve.
Sometimes, we make faces like this when we are hard at work. I think this was his, wait a minute...."I've got it!" Thinking face!
We are so in the zone with our manipulatives that we don't even notice the camera...
But when we eventually look up, we want to show our parents how we really look during math. :)
Giving students flexible working areas has helped each child know that every learner needs different things. Some need visuals to solve problems, some would prefer to stay at their seats, some join a teacher's table for additional clarification and guidance, while others go off with their math partners and tackle challenging work together.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Can you believe we have already had our first snowfall of the 2018-2019 school year?! I am so not ready for this weather yet.
Have you heard the new protocol? Grades 3-5 are so lucky to have planners to keep themselves organized! We know as adults, the notes we take are only important if we refer back to them. Per Mrs. Dorsey, Grades 3-5 will be expected to have parent signatures nightly on planners to get the students into the habit of being accountable for recording their homework and opening their planners at home to remember what their homework was. Though it may be easy to leave the planner in the backpack, as they progress into middle school and high school, the homework and responsibilities outside of the classroom increase. By instilling good organization skills at an early age, we hope they will feel calm and confident with keeping track of assignments as they age. This is also a great place to write a quick note with parents/teacher. Students are asked to star next to their parent's initials in the morning if they have signed it, and circle it if they need to remember to have their parent sign it.
**No orange take home folders this week. With this and next week being shorter weeks, I will be combining them and sending them home on Wednesday.
The last two weeks, the kids have been working their tails off. As we near the end of the first trimester, students are applying what they have learned the past three months, independently. It is so amazing to think of all of the progress they have made across the curriculum!
In Writer's Workshop, we have finished personal narratives and have moved on to text-based narratives. This is the first time they have been exposed to this type of narrative writing. For text based narratives, students may be asked to read an already developed narrative and extend the ending, tell it from another character's point of view, etc. This type of narrative really focuses in on the student's ability to read a narrative, determine the setting, characters, plot and person that they narrative is written in, take what they have read and either continue it or tell it from another stance. We have been stressing that you cannot change the overall tone of the writing and you cannot drastically change the plot, i.e. an alien cannot come down from outer space in a story about a family at the beach.
In Math, we are beginning to understand what multiplication and division mean. In division, we are focusing on different strategies, such as creating equal groups, repeated subtraction and inverse operations.
We have finished our Accumulating Text unit in Reader's Workshop and have moved on to Close Reading of Informational Text. During this unit, we will be switching focus from fiction to nonfiction and digging deeper into nonfiction text structure.Throughout the unit, students will be introduced to strategies that help them attend to texts closely, organize information, and identify common ideas across a text. They will develop a strong sense of what it feels like to become an expert on a topic after reading. Students will be able to organize information logically when teaching others what they have learned. By the end of this unit, students will fluidly utilize strategies taught as a habit of mind to be able to read in ways that will help them remember
important details and understand the author’s big ideas.
In Social Studies, we are learning about the 3 Branches of Government and the role of each branch, the importance of the Checks and Balances system, what government looks like at the national, state and local level and why we even have a government. Students will understand the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The past week has also opened the testing window for Fountas and Pinnell reading assessments, STAR Reading, and STAR Math. Information will be coming home on report cards about your child's reading level, and will be discussed further at conferences. After Thanksgiving, an electronic sign up sheet will be sent out for conferences. We will do our best to stick to the times that were requested. At times, slots may need to be adjusted to accommodate special educators, as they attend many conferences throughout the night.
Have a fantastic weekend!
We have been very busy in 3F! Lots of important paperwork came home in your child's orange folder this week. Many graded assignments, including rubrics, as well as a mid-trimester Learner Behavior Progress Report. Every student received one in their orange folder. Please take time to review these reports with your child, sign and return by November 2nd. Please note, these are not final grades! This is about half way through the trimester and it is a good time to make us all aware of what we are working towards and what plans we need to make to be successful. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write me a note on the back or email.
Thank you to all of the families who have sent in generous supplies for our pumpkin activity on Tuesday! We have about 6 volunteers coming in to assist...it is going to be amazing! The children are so excited!
In Writer's Workshop, we are finishing up our final personal narrative for the trimester. This narrative is based on a fall activity that they participated in with family or friends. Lessons we have focused on and will be looking to see come to life in their writing are:
-An interesting lead (emotion, dialogue, action or description)
-Characters and setting
-Descriptive details (adding adjectives to describe our nouns)
-Dialogue, speaker tags and putting "said" to bed by choosing other words.
-Show don't tell (Instead of saying "I was so angry" focus on describing what you look like/how you act when you are angry
-A satisfying ending (reflection, a hope/wish, lesson learned or a decision)
-revising and editing
We will be typing our final copies! After we complete personal narratives, we will be moving on to text-based narratives.
In Math, we finished up subtraction through the thousands with and without regrouping. They did really well on this chapter assessment! This week, we focused on how to represent multiplication with equal groups, repeated addition and arrays to help the children have a better foundation of what multiplication is before we dive into the facts.
As we finish up our introduction to what multiplication IS, it is time to start thinking about how we can help our students become fluent in their multiplication fact recall. I have very vivid memories of my father driving us home after sports, firing off multiplication problems to the back seat, "What is 7x8?" "What is 9x6?" As painful as it was for the both of us, I can say I have my facts memorized, thanks to him! I will do as much as I possibly can at school with fact recall; however, they are going to need to do a decent amount of time each night on memorization at home. I will be switching XtraMath from addition and subtraction to multiplication. Their log-ins for Xtramath can be found on the front page of their planners. On here you will also see a log-in for Prodigy. Prodigy is an amazing, interactive video-game like math resource. The students go on quests, solve common core math problems and "battle" each other through solving problems correctly. They kids are so invested and interested in this website! Check it out!
**Some students have asked if they could bring in multiplication flash cards to practice during reset time--absolutely! We have a few sets already, but feel free to send some in for your child, too.
In Reader's Workshop, we have been focusing on Character Traits to get ready for our big Pumpkin Project. During this project, students will be choosing a character from their novel to represent on a pumpkin. They will be thinking hard about character traits that they found in the text to help them decorate it. There will be a writing portion included, where they will describe their planning and design for their pumpkin, as well as what character traits they were representing and why (citing text evidence).
We have officially wrapped up science for the trimester and have now switched to social studies.Our first unit this year will be on the three branches of government This unit on government is placed in this trimester primarily because elections take place at this time of year. Students’ background knowledge of rights and responsibilities serves as the foundation for their understanding of the structures of power and authority in their local government. Third graders will be responsible for the standards on local- and state-level government.
Thank you for all that you do to support your child. It does not go unnoticed!
A shorter blog this week, but I wanted to get the memo out about a volunteer opportunity coming up in 3F! A letter went home today explaining it, but here is an upload of it in case it did not make its way to you. Please let me know if you would like to come in! The activity will take place on 10-30 from 1:30-completion.
This week in Writer's Workshop, we learned how to revise and edit our writing with blue and red pens. We also learned how to provide feedback to a partner during the revising and editing stages. In grammar we learned about declarative sentences. The students also completed their first independent narrative! It was fantastic to see so many students incorporating all of the previously taught skills into their writing (types of leads, show not tell, dialogue, etc).
In Math, we are continuing Chapter 3, subtracting with and without regrouping (borrowing) in 3 and 4 digit numbers. The kids are getting the hang of it! Once we finish up this chapter, we will be moving on to multiplication. It is never to early to start practicing the facts at home. Xtramath is a great resource to practice. As students master addition and subtraction facts, it advances them on to multiplication.
Reader's Workshop focused on story elements, specifically setting and plot this week.
In Science, we gathered earth materials and tested each object to see if it repelled water or absorbed water. The students loved testing their predictions.
Check out the photo section to see us with our reading buddies!
Have a great weekend!
I'm pretty sure I blinked and it was suddenly Friday. We just finished up the 6th week of school (how has it been 6 weeks already?!). Our main focus these past six weeks was on developing routines to make our classroom run more smoothly. When the class shows me that they know a routine and carry it out quickly and accurately, (i.e. transitioning in a quiet and timely manner is a big one in our class!) they can earn pebbles towards a class reward. We have filled our class pebble jar for the second time! The students voted and decided on pajama day! Pajama day will take place on October 10th. Please, no slippers!
This week was a busy one! In Writer's Workshop, we continued with writing a personal narrative. The students are working very hard to grasp the idea that our writing is "never done." We have learned four different ways a narrative can begin, an emotion, an action, dialogue or description. Students created new leads to the same narrative and chose the one that they liked the best. This week, we also went back into our writing to find subjects and predicates. One common thing we are all working on is where to add periods into our writing. After identifying the subjects and predicates, students were better able to see where they may need a period or the word "and," for now.
Today, the focus was on "show, not tell." I asked the students to draw a picture of my children at Confreda Farm with Marshall and Rocky from Paw Patrol. As I walked around and gave feedback, the students quickly became frustrated.
"No, it didn't look like that!"
"Wait, Marshall was to the left."
"You drew them standing??They were on a bench!"
"No, not a wooden bench, a bench made out of hay bales."
Eventually, I asked what the problem was. Why could they not draw a picture that I knew so well in my head?
"You did not give us enough descriptive details," they finally settled on.
I then read a page from Owl Moon to the class and hid the illustration. It was amazing to see how accurate their drawings were from description, alone. Next week, we will divide into writing partners and try a selection from our narratives for our partners to draw. This will hopefully help the writers see where they have enough details and where they could use more.
In Math, we completed Chapter 2, Addition. We had our end of the Chapter quiz today and the students did fantastic! Next week, we will continue onto Chapter 3, Subtraction. Before we move on to multiplication, we are really focusing on addition and subtraction fluency. Xtramath (link in resources) is a great way for them to practice at home. The students also love Fact Dash! Being more fluent with these facts will help their accuracy and stamina in math as the tasks get longer and more complex.
Reader's Workshop focused on visualizing, which pairs so well with our "show, not tell" theme in writing! We also began reading How to Be Cool in the Third Grade and are digging into story elements. The focus this week was on characters (main and supporting) and character relationships (how do they change over time?) This was also the first week that we added guided reading to our plates for Reader's Workshop. I was very impressed to see the students I was not meeting with on that particular day carry out their reading job and work silently the whole time!
In Science, we finished up investigation 1.3, How much water can a dry sponge absorb? This was our first time using grams as a measurement of mass, as well as our first time using balance scales! I was blown away watching the students follow a very detailed scientific procedure.
1. Weigh a dry sponge in the balance scale with grams
2. Soak a sponge overnight in a cup of water
3. Move the sponge to the balance scale without squeezing out the liquid
4. Measure the mass again with grams
5. Subtract the weight of the dry sponge
Check out the pictures in the photos section!
Enjoy your long weekend!
I'm not sure if it was the weather finally cooling down, or the students getting the hang of the routine...but this was our best week yet with following directions, being respectful and making the best use of our time. It was a great week! Check your child's backpack...Friday folders came home today! In these folders are corrected work from the week. Not all work will be in these folders, as some stays in their math books, reading journals and writer's binders. Some are corrected together as a class, while others are corrected by me. If your child struggled with something, I will note that we met to go over it. Items that will be graded will come home with rubrics attached. Please send these orange folders back in on Monday with their planners and red homework folders.
In Writer's Workshop, we began Personal Narratives. Each mini-lesson began with a mentor text, or a picture book, that went along with our teaching point...What is a narrative? Students were able to discuss what they believed a narrative was. Students talked in partners and I was amazed by some of the conversations I was hearing!
"Does it have to be realistic?"
"I'm pretty sure they need to be about you."
"Yeah, it's all about things you've done"
"No, wait, it's about one thing you've done!"
By giving them more time to discuss, I was able to let the students come to the conclusion on their own. It is truly amazing to see their thinking process out loud.
Our writing binders are starting to get some great use! There are so many resources in there created by the students, from specific graphic organizers, to word walls, to grammar (last week we added capitalization rules), to homophones!
As we progressed through the week, our definitions became more in depth. We were able to identify big ideas (like going on vacation) , and narrow them down to a small moment (when my sister pushed me in the pool). Next week, we begin different leads.
In Math, we finished Chapter 1, Place Value. We had our first chapter test and they did a fantastic job! The assessment covered identifying place value, the value of numbers in each place, standard form, word form and expanded form, ordering numbers from least to greatest & greatest to least, rounding to the nearest 10 and rounding to the nearest 100. The tests will be going home in Friday folders next week with attached rubrics. Today, we began chapter 2, Addition. In this chapter, the focus is on addition properties (associative, commutative & identity, modeling whole numbers with base 10 blocks, rounding 3 digit numbers to add mentally, estimating sums, and finally, adding 3 and 4 digit numbers with and without regrouping.
Reader's Workshop is my favorite time of the day. This week, we talked in depth about what kind of readers we are. What genre do we prefer reading? What even is a genre?! It took awhile for students to come up with this answer. I shared that most of my reading is reading cookbooks, curriculum, about child development, and books that typically relate to my life. Some shared that they only read before bed because they have to...some said they set the timer and just open any book. After discussing it and digging deeper, many shared that they prefer graphic novels, books that were turned into movies, historical fiction, and more. At this point, we turned to our own book bins and decided if they represented us as readers. Did we fill it with books we actually enjoy? Or did we look for our reading level and check it off. Many decided that books that they chose were not actual books they were interested in. We revisited our classroom library and how it was organized and decided as a group what we had enough of to meet our interests and what we may need more of. This age is fantastic. Many went from expressing that they do not actually enjoy reading, to being excited about getting books that they are interested in. I cannot wait to watch them grow as readers this year!
This week in Science, we carried out our first investigation...What happens when water falls on different surfaces? This was our first time following a scientific procedure, making observations, drawing diagrams, and drawing conclusions. We tested wax paper, aluminum foil, writing paper and paper towel. Students recorded whether the material absorbed the water, or if the water beaded up. They became so invested in the experiment that many wanted to test more materials!
"If wax paper beads up, I bet plastic would!! Can we test it?!"
"Cardboard is thicker paper...I bet it would take longer to absorb."
"Does wood absorb water?"
Take these ideas and run with it, my little scientists! Not only did they carry out the investigation, but they took it to a whole new level and used previous knowledge to create more in depth predictions and trials. I was blown away!
I've entered the Weebly World! A few teachers at LaPerche absolutely love how easy it is to post weekly updates, classroom photos, important dates, and information about what is going on in their classrooms--I'm excited to say that I'm joining them!
This past week, we spent a lot of time getting ready to showcase what we have been working on for open house. If you came, the highlight was definitely their Dandelion Wishes. In Writer's Workshop, we read the book, "I Wish you More" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I'm sure many of you have read it (through teary eyes) to your children. It is all about wanting the world and more for your baby. Students were then asked to come up with three wishes of their own. Not all of them were as moving as the ones from the story (Cough cough...party yacht) but they were definitely interesting to read and fully supported by reasons! September's focus is paragraph writing. It is clear that this was not new to them--They were pro's at topic sentences, 3 supporting details and a closing sentence. I hope you enjoyed reading them! If you were not able to make it to open house, they are coming home!
In Math, we are finishing up Chapter 1, Place Value. We have been working on memorizing our place value to the thousands, writing numbers in standard form (4,321), expanded form ( 4,000+300+20+1) and word form (Four Thousand, Three Hundred, Twenty One). This week we finished up ordering numbers and moved on to rounding numbers. Ask your child if they remember our Rounding Rap!
We are almost done with the launching unit of Reader's Workshop. During this time, we go over the routine of Reader's Workshop, how to bookshop (finding the correct level books and books that interest them), building reading stamina (reading for longer chunks of time) and more! The first day we went off to do independent reading, we lasted about 5 minutes before they got restless or chatty; today, we read for 20 minutes straight!
The first investigation of Science is is happening Monday! We are focusing on Water and Climate in Trimester 1. Our scientists will be observing What happens when water falls on different objects? Words like absorb, bead up, water proof, beads, and repel were defined and discussed. Each child made a prediction (I think.....will happen....because....) of what would happen if water fell on paper towel, tin foil, wax paper and writing paper. We can't wait to make observations and discuss our findings!
I hope this was informative enough, but not too wordy! For now, the rest of the site is under construction, but I will be sure to update it as soon as my children go the...I mean, go to sleep ;)