Dear parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family,
As you know, your child took RICAS ELA this week. I want you to know how completely blown away I was by the children's dedication, perseverance and work ethic. I know that they were doing their best for themselves, but also for you. Some students literally tested all day. A few parents have reached out to me to discuss concerns regarding this. As educators, we all felt that it was a lot. It was a lot to expect their tiny bodies to sit still for that long, even with the multiple movement breaks. It was a lot to ask them to read and produce that many text-based written responses in one sitting. We know. We hear you and will will also voice our concerns.
I want every student to know that the scores that we get from this test will tell us important information to guide instruction, but it will not tell us everything. They do not measure the incredible artistic ability that we have in our class. They do not measure what kind-hearted students we have in our class. They do not measure the incredible growth that students with reading disabilities have made, nor how far our English Language Learners have come. They do not know that our class can memorize songs like the drop of a dime and bust out dance moves accordingly, or that their laughter and smile can brighten just about anyone's day.
As stressful as this week was for students, as well as teachers, I want you to know that we care about our students performing their best, at whatever level that may be. Our students are kind, they are smart, and they are the light that brightens my day. There is no way to "test" all of the incredible things that your children are.
Thank you for all that you do,
4/11- LaPerche 50th anniversary 5:30-7:30 (come see fashion through the decades in 3rd grade!)
4/15-4/19- April Vacation, no school
5/17-5/17 RICAS Math
5/30- Poetry Picnic 5:00 (3rd grade and Kindergarten reading buddies will read aloud poems, followed by refreshments)
And that's a wrap on trimester 2! I cannot believe we are officially in the last trimester of the school year. The last few weeks, we have been very busy!
With RICAS testing beginning April 3rd, we have been reviewing comprehensive test taking strategies. The focus in class always has been and always will be on third grade standard; however, with this being the first year that these students will be taking RICAS, we have been getting familiar with the format of the tests, how to go back into an article to find the best possible answer, process of elimination, citing textual evidence to develop an essay on a given topic, etc. I fully believe that the more used we get them to the format and how to tackle this type of assessment, the less stress there will be on this on the day of testing. Please let me know if you have any questions!
In Math, we finished up our chapter on area and perimeter and have moved on to fractions. This week and early next week, we are focusing on parts of a whole and parts of a set.
I By mid week, we will be moving on to fractions on a number line and equivalent fractions.
In Reader's Workshop we finished up our unit on Folktales and Fables. The kids did a fantastic job identifying character traits, showing what each character in a fable learned, as well as a moral for specific fables.
In Writing, students have been working in groups researching countries: Ethiopia, France, Iceland, India, Germany, China and Spain. Research is completed and now students are working on each typing a subtopic, such as places to visit, food, culture/interesting facts and will be putting it into a complete group essay. Upon completion of their essays, students will be taking what they have learned and creating PowerPoint presentations in Library with their groups.
In Social Studies, we have been studying communities. Thank you for sending in recycled materials to create urban, suburban and rural communities! I may have had a breakdown internally during the construction phase, but the end products came out pretty great!
A study guide for our community test went home on Tuesday and was reviewed in class Wednesday. After the review, we completed flash cards. All of this went home on Wednesday afternoon. The test will be on Wednesday. Please make sure they review a bit each night! Thank you!
Have a great weekend,
This week was full of excitement (hello two hour release!), kindness and learning.
In Writer's workshop, we have been perfecting our constructed response to nonfiction text. We read an article on "Saving The Dolphins" and were given the prompt: Identify and explain how the author used text features in "Saving The Dolphins," to help the reader understand the text. Check out Ella Kozlik's fantastic response below!
The author used many text features to help the reader understand the article, “Saving The Dolphins.” First the author used maps on page 6. The map shows you where they got captured. For example, they got captured in Nicaragua.Next the author used headings on page 6. The heading tells you what the paragraph is all about. For example, the heading “The Dolphin Defender,” tells you that people helped the dolphins stay alive and get back to the ocean. Next the author used a title on page 4. The author used the title to tell the reader what the article is going to be about. For example, this article is about needing to save the dolphins. Last the author used photographs on page 6. It helps me understand that you should not swim with the dolphins for fun. These are all the text features the author used to help me understand the article.
Ask your child what the color coding means in this response!
In Math, we have moved on to our next chapter, Area and Perimeter. This week was our first introduction to it. Along with learning how to find area and perimeter using an equation, we also learned how to measure to the nearest centimeter and inch in small groups.
In Science, we finished up our distance challenge, where students designed a cart to travel down a ramp. After each design and 3 trials, the scientists went back to the drawing board to figure out how they could make their cart travel farther. We did this three times and then discussed what were things to consider when building a cart to increase distance. As a class, we came up with the below suggestions:
-Make sure there is nothing hanging from the cart to cause friction, thus slowing down our cart
-keep the wheels from wobbling side to side by securing the wheel and axle system to the base. Carts with wheels that do not wobble traveled farther
-use bearings to allow the wheel and axle system to move
-add weight to your car so it can pick up more speed heading down the ramp
(The images below are from last week when the weather was gorgeous and in the 50's! We took advantage of it and went outside for science.)
In Reader's Workshop, we have moved to our Folktale unit. This past week, we focused on "What are the characteristics of a folktale?"
As we practiced with texts this week, the students hunted for characteristics of folktales using the checklist below.
Next week, we will be moving on to fables, a type of folktale.
For Valentine's day, we had many special activities. My favorite was reading the book, "Somebody Loves you, Mr. Hatch" by Eileen Spinelli. In the story, Mr. Hatch, a man who mostly kept to himself and had the routine every day, was surprised with an anonymous valentine one day. Mr. Hatch was "woken up" from his sadness and filled with joy to think that someone would be thinking of him. His whole daily routine changed, from keeping to himself, to branching out and talking to people at work and around the community. Mr. Hatch later finds out that the valentine was a mistake. It was delivered to the wrong address. He became very sad once again; however, this time, the community noticed he was sad and had a party just for him.
We talked about how every day, we have the choice to build someone up with our words, or tear them down. How one smile, one kind word or gesture could help someone feel less alone and shift their whole mindset.
After our discussion, each student received 20 paper hearts. We created a list of adjectives that would build someone up. We then "scooted" from one seat to the next and wrote down one kind word about every member of our class. You may have seen these kindness wreaths come home on Friday. They are truly beautiful and the kids loved building each other up.
**Important announcement- a permission slip for a Chinese New Year event came home with your child today. Please sign and return on Wednesday so we can ensure that all are able to participate. Sorry for the late notice!
Have a wonderful long weekend!
We are about halfway through second trimester already! Can you believe it? Grades close the beginning of March and report cards will follow shortly. Another mid-trimester behavior progress report will be coming home next week in the Friday Folders. Please look over the learner behaviors and discuss any areas where improvement can be made. We still have time to reflect and put forth our best effort.
The past two weeks, in Reader's Workshop we have moved on from text structure of nonfiction articles to stated main idea and implied main idea of a text. Making inferences can be challenging. We have been using the following chart to organize our thoughts.
This chart and even using this terminology when orally responding to question that requires inferring really slows down our thoughts and helps us organize and come to a conclusion based on our schema. We will continue to work on main idea, supporting details and inferring next week.
In Writer's Workshop, we have moved away from expert writing and moved back toward constructed response. We back pedaled a bit with RACE and instead of continuing with RACE following a text, we practiced responding to a question using RACE to really understand all parts. Two questions we practiced with were "Explain how you could make a new student feel welcome at LaPerche." and "Describe how you could stay busy on a rainy day." We worked on restating and answering the question...There are many ways _________. Supporting our answer with three details. Providing a buddy sentence to go with a detail, and then finally a concluding statement. Now that we have had a chance to really understand the format of RACE, we moved on to using RACE to answer a constructed response question based on a nonfiction article. I read and modeled an article about Leopards and why they are endangered, how to take notes and pull out important information from an article. The students did a great job applying this skill to their own article, Endangered Species: The Gorilla."
In Math, we finished up the 8's and 9's tables, decomposing known facts and learned a few more strategies to attack problems that we do not have memorized yet. Check out Theo explaining using a known 10's fact to solve a 9's multiplication sentence. We are the the point in math where the students have been given MANY strategies to attack unknown problems. Our hope with common core math is that they learn the strategies and choose the one that works for them. It is our end goal that these facts will become memorized. Many students are excelling on the timed fast facts and are asking if they need to show a strategy even if they have it memorized. The answer is sometimes. There are times where students will be asked to explain their math in the math lesson, as well as during RICAS. Often, they will ask the students to show and explain how they got their answer. Memorizing facts is not enough of an explanation for these tasks. We will continue to work on this.
We also began two step word problems this week. Though they have come up here and there on homework, this was the first week where the strategy was explicitly taught. The focus is on separating what information we have and what we are being asked to do with it. Math vocabulary helps us know whether to add, subtract, multiply or divide. We will continue this skill.
In Science, we finished Wheel and Axle systems, as well as how to make a cart roll from here to there. Students were given materials (see Emma's update above) and asked to make a cart that would roll down a ramp, with no further instructions. The first session was 30 minutes, with no directions. Many students taped the wheel and axle system to their index cards and became frustrated that the tape would not allow the axle to turn. Lily was the first student to suggest trying to attack the axle to the index card with a binder clip, or bearing. Way to go Lily! Once Lily suggested this, many were able to update their designs and have a cart that would roll down a ramp.
Another update from Emma and Theo!
Math update from Theo
This week in math we have done known 10's tables facts to solve 9's. That basically means say you have 4 x 9. Then you do 4 x 10= 40 than draw an array like this
ooooooooo-o Then subtract 4 to get 36. This is how you do known 10's to solve 9's.
By: Theo Arsenis
Science update from Emma:
This week in science we made wheel and axle systems and tried them out. We also made carts out of these materials...straws,tongue depressors,clips,popsicle sticks,big wheels,small wheels and index cards. We will have a distance competition next week.
Our competition will be whose cart can travel the farthest.This is me testing mine...
By: Emma Tuetken
I hope you had a healthy and relaxing winter vacation. Our first full week back to school was a busy one!
In Reader's Workshop, we finished up learning about nonfiction text structures. Students now know that nonfiction text is structured in a way to help with comprehension.
We have had a lot of practice reading articles and books and deciding how the text was structured by searching for keywords. Once they determined the text structure, they were able to complete a graphic organizer that went with the purpose of the text.
For example, if they were reading about Alligators and Crocodiles, the purpose of that article was to teach the reader how they are the same and different. This would be a compare and contrast. Based on the key words and content, students were able to easily complete a venn diagram showing what they learned about the topics.
Today, as an end of the unit assessment, students were given nonfiction articles at their reading levels and were asked to use their anchor chart (picture above) and notes in their reader's notebook to determine the structure of the text and complete an appropriate self-created graphic organizer to display the information they learned. They knocked it out of the park!
In Math, we have been working on the 3's, 4's, 0's and 1's tables in multiplication and division. Did you get a chance to look at the homework this week? I had a few emails come in about how challenging decomposing multiplication sentences were. I see you, I hear you! It was challenging for us at first, too! With modeling, repeated exposure and plenty of opportunities to practice, it has gotten easier, though! If you don't believe me, check out Emma's update below! We will continue this skill through the next chapter in math as well.
Investigation 1 in our new science unit, Motion and Matter, has been a blast!
The focus question of investigation 1.1 was: What happens when magnets interact with other magnets and with paper clips?
Magnets have a magnetic force surrounding them. Though it is invisible, you can feel it when you put two magnets next to each other, either pulling toward (attracting) or pushing away (repelling). Magnets interact with other objects in two ways. They either stick to the objector not. The magnetic field reaches out to certain materials and attracts.
The focus question of investigation 1.2 was: How is the magnetic field affected when more magnets are added?
If you measure the distance at which a magnet can attract a paperclip, you find that it varies depending on how many magnets are being used.The pattern that begins to emerge is the more magnets you use, the farther away the paperclip can be when it is attracted.
Read Theo's update to find out how we tackled this. Make sure to ask your child these questions at home, too!
Have a great weekend!
Last week in science third graders worked with magnets and paper clips.We observed the paper clip attract to a magnet. When we were done doing that we put the magnet to the chair leg and we put a paperclip with a string and it had magnetic force. The paperclip floated in thin air! We also put magnets on a straw. That's what we did.
This week in science we tested how many centimeters 1, 2 and 3 magnets needed to attract to a paperclip. Here is what it would look like
Doesn't it look cool?! I put the pencil there just to balance the magnet so I could take the picture. This is what we did 1/10/19 . Thanks for taking a peek!
This week in math we worked on decomposing multiplication problems into known facts. All you have to do is take a factor and cut it in half. What you had to do in the example was take the 4 or 8 and cut it in half. The 4 would be a 2 and the 8 would be a 4. After you cut it in half, solve it and then double the product to find the answer to the decomposed multiplication problem
Now you know how to decompose!
Strategies to divide
Division has many ways to divide. Here are some of them!
Last week we learned to do Equal groups
this is what equal groups looks like on a whiteboard and we also partitioned!
2. Repeated subtraction-
Last week we learned to do repeated subtraction on a amount the dividend is being divided by. Count how many hops you take to get to zero.
If you’re having trouble on a division sentence use a number line.Start from the dividend go back by the divisor until you get to zero. Count how many hops! That’s your quotient.
-Hayden, Aeden & Jack
Can you believe that Thanksgiving is over? We have been so busy in room 9. We had really fun activities with each other.
This day we listened to a story called Turkey Trouble. In this story a turkey disguised himself as the other animals around him because the farmer and his wife were going to eat him. So after the story Mrs.Ferreira had a marvelous idea to disguise are own turkey.
This day when we entered the room it was a hospital room. We had to fill out a packets because it was reading we had to look in magazines and cut text features out and put it on the bottom with a blank space.
This day we did a STEM challenge on the Mayflower and the winner holds the most pebbles.Stem stands for Science Technology Energy mathematics.In a STEM challenge you partner up and there's a theme and the groups of two complete the topic then share.The materials are pipe cleaners and tin foil and last but not least,teamwork.teamwork is the most important part.
-Kaela and Jackson
It was so wonderful to meet with all of you last week! I really enjoyed discussing your child and all of the progress they have made this year.
This week in a nutshell:
Seesaw- Seesaw is an interactive journal for your child. It was introduced this week to our class. Your child can use this portfolio to display what they know. For example, today, I shared a winter scene with the class. Their task was to add winter emojis, such as deer, trees, people, etc. To review adjective/noun pairs, the students labeled each emoji with an adjective/noun pair. As we get more proficient with using this tool, it is my hope to share their online portfolios with you so you can see more of what we are doing during the day. I know with worksheets being limited, the Friday folders are mainly full of homework and tests. We do SO much more than that in room 9 and this is an awesome way to display it.
Readworks- Third grade really shifts from learning to read to reading to learn. Readworks.org is one way to use grade level text to respond to literature. There are short articles at your child's reading level, followed by multiple choice questions, as well as a few open response. A huge thing we are currently working on in reading is RACE.
Writing- Your child began his or her Expert writing. Each child chose a topic they are an "expert" on to write an informational essay. Topics ranged from Mexico, Greece, Soccer, Fortnite, Wade Boggs, ect. The kids love that they were able to choose a topic they wanted to write about! We organized all of our knowledge into 3 subtopics and have began our essays with a lead (a question, fact or description) and a topic sentence (Beyond their previous "Let me tell you about..." leads in the past. They are coming out awesome!
Reader's Workshop- This week, we began text structure. Close reading of informational text is really making me work for my paycheck! Text structures were introduced Monday. It is the goal that students notice that nonfiction is structured in a way that makes sense for comprehension of the piece. Sequence was the first text structure we visited. Though the students were able to sequence a text with clue words, such as "first, next, then and last" they were really challenged with other types, such as biographies, "how its made" types of text, etc without the guide words. We really focused on slowing down and thinking, what is this paragraph about? What did I learn from it? and record it in order.
Math- We are finishing up Chapter 6, multiplication and division strategies. So far, we have learned 7 specific strategies to attack multiplication or division problems. We have practiced with the 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's tables.
So many students are completing Dance mat Typing with over 80% accuracy. We have started timed typing fluency probes on Tuesdays. During this time, the students are given a story starter, a timer is set for 3 minutes and the goal is to increase the amount of words typed in three minutes each week. We track our progress by completing each week under the last in the same document in Google Docs. Students learned how to select the words they wrote and used "tools" to find word count. Our current typing whiz, Ella Kozlik, is typing 53 words in 3 minutes!
As students "graduate" from Dance mat, the role of "blogger" is available. See the top two blog posts to see our November and December blog from the students!
Have a great weekend!