Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 9: October 16-20

Reminders:
A few parents have not yet signed up for Parent / Teacher Conferences scheduled for October 18-20. Use the links below to secure your spot. We can't wait to celebrate the successes of your child and discuss their goals moving forward.
We have students with allergies so please pack nut-free snacks. Snacks should be dry and healthy to promote student learning and not create a mess. 
Examples: 

  • Saltines, graham crackers, pretzels
  • Fresh or dried fruit/vegetable sticks or slices
  • Cheese cubed or sliced·        
  • Applesauce (in the squeezable containers)
  • Goldfish/Cheeze-its or Cheese Nips       

Reading: Third graders know that reading is thinking, therefore the emphasis this week continues to be on how to comprehend realistic fiction text most effectively. When reading fiction, strong readers connect to the characters, identify with the various settings, and throughout following the plot, focus on identifying the problem and how it leads to a solution. This is done by studying each element carefully, making inferences, and drawing conclusions. New graphic organizers will be introduced, including a five finger visual that is tactile kinesthetic, using movement to solidify concept formation.
Image result for five finger story elements

Writing: Personal Narratives are stories from our lives. Ralph Fletcher summed up writing  by saying, "The only easy thing about writing is...nothing!"
This quote is so true, and in personal narrative writing, this truth is emphasized. It is much more safe to write about what is outrageous than what we actually experience emotionally. As teachers and parents it is critical to model this difficult process with our children. Sharing 
experience stories takes courage, and we need to reveal our own personal stories. For example, what are you afraid of? Describe a moment when you have been scared. 
Due to time constraints, we were not able to share artifacts or important objects. We are asking that our third graders bring in a special object to share and discuss by Tuesday. We are hoping that conversations inspired by objects that we value, will lead to personal narratives that inspire our authors.

Spelling: The heart of strong spelling skills begins when writers develop a set of reliable strategies that they can utilize independently. Our continued study of syllabication and syllable types allow our third graders not only the ability to tackle basic word structure, but to feel confident tackling much more complex syllable types. Shortly, when we begin spelling assessments, these strategies will guide our studies and understanding.

Social Studies: It is exciting that students are continuing their study of Community using Studies Weekly class newspapers. They will analyze an issue and the features of a news article to better understand the significance of community involvement. They will also work on close reading skills to maximize application of positively impacting various types of communities.

Math: This week in math we are beginning a new grouping of students across the grade level. We have carefully studied the needs of our students and have regrouped to better meet those needs and ramp up the rigor for all our kids. We are excited to welcome different boys and girls into our rooms and hope they enjoy the change as much as we will. 

Regardless of class, all student will transition on to subtraction and all that it entails. We will discuss what students already know and clarify some misconceptions and errors. Students will learn the sound of a subtraction problem and determine why this operation is appropriate. Teachers will emphasize working from right to left in order to accommodate any regrouping that might be necessary. We will begin with "Take Away" subtraction, the one most students have worked with since Kindergarten. In this type, students are given a total number of items and a specific number of them are taken away. This will leave an answer called a difference.  Here is the bar model strategy that shows "take away" subtraction.
Fast Fact Friday (FFF) will occur as usual at the end of the week. Some students have shown mastery of addition and are moving on to subtraction facts. Congratulations to them! Keep studying every evening for whichever facts you will be tested on each Friday. 

Science:  We continue our study of matter by examining the molecular structures of the different common states: solids, liquids, and gases. We will follow the Scientific Method to demonstrate an important fact about all matter, that it takes up space. Even a gas takes up space, though it is difficult to see. Later in the week, a unit review sheet and vocabulary cards will go home in preparation for a test later this month.
Image result for states of matter

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 8: October 9-13

Reminders: 
Open House is tomorrow evening, Tuesday, October 10. Please join us in your child's classrooms from 6:00 to 6:45 and learn what exciting things have been going on in third grade so far this year.

Individual pictures will be taken this Thursday morning, October 12.

Do not forget to sign up for Parent / Teacher Conferences scheduled for October 18-20. Use the links below to secure your spot. We can't wait to celebrate the successes of your child and discuss their goals moving forward.
We have students with allergies so please pack nut-free snacks. Snacks should be dry and healthy to promote student learning and not create a mess. 
Examples: 

  • Fresh or dried fruit/vegetable sticks or slices
  • Cheese cubed or sliced·        
  • Applesauce (in the squeezable containers)
  • Goldfish/Cheeze-its or Cheese Nips       
  • Saltines/Graham crackers/Pretzels

Reading- This week our third grade readers will be exploring and identifying the elements of  fiction by referring to familiar text, and responding to the question, "What do these pieces of realistic fiction have in common?" The elements of setting, characterization, plot, problem, and solution will be emphasized and mapped. The story arc is an organizer that the students will be using to track the plot line of many realistic fiction texts. It will also be referenced as one strategy during our writing of personal narratives. 

Writing- This week our third grade writers will be spending time collecting ideas for personal narratives. October seems the perfect time to brainstorm lists of scary moments and techniques effective writers use to elicit emotion in their readers. An example of this is to "show not tell"; saying you are afraid is much less interesting to readers than showing you are afraid. I could feel my heartbeat in chest, my fists clenched, and I was unable to speak. Each week the teachers will continue to showcase examples of "magical writing" that will focus on effective techniques from other third grader authors. 

****Also, your child will need to bring in an object or artifact that is meaningful to him/her by Friday of this week. He/she will be sharing why it is special and using it to brainstorm other types of stories from his/her life.

Spelling-Students will continue to work with syllables to spell words. We will be manipulating them by combining some of the six syllable types in different ways. For example, pen-cil, if reversed would be read cil-pen. In doing this, students are better able to practice how to sound out and spell words in meaningful ways. In this example, students put into practice that a syllable, such as pen and cil are closed by a consonant, therefore the vowel will make a short sound in most words we read and write.

Social Studies-We have placed the finishing touches on our letters to our third grade neighbors so significantly affected by Hurricane Harvey at Meadow Wood Elementary. They will be delivered at a school function next week to show our care and concern for members of our Spring Branch community. We are continuing to assess what makes someone a strong member of his/her community by researching historical figures who made a difference.



Math- This week we will wrap up our study of addition and its application to everyday situations. Students will show how they are able to use various strategies to explain how addition is used to combine groups of things. FFF will continue to be addition this week. After scoring 100% on three quizzes, many students will move on to subtraction facts in another week. Please study NIGHTLY with your child. Knowing all facts is very important for every content area of math.

Science-  We will wrap up our exciting Matter Lab early this week and take a closer look at classifying the three most common stated of matter...solids, liquids, and gases.  We will focus on properties of each of the states and understand why its molecular structure is key to why it reacts as it does. Our Matter song will pep up the science class and reinforce our focus this week. On Friday, students will reflect on what we have learned this week.



    Sunday, October 1, 2017

    Week 7: October 2- 6

    October 2-6
    Reminders: 
    Do not forget to sign up for Parent / Teacher Conferences scheduled for October 18-20. Use the links below to secure your spot. We can't wait to celebrate the successes of your child and discuss their goals moving forward.
    Due to growing bodies and changing hormones, please encourage your child to develop the daily habit of applying deodorant.
     
    We have students with allergies so please pack nut-free snacks. Snacks should be dry and healthy to promote student learning and not create a mess. 
    Examples: 
    • Fresh or dried fruit/vegetable sticks or slices
    • Cheese cubed or sliced·        
    • Applesauce (in the squeezable containers)
    • Goldfish/Cheeze-its or Cheese Nips       
    • Saltines/Graham crackers/Pretzels

    Reading: Our focus this week is on connecting prior knowledge to what we read to enhance comprehension. Your child will be observing his/her teacher model this skill and will practice it with intention as well. There are three main types of connections that facilitate comprehension: text to self, text to text, and text to world. In addition, connections can be instrumental in higher level thinking if used correctly. We will be discussing the difference between a strong and weak connection. 

    Writing: As teacher models we must show that we ourselves sometimes struggle with the writing process and it is part of the process. We ask our third graders, “What is the easiest thing about writing? The answer is nothing!”
    We continue to “play with words” using a variety of strategies to collect ideas through the use of lists, prompts, and storytelling. Our objective is to build confident writers by showcasing “magical work” by peers that is successful yet attainable.
    Talk to your child at home about the conversation of a successful writer. It is often about attitude. Instead of “I have nothing to write about,” encourage your student to say, “I am struggling with ideas,” or “I have writer’s block and need a strategy.”

    Spelling: Teaching spelling that is applied to writing is truly a science. Third grade is a place where we are working tirelessly to find ways to carrying spelling instruction to application. This week we are talking about the role syllabication has as a spelling strategy. Every word in our language has syllables and each syllable contains a vowel and pattern in some form. We will be using various strategies on how to identify syllables in more complex words using puppets and chin movement. Your child will begin an in depth study on the six syllable types based on the studies of Orton-Gillingham. We will begin individualized spelling lists which tailor each syllable type to the needs of your child. 

    Social Studies: We are continuing our study of citizenship by adding the finishing touches to our cards of encouragement to our fellow third graders at Meadow Wood Elementary, a campus especially affected by Hurricane Harvey. It is a wonderful way of showing empathy to our neighbors. Also, we will be studying historical figures who exemplified good citizenship including: Helen Keller, Clara Barton, and Ruby Bridges.

    Math: During math this week, we will continue showing our number sense by locating numbers on a number line with beginning and end points that are multiples of 100. Students will eyeball the midpoint and locate their number from there. We will begin a study of addition, focusing on different strategies students can use to solve that operation. Those strategies include decomposing, bar models, number lines, and the usual algorithm. For example 241 + 638:


    Students will add up to 4 digit numbers without and then with regrouping in one, two and three places. Your child will have their weekly fast facts quiz on Friday (FFF). We encourage you to help your child study with flash cards or apps at home. Their facts quizzes are 20% of their overall Math grade. Paper homework will go home on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night. Thursday homework is to concentrate on facts being tested the next day.

    Science: Science this week has us focusing on Properties of Matter. We will experiment with objects that sink or float and mid week will rotate through a six station Matter lab to observe the properties of mass, texture, temperature and magnetism. Students will use a variety of science tools throughout the week.

    Image result for properties of matter

    Friday, September 22, 2017

    Week 6: September 25-29

    September 25th - 29th
    Reminders: Due to growing bodies and changing hormones, please encourage your child to develop the daily habit of applying deodorant.  

    Please remember we have students with allergies; pack nut-free snacks.  Snacks should be dry and healthy to promote student learning and not create a mess. 
     Examples: 

    • Fresh or dried fruit/vegetable sticks or slices
    • Cheese cubed or sliced·        
    • Applesauce (in the squeezable containers)
    • Goldfish, Cheeze-it or Cheese Nips·        
    • Saltines/Graham crackers

    Reading: Fix-Up Strategies take center stage this week.  We use fix-up strategies when meaning breaks down during reading.  As adults, these are techniques we do without a second thought.  For third graders, it require much thought, self-awareness and lots of practice!  Note the bookmark we will use in class to help us as we apply this learning.

    Writing: Good writers keep a notebook to generate ideas.  This week we will continue to work on ways to get ideas from our brains to our journals.  Storytelling at home is a wonderful way to help students make the connection between school work and the real world.  Specifically this week, we will think about memories that come from our homes.  Is there a room where you remember a funny or poignant story from your life?  Is there a home you have been in that has important meaning to you?  Where have you made memories? Share stories with your child.


    Spelling: After reviewing inventories, we have noticed some overall spelling needs.  We will begin our spelling practice with a few whole group lessons to fix-up some grade level misconceptions and then will move into a more targeted and personalized approach to spelling.


    Social Studies: Last week, we discussed leadership council and the opportunity it brings to third graders.  Leadership Council representatives will be announced Friday, September 29. In the meantime, we will focus on learning more about our community.  Where do we live? How can we help in our communities?  We will wrap up the week completing a service project that we will share with our third grade friends at Meadow Wood Elementary.


    Math: During math this week, we will practice comparing and ordering numbers. Your child will learn several strategies for comparing numbers and justifying how they got to their answer. On Wednesday, we will work to order numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least, our prior knowledge about comparing numbers will help us move through this topic. On Thursday and Friday, we will learn how to put numbers on a number line. We will work to locate a point on the number line when given a beginning and endpoint. Your child will have their first graded fast facts quiz on Friday. A blue paper filled with addition problems was sent home so that you have an idea of what to practice. We encourage you studying with flash cards or apps at home. Paper homework will go home on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night.


    Science: This week we will be studying the scientific method. We will go through the different parts and understanding what scientist do when conducting an experiment. We've worked on making observation and next we will work on making predictions and hypothesis when answering scientific questions.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, we will go through all the steps in the Scientific method as we conduct our first experiment. 

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    Library Volunteers

    We are thankful for those parents and family members who can help us in the library.  Remember that all volunteers have to fill out forms to register to a volunteer and attend a training lead by Mrs. Snyder.








    Friday, September 15, 2017

    Week 5: September 18-22

    September 18th - 22nd

    Reminders: 
    September 18-22- MAP TESTING (Please reference the blog post for more information.)
    Columbus Day - October 9th - Student Holiday (No School)
    Open House - October 10th from 6:00-6:45p.m.

    Reading: We will focus our attention on Metacognition this week. We will think about what we
    think while we read.  Good readers are able to monitor their thinking while read.  Making connections and predictions while reading improves reading comprehension and enjoyment!  Please share with your child what you are thinking while reading a book together this week.

    Writing: Thank you for equipping your students to share and create with Writer's Notebooks last week.  We have created personal treasure chests that we will now begin to fill full of personal and creative stories.  This week, we will begin by trying on a variety of writing techniques that get writer's thinking and ideas flowing!

    Spelling: Teachers have given the developmental Words Their Way Spelling Inventory and will work together during extended planning this week to make a plan for how to reach a variety of needs and challenges.  Look for more to come home in spelling in a few weeks!

    Social Studies: Third graders have the opportunity to be part of the HCE leadership council.  In classes this week students will learn about how we elect representatives.  We will make connections back to our local and state governments.  We look for students who demonstrate good conduct, have all passing grades, show leadership characteristics, are well respected by his or her peers and are motivated to help our school think of new and fun ways to serve the community.  Election results from 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will be shared on the morning announcements on Friday, September 29.

    Math: Due to the MAP testing this week, your the day to day schedule may look different in each class. This week, our objective is to learn how to compose and decompose numbers. This helps your child understand the many ways that numbers can be built and created. We will practice decomposing on Monday, composing on Tuesday and then we will combine the two on Wednesday. On Thursday, we will work to understand the relationships between numbers in each place that they hold. 

    We will have paper homework come home on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Please return the homework the next day as we check it together in class. We hope you will make time and encourage your child to do their homework, it is great practice. 

    Science: During our science block this week, we will be reminded how to make observations. When we make observations, we use our five senses - touch, taste, smell, see, and hear. We will practice making observations in class with items. Your child will come up with examples of objects or items in which they use their five senses.