Sunday, March 1, 2015

LA and SS 3/2-3/6

READING
Your kids have done a great job reviewing nonfiction features over the last few weeks.  Last week we reviewed the concept of theme in reading.  What lesson or message does a book teach us?
This week we will work on reviewing inferring.  Our biggest challenge this week will be to have students work to find text evidence to support their inference.
WRITING
Your children have written some FABULOUS expository essays.  This week we will learn some new and revisit some old revision techniques as we prepare to finalize our essays.  We will have them published and ready to share with you at Publisher's Picnic.
Last week we had a great time on our WITS field trip to the Menil.  We responded to the art and poetry we were able to take in at this unique venue.  I was so proud of how well the kids were ready to try anything that they author's put in front of them.  Their writing from our WITS experiences will get turned into a published collection that we will also make sure is take home ready by Publisher's Picnic.
SPELLING
Spelling lessons start back this week.  Please look for NEW words to come home on Wednesday.  The spelling homework menu is due on the following Tuesday (3/10) and the test will be on that Wednesday (3/11).  If you need support with spelling, please email me.  If you child looses his or her spelling words, please look at the spelling spiral as we write them down as part of our lesson on Wednesdays.
SOCIAL STUDIES
We are finishing up our study on the Story of America.  Students will create a project on the inventors and scientists we have covered over the last few weeks.  Then, we will finish the week with a look at our founding fathers.  All third graders will take a quiz on 3/11 on the inventors, scientists and founding fathers we have covered over the last few weeks.  Please encourage your child to bring home his or her social studies journal.  They have been working hard to complete guided notes on each historical figure.  You can also reference the Social Studies Links page on this blog for more information.
HOMEWORK
Thank you for supporting reading at home.  Your child will bring home a letter and data report sheet from our Practice STAAR Benchmark this week in the Tuesday Newsday folder.  My big focus with this data is that I want your children to notice what they have learned this year.  Then, we will work together to help them keep learning and working on reading concepts that they struggled with on the benchmark.  Many of them have been focused on the score.  I'm less concerned with scores, and more concerned with learning.
One area that most kids struggled in was endurance.  If you look at the last 8-10 questions on the benchmark, they started missing more and more questions.  I've stressed in class the importance of reading at least 20 minutes each night and will appreciate your support at home.  The letter coming home will have question prompts for you to use with your child after they read each night.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Math and Science Week of March 2-6

Hi Parents,

Happy Boosterthon week!  What does that all mean?  I don't know either, it's my first Boosterthon!  We will  just figure it all out together.

This week in Math we are starting with the fraction quiz.  The field trip day last week pushed us back a bit and we had to alter our plans.  Tuesday and Wednesday we will begin with fractions on a number line.  You will see something similar come home for HW this week.  Fractions on a number line in it's simplest form looks like this:


This is when we in introduce students to what a mixed number is.  A mixed number is a whole number WITH a fraction.  In 3rd grade, students must be able to understand a number line being divided into 2,3,4,6,and 8's!  Thursday and Friday we will introduce the Metric Measuring System.  Students will measure lots of things around the room in centimeters and become familiar with the words millimeter, centimeter, meter, and kilometer. 

We will have a fast facts test on Friday as well as a Problem of the Week.  

In Science we will be continuing to learn about Natural Resources and conservation.  Your child SHOULD have a Natural Resource flow chart in their red hw folder to study.  It was brought home on Thursday night last week.  They will need to be able to fill out a blank flow chart on their own by this coming Friday the 6th, as well as know why do we use wood for houses, cotton for clothing, etc...  What does renewable/non-renewable mean?  Why conserve?  What are the three R's?  There will be a few multiple choice questions that they will be responsible for answering on this short quiz. 

Here is a video/song about the three R's that's fun and catchy!



Let's take care of earth.

Love,
Ms.S

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Math and Science Week of February 23rd

Parents,

Wow!  What a busy week last week all crammed into four days!  This week we will also have another field trip.  Our WITS program that has been teaching our kids to write will be taking us to the Menil museum.  It will be a neat experience for the kids for sure.

In Math this week we will still be working on fractions.  Monday and Tuesday we will work on making equal fractions, Wednesday and Thursday we will use our knowledge of fractions to compare them.  The students will have pictorial models in order to make a decision of greater than, less than, or equal to.  On Friday, we will have an all encompassing test on fractions.  The pictures below will explain how students make equal fractions and compare fractions in 3rd grade.

      


There will be a Problem of the Week due on Friday as well as a fast facts test grade that will go in the grade book.

In Science we are learning about Natural Resources (renewable and nonrenewable).  This week we will take common things like a cheese sandwich and/or a teddy bear and break down what the objects are made of and whether the materials are renewable or non-renewable.  We also will discuss how this applies to conservation and the Three R's, Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.  We will discuss ways to conserve and discuss how we can take care of our earth.

Important things to remember about this week:
Tuesday-Book Fair Dinner
Wednesday-Donuts in the morning sponsored by the Dad's Club
Thursday-WITS field trip
Friday-Go Texan Day

Love,
 Ms. S

Friday, February 13, 2015

Math and Science Week of Feb 16th

Parents,

I hope your Valentine's was spent with loved ones and that your three day weekend was fabulous.  Here were are in mid-February and we are truly gearing up for STAAR Math now.  The kids took the practice STAAR math test last Tuesday and that has given me some great data to work with and help your child individually.

In Math this week we are still working on fractions.  There are three golden rules that we learned last week about fractions.
1. Fractions are ALWAYS equal parts.
2. The denominator is ALWAYS the total number of parts.
3. The bigger the denominator, the smaller the piece.

These might seem super simple, but they are very important rules in 3rd grade we have to remember.  This week we will dive into discovering adding fractions with like denominators like the picture below.


The second thing we will discover this week will be equivalent fractions.  1/2=3/6=4/8 and etc...


We will use a fun game called Taco Fraction this week and next to learn how to make equivalent fractions. 
Please continue to study fast facts with your child.  The kids are making wonderful progress this year.  It is fun to see.   The majority of the kids get hung up on the doubles test for a while.  So PLEASE hit the studying hard!  This week will not be recorded in the grade book.

In Science we just ended our unit on Slow and fast land changes.  We are moving on to Natural Resonances, what is renewable and what is non-renewable.  I like this unit because we discuss the importance of recycling and taking care of our earth.

Thing to remember this week:
Monday-President's Day-no school
Wed-Field Trip to the Science Museum 8:45-12:45
Friday-3rd grade planning day, all teachers will be absent

Love,
Ms. S

Friday, February 6, 2015

Math and Science Week of February 9th

Parents,

Progress reports went home today (Friday the 6th) and will need to be signed over the weekend and returned on Monday.  If your child was absent or left early on Friday, they will receive their progress report on Monday.

Happy Valentine's Week!!  In Math on Monday we will review specific skills that we have learned this year such as place value, comparing numbers, ordering numbers, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, graphing, time, elapsed time, temperature, and patterns on a number line.  The kids will work in partners to solve some STAAR like Math questions together.  On Tuesday will be the Math practice STAAR test and on Wednesday will be the practice Reading.  We will treat these days like a test day.  The students may only read or rest when they finish their test.  On Thursday we will begin our unit on Fractions.  Thursday will be unit fractions only (1/2,1/3, 1/4, etc) and on Friday we will identify non-unit fractions of a regional model (2/3, 5/7, 3/8,etc). Picture explanation below of what a regional model is:




There will be no written homework in Math for the week.  Students are asked to study their fast facts for their fast fact test this Friday that will be entered in the grade book.  They are also told to study their flashcards and study guide on slow and fast land changes.  The flashcards and study guide are tan in color and were sent home on Thursday (2/5) via the red HW folder.  There will be a Science test this Friday (2/13).  

In Science we are wrapping up fast land changes.  We have so far looked into earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes.  This week will will discuss landslides and have a day where we play a game to help us get ready for the Science test on Friday the 13th.  

For the Valentine's party this Friday, I have asked the kids to TRY and come up with something other than candy for their friends.  It is not prohibited to pack candy with a Valentine card, but we are encouraging Valentine pencils, stickers, erasers, tattoos, etc...instead.  I have also told the kids to not buy me candy or chocolate even though I have a sweet tooth. One year I got over 20 boxes of chocolate on Valentine's Day between the two classes I teach!  It was a dream and a nightmare all at the same time :)

Things to remember:
Tuesday-STAAR Math 8:30-12:30, lunch @ 12:45, specials @ 1:15
Wednesday- STAAR Reading 8:30-12:30, lunch @ 12:45, specials @ 1:15
Friday-Valentine's Party @ 2:15

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Math and Science the Week of February 2nd

Here we are in February already.  Time is soaring on by.  We have a full week of learning planned!

In Math you might have noticed that we sent home homework last week about telling time to the minute.  This week we will take that knowledge a little further and learn how to determine Elapsed time.  The strategy that we will learn and teach the kids can be seen in the YouTube video below.

Towards the latter end of the week we will work with the kids on Patterns in a list and Patterns on a number line.  In each of the types of patterns, students will subtract "neighbors" to find the rule of each patterns.  A pattern can repeatedly increase, repeatedly decrease, or grow exponentially.  Patterns in a list are shown below:


Patterns on a number line are shown below:

There will be a Problem of the Week due this Friday as well as a Fast Facts test.  This week's fast facts test will not be entered into the grade book.  

In Science last week we finished up learning about the slow land changes of weathering and erosion.  We briefly moved on to fast land changes and discussed earthquakes.  We discussed as a class how the earth's crust in which we live on floats on top of liquid mantle.  All students were shown videos of how our earth's crust is like a jigsaw puzzle and made up of tectonic plates.  We talked about how these tectonic plates build up pressure among fault lines and cause earthquakes.  The kids were really intrigued by this.  This week we will go on to volcanoes and discuss the relationship between the tectonic plates and volcanic action.  We will also dive into landslides and learn why they too are also considered fast land changes.  

Important dates to keep in mind this week:
All week is Counselor Appreciation Week!  We Love Mrs. Glass!
Monday 2/2- The 100th day of  school
Tuesday 2/3-A STAARY STAARY NIGHT 5:30-6:30; 3rd grade teachers will discuss the STAAR test in detail with parents in the library.
Wednesday2/5-Spring pictures today, Scholastic order due for February order in Skrivanek's HR.
Friday 2/6- Progress reports go home.

Love,
Ms. S





Sunday, January 25, 2015

LA and SS 1/26-1/30

Reading
We send home another STAAR-like homework on Monday night this week.  Students will have until Friday to read the passage, jot down notes and answer questions.  We will check the answers and share strategies in our class discussion on Friday.  

In class we will be inferring with non-fiction text features.  We will review what we know about captions, photographs, titles and subtitles and then work to infer the author's purpose for including them in the article.  

Writing
We wrote our first kernel expository essays last week.  Our topic last week was something we can just not do without.  Your children really got into the work and their kernels are priceless!  Topics ranged from video games to books, hair gel to chocolate and water to puppies.  Our LOVES were all over the map.  This week we will continue to flush out other ideas and write another kernel essay.  After we compile a bank of possibilities your children will pick which topic they wish to take through the writing process.  

One of the biggest moments of success and fun was while I was listening to kids share their kernel essays.  Our WITS author, Mrs. Bolton, has been teaching mini-lessons on figurative language.  She's covered similes, metaphors and personification so far.  One of our students last week used a simile in his conclusion to drive home the reason he just couldn't live without books!  The quick writes they do with Mrs. Bolton each week are fun and imaginative.  It was so fun to watch them apply it to our new genre of writing last week!!

Spelling
Spelling continues this week.  New words will come home on Wednesday, January 28. Spelling homework is due 2/3/15.  Spelling tests will be given on 2/4/15. Many children struggled last week to get back in the rhythm of spelling.  Please check in with your child to make sure he or she is on track to complete spelling homework on time.

Social Studies
During Story of America we will create trading cards to help us solidify our learning about the explorers below:
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)-An Italian explorer working for Spain who sailed to the Americas while trying to reach Asia from Europe.

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis – American explorers who, in 1803, led The Corps of Discovery in exploring the land west of the Mississippi River. They journeyed overland across North America to the Pacific Coast and back.

Daniel Boone (1734-1820)-An American pioneer leader who helped settle the state of Kentucky and created the Wilderness Road, a trail in the Appalachian Mountains that early settlers used to move west.


Juan de OƱate (ca. 1550-1626) A Spanish explorer who founded the first European settlements in the upper Rio Grande Valley, including the city of El Paso. 
A study guide will come home Monday, 1/26.  Our test will be on 2/3/15.

4th graders will take a practice STAAR test on Thursday.  We will have an alternate schedule.  Lunch will be at 12:45 and specials at 1:15 on Thursday of this week.