Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week 20: January 17-20

Upcoming dates to put on your calendar:

1/16 - School Holiday for Students and Staff 

1/17 - School Store Open 7:30am - 7:50am for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, near the library

1/19 - 9:30am PTA General Meeting

This week in third grade...

Reading: Readers will consume and analyze a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts in order to notice and name differences between the genres.  We will look specifically at narrative non-fiction texts and focus on why authors choose to write about topics in this manner. 

Narrative non-fiction: a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. (This will be a genre presented on the STAAR test in May.) 

Essential questions we will consider: 
  • Instead of writing biographies, why would an author choose to write about a person or event in a narrative format? 
  • What is the purpose of this genre? And how can we identify it? 

Writing: Writers will wrap up our poetry unit this week. We will choose our favorite poems, revise them, edit them, and publish our best work. On Friday, we will have our end-of-unit writer's celebration and share our pieces within our community of writers. We have loved watching our writers experiment with different types and styles of poetry the past few weeks! 

Spelling: Due to our WITS schedules and differentiated grouping across ELA teachers/classrooms, we will be moving our spelling day to Thursday this semester (with the exception of the white group that will stay on Wednesday). New spelling groups started Thursday, January 12, and the test will be Thursday, January 19th. 

Social Studies: We will continue our economics unit and will be focusing on goods and services this week. We will be able to differentiate between the goods and services we use as consumers in our own lives. 

Goods and services anchor chart Consumer anchor chart Goods vs services  2nd grade social studies:

Math: This week is dedicated to a review of multiplication and division. Students will practice recognizing when to use each operation and how to use the many strategies we have learned in the past few weeks. Multiplication problems give you two numbers (factors), the number of groups and the number in each group. The question asks for a total number (product). Strategies explained in earlier blog posts include equal groups, number lines, arrays, skip counting, and repeated addition. Division problems give you the total and how many groups you will make with that large number. The question asks for how many are in each group.(quotient) The octopus strategy is best for this. It could also give you the total and the number in each group and ask for the number of groups you can make.(quotient) The cookie strategy works best for this. Other division strategies include skip counting, repeated subtraction and knowing the related multiplication fact that will give you an immediate answer. These strategies are also explained in previous blog posts. After several days of practice, students will be tested on their multiplication and division skills this Friday.
FFF (Fast Fact Friday) quiz will still be on Friday this week. If your child is not well into knowing their multiplication facts, at least on sixes or sevens, it is time to step up the effort. Please help your child practice flash cards, previous quizzes, and apps to solidify their knowledge of basic facts. Multiplication is a priority, but don't forget to review addition and subtraction every once in a while. There is no POW (Problem of the Week) this short week. This Thursday, we will give the next PSA to see how our students have grasped concepts taught the first half of the year. 

Science: Having just finished a unit on Force and Motion, we move on to Natural Resources. One of Earth's greatest resources is soil. Beginning with the processes of weathering and erosion, soil is a combination of pieces of weathered rock, air, water, and decomposed plants and animals called humus. Worms and insects allow air and water to enter soil and help make it great for growing plants. Decomposition of all living materials is part of the life cycle and food chain. Knowing what will and will not decay will help students understand the importance of recycling and not littering. 

natural resource - anything made by nature and used by man
weathering - the process the breaks down rocks into tiny pieces over time
erosion - the carrying away of weathered rock
agents - causes
decompose - rot, decay
organic - living or once alive
humus - decomposed organic material (plants and animals)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 19: January 9-13

Upcoming dates to put on your calendar:

1/9 - Parent Education Meeting  9:30am - 10:15am       Math Facts With Your Child: Learn how to help your child master the basic facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with some easy games you can play at home.

1/10 - STAARY STAARY NIGHT - Informational Parent Meeting about the third grade STAAR test. We will meet in the library from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

1/16 - School Holiday for Students and Staff 

1/17 - School Store Open 7:30am - 7:50am for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, near the library

1/19 - 9:30am PTA General Meeting

This week in third grade....

Reading: Readers will wrap up our unit in poetry on Monday and Tuesday. We will look at a familiar poem, answer questions about the piece, and discuss how the text evidence helped us draw conclusions. 

Next, we will start thinking deeply about summarizing texts. We will read familiar passages and decide how to best summarize the events in the story. We will use a fun method called CPR, which stands for Characters, Problem, and Solution, to find the best answer choice. The best summaries include all three components. 

Writing: Writers will begin writing poetry this week! After spending time consuming poetry in reading, our learners are anxious to start looking at poetry through the eyes of a writer. We will write about ordinary things and ideas that create extraordinary feelings within us. We'll be looking at 4 elements to help guide our poetry writing: central ideas (theme), purpose (who is your audience and why are you writing this piece?), mood, and form (which poetic form best conveys your theme and purpose?). 

Spelling: Mid-year spelling inventories are complete. We have formed spelling groups based on the most current spelling data from our learners. New spelling groups will start this Wednesday, January 11th, and the test will be the following Wednesday, January 18th. 

Social Studies: We will begin our unit on markets, business, and budgets. This week, we will discuss in detail what a free market is and why it’s important to the US economy.

Math: This week we continue the study of division, striving for students to develop an "ear" for how a division situation sounds and then choosing an appropriate strategy. As explained in last week's blog post, our two main strategies are the "octopus" and "cookie" methods. We are also viewing division as "repeated subtraction", just the opposite of multiplication. Similar to the "cookie" method, this subtraction tells us how many groups you will end up with in the end. For example... If Chef Jones bakes 12 cookies and packages them into bags of 3, how many bags will he be able to fill? The equation is 12÷3=___. How many threes are in 12?
Yet another strategy is to "skip count" to find the answer. For 12÷3=___, skip count by 3 up to 12 and see how many numbers that is. 3,6,9,12 will give you 4. The final strategy, and the one we hope all third graders will eventually be able to use, is to know their multiplication facts well enough to come up with the "related multiplication" in that same fact family that will give them an immediate answer. Again, for 12÷3=___, if the student knows that 3x4=12 or 4x3=12, they will know that 12÷3=4. As the week progresses, our students will try their hand at writing division word problems that reflect real life situations. They will have an opportunity to solve each others' problems posted around the room. By Friday, we will revisit multiplication along with division and give students practice knowing when to use which operation. A new Problem of the Week goes home on Monday. Please work with your child to discuss and solve it. It is due on Friday. We will also have our regular Fast Fact Friday quiz on whichever facts your child has reached. As usual, there is written math homework Monday through Wednesday nights.

Science: In Science, we wrap up gravity then spend a few days playing with magnets and feeling how they repel and attract. Then we'll explore the benefits of using a pulley to lift heavy loads. On Friday, we will review force and motion and take a quick 15 question quiz.
Enjoy this quick video on pulleys.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Week 18: January 4-6, 2017

Happy New Year and welcome back! We hope you had a wonderful holiday break. We are looking forward to another incredible semester in third grade! 

Upcoming dates to put on your calendar:

1/3- Student holiday

1/4-Students return to school

1/6 - Third Grade Recognition Ceremony for the Second Nine Weeks, 9:00-9:30a.m. in the HCE Cafe

1/10 - STAARY STAARY NIGHT - Informational Parent Meeting about the third grade STAAR test. We will meet in the library from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

1/16- School Holiday for Students and Staff 

Reading: Readers will continue to read poetry! Before the break, we focused on information in the poem that  pulls at the reader's sense of hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling, and tasting. This week, we will spend more time studying how these sensory details also help us infer more about the character (feelings and emotions), situations, and moods we read about in poems. For example, what words in a poem suggest that a speaker is happy? or frustrated? We will use text evidence to support our thinking. 

Writing: Writers will review what good writers do to help them plan and organize a small moment to share in writing or in conversation. 

Spelling: New spelling groups will start Wednesday, January 11th, and the test will be the following Wednesday, January 18th. 

Social Studies: Our focus on good citizens turns to Dr. Hector P. Garcia this week. We will learn about how he worked to make life better for Latino and Hispanic Americans. 

Math: We continue our study of division this week. As an operation, division begins with a total (whole) and divides it into equal groups (parts). The octopus strategy is used when we know the total and the number of groups it is divided into. We are solving for the number in each group. This is how a problem like this sounds. A one pound bag of Snickers contains 24 candy bars. If 4 children share them equally, how many Snickers will each child get? 
The octopus strategy looks like this:

Wednesday we will review what we have already learned about octopus division and practice the strategy in class. On Thursday and Friday, students will be introduced to the other division strategy, the cookie method. This one is used when we know the total (whole) and how many will be in each group. We are solving for the number of groups that will be formed. A problem like this is: A one pound bag of Snickers contains 24 candy bars. If each child gets 4 Snickers, how many children will get candy bars? Using dots, the 24 candy bars are circled in groups of 4. We end up with 6 groups representing the 6 children who will get Snickers. The cookie method looks like this:

Math homework for Wednesday and Thursday will be to study for our weekly Fast Fact Friday quiz. There is no written homework.

Science:  On Wednesday we will be reviewing friction as the force between an object and the surface it moves over. Surfaces with much friction will slow an object quickly, whereas surfaces with little friction will not. Students will participate in a "Toy Car Race" to explore surfaces and friction in our room. On Thursday and Friday we will explore gravity and its effect on Earth and falling objects. Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward each other. Larger objects have stronger gravity than smaller objects. The Sun's gravity holds the planets in their orbits and the moon's gravity causes Earth's tides to rise and fall. The rate an object falls here on Earth is controlled by its shape and the amount of air resistance it experiences, not its weight or mass. Astronauts on the Moon performed an experiment that helps to show us that. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Week 17: December 12 - 16

December 12-16: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Friday, December 16th is a Noon Dismissal day. Please plan accordingly and send a handwritten note with any change of transportation.

Reading, Writing and Social Studies: Holidays around the World will be our focus this week through read aloud, shared reading, and writing.  We will share fiction, nonfiction and poetry from various traditions to teach students about the many ways people around the world celebrate during the winter.  By the week's end students will have heard how some people in and from Israel, Mexico, America, Greenland, Sweden, Australia, Italy, and India celebrate various winter holidays.  At home, please share with your child the origins of your family's traditions and celebrations.  .
Mrs. Cion, our WITS partner, will be with students on Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon for creative writing workshop.  Last week she shared some poetry and discussed personification with our third grade writers.  It was fun to collaborate with them and use our imaginations as we pretended to be various objects and write poems from that object's perspective.

Spelling:  This week we will take an application grade.  We will look to see how your child applies his or her spelling patterns in daily work.
Students will also take the Elementary Spelling Inventory this week.  Teachers will use the data from this inventory to see how your child is progressing in his or her knowledge and application of spelling concepts.  We will readjust spelling groups based on this data for the spring semester.

Math: On Monday, the third grade math teachers will flexibly group our students and review skills for comparing and ordering numbers from our last PSA. On Tuesday, the students will rotate through each third grade teacher to learn about various Holidays Around the World. On Wednesday and Thursday, we will introduce your child to division. We will spend these two days learning about the octopus method for division. This method is used when we know the number of groups. We are looking for the number in each group. On Friday, we will complete our last rotation for Christmas Around the World.

We will have multiplication homework on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We will not have fast facts or problem of the week. 

Science: On Monday in science we will discuss force and the how work is being done on when an object is moved. We will spend time on these vocabulary words:

Motion-is a change in position  
Position-where an object is located
Work-happens when a force moves an object over a distance
Force-is a push or pull that causes an object to move, stop, or change direction

On Wednesday and Thursday, we will discuss friction. This is a term that we have discussed when we studied thermal energy. We will be reminded that friction is the force between an object and the surface it moves over. Friction creates heat and slows an object. We will look at different surfaces to understand the amount of friction that ice, tile, wood, carpet, concrete, sand, pebbles, dirt, grass, metal, playground rubber surface give off.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 16: December 5-9

Upcoming dates to put on your calendars:
12/7 - Toys for Tots- Please send a new and unwrapped gift to donate.  Children will get a chance to drop their toy with local firefighters and Santa Claus.  
12/9 - Fun Run at Woodview.  Permissions slips are required for students to ride the bus for this event.  All donations will help support the SPARK PARK at our sister school, Woodview Elementary.
12/16 - Noon Dismissal- Please make arrangements for this different dismissal time.  Teachers will need hand written notes if you are making  a change in your child's transportation schedule.
1/6 - Third Grade Recognition Ceremony for the Second Nine Weeks, 9:00-9:30a.m. in the HCE Cafe
1/10 - STAARY STAARY NIGHT - Informational Parent Meeting covering information on the STAAR test. We will meet in the library from 6:00 - 7:00p.m.

Reading: Readers will continue to read poetry this week.  We will focus our attention on what information in the poem pulls at the reader's sense of hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling, and tasting.  Descriptive details that pull at our senses help the reader visualize while reading.  Later in the week, we will use these sensory details to also help us infer more about the character and situations we read about in poems.

Writing: This is PUBLICATION WEEK.  Writer's will focus on fine tuning their stories to help the reader.  Developmentally, this is a hard skill for third graders.  It's hard to admit that our first attempts are perfect.  Encourage your child at home, by sharing times that you changed your thinking after your first impression or effort.

Spelling: Spelling tests are this Wednesday, December 7.  An application grade of words in daily work will take place between 12/8-12/14.  We will also give the spelling inventory again between 12/8-12/16.  The information gathered will help us readjust spelling groups based on learner's needs.  

Social Studies: Jane Addams will be added to our bank of Good Citizens.  Her work in Chicago made a difference for so many men, women and children as she founded and worked at the Hull House.  We will discuss the many reasons she was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Students will also learn about various ways that people are honored and remembered.  Pointing our monuments, plaques, road markers, and awards that are created in memory and honor of those who make a difference will help our students understand ways we remember and recognize good citizens.

Math:In math this week, we will continue practicing our strategies for multiplication. We will decode word problems to pick out the important parts. We will identify what number in a multiplication sentence tells us the groups and which number shows how many in each group. We will use word problems to reiterate these skills.
For example: There are 4 groups with 3 strawberries in each group

 On Thursday, we will practice creating our own multiplication word problems to help us understand multiplication even more. On Friday, we will get to solve the multiplication word problems we created the day before. We will have our normal math homework on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Our fast facts quiz will be on Friday. We will not have a problem of the week this week. 

Science: On Monday and Tuesday during science time, we will participate in an energy lab. We will apply the information we know about mechanical, thermal, light, and sound energy. On Wednesday, the third graders will take the Science PSA (Priority Standard Assessment). This assessment is created by the district and gives us information on how your child is progressing through the concepts that we have taught so far in science. On Thursday, we will take the Energy Test. We will review in class before the test is given. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 15: November 28 - December 2

Reading: It's time to immerse ourselves in a new genre.  For the rest of November and most of December, we will be reading poetry.  We hope your child has come home excited about some of the poems we have shared together during our daily dose of Focus Poetry.  Our study during the reading workshop over the next few weeks will have us reading more closely and analyzing various aspects of poetry.  Students will learn and apply the poetry vocabulary of stanzas, lines, repetition, rhyme, speaker.

Writing: We will continue to consume author's craft through various mentor texts.  We will look closely at how authors use dialogue, repetition, and descriptive detail to help readers understand and enjoy the story.  At home, you can be sure to notice and share out with your child about dialogue that you read in stories together that helps either move the story along or tell you more about the characters.  Point out details that help you visualize what the characters are seeing and experiencing in the story.

Spelling:  New words will come home on 11/30.  A test will be give 12/7.  An application grade of those words in the context of reading and writing will be given 12/8-12/14.

Social Studies:  As we continue to learn about citizens who played an important role in our communities, we will learn about Jonas Salk.  Salk's research and work with vaccines has made a huge impact on the health of our community.  

Math: Each day in math this week, we will use our multiplication strategies to learn about multiplying by 6's, 7's, 8's, and 9's. Each day, we will listen to a song that helps skip counting by each of the multiples. We will not have a problem of the week this week. We will have a worksheet on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Please note that the Fast Facts Quiz will be taken on Thursday due to our Field Trip on Friday. 

Science: In science this week, we will wrap up our unit on energy. On Monday, we will create energy vocabulary cards for the energy test. The energy test is scheduled for Thursday, December 8th. On Tuesday,Wednesday, and Thursday, we will learn about sound energy. Sound energy is the energy of matter vibrating. A few of the important terms we will learn about are pitch and volume. Pitch is how high or low the sound is and volume is how loud or soft. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week 14: November 21-22

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Reminders for this week:
- Please turn in permission slips for our Galveston Field Trip on Friday, December 2nd
-Tuesday, November 22nd - Dress the School Day - Wear Camo!
- No School on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday for Thanksgiving Break

Image result for turkey escapes thanksgiving free useReading: The genre of drama will be introduced this week.  Students will note and notice similarities and differences between the genre of realistic fiction (we've spent a few weeks with this) and our partner plays.  Reviewing terms like character, narrator, actor, setting, and stage will help us prepare as students work in groups to read through, analyze and perform plays based on the topic of Thanksgiving.

Writing: Forget the Houston Escape Room, the turkey needs our help!  Writers will apply author's craft to imaginative stories.  They will focus on creating scenarios that might help the turkey escape becoming our Thursday dinner!

Spelling: We will continue to look for spelling patterns to be applied within the context writing in all content areas.

Social Studies: With help from some primary sources, we will look for elements of historical truths about Thanksgiving in our plays.

Math: During class on Monday, we will review the strategies for multiplying that we've learned so far: repeated addition, equal groups picture, jumping number lines, and arrays. On Tuesday, we will learn about the associative property which states that changing the order that the factors are multiplied does not change the product. We will not have a Problem of the Week or Fast Facts on our short week. Your child will have a subtraction review worksheet that will come home on Monday as homework.

Science: In science this week, we will continue talking about light energy. Light energy is a form of energy that helps us see and comes from the sun. During class, we will discuss the difference between natural and artificial light.