Dear Third Grade Families:

We are literally FALLING into great things in third grade!

This past month we have become leaders of our own learning. Below are just a few highlights!

Writing: WE ARE WRITERS and are crafting our own true stories! As our unit draws to a close, students are honing in on the art of revising. During this process, they are learning to develop the heart of their story, drawing on various mentor texts for inspiration. In addition, students are perfecting exciting leads, writing with a storyteller’s voice, adding dialogue and finally ending their story with one of the techniques we learned to wrap up a personal narrative story!

Reading: Our reading unit has been closely linked to the work children are doing in writing. They are truly taking on the roles of readers and writers in our classroom and at home. We have learned that Tackling Complex Texts Takes Grit! This understanding invites children into the process of self-improvement and rising to reading challenges. These challenges might come from students pushing themselves to read more, or from readers tackling difficulties with word work or character work.

Reader’s Notebooks: Our Reader’s Notebooks are now filled with daily entries. Student’s lives as readers are illuminated through each section including goals, independent reading, read aloud, and finally their reading log where they record completed books.   

Math: Our first unit on multiplication is drawing to a close. It has provided an opportunity to establish math routines in the classroom, and lay foundation for the multiplication work ahead. At the close of this unit we will spend approximately two week in an investigation to further student’s mathematical thinking around this topic. We have been focusing on the importance of naming the strategies, making conjectures and generalizations, and overall, simply digging deeper. Check out our number stories on our bulletin boards that show our student’s creative thinking.

Social Studies: Places We Know

Essential Questions: How are various parts of the United States similar to and different from each other? What is life like in the various parts of this country? How can talking to people about far-away places and studying maps, photos, videos, and books help us learn about life in those places?

We launched our global studies by first brainstorming and jotting notes about places we know well. We located these places on our class maps of the United States and the world. Students have immersed themselves into this unit in a burst of enthusiasm thinking about their special place. This will be a springboard subsequent units in which students be studying places, peoples and cultures more removed from their own. In the same way that this unit is intended to provide a foundation for children to the content that they’ll need for this year of Social Studies, it also provides students with a foundation for the skills of a social scientist or a researcher they’ll be building upon.

Looking forward to the month ahead…

Reading: Mystery: Foundational Skills in Disguise! Students will step into their detective’s shoes! Track clues! Look out for red herrings!) This unit ramps up and emphasizes the foundational skills that lie at the heart of engaged reading. Reading mysteries is the perfect vehicle to teach these foundational skills. Students are so excited to read mysteries, they’ll leap at the chance to do the work required to really “get” the mystery. And, of course, mysteries also naturally push kids to infer—to notice clues and to wonder more about them. The rest is a surprise and we can’t wait!

Writing: Changing the World: Persuasive Speeches, Petitions, and Editorials

We will encourage students to think about a change they want to see being made locally. In the later part of the unit we will work to support students in addressing more global concerns. Student will learn how to direct his/her writing to a specific audience. It is likely that at the start of the unit, student’s speeches are apt to be fairly short. So before long, we will support students in saying more about each reason. Students can start anticipating their audience’s questions so as to address these as they write (“Maybe you are wondering why…well, let me tell you…”). This will help students elaborate on their reasons. We are eagerly waiting to hear our student’s opinions.

Social Studies: Global Studies—Places We Know: We will continue with Places We Know, that will provide a natural segue into our study on New Orleans: The people, places, and things that make NOLA unique. “Let the good times roll” – is New Orleans’ motto, which is carried out by the city’s joie de vivre. It is no wonder New Orleans is called the Birthplace of Jazz.

Math: We will begin our investigation called Muffles Truffles. Students will push their thinking and make further conjectures about multiplication, factors, and products, by developing numerous arrays to support their thinking. Our next unit in math is Graphs and Line Plots, Modeling With Data. Through this unit students will collect, organize, represent, and describe categorical data. They use a bar graph and a pictograph, using a scale with intervals larger than one) to model what their data show.

CML (Continental Math League) is on the horizon, and students are thrilled!

Lower Lab Values: Respect! We have introduced our book of the month: “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein. We are using this book as a springboard to discuss the topic of respect. At the close of the month, we will have an assembly where classes’ k-5 will join in celebrating our conversations and thinking around this most important core value.

We are filled with gratitude by your unending support, as we partner together to further your children’s love of learning.

Our Best,

Leslie And Kevin