Dear Third Grade Families:

We can hardly believe it is nearly time for Parent Conferences, Open School Day, and Thanksgiving. We are so grateful for the time that we share with your children each day, observing their wonderment, enthusiasm and joy as we learn together as partners, small groups, a class and a community.

November marks the launch of our word study program. We have blended the two classes into three groups. Students will receive a new spelling composition notebook along with a spelling menu taped to the inside cover. They will complete three menus options each week. They will complete two by choice (once we have reviewed them as a whole group). The third option will be on Thursday where the students will write their words 3x each as a review for the quiz on Friday.

 Some Celebratory Moments In October…

  • The children completed their narrative stories as a culmination of our unit Crafting True Stories. The revision skills that they learned focusing on craft, elaboration and editing, they will keep in their pocket to use throughout the coming months.
  • Our Reader’s Notebooks are in full swing! Students are choosing nightly from menu options pasted in the front of their notebooks. We have even added a special menu that is specific to the skills we are reinforcing during the Mystery Unit.
  • As our math Unit draws to a close, students have acquired skills in both multiplication and division. They have internalized routines of our math workshop model including “count arounds” and “number strings.” CML word problems continue to provide challenging work to further student’s mathematical thinking around various topics, using different strategies.
  • Social Studies– Places I Know. Students have nearly completed their social studies writing about a place they know. Look for these on the back wall of our classroom, along with a pin in the map to match your child’s writing piece.
  • Author and educator Suzanne LaFleur has been working weekly on creative writing. Students have experimented with a variety of inspirational techniques including pictures, prompts & read aloud. This week marks the beginning of the students selecting their final piece, which will be revised for our class anthology. We will share these anthologies during our December publishing party. Stay tuned for details.

Looking Forward To The Month Ahead… November/December

Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures-Unit 3

Reading to Learn is a foundational unit for nonfiction reading. This unit is intended to teach students to read long stretches of nonfiction with fluency, in such a way that they can determine importance and ascertain main ideas. This unit will help strengthen students’ skills as nonfiction readers and also build their nonfiction reading identities. The Art of Information Writing parallels this the non-fiction reading unit. In effort to continue to support students’ progress in fiction reading, students may read fiction at home.

Goals for this unit include: reading texts with clear text structures (headings, subheadings) so they can use those structures to help them to glean importance, determining not just what the text is teaching but to have their own thoughts about those ideas and information; and to be able to draw upon what they know about reading fiction and apply it to reading narrative nonfiction. During the last bend of this unit, students will also read biographies containing clear narratives.

We love how this unit reinforces some of the key learning around foundational skills from the first reading unit. Both reading units invite kids to build a reading life, to be active readers, to read with volume, and to choose high interest texts that can be read fluently with comprehension.

Writing: The Art of Information Writing-Unit 3

For our third writing unit, children will be writing information texts. We teach The Art of Information Writing alongside a reading unit where students will be reading information texts. Teaching these two units side-by-side will support transference.

Students will also have strong skills from our current unit Changing the World, including their ability to group related information together, hook readers in, and elaborate on their points. The Art of Information Writing unit is designed so that students are writing off of topics of personal expertise. Our experts may include topics such as Star Wars, miniature poodles, rubix cubes and taking care of younger siblings. Students will do on-the-run research on their topics as part of writing workshop, but they are not expected to spend weeks reading and researching their topic. That is, students should be writing about topics they are already experts on, not the topics they are currently reading about in Reading.

In this unit, children choose topics they know inside and out to write about so that they can put all their energy toward shoring up foundational information writing skills. This is always one of the students most favorite units!

Math Investigation: Muffle’s Truffles–Multiplication and Division with the Arrays

As our division unit draws to a close later this week, we will begin an exciting two-week investigation called Muffles Truffles. The focus of this unit is the development of the open array as a model for multiplication and division. This unit uses a series of investigations based on the context of Muffles’ Truffles shop. Muffles_Truffles_Candy_Shop.

Through carefully selected open-ended questions, students will investigate and create solutions using centimeter grid paper and their prior knowledge of multiplication and division.

The strings of related problems are explicitly designed to guide learners toward computational fluency with whole number multiplication and to build automaticity with multiplication facts by focusing on relationships. The quick images use 2 x 5 and 1 x 5 arrays as units to build larger arrays. In the last days of the unit, more complex minilessons (double-digit multiplication problems) generate a wider range of student strategies that can be explored (and modeled) with the open array. We would encourage all students to work towards fluency with their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts through 12.

Our Next Math Unit: Graphs and Line Plots

Modeling With Data: Students collect, organize, represent, and describe categorical data. They use a bar graph and a pictograph using a scale with intervals larger than the one to model what their data shows. Example: What is your hair color?

Collecting, Representing, and Analyzing Measurement Data

Students represent and analyze ordered, numerical data using a line plot. They generate measurement data and represent that data using a line plot that includes fractions. Students will generate measurement data in inches, half inches, feet, and yards.

Social Studies: Global Studies—Places We Know: As our writing about Places We Know draws to a close, we will 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.

We look forward to seeing you all during parent conferences.

Until Soon,

Leslie And Kevin