December 1, 2017

Dear Third Grade Families:

We loved seeing each of you during our recent November conferences and open school day activities. Thank you for your generous contributions to our classroom libraries during the book fair. Students love the newest additions to our leveled library.

Third graders have been embracing this month’s Lower Lab Value of Tolerance. One line that we examined from our book of the Month, The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss is: “That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.” We will continue to embrace the concept that our differences make us unique and our similarities hold us together! The things we have in common help us to feel that we belong. We realized that we need to have things in common, but we all need to feel special, too. Our differences make us feel special. The perfect combination is to have some of both!

 Some Celebratory Moments In November…

  • Mystery Unit: Foundational Skills in Disguise~ Students culminated this exciting unit by developing mystery posters which depicted the numerous skills that they learned which are transferrable to any other fiction book. Reading partners were able to articulate these skills in a myriad of ways.
  • Writing: Changing the World: Persuasive Speeches, Petitions and Editorials. As a culmination of our unit, children completed their opinion writing speeches, editorials and letters. The persuasive writing skills students acquired included: Creating a “hook”, stating a claim, supported by three clear reasons, explanations, adding transitions to make their writing flow, elaborating with mini stories, facts and finally finishing with a strong conclusion that is a call to action. These structures will support them as they venture into the art of non- fiction information writing and later as they study the genre of literary essay.
  • Reader’s Notebooks are a place to record and track thinking about our reading. Responses now include synthesizing different parts o the texts, noticing themes, deep thinking about characters traits and motives and wonderings about why the author included that information. At this time, we are aiming to have responses be more than three lines.
  • Muffles Truffles: Students successfully worked with partners to explore strategies in multiplication and division in an open-ended investigation called Muffles Truffles. They were introduced to the concept of an open array and discussed different properties including the commutative, distributive and associative properties. Math Congress has provided opportunities to highlight and deepen skills, strategies and student work.
  • Creative Writing: Author and educator Suzanne LaFleur has been working weekly on creative writing. Students have selected their story idea and are going through a variety of revisions. Suzanne has provided feedback, and students are thrilled that their writing will be included in a class anthology. We will share these anthologies during our December publishing party.

Looking Forward To The Month Ahead… December

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

Non-fiction readers get ready to read by “revving up their minds.” Even before their start reading a text, they preview it, identify the parts, and think about how the book might go.

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 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 an effort to continue supporting 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 students gleam 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. 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.

Here is a link to some articles we will be reading: Information Reading Expository Text Set During the last bend of this unit, students will also read biographies containing clear narratives. (Ezra Keats Bio)

Writing: The Art of Information Writing-Unit 3

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

Students will also have strong skills from our last 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 from topics of personal expertise. Our experts may include topics such as Star Wars, swimming, basketball, labradoodles, 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. These are some of the text features student will include in their writing. Text Feature Packet

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! Samples of informational texts: Informational Annotated Text Level 3, Informational Annotated Text Level 4

Reader’s Notebooks: This month our reading focus will shift to non-fiction. Students will still read fiction books, however non-fiction reading and recording in the different structures we will learn in class, will become important.

  • Students will focus on rebuilding their reading life! During this unit, readers will aim for at least thirty minutes of reading each night. Of course, they’ll need to read some nonfiction, but they can also keep their fiction reading going. The choice is up to each student how much time they will spend on each. Articles also “count” as non-fiction reading!
  • If students are reading nonfiction at home, they should plan to bring books between home and school. It would be best to also have some books at home to read about the topics which students love most.
  • Students are encouraged to use the library to get some nonfiction to keep at home.
  • Please feel free to donate any non-fiction books to our independent reading class library on topics that your child finds interesting.

Our 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: We kicked off our New Orleans study in style, complete with Mardi Gras glass beads and videos to taste the real culture and excitement that New Orleans has to offer. “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. Students are now working in research clubs where they are examining data and acquiring note-taking skills. These skills will be supported by this month’s non-fiction reading and writing units.

Technology: As a culminating project, students will make a travel brochure in technology that will highlight the people, places, and things that make NOLA unique. They will learn how to use World Book On Line, which can be accessed at home. (Password details will be sent separately) As an added bonus, we have secured additional technology time each week for students to deepen their research skills on line and work on their projects.

Save the date!

Our December Publishing party is on the horizon!

Grade 3 Publishing Party: Wednesday, December 20th @ 8:40 AM

Details and a Sign Up Genius link will be sent directly by our class parents.

Until Soon,

Leslie And Kevin