Dear Third Grade Families:

The third graders have been busy this year!

Reading Character Studies

In this unit, children move from a close study of character, to a study of the predictable journeys that all characters take, to a cross book comparison study of characters who have something important in common (similar traits, problems, lessons learned). This unit builds in sophistication from literal comprehension work to interpretive/analytic work and directly supports the work of our writing “Baby Literary Essay unit” taught in tandem. Although Baby Literary Essay is a writing unit, it requires students to read closely, studying character traits, change, and lessons learned.

 Writing: Literary Essay

Essential Question: How can I write an essay that states a strong opinion about a text and supports it clearly with evidence from the text?

Structuring Essays About Stories: Students become accustomed to making a big, bold opinion about a character, including evidence from the text, and elaborating on that evidence. They’ll also include a brief introduction and conclusion. Know that the key to mastering any new skill, whether 3-point basketball shots or writing an essay, is repetition. Therefore, this unit offers students ample opportunity to write a few quick essays. The goal is to give students the opportunity to have repeated practice with this new skill set, drafting quickly and often during the first few days of each of our three “bends,” then selecting their best draft to revise and edit.

Reader’s Notebooks continue to be a place to record and track thinking about our reading. Responses now include synthesizing different parts of the texts, noticing themes, deep thinking about characters traits and motives and wonderings about why the author included that information. As we move into the character studies in early January, we hope to see that rich thinking reflected in students Reader’s Notebooks. Students may want to refer to the common themes sheet introduced in class.

Our Math Unit: Travel Stories and Collections

In math we are exploring the area and perimeter of rectangles as well as irregular shapes. We are also thinking about the difference between area and perimeter. When might it be best to use area or perimeter in a real life situation?

Social Studies: Learning About A Far Away Country: Brazil

In Social Studies we have been learning about Brazil through the use of centers. After the break, the students will continue to research Brazil in depth, with the focus of their research topic. The students will continue to construct their projects. We hope to share these with you at our publishing party (TBA).

Until Soon,

Leslie and Kevin