Dear Third Grade Families:

We hope you enjoyed a wonderful mid-winter break with family and friends. Students returned filled with enthusiasm ready to embark on their Brazilian independent projects, which will be completed during the next three weeks in school.

As you know, the New York State tests are coming up. The dates for the tests are:

ELA (English Language Arts) Test: Wednesday, April 11 – Thursday, April 12

Math Test: Tuesday, May 1 – Wednesday, May 2.

We wanted to let you know how we are preparing the third graders for their first foray into taking state tests.

 Test Preparation: We will gradually begin test preparation. This “test prep” work creates a bridge between our authentic work, and the specific language and structure of the upcoming NYS ELA exam.

Whole class and small group work will be designed to target a variety of skills. We use the information gleamed from our mock exams to help identify targeted areas to reinforce during this time.

Center Activities: A variety of center activities with reinforce specific skills for reading and writing.


In order to deeply understand the test passages, students will benefit from reading each passage two times. The first read is to get “the gist” and the second is to return and have a “closer read.” Students will be “road mapping”, where they pine and annotate the text. Students are also encouraged to divide the text into beginning, middle and end, so they can quickly access necessary information that a question requires.

  • One of the fun things we will engage in is a “reading marathon.” During this time we will channel students to read a variety of texts for long stretches of time. This helps them build stamina.
  • Students will work on strategies to successfully answer multiple choice, short response, and extended response questions using graphic organizers and checklists for support.

At home you can support your child by:

  • Reducing stress around the test.
  • Ensuring that they do homework assignments thoughtfully.
  • Helping them come up with a special “mantra” to say to themselves during the test if they feel overwhelmed, tired, etc.
  • Not overwhelming children with “extra” work.
  • Make sure they get good sleep and eat a healthy breakfast on testing days.

We understand this can be a stressful time for third graders (and parents) who have never experienced state tests before.  Please keep in mind that our biggest goal is to support the students in feeling prepared, relaxed, and confident, not anxious or overwhelmed. It’s a new learning experience for them, but it shouldn’t be an upsetting one!

Reader’s Notebooks continue to be a place to record and track thinking about our reading. Students have enjoyed giving partner feedback. In addition, students are learning how to use the narrative learning progression to evaluate their own responses, set goals, and push themselves as readers.

Our Math Unit: Unit 5: Fair Shares and Fractions on Number Lines

This unit will highlight work around understanding, representing, and comparing fractions.

Some highlights will include:

  • Understanding the meaning of fractions as equal parts of a whole
  • Finding fractional parts of different sized wholes
  • Demonstrating that different shaped pieces are the same fraction of a whole
  • Extending the use of a number line, to find and represent fractions on a number line
  • Measuring length to the nearest fourth inch on a ruler and represent same on a line plot
  • Comparing equivalent fractions with the same numerators and denominators
  • Understanding and using notation for fractions

Social Studies: Learning About A Far Away Country: Brazil

Based on our research of Brazil, students will have the opportunity to create an independent research project of their own choosing. They will research and complete these projects in school and then share them with guests at a publishing party (to be scheduled prior to April vacation).

We look forward to our upcoming class trip to Symphony Space that will support our Brazilian Study.

Until Soon,

Kevin and Leslie