Our Week – January 17

We’ve been enjoying The Great Sasquatch Escape and learning how to identify main idea.  We’ve begun to explore global geography and to think about how interesting people are in all parts of the world.  We’re working to put together our national holiday research into interesting and informative presentations and games.  We’re learning about fractions and measurement.  We’re organizing our family stories and learning how to use elaboration strategies to add interest to our writing.  There’s a lot going on in 3E.

The Holiday Palooza

This week we chose the name for the event (see above) where we would share what we’ve been learning about our country’s nine national holidays.  We chose the day, Monday, February 4 and the times 2:00 – 2:40 and 5:15 to 6:00.  We hope everyone in the class will be able to attend at both times to share his/her thinking and learning.  We understand that the later time may be challenging for some families – we hope you’ll be able to fit this event into your full schedules.  Please look in the front of your child’s folder for your personal invitation.

This project has been challenging.  Some of the holidays are rather obscure, while others require a lot of background knowledge to fully understand.  That is something 9-year olds don’t have unless they’ve listened to lots of family stories or are historical fiction readers.   I know I’ve written about this before, but I want you to be ready for what you read and see when you attend the palooza.  The facts tend to be sparse and some are misrepresented, but all has been written with their best effort to connect to the information and understand.

As you tour the children’s displays and play their games, please keep this in mind.  I think it will be exciting for them when they explore more US history in fifth grade.  Then they’ll really put all the pieces together.

Growth Mindset – Considering Others

We have continued to participate in the Growth Mindset Read-Aloud project.  We’ve shared some of our thinking about the books in the project and some others as well.  This challenge fits well with our Open Circlediscussions about behavior.  This week we talked about teasing.  We know that teasing hurtful, and yet it still happens.  We talked about why we tease and how it feels to be the teaser or the teased.  We also talked about what to do, when you realize an intended joke wasn’t received that way.  We’re trying to stand in our classmate’s or our sibling’s shoes and think before we speak. It’s not always easy, but I do think the class is becoming more aware. Logan came up with a great idea to help us think about consequences of our behavior choices.  Talk to your child about what we did and what we realized through the activity.

Measuring Length

We’ve been learning how to read measurement and to write mixed numbers in the proper way.  It seems as though most of the class has mastered that.  We are also learning by example how 2/8 equal ¼ and how 4/8 and 2/4 equal ½. It’s fun to learn about fractions and part of a whole.  We’re learning that sometimes a fraction is one thing cut into smaller equal parts and sometimes a fraction represents a smaller portion of a group. For example, if a class has 16 kids and we say ¼ of the class played on the swings at recess we can figure out that 4 kids were on the swings.  We’ve discovered when we work to answer questions like that we are also learning about division.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve participated in the second week of the Growth Mindset Read-Aloud Project.  We hope to get lots more comments on our blogs through these connections.
  • We are working make responsible book choices so our reading abilities can grow.
  • We’ve not found the time to work on our family stories more this week.  We will spend more time with them next week.
  • We continued to share books that show lots of different people and places in the world.  It is interesting to see different houses, traditional clothing, foods and even different school experiences.  It is amazing to realize how diverse and wonderful the world is.


Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

We’ve been exploring Growth Mindset.  Jerome had a passion for words that he shared with the world.  Mindful the monkey asked for help when he realized his problem was too big to solve on his own.  Dizzy the dolphin chose to care about others.  Saul didn’t give up on his dream.  He was an unusual pirate, but he did have his own special flair.  Using these book characters as mentors, think about  strategies you might offer others who are working through challenging situations, learning something new or dealing with friends.  How can we keep a positive attitude when trying new things?  What choices do you make when you are learning something that really matters to you?  Maybe this week’s blog prompts will help you discover some new ideas that help you become more confident and willing push yourself to do more.

  • Has there ever been something that you were not good at in the beginning, but then through practice you became good at it? Tell your story.
  • Describe what it feels like to work hard for something.
  • If someone could help you to get better at something, what would you want to get better at? Explain why you want to be good at this.
  • What are you passionate about learning? What do you get excited about learning?  Why?
  • Who inspires you? Explain why and how.
  • Other…

Check our blogs to find out which prompts we chose.  Please leave a comment when you do.

Joining a Growth Mindset Project

We are excited to join a Growth Mind Set Read Aloud Project developed by a teacher at the Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Annick Rauch is the teacher of a 1/2 classroom in a French Immersion school.  We are looking forward to connecting with students in other places around the globe.  During the first week we read The Word Collector by Peter H Reynolds.  The class decided to answer the questions from the project by creating individual blog posts sharing their answers.

The questions are:

What thing do you like to collect?

What word could Jerome find to go into a “Growth Mindset” scrapbook?

What are good ways to use your words?

Jerome is Word Smart and he shares it with the world.  What are some of your smarts?  What talents do you share in your classroom?

How will you make the world better?

Go to each of their individual blogs to read how these questions were answered from week 1 on the four week challenge.

Our Week – January 11

This week we decided to take the opportunity to join with some other classes across the United States and Canada in a project designed to connect us around the idea of Growth Mindset.  We’ve only just begun so there is little to report right now.  We’re excited about the possibilities.  For four weeks we’ll be reading picture books and answering a series of questions.  Our goal is to learn more about choosing behaviors and habits that lead to success.

This project connects to the work we did at the beginning of the school year about the Theory of Multiple Intelligence and goal setting.  It also connects to our current Open Circle unit about different types of behaviors.

Math and Measurement

Before the break we had been exploring time and solving problems to help us understand how to calculate elapsed time.  Over the past two weeks we’ve been exploring money – finding totals and comparing amounts. Both of these measurements have helped us practice multiplication of 5’s and 10’s.  We’re getting more efficient in knowing the amounts of halves and quarter hours and dollars as well.

Now we are moving on to linear measurement.  We’ll learn about inches, feet and yards.  We’ll also explore halves, quarters and eighths of an inch to add to our growing understanding of fractions.  I am looking forward to tracking the growth of amaryllis during this measurement unit.  I think the kids are going to be amazed.  If you have any projects that require measuring, please ask your child to help you out with them.  Measuring is always lots of fun, but authentic projects are best.

National Holiday Celebration

We are wrapping up our study of national holidays.  The children are finishing their research and are beginning writing, creating timelines, illustrations and a game to teach others about the national holiday they chose curious research. Through this project, we’ve learned a great deal about our country and its history.  It has often been challenging to understand how likelihood for fair treatment and equal opportunity has changed throughout our country’s history. There are some misperceptions.  You’ll see that as you view the tri-fold displays the children are putting together. These are honest mistakes.  They will open the door to further learning and increased understanding.  As with all things, once you begin thinking and wondering about a topic, the more you are able to notice the information that helps you understand.  We have a curious class.  They are interested in history and in the ways of people.

We’re excited to plan our museum event and to name it.  Please be on the lookout for an invitation to this event next week so you can be sure to save the date and time. The museum will be open in the afternoon while school is in session and again in the evening so parents can come after school.  We realize children have after school commitments and may not be able to attend – but we are hopeful that as many children as possible will be able to present their research and understanding both times that the museum is open.  This is an important part of Speaking and Listening and Communicating Learning.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

This week we’ve begun The Great Sasquatch Escape– the first book in the Imaginary Veterinary series.  We’ve also begun the daily practice of keeping track of the important events from each chapter.  We are using what we’ve learned about Narrative Story Arcs in writing to discover what part of this read-aloud story we are in:  Beginning (introductions of setting characters and the inciting event), Rising Action, Middle, Climax, Resolving Action, or End (the problems is solved and we learn how the characters have changed).  During read aloud the children are creating quick sketches of important events and/or listing things they feel are important to remember.

At this point in the story it is relatively easy to recognize what is important.  There have only been a few extra details, but they will grow and we will learn more about the choices authors make by examining them.

Elaboration Strategies and Writing

Last week we began learning about four different types of elaboration strategies.  Over the course of the last two weeks we’ve had the opportunity to practice developing description, adding action, inventing realistic dialogue and adding emotion by including inner (unspoken) thoughts and feelings.  Thanks to Melanie Meehan and the lessons she shared on her blog, we were able to learn how to add more interest and vitality to our writing.  More and more of the children are trying to include at least two elaboration strategies on every page of their writing this week.  Some of them have even tried to use all four strategies on every page.  They are beginning to realize that using these strategies communicates more of what they’ve thought and imagined with their readers.  Writing is a dynamic process.  I am proud of the effort many these 3rdgrade writers are making to intentionally improve the quality of their writing.



Bits and Pieces –

  • Each week the children work to add to their blogs.  Some of them finish a post in one week – others do not, as is expected.  Thank you for your continued attention to their blogs and the tine you take to leave comments.  It is greatly appreciated.  Jack has been blogging from Colorado and we’re excited to look for his posts every week too.
  • Most of the class began their plan for the “family story” they will write based on their interview.  This will be a first opportunity to apply their independent understanding the elaboration strategies.
  • We completed our season pros and cons exploration. This exploration has been designed to give the children ideas for their first persuasive writing piece.
  • We will not have our challenge with Mr. Guidi next week on January 16th.  He is attending a professional workshop.
  • Cursive begins next week!

Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

We are about to begin a study of maps and different places in the world. This week’s prompts are designed to help us think about where we’ve already traveled and places we’d like to learn more about.

This is also a chance to practice using elaboration strategies so the blog posts will dazzle and shine.

  • What is the best vacation you’ve ever been on? Who were you with, where did you travel to, what were some of the sights you saw?  Write down all the details you can remember.
  • What place in the world are you most curious about? What do you know about that place already?  What would you like to discover?
  • What is you most memorable travel/vacation experience? Use lots of details and try to remember all the emotions you had at the time.
  • Imagine a story of a time you are in a new country for the first time.You don’t speak the language very well, but you meet someone who is kindly willing to help you explore. Where do you go?  What do you see?  How do you feel?
  • Other…

…be creative and blog on!

Check our posts to see what we chose.

Our Week – January 4


Happy New Year! 

I hope you each had a wonderful break.  Judging from the bits and pieces I’ve heard from the children, it seems as though you did. Thank you for your time and attention with the family stories project.  We appreciate the support you offered the children in conducting their interviews and gathering information that will soon be turned into stories. We will begin that writing process on Tuesday – hopefully that will be enough time for everyone to collect their information.

Elaboration Strategies in Writing

We’ve continued to explore the elements within a narrative story arc.  This week we’ve learned different ways for making our writing even more interesting and detailed.  We’re exploring four elaboration strategies:  description (We’re trying to use what we’ve learned previously about adjectives, adverbs and the power of 3.), action, dialogue and inner thought.

We know that all pieces of writing have a beginning, middle and end.  We are trying to add enough detail to each part so readers are able to create a mental movie of the sights, sounds and actions.  It’s tricky!  This week it seems as though more of the students are realizing that intentional thought and attention to using these strategies will elevate their pieces of writing from “meh” to  “okay” to “interesting” to “WOW! Let’s hear that again.”

Open Circle – How to Sort Problems

This Open Circle unit helps us think about different types of social problems.  It helps us practice positive ways of dealing with them.  Over then next few weeks, we’ll be defining annoying, helpful, disruptive and respectful behaviors.  We’ll continue conversations about self-management and create strategies to help us behave responsibly and respectfully more than we do now by thinking more of the consequences of our actions.  Ella introduced us to the “butterfly effect” at the beginning of the year.  It’s time to consider this idea again to see how it can help us make different behavior choices to support growth and learning.

Rounding, Estimation and Measurement

Just before the break we explored the idea of estimation and how the skill develops.  We learned about rounding to the nearest 10 and the nearest 100. Rounding is a type of estimation and we thought about how this concept could help us every day.  We might be able to reduce waste. We might use time more effectively.

We’ve learned about time. Now we are tackling money.  Both of these types of measurement help us practice the 5’s and 10’s table.  Next we’ll be tackling linear measurement to learn our 12’s table and also learn more about halves, quarters and eighths.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Mr. Guidi’s challenge this week helped us practice cooperation and develop our communication skills.
  • We revisited our classroom goals and our description of what a cooperative classroom looks, feels and sounds like.  We still think they are important.  Most of the children have been actively working to help our class keep the behaviors that help us learn and reduce the behaviors that disrupt learning.
  • We finished The True Gift– our 6thchapter read aloud of the school year.  Ask your child about it.  What does s/he think a true gift is?
  • Many of the children created blog posts that highlighted either a favorite memory from 2018 or set goals for things to accomplish in 2019.  We read Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution to discover what “resolution” means.  We are working on classroom resolutions that will help us become a stronger class and more helpful to others in our school.

Here Are Our Blog Prompts for This Week

Happy New Year!  This week’s prompts look back and then ahead.  Will you save a memory or look forward to something new?

Write about a memory you made last year that you hope you’ll never forget.

What is one of the best things you did in 2018? What made it special?

What is your New Year’s Resolution? How do you plan to achieve it?

Make a list of things you are looking forward to this year. Choose one and write about why you are excited for it.

…be creative and blog on!

Make your plan.  How will you illustrate your post?

Fractions and Music

We’ve begun to learn about fractions in math class, but the concept becomes even clearer when we’re learning how to read and write music with Mrs. Oliver.  Here are some of our first rhythms showing which fractions are equivalent to a whole note.  Four of the groups were able to finish their rhythm and performance.  Enjoy!

Our rhythm shows that four 2/8 beats equal one whole note.

Our rhythm shows how a whole note equals 2/8+2/8+2/8+2/8.

Our rhythm shows that 1/2 note +1/2 note =1 whole note.

Our rhythm shows that a whole note is equal to four quarter notes.

Our Week – December 21

Our week has been filled with reading and writing, math and social studies.  We are completing a round of book clubs, learning more about elaboration in writing, exploring estimation and rounding, and moving into the final phases of our national holiday research project.

I hope both you and your children are feeling ready to tackle the interview and family story project. I do not mean to place stress into your vacation.  I hope this is a fun opportunity for the children to learn more about their family.  We appreciate your help and support.  We are looking forward to the stories we discover.

Our week has also been filled with cooperative group work.  We completed our “door” gecko and it is really quite beautiful – who knew a lizard could be so festive!  We’ve also begun our Grade 3 weather forecasting project to meet the SAU competency initiative.  There’s a lot going on in 3E.

Exploring Fractions

This month our calendar pattern is designed to help us discover more about fractions and equivalence. Through the pattern so far we have learned about halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and eighths.  We’ve discovered how halves, fourths, and eights AND thirds and sixths help us understand equivalence.  We’ve been reminded of what was learned last year, so we can build on that understanding.

The class has been learning a lot of about fractions in music with Mrs. Oliver too.  They’ve been creating rhythms by combining whole, half, quarter and eighth notes.  It’s not easy to do and takes a lot of concentration.  Some of the children decided to share what they’ve been learning and creating for me to video.  We will share them in the next blog post.  What will be exciting to note and notice is how this learning grows throughout the year when they play in recorder concert before Parade of the States in May.

Learning About Description in Writing

We know that the best writing creates pictures in the reader’s mind.  Authors choose their words carefully.  We’ve been trying to do this too.  We’ve realized it is not easy.  Authors take time to stop and think about word choice.

We’re learning about the parts of speech.  We’ve been learning more about how adjectives describe nouns and how adverbs describe verbs. Adverbs are tricky.  This week we challenged ourselves to include at least one adjective or adverb in each sentence.  We also tried a descriptive writing challenge.  Ten classmates kept track of each adjective or adverb they used as they were writing on Wednesday.  Sometimes the writing was better and we could visualize more of what the writer was thinking.  Sometimes the writing wasn’t better.  It was too wordy and a bit confusing.  We’ll keep practicing.  We plan to use this elaboration strategy when we turn our family stories into published books.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished The Wild Robot Escaped.  We are sad that Roz and Brightbill will not be part of our classroom each day, but we’re going to write to Peter Brown to see if he has any plans that could lead to a third.  We’d also like to tell him how much we enjoy his books.
  • Inspired by the NH Ladybug Book project in the library, the class decided to have monthly classroom book awards.  The children have been writing up a storm.  Each month anyone who would like to can submit a book for the contest. They’ll be read over the course of a few days and then the each child can vote for his or her top three choices. The hitch is, you cannot vote for your own book.  We held our December vote on Tuesday.
  • The Weather Forecast teams have chosen the place in the world they would like to gather data from. We’ll be forecasting from all over the world.  This week the pairs designed the Logo for their TV station.
  • We’re learning how to round numbers to the nearest 10 and the nearest 100.  We’re using what we know to make estimates.

Have a restful, happy holiday and a wonderful vacation.

Secret Friend Celebration

What a wonderful celebration of friendship and kindness, of caring and appreciation, and of joy in giving and in receiving.

I wish you  all could have been here to see the joy on each of the children’s faces, first as they gave their gift, and then as they received the gift that had been made especially for them.  “Oh, how did you do that?”  “I love it!”  “Oh, you made that!  How did you do it?.”  “Thank you so much!”  3E is truly a wonderful place to be!  Here are some photos of the day.  I hope you’ll be able to catch a glimmer of the happiness that filled our classroom of friends.  Thank you!