Our Week – June 15

Our final week has been filled with reading, writing, portfolio building, poster making and problem solving.  It has also been filled with talking, a bit of unkindness and little effort by a few. The class is tired and ready for vacation, and yet, we still have final writing and math assessment to complete. It would be great if everyone in the class would rally and continue to put forth his or her best effort.

The end of something always brings a mix of emotions.  The class is anxious about the transition and many of them are unsure whether to be happy or sad.  Please help your child consider how he or she would like to end the year.  It’s been a great one.  We’ve done some wonderful things together, built some lasting memories and learned lots together.  Let’s try to leave on a happy note.  Kindness always matters to everyone

Portfolio Preparations

This week we’ve put our reflections, photographs and work samples into our portfolios.  The class has been pleased to realize how much they have grown and changed.  They’ve become neater and more efficient.  They’ve become more thoughtful and surer of what they know and understand.  Most of the class is reading for meaning and connections now.  They’re excited to feel able to write for different purposes and proud of what they’ve learned in math.  Make sure to read their “The Important Things About 3rdGrade” posts on their blogs.  They feel as though they’ve accomplished lots.  They have!  They are looking forward to sharing their portfolios with you on Monday.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – or Just Stop…

Many in the class have completed their posters about plastic.  We are hoping that once school is over, that we’ll be able to find places to hang the posters throughout the community.  It is surprising to realize how full of plastic our lives are – it’s everywhere!  We hope the class will keep noticing and keep trying to make a personal difference.

This week at lunch many of the children have broken their habit of drinking with a straw.  They’ve brought their water bottles to lunch, rather than using a Styrofoam cup.  It is challenging to reduce plastic use, but we’ll do it if we all try.
































Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished Zorgamazoo.  It was a great ending, though a little bit sad.  It may have been our second favorite chapter read-aloud.  We’ve started Emily’s Fortune.  We think we can get it done.
  • We met with the 4thGrade teachers on Thursday.  Some present 4thgraders told us what they found fun and different about this year from last.  They talked about homework, and learning challenges, field trips and fun projects. We toured the classrooms and it seemed as though everyone left feeling ready for his/her first year upstairs.
  • We’re nearly finished with all the cursive capital letters.  We’re challenging ourselves to write full sentences in cursive.  It is a fun challenge.

Our Week – June 8

The countdown is even more apparent this week – just 8 more days of school.  The end is so near and we still have so much to complete. We’re discovering more about how plastic is effecting our environment and us.  We’re continuing to develop our persuasive writing skills and wrapping up mystery book clubs.  We’re completing a whole host of school-wide assessments and learning more about the steps of the scientific process.

It was exciting to have Mr. Gustafson, from the S.E.E. Science Center. help us think more like a scientist or engineer.  It is fun to solve problems in new ways.  Ask your child how many different solutions the group came up with for helping one sheet of paper drop to the ground faster than another equal sheet.   He also showed us some exciting chemical reactions. We learned about combustion with a turkey baster cannon and we learned the word catalyst – something the causes the reaction to begin.  We were excited to see the immediate reaction with Elephant’s Toothpaste.  It was amazing.











Persuasive Writing

Last week we each selected a favorite season.  We collected our pros and cons.  Using that list, we planned to write our persuasive essay.  We experimented with different types of leads and conclusions and finally put all of the pieces together with a full color illustration. Persuasion and establishing a firm opinion is tricky, but your children have done a great job sharing their ideas and supporting them with details they’re sure you’ll agree with.

Plastic Pros and Cons

We’re also learning how posters and short messages persuade as well.  We’ve watched a variety of videos to learn how plastic is impacting our planet.  We talked about a bit about bias.  Videos created by the plastic industry have a totally different message from those created by environmental agencies.  We’ve had to look closely at each source to understand which part of the story we are learning.

We watched Plastic 101and Kids Take Action Against Ocean Plasticfrom National Geographic, and The Plastic in Our Oceanfrom PBS.  We learned some astonishing facts.  You may want to watch them with your children and talk about what you see and hear.  I am learning so much.  I hadn’t stopped to think about my family’s plastic consumption, but I am now.  The amount of plastic humans consume is staggering. The fact that almost half of the plastic we use is designed for a single-use is mind-blowing. For example, the US consumes 5 million plastic drinking straws each day!   No wonder there are seven giant plastic patches in the world’s oceans.  By 2050, if we continue on as we are currently there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine animals.

We hope the posters we’re creating will teach others about what we are learning.  We hope we can reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate. If everybody consumes just a little bit less, we’ll have begun to address our plastic problem.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Leo Lionni created beautiful picture books.  Each one helps us consider how we’d like to be in the world – caring, confident, content, collaborative, and kind.  Each day, for the last two weeks, we’ve read and discussed a different book.  See if your child has a favorite.  You may want to ask him or her what the theme of the book was and how we could learn from it.
  • We’ve learned a little over a third of the upper-case cursive letters.  It’s been fun to learn and to try to read and write more in cursive.
  • We almost finished with Zorgamazoo.  Our heroes are still trying to escape their prison on the moon.  It a lot more complicated and dangerous than it seemed at first.  The Octamobots are pretty powerful and persistent.
  • Also this week, we’ve taken a look back at many of our learning accomplishments.  We’ve reflected on what we’ve done and how we’ve grown and changed as scientists, “social studiers”, mathematician, writers and readers.  It seems as though the children feel most changed as mathematicians and scientists. Those are the two areas where they can see their new learning most clearly.  They have accomplished a great deal this year and can be proud of all they’ve accomplished.

Our Week – June 1

The end of our 3rdgrade year is in sight. Many in the class are talking about how bittersweet it feels.  We are glad that summer is approaching, but sad because it feels as if we’ve just begun to know each other well.

This week we’ve continued to reflect on our learning accomplishments.  We’ve begun to explore questioning and different types of questions. It’s been an interesting process that I hope will help us explore SCIENCEand what it means to be a scientist. Mystery book clubs are continuing to meet.  Students are blogging (please read their posts and leave them a comment), reading, writing, finishing our cursive alphabet, solving problems and learning more about fractions too.

Question Formation Technique (QFT)

Thinking about thinking and wondering about your personal learning process is something that grows connections in your brain.  Metacognition is something that is beginning to show more often at this point in your child’s development.  Because of this, learning reflections teeter on the edge of purposefulness. For example sometimes a fall reading reflection will transform from, “I’m going to read fatter books faster,” to “I’m going choose to read books that help me understand more about what it means to live in different parts of the world.”

One of the ways we are helping develop these more complex lines of thinking is by exploring questions. On Tuesday the class divided into small groups to develop questions related to a focus statement:  Scientists explore, observe and experiment.  The goal was to write as many questions as possible in ten minutes.  We tried not to discuss or judge them (that was the hardest part of the process for us.) And we tried to record the questions exactly as we thought of them.

After some fits and starts, the class came up over sixty-five questions.  We sorted these into two categories:  closed and open.  Closed questions are the ones we could answer with a single word, or are questions we would find the same, single answer for wherever we looked. Open questions have a variety of answers and often lead to more questions.  We decided that they make us more curious.  They might even help us understand something we want to learn about because they help us think about a topic in many different ways.

Once we had sorted some of our original questions, we also explored ways of rephrasing a closed question so it became more open.  We also explored how sometimes one question can lead to another and another. Sometimes some of the questions surprised us.  Sometimes the questions lead us deeper into the topic. We expanded the closed question, “Who invented plastic?” into “Why do we make plastic?” and that led us to wonder, “Can we make plastic good?”

Persuasive Writing Grows

We’ve created different book reviews.  We’ve written hoping to persuade you to travel to the states we research before the others. Now we are spending time to discover how persuasive writing can be used to bring about positive change.  We’ve practiced making lists of pros and cons about one topic using Douglas Florian’s poems about the things he loves and hates about each season as a model.  We’ re learning more about planning and organizing. We’re prioritizing ideas and topics so that what is most important is clearly highlighted in our writing.  We are experimenting with leads to add interest and set the tone for our entire essay.  Soon you’ll be reading about the seasons we each consider as being best.

Our next step after this will be to choose something related to plastic or plastic use to learn about. Perhaps we’ll have something to share before the end of the year, but maybe not.  We hope to continue this work next year if we can find a way to help The Good Deed Club to continue.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve learned how to write all of the lower case cursive letters.  Some of them are challenging to write, but most of them are fun.
  • We are reading our twelfth chapter read-aloud.  It is Zorgamazooby Robert Weston.  The entire book is written in rhyme.  At first it seemed challenging to understand because there are so many new and different words it in, but now that we’re more into the story it is fun.  Ask your child which main character they like best: Katrina Katrell or Mortimer (Mortie) Yorgle? And why?
  • I’m not sending student work home this week so we can amass some work samples for the children to choose from as the continue developing their portfolio to share with you on June 18. The Student-Led Portfolio shares will be in our classroom between 3 and 5:30.  Thank you to families who already returned the slip indicating when you might be arriving. It seems as though the conferences will be spread throughout the time so everyone will be able to hear as their child shares his or her 3rdGrade learning.  Remember as always, if this date or these times don’t work for you, please say so.  We can find another time easily.

Our Week – May 25

Our week has been full of reading, writing, books clubs, a map reading challenge with Mr. Caron, problem solving and fractions.  We’ve even begun to think about what scientists do and spent some time reflecting on our learning for the year.

The Parade of the States

Thank you!   The Parade of the States was a wonderful success because of each of you.  All of the children were there.  All of the children had floats they were excited to share and that showcased their ideas and creativity.  This celebration of learning happened because you made sure they had the time and space they needed.  I can only imagine the conversations and time shared with children to come to this final presentation. Each of them was sure of the wonders of their state and of what they had to present.  Thank you again!

The class often talks about how much they like music because it challenges them.  It isn’t always easy, but they have help to succeed.  I can’t thank Mrs. Oliver enough for her effort to help all of your children learn more about reading, writing and playing music.  On top of that she helps them have the opportunity to perform for a large audience. The class had so much fun learning and performing The 50 States That Rhyme in addition to the twelve songs they performed on their recorders.  I think that’s something for them to be proud of – one song a week for the last three weeks.

You may or may not have noticed that Mr. Caron helped us out tonight.  He’s been our physical education teacher this year, as well as the person who plans and provides different hand-on or out door challenges. At this point of the year our challenges with Mr. Caron have all been focused on map reading and finding ways to “keep maps real” so we can read them correctly.  He has added a lot to our learning this year because he knows us so well.

Part of the state project was to learn more about the format of persuasive writing.  This week everyone tried to finish his/her persuasive writing pieces about the states.  You’ll find that some of them are more informative, but perhaps the information shared will still persuade you to travel to see those Wonders.  The completed pieces of writing have been published on the student blogs. They created digital books on iPads that turn pages with a swipe.  When we upload them to the blogs, they become videos.  The pages switch too quickly so you’ll have to pause the video at each page change to read it all.  I’m sorry for that inconvenience – I’m sure there’s some setting I’ve missed.

When you view and read your child’s book, please leave them a commentThis is their most in-depth piece of persuasive writing to date.  They are still learning about finding issues and making claims that they can support with evidence.  And yet, I think they’ve got a strong initial understanding of how this type of writing develops and grows.

State Fun Facts by 3E

I asked the class to write what they think is most interesting about each state. Here is what they shared.  Enjoy!

“Here’s what you should know about Rhode Island.  They have coffee milk.  Yum!  They make Johnny Cakes.  Also Yum!”  December.


“Michigan is known as the Wolverine State.  The traffic light was invented in Michigan.  Probably Michigan need it because it’s also where cars were invented by Henry Ford.”  Willow


“Here’s what you should know about Illinois:

            Illinois was the twentieth state to join our country. 

            It joined on December 3, 1818.”                      Miles


“Here’s what you should know about Texas. Texas was the 28thstate to join the U.S.A.  Texas is the second biggest state.  The capital of Texas is Austin.”  Emily


“The important thing about South Carolina is the State Person: James Brown.”Annika.




“Here’s what you should know about Florida.  It is the closest state to the equator and it is one of the warmest states.”  Derek


“Here’s what you should know about Maryland.  You should see the pig race at the state fair.  It is really cute.”  Dylan


“Here’s what you should know about Massachusetts.  Dunkin Donuts was made there.  The first carousel in America is there.  Its nickname is the Bay State.” Tavi


“Luther Burbank cultivated the Idaho Russet potato.  It was invented so know famines wouldn’t happen again.”  Brian


“Here’s what you should know about North Dakota.  Lewis and Clark explore North Dakota.  There are also more than 150,000 flowers planted in the Peace Garden in the summer.”  Maxim


“Here’s what you should know about Colorado!  Colorado is a big skiing place.  Lots of people who like to ski go to Colorado.  The places where most people go are Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek.  If you are a big skier (or snow boarder) then you should ski at… COLORADO!” Jack


“Vermont has mountains. You can go camping and there is a special place in Vermont- Quechee Gorge.”  Ryan


“Here is what is important about Georgia.  Did you know that the Georgia Aquarium has the more aquatic life than any other aquarium in the world?  The Peach is the state fruit and Georgia’s nickname is the Peach State. I hope you go there very soon.”Alex


“Here’s what you should know about Hawaii.  It’s a very fun state.  It has beautiful beaches.  All year long it is summer.  There are lots of animals.  There are lots of palm trees too.  I hope you will go to Hawaii.  I think you’ll love it there.”  Izzy


“My state is Ohio.  It takes 11 hours and 45 minutes to get to Ohio from New Hampshire in a car. If you’re taking an airplane, it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I hope you go there.” Corbin




Our Week – May 18

We’re wrapping up our state writing and beginning learning reflections to share in our final student-led conferences.  We’re observing our seeds as they sprout in the classroom and our plants as they flourish in the greenhouse.  We’re nearly finished with Winterhouse– a very exciting mystery and student mystery book clubs are nearing the middle of their books.

Persuasive Writing

We’ve been learning more about persuasive writing.  We’re practicing those skills when crafting book reviews and when telling about our state Wonders.  The first review was posted on the student blogs on or around March 28.  The second one was written two weeks ago and was posted on the student blogs this week.

In the learning process, the children have been discovering what it means to make a claim and how to support that claim with facts, as well as, opinion.  We’ve developed rubric-like checklists to guide these writing projects.  One helps guide the writing of reviews.  The children are writing a third review for an independently read chapter book or series.  Our goal is to have that review published on the student blogs as well by the end of next week.  We are hoping the three posts share evidence of our progress and learning.  Check then out and leave a comment about what you see and hear.  They like knowing they’ve been read.

The other rubric guides the writing about state Wonders.  The students hope to persuade you to travel to their states before any of the other 49. In fact, each child is trying to convince you to pick his or her state as your next vacation destination.  They are feeling excited about all the things they have learned about their states and are trying to clearly share why those places and things are destinations to see.  It will be fun to share next week.  We hope to get everything completed!

Reflecting on Learning Accomplishments

As the year comes to a close, the students are taking time to think about how they have grown and changed as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, “social studiers”, learners and friends.  We’ve brainstormed lists of class accomplishments and they’ve each taken some time to reflect on personal accomplishments.  They’ve done many things this year and have much to be proud of. During this reflection process, it has been interesting to listen to them as they realize what they’ve accomplished. The act of gathering a pile of books to show what’s been read, or pulling our favorite pieces of writing, even looking back to see the different types of math problems solved throughout the year has helped prove to themselves how they have changed.

We read The Important Bookthat describes the traits of everyday things like spoons, shoes or the sky in a format that begins, “The important thing about…, lists a few other traits, and ends as it started “But the important thing about… .” The children used that format to write about themselves and what has been important to them as third grade learners. They are wonderful to read – they’ll share them with you at their final student-led conference and portfolio share. They are proud of becoming stronger readers.  They feel good about blogging and knowing that people from different places are reading their stories, poems and information.  They are proud becoming more skilled at researching and being able to learn things on their own.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We got a thank you from the World Wildlife Fund this week.  It was address to The Good Deed Club.  It was wonderful to see another rush of pride sweep through the room.  They have, indeed, made a difference in the world and will keep doing so as well.  The new idea is tackling the use of plastic.  We’ve got lots to learn.
  • After a long break, we are back to practicing cursive writing.  It’s fun to learn and relaxing to practice.  We’re learning how to write the “Loop Group” letters: h, k, b, f, l and e.
  • Our chard is doing great in the greenhouse, but our seedlings are very spotty.  We were attempting to see if there was a difference in how green, red and yellow chard would grow.  I hope they’ll be opportunity to explore heredity and variation of traits as we track how the different varieties grow.
  • Please be on the look out for Student-Led Conference and portfolio share sign-ups on Monday.

Floats can be brought in to the classroom after school on Wednesday, May 23 or before school on May 24.  We can’t wait to see you at the Parade of the States!

Our Day – May 11

Our week has been mostly filled with state testing, extra recess and Wonder researching, writing and creating.

Your children deserve a great deal of praise for their effort, attention and focus during the state testing.  They tested in the computer lab and library. The rooms were full of other children elbow to elbow.  They had to focus on their own tests and stay still after they were finished for two hours three days in a row.  Most of the children needed the full amount of time to complete the tests. They worked hard.  The testing questions were difficult and the format was confusing at times.  Often wording confused the children, but they persevered and worked on.  Several children will work to complete the testing next week and then that part of our year will be behind us.

In the afternoon the children continued to complete their Wonder art and paragraphs.  I hope you found the finished artwork sent home on Wednesday as stated in the past weekly notes and homework.  Some children are still working on of their pieces – either their hero or their manmade wonder collage.  Those pieces will be sent home to you as soon as they are completed.

Most of the children have been able to meet the paragraph writing deadlines and are making an effort to add in as much detail and description as possible.  Their writing makes me smile.  They are 8 and 9 years old.  That is the amount of time they’ve had to experience and learn about the world. Reading that Ruth Buzzy is known for hitting people with her purse and that James Brown has unique style is definitely true – but we know it will be years from now that the children fully understand the meaning behind what they’ve written.   That’s a great thing about learning.  Once you begin to learn about something, you keep noticing details and information that you might otherwise let slip by without a connection.

Our mystery seed experiment is exciting to see.  Talk to your child about what’s germinating in their cups on the growing table.  It is interesting to see how differently seeds grow and look as they sprout.  I’ve still not told the children what they planted. We’ll reveal that mystery next week. We’ve had uneven luck with our chard. We’ve decided that will try that experiment again because we have no idea if there is any difference in germination with the three different colors of chard.  Our plants in the greenhouse are growing well.  We are really starting to see changes as they stand up straighter and the leaves begin to grow larger.

We’re continuing to enjoy Winterhouse.  We are at an exciting place in the read-aloud.  Something is going to happen, but we are not sure what it will be and we are not fully certain to whom it will happen.  See what you child has to say about this mystery.  We’ve also tried to begin mystery book clubs this week with spotty success.  We hope everyone will have time for reading next week so we can get back on track.

We’re also continuing our exploration of fractions. We’ve learning how to double the ingredients in recipes and to cut them in half.  There is a cookbook that features recipes and food facts from each of the states so we’ve begun with those.  We can learn more about math and our states at the same time.

Our Day – May 4

It sounds as though you had full and interesting vacations.  The children were bubbling over with stories as they came into school.  They seemed glad for the break, but also glad to be back together.

The end of this school year is in sight, but I am hoping the time slows down.  It feels as though there is so much to do and not nearly enough time to fit it in. Talk to your child about how our week has flown.  Much of what we’d hoped to accomplish did not happen (fables published, book clubs started, research completed…) – but the things we did do, worked out well.  We would accomplish more if we could eliminate chattiness and sneaky computer use.  Sadly, a couple children have lost their computer privilege for writing and research. We hope to promote a more responsible work ethic and an awareness of the need for responsible decision-making.

Learning a Bit About the State Testing

            The class talked about the upcoming state testing and spent time familiarizing ourselves with the format.  We explored the reading and math practice tests.  The children learned how to use the dictionary, flagging and text to speech tools.  We explored ways of making a best guess when a question was challenging.  I believe all the children understand that the test will take time and effort.  They know some of the questions will feel quite difficult, while others will feel quite doable.

I think we have addressed their questions and concerns. I think they know that we are asking is for them to give a sincere effort.  The test is not timed.  We do have an allotted time for testing, but if they have not finished in that time, we will pause that test and they will be able to finish another day.  If they are feeling anxious please let me know. We’ve talked about that too. Feeling nervous means that it matters and that they want to do well.  If they are putting forth their best effort – they will do well.  We will trust that they are making a sincere effort. We couldn’t ask for more.

Spring is for Growing

            This week we began two different growing experiments. The first was to see if there would be a difference in how three types of Swiss chard would germinate and grow. Five children planted green chard, five planted red chard and five others planted yellow chard.  We planted the seeds in the classroom and planted seedlings in the greenhouse on the same day.  We are anxious to see when and how they grow.

The second experiment was choosing four different types of mystery seeds to plant.  We made a guess about what they were and guessed which one would sprout first. The children planted the four seeds on the side of a clear plastic cup, hoping that we’ll be able to observe how they roots begin to grow and the leaves begin to sprout.  We are excited to discover what will happen as we compare the growth of seeds.  Will bigger seeds sprout before small, or is it the other way around?  Will smooth seeds begin growing more quickly or do bumpier seeds gather more water?  Does the hardness of the shell matter?  We’ve got lots of questions to answer.

State Wonders Research and Persuasive Paragraphing

            Several of the children have been able to complete their blueprints and have received their building permits already.  Please help your child complete his or her float plan by next Wednesday’s due date.  At that time the children will be brining their completed artwork home. (If all three pieces aren’t finished by Wednesday, I’ll send them home as soon as they are.) The children are making artwork to represent their state symbol, their state hero and their chosen manmade Wonder.  They’ll need to find a way to represent their natural Wonder and their state festival or celebration while they are building their floats at home. If you have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Many of the children have completed their research and have begun their Wonder paragraphs. Writing about the state Wonders is our major persuasive writing piece of the year.  Persuasive writing is different.  It makes a claim, shares facts to support that claim, coupled with a bit of opinion and preference and finally leaves readers with a choice.

To practice writing persuasively, we’ve been reading and writing book reviews.  First we explored how one book (Tiger Boy – one of our favorite read-alouds) was reviewed by four different sources.  Next we learned ways of organizing paragraphs by starting with a claim, supporting it with a few details and finally ending with a conclusion that asks the reader to agree with our initial claim and opinion.  Our next step was to try our hand at reviewing a picture book that was somehow related to seeds and growing.  We discovered it was easier to review a story, than it was information.   Our next practice step will be to review a favorite independently read chapter book.  By then we hope we’ll be ready to convince you to explore the Wonders of each of our states.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We are really getting into the mystery in Winterhouse.  We have so many questions – in fact we’ve begun to wonder how are questions weave together.  We think we’re beginning to find some answers now that we’ve begun part 3.
  • We continue to develop our understanding of fractions as fair and even shares.  We are developing a stronger sense of how division fits with this exploration.  Math is at the end of our day, and we’ve found it challenging to fit in this week.
  • Float Blueprints are due on Wednesday, May 9.
  • Our state testing schedule is as follows: Reading, May 8, Writing, May 9, Math, May 10 from 8:45 to 10:45 – additional time will be found for those children who need it.
  • We are going to The Palace Theater in Manchester for a morning production of School House Rock on May 11. Children will need to bring a bag lunch that day.  4 children still need to return their permission slips.
  • Sorry about the limited photographs this week.  There was a lot going on!  🙂

Our Week – April 20

This week was full of special events.  On Monday we worked on a map reading challenge with Mr. Caron.  On Tuesday and Thursday we prepared for and practiced the Grade 3 all school assembly.  And also on Thursday we attended a Randy Armstrong concert.  We got to hear music played on instruments from around the world. It was incredible!  Of course, in and around those events, we read and wrote, updated our fact checks, solved a few problems and explored fractions.

State Wonder Research

This week the children researched their first three wonders.  They know quite a bit about their state’s symbols and why they came to be selected.  They also know about many famous people who are from their state.  They’ve chosen one they would like to learn about and feature on their floats.  They are using much of what they learned from their 2ndgrade biography project as they write about the life of their State Hero.  And finally this week, each of the children has chosen a Manmade Wonder to feature on their floats.

Thank you to the families who have read and returned the float criteria slips.  If you’ve not been able to do that, please take a minute for that now.  The project is an exciting one, but involved and I want to ensure that all of the children have what they need to feel proud of what they are presenting.  Also be on the lookout for the float blueprint worksheet on April 30th.  The children should be doing this work, but will certainly need your help talking it through.  Springtime sports and end of the year recitals, etc… make time a premium, so thank you in advance for your support of this project.

For our assembly the children presented their state and shared the artwork they’d created of their symbol.  They did a nice job sharing their information.

Writing Stamina

Writing lots and long has been our focus this week.  Many of the children enjoy composing on the computer, but what that means for many is lots of time searching for funny memes and images and little time actually writing text.  We’ve gone back to more frequent quick writes so the class can see how much text they can generate in a short amount of time.  We’ve been talking about what to do when the writing doesn’t seem very good or really have meaning.  We’ve been trying to work through that to discover a line or an idea that we might use the next time.

This week’s writing prompts have been about ideas like making a difference in the world or the feeling of spring.  These have been more challenging than personal narrative prompts like tell about your favorite meal or most memorable birthday.  It has been fun for the children to realize that while some people are writing 100 words and some are writing 32 and others are writing 56, all have some nugget that sparkles and can be shared.  We’ve been hearing some great phrases and sentences, some impactful poems and some creative stories.  We have a class of strong writers!

This week our blogging challenge was to leave comments on at least five other student blogs who are also part of the challenge.  They class learned how to copy and paste their URL into their comment as a live link. They are hoping they will receive comments for other places.  As always, they’d love comments from you as well.  Share their blogs as widely you can.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’re really into the story of Winterhouse. This week we listing a whole page of questions that we are interested in finding the answers to. It is clear that everyone is thinking about they mysteries in this story.  They are predicting and making inferences. It is interesting to hear all the connections they make and their attention to even the smallest details.
  • They’ll be using those abilities in our final mystery book club when they return from vacation.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance. We’ll be coming back to have lunch in our classrooms.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.

Float Examples From Past State Parades

Over the next few weeks the children will be identifying the Wonders of their state.  They’ll be choosing a state symbol to learn more about.  They’ll be identifying a famous person from their state, as well as choosing a man-made wonder, a natural wonder and a state festival, tradition or celebration.  Children may choose other Wonders if they would like to represent them on their floats.

These Wonder will be represented on their floats.  We’ll be painting the symbols, creating State Hero and creating a collage of the man-made Wonder in the classroom.  The other two wonders will be added as you create the floats at home.

The floats may be a sandwich board







On on a wagon, rolling suitcase, cooler, skateboard or an original base.

Suggestions of how to build each type of float along with the following criteria will be sent home on Monday, April 16.

Size Criteria:

  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 36 inches long.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 48 inches high.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 30 inches wide.

Design Criteria:

  • The float obviously represents your state and shows its uniqueness.
  • Clearly represents your, the student’s, own ideas, work and effort
  • Shows common easily found materials were used to create the float.
  • Clearly demonstrate your, the student’s, best effort and creativity.

Content Criteria:

Represent and label your Wonders on the sandwich board or float clearly and accurately.

It is a fun project and such an exciting celebration of our country and a year of learning!  We can’t wait to see you on Thursday, May 24!

Our Week – April 13

3E is a busy place. There’s lots of reading, writing, problem solving and research going on.  There’s also lots of cooperation, working through challenges, kind support and encouragement.  More and more children are taking responsibility for their learning choices. They are better able to focus in the morning and get tasks done.  It is a fun place to be

Animal Awesomeness Continues

On Monday I was still thinking of how proud I felt about the great work The Good Deed Club had done. They had all worked together to create an incredible fun family night with a real purpose.  On Monday they counted the donations and found they had raised $700.09 for the World Wildlife Fund. They drew out the names for each raffle item and discovered they knew each of the winners.  That was exciting too – a great fun to deliver around the school.

As part of morning meeting we collected favorite memories and important lessons learned through project. When we put them altogether it was clear that The Good Deed Club had learned many important life-lessons about perseverance, collaboration, cooperation, effort and fun.  Using the Top 10 format most of the children created a blog post sharing what was important to them.  Emily wrote and submitted an article with photographs to the Hampton Union.  We hope it will be published, but we don’t know for sure.  The energy from that work remains with us as we wonder about what The Good Deed Club might want to do next.

The Parade of the States Is Coming!

This week the children read two or three different books about their chosen states.  They began to create lists for each type of wonder they are looking for.  From this gathering of ideas, they’ll choose a state symbol, a state hero, a manmade landmark, a natural wonder and a state celebration/festival/tradition.  Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  They may also choose to only research five.

At this point we are hoping to gather information about two wonders each week so the research portion of the project should be done the week we return from vacation.  That is when the details about float building will be sent home to you.  The children will create a blueprint and once approved, will be receive a building permit. That will be the signal at home that they’ve met all the criteria and are ready to build.

Over the weekend I will create a blog post highlighting floats from years past so that if this is your first time with the Parade of the States Project you have a clearer idea of what the project entails.  The children have seen these already.  Many have begun brainstorming ideas and dreaming.

At this part in the process, it is fun to hear the children say things like, “At first I didn’t want to learn about ________ , but the more I read, I realize it is really cool” “Did you know…?” they ask, and I course I don’t.  Learning about our country is pretty interesting.

Fractions and Equivalence

We’ve been exploring fractions and division in all kinds of ways.  We’ve cut shapes apart.  We’ve sorted shapes into different sized groups.  We’ve explored fractions on a number line as if we are measuring with a ruler.  This is really stretching their thinking and they are feeling frustrated.  It’s hard for them to realize that both the number of groups and the size of the groups matter.  Fractions have to be even in size.  They’ll understand this with time and practice.  Please encourage your children to be patient and remind them that this new, challenging thinking is growing their brains.  Sometimes learning feels tough.


Everyone has completed a first revised draft of his or her fable.  We’ve been practicing ways of giving positive and constructive feedback. We’ve read a couple original fables that students have written in past years.  It’s been fun to notice the intentional decisions these authors had made and we ‘re trying to do the same.  Next week we’ll be naming our collection and working to plan and create illustrations that will highlight the most important idea in our fable.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Happy Birthday today Derek.
  • Most of the children have posted their magnet books and wrote about Animal Awesomeness.  If you have a chance leave them a comment.  They’ll be grateful and proud.  Thanks!
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron on Monday, April 16.
  • We’re really into Winterhouse.  There are so many different twists and turns in the mystery.  We can’t wait to see how the pieces all go together.
  • We’ve read some more about Earth Day and more about why conservation matters.  We are all trying to be mindful of using only what we need and reducing waste as much as possible.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance.  We’ll becoming back to have lunch in our classroom. We are not certain we’ll be back in time for school lunches.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.