Our Week – November 21

DSC00988Celebrating Student Learning

Thank you so much for finding time to meet with your child so she or he could share work from the first third of our school year and goals they have set to guide learning for the remainder of 3rd grade.   One of the main pillars of our Social Emotional Learning curriculum is centered on self-awareness.  The children each spent a portion of time thinking about their multiple intelligences and how they are smart.  They reflected on strengths and challenges and selected work samples to show current abilities and understanding.  This process of self-reflection shows how clearly the children are able to see themselves.  We hope seeing the chosen work, hearing the work habit descriptions and knowing the goals set for the up-coming terms will help you better understand the report card sent to you next Tuesday.

We will use these student presentations to ground our conversation at parent teacher conferences in the first week of December. Please find the enclosed conference sign-up and descriptive information to help you understand how our standards-based report cards work.  Your children are self-aware.  They know strengths and challenges and have set reasonable and attainable goals that will promote learning.  They deserve to feel proud of their efforts and their ability to present themselves to you.  It is not an easy task.

Celebrating Science

On Monday the three classrooms of scientists joined together to share their Who Am I? projects.  They sought out scientist partners and shared the artifacts they had chosen to illustrate the work of their scientist.  It was interesting to see the similarities and the differences and an exciting way to gain recognition of how science surrounds us in so many different ways.

On Tuesday our celebration continued with our trip to the S.E.E. Science Center at the Amoskeag Mills.  Highlights for the class were making silly putty to see how states of matter change in a chemical reaction, learning about static electricity, conduction and insulation with the Van de Graaf generator, and gravity combined with forces of motion at the harmonograph.  There were also opportunities to explore light and shadow, symmetry and reflection, ramps and velocity, magnetism and simple machines.  I think it is safe to say that we have a class full of students who are excited about science and discovery.  They are very interested in the world and how it works.


Informational Writing

Over the past month the children have been researching a science topic of their choice.  They have been learning about tornadoes and lightning, the Sun and Jupiter, fish, sperm whales and dolphins.  Others have been exploring prehistoric animals, turkey vultures, service dogs and insect eyes.

While the children researched, the class modeled the process together in learning about trees.  We read many different books, looked at different articles and websites to explore the importance to trees.  We explored the question – Does cutting down one tree matter? – and divided into groups to share our argument and to support our opinion with the facts and information we had gathered.

We used familiar texts shared with the class, to identify three different formats (there are more, but we are beginning here) for organizing information.  They are descriptive, compare/contrast and sequential.  Each of these formats has an associated graphic organizer.  The children are working to organize their researched information in his/her chosen way to discover an original way to present it.  At this point their work is allowing them to see holes in their understanding and is prompting them to develop further questions to guide another round of information gathering before they share their what they have learned with you and each other.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’ve completed our second set of cursive letters – the “kite string” letters.  We have learned how to write i, u, w, t, p, r, s and o.
  • We are reading Nuts to You.  This is a story as told by a squirrel.  It is great fun because it is funny, fun and a real challenge to organize our thinking to keep track of the characters and settings.
  • We are exploring time and measurement.  We are all learning how to read analogue clocks and writing it out in digital format.
  • We are continuing to learn with Leo Lionni identifying the themes in his writing and developing a list of precepts to guide how we think and work together.



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