It Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

numbersDillan had four ten dollar bills.  Her older brother, Laird, has seven five dollar bills.  They combine their money to buy a gift for their mother that costs $58.95.  How much change will they receive?

Elias’ went outside to play at 3:15.  When he was outside, he played with his dog for sixteen minutes.  Then he rode his bike for twenty-seven minutes.  He spent the rest of the time catching looking for tadpoles.  It was 4:08 when Elias went back in the house.  How many minutes did Elias spend looking for tadpoles?

Max and Allie ran a snack stand in their front yard.  They sold cookies for $.25, apples for $.16 and cupcakes for $.35.  They sold five cookies, seven apples and four cupcakes.  How much money did they make altogether?

Our Week – March 25

sassafras springsYikes! You can tell it has been a busy week. I’m writing our newsletter and I don’t have new photographs (I’ll update the post later on today so you can see our work  – come back again.) We’ve been doing lots of reading and writing. We’ve been reflecting on learning accomplished in the first two thirds of the year and are setting goals for further accomplishments during the remaining third. Book groups have continued, along with observations of change. We’re building a 3-D map of Sassafras Springs. There’s a lot going on in 3E.

Our S.E.L. focus is on Self-Management and Self-Awareness

sassafras springsWe’ve been asking ourselves what is it that we would like to accomplish in the remaining months of third grade. We are considered our present accomplishments and began wondering about what would still like to do. The list of thing our class has already accomplished is a rather long one. It was surprising and rewarding to see. We are looking forward to presenting our learning to families in student led conferences and portfolio shares at the end of the school year. What are our hopes and dreams – we know they’ll only happen if we make mindful choses and consider how our actions affect those around us.

Map Reading and Team Work

sassafras springsThis week we further are map reading skills with Mr. Caron. The class worked in teams to read maps and locate battleship pegs hidden throughout the downstairs hall. The class had to keep their maps real so they could read and follow them to get to the correct spot. They also had to share responsibilities; sometimes taking the lead and other times following the lead of others. It was nice to see how well the teams did with this and how satisfying it was when each team knew they were making great choices.

Working with Fractions

sassafras springsThis week we began our work with fractions. We know that a fraction is part of a whole. We have explored fractions by dividing groups into smaller groups – labeling groups of classmates “5 of 16 or 5/16 are wearing stripes.” We are exploring the notion of “fair share.” We explored equivalent fractions. We saw that 1/2=2/4=3/6=4/8. We will be working with geoboards and pattern blocks to develop this understanding by exploring congruent eighths and finding all the ways a hexagon can be built.   Each student will be making a set of fraction bars. With them we will explore the relationship between denominators. Children can see how knowing multiplication helps in seeing how amounts are related. For example 6/12 = 1/2 because 6×2=12. It was exciting to see and hear all the great math thinking going on with fractions this week.

Moving Toward More Efficient Math Strategies

DSC07970Each day this week the children have been solving a wider variety of problems to help them discover what their most efficient strategies are. We are going to use these sheets as an anchor and see if we can explore and grow from hear. The problems, as you will see in work brought home, are written in many different formats. The children have been asked to record their math thinking in equations where possible. The problems have challenged the children to follow different lines of logic and work as efficiently as possible. For example if there were 98 balls in a shipment and each ball cast $2.00, how much would it cast to sent three shipments. With this problem some children chose to use the standard algorithm while others multiplied. Some found the total number of balls and then doubles while others found the cost of one shipment and tripled that. It was interesting for the class to see all three approaches came to the same solution. And each approach was evidence that the students had master new skills. It was a concrete example of learning that is not always easy to see.

Launching the State Project

cursiveToday your child learned what his or her state is for the state project. We have begun our study of the United States.  We are excited about this project because it combines so many different areas of study and it is fun!  We do, as always need your help at home.  In mid-April we’ll be sending home the guidelines for how you and your child can create a “float” for the Parade of the States. The children will be learning about their states and identifying that state’s ” wonders.”  These wonders will be represented on a float/sandwich board to be presented in the Parade of the States.  It is our plan that the children will have researched and identified their wonders by April vacation.  Mrs. Haight is collaborating with us and has planned several units of study to coincide with this project.  In school the children will be creating a collage of a state symbol, a model of a man-made structure and a representation of person important in their state.  These will represent three of the wonders to be placed on their float or sandwich boards.

cursiveWe will send home complete and clear guidelines for the float when the time comes.  A couple of the children talked about beginning the building process right away.  Please don’t do that yet.  We have learned from past parades that we should slow the process down. We believe we have planned the project with enough time so that learning AND building fit together for a great event. (Be on the lookout for further parade information in next week’s homework folder.)

Bits and Pieces –

  • growinggrowingGrowing seeds is exciting. There are so many changes to observe and record. Seeds are amazing.
  • We are reading a second book by Betty Birney, Spring According to Humphrey. That class is looking for signs of spring just as we are. It is FUN-FUN-FUN to read about a class in a book that is doing things as we are.
  • Thanks to so many of you for exploring the student blogs and commenting. The class was grateful.
  • Book groups are continuing.   What a great learning experience this is. Not only are the children reading great books, they are also learning how their choices impact the group. They need to read what they agreed for a discussion to happen. They need to record their thinking and their wondering so they have original thoughts to share.
  • Our cursive capitals are nearly done!

Author, George O’Connor, In Exeter



Many of the readers in our classroom have been enjoying the graphic novels created by George O’Connor who retells Greek myths.  He is speaking at Water Street Bookstore next week.  He will be there on Tuesday, March 29 at 5:00pm.  The attached link shares details from the bookstore about visit and what you might learn and see.  It looks like a great opportunity.  I can’t wait.  Maybe I’ll see some of you there.


It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

numbersElias had 5 bunches of balloons.  There were 17 balloons in each bunch.  How many balloons did Elias have altogether?  The wind got strong and blew 79 away, how many balloons did Elias have left?

Write a story problem for this equation:  5 x 9=45.  Leave it in a comment.

Abi and Dillan are getting ready for the Girls on the Run 5K.  They have 8 packs of water.  Each pack has 6 bottles of water in it.  They also have 53 bottles of juice.  How many bottles of water and juice do Abi and Dillan have altogether?

At the end of the race they had 36 drinks left.  How many waters and juices did the runners of the 5K drink?

Our Week – March 18

working togetherWe’ve had a full and fun week. There are lots of different projects going on to inspire different ideas and wonderings.

Observing Change

germinationThis week we began two different growing projects. On Monday the children chose four different types of seeds to plant in a clear plastic cup. Some were flowers and others vegetables. Some seeds were large and others tiny. The first step of the experiment was to plant and then make a hypothesis – Which seed did they think would sprout first and why? Some children thought the largest seed would sprout first and others thought the smallest ones would. What they didn’t expect was that sprouting might have to do with roots, rather than the green shoot coming from the soil. It was exciting to begin noticing changes in just two days and to see the changes continue in each cup. In some cups marigolds sprouted first, while in others morning glories. Some beans seem to have sprouted but not zucchini or basil. We are wondering if that are factors beyond seed size that effect germination.

broccolifirst sproutOur second growing project is planting broccoli as part of the school-wide square foot gardening project. We planted those seeds in small cups with a germination mat and grow light. We started them on Tuesday and on Thursday the first green shoot was showing. Our goal will be to have at least one broccoli plant growing in the greenhouse at the end of March. We hope we’ll have broccoli to share in the cafeteria by the end of school. We also hope to have broccoli plants to send home for you to enjoy all summer.

The rain kept us in this week, but final part of our growing project will for each child to adopt a school-yard tree and observe how it changes with the changing seasons. We hope to see the flowers and how the seeds begin to form. There is a wide variety of trees around the school and it will be interesting to compare and contrast the changes we see among the trees and also the different types of plants and seeds we are observing. The final step to this project will be planting some trees here at school as we learn to be responsible stewards of our Earth.

Special Guests

Officer Gould and ZenaK9This week Caleb’s grandfather who is a State Police officer in the K9 unit came with another trooper, Officer Devlin, and did a demonstration for us. They shared their incredible dogs and talked to us about the kinds of things they do with their dogs to train them and work with them to keep us safe.   Later that day we met Randy Pierce from Nashua. In his twenties, within two weeks time he lost his sight completely. His message was one about choices. He chose to dream big and never give up. He has chosen to believe that he can do anything he sets his mind to. He has climbed all the 4000-footers in NH. He hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and run a Boston Marathon. Of course he has done this Randy Piercewith the help of others. For him TEAM is an acronym – Together Everyone Achieves More. That seems like a great motto for our class. It is true.  The better we work together to build a classroom community of support and collaboration the more we all learn.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We had some great book club meetings this week. The children have been enjoying reading together and discussing what they’ve found interesting as they read. It has been fun to decide why authors include things in their writing and how even small details matter.
  • We’ve been learning about Wonders in Betty Birney’s The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. Thank you for helping us uncover some of the history of our country and our town. We’ll be looking for Wonders as we research the states and our country as well.
  • We’ve learned half of our cursive capitals. Once we finish them all we’ll be making a creating a class alphabet. I wonder what theme we will decide to center it on.
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron next week and should be prepared to be outdoor – it is often cool if we’re in the woods.

working togetherDSC07830recess in spring

Our Week – March 11

ladder walkIt is hard to believe that nearly two thirds of this school year has passed. Next week report cards will be sent to you via email at the end of the week. It is good to stop and take notice of accomplishments and to see if we are attending to the goals that have been set earlier in the year. Third grade is the year where most children are developmentally able to accept responsibility for their own learning and learning behaviors. They realize they are making choices to focus and accept responsibility for their own learning.

SEL – Responsibility for Self and Others

 Tim GreenThis week our social emotional learning focus has been taking responsibility for self-management. Building on author, Tim Green’s, message last Friday of always doing your best and being kind, we’ve revisited books about including everyone. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson sparked conversation about regret and learning from mistakes. We reread Don’t Laugh At Me and explored the message of Horace and Morris, but Mostly Delores and wondered why sometimes we make clubs that keep others out. It is easy to notice how to be responsible when talking about book characters. We are working to notice how we can each be responsible for ourselves in our everyday interactions. We’ve been exploring way to be mindful and to take that extra second to reflect rather than react. “Is it the right thing, at the right time, for me and the people I am with?” I can see many of the children doing just that and I am proud of them. They are catching themselves at chatting, or making a distracting comment during a lesson or noticing when they’ve spent more time finding a place to read than reading.

ladder walkladder walkladder walkThis week our challenge with Mr. Caron required focused teamwork and true awareness of self-control and self-management. The class rose to the occasion – everyone was able to complete the challenge. There was a real sense of pride and accomplishment in the room because everyone had made choices to stay serious and to care for each other as they walked across the sticks held as a ladder in the air.

Place Value – Problem Solving

            For the past eight weeks we’ve been exploring efficient ways to solve problems and working with amounts up through hundred thousands. These are amounts that are challenging to visualize but we’ve learned how to keep the amounts organized in our thinking. You can see from your child’s work that he or she is working to solve problems as efficiently as possible. All through this process we have been creating our own math land. We built house with base ten blocks and then found their value in hundreds, tens and ones. We also created ourselves and found our personal number by finding the total of our birth date, age, address, phone number and family size. That was an adding challenge to be sure.

ladder walkWe complete our third round of fact checks. We’ve not been focusing on fact work as much in the classroom as we were in the fall.   For many of the children scores have remained the same or gone down slightly. Games and some of the eboard links offer repetition and the practice needed to make fact knowledge automatic. Thank you for your weekly help with this. I know we’ll be on our game for the remainder of the year and doing the best we can.

Trees and Growing Things

            In our new science unit we will be learning about seeds, growing and the importance of plants around us. We’ve begun by learning about trees – different types, how they change impact our environment and how we can care for them. We’ll be adopting a tree in our schoolyard and observing how it changes as spring approaches. We’ll be comparing the growth of trees with the growth of broccoli. We’ll be starting our seeds next week and getting ready to move our plants out to the greenhouse in mid-March. This is our part of the school square foot garden project. We are in the spring group and are excited to see how different plants develop and grow. Preschool is planting sunflowers. First grade is growing a variety of greens. Third grade is growing endive, kale and broccoli. Fourth grade is growing onions, beets and peppers. Sixth grade is growing Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale and eighth grade is growing tomatoes.   It is a great project to be part of.

Bits and Pieces –

  • ladder walkladder walkladder walkOur book clubs have started. Children have calendars and know what chapters they are responsible for reading by our meeting date next week. Some of the children are bring their books home. You may want to ask them (or remind them) if they are reading for their book club at home.
  • We have been learning the formation of the capitals in cursive. We’ve learned the first nine letters and the kids are feeling excited about being able to write more and more in cursive.
  • As of yesterday, Eben had collected 5 wonders in his town. We are enjoying The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs and are looking forward to seeing if we can discover any wonder for ourselves in North Hampton.
  • Next week, Caleb’s grandfather is coming to school to share what he does with the 3rd grade. He is a state police officer and part of the K9 unit. He’ll be doing a demonstration of us as he works with his dog.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

numbersThere are 32 desks in Mrs. Haas’ class.  If Mrs. Haas puts 8 desks in each row, how many rows will there be?

Nolan and five friends were looking at their basketball cards.  There were 42 cards.  If each of the six friends shared the cards so they had the same amount, how many cards would each of them have?

Dillan paints 3 paintings per day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  She paints 5 paintings per day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Dillon wants to have a total of 30 paintings done in the week. How many paintings will Dillan have to paint on Sunday to reach her goal of 30 paintings in the week?

Our Week – March 4

DSC07637It sounds like everyone had a wonderful vacation whether you went far away or stayed at home. It is always nice to have a break in the usual routine. It is surprising to me as I sit to write to you that we’ve only been back in school for five days. Already we have begun some new projects and are moving forward learning new strategies for becoming more mindful and reflective.

Monitoring Choices and Self-Talk

            This week we reviewed the different parts of the brain – amygdala, hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex – and learned what those parts help us do. We’ve been trying to be more aware of the choices we make and the directions we follow so that we can become more reflective and less reactive. We have been paying attention to our inner voice to see if it is encouraging or discouraging. We are learning about metacognition and have been thinking about our thinking.   We are working to become more aware of how we help ourselves solve problems and deal with difficulty. We’ve also been trying to pay attention to how we cheer ourselves on and keep on going.

Self-talk is an important way for each of us to solve problems and to take responsibility for staying on the positive side of things. In the classroom we have been working to put ourselves in book characters places during different parts of the story. We have discovered that characters change and develop. They do not stay the same.   Nor do we. We do not behave exclusively in a single way. We are learning about temperament and choices. We are trying to remember to stay calm when we are on the edge of upset because it is then that we can identify our different choices and feel better about ourselves and our work.

Artist-Writers’ Workshop

DSC07723DSC07715DSC07718            One time that we are specifically trying to pay attention to our inner voice is during artist-writers’ workshop. We are trying to stay quiet and think about all the things we are wishing to say out loud. Sometimes this talk bubbles out, but mostly the children are thinking about how they are dealing with excitement when the work is going well or even better than expected or frustrations when the work isn’t coming out as expected or hoped.

Reading Comprehension – Focusing on Understanding

            We have been working to know when we are understanding as we read. We have had some great conversations about what is happening in our minds when we understand and comparing it to what is happening in our minds when we are not understanding. We are working to develop strategies for recording our thoughts and questions. We are trying to notice details – and stop and wonder about them because we know that everything an author puts in a book is there for a reason. We are also trying to be aware of times when we distract ourselves and get off track of the main meaning and so lose the point.

DSC07617The children are keeping track of their understanding as we read The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney. The children take notes and make sketches as they listen. At the end of each reading, they are asked to think about what they author most wants us to remember or think about. They are forming this into a sentence, then focusing even closer with a phrase and finally zooming in even closer with a word.

We have also been learning to guide our comprehension by understanding through empathy. This comes naturally for some of the children. They describe themselves as understanding when they are able to enter what they are reading to walk along side the characters and experience the story.   For others it is a stretch to take a different perspective and look at things through a different lens. I wonder if your child can tell you how they know they are understanding and how they are working to strengthen their strategies.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We completed our practice of all the lower case letters in cursive.   That is exciting!
  • We are beginning book clubs. Children are reading Please Write in This Book, The Music of Dolphins, The Midnight Fox or Hatchiko Waits. These clubs will provide another opportunity for the children to monitor their understanding and their mindful choices as they work together.
  • DSC07575We continue to work with place value and developing efficient strategies for solving problems with addition and subtraction.
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron next week.
  • Our new unit of study for science is plants and growth. We are learning about trees and will observe changes as they occur this spring with different trees in our schoolyard. We will also begin planting next week – some of those seeds are part of the school-wide square foot garden project. We will be growing broccoli.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve


Use what you know about multiplication and division to solve these problems.  Enjoy!

Heidi had 24 crackers.   She put them in four bags. Each bag had the same amount.

How many crackers did Heidi put in each bag?

Max had three mini-bags of pretzels for snack.ccThere were five pretzels in each bag.

How many pretzels did Max have altogether?

If Max ate same amount each day for a week, how many pretzels would he have eaten then?

Logan made three necklaces.  She used 4 different colored beads on each of them.

She put five beads of each color on her necklace in a pattern. It was yellow, blue, green, and gold.

How many beads did Logan use to make her necklaces altogether?

Aiden had 200 Legos. He sorted them into four bins.  Each bin had the same amount.

How many Legos did Aiden put in each bin?