Our Week – January 26

Our week has been an interesting mix of behavior and learning. Sometimes that didn’t help us accomplish our goals, but sometimes it did. Monday was full of behavior no one would expect in a place of learning. After that, we seemed to find more ways to on focus on learning and ways to meet expectations. We had fun learning more about our counties and discovering more our world.

Growing as Writers

            By the end of the year, third grade writers are expected to produce between three and five pages each time they sit down to write. This doesn’t happen easily and it means that each day the students have to know what they are going to be writing when writing time begins. At this point about half of them are writing between a page and a page and a half during each writing section. They are becoming more aware of writing for an outside audience and are beginning to write more elaborate pieces so that readers understand what they intend them to.

We’ve been working orally with elaboration strategies for a while now, but this week we had the chance to see how they add to a piece in writing. We aren’t using them to add more events. We are using them to make the piece more interesting by adding detail and description, action and sound, dialogue and inner thoughts and feelings. Our class is quite good at adding detail and description, and with adding action and sounds. Dialogue and inner thinking are the two strategies we will work with more. These two strategies add voice to writing and give each piece its unique personality. If you have a chance to visit the blog you can see how we used these strategies to grow one 3-line “skeleton” story. Can you tell which color strip stands for each of the four strategies?

Learning the Standard Algorithm

            In math we have been tackling larger numbers, place value and the standard algorithm. We began with adding two 2-digit numbers, and by reading numbers into the millions while identifying their values. From there we jumped into a BIG challenge – adding three and four amounts all in the thousands, ten-thousands or hundred-thousands. Kids worked through the feeling of difficulty – we worked through things together and with lots of help, children have begun to feel as if this was something they could understand. It feels like a struggle – but a doable one. We’ll keep working on this until they feel proud of their accomplishment!

We’ve also done the fact checks for addition, subtraction and multiplication. Your work at home and children’s attention to the work we do each day in the classroom shows in what they were able to do. Many of them have improved their fact knowledge quite a bit. We’ll keep practicing and progressing!

Exploring Our World

            We’ve been having fun exploring our world and the countries each of the students chose to learn about. Most of the children know about their country’s flag and its symbolism. Many of the children have selected both a natural and a manmade landmark to research as their second and third wonders. Our next steps in our 7 Wonders quest are to discover national heroes, pastimes and holidays.      We’ve also been creating self-portraits with fun facts and flags with informational paragraphs to share so everyone in the class learns about little bit about every place we are researching. We are discovering that the world is truly an amazing place.

I hope you’ll a bit of to talk to your child about what they are learning about their country. Many of them have filled tons of post-it notes and research notebooks with facts they find interesting. They are looking closely at the photographs and pictures in their books to discover things they had never considered before.

The class seems excited about what they are learning. While they are researching there is a buzz in the room as they share facts and discoveries. A few of the children, however, are only looking at pictures or viewing video clips rather than reading books or sites. This means they are getting a VERY skewed view of their country. Based on that view, they are stating facts that seem to be true, but are not. If you have the opportunity to help clarify your child’s misunderstanding, please do. We may not be totally successful in correcting misconceptions, but that may be okay when weighed against the children’s growing interest and understanding more of beauty and wonder of our world and its people.

 Bits and Pieces –

  • 3rd grade is trying to collect 100 tubes of toothpaste for the 100th day of school. Each grade level, along with the staff is working to collect 100 of a different item most needed by the Seacoast Food Pantry. This serves two purposes: the various collections allow the first graders first-hand experience with the various sizes of one amount, and it is a school-wide community service opportunity. The 1st grade launched the collection last Friday at our all-school assembly. Here’s what the collection looks like after one week. Yikes!  The 100th day of school is Friday, February 2.  As of Monday, January 30, we still need 43 more tubes. Thank you for your generous donations to this cause.
  • We’ve been learning more about common and proper nouns. Hopefully we will begin to use capital letters in our writing more accurately and more consistently. We’re trying!
  • Our Humphrey Book Clubs are continuing. It’s been fun to meet together and discuss our books. One group has finished and has begun making Chatter Pix (an app) book reviews. Be on the lookout for those to be posted on the student blogs.
  • We’ve almost completed all of the lower case cursive letters. We just have Z to go.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Our problems have to do with some of the Wonders we’ve been discovering about our world during our global research project…

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest natural structure in the world.  It is 13,171 miles long.  The Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure large enough to be seen my astronauts in space.  It is 1,600 miles long.  How longer is the Great Barrier Reef than the Great Wall of China?

Christ the Redeemer statue looks out over the ocean in Brazil.  It is 98 feet and 5 inches tall.  How many inches is that altogether?

The Eiffel Tower is 1,065 feet tall.  How much taller is the Eiffel Tower than the statue in Brazil?

The Nile River is the longest river in the world.  It is 4258 miles long.  The Amazon River is not quite as long, at 3,983 miles, but more water flows through it than in any other river in the world.  How much longer is the Nile than the Amazon?

Dear Families and 3E

This post has been written by  Megan, a practicum student from North Hampton and Endicott College.

What an amazing three weeks! For those of you who do not know me, my name is Megan Whitten and I have spent the last three weeks in Mrs. Eaves classroom completing my first internship. I was fortunate enough to have had

eganMrs. Eaves as my second grade teacher just 12 years ago. I attend Endicott College in Beverly, Mass where I study Elementary Education. I have had the absolute best three weeks in this classroom. You have all taught me so much and I could not be more grateful for that. The energy and excitement in this classroom made it that much more fun to be apart of.

You are all such awesome kids and I am so lucky to have gotten to know you all!

I will be sure to visit this spring! 🙂 Miss you all already!


Our Week – January 20

Thank you for talking with your child about expected behaviors. We are succeeding more and more often. We can tell the class is truly working to think before they speak out or interrupt. You can see them questioning themselves and pulling back to refrain from joking at the wrong time or saying something in the hope it will get a laugh even if it may be unkind. At the beginning of our project it did get a laugh, but now more and more classmates are saying, “That’s not funny.” or “That’s not kind.” We can be proud to their growing effort to be up-standers, rather than bystanders. Slowly, but surely we are making progress.

We have enjoyed having Megan as part of our class for most of the month. Thank you for everything. We wish you all the best in your second semester – visit often!

Global Geography – Bring on the Research!

The children have selected their countries and they’ve begun reading and researching. The children began by taking time to write all they thought they knew about their chosen country and by thinking of questions they might have. Next they began to explore websites using KidRex.org, a kid friendly search engine and reading books. Learning about a different country is challenging. This week we spent time talking about how books and websites share what is different and special about a place. They don’t always share what is typical and ordinary. You may want to check in with your child to find out what he or she understands and clarify misconceptions (if you can – they don’t always want to listen.) It can sometimes make you smile as you imagine what your child is thinking – all Kenyans dressed as Masai warriors walking through the skyscrapered city of Nairobi.

Our global research project will be structured around the idea of gathering seven wonders from each country. We’ll be learning about the national symbols as one wonder. After that we’ll be looking to find a manmade and a natural wonder – at least one of each. Next we’ll be looking for a national pastime, a food the country is known for and a person who might be a source of national pride. And finally the children will be searching to identify what they have found most interesting about their country to share with others.

Next week we will talk as a class to plan when we will share our research. This will be another “museum event” in our classroom. We will decide on a date in mid-February and send it to you as soon as possible.

Humphrey Book Clubs – Fun! Fun! Fun!

We began our Humphrey books clubs this week. Children are meeting in small groups, agreeing on the chapters they’ll read for the next meeting and completing “bookmarks” for each chapter. When they complete a chapter they have been asked to think about and record the important events. Then they are considering all that they know about the story so far to make predictions and inferences about what they think is a likely possibility. This is all part of our grade level expectation that students develop strategies that deepen their comprehension of texts.

The groups are setting their own deadlines. It seems as though most of the groups are following through with reading and discussing.   They seem to have been realistic and respectful of different reading speeds and styles. This isn’t about finishing first – it is about thinking deeply. If your child is feeling pressure that s/he doesn’t want to say here at school, please let me know. From what I think I see and hear in the classroom, children are feeling excited about reading together and sharing.

Exploring Place Value

We are beginning to explore place value. We’ve started out slowly to discover what the children are sure of. They know tens and ones and how they are combined and separated. We are moving on to hundreds, and thousands and working to develop a more certain sense of the “power of 10.” Through practice we hope to help the children see the patterns of this work. The goal is to help all of them move from adding and subtracting in parts to using the standard algorithm with understanding.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Game Club began this week. A big thank you to Alison Duffy for making this happen for our class. We had a great time playing together yesterday. If your child would like to join us, they are more than welcome. Just send a note giving permission. The more the merrier!
  • We’ve continued reading a new fable each day this week. We read The Crow and the Pitcher, The Sun and the North Wind, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Fox and the Stork. We are enjoying them, along with the challenge of thinking about how the morals might apply to us now.
  • We’ve begun our last set of lower case letters in cursive – the hills and valleys group. It’s pretty exciting to know that we’ll soon be able to write almost anything in cursive.
  • We’ve spent time learning about comparative and superlative adjectives. We’ve learned about the syllable rule though we’ve not had much practice with using more and most.
  • We completed Secrets According to Humphrey. This book explored the idea of keeping secrets in a classroom. At the end of each chapter, Humphrey always shared a helpful tip about secrets. In the book there were many secrets being kept in Room 26. The surprises and special projects were good ones because they were eventually shared and fun for everyone. The secret clubs and signals were bad ones because they were distracting and exclusive.   They hurt people’s feelings. When we finished the book we made scenes featuring Humphrey and Og. The students chose and wrote out their own helpful tip about secrets. They were very thoughtful and creative.
  • We also began The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs as our sixth chapter read aloud. It is fun to read following the two Humphrey books because it is by the same author. It has, however, a totally different tone and voice. The story also connects with our search for “wonders” in our world and in our upcoming state research project that will begin in spring.
  • Save the date: On May 25 we will be holding the grade 3 celebration of the United States with Parade of States starting at 4:45.
  • We have a challenge next week, January 26 with Mr. Caron. Depending on the weather it may be outside so please be prepared.
  • Thank you to the Duffy family for sharing snacks, tissues and disinfectant wipes for our classroom.

Thank you for all you do to support learning in 3E!

Our Week – January 13

Thank you for taking the time to talk to your child about the choices he or she has been making to use time wisely for learning. We are improving. We are learning how to behave together as a class to help each other learn. I am proud of the efforts the children are making to stay focused and to not get sidetracked by attempts to be funny at the wrong time. We’ve had lines in the hall this week that were thoughtful and respectful – less chatting = more opportunities to create and do. Our week has been full of beginnings. We’re beginning our second research project. We’ll be learning about a country. We’re beginning “Humphrey” book clubs and we’re GLAD-GLAD-GLAD! And we’re continuing to explore fractions and money, fables and morals.

Mapping and Learning About Our World

            We began our week with a mapping challenge. The children were asked to use a variety of everyday classroom materials to create a map of the classroom. We learned that planning was key to start and collaboration was key to finish. It was interesting for the children to see how different classroom groups thought about representing the classroom.

From that mapping challenge, we spent three days exploring the countries of our world by looking through atlases, learning about flags, reading about countries and continents and thinking about how countries might be compared in size and location on our globe.

We added this knew information to what we already knew about the countries of the world (according to our resources, there are 195) to create a class alphabet of countries. Once that was complete, the children selected a country they were interested in exploring. We hope to begin the research process this week in the library. Our goal is to present information to you about our countries by mid-February. I am wondering if a more intense, structured research time will help the class stay focused and on task. Learning about the countries of the world is challenging for 8 and 9 year olds. Understanding different ways of life is challenging with so little background to rely on. It would be helpful for you to talk to your child about what he or she is discovering each day. If you have time to go online and explore, sharing you read and see on various websites together would be wonderful help. Of course, only if your child is interested in that support.

Words To Live By

            We have begun reading fables. We’ve looked at the a few versions and begun to make a list of generalities. We’ve looked at fable collections and fables that have been turned into full picture books. We read a bit about Aesop so we know that he was a slave who earned his freedom through his wit and ingenuity as a storyteller. We realized he has taught the world many lessons for over 1,500 years.

We’ve enjoyed looking at and reading different fables to see how illustrations add to our understanding. At the end of this exploration, we are going to create our own fables that share words that we can live by – morals that will remind us of the lesson we need to guide us. I can’t wait to discover what wisdoms our class will share.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve continued on learning cursive. We have nearly completed our third set of letters – the loop group. In a couple more weeks we will be moving on to the upper case set of letters.
  • We are nearly finished with our second Humphrey book, Secrets According to Humphrey and are preparing to begin Humphrey book clubs in our classroom. The children have selected their books to read and are now learning the expectations of book clubs so they’ll be able to start reading next week.
  • In math we added the 3’s table to our multiplication chart. In doing that and practicing those facts each day in addition to the 2’s, 5’s and 10’s we realize that we have mastered most of the 100 basic multiplication and division facts. It is comforting to see.
  • We’ve continued using what we know about 5’s and 10’s to work with money. Understanding 4’s also helps us when dealing with quarters.
  • Game Club is beginning next week on Thursday. Please look for the separate permission about that and send it back Tuesday. We did our best to accommodate everyone, but know that some children already have activities scheduled on that day. If all goes well, we’ll have another round and perhaps other classmates will be able to join in then.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

Gabby went to the store.  She bought an apple for $.75 and some cheese and crackers for $2.45.  She paid for her snack with a $5.00.  How much change did the cashier give her back?

Mackenzie needed some school supplies.  She bought two packages of pencils for $3.25 each and three pads of paper for $1.45 each.  She paid for them with a $20.00.  How much change did the cashier give her back?

Liam counted the money in his piggy bank.  He had 24 quarters, 32 dimes, 18 nickels and 257 pennies.  He wanted to by a Star Wars AT-DP micro fighter for $11.95.  Could he do that?  Show how you know.

Our Week – January 6

It is unbelievable that we’ve already completed our first week of 2017. Where does the time go? I hope your vacation gave you time to celebrate and enjoy, rest and relax, and laugh and play. We are into the major long learning time of the school year. We’ve set our goals and have much to accomplish. 🙂

We are glad to welcome Megan Whitten into our classroom for a few weeks. She is spending time with us as part of her studies at Endicott College. Some of you may know her from Summer Rec. It’s fun to have her back – the last time we shared a classroom together was twelve years ago.

Celebrating Accomplishment 1 – Enjoyment and Learning

On Tuesday we were able to celebrate behavior that supports learning for everyone in 3E.   We discovered that it takes between 40 and 45 pompoms to reach our goal. This could be done accomplished in 2 weeks if we all choose to be self-aware and to monitor our own behavior. We’ll see if that matters. It took us two months to achieve our goal the first time. Our class needs the opportunity to learn how to be leaders and how to be responsible members of a community. Those getting checks need to learn strategies for helping their classmates, without seeming bossy. The more great models we have, the easier it will be for everyone to succeed. Its hard to listen to someone shout out, “Be quiet” when just moments before they were giggling and talking at the rug during the lesson.

Mostly the children are unaware of their bad habits. There are some children who sit down at a table and begin to talk, or walk into line and begin chatting. It is automatic and persistent. They forget that their focus should be on the assignment. Most kids need to become more aware that they are talking when they should be listening. They need to be focused on the task at hand and save conversation for later. They need to learn not to respond to others talking. They need reminders of what the inside voice volume should be and when it is time to be funny and goofing around. We’re improving – our goal is to be a class that is able to follow the rules it set for itself at the beginning of the year. We are trying to focus on learning, to be respectful, quiet, calm and kind.

Practicing Mindfulness

Mrs. Mariotti has been coming in once a month all year to teach us about mindfulness and about being aware of the moment. She’s been helping us think about how well we are doing with meeting our classroom goals and expectations. How are we showing respect? How are we demonstrating focus? She has asked us to become social detectives and use the tools we have to become more aware of behaving in ways that are expected. She asked us to use our eyes, ears and brains to become more aware of ways to behave in expected ways. Over the course of the next few sessions we are going to learn strategies we can all use to build a more positive and successful learning environment for us all.

Using Money to Practice Multiplying by 5’s and 10’s

While still working on time and grouping minutes, we’ve also begun to learn some about money. We’ve been identifying coins and finding totals. If you’ve got a change stash – counting and totaling money would be a great thing to do. Strategies of grouping like coins and finding the totals of each group and then adding or starting with the largest value as an organizing strategy.

The problems we’ve been solving are asking the children to think of value and coin numbers. They’re asking them to make change. That is tricky too. If there are any opportunities for your child to practice making change – or figuring out what the change will be when shopping those would add lots to his or her understanding as well. Thank you.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve completed our second set of cursive letters – the kite string set. We now know the lower case forms for a, c, d, g., i, j, o, p, q, r, s, t, and w. Cursive is fun to learn and do. Our next set of letters will be the loop group.
  • Mrs. Duffy would like to start a game club for our class. We are wondering if there are interested families and students. And if there are, when would be the best time to hold it – before or after school. Once we know that we’ll set a day and time and families can sign up. Please complete the orange form and send it back on Monday so we can make the plan and begin. Thank you.
  • We are continuing our exploration of global geography. We hope to have explored all of the continents and made our country selections by the end of next week so we can begin our next research project.
  • We are reading our second Humphrey book, Secrets According to Humphrey and will begin some Humphrey book clubs in the next week as well.

I thought I’d share a picture of my vacation reading buddy.  This is our grandson, James.  So fun!

It’s Wednesday – here are some math problems to solve

We’re starting to work with money.  This is another way for us to practice multiplying by 5 and 10 and to think about the power of 10 when switching coins to dollars.  I’ll start out gently and hope you find the last problems bit more challenging.

Julie had five nickels, six dimes and three quarters in her pocket.  How much money did she have altogether?

Tera had thirteen pennies, seven nickels and four dimes.   She bought some gum for $.50.  How much money did she have left?

Liam had $12.50.  He spent $7.75 when he went shopping.  How much money did he have left?

Zack went to the snack bar at the rink.  He bought a hot chocolate for $2.35 and a hot dog for $1.25.  He gave the cashier a 5-dollar bill.  How much change did he get back?