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.