Our Week – September 8

We’ve completed our second week of school and we are already becoming a community eager to learn together.   Your children are wonderful! They are funny and generous, hardworking and kind. They’ve been asked to change plans several times to accommodate other classes and they’ve done that with grace. They’ve been flexible and understanding. On top of those changes were fire drills, thunderstorms and indoor recess. In all that, they remained respectful and focused on doing their best. They deserve to be complimented for their effort to focus on learning.

Habits for Success – S.E.L. (Social Emotional Learning)

This week we continued to think about what habits lead to success. We read about Michael Jordan and Snowflake Bentley to see if we could discover how they had achieved success. They didn’t give up. They practiced A LOT. They were determined. And they had the help of their family. These habits coupled with the list we made last week have come together in a collection of habits we’d like to be able to say we have so that we can be successful learners in 3E. Ask your child about these stories and our habits list. I wonder if they’ll be able tell you which habits they’ll focus on making stronger as the year begins.

Exploring Scientific Inquiry

This week we conducted a chromatography experiment. Chromatography, simply put, is a technique for separating a combination into its original parts. We used water to find out if black markers are all the same. Look at the work in your child’s communication folder to see what was discovered. Talk to him or her about what they observed and noticed about the experiment. Please note that not all of the children completed the experiment write up so you may not find it in their folder.

We’ve begun a unit about Stability and Motion – the science of flight. We’ve only begun to explore balanced and unbalanced forces. Science is exciting.

Math Problem Solving and Fact Checks

We end each of our days with math. I’ve been getting to know your children as  mathematicians. They are looking for a challenge and seem to be enjoying the chance to choose the problems they will solve. Each day after a quick mini-lesson and activity, there are four story problems to choose from. They’ve been written with with a range of challenges – a variety of amounts in the 10’s, 100’s and 1,000’s, several operations and all with at least two steps. I use the children’s names and make up different stories about things they might be interested in – enjoying nature, dancing, building with Legos or playing sports. At this point in the year children often choose a problem because their name or their friend’s name is in it. The problem itself, though, may not be “just right” for them. Please don’t be concerned if you notice the math problems your child is bringing home are incomplete, incorrect or seem too simple based on what you know s/he can do. It will take another week or two, but soon enough your child will be selecting problems that will help him/her grow and thrive as a mathematician. You may want to put these early problems aside so you have something to look at as the year continues to help your child notice how he or she is becoming more efficient, accurate and able to handle more complex problems as their understanding of mathematics grows.

We did addition and subtraction fact checks this week. The goal in third grade is for children to be able to accurately complete 70 basic fact equations in five minutes or less with addition, subtraction and multiplication and at least 40 of seventy division facts. From what I saw this week, we are well on the way. Check your child’s folder to see where he or she is starting from this year so we can continue to support their growing fact knowledge through games and lots of practice.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve been reading and writing each day. Several of the children have finished reading the books they started last week. They’re discovering more of what our classroom library offers. Most of the children have chosen to begin the year writing fiction. Ask your child about what they are reading and what they are writing. There are some fun stories, poems and songs in 3E’s writers’ notebooks.
  • We created a class word jar based on Donovan’s Word Jar. We are collecting words that are interesting, fun and feel good. If you come into our classroom make sure to check out our collection.
  • We’ve begun our second chapter read-aloud, Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLaughlin. See what your child has to say about it.
  • Thank you everyone for returning the zoo permission slip. We have five chaperones joining us so we’ll be in small groups and able to explore all of the habitats and learn as much as possible about the animals. This trip will launch our integrated study of biomes, global geography and informational reading and writing.
  • The zoo trip is on the same day as School Picture day. This is not a problem at all. The photographers will plan to take the third grade photos on re-take day. That will be in early October. We will send you the exact date when we know it. Ironically, this same thing happened last year and all went smoothly. Please don’t be concerned.


Thanks for reading and for helping your child feel as though they have the combined support they need to succeed.