Fractions and Music

We’ve begun to learn about fractions in math class, but the concept becomes even clearer when we’re learning how to read and write music with Mrs. Oliver.  Here are some of our first rhythms showing which fractions are equivalent to a whole note.  Four of the groups were able to finish their rhythm and performance.  Enjoy!

Our rhythm shows that four 2/8 beats equal one whole note.

Our rhythm shows how a whole note equals 2/8+2/8+2/8+2/8.

Our rhythm shows that 1/2 note +1/2 note =1 whole note.

Our rhythm shows that a whole note is equal to four quarter notes.

Our Week – December 21

Our week has been filled with reading and writing, math and social studies.  We are completing a round of book clubs, learning more about elaboration in writing, exploring estimation and rounding, and moving into the final phases of our national holiday research project.

I hope both you and your children are feeling ready to tackle the interview and family story project. I do not mean to place stress into your vacation.  I hope this is a fun opportunity for the children to learn more about their family.  We appreciate your help and support.  We are looking forward to the stories we discover.

Our week has also been filled with cooperative group work.  We completed our “door” gecko and it is really quite beautiful – who knew a lizard could be so festive!  We’ve also begun our Grade 3 weather forecasting project to meet the SAU competency initiative.  There’s a lot going on in 3E.

Exploring Fractions

This month our calendar pattern is designed to help us discover more about fractions and equivalence. Through the pattern so far we have learned about halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and eighths.  We’ve discovered how halves, fourths, and eights AND thirds and sixths help us understand equivalence.  We’ve been reminded of what was learned last year, so we can build on that understanding.

The class has been learning a lot of about fractions in music with Mrs. Oliver too.  They’ve been creating rhythms by combining whole, half, quarter and eighth notes.  It’s not easy to do and takes a lot of concentration.  Some of the children decided to share what they’ve been learning and creating for me to video.  We will share them in the next blog post.  What will be exciting to note and notice is how this learning grows throughout the year when they play in recorder concert before Parade of the States in May.

Learning About Description in Writing

We know that the best writing creates pictures in the reader’s mind.  Authors choose their words carefully.  We’ve been trying to do this too.  We’ve realized it is not easy.  Authors take time to stop and think about word choice.

We’re learning about the parts of speech.  We’ve been learning more about how adjectives describe nouns and how adverbs describe verbs. Adverbs are tricky.  This week we challenged ourselves to include at least one adjective or adverb in each sentence.  We also tried a descriptive writing challenge.  Ten classmates kept track of each adjective or adverb they used as they were writing on Wednesday.  Sometimes the writing was better and we could visualize more of what the writer was thinking.  Sometimes the writing wasn’t better.  It was too wordy and a bit confusing.  We’ll keep practicing.  We plan to use this elaboration strategy when we turn our family stories into published books.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished The Wild Robot Escaped.  We are sad that Roz and Brightbill will not be part of our classroom each day, but we’re going to write to Peter Brown to see if he has any plans that could lead to a third.  We’d also like to tell him how much we enjoy his books.
  • Inspired by the NH Ladybug Book project in the library, the class decided to have monthly classroom book awards.  The children have been writing up a storm.  Each month anyone who would like to can submit a book for the contest. They’ll be read over the course of a few days and then the each child can vote for his or her top three choices. The hitch is, you cannot vote for your own book.  We held our December vote on Tuesday.
  • The Weather Forecast teams have chosen the place in the world they would like to gather data from. We’ll be forecasting from all over the world.  This week the pairs designed the Logo for their TV station.
  • We’re learning how to round numbers to the nearest 10 and the nearest 100.  We’re using what we know to make estimates.

Have a restful, happy holiday and a wonderful vacation.

Secret Friend Celebration

What a wonderful celebration of friendship and kindness, of caring and appreciation, and of joy in giving and in receiving.

I wish you  all could have been here to see the joy on each of the children’s faces, first as they gave their gift, and then as they received the gift that had been made especially for them.  “Oh, how did you do that?”  “I love it!”  “Oh, you made that!  How did you do it?.”  “Thank you so much!”  3E is truly a wonderful place to be!  Here are some photos of the day.  I hope you’ll be able to catch a glimmer of the happiness that filled our classroom of friends.  Thank you!


Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

Looking forward to our persuasive writing unit, we’ve begun to think about the four seasons.  We’ve begun to explore the pros and cons of each.  Eventually we’ll be selecting one season and trying to convince you that it is the absolute best season of all.

To help us prepare for this project we tried to choose something from this prompt list.  It was harder than we expected.  Read the student blogs to see which prompts were chosen and what each blogger had to say.

We’re getting better at typing, scanning and illustrating our blogs with each week of practice!

Which season do you enjoy most of all – winter, spring, summer or fall? Write that season in the blanks below and select a prompt to blog about.  Enjoy!

  • What is your favorite outdoor _________ activity and why?
  • Describe your ideal __________ day from start to finish.Add in as much detail and description as you can.
  • Describe __________ using each of your five senses.What does __________ look like? Sound like? Taste like? Feel like?  Smell like?
  • What is your favorite __________ treat? What makes it so delicious?
  • Write a poem describing the way __________ makes you feel?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world this __________, where would
    you want to go? Why? What would you do there?

Our Week – December 14

Thank you so much for finding the time to meet with me to discuss your child’s progress and plan our goals for the upcoming term.  I truly appreciate your time and all the things you are doing at home to support and promote learning.  We have an eager and hardworking class – much of the time.  😀

This week we’ve done our usual reading, writing, problem solving and researching.   We spent time blogging with a winter theme.  We also had a challenge with Mr. Guidi, Open Circle with Ms. Vas and we planned, designed and created a decoration for our door. We are excited to be introducing Bamboo to the school.

Learning More About Place Value with Rounding

This week began a study of estimation.  We hope to answer these questions: What is an estimate?  Why do people estimate? When could we use estimation?  Can we find examples where estimation is used outside of school?

As we make estimates, we will be learning more about place value and rounding up and down to the nearest ten and the nearest hundred.  We’ve learned that to round you look at the digit to the right of the amount you are rounding and then use the rule – 5 and above round up, 4 and below round down.  We’ll be developing this understanding over the next few weeks.

SEL  – Strengthening Relationships

In Open Circle we have been learning ways to strengthen relationships.  We’ve been practicing giving and receiving compliments.  We’ve been learning how to speak up for things we believe in or feel strongly about.  We’ve been finding ways to share our opinions and to accept differences of opinion.  Through role-playing activities we’ve learned the difference between advocating and telling – safety is a big part of our decision making process.  We’ve practiced ways of being a supportive friend by encouraging and looking for the good in each situation and person.  We’ve spent time talking about what a cooperative classroom looks like, sounds like and feels like.

Our challenge with Mr. Guidi was one way for us to show we could apply what we’ve been learning in Open Circle.  Working together to make our gecko door decoration was another opportunity we had to show we could discuss and plan, compromise and collaborate.  We can’t wait to share it with you when we are finished.

Family Story Project – Narrative Writing

This week the children selected the questions they would like to ask in their interview with a family member or family friend.  They tried to create open questions that will lead to stories – they’ll have to see.

We went over the assignment, created copies of the questions and hope to organize all this work in a small notebook.  This information went home in your child’s communication folder on Thursday (a couple children still need to finish this.)  Please help your child, while also following his/her lead.  This is their project.  I hope we can help them step up and take responsibility for all the parts they can do on their own.  Thank you so much for you interest and support.  You may find you need to help your child understand that they don’t have to ask all of the questions on their list – one is fine if it leads to a story. It is also fine if your child gathers a collection of short stories to put together in a collection of memories.

The children will need help with the audio recording.  This is a “just-in-case” measure so the children can re-hear parts or can use exact wording if they choose to.  One of the elaboration strategies we will be learning is the use of dialogue – so the audio might be handy.  I don’t think we’ll need them in the classroom.  I’ll let you know if we do.  The plan is that the children will come back with their interview information when we return in 2019.  Thank you for your help and support with this project.

Bits and Pieces –

  • I’ve not received signed slips from every family, so I am hoping you are all aware of our super important Secret Friend Project.  If you’ve not heard anything about this project yet, please email or call me this weekend.  It would be terribly sad if a classmate was left out or receive a gift that was obviously last minute!
  • The wrapped gift should be brought to school between Monday, December 17 and Wednesday, December 19. Our Secret Friend Celebration will be on Thursday, December 21.  We’ll eat together in our classroom.  I’ll bring a special dessert for us to share.
  • We’re nearly finished reading The Wild Robot Escapes. Roz and Brightbill are in a city and that’s not a great way for our robot to stay anonymous. Talk your child about what’s happening in the story and what they think might happen to Roz as she tries to get out of the city and back to her island.
  • We learned more about the spelling rules used when writing comparative and superlative adjectives. To do that we spent more time with long and short vowel sounds.  We’ve learned a bit about syllables too.  We’ll continue this as we learn more about adding suffixes to words.
  • Completed interviews and notes are due January 2.We’re hoping the interviews can be completed during the break so we can begin writing in the New Year.
  • Our next challenge with Mr. Guidi is on January 2.  (If you’re looking for an updated challenge list, you can find it on the October 26 post on the blog.)

Here are this week’s blog prompts

This week we’ve been reading and thinking about seasons.  We’re excited about snow and wish for more.  Here are our “snowy” blog posts …

  • What is your favorite part of winter and why?
  • Write instructions for how to make a snowman for a kid who has never, EVER seen snow before.
  • Search your mind for you best winter vacation memory and write about it.
  • Write about interviewing a polar bear or a group of penguins or an arctic fox. What did you discuss? What questions did you ask and what were the answers.
  • If I were a snowman…? Write a story about your experiences being a snowman for a day.
  • Write a poem about snow, cold, winter, snowflakes and/or ice.

Most of the class was able to complete a post this week.  They had fun writing about snow.

Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

Today your children went into the computer lab with these ideas in mind.  Most of them were able to complete a post – some may need a bit more time on Thursday to complete their’s.  See which prompt  your child found inspiring.  Please leave a comment after you do.

  • Write about your role model or someone you admire.What makes them special?
  • Create and A to Z of yourself or one of your interests. (For example you could create an A to Z about Soccer or an A to Z of Favorite Book Characters)
  • Write about animals. You could tell about your favorite pet or wild animal.  Perhaps you could write about what animals mean to you or how we can better look after animal.
  • If you have three wishes, what would they be?
  • Choose one of the glass figure to write about – share information about it, feature it in a story, create a poem…

…be creative and blog on!

Several of the children have been asking if they can blog at home.  Yes, they can if they have access to a computer.  Thank you for all you do to support learning.

This week has been about reading, making books and writing, writing, writing.  The classroom has been full of creative energy.

National Holiday Resources

Here are some resources that might help you to discover more about the national holiday you are researching.

Your goal is to teach others about this holiday:

  • When was it first celebrated?
  • Why is it important?  What does it commemorate?
  • When did it become a national holiday?
  • What was happening in the country and the world when it was established as a national holiday?
  • What are some of this holiday’s symbols and traditions?

You’ll be creating a display board sharing your information.  You’ll also be planning an activity or game for your families and classmates to do at an evening Holiday Palooza!

Click on the links to find some information about your holiday.

Ducksters has some information about each national holiday.  They are listed alphabetically.

Use the side bar on this site to find videos by season and articles in the HOLIDAY READING.  The holidays are arranged in the order they are celebrated in.

There’s information about each National Holiday on the Kiddle search engine, but you’ll have to patient and scroll to the bottom of each page and click on the next number until you find your holiday information.  Other country’s national holidays are in this list too so make sure you are reading about the U.S.A.



There’s a bit of information about each national holiday here.

KidRex is another kid safe search engine.  If you type your holiday in the SEARCH bar, many articles, pictures and some videos will some.  Some of them will be helpful, some of them will be confusing and some of them will be challenging.  Use what you can.

Have fun researching and planning.  How will we celebrate your holiday at 3E’s National Holiday Palooza?

Our Week – November 30

Phew!  What a week – snow, drizzle, warm, cold, wind. Thanksgiving exhaustion coupled with arriving elves excitement has made for a very rambunctious week.  Despite all this, we have begun our national holiday research, created interesting and diverse blog posts, and developed a long list of possible interview questions as we move into the next phase of our family story project.

I hope you noticed the Parent Teacher conference sign-up sheet that was sent home yesterday.  Please let me know if you need to meet at a time different from those offered.  I will be glad to schedule a different time with you.

Crafting Questions that Will Lead to Quality Stories

This week we learned about open and closed questions.  We want to plan interview questions that will inspire storytelling, not single word or sentence answers. We explored the difference between the answers we might expect if we asked, “Do you like pie?” versus asking “What was your favorite family meal when you were growing up?  Can you tell me that story?”

We spent parts of two days thinking about the stories we’d like to collect.  Would they be about things we already knew of, or would we hope to discover something surprising and new?  We created a first round of questions and then thought about them.  We found ways we might tweak our original questions so they could be more open ended to encourage storytelling.

In addition to thinking about how our questions could be answered, we tried to answer them ourselves by doing a quick write to answer one or two of the questions.  Next we will learn about interview protocols so that the children will be ready to conduct their interview sometime in December. Thanks for your help and support with this.

Using a Post-It Note Taking Strategy

Each of the children has chosen a national holiday to research.  There isn’t much information about many of the holidays, so children have to do a lot of inferential thinking to come up with the answers to many of their questions.

In addition to this, we are working to make sure we write our own original thought and understanding in this informational writing project.  The children are reading a page, putting the books aside and writing a post-it about what they think the author was trying to teach them.  It means the research process is slower, but because the children are working in teams they are able to help each other talk through what they understand.

Meeting the Challenge with Cooperation and Communication

This week we met with Mr. Guidi for a challenge.  We were given a rope and asked to make different shapes with it.  We had to make a circle, then a square and a triangle. Our goal was to work together to make the shape – if possible we’d work together as a team to make the shapes while we could see what was happening and then try the challenge over blindfolded to see how well we could cooperate and communicate.

We were able to work through the first step of the challenge, but struggles as a class with focus and behavior so we weren’t able to get to the second part of the challenge. Over the course of the school year we’ll see how our skills at self-control and self-management develop in ways that help our class become more successful so we are able to meet the challenges placed before us.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We had a great trip to Strawbery Banke last week.  We learned about how the traditions of Thanksgiving have changed.  We learned about traditions in the 1630’s and later in the 1770’s and still later in the 1820’s.  It was interesting and fun.  Strawbery Banke gave us family passes so you can go as a family to enjoy another of their programs.  Ask your child what he or she thought was most fun – making the corn husk doll, preparing food as they might have done around the hearth, making the charity baskets to share with the needy, learning about harvest festivals from around the world that have influenced our holiday tradition or creating matzo meal for Mrs. Shapiro.
  • Our nonfiction Thanksgiving themed book clubs have continued to meet.  I think we are all agreed; living at the time of the Pilgrims would have been hard.  Talk to your child about what he or she learned about this national holiday from this reading.
  • We are glad to be reading The Wild Robot Escapes. Roz and the Shareef family she works for just survived a tornado.  We are wondering if Roz will ever see Brightbill again – we think she will and we are wondering how the children will help her escape.  Is she going to be able to leave the family she cares about?
  • Thank you for your continued support in helping the children to understand how to calculate elapsed time. I am impressed with how well the children read the analogue clocks.  We’ll keep working through different strategies to record how the time passed.
  • During some of our Word Study work we’ve been learning about suffixes.  This week we’ve been working with the rules for how to change a singular noun to a plural.  See if your child can tell you the four different rules we’ve learned about.

Blog Prompts for November 28

Here are the prompts the children went to the computer lab with today for our Wednesday blogging session.  Part of today’s challenge was to find an original way to illustrate the post.  We’re learning to use the hand held scanner and how to use the camera along with all the tools we can use to create a great photo.

The children chose from this list:

  • Write a short piece about a winter snowstorm – real or imagined. What do you see, hear, feel and do?
  • Describe your favorite place to explore outside. What do you see, hear, feel and do?
  • Choose a natural object as you walk out the door. How does it inspire you?
  • What are all the good things about Winter?What are all the bad things about Winter?  (You can trade winter for any of the other seasons: Spring, Summer or Fall.)

About half of them were able to write and illustrate their post in the forty-five minute blogging session.  The other half will finish in the next day or two.  Thanks for all the comments.  The class really appreciates them.  it inspires them to write more.

While we were away for Thanksgiving Break, Bamboo, our gecko shed its skin for the first time.  Here is Bamboo in its new glowing colors.