Our Week – April 20

This week was full of special events.  On Monday we worked on a map reading challenge with Mr. Caron.  On Tuesday and Thursday we prepared for and practiced the Grade 3 all school assembly.  And also on Thursday we attended a Randy Armstrong concert.  We got to hear music played on instruments from around the world. It was incredible!  Of course, in and around those events, we read and wrote, updated our fact checks, solved a few problems and explored fractions.

State Wonder Research

This week the children researched their first three wonders.  They know quite a bit about their state’s symbols and why they came to be selected.  They also know about many famous people who are from their state.  They’ve chosen one they would like to learn about and feature on their floats.  They are using much of what they learned from their 2ndgrade biography project as they write about the life of their State Hero.  And finally this week, each of the children has chosen a Manmade Wonder to feature on their floats.

Thank you to the families who have read and returned the float criteria slips.  If you’ve not been able to do that, please take a minute for that now.  The project is an exciting one, but involved and I want to ensure that all of the children have what they need to feel proud of what they are presenting.  Also be on the lookout for the float blueprint worksheet on April 30th.  The children should be doing this work, but will certainly need your help talking it through.  Springtime sports and end of the year recitals, etc… make time a premium, so thank you in advance for your support of this project.

For our assembly the children presented their state and shared the artwork they’d created of their symbol.  They did a nice job sharing their information.

Writing Stamina

Writing lots and long has been our focus this week.  Many of the children enjoy composing on the computer, but what that means for many is lots of time searching for funny memes and images and little time actually writing text.  We’ve gone back to more frequent quick writes so the class can see how much text they can generate in a short amount of time.  We’ve been talking about what to do when the writing doesn’t seem very good or really have meaning.  We’ve been trying to work through that to discover a line or an idea that we might use the next time.

This week’s writing prompts have been about ideas like making a difference in the world or the feeling of spring.  These have been more challenging than personal narrative prompts like tell about your favorite meal or most memorable birthday.  It has been fun for the children to realize that while some people are writing 100 words and some are writing 32 and others are writing 56, all have some nugget that sparkles and can be shared.  We’ve been hearing some great phrases and sentences, some impactful poems and some creative stories.  We have a class of strong writers!

This week our blogging challenge was to leave comments on at least five other student blogs who are also part of the challenge.  They class learned how to copy and paste their URL into their comment as a live link. They are hoping they will receive comments for other places.  As always, they’d love comments from you as well.  Share their blogs as widely you can.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’re really into the story of Winterhouse. This week we listing a whole page of questions that we are interested in finding the answers to. It is clear that everyone is thinking about they mysteries in this story.  They are predicting and making inferences. It is interesting to hear all the connections they make and their attention to even the smallest details.
  • They’ll be using those abilities in our final mystery book club when they return from vacation.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance. We’ll be coming back to have lunch in our classrooms.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.

Float Examples From Past State Parades

Over the next few weeks the children will be identifying the Wonders of their state.  They’ll be choosing a state symbol to learn more about.  They’ll be identifying a famous person from their state, as well as choosing a man-made wonder, a natural wonder and a state festival, tradition or celebration.  Children may choose other Wonders if they would like to represent them on their floats.

These Wonder will be represented on their floats.  We’ll be painting the symbols, creating State Hero and creating a collage of the man-made Wonder in the classroom.  The other two wonders will be added as you create the floats at home.

The floats may be a sandwich board







On on a wagon, rolling suitcase, cooler, skateboard or an original base.

Suggestions of how to build each type of float along with the following criteria will be sent home on Monday, April 16.

Size Criteria:

  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 36 inches long.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 48 inches high.
  • Sandwich Board/Float should be no more than 30 inches wide.

Design Criteria:

  • The float obviously represents your state and shows its uniqueness.
  • Clearly represents your, the student’s, own ideas, work and effort
  • Shows common easily found materials were used to create the float.
  • Clearly demonstrate your, the student’s, best effort and creativity.

Content Criteria:

Represent and label your Wonders on the sandwich board or float clearly and accurately.

It is a fun project and such an exciting celebration of our country and a year of learning!  We can’t wait to see you on Thursday, May 24!

Our Week – April 13

3E is a busy place. There’s lots of reading, writing, problem solving and research going on.  There’s also lots of cooperation, working through challenges, kind support and encouragement.  More and more children are taking responsibility for their learning choices. They are better able to focus in the morning and get tasks done.  It is a fun place to be

Animal Awesomeness Continues

On Monday I was still thinking of how proud I felt about the great work The Good Deed Club had done. They had all worked together to create an incredible fun family night with a real purpose.  On Monday they counted the donations and found they had raised $700.09 for the World Wildlife Fund. They drew out the names for each raffle item and discovered they knew each of the winners.  That was exciting too – a great fun to deliver around the school.

As part of morning meeting we collected favorite memories and important lessons learned through project. When we put them altogether it was clear that The Good Deed Club had learned many important life-lessons about perseverance, collaboration, cooperation, effort and fun.  Using the Top 10 format most of the children created a blog post sharing what was important to them.  Emily wrote and submitted an article with photographs to the Hampton Union.  We hope it will be published, but we don’t know for sure.  The energy from that work remains with us as we wonder about what The Good Deed Club might want to do next.

The Parade of the States Is Coming!

This week the children read two or three different books about their chosen states.  They began to create lists for each type of wonder they are looking for.  From this gathering of ideas, they’ll choose a state symbol, a state hero, a manmade landmark, a natural wonder and a state celebration/festival/tradition.  Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  They may also choose to only research five.

At this point we are hoping to gather information about two wonders each week so the research portion of the project should be done the week we return from vacation.  That is when the details about float building will be sent home to you.  The children will create a blueprint and once approved, will be receive a building permit. That will be the signal at home that they’ve met all the criteria and are ready to build.

Over the weekend I will create a blog post highlighting floats from years past so that if this is your first time with the Parade of the States Project you have a clearer idea of what the project entails.  The children have seen these already.  Many have begun brainstorming ideas and dreaming.

At this part in the process, it is fun to hear the children say things like, “At first I didn’t want to learn about ________ , but the more I read, I realize it is really cool” “Did you know…?” they ask, and I course I don’t.  Learning about our country is pretty interesting.

Fractions and Equivalence

We’ve been exploring fractions and division in all kinds of ways.  We’ve cut shapes apart.  We’ve sorted shapes into different sized groups.  We’ve explored fractions on a number line as if we are measuring with a ruler.  This is really stretching their thinking and they are feeling frustrated.  It’s hard for them to realize that both the number of groups and the size of the groups matter.  Fractions have to be even in size.  They’ll understand this with time and practice.  Please encourage your children to be patient and remind them that this new, challenging thinking is growing their brains.  Sometimes learning feels tough.


Everyone has completed a first revised draft of his or her fable.  We’ve been practicing ways of giving positive and constructive feedback. We’ve read a couple original fables that students have written in past years.  It’s been fun to notice the intentional decisions these authors had made and we ‘re trying to do the same.  Next week we’ll be naming our collection and working to plan and create illustrations that will highlight the most important idea in our fable.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Happy Birthday today Derek.
  • Most of the children have posted their magnet books and wrote about Animal Awesomeness.  If you have a chance leave them a comment.  They’ll be grateful and proud.  Thanks!
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron on Monday, April 16.
  • We’re really into Winterhouse.  There are so many different twists and turns in the mystery.  We can’t wait to see how the pieces all go together.
  • We’ve read some more about Earth Day and more about why conservation matters.  We are all trying to be mindful of using only what we need and reducing waste as much as possible.
  • State testing for Grade 3 will be May 8th, 9th, and 10thin the morning as the school day begins.
  • We are going to see a performance of School House Rock Jr. at the Palace Theater in Manchester. It’s a morning performance.  We’ll becoming back to have lunch in our classroom. We are not certain we’ll be back in time for school lunches.  More details will follow.
  • The 3rdgrade celebration of our country, The Parade of the States, will be on Thursday, May 24thstarting at 4:45 and going no later than 6:30.

Thank You!

Thanks to your kind generosity our Animal Awesomeness event was able to raise $700.09.  We will send this money to the World Wildlife Fund to support threatened and endangered animals.

Here are the Animal Awesomeness Raffle Winners:

  • Fox Journal – Joe from KC
  • Hippo Journal – Carson from 5 Mc
  • Tiger Journal – Nolan from 5 Mc
  • Turtle Journal – Vera from 1N
  • Cheetah Head Journal -Estella from 1G
  • Red Panda Journal – Elena 1G
  • Lion Journal – Alex from 3 E
  • Sloth Journal – Eily from 3M
  • Lion Profile Journal – Ian, Mrs. Coronato’s son
  • Shark Journal – Joe from KC
  • Giraffe Journal – Corbin from 3E
  • Lion Head Journal – the Martinos from 5Mc and 5M
  • Books by Gina Perry – Joey from PreK
  • Books by Nicola Davies – Lexi from 3M
  • Panorama and Outside Your Window books Terra from December’s family

We are beyond thrilled and wondering what our next Good Deed might be.

The Good Deed Club presents Animal Awesomeness

Our first major study of the year is an integrated exploration of habitats and animals.  We traveled to a zoo and then created our own classroom zoo. In the middle of the research process the students began to realize many, many of the animals they were learning about were threatened or endangered.  They discovered that the loss of one animal – no matter how large or small – changes the world forever.  And they realized this change is never good.  They decided they wanted to do something to make a difference.  But what?

At home one night, Emily wondered if the class would join her in starting The Good Deed Club.  The next morning she asked and a few classmates agreed to meet and talk during recess. In a few week’s time, seventeen third graders had joined, decided their first mission would be to help animals and began meeting weekly to plan.

From those first November talks they ideas began to take shape.  They decided they would invent games and activities with an animal theme and invite the school community to an event.  Every time someone played a game, they’d get at least one ticket for a raffle.  They met with the principal to share their plans and got the okay.  They created fliers about the event to send home and post around the school.

They planned and created The Sloth Lounge – for parents to rest in after a long day, Animal Safari, Pin-the-Tail on the Wildebeest, Red Panda Pie Face, Animal Chairs, Cotton-topped Tamarin Bowling, a Feed the Animals Obstacle Course and Toss The Poison Dart Frog.  When the games were done they created animal-themed journals for the raffle and decorations for walls.

At last, after four months of planning and making, they set up Animal Awesomeness in the gymnasium and hoped people would come.  They did!  For an hour the gym was filled with families playing games, winning tickets, taking chances in the raffle and most importantly helping the Good Deed Club change the world!

The commitment, effort and creativity of these seventeen third graders was on view for all to see.  Their pride and joy filled the room.  Thank you all for celebrating Animal Awesomeness  and helping the Good Deed Club’s dream come true.

Our Week – April 6

Our week has been much more focused on accomplishments and achieving personal best. Thank you for talking to your children and continuing to remind them that how they use time does matter. This week more and more of the children were able to finish each task and move on to extra reading or writing.

On top of this work, has been the excitement of Animal Awesomeness.  Thank you for fitting the extra work times into your schedule.  I know that’s not easy, but because of it we have some beautiful decorations and innovative games that many will enjoy. We’ve also got some awesome animal journals for the raffle.  The Good Deed Club can’t wait “to change the world!”

Fable Storyboarding

For this writing project we’ve moved through several different planning steps before actually writing.  First we chose the moral that we wanted to teach.  Next we chose our characters, a setting and outlined a sparse plotline. Next we quickly sketched the beginning, middle and ending of our fables. On the next day we added essential images until we could use the cards as a reminder for how we wanted to tell the story. We told our fables to a partner and to ourselves until it seemed just right.  Some of us discovered we prefer to write first, while others really liked to talk it through.  That was a valuable lesson to learn.  Finally we began to write the actual first draft.  Some are short and need to be expanded.  Some are long and need to be shrunk.  We’ve got some revising steps to work through.  Our plan is to have them ready to share by April vacation.

State Research Begins

This week the children learned what state they will be researching and presenting at the Parade of the States on Thursday, May 24 from 4:45 to no later than 6:30.  The children are doing the research and writing for this project here at school.  It will be a combined piece of information and persuasive writing.  They are hoping to convince you that their state is the one you should visit for your next vacation.

To begin with the children are reading about their states.  They are making lists of possible wonders in five different categories: State Symbol, Manmade Wonder, Natural Wonder, State Hero and State Festival, Celebration of Tradition. Wonders 6 and 7 are their choice.  Once they have a general awareness of their state they’ll begin to do some more specific research and begin a selection process.  Just as with the country project, understanding a place more fully than what you know if you’ve visited or what you see, is tricky.  It takes a great deal of inferencing and thinking to make meaning of a whole new place.

Our goal is to have the wonders chosen through April so that they have several weeks to craft their writing at school and to build their float with you at home. Clear float criteria will be sent home when it comes time for building.

Fractions, Problem Solving and Fact Practice

We’ve begun comparing fractions with different denominators.  Sometimes that’s quite simple, but other times it is very tricky. The remaining part of the whole looks almost the same.  We’ve been learning how multiplication and division can help us understand equivalence.

As you look at your child’s work over the next few weeks stop to notice how many problems it seems s/he may be solving a day.  Many of the children are challenging themselves to solve all four of them each day.  When they do that they are solving multi-step problems using a combination of all four operations.  It is exciting to see their effort and determination.  It is also fun to see how proud of themselves they are.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Please keep checking your children’s blogs for new posts.  They love comments.  The comments are proof that their work is read and appreciated.  This week Ms. Schmidt commented on each of their posted book reviews.  We are trying to post more frequently about classroom accomplishments – some magnet books have been posted this week.  Please share this with friends and extended family – they’ll be thrilled.
  • We’ve read the first 11 chapters of Winterhouse and it seems that we’ve just begun to understand the main action of the mystery.  It was interesting to realize we had to wait that long into the story (hint – don’t abandon a book too soon) before the real conflict and action was revealed.  We’re keeping a log of what’s happening in each chapter.  Our goal is to solve the mystery first.
  • We’ll begin mystery book clubs next week and continue learning more about mapping and regions of the United States.