Our Week – October 5

Our week seems to fly by. I guess that’s a good thing – we are exploring lots of things every day and all seem to be enjoying what we are doing. This week we finished our third chapter read-aloud for the year.  With the help of Mrs. Wyman, the students were each able to take the first step in setting up their personal learning blog.  We’ve begun our first research project and feel surer about how the commutative property of multiplication works.

S.E.L. – Developing our Multiple Intelligence Pie Chart

During our Open Circle discussions during the last few weeks we’ve been discussing feeling and emotions. We’ve sorted them, calling some uncomfortable and other comfortable.  We’ve wondered if we always know how we are feeling – we’ve discussed how breathing can help us relax.  We’ve also discovered that we can read other people’s emotions by paying attention to their body language.

We’ve spent time learning more about ourselves as learners.  Last week we took two different surveys to uncover our multiple intelligences.  We are using that information to create a pie chart of “how we are smart” to show which areas of intelligence are our strengths at this time.   While we’ve been doing that, we’ve also been exploring how we can make our brains grow and develop due to our interest, attention and willingness to practice even when it’s a challenge.  It is interesting to hear the children talk about what they are discovering about themselves and the habits we can develop that may lead us toward success.

Problem Solving – Arrays and the Commutative Property

Our goal in daily problem solving is to offer the children opportunities to practice logical thinking and to find ways to use new knowledge to become more efficient over time.  The children choose a strategy they can use to document their thinking and follow through to an accurate solution.  This is challenging.  When you and I read the problems we see that most of them can be solved with multiplication, but because it is still new to your children, it is not always their choice.

Please expect this.  There are many things happening all at once in this thinking process.  The children have to read the problem and visualize the operations that are happening in the story.  The problems generally have two-steps, sometimes more, and often more than one operation.  They have to keep them separate which is not always easy.  The problems also use amounts that are manageable, but still challenging.

At this point you’ll notice any range of strategies.  Sometime the children are drawing out the problems.  This can become cumbersome and mistakes are often made when counting.  Sometimes children are skip counting or using a doubling strategy.   Sometimes children are able to mentally manipulate amounts in their minds but are off by a bit when the value of a digit is confused. Each child is using what s/he knows to solve the problem, and with time will become more efficient. With time you’ll see changes and progress.  We’ll be keeping samples of problems in the classroom to document growth.  You may want to do that too so you can share the growth that you see when you look at problems from across the year and notice as more sophisticated strategies are being used with all four operations.

We’ve spent some time understanding the ARRAY model of multiplication.  We’ve learned about the commutative property.  We are sure that 6×7=7×6 even if we are not instantly sure of the answer.  On top of that we can create an array of that amount and find a way to solve it (We know how to 7 fives and then we just need to add one more on.  Or we could double 6 three times and add one more.)  It is interesting to discover there are many correct ways to reach a solution.

Bits and Pieces –

  • Curriculum Night is Thursday, October 11.  Ms. Coronato and I will be presenting information about the 3rdgrade curriculum in Mrs. Oliver’s music room at both the 5:00pm and 6:15pm.  We anticipate that each presentation will be about 35 minutes so you can have 10 minutes or so in the classroom to see and respond to the pieces of work or parts of the classroom that your son or daughter has chosen to point out to you.
  • When we completed I Survived the Children’s Blizzard of 1888,we celebrated that accomplishment by having each child illustrate a snowball with their favorite scene and create a snowflake to be part of our doorway blizzard.
  • After we learned about blizzards, each child chose something about weather that he or she would like to become an expert in.  This is going to be the topic for a mini-research and information writing project. We’re going to decide on the criteria and we’re going to find a way to share this information with you.

And of course, the highpoint of our week was having WMUR Meteorologist, Hayley LaPoint come to share her love of weather and meteorology with the third grade.  Here’s a collection of what the children said they learned from the presentation:


  • Lightening is hotter than the sun.  It’s 5 times hotter than the sun’s surface.  Lightning is 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The words meteorology and meteorologist started out as Greek words.
  • Both hurricanes and tornadoes can go over water.
  • Cirrus clouds are made of ice.  They mean the weather is changing.
  • I learned that anything that comes from a cloud is precipitation.
  • There are meteorologists who work at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park so they can decide whether or not to hold or postpone the games so they can give a warning to the fans.
  • Tornadoes can be dangerous and destructive.  There are usually one or two tornadoes a year in NH – they are just really small.
  • The bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud is called a blanket.
  • The biggest tornadoes can be two miles wide.
  • Hail only happens in the summer.  It can be the size of a baseball.

I’m guessing more memories will emerge as we plan our weather presentations over the next few weeks.