Our Week – November 16

We’ve spent our week focused on portfolio preparations, beginning an inquiry into national holidays, learning more about elapsed time and stopping for a moment to count our blessings.  We’ve learned a bit about the history of Thanksgiving and how it came to be celebrated. It’s kind of cool to know that New Hampshire’s own, Sarah Josepha Hale was instrumental in creating American’s special holiday.  I am hopeful that by the time you read this note, each child will have completed his or her blog sharing a thankfulor gratefulacrostic.  Their thoughts are beautiful.  Enjoy them.

Student Goal Setting and Portfolio Shares

Thank you for spending time with your son or daughter as they shared what they are learning, their classroom and their goals for this year.  They are growing their abilities to reflect on their learning processes. Since we began this process, they can already see they have changed.  They realized how they grown as a mathematician by seeing problems from early October.  It is motivating to find proof of learning and to feel the rewards of focus and effort. The more actively the children participate in their own learning, the more they will grow.

It is exciting to see their thoughtfulness and their enthusiasm for sharing what they do each day. They deserve to be proud of their efforts and abilities to present their thinking and learning at this point in the year. I appreciate knowing what they are thinking.  They always surprise me.  Their ideas and approach to each task is totally unique.  They teach me something new every day.

Book Clubs – Keeping Track Thinking While Reading

Last week the children participated in book clubs. Our first book club choices were centered on the idea that everyone can write what they know and feel in their hearts.  All of these first choices were picture books and the clubs were designed so that everyone could meet the expectations of 1) completing the book, 2) writing a summary, 3) selecting a favorite part to speak to and 4) to make an inference about the author’s message.  All of the children met these expectations and had some great discussions about their books and reading.

Our second book clubs selections all have something to do with Thanksgiving.  They are nonfiction selections and have a wide range of length and complexity.  We’ll be learning more about note-taking and questioning during these book club meetings. We’ll use what we learn during these meetings to guide us into our second inquiry project about national holidays.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished The Wild Roboton Wednesday.  There was a resounding “YES” when I asked if we wanted to read The Wild Robot Escapes next. Roz is an amazing robot.  We loved the book so much we’ve decided to build some robots of our own.  It will be fun to see the personalities of our robots emerge.
  • Just a reminder – we’ve got a field trip on Monday to Strawbery Banke.  We’ll be there for the morning and will be returning to school around 1:00.  The children will need to bring their lunch – or order lunch from school as yesterday’s notice outlined.  We’ll be eating lunch on the bus while we return from the program.  Please be aware of the peanut and tree nut allergies in the grade.  Thank you.
  • We’ve continued to learn more about simple and compound sentences.  We are learning more about the choices we make can add to interest to our writing.


Our Week – November 9

Happy Veterans Day! We’re getting ready to develop our weather forecasts as we end of our weather unit of study.  This week we’ve begun exploring our nation’s history by learning some about our nine national holidays.  We’ve continued to discuss and plan for how we can each contribute to the creation of a successful learning community.  We’ve been learning about sentences and parts of speech – nouns, verbs and adjectives. And finally, we’ve been exploring time. We’re learning about elapsed time and how to use what we know about fives and multiplication to connect with telling time.  We’re always trying to get the most out of our time.

Building A Strong Classroom Community – S.E.L.

We’ve been struggling with behavior for the past two weeks.  Both of these weeks have been full of unusual schedules and events. Because of this, I waited to see if we could pull it together.  Some have, but others have not.  As a class, we mean well, but behavior choices have left much to be desired. This, along with little attention to personal best and/or thoughtful effort, is prompting me to ask you to have a chat with your child about what they might do to support their own learning. We’ve been reading about teamwork and cooperation.  We’ve had lots of examples and now we need to make some important choices. If you have a chance, talk to your child about what s/he could do put forth best effort?  Ask how can s/he contribute to creating a classroom community allowing everyone to succeed? These conversations will help us continue them in our classroom, so we can be sure that learning is what we are about at school.

In Open Circle we are exploring the importance in being encouraging and giving compliments. We’re learning more about cooperation and how to contribute to our classroom team.  Competition has its place, but it’s not often part of our classroom learning community.  We are working toward a cooperative classroom.  Here’s how we imagine it will look and sound when we’ve been successful. We decided that a cooperative classroom looks calm, relaxed, focused and helpful. We can see that people are making eye contact and listening.  It looks like everyone is working to meet the classroom goals and everyone is doing what is expected with what the task and materials are at the moment.  We also decided a cooperative classroom sounds quiet so each person can hear what he or she needs to hear.  There would be the sound of purposeful talk that is on topic and respectful in our cooperative classroom.  We’d hear compliments and encouragement.

Our outdoor challenge this week was about teamwork too.  The class was divided into groups and sent to three different stations.  We were told we had to listen carefully to all the directions, take turns and allow everyone to participate.  Our goal was to move all the objects from one hoop into another hoop. With those directions, the class began. Ask your child what he or she discovered working through this challenge.  Perhaps Open Circle and the challenge can help your child in coming up with ideas of how our classroom can be a place where everyone can succeed in the manner that makes him or her proud.

Exploring Adjectives and the Power of 3

We’ve been exploring different types of sentences.  We’ve learned about simple, and compound sentences.  We know each sentence has a noun that is its subject. We know that the subject of the sentence has to do something, and then we are hoping to elaborate on the basic sentence structure by adding adjectives to paint a picture of our meaning with our word choice.

We’ve discovered that it is a bit harder than it seems.  We’ve also discovered that writing we admire has all different types and lengths of sentences.  We’re trying to think about all our sentence choices when we are writing ourselves. Check with your child to see if she or he trying to fill it with adjectives and description.  Some of them are, and some of them are not yet ready. You’ll be able to see some examples of readiness in this week’s set of papers.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’re nearing the end of The Wild Robot.This book has taught us about building relationships.  In the book, having friends Roz can help and that she can help in return is important. It is important in our classroom too. We are all learning how to be supportive community members.
  • If you’ve not had a chance to read and comment on your child’s informational weather writing on his or her blog, please do.  This is their first published piece.  We’ll be publishing them as books to be placed in the classroom’s weather library in addition to posting them on the blogs.
  • We’re exploring national holidays.  We’ve spent some time reading about Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Independence Day. We’ve read poems and shared our ideas as to why we have set these days aside.  It’s exciting to know that Thanksgiving became a national holiday through the efforts of a woman from New Hampshire.
  • Student-Led Goal setting conferences will be on Thursday, November 15 or Friday, November 16.
  • Our field trip to Strawbery Banke is on Monday, November 19.


Wonderful Weather Writing

Most of the children were able to create a blog post to share the informational writing they created to share all they had learned about the weather topic they chose to research and study.

When you read through their posts you can learn about sandstorms and blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes.  You can learn about snow, clouds rainbows and meteorology too.  They have worked for several weeks to do the research, type their information and publish both illustrated books and these blog posts that are accompanied by another piece of original art.

If you have the time, please let them know what you learn from their information, what you notice about their writing and organizational choices and how their illustration highlights a piece of their learning.  Ask them questions – they likely have even more to tell.

This post is illustrated by cooperative, small-group illustrations made to show the five hurricane levels defined by the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

Our Week – November 2

What an exciting week – Trick-or-Treating, Halloween and welcoming our new classroom pet.  Finally the Reptile Keeper has a real job to do everyday. On top of all that, our week has also been filled with reading, writing, researching, science and problem solving.  Your children are hardworking, flexible and interested in learning.  It seems as though 3E is a good place to be learning.

Goal Setting – Preparing for our Conferences

This week we continued our goal setting process.  As I’ve already shared, the students have described themselves as learners using the Multiple Intelligences model, they’ve described themselves as readers and writers, chosen “best” books and pieces of writing to highlight what they are capable of doing independently at this point in the school-year and set reading and writing goals.  These goals come from the traits of successful readers and writers we generated as a class.  Each of the children has chosen something they feel they would like to pay attention to and improve.  Our last goal-setting area is math.  We will have they completed by the middle of next week.  We’ll spend a few days organizing our portfolios and planning how we will share all our ideas with our families.  In the second week of November we will be organized and ready to share.

The students will lead their conference and share their learning profiles, work samples and goals with you.  The main goal of this reflection and writing SEL project is to help the children come to understand themselves as learners a bit better. It is designed to help each of them realize they are unique and totally capable of accomplishing whatever they are willing to work for.

The conferences will give you a clearer understanding of what your child is doing each day and give you a glimpse into how your child is feeling about third grade. Report cards will be sent home to you on Monday, December 3.  We’ll meet for Parent/Teacher conferences that week.  We’ll use the information from the conference and the report card narrative to set goals for we’ll do at home and at school to further to support our third grade learners.

Developing Descriptive Writing Skills

We’ve continued to learn more about adjectives and descriptive writing.  We’ve practiced writing descriptive sentences about weather. We’ve had the chance to create adjective poems.  We made one together about our gecko and the children wrote their own about the leaves they created in our symmetry project.

We’ve also practiced combining what we know about adjectives with words that stimulate our senses. Looking at a picture, we challenged ourselves to write descriptive sentences that follow “The Power of 3” rule. Ask your child about The Power of 3.  He or she may be able to explain a bit about how we use it to make our writing descriptive enough without, either going over the top, or leaving it bare bones.

Science Research and Writing

We’ve nearly completed our first informational writing project.  The children have each made a real effort to meet the deadline set for November 1st.  Most did. The children set their own criteria (with guidance) defining what they felt would be a successful (if not great) piece of informational writing.  They agreed

: to write what they understand, to write to teach others, to write in their own words, to write between 25 and 30 sentences (at least five sentences about five sub-topics) – more is always better, and to create their own illustrations to share their understanding of the topic.  They are excited to be sharing their weather library with others.

I am sure, as you read their writing, you will recognize where they are in their learning processes, and how they can grow as both researchers and writers. They should feel proud of what they’ve accomplished so far.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve continued to explore symmetry, congruence and angles.  We’re learning more about right angles.  We’ve learned angles larger than 90˚ are called obtuse and angles smaller than 90˚ are acute.
  • We’ve almost finished The Wild Robot.  We’re looking forward to finding out what happens now that spring has arrived and the robot will have lived on the island for a full year. We are realizing this is a book about the importance of friendship in order to survive and to be happy.
  • In Open Circle and in most of our S.E.L. morning meeting discussions we’ve been talking about including others and finding ways to be more aware of other’s feelings.  After reading The Invisible Boy, we’ve wondered if it is worse to be ignored and alone or laughed at.  Talk to you child about this story and see what he or she has to say.
  • Our Strawbery Banke field trip is coming on November 19.  We’re still looking for a few permission slips and trip fee of $5.00 for some children.
  • Just a reminder – there is no school for students on Tuesday, November 6 and there is a half day for students on Friday, November 9.

Meet the New Member of 3E

This week we’ve been learning more about descriptive writing.  We’ve been collecting adjectives.  They are perfect for adding a bit of description when we want to elaborate on our ideas.

To practice using adjectives we created adjective poems.  We created this one together.



New, tiny

New, tiny, speckled gecko

Cute insectivore.

Once we understood the process, each of the students created an adjective poem to accompany their leaf symmetry project.  Please open each of the student’s blogs to find their amazing leaf poems, and more!

Thanks for all your motivating comments!

Our Week – October 26

We are very busy. We’re trying to establish a safe habit for our class reptile – leopard geckos.  They live in the desert so it has to be hot.  We are trying to find a safe way to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop too much at night and on the weekends.  It’s been an interesting and exciting process.  We also had the opportunity (a high pressure system moving in) to set up our storm glass so now our weather corner has another tool that we can use to predict the weather.

We’ve been preparing for student-led goal setting conferences, writing informational weather essays, exploring description and learning about symmetry.

Setting Goals – Preparing for Student Led Conferences in November

This week we’ve spent time thinking about goals.  We’ve tried to be specific.  We’ve tried to make our goals about something important and doable.  We’re also thinking about the evidence we might collect to show we have accomplished our goals.

We began our discussion with reading.  We’ve been paying attention to how each reader can grow.  Here’s what we decided:

Reading grows if…

… you have good reading habits.

  • You get your book box ready
  • You read books that challenge you some, and that you will stick with and read from cover to cover.
  • You read most of independent reading time with only a little looking or skimming and scanning.

…you try reading different types (genre) of books.

…you keep track of your thinking so you can show it or tell it to others.

…you learn new words and develop word attack skills.

Once we discovered what we might do to grow as readers, we set a goal for the week.  We called it a W.O.W. (within one week) goal.  We’ve discovered that even though we know how we might improve our reading skills, we don’t always do what will help us.  We really do have to make a plan if we are going to accomplish what we set out to do.  We’re trying to explore new books and spend more time thinking about what we’re reading.  They deserve to be proud of all they are attempting and doing as readers.

Exploring Symmetry

This month our calendar is filled with a pattern of polygons.  We’re learning about different types of triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons and hexagons.  We’ve discovered that when they are called “regular” shapes the sides and angles are equal.  “Regular” shapes often have many lines of symmetry. Symmetry is all around us.   We’ve looked for things in the classroom that are symmetrical and we’ve explored symmetry in nature too.

Developing our Writing Using Elaboration Strategies

We began to explore ways of expanding our writing by adding description.  We’ve been learning about traits and adjectives.  We’ve begun to categorize words that could be included in descriptions and we’ve been challenging ourselves to find as many ways as possible to describe one thing.  Here are our descriptions of a nest – a list of words that turned into a poem.






















Bits and Pieces –

  • The Wild Robot is full of wonderful characters and rich description.  Ask your child to describe his or her favorite part so far.  Some of it’s funny.  Some of it’s worrisome?  We’re wondering how the story will end.
  •  Picture retakes will be on November 1.  If you plan to have your child’s picture retaken, they’ll need to bring the packet back on that date.  If they were absent your child should plan on having his or her picture taken on the first.
  • We have a new outdoor challenge schedule.  Mr. Guidi (Mr. G to the children) will be leading these challenges.  Here is a new list of dates.
  • Thanks for putting them on your calendar.  We will be outside if at all possible.

3rd Grade Challenges – 3E

  1. November 7th
  2. November 28th
  3. December 12th
  4. January 2nd
  5. January 16th
  6. January 30th
  7. February 13th
  8. March 6th
  9. March 20th
  10. April 10th
  11. May 1st
  12. May 15th
  13. May 29th



Check our Multiplication Riddles

We are having lots of fun blogging.  Thank you so much for the wonderful comments.  Having an audience for our writing and our ideas is very motivating.

We hope you’ll enjoy our third post.  This one has to do with the new math we are learning.  Each of the students created and posted a multiplication riddle following the format of Each Orange Had Eight Slices.

We hope you enjoy them.  If you solve any of the riddles, please leave your answers in a comment.  Have fun with math!

Our Week – October 19

Thanks for supporting our reading museum and helping the children take note of he fact that learning continues on and on.  Thank you also for your attention to making time for homework.  Many of the kids were super excited about having that responsibility. We began our week by thinking about a series of precepts:  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”, “Practice makes perfect.”, “”Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”, and ”Practice makes progress.” We had some great conversation about what we can do to make sure learning grows.

This week everyone created a second blog post, more of the children were able to solidify and apply their understanding of the distributive property during daily problem solving and we defined the criteria we would use to create “great” pieces of informational weather writing.

Reading Grows

This week we shared books important to each of us as readers.  The class shared favorite books read when they were babies, read-alouds they loved hearing over and over and over again as toddlers and favorite chapter books shared as a family.  It was fun to tour the class’s reading museum.  Some children realized they had brought in the same book. (I discovered that Good Night Construction Siteis a must for our grandson, James.) Others were reminded of favorites from the past.  It was fun to revisit books that may not have been looked at for a while.

After the museum on Tuesday, we reflected on the reading we’d been doing in the first month and a half of school.  We thought about the books we’d been choosing to read and we considered the difference between “reading”, “skimming and scanning” and “looking through.”  All are important habits to have, but we agreed that much of the time we have in our classroom with books should be dedicated to reading.  The only way to grow as a reader is to practice.  We reflected on what we’d been reading so far and the school year, and what habits we’d been most focused on.  Are next steps will be to develop goals that will lead us forward and help us to grow.

Multiplying With Large Amounts

We’ve been learning how to use what we know about place value to help us multiply larger amounts. We’ve been trying to use the distributive property, because these steps more often help us with accuracy.  They remind use to multiply everything – not just the hundreds and tens, but also the ones.

The problems have been written to help the children practice using this skill to become more efficient. More and more of the children are feeling sure of themselves with this strategy.

Experimenting with Leads /

Establishing the Guideline We Plan to Follow for Our Weather Writing

We learned about four different types of leads: snapshot, question, dialogue and onomatopoeia.  We had a go at playing around with each of them. We’ve tried choosing words that paint a picture.  We’ve thought about the sounds we’d hear if we were to enter the setting of our piece of writing to consider if that would make an impactful start.  We’ve thought of creating characters to speak and introduce our topic or story.  And finally, we’ve wonder about the questions we hope our writing will answer.  See if your child can tell you about the lead he or she is most interested in using to introduce readers to weather.

In addition to leads we also agreed on the writing criteria we’d have for our weather writing.  We thought each piece should be at least five pages (have five subtopics), and each page should have at least five sentences. We decided that our writing should how our understanding of the topic so that readers would find it interesting. And we thought we should include one illustration.  Many of the students are continuing to research, but some of them are already at the writing phase.  Some are typing on computers, while others are choosing to handwrite their pieces. In addition to publishing them so we have a weather library in the hall for others to read, the children are excited about posting them on their blogs for all to read.

Bits and Pieces

  • We’ve posted our second blog post. This post features a personal favorite, hobby or interest. With this post we learned how to copy and paste text from one file to another.  It will take time but, with practice, this will become second nature.
  • We also learned about making quality comments.  We’re trying to begin with a specific compliment that lets the blogger know we actually read the post.  Then we’re trying to add a connection or question to get a conversation going. And finally we’re trying to remember to sign our names so the blogger knows we visited.
  • A HUGE thank you to those who have commented and shared the URL with family and friend.  Comments are motivating.
  • In Open Circle we’ve discussed positive self-talk and growth mind-set.  We are trying to be as encouraging to ourselves (and our classmates) as possible.
  • Our next field trip will be to Strawberry Banke.  It is on Monday, November 19.  Permission slips went home on Wednesday.  The cost of the trip is $5.00.  We’ll be learning all about Thanksgiving through the ages as we travel from house to house and learn how the celebration has changed.

There is an Early Release on Wednesday, October 24. 

Dismissal is at 12:00.

Our Week – October 11

For a short week, we certainly fit a lot in.  We continued our weather research.  We’re finding out a lot of interesting facts.  We began student blogging this week. The class is very excited about creating a first post.  Thanks to those families who were able to read them and leave a comment.  Please share the blog url with family and friends, near and far.   It is exciting to open the blogs and find comments from grandparents, aunts and uncles. Thank you for your time and attention with this.

As we prepared for the open house it was interesting to stop and realize how much we’ve been doing in our first thirty days of school.  Thank you for joining us last night.  I hope you found the information helpful.  Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions at they arise.  If you were unable to attend, please look for the hand-outs in your child’s Friday envelope.

Learning Properties of Multiplication

We’ve been learning how to create and read arrays.  This practice enabled all of us to understand how the Commutative Property of Multiplication works.  It doesn’t matter if you have 3 rows of 4 or 4 rows of 3.  Both equal twelve.  To show this understanding we made buildings to create Multiplication Main Street. Our buildings show how this property works.

We also learned how to break arrays up into manageable parts.  For instance when looking at an array that is 5 rows of 13, we can break the 13 into 10 and 3 and easily do the multiplication then: 5×10 and 5×3.  After working to organize our thinking with arrays, we learned how to use the Distributive Property with multiplication. We’ve still got some work to do with this property before everyone feels fully certain of what they are doing, especially when hundreds turn to thousands.

Living the Life of a Reader







As part of our goal setting process, we’ve begun talking about what it means to live the life of a reader.  We’ve been reading poems and books about books, reading stories and loving certain kinds of books as a way to discover all the different types of reading people do. The children have been asked to think back and talk to you about books that were and/or are important to them. They could be favorites from when they were younger – books they asked to have read over and over, or they may be books they spent so much time with they could recite them without even looking. They can also be books that have been read aloud to them at home or at school.  They could be books of topics they are interested in.

Hopefully each child can bring in a collection of between 3 and 5 (2 and 6 are also fine) books, maps, magazines, charts… texts that have been important to them in becoming the reader they are today. We’ll create a reading museum with these texts on Tuesday, October 16.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve begun our fourth chapter read-aloud of the year, The Wild Robot. This is a fantasy, full of rich description. The setting is important in this book.  Ask your child what he or she remembers about the island where Roz has washed up.
  • On Thursday two North Hampton firefighters visited our grade, Steve and Brendan. They shared some important fire safety tips with the classes and answered many, many different questions.
  • In Open Circle this week we began discussing how people know when they feel upset and where in their body they experience that emotion. Some in the class feel that emotion in their stomach, while other feel it in the chest and still others feel it as a tightness in their shoulders.It was an interesting discussion and one that we’ll continue as we learn to recognize the many side of “upset.”
  • We have continued to work on our Multiple Intelligence (MI) pie charts. We’re having fun noticing all the ways we are “smart.”

All About Us

Today we are each trying to create a first post on our own blogs.  We practiced by writing this blog post together as a class.  We are 3E.  We are 3rd graders.  We are kind.  We try to treat others the way we’d like to be treated.  We all try to listen and have others listen to us.  We are a safe, learning and respectful class.  We are patient.  We try to be helpful.  We all like reading.  We all like to solve problems efficiently too.  We have fun.

Please leave a comment and tell us what you like to do.